Archive for the ‘covid’ Category

The death toll from lockdowns

Posted: August 2, 2022 by chrisharper in covid
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By Christopher Harper

The death toll from lockdowns increased deaths from heart attacks to cancer to alcohol and drug overdoses to murders.

As of January, the CDC registered roughly 875,000 Covid fatalities [now just over one million], with an alarming number of Americans 65 and up accounting for more than 70 percent of the deaths, according to the CDC and The Wall Street Journal. The federal government counted more than 145,000 Covid deaths among nursing-home residents, most in the pandemic’s first year. At least 2,250 nursing-home staffers also died from Covid-19.

According to a study published in the JAMA Network Open, heart disease and stroke mortality rates rose 4.3% and 6.4%, respectively, in 2020.

Stephen Sidney, the lead author of the study, reported that the 696,962 recorded deaths from heart disease in 2020 was the highest yearly number, adding that preliminary CDC data for 2021 are similar. Stroke deaths rose 1.2% to 162,140, he said.

Much of the increase can be attributed to the inability to get standard medical care because of lockdowns and hospitals being overwhelmed with Covid cases.

For example, four of my close friends died over the past year because they couldn’t get adequate health care for cancer, and I know only one person who died from Covid. 

According to preliminary data from the CDC, drug-overdose deaths jumped to a record of more than 107,000 in 2021 due to the lockdowns and mental health issues.

Gun murders increased nearly 35% to 6.1 homicides per 100,000 residents from 2019 to 2020 to the highest level since 1994, according to a CDC report. Agency officials cited economic stress, disruption of services, and social isolation during the pandemic as potential factors. The firearm-suicide rate also increased slightly, and that trend continued in 2021.

According to the report, the rate hit 6.1 homicides per 100,000 residents, rising 34.6 % during the first year of the pandemic compared with a year earlier. 

Several cities set new highs for murders in the past two years. Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon., Louisville, Kentucky., and Albuquerque, New Mexico, had their deadliest years on record in 2021, according to data compiled by The Wall Street Journal

The number of deaths involving alcohol increased between 2019 and 2020 from 78,927 to 99,017, an increase of 25.5%.

Health experts say it will likely take years to understand the lockdowns’ toll fully. The consequences of people delaying care for chronic illnesses, like diabetes, or delaying cancer screenings that could catch harmful malignancies early have yet to be fully realized, Gerald Harmon, the president of the American Medical Association, told The Wall Street Journal.

In 2020, screening prevalence for breast cancer and cervical cancer decreased by 6% and 11%, respectively, compared with 2018, according to data from the American Cancer Society published in JAMA Network Open. Colonoscopies for men and women dropped 16%.

Add these issues to the impact on the economy, personal wealth, and educational preparation, particularly for kindergarten through high school, and we can indeed say that lockdowns had a lot of unintended consequences that the “experts” failed to consider adequately.

By John Ruberry

Amazingly, the quiet presidential campaign of J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire pol from the family that created the Hyatt hotel chain and more, continues. That says about the girth of Illinois governor’s ego and the threadbare status of the Democratic presidential bench, as the failures of the Joe Biden administration continue to mount.

Illinois, despite the influx of COVID bailout cash, remains a financial basket case. At best, Pritzker and his fellow Democrats have only chipped away at the state’s pension bomb. Illinois has the worst-funded public pension system among the states. In 2021 the Prairie State lost 122,000 residents, only New York and the District of Columbia, percentage-wise, saw a bigger population drop.

At Wirepoints, Mark Glennon, justifiably eviscerated Pritzker in his critique of the governor’s trial run of a presidential campaign speech given last weekend in Florida. Yes, Florida, the place that Democrats, including Pritzker’s wife during the worst period of the COVID-19 lockdowns, flock to, despite the governorship of Ron DeSantis, a man they hate. Oh, while in Florida–Pritzker was there to give the keynote speech at a gathering of Florida Democrats–he contracted COVID. I wish him well–as someone who was afflicted with COVID last month, I can say that it is not an enjoyable experience. 

