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“Pandora’s Box Of Harms”: How Public Health Erred On Side Of Catastrophe

"Pandora’s Box Of Harms": How Public Health Erred On Side Of Catastrophe

Authored by Brian McGlinchey via Stark Realities,

Throughout the…

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"Pandora's Box Of Harms": How Public Health Erred On Side Of Catastrophe

Authored by Brian McGlinchey via Stark Realities,

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, proponents of lockdowns, shelter-in-place orders, mask mandates and other coercive government interventions have characterized these measures as benevolently “erring on the side of caution.” Now, as the grim toll of those public health measures comes into ever-sharper focus, it’s increasingly clear those characterizations were terribly wrong.

What’s less readily apparent, however, is how the very use of the “erring on the side of caution” framing was injurious in itself—by thwarting reasoned debate of public health policies, diverting attention from unintended consequences, and buffering the Covid regime’s architects from accountability.

To understand how the misuse of “erring on the side of caution” performed a sort of mass hypnosis that coaxed populations into two years of submission to disastrous, overreaching policies, consider how the expression is typically used.

In everyday life, one might err on the side of caution by:

  • Leaving for the airport an extra 30 minutes early
  • Carrying an umbrella when there’s a 25% chance of rain
  • Opting for a less-challenging ski slope
  • Going back into the house to make sure the iron is unplugged
  • Getting a second medical opinion

Generally speaking, “erring on the side of caution” in everyday life means lowering risk with a precaution that has a negligible cost.

When mandate proponents portrayed their edicts as “erring on the side of caution,” it had the effect of tacitly assuring the public—and themselves—that there’d be little or no harm associated with extreme measures like:

  • Shutting down businesses for months at a time
  • Knowingly forcing millions of people into unemployment
  • Halting in-person attendance at schools and colleges
  • Ordering people of all ages and risk profiles to wear masks
  • Denying people opportunities to socialize, recreate and enjoy living

That implicit low-downside assurance not only fostered unthinking support for draconian measures among citizens and experts alike, it also cultivated an atmosphere of intolerance toward those who questioned the wisdom of these interventions and predicted the great many harms that have resulted.

“Overconfident, unnuanced messaging conditioned us to assume that all dissenting opinions are misinformation rather than reflections of good faith disagreement or differing priorities,” write Rutgers professors Jacob Hale Russell and Dennis Patterson in their essay, The Mask Debacle. “In doing so, elites drove out scientific research that might have separated valuable interventions from the less valuable.”

Of course, in addition to its implicit assurance that a risk-reduction measure comes at little cost, “erring on the side of caution” conveys an assumption that the precaution will actually be effective.

That hasn’t been the case with Covid mandates. Though many continue embracing the illusion of government control over Covid, the contrary studies and real-world observations are stacking far too high to be denied any longer by the intellectually honest among us.

Charts via Ian Miller at Unmasked

Public Health Threw Out the Playbook and Threw Pandora’s Box Wide Open

The masses who’ve chanted “I trust science,” as they praise each government intervention and idolize those who impose them, are likely unaware that, before Covid-19, the well-considered scientific consensus was against lockdowns, broad quarantines and masking outside of hospital settings—particular for a virus like Covid-19 that has 99% survival rate for most age groups.

For example, a 2006 paper published by the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center—focusing on mitigation measures against another contagious respiratory illness, pandemic influenza—reads like a warning label against many of the policies inflicted on humanity in the face of Covid-19:

  • “There is no basis for recommending quarantine either of groups or individuals. The problems in implementing such measures are formidable, and secondary effects of absenteeism and community disruption as well as possible adverse consequences…are likely to be considerable.”

  • “Widespread closures [of schools, restaurants, churches, recreations centers, etc] would almost certainly have serious adverse social and economic effects.”

  • “The ordinary surgical mask does little to prevent inhalation of small droplets bearing influenza virus…There are few data available to support the efficacy of N95 or surgical masks outside a healthcare setting. N95 masks need to be fit-tested to be efficacious.”

The point of that and other pre-2020 research into pandemic mitigation was to be prepared, in times of crisis, with policies that reflected a well-reasoned and dispassionate weighing of costs and benefits.

However, when the pandemic arrived, panicking public health officials and academics threw out the playbook and took their policy inspiration from the government that was first to confront the virus. Sadly for the world, that was communist China.

The breadth of the resulting harms from the ensuing plunge into public health authoritarianism is staggering. Far from erring on the side of caution…

Public health erred on the side of a mental health crisis. Anxiety and depression have surged, particularly among adolescents and young adults, where symptoms have doubled during the pandemic.

