If the pandemic virus has a godfather …

(LifeSiteNews) — From the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci has angrily denied reports that he was funding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab.

Gain-of-function, or GOF, is the intentional engineering of viruses in the lab to make them more infectious and deadly to human beings.

When Fauci was pressed again on this point by Sen. Rand Paul at a June congressional hearing, he insisted that the National Institutes of Health “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

Then Fauci doubled down: “If anyone is lying here, senator, it is you.”

But what if it’s Fauci who’s lying?

We have long known that Fauci approved NIH grants to Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance, which in turn subcontracted some of the work to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. And right up to the onset of the pandemic, Daszak himself was bragging about the “great progress” being made on the gain-of-function front.

Daszak said in November 2019: “We’ve made great progress with bat SARS-related Coronaviruses, identifying more than 50 novel strains, sequencing spike protein genes, identifying ones that bind to human cells, using recombinant viruses [and] humanized mice to see SARS-like signs, and showing some don’t respond to MAbs [monoclonal antibodies], vaccines.”

Did Daszak’s royal “we” refer to GOF research being done by his subcontractor, the Wuhan Institute of Virology?

New documents obtained from the NIH by The Intercept suggest that the answer is yes. After reviewing 900 pages of grant applications and progress reports, The Intercept authors conclude:

Scientists working under a 2014 NIH grant to the EcoHealth Alliance to study bat coronaviruses combined the genetic material from a “parent” coronavirus known as WIV1 with other viruses. They twice submitted summaries of their work that showed that, when in the lungs of genetically engineered mice, three altered bat coronaviruses at times reproduced far more quickly than the original virus on which they were based. The altered viruses were also somewhat more pathogenic, with one causing the mice to lose significant weight. The researchers reported, “These results demonstrate varying pathogenicity of SARSr-CoVs with different spike proteins in humanized mice.”

Let’s break this down.

First, the grants — there were at least two — were intended to fund GOF research, that is, the creation of new chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses that could more easily infect human cells and would thus be more deadly to human beings.

And that’s exactly what they did, as Daszak’s progress reports back to the NIH make clear:

· Increased Infectiousness: “… three altered bat coronaviruses at times reproduced far more quickly than the original virus.” The faster the virus replicates, the faster you become ill.

· Increased Pathogenicity: “The altered viruses were also somewhat more pathogenic, with one causing the mice to lose significant weight.” This is not a Weight Watchers program for mice. The more weight the mice lose, the sicker they are, and the more dangerous the virus.

So if the Wuhan researchers had succeeded in genetically engineering three viruses to be more infectious, one of which was more deadly as well, then it would seem that they met the GOF goals. They certainly thought so: “These results demonstrate varying pathogenicity of SARS[-related-coronaviruses] with different spike proteins in humanized mice.”

Vincent Racaniello, professor of microbiology and immunology at Columbia University, agrees: “There’s no question that from the weight loss [of the mice] it’s gain of function. Tony Fauci is wrong saying it’s not.”

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It’s official: Joe Biden has announced that his Administration will be forcing COVID vaccinations on nearly 1/3rd of American citizens, blatantly disregarding the personal objections of millions of people and moving America ever closer towards a medical dictatorship.

We cannot stand for this unprecedented overreach, and we will not submit to Biden’s tyrannical public coercion efforts.

Please SIGN this urgent petition informing the President that you will NOT comply with these unconstitutional vaccine mandate orders issued by the Biden Administration, and that elected officials should act in their capacity to block these intrusive demands.

On Thursday, September 9th, Joe Biden announced the latest round of federal orders meant to further coerce large swaths of the public into getting the COVID vaccine — many against their will.

While the legal standing of these measures is, at best, dubious, the Biden Administration appears more ready than ever to gut our individual rights and practically erase medical autonomy in our country.

This latest escalation in overreach was announced via a televised speech in which Biden outlined a new “six-point plan” that includes far more than just six avenues to achieve mass medical compliance.

