My Predictions – 2022

  1. Trump and his company will continue to file cases in court and lose every single one of them. The first loss will happen at the very end of January when the Supreme Court will reject the request by Trump to review the Jan 6 committee subpoena for documents from the National Archives and the documents will be in the hands of the committee by February.
  2. In the most recent lawsuit against Attorney General Letica James, it will be dismissed with harsh words, such as the lawsuit is frivolous and politically motivated.
  3. Devin Nunes is the CEO of Trump’s new social media company. Trump will fire him before the end of the year.
  4. Many countries in Europe will have higher percentage of their population vaccinated than in the US. This is a fairly easy prediction, and it is a sad fact that many Americans have doubts about the vaccines or believe popular but untrue conspiracy theories. Eastern Europe and Russia will catch up to the US.
  5. A new Iran nuclear deal will be agreed upon. Republicans will do everything they can to defeat it.
  6. Climate change will be very much present, as the northwest of the US will suffer from extreme heat and our hurricanes will be wetter, creating more flooding,

I think 6 predictions are enough for now. I’ll check back at the end of 2022 and see how I did. I did not make any predictions on the mid-term elections, but it’s certainly possible for both the House and the Senate to be controlled by Republicans.

Stay tuned,

Dave

It’s too late for you now

I think you know the question. Moderna, Pfizer or J&J shots can’t help someone who has Covid-19. It was tweeted by an ER nurse. The first line of defense against Covid-19 is vaccination. In the US, it is free and widely available. Yes, there is great progress being made on Covid-19 treatments, but I rather not get Covid-19 to begin with and a hospital bed is a lousy place to be trying to see what’s available.

Dave

It is not done with us

Omicron is here. A virus mutates. The breeding of variants is made more likely when 57% of us are not vaccinated or partially vaccinated.

Health experts predicted other variants were likely last year. Our best defense is to get as close to 100% vaccinated as possible. We are at war. We don’t hear bombs dropping, but it is war. What emerged in South Africa, is now present in Europe and Canada. It most likely came by plane in passengers without symptoms.

It is a world health crisis. WHO Director Tedros Ghebreyesus got it right. Omicron is another reminder that although many might “think we are done with Covid-19, it is not done with us,” Tedros said.

The vaccine is not perfect, but it is the best armor in this war we have. What I mean by “we” is the population of the world. So the way out of the pandemic is for developed countries to support vaccine availability in less developed countries.

Tedros said that while the agency understands that every government has a “responsibility to protect its own people,” ending the uneven distribution of vaccines is “in every country’s best interest.”

These comments came in a recent interview in Forbes, as provided below.

I and my wife have gotten our shots and booster shots. In the US, it is free and widely available. Other preventative measures don’t offer the same protection. I was in and out of CVS Pharmacy in less than 30 minutes.

A lot of other measures are being taken with mixed results. It is epidemiology 101 that any measure to limit long distance disease transmission (local containment) is good. However, cancelation of flights from African countries, have caused stranded passengers and congestion at multiple airports. Americans can return home from South Africa so this can lead to more opportunities to spread the new variant.

I’m not counting on any magic pill being ready. Yes, if the Pfizer or Bristol Myers pills are approved and I’m infected with Covid-19, I’m all in. But, long-haul Covid is possible, with a long list of symptoms. (for long haul Covid, I recommend Sanjay Gupta’s book World War C, see links below).

I’ll end with one simple conclusion that our planet is much smaller than people think. In my lifetime, I visited China, India, and countries in South America, the Middle East, Africa and SE Asia. I was a tourist, and I want to remain that way. Not a disease transmitter.

It depends on Covid vaccine availability and acceptance, if we are to make the planet healthier.

GET VACCINATED. IF ELGIBLE, GET YOUR BOOSTER. SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO INCREASE VACCINE AVAILABILITY WORLDWIDE.

OK, I said my peace, and I’ll sit down.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links,

Forbes Interview with WHO Director

Sanjay Gupta, World War C

Recommended reading. I use Kindle on my PC to read it.

