Connect with us

Spread & Containment

Census: U.S. Population Projected to Begin Declining in Second Half of Century

I’ll have much more on these projections – and the implications for housing – soon (I’m sure housing economist Tom Lawler will comment!)

From Census: U.S. Population Projected to Begin Declining in Second Half of Century The U.S. population is project…

Published

on

I'll have much more on these projections - and the implications for housing - soon (I'm sure housing economist Tom Lawler will comment!) From Census: U.S. Population Projected to Begin Declining in Second Half of Century
The U.S. population is projected to reach a high of nearly 370 million in 2080 before edging downward to 366 million in 2100. By 2100, the total U.S. resident population is only projected to increase 9.7% from 2022, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau population projections released today. The projections provide possible scenarios of population change for the nation through the end of the century. ... “In an ever-changing world, understanding population dynamics is crucial for shaping policies and planning resources,” stated Sandra Johnson, a demographer at the Census Bureau. “The U.S. has experienced notable shifts in the components of population change over the last five years,” she explained. “Some of these, like the increases in mortality caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, are expected to be short-term while others, including the declines in fertility that have persisted for decades, are likely to continue into the future. Incorporating additional years of data on births, deaths and international migration into our projections process resulted in a slower pace of population growth through 2060 than was previously projected.” Projections illustrate possible courses of population change based on assumptions about future births, deaths and net international migration. The 2023 projections include a main series (also known as the middle series) considered the most likely outcome of four assumptions, and three alternative immigration scenarios that show how the population might change under high, low and zero immigration assumptions.
Click on graph for larger image. This graph shows the projected US population for the four series. From Census:
By 2100, the total population in the middle series is projected to reach 366 million compared to the projection for the high-immigration scenario, which puts the population at 435 million. The population for the middle series increases to a peak at 370 million in 2080 and then begins to decline, dropping to 366 million in 2100. The high-immigration scenario increases every year and is projected to reach 435 million by 2100. The low-immigration scenario is projected to peak at around 346 million in 2043 and decline thereafter, dropping to 319 million in 2100. Though largely illustrative, the zero-immigration scenario projects that population declines would start in 2024 in the complete absence of foreign-born immigration. The population in this scenario is projected to be 226 million in 2100, roughly 107 million lower than the 2022 estimate.

Read More

Continue Reading

Spread & Containment

COVID-19 Lockdowns Contributed To ‘Collective Trauma’ Among Americans: Psychologists

COVID-19 Lockdowns Contributed To ‘Collective Trauma’ Among Americans: Psychologists

Authored by Tom Ozimek via Th Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The…

Published

on

COVID-19 Lockdowns Contributed To 'Collective Trauma' Among Americans: Psychologists
Authored by Tom Ozimek via Th Epoch Times (emphasis ours), The United States is still reeling from the effects of COVID-19 lockdowns and other aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic as Americans have suffered a "collective trauma," the American Psychological Association (APA) has said, citing a study.  
People wearing protective face masks walk on the street in Brooklyn, New York on Oct. 7, 2020. (Chung I Ho/The Epoch Times)
  While the national health emergency caused by the COVID-19 outbreak officially came to an end on May 11, in some ways the country hasn't returned to "normal." according to the organization. The APA concluded in the results of its survey, released on Nov. 1, that there are "signs of collective trauma among all age cohorts" in the United States. “The COVID-19 pandemic created a collective experience among Americans. While the early-pandemic lockdowns may seem like the distant past, the aftermath remains,” Arthur C. Evans Jr., the organization's CEO, said in a statement. The study found that adults between the ages of 34 and 44 reported the biggest surge in chronic health conditions since the pandemic, rising to 58 percent in 2023 from 48 percent in 2019. The same age group also experienced the biggest jump in mental health illnesses, chiefly anxiety and depression. These rose to 45 percent this year from 31 percent in 2019, according to the study. Chronically elevated levels of stress create risks for various mental health challenges and wear down the immune system, according to the APA. The association noted that the data suggest that long-term stress sustained since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Americans' well-being. “We cannot ignore the fact that we have been significantly changed by the loss of more than one million Americans, as well as the shift in our workplaces, school systems, and culture at large," Mr. Evans said. "To move toward posttraumatic growth, we must first identify and understand the psychological wounds that remain.” Chronic stress can cause inflammation, breaking down the immune system and raising the risk of all sorts of ailments, including stroke and heart disease, the APA warned. The study is the latest that suggests that the heavy-handed response to the outbreak, which included school closures, business shutdowns, and near-universal mask-wearing, has had a negative effect on people's physical and mental health.

