Politicians and "experts" alike that are touting "science" on news programs worldwide are ignoring the facts and what science really says about this pandemic
With the current news cycle and its hysterical coverage of the novel coronavirus, many people are finding it hard to know what to believe when it comes to COVID-19 and the responses to it.
Rather than making informed decisions based on thorough data and concrete evidence, the powers that be instead relied upon theoretical models using assumptions (that have since been proven wildly inaccurate) from rather dubious sources.
As the biggest and most catastrophic overreaction in modern history unfolds, The Rant has issued multiple articles about the coronavirus, which have focused largely on the media's hyping of the lethality and risks associated with the virus, the science that demolishes the common narratives spewed by news organizations and many in the public, and most recently covered why UFC 249's cancellation was blatantly political and in no way supported by science.
In this piece, a more thorough guide to the latest findings and studies is compiled in hopes to provide people with a more cohesive and scientific understanding of the realities surrounding this virus, and the (in)accuracies of many claims one may hear either from the news or word of mouth.
This article will also be periodically updated with new sections posted below with the most recent updates added to the top, keeping you up to date as the science evolves and more data comes in.
UPDATE (May 4, 2020)
Evidence from all corners of the world continues to come in that exposes the lockdowns as ineffective and the models that inspired the lockdown theories as extreme miscalculations.
The notoriously pathetic epidemiologists at the Imperial College predicted that Sweden would pay a hefty price for not imposing lockdowns on their populace, and once again their projections have fallen hilariously flat - it was projected that by May 1 Sweden would suffer 40,000 deaths from COVID-19 and 100,000 by June, yet the latest figure today from Sweden shows the death toll so far is an astounding...2,680.
A new study analyzing the spread of the coronavirus found that the full lockdown policies imposed in western european nations like Italy, Spain, France and the UK had no evident impact on the epidemic, something that has become increasingly clear as time has gone on.
Florida, which has been regularly blasted by the media for its less draconian lockdown measures, released updated graphics showing just how far off the IMHE modeling was in regards to its state, as seen below. Total confirmed infections (not hospitalizations, which are far lower) as of today? 36,897.
While lockdowns continue to hurt the healthy masses and cause massive repercussions, the vulnerable and elderly remain completely unprotected by said lockdowns as care homes continue to be ravaged by the virus. Echoing other reports, this paper found that nursing home residents comprised 57% of all COVID-19 deaths in Spain, 53% in Italy, and 45% in France.
Likewise preventive care and treatment for chronic conditions have fallen by the wayside as the media continues to stoke fear over a virus with a death rate of less than 0.01% for those under 70. The toll these failures will have on people's health will be felt for years and as stated already in this article below, the increase in cancer deaths as a result of the COVID-19 response will far outweigh the number of lives lost with COVID-19 in just a few years' time.
And the myth that children, who have been found to be near-immune to the virus, are spreading it and put their grandparents and other elders at risk? That isn't happening either, as new studies such as this one have found, and in fact, of contact tracing cases conducted by the WHO, not a single case of child-to-adult transmission has been found. But let's keep schools closed indefinitely and heap more stress on the young ones, shall we?
Ironically, the "misguided" theories and evidence-lacking pseudoscience that politicians and media alike have used to tout science and guide their public policies in regards to the pandemic is exacting a massive toll on the science community as well, with labs closed and important experiments being abandoned thanks to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the worst jobs report in US history looms with a loss of around 22 million jobs expected and an unemployment rate nearing 20%, all just two months removed from a spectacular 3.9% unemployment rate at the end of February.
To make matters worse, technology once used to combat ISIS that received funding from the Pentagon is now being used against American civilians for political purposes.
On a more positive note, Israel has announced they've made a breakthrough in isolating antibodies for the virus and are in the early stages of producing commercial quantities of said antibodies that they state neutralizes the virus. I wonder if New York's Bill de Blasio will support an antidote that was developed by Jews?
The amount of people now waking up to the realities of the virus and the complete failures by "experts" from the beginning is increasing by the day - even outlets like the Washington Times are realizing the incredibly overblown response to the virus has and will continue to have catastrophic consequences.
Even the former FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb, who was a staunch advocate for it not long ago, has admitted mitigation "didn't work as well as expected", which flies in the face of the modellers that tried to pass off their drastic projection reductions as proof of effective social distancing.
UPDATE (April 29, 2020)
Showing once again why he is unfit to lead the United States' response during this crisis, Dr. Fauci has now announced that Remdesivir is the new "standard of care" for COVID-19 treatment.
Touting a 31% improvement in recovery time for those given the drug as compared to a placebo (improving the median recovery time from 15 to 11 days comparatively), Fauci and the media at large conveniently left out the fact that no clinically significant difference in mortality rate was found, indicating that even if the drug helps some recover more quickly from the virus, it doesn't appear to reduce the risk of death.