How Portugal is winning the war against Covid

In my last blog, I discussed the how the US stacks up against other developed nations. We are #37 in the world. We could be doing a lot better. So, I wanted to take a closer look at those who are doing better and why.

Of all developed and populous nations, Portugal is #1 in terms of vaccinations. at 85.2% of the country vaccinated. Covid is not gone from Portugal. It exists and new cases are discovered every day. As shown in the graph above, there were 637 new cases as of October 18, 2021 according to the 7-day average. This is the appropriate statistic to judge the trend as it smooths out the noise in the daily data. So, with a population of 10.8 million people, there are about 60 new cases per 1 million residents. In

In Portugal, Covid-19 new cases plunged from around 13,000 (7 day average) in February 2021 to just 637 cases in October. The July upsurge in Covid-19 is clear as the Delta variant spread like wildfire. The big story is that from August to October, the vaccinations and other measures has countered Delta attack, with a 500% decline in new cases.

I was in Portugal in September of this year, and saw the other measures being employed. I was asked for proof of full vaccination when checking into a hotel. One person in our group had not taken a second shot, so within 10 minutes in the hotel, she was tested for Covid-19 with the rapid antigen test. So there is still a choice. Get vaccinated or get tested. Of course, testing is good only for 72 hours. Some restaurants asked for proof of vaccination.

The war against Covid-19 is far from over in any country. In Portugal, tourists crowd into bars and restaurants in the beach resorts along the Algarve from all over the world. So, the presence of Covid-19 will likely be around for a very long time. What is more satisfying is that since May, the death toll due to Covid has been very low, even during the Delta attack.

This is consistent with what the medical professionals are saying. With the vaccines, you may get a break-through infection, but the other dire consequences (hospitalization and death) are likely to be avoided.

The October 1, 2021 New York Times had a picture of a vaccination clinic in Lisbon, with just empty chairs., with the headline,”In Portugal, There Is Virtually No One Left to Vaccinate.” I believe there are more to come, particularly as they are showing that vaccines are safe for children.

The Time’s article goes on to say, “Vice Adm. Henrique Gouveia e Melo, who led the campaign, said there was a key to his success: Keep politics out of it.”

“The first thing is to make this thing a war,” Admiral Gouveia e Melo said in an interview, recalling how he approached the job. “I use not only the language of war, but military language.” The country had a national vaccination program already in place. But, Portugal’s decision to bring in the military to help administer vaccines gave additional emphasis to how critical the fight against Covid-19 was. Admiral Melo would make public appearances in his combat uniform.

Prior to leading the vaccination task force, Admiral Melo was a submarine squadron commander, which might seem odd to some. However, vaccinations require clear communication and a great distribution plan, and by all accounts he excelled in these areas.

The US is unlikely to duplicate Portugal’s success. We are at 57% fully vaccinated, and each month, there are about 3% more people vaccinated. So, if we keep up at the same rate, in another 5 to 6 months, we could be at the same level as Portugal is now. We might go a bit higher than 3% per month with the mandates, or lower as people dig in on the anti-vaxxer rhetoric, and makes it some big rights issue. My prediction is about 64% fully vaccinated by years end. We could also be under 1,000 deaths per day by year’s end. These are pretty grim statistics.

It is still the pandemic of the unvaccinated. It doesn’t matter if it is China, Russia, Portugal or the US. We need more shots in the arm.

Stay tuned,

Dave

NYT: : In Portugal, There Is Virtually No One Left to Vaccinate

Covid-19 Vaccinations: The US and the rest of the world

We are at 56% vaccinated. Progress in getting the other 44% of our population vaccinated is difficult. Also, we are doing worse than many other developed countries. We are a long distance from the getting to the “herd immunity” target of 70 to 85% fully vaccinated. The country has spent billions of dollars buying up a large supply of vaccines. There has been a huge effort put into an effective distribution system. Free transportation has been offered to the elderly. So, the US has not excuse.

