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If It’s Over, Why The Continued Emergency?

If It’s Over, Why The Continued Emergency?

Authored by Paul Elias Alexander via The Brownstone Institute,

An 11th renewal of the federal…

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If It's Over, Why The Continued Emergency?

Authored by Paul Elias Alexander via The Brownstone Institute,

An 11th renewal of the federal government’s emergency declaration is ludicrous.

Is this about midterm elections?

Is this about Presidential elections in 2024?

Is this purely politics now and the drive to hold onto accrued power amassed with the lockdown lunacy? 

Omicron as the current dominant variant and its subvariants (clades) is very mild for most people, even many high-risk people. They can adequately handle the infection and cope with it. The reality is that while Omicron can still present a challenge (as does seasonal influenza and common cold and a range of respiratory illnesses) to elderly persons and especially those with comorbidities (as well as obese persons, immune-compromised persons), it is revealing itself to be no more severe than seasonal flu, and generally less so. 

Moreover, we have used repurposed therapeutics (as prophylactics and treatment) effectively and we have availability. We also know who is the at-risk group and how to effectively manage, and hospitals were given hundreds of billions of dollars in PPE, PPP, and COVID relief money to prepare. They are prepared. 

The data clearly showed very early on after the COVID vaccine rollout that there was no difference in terms of viral load between a vaccinated and an unvaccinated person. Thus the policy was punitive and nonsensical, and not just for nurses, but for all employees subjected to it without any scientific basis. Hospitals and workplaces should take these employees back and pay them all lost wages. Do all they could to make them whole.

Moreover, a large portion of the vulnerable population in the developed world is already protected against severe disease. Importantly, we have learned much about the utility of inexpensive supplements like Vitamin D to reduce disease risk, and as mentioned, there is a host of good therapeutics available to prevent hospitalization and death should a vulnerable patient e.g. elderly in a nursing home or similar congregated setting or private residence, become infected. And for younger people, the risk of severe disease – already low before Omicron – is minuscule. This is the data. This is the evidence across global nations. 

Even in places with strict lockdown measures, there are hundreds of thousands of newly registered Omicron cases daily and countless unregistered positives from home testing. Measures like mandatory masking and distancing have had negligible or at most small effects on transmission. 

Large-scale population quarantines only delay the inevitable. Vaccination and boosters have not halted Omicron disease spread; heavily vaccinated nations like Israel and Australia have more daily cases per capita than any place on earth at the moment. This wave will run its course despite all of the emergency measures.

There is simply no justification for maintaining emergency status. So why would HHS move to renew it an 11th time? The lockdowns, the school closures, the shielding-in-place, the business closures, the personnel firings and shortages and school university disruptions have done at least as much damage (and certainly more) to the population’s health and welfare as the virus. 

The American population and most global nations that engaged in lockdown lunacy etc. have been crushed, devastated; economies and their peoples. We harmed and caused deaths of our populations by the lockdown lunatic policies and especially our poorer minority populations and women, who could not afford to shield. 

We catastrophically shifted the burden of infection and illness from the café latte, laptop, ‘Zoom class’ to the poorer in society who could not shield as they had to maintain front-facing employment to survive. They could not ‘remote work.’ Many business owners, laid off employees, and children in America committed suicide due to the lockdown restrictive lunacy. 

The state of emergency is clearly not justified now, and it cannot be justified by fears of a hypothetical recurrence of some more severe infection at some unknown hypothetical point in the future. We just cannot operate public health policy this way. If a novel severe strain or variant were to occur and it seems unlikely from Omicron (though we are placing the spike antigen under relentless selection pressure with suboptimal vaccinal antibodies, mounting suboptimal immune pressure, and in the midst of massive infectious pressure) then that would be the time we discuss a declaration of emergency. 

