Thursday, May 27, 2021

This and That

 A few "this and that" items that I came across in my reading and research over the last week or so.

U.S. Healthcare Spending

Do you recall that initially the entire justification to lockdown the economy in the spring of 2020 was to prevent our hospital system from being overwhelmed?

I guess we succeeded.

Annual spending for healthcare in 2020 actually declined 2% compared to 2019. It was the first decline in healthcare spending since 1960 when the government first started tracking it. That undoubtedly means that it was the first time it has ever occurred.

Hospital spending for the year was down 7%.

Dental services spending was down 20%.

Healthcare spending declines in the middle of what was termed the worst pandemic in the world in 100 years?

Who would have ever believed it possible?

Dr. Tony Fauci- So Wrong About So Much

You may recall that it was over a year ago that Dr. Tony Fauci disputed President Trump's suggestion that he had seen credible intelligence to suggest that Covid-19 had its origins in the Wuhan, China virology laboratory.

In March of this year Fauci disputed former CDC Robert Redfield when he stated that he also believed the virus originated in the Wuhan lab.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top adviser to President Biden on the coronavirus pandemic, said he didn’t believe that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory for studying pathogens, appearing to contradict controversial remarks made earlier in the day by the former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield.

It was just two weeks ago that Fauci testified before a Senate committee that the NIH had not provided any type of funding to the Chinese lab to fund "gain of function" research that had been banned in the United States because it was deemed too dangerous.

During a Senate hearing on the U.S. pandemic response, Paul pressed Fauci about whether the NIH had provided funding to the Wuhan Virology Institute to fund “gain of function” research, a risky type of research that involves making pathogens more infectious and deadly. 

"With all due respect, you are entirely, completely incorrect,” Fauci snapped back, adding the NIH “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology."

Fauci is saying totally different things on both subjects today.

He is now saying that he is not convinced that Covid-19 developed naturally outside the Wuhan lab and supports a full investigation of what went on in China.

Fauci has turned 180 degrees on the subject.

Ironically, he is now at the same place that President Donald Trump was at over a year ago when Fauci and the mainstream media claimed that what Trump was saying about the origins of the virus was "baseless".

Fauci also admitted in further testimony to a Senate committee this week that the NIH had indeed funded research into the Wuhan lab to study the transmission of coronaviruses from bats to humans to better understand the SARS-CoV-1 epidemic in the early 2000s.

Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the White House, told lawmakers Tuesday that the National Institutes of Health funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology through the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance with $600,000 over a period of five years. Funding to the nonprofit was eventually halted by the NIH. 


Fauci seems to want us to believe there is a distinction between funding the Wuhan lab (run by the Communist Chinese Party) and funding gain of function research there. Dr. Fauci is clearly a very trusting man.

Fauci has proven to be wrong more than he is right. There also exists substantial questions about his truthfulness in almost everything he has done.

One of the things I was sure of was that a re-elected President Trump would have made sure that Dr. Fauci would not have served the U.S. government in any capacity during a second Trump term.

My guess is that Fauci will likely not last much longer in the Biden administration.

He is no longer useful to them and quickly is becoming a liability. 

I would expect he will "retire" before the summer is out after what will be termed his "heroic and successful efforts" to fight the pandemic.

Unfortunately for the country, it will be at least a year too late.

Vaccines or Not? 

Seeing the rapidly declining number of Covid cases in the United States, UK and Israel it is easy to look at the high vaccination rates in these countries and declare the vaccines responsible.



However, compare the UK case drop with that of these other European countries all of which have vaccinated less than 10% of their population.

The case curves are almost identical.

Compare Israel with the cases in Palestine which has vaccinated just 6% of its population.

How much are the decrease in Covid cases attributable to the vaccines and how much relates to seasonality and natural herd immunity?

Defund the Police?

Many Democrat politicians have stated that we need to defund the police.

One is Atlanta councilman Antonio Brown who also wants to be the city's mayor.