Time for the numbers. I just report the percent fully vaccinated in other countries, with sizeable populations, who have administered at least 5 million doses. There are 14 countries who have between 70 to 85% of their population vaccinated: There are in order of highest to lowest, Portugal (85%), Singapore, Spain, UAE, France, Denmark, China, Italy, Ireland, Chile, Belgium, Uruguay, Canada and Cambodia (70%).

Next up is the 60 to 70% vaccinated group and 12 countries are included. The countries are, listed from highest to lowest are: Norway, UK, Netherlands, Malaysia, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Japan, Israel, Austria, Panama and Switzerland.

The European Union is 65.8% vaccinated with 575 million vaccines administered. Now, the 18 developed nations, with 50 to 60% vaccinated are: South Korea, Greece, Hungary, Ecuador, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Morocco, Czech Republic, US (56.4%), Turkey, Turkmenistan, Oman, Cuba, Argentina, Poland and Slovenia.

I note that even though the European Union has a higher rate of vaccinations, their citizens are not yet permitted to travel as tourists to the US. It is highly likely that this will change in early November.

As I rank the developed countries from high to low in terms of being fully vaccinated, the US is ranked #37. We were getting our vaccines ahead of many countries. How did we fall so far behind?

There are certainly worse countries, who haven’t achieved 50%. Large countries with low vaccination rates are: Brazil (47%), Mexico (38%), Thailand (33%), Russia (31%), India (20%) and Pakistan (17%). Africa and the Middle East are in terrible shape. After Morroco (56%), South Africa has just 17% vaccinated, and the other 49 countries in Africa are all lower!

This is being correctly called the pandemic of the unvaccinated. Epidemiologists knows, “What goes around, comes around.” For those who have had Covid, a negative Covid test, doesn’t mean your back to normal. It just means that you will not be spreading the disease. I know of one case of “Long Covid” and it is really sad. After being release from the hospital, he has to be hooked up to an oxygen tank to breath. Long Covid is a grouping of common and long lasting post-Covid symptoms, which include:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain or tightness
  • Problems with memory and concentration (“brain fog”)
  • Changes to taste and smell
  • Joint pain

It is not known if these symptoms will be permanent. I want to enjoy life, and that includes travel, eating out and visiting with friends. The news on long Covid is real, and it should be a strong incentive for everyone to get vaccinated. It is far better to strengthen your immune system to keep Covid from reproducing, instead of doing battle with it once it begins the infection process and overwhelms your defenses. It is a war, and you want to keep your enemy out of the trenches. I don’t know how else to explain it. It is a choice of being pro-active, instead of re-active.

As far as mandatory vaccination policies, I certainly can see the rationale for it, particularly for people in close contact with many people during the day. Companies have tried to make the office environment safe, but you can go around disinfecting every surface that someone has touched. A lot of work can not be effectively done over Zoom. I’m not going into to the legal aspects.

We can and have to be doing better. It took me less than an hour to get each of my shots, and that includes the drive to the clinic, paperwork, and the shot. I am looking forward to getting a booster soon. I think it was truly a miracle to have highly effective vaccines available in under a year.

Today, we are 56% vaccinated. Can we catch up to Portugal? China? The EU? I never think of a goal to achieve herd immunity, The goal should be 100% vaccinated. This is the point of unconditionally surrender for this terrible disease.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

BBC: Long Covid

GOP gubernatorial candidate Allen West released from hospital after Covid-19 diagnosis

Bloomberg: Vaccine Tracker

Brazil firm to produce Covid-19 vaccine for export

Hospitals in Brazil and India are filled to capacity. In Brazil, the number of new cases is about 61,000 (7-day rolling average). It is the last place you would expect vaccines to be produced for export to other countries. So, I would say the Covid-19 crisis in Brazil is terrible and a bit bizarre.

Brazil’s Anvisa agency rejected the Sputnik V vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute. Anvisa in Brazil is like the FDA in the US, as it must approve all vaccines. Brazil was expected to receive 30 million doses.