Much like hydroxychloroquine, multiple studies have conflicting reports about the efficacy and safety of the drugs; Gilead's (the pharmaceutical company behind Remdesivir) own study showed no clinically significant improvement in mortality rate as well and that 25% of patients suffered severe side effects from the drug including multiple-organ dysfunction syndrome, septic shock, and acute kidney injury, while another 23% showed signs of liver damage.
The media has touted the on-patent and expensive Remdesivir since it first began making the rounds as a possible drug to treat COVID-19 despite these caveats, while hydroxychloroquine, an extremely cheap, generic drug used primarily to treat malaria that has been around for decades, has been repeatedly attacked as deadly despite its long history as a safe drug with little risk of side effects when used properly.
Plenty of trials have now been put in place in multiple countries, including a small study in France showing significant viral load reduction as well as a larger study from professor Didier Raoult showing similar findings in viral load reduction and low fatality numbers, and even a double-blind study in China (though it being from China means it should be taken with a grain of salt), as well as the drug being touted by many practicing physicians.
Most of the results from hydroxychloroquine studies have not yet been published, with ongoing large-scale trials occuring in Australia, Canada, and the US to name a few.
Despite these promising early results, the media has repeatedly stoked fear of the drug - everyone of course remembers the media's illogical trashing of Trump for his enthusiasm about the promising treatment after it supposedly led to a couple taking fish tank cleaner, which is now looking more and more like a case of deliberate homicide that the media pounced on for cheap political theatre.
As it's a drug that's been around for years, hydroxychloroquine and its sister drug chloroquine (hydroxychloroquine is safer and more widely-used) are well-known and studied with clear guidelines and known risk levels for side effects. It's not recommended for long-term use and more specifically, large dosages, yet that hasn't stopped the media from issuing fearful headlines from studies in places like Spain and Brazil which prescribed much higher dosages of chloroquine than recommended to patients, causing them to suffer heart attacks and put an end to their trials.
Likewise, Tom Hanks' wife Rita Wilson made much-publicized remarks about how she experienced severe side effects from chloroquine while recovering from COVID-19 - the problem is, the side effects she described fit the effects of COVID-19 and not chloroquine, yet the media conveniently ignored that distinction.
Most recently a retrospective study on the use of hydroxychloroquine on Veteran Affairs patients has made the rounds on the news with the findings that hydroxychloroquine increased risk of mortality and had no positive effects - rather than offering any realistic analysis of the study which has been ripped apart by other academics, the media simply used the study's author's conclusions to once again stoke fears about the treatment.
The problems with the study are numerous, but most importantly, reading the study itself will give you an idea of just how little weight the conclusions have.
The study acknowledges that hydroxychloroquine was only given to veterans at higher risk of death or with more severe symptoms (it was a retrospective study after all, not a controlled one) meaning that the fact that more died while on hydroxychloroquine was to be expected and is even stated by the authors.
The study also made no mention of zinc being used along with hydroxychloroquine, only stating the three "groups" of patients they analyzed included those given hydroxychloroquine, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, and neither of the two. If zinc was not given in conjunction with the other drugs, that would be a pretty key omission as zinc plays a pivotal role in the entire premise of the treatment.
Not to mention that one of the authors of the study has a patent application pertaining to the coronavirus and another took a research grant from Gilead (Remdesivir's creator), which is again info found in the study itself provided above (the authors of course claimed these competing interests were unrelated to the study).
In other news, new figures from the Bureau of Prisons in the United States show that nearly 2000 out of the 2700 inmates tested (over 70%) across federal prisons have tested positive for the novel coronavirus - applying the 70% rate across the nearly 150,000 federal inmates the Bureau of Prisons oversees, with the 30 deaths reported thus far, would give an estimated mortality rate of just 0.02%, though of course that may rise if many of the infections are new.
A group of Swiss and American researchers are estimating that conservatively, 2.1% of Switzerland's population will suffer an average of 9.79 years of life lost just as a result of the mental and emotional toll three months of lockdowns will have on the population - and that's explicitly related to mental health issues, not including other health issues caused by unemployment and the other effects of the lockdowns.
In the latest bit of pandemic irony, the WHO has lauded Sweden's model in combating the virus, which unlike virtually every other country refused to implement any stay-at-home orders or restrictions.
And of course, it would be a mistake to not share how overworked the nurses in the US are, who are so absolutely swamped that hundreds of videos have been making the rounds online of nurses dancing and playing around in the "trenches". And people wonder why nobody trusts the news or governments anymore...
ORIGINAL (published April 27, 2020)
The Lockdown Mythology: The Entire Theory in a Nutshell
The most common myth that has come from the current coronavirus hysteria is that staying at home is somehow saving lives.