Among the most egregious new federal mandates are the following:

  • A requirement that all private businesses employing more than 100 people mandate their workers get the Covid-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing (to be implemented by way of a new Department of Labor rule)
  • A requirement that all federal employees and federal contractors get the COVID vaccine
  • A requirement that all healthcare workers in facilities that receive reimbursement from Medicare and/or Medicaid (an estimated 17 million) get the Covid-19 vaccine without an alternative testing option
  • A requirement that all Head Start teachers get the COVID vaccine
  • A federal effort to lobby states to implement vaccine mandates for all school employees, and require regular testing of all students and school staff
  • A federal effort to lobby entertainment venues to require proof of vaccination or testing in order to grant entry to the public
  • A continuation of mask mandates on all federal properties and during interstate travel (i.e. planes, trains, buses)

All in all, these new vaccine mandates, which will go into effect within the coming weeks, will affect an estimated 100 million American workers — 2/3rds of the entire workforce!

And, according to an administration official, violations of these unconstitutional requirements could result in fines of up to $14,000.

While this is clearly a political ploy on the part of the Joe Biden and his team of power-hungry Washington insiders to shift the focus from their disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, the American public knows better: After nearly a year and a half’s worth of arbitrary, ever-changing, and unconstitutional government mandates in response to the COVID outbreak, it was always a given that the Biden Administration would ramp things up even further when it behooved them.

And now, it would seem that time has officially come.

“This is not about freedom or personal choice,” Biden uttered in his remarks, confirming his administration’s blatant dismissal of all Americans’ right(s) to accept or decline the experimental Covid-19 vaccine.

This is a stunning reversal from Biden’s declaration last December that “I don’t think [the vaccine] should be mandatory, I wouldn’t demand it to be mandatory.”

In fact, Biden even confirmed his intention to flout states’ rights in the process, warning that “If these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way.”

These are not the words of an “empathetic” leader; these are the words of an aspiring dictator. And, for the time being, the only way to stop Joe Biden’s tyranny is through mass noncompliance.

As we’ve said from the beginning, science, basic logic, and common sense should dictate policy regarding COVID and the Delta variant.

But Joe Biden and the federal government have long abandoned those principles throughout this crisis, culminating into this disturbing yet inevitable flurry of intrusive vaccine mandates that use people’s jobs, individual autonomy, and livelihood as leverage.

This assault on our individual rights, private businesses, and American workers cannot be tolerated, and the easiest way to combat these unlawful orders is to just say NO.

Please SIGN and SHARE this most important petition letting Joe Biden know that you will NOT comply with the unconstitutional medical demands being made by this administration, and that action should be taken to block any intrusive action against working Americans and private employers.

Thank you!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

‘Biden announces vaccine requirements for private businesses, impacting tens of millions of Americans’: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-biden-announces-vaccine-requirements-for-private-businesses-impacting-tens-of-millions-of-workers/

Bear in mind that we are not talking about ordinary mice, but so-called “humanized” mice. These are mice that have been genetically engineered to resemble human beings in one very specific way: The mouse receptors on their lung cells have been replaced with human receptors.

Viruses make their way into cells by attempting to insert their spike protein “key” into the receptor’s “lock.” The researchers in Wuhan attached various spike protein keys to the original coronavirus to see which one “fit” best. In three cases the new key worked so well on the human receptor that the virus was able to quickly gain entry and replicate that much faster.

If a chimeric virus can infect and kill a humanized mouse, it can also infect and kill a human being. That’s what gain-of-function research is all about.

All of the scientists interviewed by The Intercept insisted that the Fauci-funded research “could not have directly sparked the pandemic. None of the viruses listed in the write-ups of the experiment are related to the virus that causes Covid-19.”

Well, yes and no.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is distinctly different from the chimeric viruses created in the Wuhan labs’ civilian research program. But there was a parallel military research program run by the PLA in Wuhan whose experiments with genetically engineered viruses and humanized mice were, of course, not reported in the published literature and certainly not to the NIH.

This program surely relied on techniques that we taught Chinese military scientists and may have even benefited from Fauci’s funding as well. Who knows? The Wuhan Institute of Virology is a Black Box. Ditto other Chinese labs, military and civilian alike.

The question we should be asking is this: Would there be a COVID-19 pandemic if the NIAID, the agency that Fauci oversees, had not trained and funded Chinese researchers over the years?

The answer is: probably not.

At the end of its damning article, The Intercept tries to give Fauci an out: “[T]he documents do not prove Paul’s claim that Fauci was lying, as they do not make clear whether Fauci read them”

This strains credulity.

For over a decade Fauci has been the main cheerleader and chief funder of gain-of-function research. When that research was effectively banned in the U.S. by more prudent people, he ensured that it continued overseas. He was determined to create a superbug.