Yahoo news reports, “União Quimica’s facility in São Paulo has been certified by Anvisa for good production practices and the Gamaleya vaccine will be made for export to countries that have approved it, said CEO and founder Fernando Marques.” I suspect the vaccine will be shipped to Mexico and Argentina. It is approved in India, and I’m sure they can’t wait to receive additional shipments.

The vaccine is claimed to be 91% effective. The Russian vaccine has been approved in 62 countries. The vaccine was really the first one to be approved, in August 2020, beating out Moderna and Pfizer. Russia was criticized for giving approval without sufficient Phase III trials, where the effectiveness could be reviewed by scientists around the world.

The European Medicines Agency is currently inspecting the manufacture of the Russian vaccine in Europe. I believe the Agency will give approval shortly, and this will make it easy for all European countries to approve.

The Russian vaccine is an Adenovirus vector vaccine, as are other approved vaccines: J&J, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Cansino. In the manufacture of the vaccine, the DNA of another virus (not Covid) so it can not replicate, but is capable of eliciting an immune response. The link below describes the vaccine as containing viral particles, which invades the cells and passes on specific instructions to the cells to build spike proteins. So these cells have enough in common with Covid, to get the immune system to defend against Covid. Very clever these scientists.

Anvisa rejection seems based more on the manufacturing of the vaccine, rather the science behind it. They claim that the batches of vaccine they examined contained replication-competent adenovirus. I’m stopping right here, because the scientists can battle this one out. It may be that some people getting the vaccine will have a mild cold, but they will nevertheless be protected from Covid.

The proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes. In Latin America, Mexico and Argentina have administered about 7 million doses, while over 12 million people in Russia have received the shot (see link from Wall Street Journal).

Anvisa was forced by a Supreme Court decision to rule on the requests of 10 states in Brazil for the vaccine. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the right wing politics of President Bolsonaro is a real element with this regulatory agency. They have no problem with approving toxic agricultural chemicals, which are banned in Europe.

Bolsonaro claims to be doing everything in his power to combat Covid-19. The solution is not with hydroxychloroquine or even worse ivermectin, but effective vaccines.

It is an appalling contradiction when millions of doses of Gameleya’s vaccine are made in the populous city of São Paulo (11 million residents) and shipped to other countries, when there is a dire need for more vaccines at home. The question remains- has Anvisa dug themselves a hole too deep for themselves get out of? I hope not.

This is a continuing story and I’ll update it as information is available.

Stay tuned,

Dave

,

Links:

Yahoo News: European Medicines Agency experts beginning Sputnik V manufacturing inspections: Official

Science Magazine Blog: Brazil Rejects the Gamaleya Vaccine

Wall Street Journal: Brazil Defends Decision to Reject Russia’s Covid-19 Vaccine, Citing Safety and Efficacy

Brasilwire: With 400,000 Dead, Brazil Regulator Slammed For “Political” Veto Of Russian Vaccine

Bolsonaro advocates freedom (forget lockdowns and social distancing- and still promotes hydroxychloroquine!)

Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19 from US FDA.

Truth matters

Each year, Politifact singles out a lie or false narrative as its lie of the year. The “award” goes to a statement, or a collection of claims, that prove to be of substantive consequence in undermining reality. Truth does matter.

“The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassinations from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.” Robert Maynard

I think this country, the undernourishment is closer to ignorance. Real news and facts are out there in abundance. Nobody has to look far to get the facts. Democracy depends on an informed population.

Donald Trump record of lies far exceeds any past president. In the last 4 years, our president has averaged approximately 50 lies per day. By July 2020, the Washington Post had counted over 20,000 lies from Trump. It was like he was incapable of stating known facts. I am very glad our Liar in Chief will be gone on January 20, 2021.

The 2020 Lie of the Year, as awarded by Politifact, is really a long series of false narratives which Trump has promoted from the January 2020 until today. Trump has downplayed, denied and deceive the public on basic facts of Covid-19. The world has suffered 1.6 million deaths and the US has the highest death toll of 330,000.

Fox News commentary and Facebook posting are part of the problem. Facebook bloggers can target their audience. Trump tried to politicize the epidemic as much as possible, calling it the “China virus” and pulling out of the World Health Organization because he considered this organization to be pro-China.