Earlier this year Brown voted for an ordinance to withhold $73 million from the Atlanta police department in order to force a plan to reinvent the city's culture of policing.

Source: New York Post

What happened to Councilman Brown this week?


Councilman Antonio Brown was attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony at an event in northeast Atlanta around noon when at least four kids jumped into his car and took off, FOX 5 of Atlanta reported. 

"You don’t immediately think, ‘Oh, these kids are going to steal my car,’" Brown said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

Brown said the thieves jumped in his vehicle Wednesday after he got out to speak with community leader Ben Norman. He noted his white Mercedes-Benz coupe has keyless push-to-start ignition and he failed to realize it had been started, reports said. 

The councilman described the kids as being between ages 6 and 12, FOX 5 reported. 

What did Councilman Brown do?

He called the police.

In the end he got his Mercedes back. However, he is not planning to press charges.

Brown doesn't plan on filing charges against the kids, who he says acted out of desperation, Atlanta's WSB-TV reported.

"This is a generational poverty issue. These kids, it’s 12:30 in the afternoon. Why aren’t they in school? Why aren’t we enforcing systems to ensure that if they are not in school, they’re in recreational centers?" he said.

Indeed, why aren't they in school? Who is responsible for that?

Desperation? Perhaps you could make that case with a basic necessity. However, how does that compute with 6-12 year old kids stealing a luxury Mercedes-Benz coupe at 1230pm on a school day?

This story says so much about things that are so wrong right now.

The State of Education

From the beginning of the Covid pandemic and school closures I have expressed my concern as to what this was going to do to those children who were already behind in educational skills. 

These children were already seriously behind before we stopped them from attending in-person classes. 

Did these children even have a laptop and internet connection to attend school?

Did they have any type of parental support at home to supervise and support their online learning?

This tweet from Black education activist Denisha Merriweather puts the issue in perspective as she cites assessment results for Black students before the pandemic.

The NAEP stands for the National Assessment for Educational Progress.

Here is some additional data I found from the National School Boards Association on the percentage of students in the 8th grade who are considered to be proficient in various academic subjects.


These were the numbers when these kids were in school.

What do you think the educational assessment scores look like for 2020-2021?

Is anyone even talking about the most important factor underlying all of this?

Instead of calling for defunding the police who is speaking out about the fact that 70% of black children are born to unwed mothers and we need more children living in two-parent households?





Sunday, May 23, 2021

Inflation In Our Future?

Many people in the United States have not experienced significant, sustained, across the board inflation.

It has been 40 years since we last saw double-digit annual inflation. For most of the last 30 years consumer prices have averaged about 2.5% per year.

Inflation, consumer prices in the United States

Is this about to change?

There are troubling signs on the horizon.

Check out this comparison of prices on selected items over the last year.


Here is a chart showing lumber prices.

Here is the graph showing used car prices.


The Federal Reserve believes that the price increases are "transitory" and are not of immediate concern.

Many economic analysts are not as certain that is the case.

The Federal Reserve seems to be relying on the experience of the last 20 years which has seen deflationary pressures dominate.

This is largely a function of the globalization of the economy and, in particular, the tremendous influence that China has had since it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 and started exporting low-priced goods to the rest of the world.

This had a deflationary effect on scores of manufactured goods.

You can see the effect when you break down consumer inflation in the United States between services (excluding energy) and core goods.

Services inflation (excluding energy)  within the CPI index has averaged 2.8% per year over the 20 years leading up to Covid. This includes items such as rent, healthcare, college tuition, insurance and entertainment.

Core goods, which includes items such as food, household goods, clothing, toys and the like averaged 0% in inflation over those 20 years.

Do you see the difference? Low labor costs in China and many other countries around the world kept core goods inflation low. The same was not true with services that were more dependent on labor and other costs in the United States.

This is another graph that I have used in the past that makes the point with more specificity. This graph has inflation data only through 2016 but it clearly shows the differences we have seen between services and core goods inflation over the last 20 years.