I’m going to focus on just a couple of items from Pritzker’s dishonest Florida speech. “We honor the results of elections,” Pritzker said, obviously alluding to the Capitol Riot and its show trial investigation of it by the House January 6th Committee. In response Glennon retorted, “In Illinois, that would be elections based on the most gerrymandered map in the nation, which he approved in violation of what many regarded as his most important campaign promise – to deliver fair maps.” Yes, Pritzker repeatedly vowed as a candidate in 2018 to veto gerrymandered legislative and congressional maps. The Democratic supermajorities in the General Assembly–in place because of the 2011 gerrymandered map–sent to Pritzker’s desk new contorted legislative maps, which Pritzker signed into law. 

Pritzker lied–and free and fair congressional and state legislative elections in the Land of Lincoln died. But since Glennon’s article was posted, the Chicago Tribune revealed that Pritzker this year contributed $24 million to the Democratic Governors Association. That group spent millions on ads supporting the most conservative Republican candidate running to replace Pritzker this autumn, state Sen. Darren Bailey, who easily won the GOP nomination. Yes, I voted for Bailey. 

As with other races the DGA has meddled in, the group saw Bailey as the most conservative, or in their likely thoughts, the most extreme candidate. And presumably the easiest one for Democrats to defeat in November. But such a ploy might backfire. In another Republican gubernatorial primary race that the Democratic Governors Association meddled in, its preferred “extreme” candidate, Doug Mastriano, trails the Democratic nominee by only a few points. Yes, he can win, which has some Dems nervous

On the flipside, imagine the mainstream media uproar if Republicans funded the campaigns of a Bernie Bro socialist running in a Democratic primary. They’d cry, “Election interference,” and “This is undermining free and fair elections!”

A couple of times in my lifetime–on the presidential level–Democrats received the GOP general election candidate they were rooting for, Ronald Reagan in 1980 and Donald Trump in 2016. You know what happened.

Bailey, in deep blue Illinois, faces a tougher hurdle than Mastriano. But much can happen in the next four months, and Joe Biden’s continued mismanagement of the economy, the border–heck, his complete mismanagement of everything–may compel moderate Land of Lincoln voters to send a message to the Democrats. 

Are there enough such Illinoisans to send Pritzker packing? 

Not yet, as a recent poll tells us.

Because of high taxes, Illinoisans suffer from among the highest gasoline prices in the nation. Pritzker, under the guise of a tax cut, is forcing Illinois gas station owners to post signs informing motorists of the “tax cut,” which is really a delay in an inflation adjustment, suspending it until December. Gas station operators who refuse to post the required signage face a $500-a-day fine. Without the fine threat, Illinois grocers are also being forced to post similar signage about a one-year suspension of a one-percent sales tax.

If Pritzker prevails over Bailey, look for his presidential campaign to begin. It will fail. Pritzker is not a likable candidate–and Illinois’ standards are low. His flat speeches are drenched in condescension. Pritzker comes across as a sleazy closer at a Las Vegas timeshare presentation, a meeting that you only agreed to endure after being promised free show tickets and two glasses of wine “Sign here,” he’d say, “you won’t regret it,” as all 350 pounds of him leans into you.

But not even alcohol can make Pritzker more palatable. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

When one looks back the great artists–and I dislike this term–of the classic rock era of the mid-1960s thru the early 1970s, the usual big names to come to mind, the Beatles, the Who, the Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Bob Dylan. 

One name–and he just released his 43rd studio album last week–is generally overlooked. And that artist is Van Morrison, also known as Van the Man and the Belfast Cowboy. Oh sure, he’s recorded some memorable hits, such as “Brown Eyed Girl,” along with “Moondance” and “Have I Told You Lately.” Before Morrison’s first album, Blowin’ Your Mind, was released in 1967, he was the frontman for Them. That band’s anthemic “Gloria” deservedly appears on many best-ever song lists. 

But Morrison isn’t a much of a self-promoter–he doesn’t do many interviews and he’s not the best media conversationalist–even though Van the Man’s lyrics are generally eloquent and articulate. 