“I have never been as busy in my life and I’ve never seen my colleagues as busy,” New York psychiatrist Valentine Raiteri told CNBC. “I can’t refer people to other people because everybody is full.”

Public health erred on the side of juvenile suicide attempts. In the summer of 2020, emergency room visits for potential suicides by children leapt over 22% compared to the summer of 2019.

Public health erred on the side of drug overdoses. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, overdose deaths surged 30% in 2020 to a record-high of more than 93,000. Among the factors cited: social isolation, people using drugs alone, and decreased access to treatment.

Public health erred on the side of auto fatalities. Traffic deaths had been on a general downtrend since the 60s, reaching a near-record low in 2019. However, even with shutdown-lightened traffic, deaths jumped 17.5% in the summer of 2020 compared to 2019, and kept rising into 2021.

Blame increased drug and alcohol use, along with psychological fallout from people being denied life’s fundamental pleasures. University of Texas cognitive scientist Art Markman told The New York Times that anger and aggression behind the wheel in part reflects “two years of having to stop ourselves from doing things that we’d like to do.”

Public health erred on the side of domestic violence. A review of 32 studies found an increase in domestic violence around the world, with the increases most intense during the first week of lockdowns. “The home confinement led to constant contact between perpetrators and victims, resulting in increased violence and decreased reports,” the researchers found.

Public health erred on the side of riots, arson and looting. It’s my own conviction that 2020’s eruption of summer violence following a Minneapolis police officer’s callous homicide of George Floyd was greatly magnified by the period of forced mass confinement that preceded it.

Floyd’s death was a match dropped into a tinderbox of humanity confined to veritable house arrest. People blocked from restaurants and bars were suddenly granted a societal waiver to venture out into enormous crowds, where they found excitement, socialization and, far too often, a senselessly destructive means of venting months of pent-up energy, anxiety and frustration. It stands as the costliest civil unrest episode in American history.

Public health erred on the side of confining people where the virus is transmitted most. Lockdowns ordered people away from workplaces, schools, restaurants and bars and into their homes, where New York contract tracers found 74% of Covid spread was happening, compared to just 1.4% in bars and restaurants and even less in schools and workplaces.

Public health erred on the side of obesity. According to the CDCthe risk of severe COVID-19 illness increases sharply with higher BMI [Body Mass Index].” So what happens when public health “experts” shut down schools, workplaces and recreation options and told people to stay home to stay “safe”?

The CDC found that, in 2020, the rate by which BMI increased among 2- to 19-year olds doubled. Another study found that 48% of adults gained weight during the pandemic, with those who were already overweight most likely to add even more. Among other factors, the study pointed to psychological distress and having schoolchildren at home.

Public health erred against fresh air, exercise and Vitamin D. Governments raced to shut down playgrounds, basketball courts and other outdoor recreation facilities. In a move that’s profoundly emblematic of heavy-handed, counterproductive authoritarianism in the age of Covid, the city of San Clemente, California filled a skate park with 37 tons of sand.

Public health erred on the side of impaired child development. “We find that children born during the pandemic have significantly reduced verbal, motor, and overall cognitive performance compared to children born pre-pandemic,” say the authors of a study from Paediatric Emergency Research in the UK and Ireland (PERUKI).

“Results highlight that even in the absence of direct SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 illness, the environmental changes associated [with the] COVID-19 pandemic [are] significantly and negatively affecting infant and child development.”

Public health erred on the side of learning loss. Children are less vulnerable to Covid-19 than they are to the flu, and rarely transmit it to teachers. Unfortunately, American public health officials and teacher unions prevailed in halting in-person instruction (and socialization) in favor of “remote learning.”

It was a poor substitute that fell hardest on the youngest learners. For example, according to curriculum and assessment provider Amplify, the percentage of first-graders scoring at or above the goals for their grade in mid-school-year dropped from 58% before the pandemic to just 44% this year.

Public health erred on the side of pointlessly masking schoolchildren. When schools did open, mask mandates abounded—despite children’s relative invulnerability to the virus and the documented rarity of in-school transmission. A Spanish study showed no discernible difference in transmission among 5-year-olds—who aren’t required to mask—and 6 year olds, who are.

