For most people, Omicron is a highly contagious cold. Lots will catch it, and most will get sniffles and a sore throat. Yes, even with Omicron, as with the flu, some people will get seriously ill, and a few will die. Masking, social distancing, capacity limits, lockdowns, curfews, and “vaccines” are not stopping the spread. People who dodge Omicron this time will face the next variant, or the one after that. Like other respiratory viruses in circulation, COVID-19 is here to stay.
Therefore, COVID is done. Either mild Omicron is the end of COVID madness, or there is no off-ramp.
The panic-demic must finish or we will be doing this forever.
For the past 23 months, the real pandemic has not been COVID but anxiety. According to Mattias Desmet, professor of clinical psychology at Ghent University in Belgium, the COVID crisis is a product of “mass formation,” a collective psychosis that can occur when a significant portion of the population develops an irrational fixation on an external cause. Mass formation is most likely to occur, Desmet says, when a critical mass of people suffers from a lack of social bonds, a lack of meaning in their lives, free-floating anxiety that has no specific source or cause, and free-floating frustration and aggression not directed at a particular target.
The virus may have made people anxious, but it was more the other way around. Those already afraid, disconnected, and adrift in their lives were more susceptible to media messaging that portrayed COVID as a bigger threat than it really was. The virus offered an external phenomenon on which to focus their distress. It gave purpose to fear. Masks, lockdowns, social distancing, and vaccine mandates provided the illusion of control and a justification for imposing the burden of their anxiety on others. For some, hiding behind masks, staying home, working online, and being isolated gave respite from social interactions that they found uncomfortable anyway.
COVID is a righteous platform from which to rage against non-conformists. COVID cranks cheer when small businesses are shut, workers dismissed, university students ousted, and schools closed, all to assuage their anxiety. The country was never “in this together.” As Aldous Huxley wrote, “The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior ‘righteous indignation’ — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.”
COVIDians who feel threatened by the end of the cause for which they have lived these past two years will clamour for more and harsher restrictions. In Canada, the game is still on. Quebec imposed new curfews. Ontario throttled down on widespread testing but then lurched back into partial lockdown and closed its schools again. Booster campaigns are in full swing and “the pandemic of the unvaccinated” rhetoric continues. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even suggested during last fall’s election campaign that the unvaxxed are racists and misogynists who should not be tolerated.
And yet, signs of the Great Backtrack are slowly emerging.
In the United States, the CDC has put the kybosh on PCR tests, while the Biden administration has admitted that there is no federal solution to COVID. In some states, stadiums are still full, and there are no masking requirements or vaccine mandates. Perceptive pundits, formerly in solidarity with the COVID regime, are delicately heading for the exit, trying not to be the last one in the room when the music stops.
In some jurisdictions such as Ontario, the vaccinated have been catching Omicron at a higher rate per capita than the unvaxxed. For those who judge themselves to be at low risk from the virus, why expose yourself to disputed side effects from a therapy not yet fully tested? People should have the right to make their own medical choices. After being suspended, dismissed, ousted, banished, and demonized, the unvaccinated have defended that right the hard way. They are not likely to give it up now.
COVID rules, say some apostles, protect the right to be kept safe from respiratory viruses. But no such right exists. If it did, lockdowns would be the established practice against colds, flu, and the many other respiratory viruses in circulation.
Society would have come to a screeching halt long before now. Viruses are part of human existence. If you’re sick, stay home. Remember when we used to just say that? People who are susceptible to COVID, even to Omicron, should keep themselves safe as best they can. The rest of humanity must get on with their lives.
As a health crisis, COVID is over. The hysteria, however, will be more stubborn.
Zinc Outlook 2022: Analysts Expect Small Refined Deficit
Click here to read the previous zinc outlook. After an uncertain 2020, zinc rose steadily in 2021, hitting a 14 year high in the second half of the year.The power crisis and increasing demand for the base metal as strict COVID-19-related lockdown restrict
Click here to read the previous zinc outlook.
After an uncertain 2020, zinc rose steadily in 2021, hitting a 14 year high in the second half of the year.
The power crisis and increasing demand for the base metal as strict COVID-19-related lockdown restrictions were lifted supported prices for zinc during the 12 month period.
As the new year begins, the Investing News Network (INN) caught up with analysts to find out what’s ahead for zinc supply, demand and prices. Read on to learn what they had to say.