You might look at the chart above and wonder how can it show that cars have only increased in price by 2.1% over the last 20 years?

This is due to the fact that the inflation index adjusts for new features and improvements that have been added to the price of the car. This is not price inflation. In effect, you are getting a better car than you did 20 years ago. Features such as air bags, back up cameras. better fuel efficiency etc. were not features you got 20 years ago.

The same goes for tv's. The flat screen television of today is a far cry from what you got 20 years ago.

There is no question that global economic forces over the last two decades have had a huge deflationary effect that ordinarily would have been expected to continue. The Federal Reserve believes that is still the long term trend.

If we are embarking on a longer term inflationary cycle it is clear that we have done it to ourselves with misguided government and fiscal policy.

For example, look at this chart that shows how much money has been put in the pockets of Americans with Covid stimulus policies.

In March and April, one-third of all income that went into the pockets of Americans came from government transfers.

A lot of that money was not spent. It was put into savings. That money is now on the sidelines and could fuel demand-driven inflation at some point. 

We may already be seeing the effects of that money in the recent increase in housing prices and in stock market prices.

Of course, underlying all of this has been the easy money policies of the Federal Reserve.

This is a chart of the M2 money supply over the last three years.

None of what has been done would have been possible without the money printing done by the Fed.

Unites States Money Supply, M2

We will see what the future brings.

If inflation is in our future it will have devastating effects on those at the bottom of the economic ladder and senior citizens in particular.

Of course, these are the same people that our politicians always assure us that they are committed to protecting first and foremost.

Those of us who lived through the inflationary period in the late 1970's know full well the effects that inflation can have.

We also know the extreme monetary measures that were required to wring inflation out of the economy in the early 1980's.

How does an 18% mortgage rate sound?

There is a reason that James Madison warned us in Federalist Papers #10 about what he called "Improper or Wicked Projects" that dangerous factions might promote at various times and places in our nation.

What was the first "Improper and Wicked Project" that Madison said we should be worried about?

1. A rage for paper money

The rage is here and almost no politicians are pushing back against it in Washington or anywhere else.

What was second on the list?

2. A rage for the abolition of debts.

How often do we hear that student debt should be abolished? We are also now hearing that rents that were not paid during the pandemic should also be abolished. How much further will this rage go?

 What is third on the list?

3. A rage for an equal division of property.

It seems that James Madison knew what would be on the minds of AOC, Antifa and Black Lives Matter 250 years ago.

Notice the specific words that Madison used when he referred to these "projects".  Could he have been any clearer about what he thought?


I would dare say that even today's U.S. Supreme Court should have no problem in interpreting his intent in using those words.

Is inflation in our future?

Louis Gave is a global economic observer who has been in the deflationary camp for a long time. He  thinks the winds have changed.

He sums it up this way.

Credit: John Mauldin, Thoughts From The Frontline

Stay tuned. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

What If The Majority Is Wrong?

The Founding Fathers of the United States of America had a deep distrust of the use of power when they established the nation.

They were concerned about too much concentration of power in the hands of a few. They had just separated themselves from what they thought was a tyrannical monarchy. They did not want to return to anything like that.

They wanted a strong and effective national government but they did not want that power concentrated in a few. That is the reason we have the three branches of government and a separation of powers.  It is designed so that power is not concentrated in a few.

They were also concerned about too much power being wielded by the majority. They distrusted a pure democracy for that reason. The majority could end up suppressing and marginalizing the minority. That could be true even with a slim majority of one vote. 

That is a reason was have a representative republican form of government rather than a democracy. It is also the reason we have a Bill of Rights. Freedom of speech, religion and the other rights enumerated in those first ten amendments primarily exist to protect the rights of those who might be in the minority.

Of course, the major reason to be concerned about pure majority rule is the fact that the majority view may be wrong.

We have seen this time over time in history.