Hopefully we have elected a new president which will see the real issue is world health. I am so hoping that 2021 is the year the world gets vaccinated.

Truth matters. There is outstanding solid reporting of real problems from the New York Times, Washington Post and others. Politifact and other fact checking websites provide a very valuable service in validating statements of officials.

See links below.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Lie of the Year 2020: Coronavirus downplay and denial

People can suggest their favorite lie of 2020 to Politifact

Lie of the Year 2019: Donald Trump’s claim whistleblower got Ukraine call ‘almost completely wrong’

Readers’ poll #1 in 2019: There has never been, ever before, an administration that’s been so open and transparent.” Donald Trump

Getting rid of Trump

Joe Biden won the election with 306 electoral votes. Donald Trump is obstructing the normal transition in every way possible. This has never been done before.

Either its obstruction or apathy, but never the cooperation needed to transition to a Biden administration. As the virtual G20 meeting discussed the Covid-19 pandemic, Trump went golfing. See link below.

Trump isn’t leaving Biden much to help with Covid-19 crisis. The reason why there aren’t more bankruptcies is because the Fed has been propping up the economy with loan programs with the Treasury’s blessing. Unfortunately, the cooperation between Jay Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserves Committee and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, has broken down, in terms of renewal of emergency funds to help keep the economy going. By any measure, new cases, hospitalizations and deaths, the Covid-19 pandemic is far worse today than at any time since it first began.

Yes – the handoff to Biden in January 2020 will come stripped of what was working. Call it Trump’s revenge. Worldwide, we just hit a new high of 11,000 people dying of Covid-19, and the president goes golfing and the Treasury Secretary restricts the Feds ability to keep our economy from collapsing.

There are limits to what Trump can do. Washington stays intact despite a vengeful president. To start the transition process, the Administrator of the GSA, Emily Murphy has to be satisfied that Joe Biden has at least 270 electoral votes to be the apparent winner of the election. I predict this will occur sometime between November 25 and December 1. The certification of all key states will be done by December 1. Georgia was certified on November 20. Michigan and Pennsylvania certify on Monday, November 23, then Nevada on Tuesday, November 24. The last two, Arizona and Wisconsin are November 30 and December 1, 2020, respectively.

A partial recount is taking place in Wisconsin in a few districts which voted heavily for Biden. It was done at Trump’s request. He’s is paying 3 million dollars to have it done with his observers in attendance. But these observers are breaking the rules, objecting to every ballot for no reason, removing their mask, sitting in chairs reserved for other parties and even picking fights. More fodder for pointless lawsuits, I’m certain. See links below.

Georgia completed its recount/audit which showed Biden won by 12,670 votes, not the around 14,000 votes. Georgia was vote was certified by the Georgia’s governor, so I would say Biden is the apparent winner of Georgia. Next Tuesday, Trump can request another recount, which will be done by high speed scanners.

On Nov 21, Trump lost his lawsuit in Pennsylvania. Judge Brann delivered a scathing rebuke to the his lawsuit for an injunction, in which the Judge said, in essence, “You have got to be kidding” by blocking certification and disenfranchising 7 million voters in Pennsylvania, so just possibly, the legislature could override the electorate. This was to be based on what some observers thought were possible violations of rules.

Lawsuits like these are paid for by citizens, who still are having trouble believing Trump lost fair and square. Trump has now either withdrawn or lost 30 lawsuits. A lawsuit is withdrawn when it is so obvious that it has no chance of succeeding, because it’s filled with duplicate claims that were already denied for lack of evidence.

If our voting machines or voter registration had been hacked or in anyway compromised, you would want the CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency), part of Homeland Security to back up the accusations. Christopher Krebs was appointed as the CISA Director in 2017 by Trump until he was fired on November 17, 2020 for disagreeing with Trump on massive fraud in the elections. Note that the fraud only occurred in states Trump lost by very narrow margins.