If the coronavirus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic has a godfather, his name is Anthony Fauci.

Steven Mosher is an internationally recognised authority on China and population issues as well as an acclaimed author and speaker and founder and head of the Population Research Institute. He was the first American social scientist to visit mainland China in 1979 where he witnessed women being forced to have abortion under the new “one-child-policy” which he then exposed to the world. Mr. Mosher was a pro-choice atheist at the time, but witnessing these traumatic abortions led him to reconsider his convictions and to eventually become a practicing, pro-life Roman Catholic.

Mosher has appeared numerous times before the US Congress as an expert in world population, China and human Rights abuses. He has also made TV appearances on Good Morning America, 60 Minutes, The Today Show, 20/20, FOX and CNN news, as well as being a regular guest on talk radio shows across the nation.

He is the author of the best-selling A Mother’s Ordeal: One woman’s Fight Against China’s One-Child-Policy. His latest book is Bully of Asia, exposing the threat of China to the entire world at this time.

Articles by Steve have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, The New Republic, The Washington Post, National Review, Reason, The Asian Wall Street Journal, Freedom Review, Linacre Quarterly, Catholic World Report, Human Life Review, First Things, and numerous other publications.

Steven Mosher lives in Virginia with his wife, Vera, and their nine children.



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The Pandemic Is Making Childhood Obesity Worse – Reason.com

Who gained weight most rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic? Kids.

In a study of 432,302 Americans aged 2-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found “sharp increases in BMI rates occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic… and younger school-aged children experienced the largest increases.”

Before the pandemic, 19.3 percent of children were considered obese. That figure has now risen to 22.4 percent—which might not sound like a very dramatic increase, but keep in mind that childhood obesity can have all sorts of lifelong ramifications, from diabetes to heart disease to depression.

Why were kids packing on the pounds during COVID-19? The CDC suggests several possible factors, including “increased stress, irregular mealtimes, less access to nutritious foods, increased screen time and fewer opportunities for physical activity (e.g., no recreational sports).” Those are the ideas I’d come up with, too, off the top of my head.

But other researchers I spoke with had some different theories. Jay Beckwith, considered “one of the fathers of the modern playground,” said it could be that overwhelmed parents altered the family toward “more comfort and convenience food.”

Suzanne Axelsson, an international play activist, agreed, saying that it’s possible the food at home was not only more convenient, it was also cheaper—thanks to strained finances—and hence probably lighter on the quinoa/kale quotient.

But Peter Gray, a Research Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Boston College, said it may simply have to do with kids being home and hence near food all the time. “When you are home you can eat while you do almost anything,” he says.

That’s probably why kids were getting heavier over the years even before COVID-19. It wasn’t just the lack of exercise, though a 2017 Johns Hopkins study did find 19-year-olds are now as sedentary as 60-year-olds. It’s also that back in the day, kids were out and about playing so much that a lot of time they just weren’t near a food source.

Gradually, childhood moved inside, thanks to the stranger danger panic, increased homework loads, and the ubiquity of electronic devices, meaning more kids ended up temptingly close to the kitchen. Even organized sports often feature a snack, and kids driven to and from those activities can eat in the car. School is almost the only time they are away from food for several hours. And of course, the pandemic rendered school virtual for many kids for more than a year.

When the CDC mentioned the loss of physical activity as an explanation for rising obesity rates, it referenced only “no recreational sports,” meaning that even our health czars are not thinking about free play as a key part of kids’ lives. It has dropped off their radar entirely.

It’s unlikely that children will start slimming down again unless we normalize the idea of kids running around outside for hours on their own, far from the cupholders of the SUV, the snacks at the soccer practice, and the siren hum of the fridge just a few steps away. It’s going to take more than the end of the pandemic to accomplish that.



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Florida extends mandate ban to include ‘institutionalized quarantining’ of K-12 students

The DeSantis administration has opened a new front in its campaign against public health mandates, expanding bans against universal mask and vaccine policies into a new prohibitory realm – “institutionalized quarantining.”

On his second day as Florida Department of Health (FDOH) Secretary and Surgeon General, Dr. Joe Lapado joined Gov. Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to announce new FDOH protocols applicable to school districts.

The new rules reiterate the previous policy that parents have sole discretion whether their children wear masks in school but also accords sole discretion to parents in choosing to quarantine their children after an exposure to COVID-19.

