Gain of Function/Loss of Credibility

Project Veritas is reporting that they have copies of DoD documents which contradict Anthony Fauci’s sworn testimony to Congress concerning gain of function experiments with viruses.

Among the documents is a report to the DoD Inspector General written by Marine Corp Major Joseph Murphy, a former Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Fellow, stating that an NGO, EcoHealth Alliance, approached DARPA in 2018 looking for funding to conduct gain of function research of bat borne coronaviruses. The proposal was rejected by DARPA because of safety concerns. According to the documents published by Project Veritas, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases went ahead with the research in Wuhan, China, and at several sites across the U.S. Anthony Fauci is the Director of NIAID.

Someone’s been lying.

Covid and Murphy’s Law

I started the New Year off with a cold which took a few days to get over. Of course, I had a covid test. It was negative, verifying that it just a cold. Although I’m fully vaxxed and boosted, I was hoping that it was covid so I could claim natural immunity as well. Nope. Just a cold, and I got over it.

So I went about my normal routine over the weekend.

This morning, I took another covid test even though I’m asymptomatic. It turned out positive.

Given that I’m elderly, I suppose an asymptomatic case isn’t such a bad deal, but being placed on hold for the next few days is going to be a real inconvenience.

OTOH, I can now claim natural immunity on top of being vaxxed and boosted.

Covid 1, Biden 0

During the 2020 campaign, Joe Xiden said he knew how to shutdown the Wuhan virus and that he would do it. This week, His Fraudulency took his L and walked away from the fight. He told the nation’s governors there is “no federal solution” to Covid and pushed the problem off on them.

It turns out the only clothes our would-be emperor has is a mask, and it’s only for show.

Testing, 1, 2, 3, …

I’m on vacation through the end of the year, but yesterday, I received a call for work telling me that I was part of group who had been exposed to Covid and that I should get tested. Oh, and fill out this spreadsheet of everyone you’ve been in contact with at work.

As so, yesterday afternoon was spent in search of Covid testing, and there was none to be found. At every facility within an hour’s drive, either all the appointments were booked or they were out of test kits. After several hours on the Internet and on the road, I gave up for the day.

Then, the phone rang. It was a call telling me that the date of the exposure was so long ago I didn’t need to be tested now.

My birthday is New Year’s Eve, and I’m going to keep the party going to midnight—not to see in the new year but to make sure 2021 leaves.

His Lips Will Be Moving

It’s been announced that Joe Xiden plans to make a speech about the Administration’s plans for dealing with the omicron variant of the Wuhan virus.

So far, bloodletting only has applied figuratively to the public’s response to the Administration’s previous failings, and the only leeches involved have been some grifters running Covid-based scams.

But given the Administration’s apparent love for pseudoscience, …

Covid Unmasked

I usually work out of my home office, but yesterday, I needed to test a piece of equipment in a lab at Goddard Space Flight Center. For months, masks have been required at Goddard in all indoor spaces when two or more people are in the same room. This rule was effective whenever Prince George’s County, Maryland, where Goddard is located, was tagged as red or orange for Covid infection rate by the CDC. Since May, Goddard was one of the very few places I have gone where a mask was required.

Yesterday, PG County had been recoded as blue by the CDC. That meant that vaccinated individuals were not required to wear masks at Goddard, so for the first time this year I saw the faces of most of my fellow workers on site.

Is This Why Democrats Hate Ron DeSantis?

The Babylon Bee has a story up headlined Bob Dole Switches To Democrat Party, and I have joked that my late father-in-law (who lived in Cook County, Illinois) never voted for a Democrat while he was alive. It’s a running gag that we elderly folks all become Democrat voters when we receive our death certificates.

If Florida’s declining Covid death rate is depriving the Democrats of so many new voters, it’s no wonder the Democrats hate Governor DeSantis.

I’ve Been Talking About the Xiden Administration’s Overreach

The OSHA vaccine mandate is a prime example of the current administration’s lawless behavior, and today the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a motion to stay enforcement of the mandate pending further judicial review. OSHA has been ordered to take no further steps to implement or enforce the mandate.