Two years ago Morrison began attracting media attention for his impassioned opposition to COVID-19 lockdowns, which, during the height of them, prevented Van, who turns 77 this summer, from performing live.

Morrison just concluded a short USA tour, a British tour begins Monday. 

In 2020, Morrison released three anti-lockdown songs, “Born to Be Free” and “As I Walked Out,” as well as “No More Lockdown.” That same year Eric Clapton recorded a Morrison-penned anti-lockdown song, “Stand and Deliver.” Clapton, who celebrated his 77th birthday in March, was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week. Hey, no reasonable person believes COVID is un-catchable. 

Those anti-lockdown songs led Northern Ireland’s health minister, Robin Swann, to write a Rolling Stone op-ed attacking Morrison, where Swann declared, “Some of what is he saying is actually dangerous.”

Last year in Belfast, after four of his concerts were cancelled, Morrison led a “Robin Swann is very dangerous” chant at a banquet. Because of the chant, Swann sued Morrison.

Which brings us to “Dangerous,” the opening track of Morrison’s brand-new album, What’s It Gonna Take?

Somebody said I was dangerous
I said something bad, but it must’ve been good
Somebody said I was dangerous
I must be getting close to the truth, alright, alright

But Morrison isn’t done with lockdowns, as the first ten songs of this 15-song effort attack COVID-19 restrictions on varying levels.

On the title track, Morrison opines,

Politicians don’t represent the people
Government doesn’t represent us at all
Government takes and ruins all our business
Big tax about to take it all.

In life, I’ve learned that sometimes life is just blah blah blah. Really, because that’s another great tune here, entitled of course, “Sometimes It’s Just Blah Blah Blah.”

How do you like the new normal?
Tell me, how is that going for you?
How did you overcome the restrictions?
How do you handle the news?
Do you still think the government’s not lying to you?
Oh, has the penny dropped yet?
Seems there’s no way out of this impasse
Is it something we’ll live to regret?

What’s It Gonna Take? is absolutely an essential musical release but I suspect it will be savaged by the critics, most of whom are liberals. Morrison’s prior collection, a double album, Latest Record Project, Volume 1, also blew the whistle on lockdown restrictions, as well as social media–quite obviously so on the song “Why Are You On Facebook?” It’s a good album, albeit a bit long, but still far better than the swill that passes as 21st century music. And the critics for the most part hated that Latest Record Project, Volume 1.

As recently as 2017 Morrison described himself as apolitical. Clearly, at least in regards to COVID lockdowns and government overreach, he is now a strident libertarian. 

Rock music, with few exceptions, hasn’t been the soundtrack of rebellion for decades. It’s ironic that the most rebellious rocker today–or perhaps he’s a bluesman?–is a man in his late 70s, the Belfast Cowboy, Van Morrison.

Here’s one final brilliant lyrical excerpt from Van’s latest album, this time from “Damage and Recovery.”

Snowflakes hiding in their houses
Most of us need to get right back to work
Money doesn’t grow on trees
Jobs don’t thrive on barren ground
Narrow-minded politics
So-called social scientist tricks
Telling lies, they’re meant to be
Watching morons on TV.

There are a couple of references to “Gates,” as in Bill Gates, a COVID-alarmist. A couple of weeks ago, the Microsoft founder and self-appointed virus expert said about COVID-19, “We didn’t understand that it’s a fairly low fatality rate and that it’s a disease mainly in the elderly, kind of like flu is, although a bit different than that.”

Wow. Two years ago, if someone posted that sentence on Facebook or Twitter, they’d probably have their accounts suspended.

Morrison was right in 2020 about lockdowns and Gates was wrong.

There’s a little bit of Van Morrison in all of us. There’s a lot of Van Morrison in all thinking people.

What’s It Gonna Take? is available for download on iTunes and for purchase in the CD format on Amazon, where, as of this writing, the reviews are fairly good. And you can buy it or stream it from the Van Morrison official website.

UPDATE May 31, 2022:

Yesterday multiple United Kingdom news outlets reported that Morrison has turned the tables on Robin Swann. He’s suing the Northern Ireland health minister.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit, he’s married to Mrs. Marathon Pundit. Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately” plays on their wedding video.