For a good portion of history it was almost universally the opinion of medical doctors and scientists that bloodletting was the best method to treat any type of disease. We recognize that as totally insane today but it was what almost every doctor believed to be right.

For centuries most doctors prescribed using mercury to treat a variety of ailments. Never mind that we now know that mercury is one of the most toxic substances on earth.

You may recall that a strong majority of NASA scientists argued that it was safe to launch the Challenger space shuttle in 1986 despite concerns expressed by some involving the launch decision that conditions were too cold to trust the integrity of the "O" rings in the booster rocket that might fail in those conditions. We know how they ended.

Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion, January 28, 1986
Source: CNN

The same was true with the analysis of whether Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. The vast majority of intelligence analysts (in the United States and other countries) argued that Saddam Hussein had those weapons and was an imminent threat to world peace. That assessment led to the decision to invade Iraq in 2002.

What if the majority is wrong?

That question is not asked enough.

As I wrote in my last blog post, a big reason for this is that there is such a strong urge in most human beings to conform.

It is also true that not many want to rock the boat and challenge majority opinion. In fact, 95% of most any crowd is made up of followers.

This was demonstrated a few years ago in a research study at the University of Leeds conducted by Professor Jens Krause.

The study showed that it takes a minority of just five percent to influence a crowd's direction - and that the other 95 percent follow without even realizing what is going on.Professor Krause, with PhD student John Dyer, conducted a series of experiments in which groups of volunteers walked randomly around a large hall. Within the group, a few received instructions regarding where to walk. Participants were not allowed to communicate with one or intentionally influence anyone.

The findings in all cases revealed that the informed individuals were followed by the others in the crowd, forming a self-organizing, snake-like structure (or flock of sheep, take your pick). 

"We've all been in situations where we got swept along by a crowd," said Professor Krause. "But what's interesting about this research is that our participants ended up making a consensus decision despite the fact that they weren't allowed to talk or gesture to one another. In most cases the participants didn't realize they were being led by others at all." 

Consider all of this as we look at what we are experiencing in the United States right now.

There seems to be no room left for divergent opinions or views.

People who don't toe the line are censored or silenced.

This has been especially true on anything that has not matched the popular narrative on Covid.

The lockdowns were absolutely necessary.

Schools had to be closed.

Masks are absolutely critical in preventing the transmission of Covid.

The use of hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin to treat Covid is irresponsible and dangerous.

It is preposterous to suggest that Covid may have been formulated and escaped from the Wuhan lab.

The vaccines are safe and effective for everyone (even children and those who were previously infected with Covid and have natural antibodies).

How many of these will it be shown that the majority was wrong when we are able to assess all of this in the fullness of time?

Why was it that other voices had to be censored or silenced?

For example, one of the more interesting pieces of information I have seen in the last week was the Senate testimony of Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Stephen Marks of the FDA and Dr. Rochelle Walensky of the CDC on how many of their employees had been vaccinated.

Based on the majority narrative, you would think it has to be close to 100%. After all, these are medical professionals who fully understand the risks of Covid and the advantages of the vaccines. We are told over and over again they are safe and effective. Many want to mandate everyone has to be vaccinated to be able to do anything in society through a vaccine passport.

The surprising answer was around 60% at NIH and the FDA, Walensky dodged the question.

Those are majorities. However, there are substantial minorities of medical professionals at the NIH, FDA and CDC who have taken a different position. These are people who undoubtedly have had access to the vaccines for many months considering where they work. These are people who should also have the very best information on the benefits and risks of the vaccines. Do you ever hear about this minority view?

Are these views even allowed to be heard?


In looking at the last 15 months there have been two very visible instances where we saw some who refused to conform.

We can now look at the record and whether the dissent of the majority view was right or wrong.

The first was Sweden.

As almost every other country chose to lockdown, mask and close schools, Sweden did not conform. They opted to do as much as they could to protect the most vulnerable and let the rest of the country attempt to be as normal as they could.