The theories regarding forced social distancing and the "lockdowns" of citizens in western countries have all focused intently on "flattening the curve".
Without getting too mathematical, the basics are very simple - if you are to draw a simple graph showing the number of cases as time passes, you will note with any viral outbreak that the curve you have drawn sharply rises, "peaks" or plateaus, and then falls as time goes on.
Adding a straight line to represent the amount of hospitalizations a region or country's health care system can handle, if the curve representing the virus at any point reaches above the health system's line (capacity), then "excess" deaths will occur - essentially, hospitals won't be able to provide care for the amount of people requiring hospitalization at once, leading to people dying that could otherwise be saved, whether it be from the pandemic itself or other illnesses, accidents, etc. that they cannot get treatment for because of the strain on hospitals.
The entire premise of flattening the curve via social distancing and lockdown procedures is not to limit the amount of people getting the virus - in fact, the entire theory assumes that the exact same number of people will be infected in either case - it instead seeks to limit the amount of people getting the virus at one time, spreading infections out and thus never overloading hospitals.
This twenty second video below shows this concept in a very simple and easy to understand manner.
Hunkering down for a few weeks to stop a massive surge in cases was the original rationale, but over time, it has been perverted into a "stay home, save lives" campaign with no end in sight despite the fact the "surge" has not overwhelmed hospitals in all but rare exceptions and the amount of cases has vastly exceeded any prior assumptions in spite of the crippling lockdown measures imposed on most of the western world.
Even in New York, the hardest hit area in the United States that has been the focal point of much of the rhetoric from media members and news channels showcasing why the lockdowns are needed, has not seen the surge in cases overtake the line representing hospital capacity despite the panicked claims of impending overrun.
The USNS Mercy, a Navy medical ship dispatched to help the "overwhelmed" NY hospitals, is likely to return to Virginia soon after going largely unused by the State, and in addition a 2500-bed emergency Javits Center hospital constructed to aid in the battle against the virus is likewise nearly empty.
Weeks ago Washington state, home of one of the earliest outbreaks in the US, dismantled an emergency field hospital without ever treating a single patient.
Of course, officials and so-called experts have claimed that social distancing has had a major impact and helped out sooner than expected, which enabled hospitals to avoid being overwhelmed - unfortunately for their future reputations, evidence points to the contrary.
The first key problem with the lockdown theories is that it assumed there were extremely few cases by the time lockdowns were implented. This assumption has already been shown to be inaccurate, but by precisely how much is still anyone's guess.
Originally Washington was believed to be home of the first outbreak in the US, however Santa Clara County in California has been conducting tests on possible COVID-19 victims that died prior to testing being available.
In findings that far pre-date suspected first infections in the US, the county found a victim of COVID-19 that passed away on February 6, as well as one on February 17 - both victims had no recent travel history and thus are believed to be victims of community transmission.
Given that it takes around 3-4 weeks at least for someone to get sick enough to die from the novel coronavirus from the time of infection, that puts the time of infection somewhere in early-mid January, far before lockdowns were ever implemented. And that's not in an area previously known for being one of the earliest outbreaks, such as Washington and New York City - this points to the virus already being spread in early January and given the transmission rate of the virus, a lot of potential infections before even social distancing was ever recommended let alone enforced.
There are also widespread claims of people being hospitalized as early as December in the United States, Canada, and European countries for severe flu symptoms or pneumonia that tested negative for influenza, which would indicate those people likely had COVID-19, and if true would push back the original infection dates even further back in those areas.
Exaggerated Death Counts
Much has been made about the extremely liberal criteria for adding a death to the official COVID-19 death counts, and the fact is that the criteria being used for virtually every country besides Germany is extremely loose - if one were to take the same approach to counting influenza victims, its yearly death count would easily surpass that of COVID-19 and that's with a vaccine to mitigate the damage.
As many have pointed out, there's a difference between dying because of COVID-19 and dying with COVID-19 - considering the death counts are mainly comprised of people that had multiple other diseases and serious conditions prior to contracting COVID-19, the reality is a vastly exaggerated risk to the general population.
The loose guidelines do at least have some justification in theory, given that COVID-19 likely played a part in the deaths even if it wasn't the primary or even secondary cause, but that doesn't excuse cases where one couldn't possibly claim to attribute COVID-19 as a contributor to someone's demise.
Pennsylvannia's first recorded death was one in which such an abuse occurred - a 61-year-old man suffered a traumatic brain injury and subsequently died as the result of a fall at home, yet he was tested for COVID-19 and upon testing positive COVID-19 was listed as a contributing factor in his death and he was added to the state's and thus national count.
Not much different from the Babylon Bee's famous "skydiving accident ruled death by coronavirus" satirical post, a 37-year-old man who died from a drug overdose was also counted as a death from coronavirus in Ventura County after he tested positive for the virus.