Child Gun Deaths Rise Sharply

Recent research on child gun deaths adds heart-wrenching evidence to the growing pile of data suggesting that COVID-19 lockdowns and other restrictions had a devastating effect on society.
The study, authored by researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital and published on Oct. 5 in a journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, found that injury-related deaths among children rose sharply during the pandemic years 2020–21. The spike in pediatric fatal injuries was driven by drugs and injuries involving firearms. In 2021, when lockdowns and other COVID-19 restrictions were pervasive, more child homicides (2,279) and suicides (1,078) by gun were recorded than in any year since 1999, according to the study. Some see a clear causal link between the explosion in child gun deaths and pandemic lockdown policies, which other studies have linked to a variety of negative outcomes, including delayed health treatments, learning loss, and mental health crises. “Due to lockdowns and other misconceived pandemic policies, child gun deaths in the United States exploded exponentially in 2020,” Kevin Bass, a researcher and doctoral student in medicine, wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter. While the study shows that firearm-related homicides began rising in 2018, Mr. Bass said that it’s “very clear that the huge leap to record levels occurred between 2019 and 2020, which is when lockdowns happened.”
The study’s findings dovetail with an April report from the Pew Research Center, which found that the number of children and teenagers killed by gunfire surged by 50 percent between 2019 and 2021.
Some studies have identified lockdowns as contributing to jumps in suicides, mental health crises, learning loss, and delayed health treatments. “Our results show that major non-pharmaceutical interventions—and lockdowns in particular—have had a large effect on reducing transmission,” wrote the authors of the study backing restrictive measures, although the research didn't evaluate any other unintended impacts of the measures. However, one recent study that looked at a wide array of research into lockdowns concluded that such measures can be an effective tool in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic but only if “long-term collateral damage is neglected.” “The price tag of lockdowns in terms of public health is high: by using the known connection between health and wealth, we estimate that lockdowns may claim 20 times more life years than they save,” the study’s authors wrote. The authors also said that what deserves a “special and urgent analysis” is the question of “to what extent, why, and how the dissenting (disapproved by healthcare officials) scientific opinions were suppressed during COVID-19.” “Suppression of ‘misleading’ opinions causes not only grave consequences for scientists’ moral compass; it prevents the scientific community from correcting mistakes and jeopardizes (with a good reason) public trust in science," they wrote.
Tyler Durden Wed, 11/08/2023 - 21:40

Read More

Continue Reading

International

The Unexpected Battle Between Vaccines And The COVID Virus

The Unexpected Battle Between Vaccines And The COVID Virus

Authored by Yuhong Dong via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Since the unprecedented…

Published

on

The Unexpected Battle Between Vaccines And The COVID Virus
Authored by Yuhong Dong via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Since the unprecedented COVID-19 global pandemic that started in January 2020, humans have been in a constant battle with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  
Vaccine strategy targeting the SARS-CoV-2 virus is challenged in the COVID-19 battle. (Shutterstock/Lightspring)
  A series of vaccine versions have been developed and administered globally, beginning in January 2021 when an mRNA vaccine based on the original Wuhan strain was implemented. Subsequently, a bivalent mRNA vaccine was developed based on the Omicron offspring. Currently, the most updated version is based on XBB.1.5 and is ready to be injected into people's arms. Bivalent vaccines contain two different components. One component is to protect us against the original viral strain, while the other targets the most recent variants. The vaccine is based on the gene code of a known virus, whereas the lead time for vaccine development normally takes an average of 10 years. Even with the current "green-light" policies for COVID-19 vaccines, it takes almost one year for the first generation to launch and a couple of months for the second and third generations. However, due to the basic survival skills of SARS-CoV-2, the virus is always mutating in order to escape from a vaccine. Even before a vaccine is ready to launch, there are always a few mutants that have already found a way to escape from the antibodies induced by the sluggish vaccine, creating the next wave. Regardless, the unprecedented speed of vaccine development won't be able to compete with the speed of viral mutation, as the virus is always taking the lead and will be one step ahead of the vaccine.
This is why even the top scientists cannot predict how the virus will mutate and when the next wave will occur.