Legal scholar Jonathan Turley has weighed in on POTUS Biden’s declaration that the pandemic is over, indicating that it is most certainly going to be cited 

“in a variety of briefs in cases challenging emergency powers and policies used by the Administration. It was just a year ago, in September 2021, that the President imposed such rules to “ensur[e] the health and safety of the Federal workforce and the efficiency of the civil service.” President Biden announced a similar requirement for federal civilian employees. Exec. Order No. 14,043, 86 Fed. Reg. 50,989 (Sept. 14, 2021). One such example could be the appeal now being considered by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The issue of the sweeping pandemic authority being claimed by the Biden Administration is now going before the full court in an en banc rehearing.”

Turley went on to argue that since POTUS Biden is declarative that the pandemic is now at an end just as the Justice Department is defending pandemic policies in various courts, then this will pose tremendous challenges to the Justice Department in terms of defending the policies and mandates.

“Even if one were to argue that the policy should be reviewed as supported at the time, the continued viability of the policy can now be questioned in light of the President’s own statements.”

Turley further notes “if the pandemic “is over,” some may question the continued uncertain status of military personnel and federal employees on vaccine status as well as lingering mask mandates being used in some states and by certain businesses.”

Americans have sacrificed enough of their human rights, their dignity, liberties, and of their livelihoods for two and a half years in the service of protecting the general public health. They have been attacked, demeaned, ostracized, castigated, and ruined financially in many instances given they were prevented from earning a living. Americans lost people to the virus, vulnerable people and no one can deny that. COVID was punishing, especially the earlier strain (variants) on the vulnerable elderly and this happened largely because the government, the medical establishment, and medical doctors refused to recognize the value of early treatment and their actions ended up costing thousands of lives. 

But America lost most lives due to the lockdowns and school closures, and we lost above all, our freedoms. It is time to allow America to be unshackled from these COVID policies. Completely. Living life freely once again, taking reasonable precautions, unfettered by government’s failed COVID lockdown policies whereby not one has worked! 

The current emergency declaration must be canceled. It is time. It is time to bring this COVID pandemic to a full closure and to move on to proper public legal inquiries as to the decision-making that went into the COVID response, particularly the rollout of the ineffective and safety untested COVID shots.

Tyler Durden Wed, 09/21/2022 - 16:20

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We can turn to popular culture for lessons about how to live with COVID-19 as endemic

As COVID-19 transitions from a pandemic to an endemic, apocalyptic science-fiction and zombie movies contain examples of how to adjust to the new norm…

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An endemic means that COVID-19 is still around, but it no longer disrupts everyday life. (Shutterstock)

In 2021, conversations began on whether the COVID-19 pandemic will, or even can, end. As a literary and cultural theorist, I started looking for shifts in stories about pandemics and contagion. It turns out that several stories also question how and when a pandemic becomes endemic.


Read more: COVID will likely shift from pandemic to endemic — but what does that mean?


The 2020 film Peninsula, a sequel to the Korean zombie film, Train to Busan, ends with a group of survivors rescued and transported to a zombie-free Hong Kong. In it, Jooni (played by Re Lee) spent her formative years living through the zombie epidemic. When she is rescued, she responds to being informed that she’s “going to a better place” by admitting that “this place wasn’t bad either.”

Jooni’s response points toward the shift in contagion narratives that has emerged since the spread of COVID-19. This shift marks a rejection of the push-for-survival narratives in favour of something more indicative of an endemic.

Found within

Contagion follows a general cycle: outbreak, epidemic, pandemic and endemic. The determinants of each stage rely upon the rate of spread within a specified geographic region.

Etymologically, the word “endemic” has its origins with the Greek words én and dēmos, meaning “in the people.” Thus, it refers to something that is regularly found within a population.

Infectious disease physician Stephen Parodi asserts that an endemic just means that a disease, while still prevalent within a population, no longer disrupts our daily lives.

Similarly, genomics and viral evolution researcher Aris Katzourakis argues that endemics occur when infection rates are static — neither rising nor falling. Because this stasis occurs differently with each situation, there is no set threshold at which a pandemic becomes endemic.

Not all diseases reach endemic status. And, if endemic status is reached, it does not mean the virus is gone, but rather that things have become “normal.”