These deaths are justified in being added thanks to the CDC's issued criteria for counting COVID-19 deaths - those deaths eligible to be counted include "people who died with a positive COVID-19 laboratory test as well as individuals whose death certificates list, as the cause of death, COVID-19 or an equivalent".
This means that no matter how someone dies, if they test positive for COVID-19, it's counted as a COVID-19 death, even if someone walked up and shot them point blank in the face with a shotgun. And then there's the last part of the CDC's criteria, "COVID-19 or an equivalent" - what exactly is a COVID-19 equivalent I wonder?
Even with the extremely liberal guidelines to counting fatalities, the New York City Health Department hasn't even bothered to always test victims before listing them as coronavirus deaths, as they admitted to adding over 3700 "presumed" cases to their official death count earlier this month despite those victims never being tested.
It's impossible to say at this point how many in official tallies both in the US and in other areas are similarly "presumed" deaths that may not actually be victims of COVID-19 by any stretch of the imagination.
Those issues are likely helped along by the CARES act which recently went into action in the United States, through which hospitals are paid by the government some 20% more than the standard rate for Medicare patients with COVID-19 whether they have had a lab-confirmed test or are presumed to have COVID-19. This effectively incentivizes hospitals and care providers to claim a COVID-19 diagnosis in a time where they are being crushed financially and are desperate for income (more on that later).
One last metric that some have called into question is comparing the amount of overall deaths in a country - the theory being that if COVID-19 is really so deadly and/or deaths were undercounted, we'd see a large increase in overall deaths year-over-year.
It's perhaps a bit early to start using this comparison, especially since in the short term, deaths from other causes (car accidents for instance) would potentially be lowered due to the lockdowns, while in the long term, deaths by other causes would be increased due to them (as explained later), but as of right now, we don't see anything meaningful from those metrics as you can see an example of below, which actually sees total deaths in the US slightly lower compared to the past three years.
Vastly Undercounted Cases and Overstated Mortality/Hospitalization Rates
In addition to infections occuring in North America far before originally thought, the number of cases is exponentially larger than what any models had predicted and it completely dismantles the reckless claims made about COVID-19's mortality and hospitalization rates.
While the likes of Oxford had already published studies that raised serious doubt as to the mortality rates touted in the media and by the likes of the WHO, those studies went largely ignored by the media and thus the general public as a result.
Thanks to antibody testing now being performed in various locations, the more accurate estimates on mortality and hospitalization rates that were being entirely ignored are now beginning to turn people's heads.
These tests detect antibodies to the virus in the bloodstream to determine whether the subject has had the virus at some point and are now being used in a variety of locations to more accurately estimate how many people have been infected - the results are far from what the "experts" that demanded the lockdowns claimed.
A Stanford study of over 3,000 Santa Clara county residents found far more people had been exposed to the virus than the county's official case count would imply, indicating that California's cases have been undercounted by a factor of between 50 and 85. Even the smallest estimate therefore would put the case fatality rate in the same range as the regular flu.
New York recently released its findings on over 3,000 randomly tested grocery shoppers, with 13.9% testing positive for antibodies. In an update on April 27, Governor Cuomo updated those findings to state 14.9% have tested positive out of the now-7500 people tested.
A small study of 200 volunteers in a town outside of Boston saw a whopping 32% test positive in Chelsea, the center of a large outbreak in Massachusetts.
Most recently the University of Miami released their findings after antibody testing around 1400 randomly selected Miami-Dade residents (using randomly generated phone numbers in targeted demographic areas) that concluded roughly 6% of the county had been infected, putting the estimated fatality rate in the area at 0.14% (on par with the 2017-2018 flu season).
Even PCR testing (which catches current infections only and not prior infections that have since recovered) when applied randomly or outside of current testing protocols is finding vastly larger case counts.
A study conducted in an Italian town called Vo tested the entire population of 3,300 people for active infections and found 2.7% of the town was infected, suggesting Italy's 8% case fatality rate could be closer to a meager 0.06%.
A New York hospital screening all expectant mothers found 15.4% were infected with the virus, with 13.5% being asymptomatic.
The homeless population that have also been negatively impacted by the lockdowns (even losing access to shelters in many areas) despite "concerns" from officials and experts for their safety, are proving to have massive infection rates yet the vast majority are asymptomatic.
Over 400 homeless people were tested for the virus in Boston, with 36% testing positive. A study testing just under 1,200 people in homeless shelters across Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, and Atlanta showed 25% were infected and 11% of staff members were as well, with a whopping 66% testing positive in the San Francisco shelters.
Meanwhile a study using the CDC's Influenza-Like Illness tracker to estimate COVID-19 cases based on the CDC's data has estimated that roughly 8.7 million Americans were infected between March 8 - 28, and 10% of the US population was infected by April 17 (roughly 33 million people). If those numbers are even remotely accurate (which is very feasible given the various antibody study results thus far) it would drastically lower the mortality rate to say the least.