Groups which talk about counting all legal votes and election integrity, really want neither. They are looking for someway to overturn our elections, or at least discredit the 2020 election process in anyway they can. The intelligence community warned us that bad actors from Iran, China, North Korea and Russia could spread misinformation on the integrity of our electoral process, to discredit our democracy. They left out the president of the United States.

Despite all the noise and nonsense in the courts, I am hoping Administrator of the GSA will sign the appropriate document this week, as the states certify election results.

Bottom line this is the worse transition in our election history. I hope I never see this again in my lifetime.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Pro-Trump ‘voter integrity’ group that is calling Pennsylvania voters has ties to White House

Wisconsin officials: Trump observers obstructing recount

Trump fires director of Homeland Security agency who had rejected President’s election conspiracy theories

Coronavirus Cases:

Yahoo Finance: Treasury’s Mnuchin declines to extend 5 pandemic programs

Trump skipped a coronavirus meeting with G20 leaders to play golf

Covid-19 hits South America hard

Covid-19 is exponentially increasing in  Peru, Brazil and Mexico.   Covid-19 has the capability of doubling the new cases in 2-3 days.  Each infected person gives it to 2-3 people before they become so sick that they are confirmed infected.  The lax attitude of their leaders is partially to blame.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/06/americas/latin-america-coronavirus-intl/index.html

If anything has proven effective, it is lockdowns including travel  and social distancing, whether we like it or not.   Someone with Covid-19 symptoms must immediately be isolated.

Covid-19 is worldwide, and international cooperation, including the WHO and aid organizations, is critical.  I am hoping that a vaccine can be found which is safe, effective  and easily accessible to everyone in the world.  If not, it will come back to China or  Europe, and we will see a second wave.  World problems are solvable when we pull together.

Stay tuned and safe,

Dave

 

 

 

Covid-19 Positive News on a Vaccine

The government’s initiative to help vaccine development under project “warp speed” is commendable.    Out of the hundreds of laboratories around the world, in vaccine development,  they are backing the five most promising candidates.   The success will depend on excellent international cooperation.   One reason why Dr. Fauci and others have constantly been saying it takes between 12 to 18 months to develop a vaccine, is because it must:   (a) Be safe for the billions of people likely to take it and (b) Be effective in preventing Covid-19 and (c) Be easily available worldwide at low cost.   So in sum, the vaccine must be:

  • Safe
  • Effective
  • Available in large quantities and at a  low cost

The development process right now is being fast tracked in a highly  unique manner.   Traditionally it’s safety first, then effectiveness and finally availability.  The way they’re speeding up the process is to do all three at once!  I was very surprised when I saw a Facebook posting by a dear friend, that the  Oxford University vaccine (AZD1222) was set to begin human trials with 2,000 volunteers  in São Paulo,Brazil this month.   Having just posted how to unreliable anything is on Facebook, I did some research and found out to my surprise, that it was 100% true.   The Oxford University vaccine received a grant from the Lemann foundation to fund 1,000 volunteers.   Screening and testing does not come cheap.  The individuals must be free from Covid-19 virus, as determined by tests, and be medical workers in São Paulo,

This good news continues.   Oxford University is already conducting tests  with 10,000 volunteers in Britain.   The problem with Britain is that the chance of contracting Covid-19 is low, so knowing the vaccine is working is difficult.   I guess scientists felt the city of Sao Paulo would provided additional evidence that the vaccine actually works.   Oxford has teamed up with AstraZeneca,  a very large pharmaceutical company (market cap = 143 billion USD) to manufacture the vaccine.  AstraZeneca says it has the capacity to make 2 billion doses by the end of the year.  AstraZeneca has agreed a $750 million deal to produce 300 million doses with international foundations the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi the Vaccine Alliance.   A second agreement, with Serum Institute of India, will allow the leading vaccine manufacturer to make 1 billion doses for poorer countries, with 40% of those to arrive by the end of 2020.   It was just recently announced the potential global supply of a potential coronavirus vaccine has been doubled to 2 billion after a deal including $750 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Of course,  making a vaccine before it is proven effective and safe is risky.  But the intent is excellent and the generosity of the Serum Institute,  Gates Foundations and other others is just incredible.   Besides Oxford, there are many other companies,  including Moderna,  Gilead,  Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson developing vaccines.   Novavax received Department of Defense funding to produce 10 million doses of their vaccine in 2020.