By now you might have seen via the Washington Examiner the story of Charlotte Bellis who is a pregnant journalist from New Zeeland who was covering the Taliban for Al Jazeera. found to her utter surprise that she was pregnant and has been unable to get back into her native country for the birth of her daughter despite being vaccinated and boosted due to the stupid COVID rules her country has adopted.

The irony of course being that after leaving Qatar because it’s illegal to be pregnant and unmarried (oddly enough no protests by western feminists at the Qatari embassy, unexpectedly of course) and having to leave Belgium where her partner and father of her child NY Time Photo Journalist named Jim lives because foreigners can only stay there three months out of every six where could they go where they both had visa’s for?

The problem was the only other place we had visas to live was Afghanistan. I organised a meeting with senior Taliban contacts, “you know how I am dating Jim from The New York Times, but we’re not married, right?” “Yes, yes we respect you both and you are foreigners, that is up to you.” I nervously continued. “Well, I am pregnant and I can’t get back into New Zealand. If I come to Kabul, will we have a problem?” One translated for the other and they smiled. “No we’re happy for you, you can come and you won’t have a problem. Just tell people you’re married and if it escalates, call us. Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.”

Yes they were welcomed into Afghanistan while New Zeeland has continued to reject them despite the bad PR this is giving the country and the massive amount of paperwork hoops they have navigated to be rejected.

We got letters from New Zealand obstetricians and medical experts to confirm the dangers of giving birth in Afghanistan and the impact of high stress during pregnancy. We included ultrasounds, letters in support of our relationship, bank statements, our Covid vaccinations including boosters, evidence of my resignation and our travel itinerary since. Between Jim and I, we submitted 59 documents to MIQ and Immigration NZ, including a cover letter written by our lawyer summarising our situation.

Vup they’re vaxxed AND Boosted and they’re still not letting then in. That’s a pretty good hook to show the COVID insanity irony that’s sweeping the west.

In my opinion however there is a bigger irony to this story, one that you would not know if you had only read the Examiner piece but is hidden in plain sight at the very start of her piece in the New Zeeland Herald that the Examiner story is based on:

For years I had been told by doctors I would never have children. I threw myself into my career and made my peace with it.

Hold on, do you mean to say that her doctors, those people trusted with diagnosing illness and giving advice on survival, extensively trained in the west with degrees from universities, licensed by the state and the final arbiters of what the “Science” says concerning these matters were WRONG about her ability to have children, and not just one doctor, MULTIPLE doctors over the course of years had told this young woman that is was not possible to have children to the point where she had to mentally make piece with it got this completely and utterly wrong?

Did they get their degrees at the same university as Fauci?

So think about it New Zeeland is keeping her out of the country of her birth because of COVID rules Rules supposedly based on science and the advice of Doctors…

…which are the same folks that insisted for years that this woman was not capable of having a child.

THAT is the ultimate irony here that lays waste to the COVID madness but there is another irony that is illustrated in this piece that exposes a hole in western culture.

This lady and the NYT guy Jim clearly like each other. They got together in Belgium, they got together in Afghanistan and he was trying to get into New Zeeland to be with her at the birth of their child. They clearly value each other and the child they will have together they child she never thought she could have. The child she calls a “miracle”. As a devout Roman Catholic an obvious question came to me

Why didn’t they just get married?

Think about it for a second. If they had gotten married she could have kept her job and her health insurance and not had to start on this three country quest in the first place. Instead they are both jumping though multiple hoops through three countries as they attempt to get into a 4th when all of this could have been avoided if the these two people who at the very least seem to like each other VERY much simply said “I Do”.

Some say: Well marriage is just a piece of paper, well so are the visas and forms they are filling out to try to get back into New Zeeland and they didn’t have a problem with that did they? It would be no more complicated being married with a child holding jobs that send them around the world then it would be being unmarried with a child doing the same thing.

It’s moments like this when the advice my father gave me and that I’ve given my sons really rings out: “If she’s good enough to sleep with, she’s good enough to marry.”

Personally I think this miracle child is worth it.