The models originally used to panic the public and force policy-makers' hands have repeatedly had to roll back their predictions as findings have contradicted their projections, and rather than admitting errors in their assumptions, have instead attributed the changes to social distancing regardless of the fact many of their original projections included the effects of social distancing in those projections and there's no data supplied that can account for the drastic changes made.
In fact, in some cases, poorly-conceived lockdowns may have actually aided the transmission of the virus - New York City's choice of limiting public transit options rather than increasing them forced less distancing and likely aided the spread according to an MIT study.
Leading Swedish epidemiologist (Sweden's anti-lockdown approach has shown the world just how ineffective the lockdowns have been given their comparatively average numbers for infections and fatalities despite their lack of lockdowns) Johan Giesecke tears into the entire lockdown theology in an interview and explains exactly why it not only isn't working, but how it was based on unpublished papers, flimsy theories, and little evidence.
There's also mounting claims that the "curve" that is continuously referred to is consistent across countries regardless of their mitigation strategies, and likewise German and Swiss studies have both found that their country's respective "curve" was broken before their shutdowns were even enacted.
Reality of the Risks
There is a common belief amongst many that the virus is affecting the young and healthy far more than the data reflects. In reality, people under 65 without compromised immune systems have an extremely low chance of dying from the novel coronavirus.
The virus disproportionately affects the elderly and those with prior conditions, most notably hypertension, diabetes, and severe asthma. Children on the other hand have proven particularly resistant to the virus, with virtually no deaths being recorded even when including the immunocompromised.
Coinciding with prior Italian findings, a New York study analyzing the deaths occuring under the care of their largest health care provider found 94% of victims had two or more other documented illnesses besides COVID-19 at their time of death.
Young people dying from the virus is incredibly rare, and cases of young people dying without severe prior conditions are simply non-existent. A large Dutch study estimates the fatality rate of those under 70 to be just 0.08% and the rate for those under 50 to be under 0.01%, and those rates are not even factoring out pre-existing conditions.
Instead of building herd immunity with the least vulnerable out front, the "quarantine everyone" ideology is effectively making the entire population equally susceptible.
Now to turn our attention on the most vulnerable - nearly half of deaths in North America and Europe have stemmed from nursing and care homes, which have clearly proven to have the biggest problems with the coronavirus pandemic.
Something that people don't seem to realize (or want to ignore in a misplaced sense of morality) is that for those in care homes, the risk of death is extremely high even before the coronavirus arrived.
Healthy people are generally not put in care homes so one would expect that death from illnesses and age would be high in such settings, but studies on the matter can still prove to be quite shocking.
The median life expectancy of some 8400+ elders admitted to nursing homes in the US was found to be just 5 months, with 53% of them dying within the first six months of their stay.
The other factor that must also be discussed is that a quick look at the last two years shows rather mild flu seasons (after the rather severe 2017-18 season that killed an estimated 80,000 in the US according to the CDC) - simple logic dictates that there's a very good chance that many of the compromised and elderly that were "spared" in the last two years thanks to mild flu seasons, were then taken out by COVID-19.
The hard truth is that the old die in large numbers every year. Quarantining the healthy and young does nothing to prevent the virus from spreading to the elderly in nursing homes, which continue to be ravaged by COVID-19 despite extensive lockdown strategies.
Not to mention ridiculous policies in some areas that simply add to the problem - in New York, Governor Cuomo's orders to force care homes to take care of COVID-19 patients and thus put other residents in jeopardy rather than transferring them to hospitals more equipped to deal with them is actively putting the vulnerable directly in harm's way.
Going Outside - The Dumbest Aspect of the Lockdowns
The clearest possible evidence that officials are not in any way listening to scientific findings in their lockdown strategies comes in the form of limiting or outright banning people from going outside.
Ironically, it was discovered during the Spanish flu pandemic (which many have erroneously compared COVID-19 to) that severely ill patients nursed outside recovered better than those inside and it helped prevent infections amongst medical staff.
Since, plenty of studies have confirmed those discoveries, showing that fresh air is a natural disinfectant and sunlight kills germs and viruses particularly well.
Sunlight has been proven to kill virtually every virus known to man, eliminating viruses far faster with exposure than in indoor conditions. The WHO and other "experts" have however repeatedly stated that there is no evidence that sunlight has that effect on this virus - considering some of the silly assumptions made about the virus from studies the WHO has cited, it's frankly asinine something that has been established for every virus we know of would suddenly not be assumed in this case, while other assumptions are still used.
Of course, since the asinine claims were spread by mainstream media outlets, the US National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center have established that, in fact, sunlight does kill the novel coronavirus quite quickly.