Going their own way brought enormous criticism. Sweden was pilloried for being uncaring and cruel.

However, let's look at the data 15 months into the pandemic.

Sweden suffered excess mortality like almost all countries early, but looking at the last 15 months in its entirety, the nation with the "minority" view has generally had lower excess mortality than countries that embraced lockdowns, school closure and mandated masks.

How is that possible if lockdowns, school closures and masks were the ONLY answer as we were told by the majority narrative.

Which country looks like they handled it better?

Sweden vs. Germany

Sweden vs. France

Sweden vs. UK

Sweden vs. United States

The other example of courage in standing against conformity that I found significant was one you might find surprising. Some might even consider it trivial in the scheme of things.

I found it anything but considering the circumstances.

I am referring to the decision of the SEC, ACC and Big 12 to proceed with their fall football seasons when all the other major college football conferences were announcing cancellation of their games for the year.

Of the Division 1 FBS conferences, the MAC cancelled their season first and was quickly followed by the Mountain West, the PAC 12 and Big Ten. It looked like conformity contagion would take hold and the entire college football season would be cancelled (or postponed until the Spring).

The majority narrative that was being used that it was much too dangerous for these college athletes to play and to be exposed to Covid. Doctors for some of the schools stated that a number of athletes could end up with serious heart conditions from Covid that could be as high as 15-20%.

However, unlike what occurred with college closures in the Spring, the SEC, ACC and Big 12 did not conform.

They decided to move forward on their own with a conference only slate of games beginning in late September.

In the end, the other major conferences blinked and were forced to conform. All later played abbreviated schedules. However, the SEC, which was criticized for moving forward with its schedule, ultimately played all of its games save for one. 

Credit: College Football News

As for the heart issue, a study of 3,000 athletes found less than 1% developed any type of heart issue from the virus.

This is from an ESPN story on the retrospective study that studied the heart issues.

A study released Saturday examining more than 3,000 college athletes who had COVID-19 found so few instances of heart-related issues that future cardiac testing might be used only for athletes with certain symptoms.

In the study, published in the American Heart Association's journal, Circulation, researchers found signs of possible, probable or definite myocarditis, or heart inflammation, in 21 of 3,018 athletes (0.7%) who had tested positive for COVID-19. It also showed that athletes with heart issues were more likely to have had moderate COVID-19 and/or cardiopulmonary symptoms.

What if the majority is wrong?

More people ought to ask the question.

More people should also respect those that offer a different opinion.

More people should also consider that someone else might be more knowledgeable or have a better perspective about an issue than they do.

At one time I thought I didn't even need to say this.

This is clearly not that time.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Conformity Is More Contagious Than Covid

March 12, 2020.

Do you remember the date?

New York Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor were telling us on that date that they had no intention to close schools, close bars, restaurants and businesses and impose lockdowns.

We were still four days away from President Trump's "15 days to slow the spread announcement".

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine had just announced a ban of any gatherings of more than 100 people (exemption for religious services) and school closures for three weeks. The gathering ban would effect the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament in which the first games were to be played in Dayton, Ohio.

This is what I wrote on that date.

There are two fundamental truths about human beings that I always keep in mind.

First, the natural human condition is to be a conformist. People do not generally like to separate themselves too far from the herd.

Second, there is nothing more contagious than fear.

We are seeing both in vivid detail right now.

It is not easy separating yourself from the herd. It goes against most human instincts. It always feels safer and secure to conform. After all, there has always been much greater risk to stray from the herd or crowd.

You often feel better and more secure in conforming and not sticking your head out from the crowd. It is harder to be called out or criticized if you are doing what everyone else is doing. However, the crowd you are following can sometimes be heading in the wrong direction.

I went on to predict that it was almost certain that the NCAA basketball tournament would be cancelled. (that was announced the next day).

I also predicted that all college sports would also be cancelled for the Spring season. (they were).