Zinc outlook 2022: 2021 in review
Zinc prices kicked off 2021 above the US$2,800 per tonne mark after rallying for most of the second half of 2020. A recovery in the steel sector helped the base metal throughout the first half of 2021 as COVID-19 lockdown measures eased, supporting demand for zinc.
Commenting on the main trends seen in the market in 2021, Helen O’Cleary of CRU Group told INN zinc’s demand recovery was stronger than expected in the US and Europe, but lagged in Asia excluding China.
In October, zinc prices hit their highest level in 14 years, hovering around the US$3,800 mark on the back of the power crisis and costs associated with carbon emissions.
“Zinc’s price outperformed expectations in 2021 on the back of strong demand and smelter disruption, particularly in Q4, when European smelters started to cut back due to record high energy prices,” O’Cleary said.
One of the world’s top zinc smelters, Nyrstar (EBR:NYR), said back in October that it was planning to cut production at its European smelter operations. Mining giant Glencore (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF) also said it was adjusting production to reduce exposure to peak power pricing periods during the day.
Speaking with INN, Carlos Sanchez of CPM Group said zinc has been in recovery since prices bottomed out in 2020, helped in part by vaccination efforts globally and also by supply disruptions around the world.
“The most recent issue is the concern about high energy input costs into smelters in Europe — that's been pushing prices higher recently,” he said. Even though prices could not sustain that level until the end of the year, zinc remained above US$3,500 on the last trading day of 2021.
Zinc outlook 2022: Supply and demand
As mentioned, demand for base metals took an upward turn in 2021 as the world economy recovered on the back of stimulus plans and as vaccination rollouts took place in many parts of the world.
Looking at what’s ahead for zinc demand in 2022, CRU is expecting Chinese demand growth to slow to 1.1 percent year-on-year as the effects of stimulus wane.
“In the world ex-China we expect demand to grow by 2.4 percent, with the ongoing auto sector recovery partially offsetting the construction sector slowdown in Europe and the US,” O’Cleary said.
CPM is also expecting zinc demand to remain healthy in 2022, both inside and outside of China, including demand from developing countries. “One thing that remains uncertain is what will happen with COVID,” Sanchez said.
Moving onto the supply side of the picture, the analyst expects that if everything remains status quo, disruptions are unlikely to happen.
“There are going to be some blips here and there, but there have been some labor issues in Peru; yes, there's been some energy problems in Europe and China, but that's a fact in zinc output and in demand to an extent,” Sanchez said. “But really the catalyst that we don't know, and how it can affect prices, is how COVID will impact industries.”
For her part, O’Cleary is expecting most disruptions to happen in the first quarter, with CRU currently having a disruption allowance of 55,000 tonnes for that period.
“But this may well tip over into Q2,” she said. CRU is expecting mine supply to grow by 5.1 percent year-on-year in 2022, and for the concentrates market to register a 190,000 tonne surplus.
Meanwhile, smelter output is forecast to grow by less than 1 percent year-on-year in 2022, according to the firm, which is currently forecasting a small refined zinc deficit in 2022.
“Should smelter disruption exceed our 55,000 tonne allowance the deficit could grow,” O’Cleary said. “But high prices and a tight Chinese market could lead to further releases of refined zinc from the State Reserve Bureau stockpile, which could push the market towards balance or even a small surplus.”
Similarly, CPM is expecting the market to shift into a deficit in 2022. “That's due to the strong demand, recovering economies of COVID and its financial economic effects,” Sanchez said.
Zinc outlook 2022: What’s ahead
Commenting on how zinc might perform next year, O’Cleary said prices are likely to remain high in Q1 due to the threat of further energy-related cutbacks in Europe during the winter heating season.
O’Cleary suggested investors keep an eye on high prices and inflation, as they could hamper zinc demand growth.
Similarly, CPM expects prices to stay above current levels and to average around US$3,400 for the year. “I wouldn't be surprised to see zinc top US$4,000,” Sanchez said. “But at the same time, I don't think it holds above there; you'd have to have really strong fundamentals for that to happen, stronger than what's happening now.”
The CPM director suggested zinc investors should keep an eye on COVID-19 developments and be quick movers, taking a position whether it's short or long.
Looking ahead, FocusEconomics analysts see prices for zinc cooling markedly next year before falling further in 2023, as output gradually improves and new mines come online.