As anyone that's learned about viruses in the last hundred years would rightly assume, COVID-19 has shown to be incredibly difficult to transmit in open-air environments - outdoor transmission is incredibly rare and hard to find, while indoor transmission (particularly in one's home, which is where everyone is supposed to be holed up in) is extremely prevalent.
A report from the CDC echoes those findings, showing that even super-spreaders can't seem to effectively transmit the virus in open spaces even in areas with high population density, with closed environments being 18.7 times more likely for transmission to occur.
Despite these findings and long-established science surrounding viral infections, public parks, beaches, and other outdoor areas have been closed and leaving the house has been outright banned for non-essential activity in many states and countries.
All because of.....science?
A long time ago, doctors in Europe believed smoking could keep away the bubonic plague and children were beaten if they refused to smoke; one day we'll look at doctors and "scientists" ordering everyone inside to breathe the same air in order to prevent an infectious disease in the exact same way.
Unintended Consequences - The True Devastation Caused by the Lockdowns
One of the most ironic consequences of the response to the current pandemic is that instead of "raising the line" (ie. increasing hospital capacity) in conjunction with "flattening the curve", the lockdowns are having an adverse effect on hospitals.
Thanks to bans on "non-essential" medical services and operations (which include things like cancer screenings and even treatment in some areas, amongst other vital services), private practices and hospitals across the United States are being economically crippled and many have been forced into furloughing or laying off nurses and even doctors as a result.
While many have taken the position that this is proof of the US needing to socialize their medical care, the truth is that it's the privatization of its health sector that has put America in the most capable position of handling a real surge in cases.
The US leads the world in amount of critical care beds per capita, and besides Germany (who's currently one of the only countries worldwide to only count COVID-19 deaths when it's the primary cause of death, leading to their vastly lower numbers), no other country even comes close.
Besides certain areas like New York which have always been ill-equipped to handle epidemics including as recently as the 2018 flu season, the rest of the country is nowhere close to capacity in any sense and has many of its staff sitting idle while people that may actually need medical care sit at home in fear of leaving their homes or burdening the "overwhelmed" system.
The same can be said throughout the world - even the UK, whose NHS has reportedly been under-equipped and under-staffed for years (a staple in socialized health care), is seeing less ICU beds taken up now amidst the COVID-19 crisis (around 60%) than usual.
Likewise the ventilator shortage which has been much publicized sees the US come out far ahead of other countries once again - for a population of around 330 million, the US has an estimated 62,000 full-featured ventilators (before recent production sprees began) - for a comparison, Canada has about 5,000 for its population of about 37 million (over 11% of the population, yet just 8% of the ventilators) and the UK has 6,699 for about 67 million people (20%/11% roughly).
Although the US comes out on top in terms of capacity, the hospitals themselves are being demolished financially as a result of the lockdowns.
Even the Mayo Clinic, one of the most renowned health care facilities on the planet, has been forced to furlough or reduce the pay of 30,000 employees.
In addition, other dire health consequences are being felt thanks to the hysteria sweeping the western world.
Drastic dropoffs in other hospital admissions such as those suffering from cardiac events are being reported far and wide - a decrease in number of heart attacks and strokes is highly unlikely given risk of such events increases with respiratory infections not to mention stress, which should make cardiac arrests more frequent right now.
Instead, hospitals everywhere are seeing a drastic decline in admissions for heart problems, leading many physicians to believe that people are suffering or even dying at home rather than getting admitted to hospitals in fears over COVID-19 or because they believe the hospitals are overwhelmed.
Other still "essential" health services have also reported scary drops in patients - pediatric care is particularly concerning, given that many parents are postponing child checkups including vaccinations that are putting millions of children at risk of preventable deadly diseases (far deadlier than COVID-19 to say the least) and may compromise herd immunity to said diseases.
Cancer screenings and treatments have been delayed or cancelled indefinitely in many regions, which is simply astounding - as most know, cancer is extremely deadly and timing is paramount in achieving positive outcomes in treatment.
A professor in London has pointed to the disruption of cancer treatments and screenings in the UK due to COVID-19 fears and the inevitable backlog when patients return as reasons to believe that excess cancer deaths caused by the COVID-19 response alone will exceed the death toll of the virus over the next five years.
All of these side effects related to the lockdowns and we still haven't gotten to the mental health toll that the lockdowns have and will cause in the population thanks to the social isolation and stresses induced, leading to the next topic of discussion...
Lockdowns - The Economic Destruction They've Reaped
An incredibly ignorant notion has been making the rounds recently that the economy and public health outcomes are not deeply intertwined and that the harmful economic effects of the current lockdown are "short-term" and easily overcome.
At a basic level the stupidity of this belief should be abundantly clear - when people can't afford to put food on the table, serious health consequences follow.
When people lose their livelihoods and cannot provide for themselves or their families, it tends to affect both their and their family's health.