So, the vaccine research, development and production are roaring ahead. Exactly how this plays out is anyone’s guess.

Covid-19 is a global problem and we need global solutions.

Stay tuned and healthy,

Dave

Links:

https://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=AZN&source=story_quote_link

https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/05/24/oxford-professor-lowers-coronavirus-vaccines-odds.aspx

https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/06/04/astrazeneca-to-produce-2-billion-doses-of-its-coro.aspx

 

Free Speech and Social Media

The power of social media is huge.   In a survey, 19% of all Americans say they follow Donald Trump’s tweets.  Fact checking websites show that the worst lies come from anonymous social media bloggers on Facebook and Twitter.   Donald Trump comes in a close second in terms of lies, with only 4% of his statements being 100% true and an incredible 69% of his statements being mostly false, false or pants on fire according to Politifact.

Twitter has never refused a tweet from  Donald Trump.  Even when he’s attacking Twitter,  it  all goes through exactly as he sends it, and the 19% of our population can read his lies.  Often his lies are then supported on conservative commentary on cable news (Fox and OAN to name a couple).

However,  Twitter attempted to discourage false information by adding a label on his tweet.

What you need to know
– Trump claimed that mail-in ballots would lead to “a Rigged Election.” However, fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud.
– Trump falsely claimed that California will send mail-in ballots to “anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there.” In fact, only registered voters will receive ballots.
– Five states already vote entirely by mail and all states offer some form of mail-in absentee voting, according to NBC News.

Simple and factual.   Trump really stepped over the line by saying anybody can get a ballot.  His comment of a rigged election can be considered an opinion, based on false information.    Please read this stuff.  Worse, cable stations repeat this.  A friend of ours was repeating exactly the same story, because it was all over the news.

I remember how one “prominent doctor” on Facebook in Brazil, all people had to do was to take zinc pills to prevent Covid-19.   Go dancing, drinking, etc and take zinc.  No thanks.  Brazil just passed 25,000 deaths as we passed 100,000.  Their outbreak started after ours.

Social media allowed Trump to promote  hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a preventative and possible cure of Covid-19.  It was neither and those people so gullible to believe him, could have risked their lives, as the medication actually increases the chance of dying from Covid-19.  And yet, cable network shows (it is not responsible journalism) like Fox News and OAN were blasting other the liberal media for not letting folks know there was this quick and safe treatment for Covid-19.

Executive orders from the White House will not shut down social media.  Our First Amendment allows Twitter to add labels as they see fit, and  also for Trump to post obvious lies with immunity.

I am hoping the real push back will come from 80 million Americans who  recognize this stuff from Trump is false (or Fake News as he likes it).    We will have open and free elections.   No, the liberal media are not hiding some quick solution to Covid-19.  The quack cures for Covid-19 were harmful to ones health.

I do not send or receive tweets.  To me, that’s like bathing in a river of slime. (see Ghostbusters II).   I am quite frustrated by people who think they can become informed by reading this stuff.

I’ll end this blog by repeating some of my favorite fact checking sites.

Stay tuned and healthy,

Dave

Factcheck.org

CNN Fact Check

Politifact.com

Snopes.com

How Covid-19 pushed Twitter to fact-check Trump’s tweets

Washington Post:  Trump lashes out at social media companies after Twitter labels tweets with fact checks

Covid-19: Going for the long game

Anger and quick solutions go hand in hand.   It’s reactive.  It’s frustration and a feeling of loss control.     Covid-19 has claimed the lives of 342,000 people worldwide.  The US death toll is 100,000 and grows everyday.   Whether we are on the increase or decrease, all depends on where you live.  In Russia and Brazil, Covid-19 is increasing exponentially.   Residents are directing their anger at President  Bolsonaro of Brazil, who downplayed the risk of Covid-19.   It seems he’s in the Bob Marley camp of “Don’t worry about of thing, everything little thing is gonna be alright.”   Bolsonaro downplayed the Amazon forest fires.