SARS-CoV-2 Variants

From 2020 to early 2021, a number of major SARS-CoV-2 variants have appeared: Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), Gamma(P.1), and Delta (B.1.617.2).
Not including those old variants, once Omicron (B.1.1.529) was first reported in South Africa in November 2021, it quickly evolved into a few sister lineages: BA.1, BA.2, BA.4, BA.5, XBB.1.5, EG.5, and HV.1, which each took the stage, one after the other within an interval of a couple of months.
  • BA.1 and BA.2: first detected in February 2022.
  • BA.4 and BA.5: first detected in May 2022.
  • XBB.1.5 (Kraken): an offspring of two BA.2 sublineages first detected in October 2022.
  • BA.2.86 (Pirola): first detected in 2023 and is currently being monitored.
  • EG.5 (Eris): first detected in Feb 2023, peaked in October, and is now declining.
  • HV.1: first detected in July 2023, has taken the lead in the United States at the end of October 2023.
The fierce battle between the virus and human technology has become a marathon. With each generation of vaccine development, who were the winners?

First Generation Vaccine: Delta Emerged, Creating Global Havoc

In January 2021, the original mRNA monovalent vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna and based on the old Wuhan strain were launched at a rocket-like speed.
In June 2021, when more than 50 percent of the U.S. population had received two doses of these vaccines, the stage was set for various mutants to take over, including the well-known alpha and delta variants. A key mutation in spike protein called N501Y, which can escape from vaccine protection, was discovered in alpha. It was also found in two other major variants prevalent during that time and significantly increased in the rate at which it spread. Shortly thereafter, Delta (B.1.617.2) emerged and presented even more enhanced transmissibility and vaccine escape ability with its intriguing spike protein double mutations of L452R and E484Q, refreshing the viral spreading and escaping records. It was designated as a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 11, 2021. These double mutations in the spike protein cause the vaccine-induced antibodies to significantly lose their ability to bind to delta, resulting in immunological evasion and causing major global havoc. The increased binding affinity caused by delta makes it much easier to replicate in human cells. It was reported that patients infected with delta had a viral load 1000 times greater than patients with the original strain. It's also been able to spread twice as fast as the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. In July 2021, preliminary data from Israel showed that Pfizer's vaccine efficacy was significantly reduced at five and six months after vaccination to 44 percent and 16 percent, respectively. In a July 2021 outbreak in Massachusetts, 74 percent of breakthrough infections occurred in fully vaccinated persons, and the delta variant was detected in 90 percent of them.
The first round of the battle between the vaccine and the virus concluded with an overwhelming vaccine failure when the first generation of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine met the unexpected delta variant.

Vaccine Versus Virus: The First Battle Round

Vaccine: Monovalent.
Result: The vaccine failed. Time lapsed: Seven months from the first monovalent vaccine launched in January 2021 until the dominant delta wave in July 2021 in the United States.
Since then, a concern regarding the vaccine strategy of generating vaccine escape variants has been raised by scientists, including researchers from Michigan State University.