Many have pointed to the economic consequences that would come from millions of deaths if nothing was done and no lockdowns were in place, however this argument is simply asinine on multiple levels, thanks to there being an abundance of proof as laid out in prior sections that no such thing would occur even if no social distancing let alone forced lockdowns were in place, and the fact that the unemployment levels we're currently seeing haven't been seen since the Great Depression and those levels have been reached in just over a month.
Even areas that were significantly ill-equipped have weathered the storm and are seeing steep declines in hospitalizations, yet still remain under forced lockdowns.
For a starting point as to how much unemployment rates impact deaths in our society, there are multiple studies which aim to provide answers.
An older study found that for every one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate, homicides increased by 5.7%, suicides by 4.1%, prison admissions went up 4%, and deaths from liver and cariovascular-renal diseases increased 1.9%.
A more recent study found that every one percent increase in unemployment was associated with 0.37 additional cancer deaths per 100,000 people - to put that in perspective, every one percent drop in healthcare spending was associated with just 0.0053 additional deaths from all causes per 100,000 people.
Another study from 2011 found that being unemployed increases the risk of mortality by some 63%.
The US ended the month of February with an impressive 3.5% unemployment rate; in less than two months, that rate has skyrocketed to an estimated 16% and continues to climb (Israel, one of the first countries to fully lockdown, is currently at nearly 30% unemployment).
To put that into perspective, the Great Depression in the US began with a 3.1% unemployment rate in 1929 and rose to 15% by 1931 - the fact that we've achieved a higher rate than one of the worst periods in North American history in a fraction of the time should send chills down your spine.
The health and mental repercussions of the Great Depression are well documented, but at a quick glance, the suicide rate for the entire population was 0.2% - that's not a "case-fatality rate" like that of viruses, but the entire population.
Applying that rate (which given the prevalence of mental issues in modern society already, the real rate of such sustained economic depression may reach far higher numbers) to the United States' current population would result in 660,000 deaths by suicide alone.
Increases in suicide attempts have already been reported in many areas across the US and various western countries; likewise mental health hotlines have been flooded with unheard-of call volume.
And then there are the reports of a looming food crisis that threatens to starve millions of people just in India let alone around the globe, with the World Food Programme warning that the current response could cause multiple famines of "biblical proportions".
Many seem to think that the unemployment wave is temporary and when things return to "normal", it will quickly be fixed - this points to a fundamental misunderstanding of how the economy works.
It is extremely difficult to build a successful business and takes not only capital but years of effort, yet it takes a fraction of that time (as we're seeing now, even just days) to tear them down. The fact is many of those jobs lost are not returning anytime soon and it will likely take years just to see unemployment return to "normal" levels let alone the rates we saw just a few months ago.
Not to mention the fact that the trillions of dollars in spending that governments around the world is not free of ramifications - current and future generations alike will be paying for these costly mistakes for the rest of their lives.
It's hard to find any situation in which the toll exacted from the response to the coronavirus does not exceed the toll exacted from the virus itself.
Ending the Lockdowns: Smashing Through Unrealistic Criteria
Like many things in life, it was far easier to get ourselves into the lockdown than it will be to get ourselves out of it.
Whether you believe the lockdowns were justified at the time or not (newsflash if you haven't been paying attention: they weren't), continuing them is actively costing lives both now and into the future.
So why aren't they ending?
The doubling down from lockdown supporters (particularly the experts whose models have failed), rather than admitting they were wrong in the face of a mounting heap of evidence, is making re-opening the economy and restoring people's freedom a massive and politically hostile endeavor.
While ludicrous calls for only ending the lockdowns when no new cases were recorded from the likes of Dr. Fauci have been tempered, one of the biggest myths going around now alongside far more testing is the "need" for contact tracing.
As far as tests are concerned, more of them is certainly not a bad thing but considering the lockdowns already in place, finding more positive cases is not going to affect the spread at this point, nor is it feasible to test everyone every few days, which is what would be required given how long the virus can take to show up after infection.
In terms of contact tracing, for a virus that is as easy to spread as COVID-19 and with the abundance of infections already in the community, not only has the boat for successful contact tracing long left the docks, it would be virtually impossible to implement at this stage.
With millions of infections in the US alone, and how long people can transmit the virus for (not to mention we do not know the actual rate of transmission for asymptomatic carriers), contact tracing becomes an exercise in futility, particularly as you look at densely populated areas or public transit systems such as those in New York.
By the time privacy-destroying apps (like those being designed in the UK and by organizations such as Google and Microsoft) and hundreds of thousands of trained personel are ready that would be required to perform such a feat, the virus would have already run its course.