“Moreover, fading logistical disruptions and easing energy prices will exert additional downward pressure, although solid demand for steel will continue to support prices,” they said in their December report, adding that pandemic-related uncertainty is clouding the zinc outlook.
Panelists recently polled by the firm see prices averaging US$2,827 in Q4 2022, and US$2,651 in Q4 2023.
Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates.
Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.stimulus pandemic covid-19 otc lockdown recovery stimulus european europe china
Dr. Peter McCullough: Official COVID “Narrative Has Crumbled”
Dr. Peter McCullough: Official COVID "Narrative Has Crumbled"
Authored by Art Moore via WND.com,
Dr. Peter McCullough – a renowned cardiologist and highly published medical scientist whose confrontation of the government’s COVID-19 policies.
Dr. Peter McCullough – a renowned cardiologist and highly published medical scientist whose confrontation of the government's COVID-19 policies has drawn more than 40 million views on Joe Rogan's podcast – told WND in a video interview Thursday night the official pandemic narrative that has been fiercely guarded by establishment media and social-media censors is "completely crumbling."
That narrative, he said, included "false statements regarding asymptomatic spread, reliance on lockdown and masks – which obviously didn't work – the suppression of early treatment, the mass promotion of vaccines that failed."
"And now here we are, almost in complete free fall," McCullough said, referring to the record number of COVID-19 cases as officials acknowledge the vaccines don't prevent infection or transmission.
McCullough noted that in California, with the more contagious but much milder omicron variant now dominant, health care workers who tested positive for COVID-19 and had symptoms were told to go back to work.
"With that, I think that's it. I think that's the end. The narrative has crumbled. People don't want these vaccines," McCullough said.
"The vaccines should be pulled off the market. They clearly are not solving the problem."
The focus, he said, should be on "treating high-risk patients who develop symptoms" with some of the early treatments that he and other physicians around the world have found to be effective, including ivermectin and a new drug granted emergency use authorization by the FDA, Paxlovid.
"That's not misinformation," he said. "I'm just quoting the data. All of this can be looked up. Fact-checkers can look at it. I know I'll never have any problems with allegations of misinformation, because I just quote the data."
President Biden clearly had McCullough in mind when on Thursday he urged social media companies and media outlets to "please deal with the misinformation and disinformation that's on your shows. It has to stop."
McCullough pointed out his work has been relied upon by courts across the nation, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and he has testified to the U.S. Senate and will be back there later this month.
"I think America knows who is giving them the straight story."
In the half-hour video interview with WND (embedded below), McCullough also discussed:
The punishment of physicians who counter the official COVID narrative and use clinically indicated, FDA-approved drugs off-label such as ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients, including a colleague in Maine whose was ordered to undergo a psychological examination after her license was suspended;
His participation in a rally in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23 protesting vaccine mandates;
The Supreme Court's rulings Thursday on vaccine mandates;
The possibility that omicron could spell the end of the pandemic, serving as a "universal booster";
Data showing that vaccination has backfired, making the pandemic worse in nations with high vaccine intake;
The lethality of the mRNA vaccines;
His view on Biden's mass testing program;
His take on new FDA-approved treatments and his simple, inexpensive, over-the-counter protocol for treating omicron;
The unwillingness of so many doctors to "come off the sidelines" and treat patients for COVID-19;
The "crisis of competence" among top government health officials;
Where to find resources and support for physicians and patients, and for employees confronting mandates.
"I think Americans are going to understand that their individual choice is really what's going to matter in the end," he McCullough told WND in conclusion. "If Americans decide that they're not going to take any boosters or any more vaccines, it doesn't matter how many mandates or how many court decisions that happen. The vaccine program is going to crumble. I think it's just a matter of saying no."
He emphasized that the vaccines are still "research."
"No one can be forced into it," he said of vaccination. "And they're not turning out to be safe or effective. So, if everybody just stands firm and declines the vaccines, I think that will be the quickest way for us to get out of this."
See the WND interview with Dr. Peter McCullough:
McCullough, in a video interview with WND in December, called for a "pivot" from the current policies to early treatment and "compassionate care" for those who have COVID or have suffered vaccine injuries, which have included myocarditis, neurological issues and blood clotting.
"Now is the time for doctors to step up. Now is not a time for rhetoric or harsh statements regarding scientific discourse," he said.