Here’s the money quote from the court’s order—

The Mandate’s stated impetus—a purported “emergency” that the entire globe has now endured for nearly two years, and which OSHA itself spent nearly two months responding to—is unavailing as well. And its promulgation grossly exceeds OSHA’s statutory authority.

Following the Science

The scientific method relies on running experiments to verify predictions made from testable hypotheses.

We have two competing hypotheses about how to manage public health and safety. One predicts that the better way to maintain and improve public health and safety is to require certain people, including public safety employees, to be vaccinated against Covid-19—and to fire those individuals, including public safety employees who refuse vaccination, The other predicts that public health and safety will be better maintained and improved if people are allowed to make decisions about being vaccinated for themselves and those decisions are decoupled from employment.

The two hypotheses are being tested experimentally as different states follow one approach or the other. It shouldn’t be too long before we know whether either approach was better. (They could both be wrong.)

When we know the results of this experiment, will we follow the resulting science?

I’m Not Making This Up, You Know

Merck has submitted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for molnupiravir, an investigational oral antiviral medicine, for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults who are at risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.

Someone at Merck has an interesting sense of humor.

Pushback

The Xiden administration announced today that it will sue Texas over the SB8 abortion law, and His Fraudulency himself announce a package of patently illegal and unconstitutional Wuhan-Virus-related mandates and rules to promulgated.

This evening multiple state governors have announced their intentions to sue the federal government to protect their states’ citizens from Joe Xiden’s lawlessness.

UPDATE—The list as of 9 pm ET:
South Dakota
Texas
South Carolina
Oklahoma
Alabama
Wyoming
Tennessee
Nebraska
Idaho
Iowa
Georgia
Missouri
Arizona
Mississippi
Utah
Indiana

UPDATE 2—More States:
Florida
Montana
North Dakota
Arkansas

UPDATE 3—
West Virginia
Alaska

It Isn’t Exactly An Abuse of Authority

Most of the Wuhan Virus mandates announced today by Joe Xiden are being denounced as abuses of authority. However, one cannot abuse authority one does not have.

Usurping authority one does not have is arrogance.

Xiden has set himself—and the country—up for another failure.

Math is Hard—Logic is Harder—and Facts are Stubborn

Today, Joe Xiden said that 350,000,000 Americans have now been vaccinated against the Wuhan virus. Here’s a snapshot of the U.S. Census Bureau’s online population clock taken at 12:18:39 ET this afternoon—His Fraudulency is also encouraging those Americans who haven’t yet been vaccinated to get their shots.

I was going to write a longer post about vaccination records possibly being processed by the people who counted votes last November, but I’ve got real work to do.

Is it 2025 yet?

Math and Science Are Hard

I was puzzled by the CDC’s recent claim that the Wuhan Virus Pandemic had cased a one year drop in life expectance in the U. S. It turns out that their claim is so screwed up it isn’t even wrong. If life expectancy has dropped because of Covid, the decline is probably less than a week, an amount so small that it’s inside the roundoff error of the statistics. Eugene Volokh has a post up with details from a report by Dr. Peter Bach.

Analysts estimate that, on average, a death from Covid-19 robs its victim of around 12 years of life. Approximately 400,000 Americans died Covid-19 in 2020, meaning about 4.8 million years of life collectively vanished. Spread that ghastly number across the U.S. population of 330 million and it comes out to 0.014 years of life lost per person. That’s 5.3 days. There were other excess deaths in 2020, so maybe the answer is seven days lost per person.

No matter how you look at it, the result is a far cry from what the CDC announced.

It’s not that the agency made a math mistake. I checked the calculations myself, and even went over them with one of the CDC analysts. The error was more problematic in my view: The CDC relied on an assumption it had to know was wrong….

Apparently, 2 + 2 equals whatever the public health establishment needs it to be.

Papiere, Bitte!

HHS Secretary Becerra has endorsed White House Press Secretary Psaki’s announcement that government agents would be going door-to-door to check on our Wuhan virus vaccination status. Becerra says it’s the government’s “business” to know your vaccination status.

Actually, for most of us the government has no business asking whether we’re vaccinated or not, a point Becerra tacitly conceded when he told CNN—

Knocking on a door has never been against the law. You don’t have to answer, but we hope you do. Because if you haven’t been vaccinated, we can help dispel some of those rumors you’ve heard and hopefully get you vaccinated.