Anger has a bad habit of blocking out reason.   If you’re pushed, the tendency is to push back.   And then, what is accomplished.

So, who do we blame.?  The enemy is not China, not Bolsonaro, not bats, not bad test protocols, or not bureaucrats.  It’s not WHO or Obama or Democrats.  We could certainly start with ourselves and the highly connected world that serves our needs.

We need a larger perspective.  This is not the last pandemic.   Next time, it may come from South America, Africa or Asia.   If a disease is hosted initially by a mosquito. bird or bat, it doesn’t take much to take the next leap into humans.  If  a disease can hide its symptoms, is highly infectious and enters a large city, like Wuhan with 11 million residents, we will be in trouble again.   Millions of travelers come to our US gateway cities.  I know, I live very close to Miami International Airport.

Bill Gates was way ahead of us all as he said the next major tragedy for the planet will not be war.  Disease was more likely to cause more fatalities than war.  Famine is another planetary threat.  One scientist put it this way:

“The public health and climate debates are really inextricably linked,  In our highly connected world, a disease that originated 3,000 or 6,000 miles away can be at our doorsteps in a day or less. So, the way that we mobilize against COVID-19 needs to be reflected in the way that we mobilize against that other big global affliction called climate change.”

Simple put, what goes around, comes around.  And a little too close for comfort.

I think this video clip  from Bloomberg is very important, in understanding the World Health Organization.   Trump praised both China and the WHO in January 2020.  Then, he targeted them, and it is definitely the wrong time to pull funding.  Absolutely wrong.

Why the WHO went from trusted to targeted

They had no authority to halt flights from China.  They had to rely on the information from China.  I think for the most part China has been honest on what they could have done better.  There’s no question that there was time lost getting all the right information on the threat of Covid-19 but this was due to local bureaucrats in Wuhan.

Stay tuned and safe,

Dave

 

CNN: Cornered by the coronavirus, Trump returns to a familiar strategy: Attack Obama

These are several commentaries worth reading:

Cornered by the coronavirus, Trump returns to a familiar strategy: Attack Obama

Trump’s $200 billion trade deal with China already at risk due to coronavirus

Donald Trump’s legacy may be he turned a recession into a depression, just like Herbert Hoover did in the 1920’s.

Trump White House Changes Its Story on Michael Flynn

State Department inspector general becomes the latest watchdog fired by Trump

Authorities in Wuhan ‘didn’t like to tell the truth,’ top Chinese adviser says

I found this article very interesting. because Dr.  Zhong Nanshan could level blame at local officials within Wuhan and still keep his job.  Good lesson for Trump that wrongdoing is better out in the open.

Dave

 

Abbott’s miracle Covid-19 testing toaster

When I read about the Abbott new testing equipment, I thought wow, this as a real game changer.   It was small as a toaster.  It could in a matter of minutes let people know if they were positive with Covid-19.

This good news turned to very bad news, when studies indicated that  the test was unreliable due to a high rate of false negatives.   This is scary stuff.    Those who have received erroneous test results may not seek proper medical treatment and not go into immediate isolation.  This can result in further spread of  the disease.     Valid tests are particularly important in the case of high risk individuals of which I am one, due to my age. If I were to contract Covid-19, I would definitely want early treatment, and the only anti-viral out there is remdesivir.   So, exactly what the test promised,  early treatment and less spread of the disease, could easily result in just the opposite, delayed treatment and more spread.

Donald Trump endorsed the miracle tester, which counts for nothing. Sorry.  False negatives are really serious, because everyone receives the wrong diagnostic.

The Abbott miracle has turned into the Abbott nightmare.   I hope there is some immediate resolution whether this new test equipment is sufficiently reliable for general use.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/05/14/856531970/fda-cautions-about-accuracy-of-widely-used-abbott-coronavirus-test