Many of McCullough's 600 peer-reviewed publications have appeared in top-tier journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association and The Lancet. He testified to the U.S. Senate in November 2020 against what he described as the federal government's politicization of health care during the pandemic, curbing or blocking the availability of cheap, effective treatments. In a speech in September, he told of having been stripped of the editorship of a Swiss-based journal after having lost his position with a major health system, "with no explanation and no due process." Baylor University Medical Center fired him in February. And Texas A&M College of Medicine, Texas Christian University and University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine have cut ties with McCullough, accusing him of spreading misinformation.
"I've been stripped of every title that I've ever had in that institution. I've received a threat letter from the American College of Physicians, [and] a threat letter from the American Board," he said in September.
All because of his "lawful" participation "in a topic of public importance."
He said there are "powerful forces at work, far more powerful than we can possibly think of, that are influencing anybody who is in a position of authority."
McCullough is the chief medical adviser for the Truth for Health Foundation, a physician-founded charity that says it is "dedicated to following the Oath of Hippocrates to serve individual patients to the best of our ability and judgement and to uphold the highest standards of medical ethics."
* * *
Last year, America's doctors, nurses and paramedics were celebrated as frontline heroes battling a fearsome new pandemic. Today, under Joe Biden, tens of thousands of these same heroes are denounced as rebels, conspiracy theorists, extremists and potential terrorists. Along with massive numbers of police, firemen, Border Patrol agents, Navy SEALs, pilots, air-traffic controllers, and countless other truly essential Americans, they're all considered so dangerous as to merit termination, their professional and personal lives turned upside down due to their decision not to be injected with the experimental COVID vaccines. Biden’s tyrannical mandate threatens to cripple American society – from law enforcement to airlines to commercial supply chains to hospitals. It's already happening. But the good news is that huge numbers of "yesterday’s heroes" are now fighting back – bravely and boldly. The whole epic showdown is laid out as never before in the sensational October issue of WND's monthly Whistleblower magazine, titled "THE GREAT AMERICAN REBELLION: 'We will not comply!' COVID-19 power grab ignites bold new era of national defiance."
Graphite Outlook 2022: Demand from Battery Segment to Remain High
Click here to read the previous graphite outlook. Graphite is an essential raw material used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, and as sales of EVs grow, market watchers believe demand for the metal will surge. Despite discussions about battery chemistry
Click here to read the previous graphite outlook.
Graphite is an essential raw material used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, and as sales of EVs grow, market watchers believe demand for the metal will surge.
Despite discussions about battery chemistry changes, many experts think graphite will remain a dominant element in EV batteries for at least the next decade. Both synthetic graphite and natural graphite, in the form of the intermediate product spherical graphite, are used in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries.
Here the Investing News Network (INN) looks at the key trends in the graphite market in 2021 and what the graphite outlook is for 2022.
Graphite trends 2021: Shipping and power cost challenges
After a tumultuous 2020 in which supply chains were put to the test as economies shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, graphite kicked off 2021 on a bright note.
In early 2021, prices for natural flake graphite were slightly higher than expected as a result of unexpectedly strict environmental investigations and closures in China, Suzanne Shaw of Wood Mackenzie told INN back in July.
“There was also considerable shipping disruption early on in the year with containers and vessels not where they should be as routes reopened post-COVID,” she said. “Limited availability was prioritized for higher-value cargos, with lower-value raw materials flows disrupted. This situation subsided through Q2.”
Pricing was relatively flat during the first six months of 2021, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence data.
“Prices for +100 mesh flake concentrate, across all purities, have moved upward by around 5 to 10 percent year-to-date, while pricing for all other grades has moved less than 5 percent so far this year due to continued structural oversupply in the graphite market,” Miller told INN at the end of H1. “Moreover, the global shipping situation at the moment is hindering upward price pressure.”
Prices took a turn in August, jumping on the back of the energy crisis, which hit producers and disrupted output. Battery grades were particularly hit by rising power costs as both the manufacture of synthetic graphite and the processing of spherical graphite from natural flake are known for their high levels of energy consumption.
In terms of supply, Chinese production was expected to ramp up to meet rising domestic battery demand, as there is still a lot of overcapacity in China.
“However, the overall trend is that China is showing less appetite on the raw material side and investing in higher-value downstream industries rather than exploration/mining across most mineral sectors,” Shaw said at the end of H1. “It will continue to increase its own imports of flake graphite.”