Survival narratives

We’re most likely familiar with contagion narratives. After all, Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 film Contagion, was the most watched film on Canadian Netflix in March 2020. Conveniently, this was when most Canadian provinces went into lockdown during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A clip from the film Contagion showing the disease spreading throughout the world.

In survival-based contagion narratives, characters often discuss methods for survival and generally refer to themselves as survivors. Contagion chronicles the transmission of a deadly virus that is brought from Hong Kong to the United States. In response, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is tasked with tracing its origins and finding a cure. The film follows Mitch Emhoff (Matt Damon), who is immune, as he tries to keep his daughter safe in a crumbling Minneapolis.

Ultimately, a vaccine is successfully synthesized, but only after millions have succumbed to the virus.

Like many science fiction and horror films that envision some sort of apocalyptic end, Contagion focuses on the basic requirements for survival: shelter, food, water and medicine.

However, it also deals with the breakdown of government systems and the violence that accompanies it.

A “new” normal

In contrast, contagion narratives that have turned endemic take place many years after the initial outbreak. In these stories, the infected population is regularly present, but the remaining uninfected population isn’t regularly infected.

A spin-off to the zombie series The Walking Dead takes place a decade after the initial outbreak. In the two seasons of The Walking Dead: World Beyond (2020-2021) four young protagonists — Hope (Alexa Mansour), Iris (Aliyah Royale), Silas (Hal Cumpston) and Elton (Nicolas Cantu) — represent the first generation to come of age within the zombie-infested world.

The four youth spent their formative years in an infected world — similar to Jooni in Peninsula. For these characters, zombies are part of their daily lives, and their constant presence is normalized.

The trailer for the second season of AMC’s The Walking Dead: World Beyond.

The setting in World Beyond has electricity, helicopters and modern medicine. Characters in endemic narratives have regular access to shelter, food, water and medicine, so they don’t need to resort to violence over limited resources. And notably, they also don’t often refer to themselves as survivors.

Endemic narratives acknowledge that existing within an infected space alongside a virus is not necessarily a bad thing, and that not all inhabitants within infected spaces desire to leave. It is rare in endemic narratives for a character to become infected.

Instead of going out on zombie-killing expeditions in the manner that occurs frequently in the other Walking Dead stories, the characters in World Beyond generally leave the zombies alone. They mark the zombies with different colours of spray-paint to chronicle what they call “migration patterns.”

The zombies have therefore just become another species for the characters to live alongside — something more endemic.

The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead (2015-), Z Nation (2014-18), and many other survival-based stories seem to return to the past. In contrast, endemic narratives maintain a present and sometimes even future-looking approach.

Learning from stories

According to film producer and media professor Mick Broderick, survival stories maintain a status quo. They seek a “nostalgically yearned-for less-complex existence.” It provides solace to imagine an earlier, simpler time when living through a pandemic.

However, the shift from survival to endemic in contagion narratives provides us with many important possibilities. The one I think is quite relevant right now is that it presents us with a way of living with contagion. After all, watching these characters survive a pandemic helps us imagine that we can too.

Krista Collier-Jarvis does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Xi Reemerges In 1st Public Appearance After ‘Coup’ Rumors

Xi Reemerges In 1st Public Appearance After ‘Coup’ Rumors

So much for the "coup in China" and "Xi is missing" rumor mill of the past week,…

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Xi Reemerges In 1st Public Appearance After 'Coup' Rumors

So much for the "coup in China" and "Xi is missing" rumor mill of the past week, which at one point saw Chinese President Xi Jinping's name trending high on Twitter...

"Chinese President Xi Jinping visited an exhibition in Beijing on Tuesday, according to state television, in his first public appearance since returning to China from an official trip to Central Asia in mid-September – dispelling unverified rumours that he was under house arrest."

He had arrived in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 15 - and attended the days-long Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit - where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, among others.

Xi is "back"...image via state media screenshot

Importantly, it had been his first foreign trip in two years. Xi had not traveled outside of the country since before the Covid-19 pandemic began.

But upon returning the Beijing, he hadn't been seen in the public eye since that mid-September trip, fueling speculation and rumors in the West and on social media. Some pundits floated the idea that he had been under "house arrest" amid political instability and a possible coup attempt.