Additional predictions I made based on understanding the contagiousness of conformity when Cuomo and DeBlasio in New York were still resisting closing the schools.

NBA. NHL. MLB. MLS, NCAA Tournament. All games cancelled. The pros may yet play again this season but the college players are done.

No one wants to stand out from the crowd. Everyone is taking their cues from someone else.

Broadway is closed as of tonight. How long until all movie theaters are closed?

We are seeing the same thing play out in other areas.

Which organization or company is going to want to have a business meeting or conference? Who is willing to go against the grain? Just the same, who was willing to cancel a meeting a month ago when most everyone else was still meeting? Very, very few. Why stand out from the crowd?

We all know the rest of the story.

That includes the conformity on the use of mask mandates that followed a few months later. 

Recall that for the first several months we were told that masks were not effective to stop the spread of the virus. All of the science to that point (and since) supports that view. However, that quickly changed as governmental authorities needed to have something to tell the public to make it appear that they were actually in control. And for the public to believe there was something they could do to be safe.

I had to laugh recently when I was watching Episode 4 of Season 1 of The Crown in which the plot line centers around the smog that enveloped London in December, 1952 in which thousands died due to breathing issues.

In the episode, Churchill's secretary takes her roommate to the hospital and sees the chaos first hand that is occurring as the health system attempts to deal with masses of sick people jamming the corridors.

Keep in mind this episode originally aired in 2016.

There are things you see in life that you just can't make up.

That was the science in 1952. It was also the science in March, 2020.

For context, here is a comparison of how large different particles are measured in micron size.


Wildfire smoke is 4 times larger than a Covid particle and a dust particle is 25 times the size of Covid.

However, this is what the CDC advice is with regard to wearing a mask to protect you from wildfire smoke.


A cloth mask that is supposed to protect you from Covid will not protect you from wildfire smoke even though those smoke microns are 4 times larger than Covid?

How does that make any logical sense whatsoever?

How does the CDC have any credibility left?

The one thing I could have never predicted is how long the contagion of fear and conformity would last.

Quite frankly, it has been unfathomable.

What will be interesting to see now is how quickly conformity will drive the reversal of everything we  have to do endure now that the CDC has stated that it is no longer necessary for vaccinated people to wear masks indoors or outdoors.


What is equally interesting is that in the day before the CDC announcement the CDC Director was still defending the use of masks by vaccinated people when pressed by CNN's Chris Cuomo.

It makes you wonder whether science or politics is involved here?

For that matter, the evidence suggests that politics has been at the core of everything from the very beginning.

That is why I also wrote this on March 12, 2020 after seeing what was happening and predicting we were headed for an unprecedented disruption of our society due to governmental edicts.

I am not saying that all of this should not have been done. It may be exactly what is needed. Perhaps it should have been done two weeks ago. My point is that what has occurred in the last few days has resulted more by the pull of conformity than anything else. It was not science or statistics. Those did not change appreciably in the last couple of days. You can also be sure that many states will follow the lead of DeWine.
That is how powerful the force of conformity is in human beings. It also shows the importance of having the leaders and initiators among us making sound judgments and good decisions. If not, we will find ourselves on the wrong path. There are so many willing followers we better have great leaders to follow.
In addition, no matter how contagious Covid-19 is, it is nothing compared to the contagion of fear that surrounds everything and everyone right now. 

However, the contagion of conformity is now working in reverse. The mandates and restrictions are suddenly going away now that the CDC is providing cover to the politicians.

In short order, the following states (all with Democrat governors) quickly announced they were ending mask mandates indoors for vaccinated people.



North Carolina








New York




Most are also ending capacity limits on large gatherings such as sporting events.

26 out of the 50 states had already ended state required mandates before the CDC guidance was announced.

A number of large national retail chains quickly conformed around the CDC guidance.

Trader Joe's


Sam's Club



We will undoubtedly see more in the next few days as the contagion of conformity takes hold further.

Unfortunately, the one group who seemingly will not be able to escape the masks are our children.