There are medical reasons that might cause someone to decline to be vaccinated. One could be immunity acquired by having had the disease. But given the developing herd immunity, any real public health emergency is over, and it’s time for the bureaucrats to let us get on with our lives as we see fit.

BTW, I’m someone about whom the government has a legitimate interest in knowing my vaccination status. My work with NASA sometimes requires that I enter government facilities and work in close proximity with others. NASA hasn’t asked to see my shot record card, but I have it if they need to see it.

Doing Science in the Laboratories of Democracy

Different states have taken different approaches in dealing with the Wuhan Virus Pandemic. Some states have operated based on a working hypothesis that said extensive lockdowns, prolonged masking, and the like would provide better outcomes than states which began returning to normal life more quickly.

The various experiments have been run, the differing hypotheses tested.

Texas began reopening fairly early and reported no deaths from Covid-19 on Sunday.

Maryland, a smaller state which has followed a middle course, reported 3 Covid deaths for Sunday.

New York, which has taken one of the most restrictive approaches, reported 35 Covid deaths for Sunday.

The Gentle Reader may form his own conclusions as to which, if any, hypothesis has been shown false.

Why #MeToo Instead of Manslaughter?

New York’s Senators Schumer and Gillibrand have announced that it’s time for Andrew Cuomo to resign. The reason they give is that a handful of the women who the governor may have sexually harassed have come forward with public complaints about his conduct. The Gentle Reader may wonder why the still intact lives a few people are of greater moral weight than thousands of the dead, but that’s not the question the senators are addressing.

Now that the Democrats have control of the White House and Congress, those with the top jobs are working to secure their positions and power bases—and to weaken and neutralize potential competitors. New York Democrats generally supported Cuomo’s handling of the Wuhan Virus Pandemic last year. They are vulnerable to being tagged as accessories or enablers to the granny killing. OTOH, if they can get Cuomo taken out for his personal behavior at times and places where they weren’t present, it may be possible for them to dodge any accountability for their Covid Collusion.

So Cuomo must go, and #MeToo serves the Inner Party’s interest.

Transferring Money From Red States to Blue

The fifty states have functioned as laboratories of democracy in their varied responses to the Wuhan Virus Pandemic. For the most part, it’s been the blue states who have done the most damage to their economies, and it’s these states that the Democrats in Congress want to bail out.

It might be wise for Congress to review some basic principles of planning and economics before they act. I’m providing a link to a basic economics text at Amazon that should be simple enough for most of the members of the House and Senate to understand.

A Science Experiment

Whether or not they have realized what they were doing, the political leaders of several states have been conducting a scientific experiment. Their implied hypothesis is that extended draconian restrictions on the activities of the people in their states would result in fewer deaths from the Wuhan virus pandemic. Simultaneously several other states took the opposite approach to managing the pandemic, effectively providing a control group for the restrictive state experiment. We now have data comparing the results of the two approaches. Has the restrictive state hypothesis been falsified?

Here’s a chart of the relative performance of the states plowing relative levels of restriction versus death rate. A higher number on the death rate axis corresponds to a higher death rate. A higher number on the restriction axis corresponds to tighter restrictions.Chart Source: Wallethub

While there are more restrictive states among the ten best performing states, restrictive states account for half of the ten worst. Thus, the data do not support the hypothesis that tight restrictions on the public’s activities necessarily will result in relatively lower death rates.

It’s possible that tight restrictions on public activity might be beneficial in some circumstance, but the data also suggest the possibility that many other factors have affected the variation in performance among the states. For example, Hawaii and Vermont have relatively high restrictions, but are their low death rates a result of their relative isolation from the nation’s large population centers or some other factor? Could such relative isolation have a part in Nebraska’s low death rate? Could California’s high poverty rate be affecting its poor performance?

The science isn’t settled on exactly why some states are doing better than others, but it does seem to show that lockdowns and other such measures weren’t and aren’t a magic bullet.

Oh, one more thing …

The average unemployment rate in the the most restrictive states is 7.1% (9% in California). The national rate is 6.7%. The rate in the least restrictive states is 4.7% (3.1 % in Iowa).