Second Generation Vaccine: XBB.1.5 Won

People continued to witness the declining effects of the original vaccine against delta, even after boosters were widely administered. The government continually stressed that the original vaccines had sufficient efficacy, one time after another.
Almost all of Omicron and its subvariants have developed specific mutations that have made them spread more quickly while evading our immune response. It has been clearly defined as an immune escape strain according to this Nature review. A surprising virus, Omicron (B.1.1.529) surged more quickly than any previous strain and completely took over by April 2022. This emergence of hypermutated, increasingly transmissible Omicron variant significantly threatened the vaccine strategy. It harbors multiple amino acid mutations in the spike (including Q498R and N501Y), which significantly enhance binding to the ACE2 receptor. It has also altered the cell entry pathway which further contributes to its ability to escape from vaccine protection. In mid-2022, BA.4 and BA.5 lineages of Omicron were the dominant COVID-19 variants in the United States and were predicted to circulate in the second half of 2022. Thus, Pfizer and Moderna quickly took the initiative to develop bivalent boosters based on the original strain from Wuhan and Omicron BA.4 and BA.5. They made it within another miraculously short time frame of just a few months. On August 31, 2022, the FDA approved the bivalent booster shots of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines designed to target the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, with Pfizer only providing the data on eight mice. However, Omicron keeps quickly changing, splitting into even more diversified subgroups. Soon after the new bivalent vaccine was distributed, BA.4 and BA.5 became history. A new variant XBB.1.5 began appearing in October 2022 and reached its peak in April 2023. It combines two descendent lineages (BA.2.10.1 and BA.2.75) of Omicron. The featured new spike protein mutation (F486P) leads to increased transmissibility and significant escape from the vaccine. Not surprisingly, the antibody levels to XBB.1.5 in bivalent mRNA-boosted individuals declined significantly to pre-booster levels after only three months. The bivalent booster vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19-associated hospitalization declined to as low as 24 percent at six months post-vaccination, according to CDC data collected from September 2022 to April 2023.
The second round ended when the second generation bivalent mRNA vaccine encountered the XBB.1.5 starting in April 2023.

Vaccine Versus Virus: The Second Battle Round

Vaccine: Bivalent mRNA.
Result: The vaccine failed. Time lapsed: Five months after the bivalent booster vaccine launched in September 2022 and was utilized until the U.S. dominant wave of XBB.1.5 in January 2023 emerged.

Third Generation Vaccine: Doomed to Fail

As of September 2023, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines have been reformulated—for the third time—this time based on XBB.1.5, which is the great-grandchild of Omicron. This latest booster recommendation applies to all individuals, regardless of previous COVID-19 vaccination history.
However, one month before the 3.0 vaccine was approved, the dominant virus had already changed from XBB.1.5 to EG.5—the "Eris" variant, which spreads faster and has a stronger ability to escape from the XBB.1.5 vaccine.

Vaccine Versus Virus: The Third Battle Round

Vaccine: XBB.1.5 mRNA.
Result: Vaccine doomed to fail. Time lapsed: Less than one month from the XBB.1.5 booster vaccine launch in October 2023 to the U.S. dominant wave of vaccine escape by EG.5 or other cousin variants in October 2023. Omicron continues to change from XBB to JN, HK.3, EG.5, and  HV.1—all belonging to the huge and diversified Omicron family. EG.5, carrying an additional F456L mutation, is significantly more resistant to neutralization by the sera from vaccinated people. That means even the most recent version of the COVID-19 vaccine based on XBB.1.5 is going to lose its protection with EG.5. Since the risk of breakthrough infection remains high, the WHO listed EG.5 as a "variant of concern" in early August. While HV.1 shares almost all spike mutations that EG.5 carries, it took on a surprising additional mutation (L452R) from a remote ancestor delta variant in 2011, which had normally disappeared in the omicron variant. HV.1 can further escape the XBB.1.5-based vaccine-induced immunity and is even more evasive than EG.5. The same detour trick of HV.1 is also used by JN.1 coming on the scene in August 2023. It gains an additional L455S mutation, switching from the XBB sublineage to BA.2.86 (Pirola). The HK.3 virus has played a novel trick. It has two mutations in the adjacent spike 455 and 456 positions (L455F and F456L), thus called a "FLip." Together, this virus binds even more tightly to ACE2 and is taking off slowly in Brazil and Spain. Both HK.3 (FLip) and JN.1 present even lower binding affinities, meaning the vaccine is even less effective than the current version, raising further concerns over vaccine strategy. Despite the extraordinary speed of vaccine development against COVID-19 and the continued mass vaccination program, the never-ending emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants threatens to significantly overturn the vaccine's intended effects. This is a tiring battle between vaccines and the virus. The winners and losers are clear. The microscopic tricks utilized by the SARS-CoV-2 virus variants are far superior to the vaccines' unproven technology. Alerts have been raised and major concerns have been discussed by scientists as early as 2021 in top-ranked journals including The Lancet and Nature in addition to Nature Reviews, eBioMedicine (part of The Lancet Discovery Science), and other publications through 2023. The common view is that the pressure exerted on viruses from repeated vaccination programs serves as a primary driver of the diversified variants of SARS-CoV-2. If humans continue to develop vaccines based on these emerging new variants, there will continue to be repeated failures. How many more failures will it take to realize that all of these vaccine efforts have been in vain? It is a time for rational deliberation to pause to reflect on finding the root cause of the viral infection. We already have a dynamic shield of protection against serious viral attacks—our natural immunity. Only by facing our own innate immunity will the virus find its tricks useless.
Tyler Durden Wed, 11/08/2023 - 20:20