“Basically there is no high quality data about benefits” of quarantining students, Lapado said Wednesday. “We’re about 18 months into this pandemic and there is not a single high-quality study that shows that any child has ever benefited from that policy.”

While benefits of quarantining students are difficult to assess, “We actually do have good data about the costs,” he said. “There have been several studies that show that kids taken out of school, it’s extremely harmful. It’s too bad we needed a study to know that. But it’s great the studies agree with what I think most parents would have known without the study.”

“Quarantining healthy students is incredibly damaging for their educational advancement,” DeSantis said. “It’s also disruptive for families. We are going to be following a symptoms-based approach.”

The revised protocols eliminate a previous standard that required students quarantine for at least four days off campus if exposed to someone who tested positive.

Students who have been exposed, but are asymptomatic, can now go to school “without restrictions or disparate treatment” under the new guidelines.

The protocols retain previous guidelines for students who test positive. They still either quarantine for 10 days, receive a negative test and be asymptomatic before returning to campus.

The new protocols discard Rule 64DER21-12 , which authorized FDOH to issue rules governing “the control of preventable communicable diseases” in schools.

Under that rule, the state’s Department of Education was enforcing DeSantis’ executive order and Board of Education orders banning school boards from adopting universal mask mandates.

The Alachua, Broward, Leon and Miami-Dade and Orange county school districts sought an administrative hearing to challenge Rule 64DER21-12. But, because it was repealed, an administrative law judge Wednesday dismissed their case.

“Essentially, the state is responding to the legal challenges of its rules by repealing them and creating new ones, with limited public notice,” Alachua County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlee Simon said in a statement, calling the new protocols “disingenuous.”

The replacement rule retains the same policy — schools can require masks if parents can opt children out — but with revised language that stipulates compliance is “at the parent or legal guardian’s sole discretion.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), people who get infected can spread the virus starting from two days before they have any symptoms.

The CDC recommends students quarantine 14 days if unvaccinated. They can shorten the quarantine to seven days by testing negative, the CDC recommends.

That approach is too unwieldly, DeSantis said, touting the new “symptoms-based approach.”

“If someone is symptomatic, of course they stay at home,” he said. “If there is a close contact but someone has not developed any symptoms, you monitor them. You notify a parent. The parent always has the right to make their kids stay home, if they think that is in the best interest of the student and the family, 100% we would not want to intrude upon that.”





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West Virginia vaccination rates are much lower than state has reported

A lot fewer West Virginians have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine than the government had previously reported, according to Joint Interagency Task Force Director Jim Hoyer.

As of yesterday, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources was reporting that more than 74% of eligible West Virginians received at least one dose of the vaccine, but now the department is saying that number is actually less than 64%, a drop of more than 10 percentage points.

The department’s tally of fully vaccinated West Virginians remains about the same – slightly more than 60%.

Although the department had previously included a breakdown of vaccination rates based on age, those numbers have been removed from the website. A team of data scientists from the DHHR and West Virginia University are currently reevaluating numbers and have established a new process with more checks on the data to ensure accuracy, Hoyer said in a statement.

Hoyer said the discrepancy was caused by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention double counting some of the numbers.

“Since the first part of May, the CDC has been double-counting the numbers that they send us related to the federal pharmacy program,” Hoyer said. “So it has made a significant impact on our numbers.”

Gov. Jim Justice said the new revelation means he has to double down on getting people vaccinated. West Virginia has one of the lowest rates in the country.

“The net of the whole thing is that there are a lot of folks still out in West Virginia that haven’t been vaccinated,” Justice said in a statement. “So now, by having this information, it makes it even better in some ways, because now I know we’ve got to double down even more. We have got to all work just one step harder, because there are a lot of people out there that we can still get to, and when we get to them, maybe we’ll be able to stop this thing. But we really need to step up.”

West Virginia’s COVID-19 cases have been increasing over the past couple of months, but have started to decline, according to DHHR numbers. Hospitalization numbers, on the other hand, continue to go up; there are currently 1,000 people hospitalized for COVID-19, which is the height of the pandemic.

There are 280 patients in the ICU, which is slightly down from the pandemic height of 292, which was reached on Monday. The number of patients on ventilators matches the pandemic peak at 168.





