coronavirus

The real Deep State: NIH employee was anti-mask author

Now we know what websites Dandy has been reading:

It would have been a dangerous assertion in the middle of a deadly pandemic no matter where it came from: that wearing masks has “little to no medical value” and could do more “harm” than wearing no mask at all.

But it was especially remarkable given the source. Published on the right-wing website RedState, it turned out to have been written under a pseudonym by William B. Crews, a public affairs officer at the National Institutes of Health, promoting the same type of discredited information about dealing with the virus that his employer was working aggressively to beat back.

I no longer find it ironic these guys do exactly the opposite of what we pay them to do. After 3 1/2 years of Kakistocracy, that's what you get. I do find it hard to believe his coworkers and supervisors did not realize what an idiot he actually was. Here are some examples:

Coronavirus goes to college in NC, and thrives

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Some 3,000 students have been infected, and that's a low estimate:

At least 3,000 college students in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus since campuses reopened last month for in-person classes, with an overwhelming number of cases coming from just three campuses, an Associated Press analysis shows.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has seen 895 students test positive for the virus since classes began Aug. 10, while North Carolina State University has reported 788 cases among students over the same time period. East Carolina University, which started classes Aug. 10, has had 756 students test positive since Aug. 9.

Even with this damning evidence of the risk, Republicans are still (continually) harping about opening the schools, and attacking Roy Cooper for his careful approach. Pay close attention to this spike in positives from testing:

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Miracle cure or deadly toxin?

My Pillow exec is pushing Oleandrin to Trump as a cure:

Mike Lindell, the chief executive of My Pillow and a big donor to President Trump, told Axios that the president was enthusiastic about the drug, called oleandrin, when he heard about it at a White House meeting last month.

“This thing works — it’s the miracle of all time,” Mr. Lindell, who has a financial stake in the company that makes the compound and sits on its board, said in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday. When CBS asked Mr. Trump about oleandrin for Covid-19, Mr. Trump said, “We’ll look at it.”

Forget about "snake oil," this stuff is more dangerous than most snake venom. I'll let Dr. Cassandra Quave explain it:

Coronavirus vaccine may be only 50% effective

Masks and social distancing will be with us for a while:

Scientists are hoping for a coronavirus vaccine that is at least 75% effective, but 50% or 60% effective would be acceptable, too, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a Q&A with the Brown University School of Public Health. “The chances of it being 98% effective is not great, which means you must never abandon the public health approach.”

Dr. Stephen Hahn, the FDA’s commissioner, said last month that the vaccine or vaccines that end up getting authorized will prove to be more than 50% effective, but it’s possible the U.S. could end up with a vaccine that, on average, reduces a person’s risk of a Covid-19 infection by just 50%. “We really felt strongly that that had to be the floor,” Hahn said on July 30, adding that it’s “been batted around among medical groups.”

I know it's depressing as hell to see this on a Monday, but the sooner we get this through our heads the better. That 50% is about the same as influenza vaccines:

UNC officials pay lip service to health department concerns

Plunging ahead with in-person instruction during a pandemic:

In the memo, Stewart expressed concern over signs returning students have already contributed to spikes and clusters of infections. She recommended an all-online fall semester or, at a minimum, holding the first five weeks of the semester online-only. She also recommended the school restrict on-campus housing to those who would otherwise have nowhere to live, in order to slow community spread of the disease.

The chancellor described the Orange County Health Department’s recommendations as “another piece of information we have received.” But after consulting with UNC health experts and the UNC System — which will make the final decision on closures — the university decided not to follow the health department recommendations.

When (not if) the outbreaks occur, faculty and students will have to scramble (again) to adapt to online instruction, and the UNC Hospital itself will likely be buried in older Orange County residents unnecessarily infected. And if it is, they need to treat those people for free. I know it's a teaching hospital that also relies (at least partly) on tuition monies, but health issues should be paramount. And these comments will not age well:

UNC needs volunteers for Coronavirus vaccine trials

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It's a strangely attractive offer, but that could just be a brutal case of cabin fever:

The vaccine trial at UNC will be a Phase 3 clinical trial of a vaccine against COVID-19 developed by Moderna, a private research company.

Moderna’s vaccine is based on taking genetic material, known as mRNA, from the coronavirus. When a person gets the vaccine, their cells will make viral proteins from this mRNA, just as they would if they were infected by the coronavirus. Their immune system should learn to detect these proteins to fight off future exposure to COVID-19.

While I'm trying to decide if I want to be one of UNC's little Outbreak monkeys, here's some stuff on genetics that flies over this primate's head:

Will reopening of NC’s universities in the fall be safe?

As North Carolina into a Phase 2 reopening plan, even as the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing in the state, universities are trying to decide what they’ll be doing this Fall. Will students return? Only some students? Will all classes be online? Only larger classes? How will they keep faculty, staff, and students safe?

In an online Board of Governors meeting, the UNC System’s president, Bill Roper, said he expects a return to campus by students in the fall and they’ll be finalizing guidance to the system’s 17 institutions by the end of the month. According to an email newsletter from IndyWeek, UNC-Chapel Hill may announce their fall plans as early as tomorrow. In a university-wide Zoom call yesterday, the administration announced a mix of instruction, with students wearing masks and in-person class sizes reduced.

Colleges and universities are unique institutions, bringing together a large population from around the country and even internationally in common spaces such as dorms, eating areas, research labs, and libraries. Some have working hospitals and medical clinics attached to them. The impacts of a contagious virus breakout wouldn’t be isolated to the campus - a university is part of the city or town surrounding it, where faculty, staff, and students live and mingle with the larger population. Think about the Tyson chicken processing plant outbreak in Wilkesboro and how that has spread COVID-19 to the surrounding community and across county lines.

It’s a complex issue to sort out. We have a large number of colleges and universities in all parts of the state, many part of the larger UNC system and others that are private secular and religious colleges.

If you aren’t paying attention to this debate and what universities are planning for the fall, you should be.

Recommended reading: The return to "normal"

Since the mysterious so-called "ReopenNC" movement and Civitas has been pressing the issue with Governor Cooper, it's time for a reality check.

Just what will it mean to get back to "normal"? When will it happen? What can "normal" look like?

The Atlantic gives an opinion on what to expect, informed by scientists and researchers and not social media memes and political slogans.

It's business as usual at Art Pope's Rose's stores

[Previously posted in the comments; additional info added.]

We haven't heard anything about Art Pope for awhile, so I checked the Rose's stores website to see how the pandemic is impacting Pope's main business - there's no mention of it.

WRAL Not Reporting Full Story on Franklin Graham's COVID-19 Stunt in New York

Recently, I highlighted the controversy surrounding Franklin Graham's publicity stunt, setting up a Samaritan's Purse outreach effort in Central Park under the guise of a "field hospital".

WRAL seems to be playing along with Graham's publicity machine, reproducing little blurbs about the makeshift "hospital" in their Coronavirus update every few days.

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