“Masking is a psychological stressor for children and disrupts learning. Covering the lower half of the face of both teacher and pupil reduces the ability to communicate,” wrote Neeraj Sood, director of the Covid Initiative at USC, and Jay Bhattacharya, professor of medicine at Stanford. “Positive emotions such as laughing and smiling become less recognizable, and negative emotions get amplified. Bonding between teachers and students takes a hit.”

“Most of the masks worn by most kids for most of the pandemic have likely done nothing to change the velocity or trajectory of the virus,” writes University of California associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics Vinay Prasad. “The loss to children remains difficult to capture in hard data, but will likely become clear in the years to come.”

Public health erred on the side of giving masked people a false sense of security. As I wrote in August, “Covid-19 particles are astoundingly small. Hard as it is to imagine, the imperceptible gaps in surgical masks can be 1,000 times the size of a viral particle. Gaps in cloth masks are well larger.” That’s to say nothing of the respirated air that simply goes around the mask’s edges.

Earlier in the pandemic, questioning cloth masks triggered outrage and swift social media censorship. Now, even mandate-happy CNN medical analyst Leanna Wen has declared they’re “little more than facial decorations.” Mask skepticism is sprouting elsewhere in mainstream media; the Washington Post and Bloomberg even published an essay titled “Mask Mandates Didn’t Make Much of a Difference Anyway.”

Chart via Ian Miller at Unmasked

When public health officials exaggerated the power of masks, they did more than promote pointless discomfort and a dystopian way of life. “Naively fooled to think that masks would protect them, some older high-risk people did not socially distance properly, and some died from Covid-19 because of it,” said epidemiologist, biostatistician and former Harvard Medical School professor Martin Kulldorff.

Public health erred on the side of killing small businesses. Thanks in large part to government’s targeting of so-called “non-essential businesses,” the first year of the pandemic brought an additional 200,000 business closures over prior levels.

Public health erred on the side of harming women’s careers. Women comprise a greater proportion of the sectors hid hardest by lockdowns, and the closing of schools and child care centers prompted many more women than men to put their careers on hold.

Public health erred on the side of inflation. To offset the massive economic destruction inflicted by public health shutdowns, the federal government plunged into an astounding spending spree, handing out cash to individuals, businesses and city and state governments.

It was money the government didn’t have, so the Federal Reserve essentially created it out of thin air. Pushing all that new fiat money into circulation debases the currency, fueling today’s surging price inflation—which is a stealth tax with no maximum rate, which hits poor people hardest.

Note: Lockdowns and other mandates weren’t the exclusive driver of many of the various harms I’ve described; general fear of the virus also contributed to some of them. However, it should also be noted that public health officials—and media that overwhelmingly emphasized negative stories—whipped up a level of fear that led people to overstate the level of danger actually posed by the virus.

There’s one more way in which characterizing lockdowns and other mandates as “erring on the side of caution” plays a psychological trick: Since the phrase is embedded with the notion of good intentions, it conditions citizens to be forgiving of the bureaucrats and politicians who imposed them.

Note, however, that in most everyday usage of “erring on the side of caution,” the choice to “err” is made voluntarily by individuals who bear the consequences of their own decisions—or by others, like an airplane pilot or a surgeon, to whom we’ve voluntarily and unmistakably granted control of our well-being.

The grim impacts of lockdowns and other mandates, however, were coercively imposed on society, to say nothing of the fact that so many of the edicts represented gross usurpations of power and violations of human rights.

On top of all that, the edicts were reinforced by Orwellian censorship and ostracism leveled at those who dared raise questions that have now proven valid.

So make no mistake: Overreaching public health officials and politicians—and the journalists-in-name-only who served as their mindless, unquestioning megaphones—have fully earned our withering condemnation. Indeed, holding them accountable is essential to sparing ourselves and future generations from repeating this dystopian chapter of human history.

* * *

Stark Realities undermines official narratives, demolishes conventional wisdom and exposes fundamental myths across the political spectrum. Read more and subscribe at starkrealities.substack.com

Tyler Durden Mon, 02/28/2022 - 19:00

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Shedding light on reptilian health: Researchers investigate origins of snake fungal disease in U.S.

Although only recently recognized as an issue in wildlife ecology, snake fungal disease (SFD) is of emerging concern in the U.S., with parallels among…

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Although only recently recognized as an issue in wildlife ecology, snake fungal disease (SFD) is of emerging concern in the U.S., with parallels among other better-known wildlife fungal diseases such as white-nose syndrome in bats. SFD can be deadly to snakes, and even in milder cases disrupts an animal’s abilities to perform normal biological functions such as hibernation, eating and avoiding predators.