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Has the Pandemic Finally Peaked in the U.S.? – Reason.com

The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data suggest that America’s summer COVID-19 surge may have peaked. Back in late June, the seven-day average of cases stood at just 12,000, but this ramped up more than 12-fold to 160,000 by early September. The seven-day average is just under 130,000 now.

COVID-19 deaths lag cases by about a month. The seven-day average for deaths dropped to 175 by July 6. Since then, the seven-day average for deaths has risen to more than 2,000 and has not yet begun to fall. (For reference, the seven-day average for cases in the U.S. peaked during the winter surge in early January at around 260,000, and deaths peaked at around 3,300 later that month.)

Will COVID-19 cases and deaths surge again this winter? The combined just-released results of 9 models applied to four different scenarios at COVID-19 Modeling Hub project that diagnosed cases could—using the projections of the more hopeful models—drop to around 9,000 cases per day by March. The scenarios range from the most hopeful, with childhood COVID-19 vaccinations and no new viral variant, to one with no child vaccinations and a new variant.

Daily COVID-19 deaths could fall to fewer than 100 per day by March.

On the other hand, under a worst-case scenario with no rollout of childhood vaccinations and the emergence of a dangerous new variant, cases and deaths could rise by next spring to about the same level as we are currently experiencing.

University of North Carolina epidemiologist Justin Lessler, who helps run the hub, tells NPR that the most likely scenario is that children do get vaccinated and no super-spreading variant emerges.

The good news is that about 55 percent of all Americans (181 million) are now fully vaccinated (64 percent of those age 12 and up). Given that unreported COVID-19 cases are generally thought to be considerably higher than the 42 million diagnosed cases, that suggests perhaps around 100 million Americans have developed natural immunity to the virus.

“The biggest driver is immunity,” explained Lessler. “The virus has eaten up the susceptible people. So there are less people out there to infect.” The virus is still fighting back, he said, but “immunity always wins out eventually.”

Getting more people vaccinated faster would certainly drive down the trends in cases and deaths, and would thus make the happier scenarios more likely.



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The CDC Made America’s Pandemic Worse – Reason.com

The pandemic was a test of America’s public health bureaucracy. It failed.

Those failures were legion, and they were spread across multiple officials, agencies, and layers of government. But no institution failed quite as abysmally as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which, through a combination of arrogance, incompetence, and astonishingly poor planning, wasted America’s only chance to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 before it spread widely.

The CDC is supposed to be America’s frontline institution in the fight against infectious disease. Its job is to analyze viral threats, track their spread and development, and provide the public with relevant information about how to respond to outbreaks. Not only did the agency do this job poorly in the early stages of the pandemic, but it actively hindered efforts that would have greatly improved America’s response, and it made planning errors that were both predictable and avoidable. At nearly every stage of the pandemic, the CDC got things wrong and got in the way. Its failures almost certainly made America’s pandemic worse.

The CDC’s most notorious breakdown came early on, when it was developing a testing system to detect COVID-19. As former Food and Drug Administration director Dr. Scott Gottlieb documents in a scathing new book, Uncontrolled Spread, the agency made multiple critical errors along the way. 

First, the Atlanta lab in charge of developing the test departed from the agency’s own initial test, as well as the tests produced by other countries, producing a test design that was more complicated than necessary, with three components rather than two. In theory, this was supposed to make the test more accurate. In practice, it introduced an error into the early stages of the testing process during the early months of 2020, when America could least afford it. 

The test kit, it turned out, was contaminated. And the part that was contaminated was the third component the CDC had decided to add at the last minute. What’s more, the contamination happened at least in part because the CDC had decided to produce the test in-house, at a lab not suited for the project, rather than contract it out to private firms with more experience and more rigorous quality controls.

The contamination was not discovered until the CDC sent the botched kits out to other labs. And even as those labs increasingly reported that the system was producing obviously unreliable results, the CDC, according to Gottlieb, continued to insist in communications with the White House and the Food and Drug Administration that the tests worked. The agency eventually admitted there was a problem, but it insisted on a slow and painstaking process of updating the bad kits themselves—actively blocking private labs from taking over. So not only did the agency botch the process, but it blocked others from stepping in to fix its errors.

Eventually, private contractors were brought into the process, but only after days of dickering over various licensing and usage issues; the CDC wanted to preserve total authority over the process. As Gottlieb writes, “the agency may have created the conditions for failure by overengineering its test for COVID and then being wedded to that more complicated design even after the problems arose.”

