As I write this, the natives out in the Provinces are stirring. Here in the once-genteel Old Dominion, crowds of ordinary citizens are thronging the capital of the Old Confederacy – demonstrating for a return of their rights to work and earn, so they can feed their families, pay the mortgage, and keep the wolf away from the door. Even seasoned citizens are out there raising cain because their investment accounts – which produce income for their retirement years – are in turmoil. (Contrary to popular belief among the government cognoscenti, you can’t live on Social Security alone.) All this is being repeated in states across the country.
As even a child can see, people are fed up with the economic shutdown. They want to go to work, they want their kids back in school, and they want their lives back. In states where Democrat governors seem determined to prolong the economic harm to their economies – possibly hoping that the recession will damage Mr. Trump – citizens watch longingly as neighboring states re-open. Owners want to try to salvage the businesses they have worked so hard to build. Physicians hope they can keep their practices from crashing. Hospitals with acres of empty beds are laying off staff. Cops are harassing citizens for not wearing masks; judges are locking beauty-shop owners up, while prisons are letting the real crooks loose.
The thing is completely out of control. Somewhere – wherever that might be – Saul Alinsky must be smiling. His essential first rule – i.e., destabilize a society so you can ride in to “save” it – is being followed to the letter. Here are some notes from all over.
There are glimmers of hope, however. In Virginia, which is under a shutdown order until June 10th, Governor Ralph Northam has responded to pressure from demonstrators and politicians by announcing a three-phase reopening plan titled the “Forward Virginia Blueprint,” which he said could start “as early as May 8th.” However, he announced only specific tenets of phase one, and said a workgroup of government, health and business leaders would decide how the later steps are developed. Said the Guv:
“As we go forward, we will fill in the details of the phase one blueprint and develop plans for phases two and three. We will get back to work by greatly increasing our testing, then tracing the contacts of people who test positive, and isolating these individuals.”
In other words, it’s a “plan” that hasn’t really been planned out. As is often the case, the devil is in the details. Currently, Virginia can test 2,600 people per day, but The Guv says we’ll need to be doing 10,000 tests per day before large-scale reopening of the state’s economy can occur. (The origin of this rule is unknown.) Thus, his optimistic proclamation – intended to soothe the fevered hoi polloi – makes it appear that we’re heading back to normalcy. Yet the “fine print” (10,000 tests a day) will let Hizzonor string the closure out almost indefinitely, if the testing numbers never quite meet the threshold. I don’t say Mr. Northam will do this – only that he could, if he wants to. It’s a nice loophole.
Hundreds of protesters, some of them armed, gathered inside the Michigan state capitol as the legislature debated Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request to extend her emergency powers to combat the Coronavirus. The protesters, including armed men carrying rifles, attempted to enter the floor of the legislative chamber, but were held back by a line of state police and capitol staff, according to video footage posted by local journalists.
“Let us in! Let us in!” the protesters chanted, as they stood shoulder-to-shoulder inside the statehouse. Few wore face masks. Some shouted anti-government slogans, including comparisons of the state’s Democratic governor to Hitler. No shots were fired.
On Thursday Governor Whitmer announced that the state’s factories can reopen on May 11. Her order removed one of the last major obstacles to North American automakers by allowing thousands of laid-off employees to go back to work. But she also extended her stay-at-home order by two weeks, to May 28, citing a desire to avoid a second wave of COVID-19 illness. Thus, ‘The governor giveth and the governor taketh away. Blessed be the name of the governor…’ (First mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls, I believe.)
Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a phased plan allowing counties to re-open businesses, subject to stringent requirements: i.e.,
- No virus deaths and only one case per every 10,000 residents over 14 days;
- A minimum of 1.5 tests administered per 1,000 residents and 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents.
The Associated Press reports:
“Rural California counties, such as Modoc, Yuba and Sutter that have already opened restaurants in defiance of the state order, have seen a low number of cases and deaths. Modoc is among about a dozen rural counties with no deaths.
“In urbanized counties like Los Angeles, the state’s largest, it could be months or even years before no deaths are reported over two weeks, meaning they will have to wait until Newsom loosens the state guidelines to move ahead.”
These guidelines could keep California in a depressed economic state through 2020 – up to and even after the November election. Some medical authorities say the standards for reopening a county should be some number of deaths per 100,000 population, not simply zero deaths. In large counties, the latter standard might never be met. (Oh well.)
All this uproar over “standards” for reopening entire states or certain counties coincides neatly with new warnings issued in recent days by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. President Trump’s highly visible medical advisor on the Corona Task Force says the United States “could be in for a bad fall” if researchers don’t find an effective treatment to fight the virus by then.
During an interview with The Economic Club of Washington, DC, Dr. Fauci said the virus will “certainly make a comeback in the USA,” even as cases begin to stabilize. Covid-19 is “not going to disappear from the planet,” he said, adding that infectious disease experts are learning about the virus behaves by watching emerging outbreaks in other regions, such as southern Africa, that are starting to enter their colder seasons.
“In my mind, it’s inevitable that we will have a return of the virus, or maybe even that it never went away,” said Dr. Fauci. He warned against states reopening businesses prematurely, saying it could cause “a rebound to get us right back in the same boat that we were in a few weeks ago.”
Following Dr. Fauci’s new warnings, some media organs are again predicting up to 200,000 deaths from the virus. Other medical experts, however, say the Corona death-count has been corrupted by inclusion of deaths not directly caused by COVID-19. (Dr. Deborah Birx has publicly acknowledged adoption of this convention.) Linkage of numbers of fatalities to the amount of federal aid for states is cited as the primary motive for inflating the COVID death-numbers. Other critics claim that some political interests want to hype the “scare” by pumping up the death totals – thereby extending the damaging economic shutdown.