Meanwhile, on the synthetic graphite front, the market could be driven into a deficit as a result of increasing demand from the lithium-ion battery and downstream EV sectors worldwide, Roskill, which was acquired by Wood Mackenzie, reported back in August.
“From a performance perspective, EV automakers prefer synthetic graphite, citing its superior fast charge turnaround and battery longevity,” a November Fastmarkets report reads. “Synthetic graphite, however, is costly, power intensive and environmentally unfriendly, with supply centered in China at odds with North American and European automakers’ desire for more localized supply.”
Graphite outlook 2022: What’s ahead
At the end of last year, analysts were expecting demand from the battery segment to continue to grow on the back of increased EV sales, with growth opportunities for both synthetic and natural graphite.
According to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence data, demand for natural graphite from the battery segment amounted to 400,000 tonnes in 2021, with that number expected to scale up to 3 million tonnes by 2030. Meanwhile, demand for synthetic graphite reached about 300,000 tonnes in 2021 and it’s expected to increase to 1.5 million tonnes by 2030.
“We do expect recycling to plug some of these gaps, but this isn't really likely to reach the necessary scale until post 2030,” Miller said in a December webinar. “So at the moment, the focus is really on synthesizing and mining this material as quickly as possible to meet the demand that we might see into the future.”
By volume, graphite is one of the most important elements in any electric vehicle battery ― there is between 50 and 100 kilograms of graphite, whether synthetic or natural, present within each vehicle.
“We can really see the sector growing progressively to around 15 times the demand we see today by 2030, outpacing moderate growth and demand from industrial applications,” Miller said.
That said, it's important to note that only certain types of natural graphite supply are relevant to and able to be qualified for the lithium-ion supply chain.
“This is really the biggest challenge in using natural graphite as a battery input,” Miller said. “This has the potential to exclude further capacity from projects in development.”
The expert explained that if all planned supply reached the market, it would have the potential to balance out demand up to 2029 to 2030, but with these limitations on which material can be qualified, the story takes a different direction.
“The primary limitation here is the mesh size inputs for the battery supply chain must be fine to medium flake,” Miller said, adding that consistency and high purity, somewhere around 94 to 95 percent carbon, is also key. “Flake graphite for the lithium ion supply chain must have low levels of impurity in order to avoid compromising the quality and longevity of the end product.”
According to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, today, synthetic graphite anodes make up the majority of market share and approximately 57 percent of the anode market.
“Going forward, we do expect this to shift in the direction of natural graphite anodes to around a 50-50 balance for a multitude of reasons,” Miller said. His reasons include tight graphitization capacity, higher costs for synthetic graphite anode material and also the environmental shortcomings of the synthetic graphite supply chain at the moment.
Graphitization is the process of producing synthetic graphite from carbon-rich, oil-derived feedstock raw materials, and this process is energy intensive.
“In China, graphitization capacity has been mainly located in Inner Mongolia, a province which has some of the lowest energy costs in the country and where other high-energy metal producers, such as ferro-chrome smelters, are based,” Fastmarket reports. “But Inner Mongolia was the first in the firing line when the 2021 energy crisis unfolded.”
This resulted in reduced production and unpredictable cost increases for synthetic graphite, and the reason why many battery manufacturers in China could turn to natural graphite instead.
Looking ahead at how overall demand for graphite will perform, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence expects the battery segment to challenge industrial applications as the leading end-market for graphite demand. Over the next decade, anode demand will grow at an average of 27 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
“Unlike some of the other critical mineral markets, there is still time for both the natural and synthetic graphite market deficits to be redressed — so long as adequate funding is provided for junior miners in the near term,” Miller said.
Commenting on price performance, Fastmarkets maintains the view that both flake and spherical graphite prices will trend stable to higher in the near term.
“The only potential reprieve we see for graphite prices would be if the power constraints diminish EV lithium-ion battery production, and in turn reduce demand for graphite anodes sufficiently to stem the upward pressure on graphite prices,” analysts said.
Another key trend for graphite investors to watch in the new year is how western automakers keep up with China, which has become the dominant player in all steps of the anode supply chain.
The ASX-listed company will process graphite from its Balama mine in Mozambique in its Louisiana plant, and will supply the EV maker with anode graphite material for an initial four year period. Tesla also has an option to offtake additional volume subject to Syrah expanding its capacity beyond 10,000 tonnes per year.
Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!
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