Credit: Northern Arizona University

Although only recently recognized as an issue in wildlife ecology, snake fungal disease (SFD) is of emerging concern in the U.S., with parallels among other better-known wildlife fungal diseases such as white-nose syndrome in bats. SFD can be deadly to snakes, and even in milder cases disrupts an animal’s abilities to perform normal biological functions such as hibernation, eating and avoiding predators.

To better understand SFD, a team of researchers, including assistant professor Jason Ladner of Northern Arizona University’s Pathogen and Microbiome Institute, conducted a genetic study of the pathogen that was recently published in PLOS Biology, “The population genetics of the causative agent of snake fungal disease indicate recent introductions to the USA.”

Collaborating with study co-author Jeff Lorch of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and other scientists from the USGS, Genencor Technology Center, the University of California-Riverside, Stetson University, the Institute of Zoology, the University of Kentucky and Holyoke Community College, Ladner’s goal was to determine whether SFD originated in the U.S. or was introduced from outside the country, which could provide a historical basis for how it emerged—and ultimately inform management of the disease. 

“Snake fungal disease first came to be recognized in the U.S. around 2008. There happened to be a well-studied population of rattlesnakes in Illinois that started coming down with some very severe fungal infections. People asked, ‘OK, what is this thing? Where is it? What’s going on? Is this a new emerging fungal pathogen or not?’ What they eventually found was that it was already almost everywhere, at least in the eastern half of the U.S.,” Ladner said. 

SFD, though seemingly not as deadly as other wildlife fungal diseases, is still a worrying threat to animals that represent an important part of the ecosystem. “We’re very concerned, not just about SFD’s effect to drive population declines, but also as a contributing factor amongst many other threats that snakes are already facing, like habitat destruction or over-collection for the pet trade,” Lorch said. 

Understanding wildlife diseases is critical, both in the context of ecosystem health and in their potential effects on humans. “I have a lot of interest in wildlife diseases, partially because wildlife serves as important reservoirs for diseases that could potentially emerge in humans; SARS-coronavirus-2 is a great example of that. If we want to be prepared for the next emerging infectious disease in humans, we need to better understand the pathogens currently circulating in wildlife populations which may have the potential to be transmitted to humans,” Ladner said. 

The study presented unique difficulties, however. “For snakes, there’s almost no long-term population trend data, especially when we compare snakes to an animal like bats, which have suffered from white-nose syndrome,” Lorch said. “In many states, historical data on bat populations exists because they’re not generally as difficult to monitor as some other types of wildlife.”

Snakes, in contrast, “are pretty secretive animals. They’re not something that you probably see on the landscape routinely, unless you’re looking for them,” Lorch explains. Without a large body of historical data on North American snake populations, “it makes it hard to say what snake populations were doing before SFD was noticed. Long-term trends are really difficult to decipher.”

Prior to beginning research, the team had two hypotheses on how the disease originated in the U.S. “One hypothesis was that the fungus that causes this disease may have been introduced only recently into the U.S. and then has been spreading within the past several decades, maybe 100 years. The alternative hypothesis was that this pathogen has been here for a long time and is essentially native to the U.S.; maybe it’s been here for thousands of years and has been co-evolving with these snake populations. In the latter case, maybe it seems to be emerging simply because we’re looking for it now. Or there’s been some type of environmental change, maybe something linked to climate change, that is leading to an increase in the number of cases even though this pathogen has been here all along,” Ladner said.

In order to track the disease’s evolution, Ladner and Lorch created a “family tree” for strains of the fungus that causes SFD found in the U.S. “One of the ways we could reconstruct the history of the disease was to look at the genetics of the pathogen to get an idea of how long it’s been here and how it’s changed over time,” Lorch said. 

Studying the genetics of SFD provided the team with a trail of breadcrumbs, revealing more about its history and throwing light on SFD cases in the U.S. “The reason that genomic data is useful for doing this is because each time this fungus replicates, grows and divides, the polymerase (the molecule that makes the new copy) sometimes makes mistakes. Those mistakes result in mutations. And then those mutations will be passed on through the generations. By looking at those different mutations in the population, we can understand how long certain lineages have existed and have some idea of how the different strains are related to each other. And that can tell us something about how long SFD has been here,” Ladner said. 