The CDC is holding firmly to the position that children must remain masked--in school, at summer camps and everywhere else because they will be the one group you know that are not vaccinated. 

This might mean that this will soon be seeing sad sights like this everywhere we go.

Call me cynical, but could the new mask rules be part of a strategy to set it up so parents will feel pressured to vaccinate their children?

I don't know what to believe anymore.

I do know that the need to conform is strong but it will not be easy for many to forget the fear mongering they have been forced to live under for the last 15 months.

Many do not want to ditch the masks because those people actually fear that others will believe they are conservatives, Republicans or Trump supporters. 

Really? Yes. 

The horror of it all to be thought of in such a way simply by not wearing a mask.

We seem to be getting past the pandemic.

It remains to be seen if we are going to get past the after-effects of the contagion of conformity, fear and the political divide that came with it.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Things That Make You Go Hmmm-Covid Edition

We have had many experts tell us what we should and should not do regarding Covid-19.

Many have made predictions and prescribed what we were supposed to do to stay safe.

You would think that almost a year and a half into all of this there would be more that they really knew.

You would also think there would not be many things that would still make you go hmmmmm.

You would also think that this far into all of this that more of these experts might be a little more contrite and not act as if they know it all.

Let's take a look at a few items that make me go hmmmm right now.

As I have stated before, I am not a doctor, epidemiologist or public health expert. I merely look at facts and data. 

Most of the time it doesn't give me definitive answers. However, it does give me a pretty good ability to ask questions about whether what we are told matches what the data says.

Let's take a look at a few things that make me go hmmmmm right now.

Covid cases

Dr. Michael Osterholm is one of the Biden administration's top advisors on Covid.

On January 31 on Meet The Press Osterholm told us that in the next 6-14 weeks we were going to see a surge in Covid cases driven by the UK variant.

It is exactly 14 weeks after Osterholm gave us this gloomy prediction.

On March 28, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Wallensky warned of "impending doom" stating the United States was about to see an increasing number of Covid cases due to states like Florida, Texas and others that were relaxing masking mandates and lockdown orders.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky became emotional at a White House coronavirus press briefing on Monday — her voice breaking as she warned that the US is facing “impending doom” as COVID-19 cases rise again.

“I’m gonna lose the script and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom,” Walensky told reporters at the briefing.

Were the predictions of these "experts" anywhere close to what has happened?


The 7-day rolling average of daily cases are -86% since the peak in mid-January.

Hospitalizations are -75% since the peak. Deaths are -82%.

The positivity rate on tests is -79%.

It makes me go Hmmmmmm.

It also makes me wonder if these experts can be this far off on this how much can I trust anything they say?

To further confirm that, Walensky is the same person who up to a week ago was telling vaccinated people to wear a mask outdoors and now is telling children who attend summer camps that they need to wear a mask outdoors at all times.

Even the New York Times this week called out the misleading guidance that Walensky and the CDC has been providing the public on the risks of outside transmission of Covid.

The CDC has been telling the public that 10% of all cases of Covid have occurred outdoors.

The New York Times says that it is more like 0.1%.


The New York Times is now doubting "the science" as well?

Is there a hint of change in the air?

It also brings to mind this quote from Thomas Sowell that a friend sent me today.

Source: Dr. Thomas Sowell


It is easy to look at the data above and suggest that the vaccines are the reason for the drop in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

I hope that is the case.

However, we also saw that cases exploded in the United States in the first several weeks after the vaccines were first introduced.

We saw similar results in Israel and the UK after the introduction of the vaccines in those countries.

This effect has been particularly noticeable in island states such as Gibraltar and the Seychelles which went from almost no Covid cases and deaths to a massive spike right after the introduction of the vaccines.

This same effect has been seen in India which has recently been battling an enormous spike in Covid cases and deaths. Is it a coincidence that the increase began right about the time that vaccinations started taking place in that nation?

This graph shows the number of new cases in India since the beginning of the pandemic.