Read More

Continue Reading

International

China’s Grand Strategy & The Four Wars

China’s Grand Strategy & The Four Wars

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

“There has never been a protracted war…

Published

on

China's Grand Strategy & The Four Wars
Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,
“There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited.” - Sun Tzu
China’s grand strategy to take its turn at dominance over the global scene depends on bogging down the USA in four wars at once. How’s it working so far? Pretty darn well. Amazingly, China hardly had to lift a finger to make it happen - though it did write some bank checks to the soulless old grifter sitting in the White House.  Our country has arranged its collapse and downfall masterfully on its own. War No. 1: There was absolutely no need to start the war in Ukraine, you understand, which has by now not only bled Ukraine’s young male population to the bone, but drained our own military of field weapons and ammunition. After the Soviet collapse, Ukraine existed as a poor backwater in Russia’s orbit, causing no trouble for anyone — except itself, due to world-beating corruption — until the USA started a push to include it in NATO. Our neocons made it clear that the purpose of this was to hem-in and weaken Russia. (Why? “Reasons,” they said.) This policy alarmed and infuriated the Russians who made it clear that NATO membership wasn’t going to happen. The US persisted, engineered a coup in 2014 against the Russian-leaning president Yanukovych, and spurred his replacements, first Poroshenko and then Zelensky, to pound the ethnic Russian provinces of the Donbas with rockets and artillery for years on end. Meanwhile, we trained, armed, and supplied a large Ukrainian army and refused to negotiate the NATO expansion in good faith until Mr. Putin had enough in 2022 and moved to put a stop to all this monkey business. After some initial mis-steps, the Russians began to prevail in early 2023. Now, there is a general consensus that Russia controls the battle space with its superior ordnance and troop strength, and the conflict is close to being over. Our NATO allies are not hiding their disgust over the fiasco. Ukraine is wrecked. What remains is how the “Joe Biden” regime reacts to yet another major overseas humiliation. As I see it, Mr. Putin must do his level best to not rub it in, since our country is in the throes of a psychotic fugue and might be capable of world-ending craziness. War No. 2: Little more than a month ago, the Middle East was thought to have reached a moment of praiseworthy stability, according to White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. We awaited an upgrade of the Abraham Accords normalizing relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Then, the savage Hamas operation of October 7 blew it all up. The Israeli-Palestinian quandary seems to have no possible solution. The Palestinians want their own state, of course, but they push to establish it in the entire territory that Israel occupies now. (From the River to the sea….) The Israelis have no intention of being pushed out, and they resist other possible divisions of the land there that might serve to satisfy the Palestinians’ wish for a country of their own. Israel understands that a basic tenet of jihadi Islam, expressed clearly and often, is to exterminate the Jews, and there is no way around that. Israel’s adversaries don’t seem to understand the meaning of “never again.” Israel now must deal with the latest affront to its existence and its clear goal is to disarm and destroy the Hamas terror organization. To the world’s horror, they are going about it brutally in Gaza because Hamas is dug-in in a vast tunnel network under the civilian overlay of houses, shops, schools, and hospitals. What else might Israel do? Probably seal off the tunnel system with Hamas in it, creating a gigantic graveyard of Islamic martyrs — a recipe for future cycles of vengeance. As you can see, there appears to be no way this ends well for anyone. Other big Islamic players wait on the sidelines, making only threatening gestures so far. I doubt that Iran will risk its oil infrastructure and its electric grid to intervene. And despite Mr. Erdogan’s drum-beating and his large army, the Turkish economy and currency (the lira) would collapse if he jumped in. Egypt has zero appetite for war. That leaves Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, on Israel’s northern frontier. If they amp things up enough, Damascus and Beirut could become ashtrays. So, I would expect that Israel grinds on methodically to put Hamas out of business and the region returns to its miserable stalemate status quo until the next generation of angry Palestinians starts a new cycle of violence. Meanwhile, Israel has its own fractious internal political problems to contend with. And also meanwhile, the Palestinians and Israelis compete by birth-rate to out-populate the other side — a contest that might stop suddenly with the economic collapse of the US and Europe, and the end of current global economic relations, including an orderly oil trade, that has produced nearly a century of global super-prosperity allowing populations to expand as they have. (There is also Israel’s 90-percent Covid vaccination rate to consider, with its detrimental effects on health and reproduction.) In a desperate scramble for resources that follows, things that can’t go on, stop. Bringing us to War No. 3: The US Government’s war against its own citizens. This has been going on since Mr. Trump stepped onto the scene, and has included a semi-successful war against Mr. Trump personally — except that not only has it failed to put him out of business as a politician, it has substantiated many of the claims he made about corrupt and perfidious government that resulted in his election in 2016. All of that has only enhanced his polling numbers. And the lawless, bad faith court cases lodged against him have demonstrated the US government’s grievous fall into willful malfeasance that has the DOJ arresting and unfairly persecuting hundreds of innocent Americans that support Mr. Trump. A big part of the government’s war against US citizens has been the bizarre Covid-19 episode and the long-running effort by public officials to deceive the population about it, including lockdowns and destruction of small businesses, the dishonest suppression of viable treatments, gross censorship about the harms of the mRNA vaccines, and trickery around the origins of the vaccines in the back rooms of our Department of Defense. Another front of this war is the wide-open Mexican border, a lawless state of affairs created as deliberate policy by our cabinet secretaries, and done at a time when there is tremendous animus against the US from many other nations who send thousands of sketchy young men into our country with no attempt by our border officials to determine who they are. It looks like “Joe Biden’s” hash will be settled shortly when the House, reorganized under a young and vital new speaker, reveals the Biden family’s bank records and begins the process of impeaching the president for bribery. “Joe Biden’s” party pretends that this is not happening and appears to have no plan to deal with consequences. For the moment, they still stupidly tout him as their candidate for the 2024 election, another arrant falsehood you can add to the thousand-and one affronts against the public that this party has tried to put over. Many Americans suspect there will not be a 2024 election, specifically that whoever is president in the coming year will invoke yet another national emergency order to postpone it on spurious grounds. Many are also far from persuaded that the 2020 election that installed “Joe Biden” was honest and legitimate. Which brings us to War No. 4: The American peoples’ war against a government gone rogue. Obviously, it is not underway yet, but it’s easy to see how it might develop. I think it could commence in the aftermath of a financial calamity that is visibly brewing in the debt markets. The net result will be a collapsed standard-of-living for everyone in the USA, the breakdown of supply lines and daily business, and a very sharp loss of legitimacy for the people who have been in charge of anything in this country. We emerge from this catastrophe a nearly medievalized society with a steeply-reduced population, unable to resist China’s attempt to colonize us. Pretty scary, huh? Just let’s keep doing what we’re doing. *  *  * Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page
Tyler Durden Tue, 11/07/2023 - 19:45

Read More

Continue Reading

Trending