After taking samples from different SFD-affected snakes, the team performed genetic sequencing on 82 strains of the fungus. This included strains of SFD isolated from wild snakes in the U.S. and Europe, as well as captive snakes from three different continents. Based on the genetic similarities and differences among the strains, the team was able to partially reconstruct the evolutionary history of this fungus. “In the U.S., we found that there are several divergent lineages of this fungus circulating, but a lack of intermediates between these lineages, which would be expected if they originated in the U.S. Because of that, we think that there were likely multiple, somewhat recent introductions of this fungus to the U.S., and that an unsampled population, somewhere else in the world, acted as a source,” Ladner said.

This evidence allowed the team to form conclusions on how SFD arrived in America. “It suggests that this fungus was introduced to the United States through anthropogenic means—humans moving these snakes around. The most likely culprit is the trading of captive snakes as pets: the different clonal lineages that we see in the U.S., we also see represented in captive snake populations,” Ladner said. 

The study provides guidance for future management of SFD in the U.S., as well as a better understanding of how it was introduced. “If we had caught SFD being introduced very early on, then you can imagine trying to stop the spread of the disease in the U.S. and potentially even eradicate it. I think that’s unlikely at this point, given how widespread it is. However, I think it’s still helpful to better understand the mechanism for how SFD was introduced, as there’s still the potential for new introductions of diverse strains from these source populations. If we know that this fungus was introduced several times over the past several decades through the captive animal trade, then putting more restrictions and controls and testing animals in that process could be important for preventing further spread,” Ladner said. 

Though their work provides critical insight on SFD, its treatment and movement in the U.S., both scientists stress the need for further research. “What I’m hoping is that this study increases awareness of the disease. I think SFD warrants more of our attention,” Lorch said. 

More work needs to be done to assess the ecosystem, population and species effects of SFD. “The broader question of, ‘what is going to be the impact of this fungal pathogen on these snake populations?’ is a very open question and needs more research,” Ladner said.

About Northern Arizona University

Founded in 1899, Northern Arizona University is a higher-research institution providing exceptional educational opportunities and outcomes in Arizona and beyond. NAU delivers a student-centered experience to its nearly 30,000 students in Flagstaff, statewide and online through rigorous academic programs in a supportive, inclusive and diverse environment. As a community-engaged engine of opportunity, NAU powers social impact and economic mobility for the students and communities it serves. The university’s longstanding history of educating and partnering with diverse students and communities throughout Arizona is enhanced by its recent designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). Dedicated, world-renowned faculty and staff help ensure students achieve academic excellence, experience personal growth, have meaningful research and experiential learning opportunities and are positioned for personal and professional success. Located on the Colorado Plateau, in one of the highest-ranked college towns in the country, the NAU Flagstaff Mountain Campus is truly a jewel of the Southwest.

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China Suggests It Could Maintain ‘Zero COVID’ Policy For 5 Years

China Suggests It Could Maintain ‘Zero COVID’ Policy For 5 Years

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

China has suggested it will…

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China Suggests It Could Maintain 'Zero COVID' Policy For 5 Years

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

China has suggested it will maintain its controversial ‘zero COVID’ policy for at least 5 years, eschewing natural immunity and guaranteeing repeated rounds of new lockdowns.

“In the next five years, Beijing will unremittingly grasp the normalization of epidemic prevention and control,” said a story published by Beijing Daily.

The article quoted Cai Qi, the Communist Party of China’s secretary in Beijing and a former mayor of the city, who said that ‘zero COVID’ approach would remain in place for 5 years.

After the story prompted alarm, reference to “five years” was removed from the piece and the hashtag related to it was censored by social media giant Weibo.

“Monday’s announcement and the subsequent amendment sparked anger and confusion among Beijing residents online,” reports the Guardian.

“Most commenters appeared unsurprised at the prospect of the system continuing for another half-decade, but few were supportive of the idea.”

Although western experts severely doubt official numbers coming out of China, Beijing claimed success in limiting COVID deaths by enforcing the policy throughout 2021.

However, this meant that China never achieved anything like herd immunity, and at one stage the Omicron variant caused more more coronavirus cases in Shanghai in four weeks than in the previous two years of the entire pandemic.

Back in May, World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus suggested that China would be better off if it abandoned the policy, but Beijing refused to budge.

As we previously highlighted, the only way of enforcing a ‘zero COVID’ policy is via brutal authoritarianism.

In Shanghai, children were separated from their parents in quarantine facilities and others were left without urgent treatment like kidney dialysis.

Panic buying of food also became a common occurrence as the anger threatened to spill over into widespread civil unrest.