India started administering the vaccines in the last half of January. At that time there were very few cases. On February 1,  India reported 8,500 cases. India was reporting more than 400,000 new cases per day the first week of May.


Many argue that this is due to people letting their guard down after being vaccinated with the first dose. Or there are just not enough people vaccinated yet in India to see any effect from the vaccines.  

However, the fact is that in four of the most five most vaccinated countries in the world cases have surged despite the high levels of vaccinated individuals.

Look at the surge in cases in Seychelles, UAE, Bahrain and Uruguay. All began after vaccinations started and all are among the countries with the highest percent of the population vaccinated.

Israel had a surge in cases beginning in mid-December (vaccines were deployed beginning December 19) but has dropped sharply since mid-March.

Israel relied solely on the Pfizer vaccine. The other countries generally have used the Chinese vaccine or Astra Zeneca. Is that the reason? Are the U.S vaccines that much better?

One of the more interesting theories I have seen advanced is that the Covid virus may be harmlessly present in the small intestine of many people and is kept at bay by the person's natural immune system. This may particularly be the case in third world countries like India where people are bombarded by a number of germs, microbes and pathogens on a daily basis. Their natural immune systems are better developed to fight off health threats.

Why did India go through a year with almost no cases in one of the most densely populated countries in the world only to see cases explode recently?

The scientist who posits this theory states, for example, that the herpes virus is typically found to be present in 90% of adults but it flares up actively only in a small percentage.

Is there something about the vaccine that interferes with the normal immune system and activates the dormant virus? 

Does the experience in India suggest that there is something to the argument that those who are vaccinated may later face greater risk with Antibody Dependent Enhancement if they are challenged with a later version of the wild virus? Most experts say this is not a concern but is there a good explanation for what is occurring in India and some of these other countries?

It has been great to see the significant drop in cases in the United States and Israel after the initial surge. It does appear that the vaccines are contributing to the decrease.

However, compare the experience of United States and Israel to Mexico and South Africa, two countries that have vaccinated very little of the population.

South Africa's cases are down -90% since the peak in January with less than 1% vaccinated.

Mexico cases are down -88% since it peak with only 11% vaccinated with one dose.

Is it the vaccine or are other forces (seasonality, Ivermectin, virus burning out) at work?

I don't know the answers to any of the questions above but the data and facts certainly make you go Hmmmm.

Public Attitudes

There is a lot of interesting data out there but almost nothing tops the recent surveys I have come across on public attitudes regarding Covid.

For example, look at this Morning Consult survey that compares the attitudes of those have been vaccinated versus those which have not on their comfort level in engaging in different activities.

It is truly remarkable. Those who have not been vaccinated are much more comfortable in doing every public activity than those who have been vaccinated.

What is the reason to get vaccinated?

It seems to show the total failure of public health messaging over the last year.

If you doubt that consider the messages of Osterholm and Walensky who were prophets of doom at the same time that the vaccines were being rolled out.

What confidence did they have in the vaccines when they were talking about impending doom?

Similarly, look at this Economist/YouGov poll that asked 1500 U.S. adults when they thought it would be safe to go out in public without a mask.

Bear in mind that everyone 18 years and older has been able to get the vaccines for several weeks.

What I found most interesting is the responses by age.


Despite having almost no serious risk of severe illness or death from Covid, 23% in the ages 18-29 demographic said that it would be 2022 or later before they felt comfortable going maskless. Only 16% felt is was safe right now. Similar responses were found for those between ages 30-44 that also have low risk.

On the other hand, 41% of those age 65+ thought it was safe right now to go without a mask. This might be due to higher level of vaccination in this group but the disconnect in perceptions is still remarkable considering the risk profiles of the two groups.

It certainly is enough to make me go Hmmmmm.

It also might say something about how thoroughly our young people have been brainwashed by our public health authorities and social media.

How many of them do any research on their own?

Have we raised a generation of sheep?