According to a Tuesday Bloomberg description of the Chinese leader's "re-emergence" in the public eye, which has effectively ended the bizarre rumors

Xi, wearing a mask, visited an exhibition in Beijing on Tuesday about China's achievements over the past decade, state-run news outlet Xinhua reported. The Chinese leader was accompanied by the other six members of the Politburo Standing Committee, a sign of unity after rumors circulated on Twitter about a challenge to his power.

He'll likely cinch his third five-year term as leader at the major Chinese Communist party’s (CCP) meeting on October 16. The CCP meeting comes only once every half-decade.

What had added to prior rumors was the fact that the 69-year old Xi recently undertook a purge of key senior security officials. This included arrests on corruption charges of the former police chiefs of Shanghai, Chongqing and Shanxi.

More importantly, former vice minister of public security Sun Lijun and former justice minister Fu Zhenghua were also sacked and faced severe charges.

Concerning Sun Lijun, state media made this shocking announcement a week ago: "Sun Lijun, former Chinese vice minister of public security, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for taking more than 646 million yuan of bribes, manipulating the stock market, and illegally possessing firearms, according to the Intermediate People's Court of Changchun in Northeast China's Jilin Province on Friday." The suspended death sentence means he'll spend life in prison.

Tyler Durden Wed, 09/28/2022 - 14:05

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Did the pandemic change our personalities?

Despite a long-standing hypothesis that personality traits are relatively impervious to environmental pressures, the COVID-19 pandemic may have altered…

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Despite a long-standing hypothesis that personality traits are relatively impervious to environmental pressures, the COVID-19 pandemic may have altered the trajectory of personality across the United States, especially in younger adults, according to a new study published this week in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Angelina Sutin of Florida State University College of Medicine, and colleagues.

Credit: Brian Merrill, Pixabay, CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/)

Despite a long-standing hypothesis that personality traits are relatively impervious to environmental pressures, the COVID-19 pandemic may have altered the trajectory of personality across the United States, especially in younger adults, according to a new study published this week in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Angelina Sutin of Florida State University College of Medicine, and colleagues.

Previous studies have generally found no associations between collective stressful events—such as earthquakes and hurricanes—and personality change. However, the coronavirus pandemic has affected the entire globe and nearly every aspect of life.

In the new study, the researchers used longitudinal assessments of personality from 7,109 people enrolled in the online Understanding America Study. They compared five-factor model personality traits—neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness—between pre-pandemic measurements (May 2014 – February 2020) and assessments early (March – December 2020) or later (2021-2022) in the pandemic. A total of 18,623 assessments, or a mean of 2.62 per participant, were analyzed. Participants were 41.2% male and ranged in age from 18 to 109.

Consistent with other studies, there were relatively few changes between pre-pandemic and 2020 personality traits, with only a small decline in neuroticism. However, there were declines in extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness when 2021-2022 data was compared to pre-pandemic personality. The changes were about one-tenth of a standard deviation, which is equivalent to about one decade of normative personality change. The changes were moderated by age, with younger adults showing disrupted maturity in the form of increased neuroticism and decreased agreeableness and conscientiousness, and the oldest group of adults showing no statistically significant changes in traits.

The authors conclude that if these changes are enduring, it suggests that population-wide stressful events can slightly bend the trajectory of personality, especially in younger adults.

The authors add: “There was limited personality change early in the pandemic but striking changes starting in 2021. Of most note, the personality of young adults changed the most, with marked increases in neuroticism and declines in agreeableness and conscientiousness. That is, younger adults became moodier and more prone to stress, less cooperative and trusting, and less restrained and responsible.”

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In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS ONE: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0274542

Citation: Sutin AR, Stephan Y, Luchetti M, Aschwanden D, Lee JH, Sesker AA, et al. (2022) Differential personality change earlier and later in the coronavirus pandemic in a longitudinal sample of adults in the United States. PLoS ONE 17(9): e0274542. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0274542

Author Countries: USA, France

Funding: Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01AG053297 to ARS. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


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