Those pointing to places like South Korea which implemented robust contact tracing as proof that it's needed are entirely missing why it was successful - it was implemented when case counts were extremely low. By the time confirmed cases even popped up in many countries, the virus was already spreading like wildfire and as we know now, it has been in North America since mid-January at the absolute latest.
Probably the silliest notion going around during this entire ordeal is the thought that lockdowns should remain in place until a vaccine can be found to "cure" the virus.
Claims that vaccines could be ready for use in as little as 12-18 months are completely unfounded - a vaccine being approved in that short a time frame is unprecedented.
The vaccine for the mumps, which is considered the fastest to ever go from collecting viral samples to approval, took four years to produce. The first stages of the current COVID-19 trials aren't expected to be completed until the fall at the very least, and clinical trials come in three stages for good reason - not only can vaccines cause a myriad of other health issues (potentially even worse than the virus itself), they can even enhance the disease they're meant to prevent, such as in early vaccines for COVID-19's viral cousin SARS.
For the novel coronavirus in particular an effective vaccine is highly unlikely to come anytime soon - consistent with other coronaviruses, the immune response to the SARS-COV-2 virus fades noticeably after just a few months.
The common cold, which is typically caused by a coronavirus, is a perfect example of this phenomenon - your body produces an immune response following infection and once recovered it protects you from getting sick again, however it fades quickly and leaves you open to re-infection a year or two later.
Re-infection of the virus already made headlines thanks to findings in China (go figure), but as of yet, there have been no proven cases of reinfection and China's findings are likely from the inaccuracies of PCR testing and false positives/negatives. Tests on monkeys have shown virus immunity as expected - we know people are immune to the virus after having recovered, we just don't know for sure how long and given the tendencies of other coronaviruses, it's unlikely to last more than a year or so.
That's one of the main reasons a vaccine has never been successfully developed for the common cold, which has been worked on for decades particularly in regards to animals given the economic impact coronaviruses have when infecting farm animals.
A common pushback against those that raise questions as to why bad flu seasons (such as in 2017-18) have never inspired lockdowns is that there are vaccines and treatments for the flu, and none for COVID-19.
Saying there are no treatments for COVID-19 is a bit dishonest to say the least - for the vast majority of cases, it can be treated no differently than one would treat an influenza patient (which is largely what the world has been doing, along with trying other medications which have seen varying results).
In terms of vaccines, that argument sort of fails itself given the fact that even with vaccines we have seen extremely large amounts of flu deaths before that are comparable to COVID-19; in fact, if we counted influenza deaths as liberally as we are currently counting COVID-19 deaths, influenza deaths would be the same if not far higher than COVID-19 even with flu vaccines.
Vaccines for the flu are not exactly known for being highly reliable - their effectiveness varies anywhere from 10-60% depending on the year, and also rely on scientists being able to guess which strain of the flu will be prominent that year.
Even if a coronavirus vaccine were to reach the level of effectiveness of an average flu vaccine in the near future (which is a long shot), given how highly infectious SARS-COV-2 is it would fail to stop the spread - in order to effectively stop the spread of a virus that's multiple times more transmissible than the flu, a vaccine would not only need virtually 100% adoption by the populace, but to also be an extremely effective vaccine like those for smallpox or the measles
This thread is very informative about the rate of infection the equivalent of a flu vaccine would produce and what the problems are surrounding the development of such a vaccine if you'd like to delve further into that arena.
In summary, not only is waiting for a theoretical vaccine a ridiculous proposition that no one can afford to do (especially not if you're trying to avoid people dying from other illnesses and causes), it is even less reliant on data and historical fact than the lockdowns were in the first place and is entirely reliant on something that is a longshot to say the least.
Orwellian Machinations in the Western World
Despite the flimsy "science" the lockdowns were based on that continues to fall apart under scrutiny, governments across the western world have wasted no time in overstepping their bounds and infringing upon the basic rights of their populations in the name of "public health".
In Australia, a couple had state police show up and hand them each four-figure fines for disobeying lockdown orders just days after posting photos on Facebook from a trip they had actually taken back in 2019, and were told they'd be arrested should they post any more photos.
In Detroit, the Department of Health and Human Services conducted a raid in conjunction with the FBI on a medical clinic for providing non-hospitalized patients with intravenous vitamin C therapy (despite the fact that it is by no means harmful, even if it didn't do anything to combat the coronavirus, though the center claims it has had great results).
A Chinese company called DJI "donated" fleets of drones to at least 43 agencies in 22 different states in the US, which are currently being used to "enforce" social distancing measures by audibly lecturing Americans who aren't adequately distancing themselves. The real kicker? US officials believe the drones are sending critical infrastructure and law enforcement data to the Chinese government.
In Mississippi of all places, churches that are following social distance guidelines were still seeing cops swarm their properties and issuing tickets to those using drive-through church services, even prompting the DOJ to intervene thanks to the blatantly unconstitutional a