Meanwhile, COVID-19 was spreading.

The testing foul-up has been widely recognized as a critical failure. What’s been less discussed is that even if the agency had avoided the contamination fiasco, it was actively impeding the build-out of mass testing capacity during the pandemic’s early days—because true mass testing would have meant allowing testing that was out of the CDC’s control.

In late March 2020, after much of the country had shut down, the CDC went so far as to “edit an article that was slated for publication in a science journal, to remove a passage inserted by a Washington State public health official that called for widespread testing at senior assisted-living facilities,” Gottlieb writes. Senior living facilities were, of course, among the communities where COVID was most deadly. Yet even there, the agency resisted mass testing. It resisted was because that state official had “encouraged more testing than the CDC was prepared to allow or was able to handle at the time.” In an editing comment on the article, according to Gottlieb, a CDC official explicitly cautioned: “I would be careful promoting widespread testing.”

This wasn’t entirely unprecedented or unexpected. In 2016 and 2017, the CDC had similarly mishandled the development of a Zika test kit. As with COVID-19, the CDC’s unwillingness to provide diagnostic tests to commercial labs was at the root of the problem.

Thus, the agency’s COVID failure wasn’t just foreseeable; it was foreseen. A Government Accountability Office report from 2017 noted that the CDC distributed diagnostic tests for Zika to public health labs but not to other manufacturers. The underlying process was murky at best. “Without a clear and transparent process for distributing CDC diagnostic tests,” the report warned, “the agency may not be able to develop the capacity of the commercial sector to meet the needs during an outbreak.” Despite the warning, this was exactly how the COVID pandemic played out.

Widespread testing from the early days of the pandemic wouldn’t have stopped COVID completely. But it might have enabled a more tailored response, with mitigation measures limited to certain geographic regions and times. Because policymakers and the public were initially blind to the scale of the outbreak, we shut down the entire country instead, to disastrous results. No single organization is more to fault for that early blindness than the CDC.

The CDC continued its run of failures as the pandemic proceeded. It promoted arbitrary guidelines based in shoddy science, like the rule calling for six feet of distance between people interacting indoors, which made it maddeningly difficult to reopen schools in the fall of 2020. The agency didn’t update that guideline to three feet until March 2021, despite months of evidence indicating that three feet was safe enough. 

So the CDC was not just wrong when it mattered; it was stubborn about its wrongness. It also often refused to explain its decisions, or to provide useful, practical information on which officials and private individuals could base their decisions. And when it did provide information, as Zeynep Tufecki has noted, the info was often confusing, full of vague or impractical advice and conflicting pronouncements. 

The root of the problem is the agency’s self-conception: It sees itself as the ultimate arbiter of what is true and what to do on all matters of infectious disease. In essence, the CDC believes there is no other authority besides the CDC, so it shuts out private labs from the testing process, insists that its faulty tests actually work pretty well long after problems arise, sticks with overly complicated plans that bog down processes, and resists calls to update its guidance, even when that guidance makes living ordinary life difficult or impossible. In a pandemic, where information is scarce and evolves rapidly—and when hundreds of millions of people have to make decisions right now—the agency’s preference for deliberative slowness and absolutist pronouncements would be a problem even if it were largely competent. And as it turns out, the agency isn’t that competent at all.

At this point, the CDC’s cultural dysfunctions are endemic. Given its performance during the pandemic, the agency as we know it today should be scrapped. That isn’t politically realistic right now, but at a minimum it should be reformed. Gottlieb wants to see a special infectious disease unit modeled after U.S. intelligence services, which are more comfortable with ambiguity and which recognize the need for rapid processing and updating of information that changes rapidly.

A CDC that’s organized around faster, more humble, more practical forms of information processing would be an improvement. But what we need most is to downgrade the CDC’s importance and influence, to focus on distributed systems rather than centralized information hoarding. Among other things, that means a far higher reliance on the private sector. Private labs and manufacturers might have made some mistakes during the test kit development process, but a distributed system wouldn’t have been brought to its knees by a single point of failure.

The same goes for information distribution and guidelines. Rather than act as if the CDC is the be-all and end-all of wisdom about infectious diseases, officials and individuals should be more open to a variety of less bureaucratic information sources.