This data-problem is being studied, but has not yet been quantified. At the very least, this old numbers-guy would like to see if deaths from common illnesses have mysteriously decreased during the current year, in contrast with last year. This would give us an estimate of how much the Corona-death numbers have been inflated.
The Fauci Factor
At the beginning of this week, with openings moving ahead in over half of the states, Mr. Trump announced that the Corona Task Force, led by Dr. Fauci, would soon complete its work and be disbanded. But on the very next day, reports emerged that Mr. Trump planned to keep the CTF in place indefinitely. Reporters gave the horselaugh to Mr. Trump’s “indecision,” citing it as proof that he doesn’t know what he’s doing.
But you don’t have to be Gladstone or Churchill to see why he changed his mind. Mr. Trump had already denied a request by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives for Dr. Fauci to testify in person. The president’s advisors – or he, himself – realized that he would lose control of both Dr. Fauci and the Corona-narrative if he dissolved the Task Force.
Released from the president’s control, Dr. Fauci would be free to testify before the House – answering all manner of politically slanted questions and unloading his own unvarnished views on how the administration bungled the Corona-crisis by failing to follow his advice to keep the country shut down. Control of the narrative has been a key political element for Mr. Trump. His daily press-briefings have cemented that control, and he cannot afford to lose it.
The Fauci Conundrum
This writer joins a growing faction which has been puzzled by Dr. Fauci’s steadfast opposition to the use of the long-time malaria-treatment drug, hydroxychloroquine, to mitigate the physical effects of the COVID-19 Corona virus. Rumors claiming that the doctor had previously favored use of the drug to treat Corona viruses continued to swirl, while doctors from all over the world have come forward to testify to the drug’s effectiveness. Dr. Fauci’s determined campaign to stop its use in the USA was hard to understand.
In late April, however, an article by Bryan Fischer1 cleared away some of the fog surrounding the matter. The author reports that Dr. Fauci has known, since 2005, that chloroquine is an effective inhibitor of coronaviruses. In Mr. Fischer’s words:
“How did he know this? Because of research done by the National Institutes of Health, of which he is the director. In connection with the SARS outbreak – caused by a coronavirus dubbed SARS-CoV – the NIH researched chloroquine and concluded that it was effective at stopping the SARS coronavirus… The COVID-19 bug is likewise a coronavirus, labeled SARS-CoV-2. While not exactly the same virus as SARS-CoV-1, it is genetically related to it, and shares 79% of its genome, as the name SARS-CoV-2 implies. They both use the same host cell receptor, which is what viruses use to gain entry to the cell and infect the victim.”
Mr. Fischer cites an article from August 22, 2005, in The Virology Journal – the official NIH publication –under the heading: “Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread.” The researchers wrote:
“We report…that chloroquine has strong antiviral effects on SARS-CoV infection of primate cells. These inhibitory effects are observed when the cells are treated with the drugeither before or after exposure to the virus, suggesting both prophylactic and therapeutic advantage.”
Thus, says Mr. Fischer, Dr. Fauci has known for 15 years that chloroquine and its milder derivative hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) will not only treat a current coronavirus case (“therapeutic”) but can also prevent future cases (“prophylactic”). So HCQ functions as both a cure and a vaccine.
Mr. Fischer notes successes achieved abroad by treating corona-affected patients with hydroxychloroquine. He also reports that a “highly-publicized VA study that purported to show HCQ was ineffective showed nothing of the sort. HCQ wasn’t administered until the patients were virtually on their deathbeds, when research indicates it should be prescribed as soon as symptoms are apparent. Plus, HCQ was administered without azithromycin and zinc, which form the cocktail that makes it supremely effective. At-risk individuals need to receive the HCQ cocktail at the first sign of symptoms.”
Mr. Fischer asks:
“If Dr. Fauci has known since 2005 of the effectiveness of HCQ, why hasn’t it been administered immediately after people show symptoms? Maybe nobody would have died and nobody would have been incarcerated in place except the sick, which is who a quarantine is for in the first place.
“While the regressive health care establishment wants the HCQ cocktail to only be administered late in the course of the infection, from a medical standpoint, this is stupid. Said one doctor, ‘As a physician, this baffles me. I can’t think of a single infectious condition — bacterial, fungal, or viral — where the best medical treatment is to delay the use of an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, or anti-viral until the infection is far advanced.’”
Mr. Fischer wonders why Dr. Fauci minimized and dismissed HCQ at every turn instead of pushing it responsibly from the get-go. He answers his own question:
“Chloroquine, a relatively safe, effective and cheap drug used for treating many human diseases…is effective in inhibiting the infection and spread of SARS CoV. That’s the problem. It is safe, inexpensive, and it works – in other words, there’s nothing sexy or avant-garde about HCQ. It’s been around since 1934… There will be no ‘Fauci vaccine’ if HCQ is the answer…
“Dr. Fauci is regarded by the Talking Snake Media as the Oracle at Delphi. The entire nation hangs on his every word. But if nobody is dying and nobody is locked down, his 15 minutes of fame fades to zero. Very few people [won’t] be influenced by that prospect, especially when it’s easy to keep the attention of the public by continuing to feed the panic.
“It should not be overlooked that there is no money in HCQ for Big Pharma since HCQ is a generic that can be manufactured so cheaply that there is little profit margin in it. On the other hand, the payday for a vaccine will literally be off-the-charts. Who knows what kind of behind-the-scenes pressure is being put on Fauci and others in the health care establishment?”
Mr. Fischer concludes with a few more frills and blessings, but we’ll leave it there. Check out his entire article. I’m not the only citizen who’s getting the uneasy feeling that we’ve been had on whole virus and shutdown shtick. The Bible says, “Put not your trust in princes.”2 (The writer might have added “or in doctors.”)
“For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (I Corinthians 14:8)