Former UK government COVID-19 advisor Neil Ferguson previously admitted that he thought “we couldn’t get away with” imposing Communist Chinese-style lockdowns in Europe because they were too draconian, and yet it happened anyway.

“It’s a communist one party state, we said. We couldn’t get away with it in Europe, we thought,” said Ferguson.

“And then Italy did it. And we realised we could,” he added.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Tue, 06/28/2022 - 18:05

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No sign of major crude oil price decline any time soon

Bullish pressure on crude oil markets doesn’t seem to be easing Crude oil prices fell last week, notching their second weekly decline in the face of…

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Bullish pressure on crude oil markets doesn’t seem to be easing

Crude oil prices fell last week, notching their second weekly decline in the face of concern that rising interest rates could push the global economy into recession.

Yet the future of crude oil still seems bullish to many. Spare capacity, or lack of it, is just one of the reasons.

The global surplus of crude production capacity in May was less than half the 2021 average, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported on Friday.

The EIA estimated that as of May, producers in nations not members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had about 280,000 barrels per day (bpd) of surplus capacity, down sharply from 1.4 million bpd in 2021. It said 60 per cent of the May 2021 figure was from Russia, which is increasingly under sanctions related to its invasion of Ukraine.

The OPEC+ alliance of oil producers is running out of capacity to pump crude, and that includes its most significant member, Saudi Arabia, Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva told Bloomberg last week.

“Some people believe the prices to be a little bit on the high side and expect us to pump a little bit more, but at this moment there is really little additional capacity,” Sylva said in a briefing with reporters on Friday. “Even Saudi Arabia, Russia, of course, Russia, is out of the market now more or less.” Nigeria was also unable to fulfil its output obligations, added Sylva.

Recent COVID-19-related lockdowns in parts of China – the world’s largest crude importer – also played a significant role in the global oil dynamics. The lack of Chinese oil consumption due to the lockdowns helped keep the markets in a check – somewhat.

Oil prices haven’t peaked yet because Chinese demand has yet to return to normal, a United Arab Emirates official told a conference in Jordan early this month. “If we continue consuming, with the pace of consumption we have, we are nowhere near the peak because China is not back yet,” UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said. “China will come with more consumption.”

Al-Mazrouei warned that without more investment across the globe, OPEC and its allies can’t guarantee sufficient supplies of oil as demand fully recovers from the pandemic.

But the check on the Chinese crude consumption seems to be easing.

On Saturday, Beijing, a city of 21 million-plus people, announced that primary and secondary schools would resume in-person classes. And as life seemed to return to normal, the Universal Beijing Resort, which was closed for nearly two months, reopened on Saturday.

Chinese economic hub Shanghai, with a population of 28 million-plus people, also declared victory over COVID after reporting zero new local cases for the first time in two months.

The two major cities were among several places in China that implemented curbs to stop the spread of the omicron wave from March to May.

But the easing of sanctions should mean oil’s price trajectory will resume its upward march.

In the meantime, in the U.S., the Biden administration is eying tougher anti-smog requirements. According to Bloomberg, that could negatively impact drilling across parts of the Permian Basin, which straddles Texas and New Mexico and is the world’s biggest oil field.

While the world is looking for clues about what the loss of supply from Russia will mean, reports are pouring in that the ongoing political turmoil in Libya could plague its oil output throughout the year.

The return of blockades on oilfields and export terminals amid renewed political tension is depriving the market of some of Libya’s oil at a time of tight global supply, said Tsvetana Paraskova in a piece for Oilrpice.com.

And in the ongoing political push to strangle Russian energy output, the G7 was reportedly discussing a price cap on oil imports from Russia. Western countries are increasingly frustrated that their efforts to squeeze out Russian energy supplies from the markets have had the counterproductive effect of driving up the global crude price, which is leading to Russia earning more money for its war chest.

To tackle the issue, and increase pressure on Russia, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is proposing a price cap on Russian crude oil sales. The idea is to lift the sanction on insurance for Russian crude cargo for countries that accept buying Russian oil at an agreed maximum price. Her proposal is aimed at squeezing Russian crude out of the market as much as possible.

So the bullish pressure on crude oil markets doesn’t seem to be easing.

By Rashid Husain Syed

Toronto-based Rashid Husain Syed is a respected energy and political analyst. The Middle East is his area of focus. As well as writing for major local and global newspapers, Rashid is also a regular speaker at major international conferences. He has provided his perspective on global energy issues to the Department of Energy in Washington and the International Energy Agency in Paris.

Courtesy of Troy Media

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