Indeed, those following various public debates about COVID-19 were reasonably well-informed throughout the process, understanding quickly that it was spread through aerosols, that ventilation was much more important than physical distance, that unmasked outside activity was basically safe, that schools could safely reopen in 2020 with some reasonable precautions. The CDC’s pronouncements, meanwhile, were sometimes basically right, sometimes badly wrong, sometimes just muddled—and almost always far too late.

The agency’s understanding of its role doesn’t allow for much systemic self-criticism. But officials who have the authority to demand accountability and reform should do so. And a good place to start is with Gottlieb’s book. As always, the first step to healing is diagnosing the disease.

 

 

 



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Arizona charter schools add thousands of new students amid COVID-19 closures

Arizona’s charter schools experienced a rush of new applications amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released a compilation of state-by-state data on charter school enrollment compared with enrollment in the 2019-2020 school year. It found nearly 240,000 new students enrolled in charter schools nationally, a 7% increase from the prior year.

The report, released Wednesday, said the pandemic forcing schools to educate children remotely led to frustrated parents who saw charters and private schools welcoming students back to classrooms.

“During the 2020-21 school year, the pandemic forced schools of all types to close their doors and switch to remote learning,” the report said. “Many families were dissatisfied with the quality of what was available to their children. And that dissatisfaction led them to learn more about the other educational options available. For many families, charter schools’ nimbleness and flexibility made them the right public school choice.”

Arizona’s charter districts increased by 18,429 students in the most recent school year, an 8.6% increase. Meanwhile, public school districts experienced one of their most significant decreases in years. Public districts reported 56,979 fewer students year-over-year, according to Arizona Department of Education data, amounting to a 6% decrease in public school enrollment.

“Charter schools have continued to grow in Arizona, even during the pandemic, further validating our position in public education,” Arizona Charter Schools Association President Jake Logan said. “It’s a testament to our teachers, faculty, and charter leaders for providing a quality education for Arizona students.”

With the increase, Arizona is the first state to see 20% of public school students enrolled in charter schools. In the current school year, 232,249 students attend the state’s charter schools, while the state lists public school enrollment at 880,358.

The Grand Canyon state is known nationally for laws and funding formulas conducive to private and charter schools.

Of all states that provided information, Oklahoma saw the largest shift to charter schools with a 77% increase in enrollment year-over-year.





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Packed College Football Stadiums Will End The Pandemic

It’s time for us as Americans to storm the field and stop living in suspicion of our fellow citizens. It’s time to remember that there is no spike more powerful than spiking the ball.

It started when the University of North Carolina took on Virginia Tech at the start of college football season and a stadium full of fans jumped and cheered to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” as the teams took the field. It continued into the second weekend, when fans at both Brigham Young University and University of Arkansas stormed their fields.

You know something is afoot when BYU is storming the field, even if fans did refrain from tearing down their own goalposts like Arkansas did. While in both cases the opponents are bitter rivals, it suggests something else is going on.

People are anxious to get back out and socialize. They’re tired of the restrictions. They’re over masking and social distancing. Not everyone is there yet, but college football fans are. They’re packing stadiums with barely six inches of distance between one another. When you watch the games on TV, you have to look to find people in masks. Not only that, but we’ve seen fans’ repeated chanting of “F— you, Biden” since the start of the season.

These games may not offer the levels of debauchery and partying as Obama’s maskless birthday soiree on Martha’s Vineyard, though they also don’t seem to be superspreader events. They are a chance to show everyone that the time for fear is long over, that it’s time to storm the field and retake our national glory.

The Fun of Crowds, Rivalries, and Camaraderie

Rivalry is one of the things that makes college football great. You get to loathe people for no reason. It’s not rational at all, like the current wider world, and it’s fun, as the wider world should be.

And that rivalry is done in good spirits. For example, being a native Arkansan, though one with no hatred of the great state of Texas, I still loathe the Texas Longhorns. They are our rivals from conferences past, and a team that has often bested us. We Arkansans used to joke that we left the Southwestern Conference to get away from Texas. Maybe not any longer. Welcome to the Southeastern Conference, fellas! Seriously. This is going to be enjoyable.

It’s not just about rivalry, getting caught up in the moment, and destroying property, though. If it were, Antifa might serve a purpose. It’s about the crowds, the energy, the camaraderie between thousands of strangers, both friend and frenemy. It’s about seeing people’s cheering faces, their smiles, their winces. It’s about remembering that being in this together requires actually being together from time to time. Plus, smashing your television after a win just doesn’t feel the same, and not just because you’re the one who has to pay for it.

It’s Time for All of Us to Rush the Field

We’ve turned the corner on the pandemic. Sure, it’s endemic now, but we’ve learned a great deal about how to prevent and treat serious cases. We’ve got a much clearer picture about who is at risk for severe outcomes. Those are good things, particularly as no one in the world has truly figured out how to stop the spread, and we’re not talking the +6.5 points Arkansas blew past in its manhandling of Texas.

In “Jurassic Park,” Dr. Ian Malcolm said that life always finds a way. In 2021, that biological reality is not as applicable to everyday life as it is to dinosaurs figuring out a way to procreate. Now, we have to make life find a way, starting by letting go of the fear and suspicion of our fellow man. Game days are a perfect way to do so.

Watch the throngs of regular citizens whooping and hollering, pouring onto the fields, giving strangers hugs and high fives. Learn from their example. Remember what George Costanza often forgot, albeit it in an entirely different context that I won’t mention, that we’re trying to have a civilization here.

And civilization isn’t built upon Zoom. It’s not a virtual space, created and controlled like SimCity or Roblox or any other of those games I know nothing about. Civilization is meant to be lived.

It’s time for us as Americans to remember this, to stop living in fear and suspicion of our fellow citizens. It’s time to join shoulder to shoulder and scream at the looming triumph of sanity. It’s time to remember that there is no spike more powerful than the spiking the ball. We can do this, America. Let’s go.

Richard Cromwell is a senior contributor to The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter, @rcromwell4.





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Nobel prize banquet postponed again this year due to pandemic

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STOCKHOLM — There will be no banquet in Stockholm this year and laureates will receive their Nobel Prize medals and diplomas in their home countries, the Nobel Foundation said on Thursday.

“I think everybody would like the COVID-19 pandemic to be over, but we are not there yet,” the Nobel Foundation said in a statement.

The traditional festivities were replaced last year as well with a mainly digital celebration as the pandemic raged Europe and the rest of the world.

(Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Simon Johnson)



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Feds Give Planned Parenthood Millions in Pandemic Relief After Ruling it Ineligible for Gov’t Aid

The Biden administration used the COVID relief package to give tens of millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood even after the federal government determined the billion-dollar abortion provider was ineligible for the program.

The Small Business Administration has given $23 million to 10 Planned Parenthood affiliates in 2021 through the Paycheck Protection Program. The agency sent those payments even though it ruled Planned Parenthood did not qualify for the funding, which was designed to aid small businesses dealing with government shutdowns and the coronavirus pandemic.

SBA, which did not respond to requests for comment, had previously ordered the nation’s top abortion provider to return $80 million in taxpayer-backed PPP funds. The agency has not provided evidence that those funds were returned by any of the 37 Planned Parenthood affiliates that cashed the checks in 2020.

Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) said the agency is ignoring its own ruling—which held that affiliates of organizations with more than 500 employees are ineligible for PPP—to reward a political ally.

“I think Democrats know it is illegal to give small business loans to the big business, that is Planned Parenthood, but they are completely in the tank for taxpayer-funded abortions,” Paul told the Washington Free Beacon.

Planned Parenthood did not respond to a request for comment.

Planned Parenthood has more than $2 billion in net assets, according to its 2019-2020 annual report. The organization pledged more than $45 million to support Biden and other Democrats in the 2020 campaign. It has already spent nearly $700,000 on lobbying in 2021, an effort that is already bearing fruit after congressional Democrats and the Biden administration put forward budget proposals to overturn longstanding bipartisan bans on taxpayer-funded abortion.

Republican members of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship announced Monday that they will refuse to vote on the SBA’s nominee for deputy administrator until the agency takes action to ensure Planned Parenthood returns the tens of millions in funds. The nominee for the position, Dilawar Syed, served on the board of directors of an organization tied to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which targets Israel with economic pressure.

Mallory Quigley, vice president of communications for the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said it is “unconscionable” that the federal government wasted $100 million in relief funds on a billion-dollar business like Planned Parenthood.

“This money was intended to help small businesses survive during the deadly pandemic, not subsidize our nation’s largest abortion business which daily harms women and takes innocent lives,” Quigley told the Free Beacon. “It’s time to hold those who let this happen accountable.”





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