Summer day, West Potomac Park near the Washington Monument, Washington, D.C., 12:30 p.m. August 5, 2020
This entry includes both a discussion of the most destructive and extralegal feature of our current Covid-19 media pandemic, namely the hard lockdown. Specifically, it features some non-panic porn Covid-19 information from Alex Berenson in the form of an excerpt he provided on Mr. Berenson's website of the just-published second part of must-read book [link embedded]:
Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns - Part 2: Update and Examination of Lockdowns as a Strategy.
Just fyi, the first part was: Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns - Part 1: Introduction and Death Counts and Estimates.
Part 1 appeared on June 4, 2020.
It includes a curio discussion of Neil Ferguson, the Imperial College "mathematical biologist" with PhD in theoretical physics whose cartoonish epidemiological models in March gave political figures and the virulent media across the Western world ammo for open-ended hard lockdowns.
These are lockdowns that are in total contravention of everything WHO and CDC had ever once recommended.
The text is broken up with images of Berenson tweets and relevant images.
The second part of the entry -- while continuing the discussion -- features what are topically-unrelated pictures of that massive explosion in central Beirut his past Tuesday.
The explosion -- which created mushroom cloud and shockwave that visually had more than a passing resemblance to a small atomic bomb -- killed at least 135 people (quite likely more) and injured 5,000. It also caused catastrophic destruction to a portion of the city near the port resulting in the at least temporary displacement of perhaps a quarter million residents (!). The overpressure from the blast shattered windows well over a mile away.
The cause of the explosion has been tentatively pinpointed to a massive stash of 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate (!!) that was [either] aboard [or stored next to] the MV Rhosus, a Russian cargo ship that for convoluted reasons had been "squatting" -- functionally abandoned -- at the Port of Beirut since its inglorious arrival in October 2013. That is, the ship's cargo was a floating time bomb.
I would have posted this as a stand-alone second entry, but in my search for additional imagery to break up my own commentary, I ended up conflating the two topics.
Above: The ~140 meter crater (in the harbor itself) created by the blast and the adjoining destroyed silo storage building as seen the following day.
By Alex Berenson
In March, as the Sars-Cov-2 epidemic jumped to Europe and the United States, epidemiologists and public health experts told governments to lock down – fast and hard. Not just mass gatherings, but schools, offices, malls, even parks and beaches. To do anything less would be to sentence millions of people to death, the experts said.
Above: Brit Hume's nice, spot-on shout-out tweet on the occasion of the publication of Part 2 of Berenson's book.
Most infamously, the Imperial College London report of March 16 – written by researchers who were working with the World Health Organization – predicted more than 2 million American coronavirus deaths without immediate action. It called for a policy of what Professor Neil Ferguson, the report’s lead author, termed “suppression”:
(Of course, Professor Ferguson exempted himself from his mandate. Two weeks after the report came out, as the entire United Kingdom had locked down, and while Ferguson himself was still supposed to be self-isolating after contracting the coronavirus, he had an affair with a married woman who traveled across London to meet him.)
The stunning impact of the Imperial College report made Ferguson arguably the most important public health expert in the world. Yet he was neither physician nor virologist. His PhD was in theoretical physics, arguments about the structure of the universe that are something close to pure math.
But he and the other Imperial College researchers appeared to believe a handful of relatively simple equations would predict the coronavirus epidemic. At their core, these models are simply software programs designed to simulate reality, based on the assumptions that the person who creates them inputs into them. They are as realistic as a game of SimCity, though less colorful.
Nonetheless, Ferguson’s model produced highly precise answers. Lockdowns could reduce coronavirus deaths 95 percent if they continued until a vaccine was developed. Ferguson and his team even offered different death projections based on the severity of the lockdowns and benchmarks used to lift and reinstate them.
These details gave the Imperial College model an undeserved sense of certainty and reliability. In this sense, they were like other mathematical simulations of real-world events – like the ones that helped fuel the 2008 housing and financial meltdown.
But for all the complexity of his equations, Ferguson really offered nothing more than an updated version of the original frightened rationale for the quarantines European city-states had imposed during the Black Death seven centuries earlier: Keep strangers away and we’ll be safe.
The idea of using widespread lockdowns to slow epidemics took off in 2006, as The New York Times reported in April. After a flu scare in 2005, then-President George W. Bush asked scientists for research on slowing epidemics. Dr. Carter Mecher, an internist at the Department of Veterans Affairs, connected with Robert Glass, a computer scientist at Sandia National Laboratories.
For a science project, Glass’s 14-year-old daughter had created a model of the way social distancing might slow the spread of the flu. Glass built on it to create a simulation “proving” lockdowns could reduce an influenza epidemic in a hypothetical town of 10,000 people by 90 percent. “Dr. Mecher received the results at his office in Washington and was amazed,” the Times wrote.
Robert and Laura Glass ultimately became the first two authors on a paper about the simulation. Inevitably, it contained a shout-out to Neil Ferguson. And sure enough, it showed the “mitigation strategies” worked.
In the retelling of this heroic lockdowns-for-all story by the Times, the conclusions of the paper took the CDC by storm. “In February 2007, the C.D.C. made their approach – bureaucratically called Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions, or NPIs – official U.S. policy.”
The reality was different.
The 2007 CDC paper ran 108 pages and included descriptions of many ways to reduce transmission, from “voluntary isolation of ill adults” to “reducing density in public transit.” (See here.)
Crucially, it also contained a “Pandemic Severity Index” that included five categories. On the low end, Category 1 represented a normal seasonal flu season, which still might kill up to 90,000 Americans. On the high end, a Category 5 pandemic, like the Spanish flu, would kill at least 1.8 million Americans.
CDC Pandemic Severity Index
This is the table referenced in the sentence directly above. The chart, made in 2007, doesn't show Covid-19 (say "Chinese flu" to get the liberals to go batshit crazy), but if it did, as Berenson writes in the sentence below, the virus would be classified as a category 2 (and no more than a borderline category 3).
Based on the CDC’s scale, Sars-Cov-2 almost certainly should be classified as Category 2 epidemic, meaning it will cause between 90,000 and 450,000 deaths. For an epidemic like that, the CDC merely said governments should consider school closures of less than four weeks, along with moderate efforts to reduce contacts among adults, such as telecommuting.
The prospect of closing all retail stores or offices is not even mentioned in the paper, not even for the most severe epidemics. Yet the Times glossed over these distinctions in its article. It wrote instead “the (Bush) administration ultimately sided with the proponents of social distancing and shutdowns” and claimed the coronavirus response came directly from the original CDC report. “Then the coronavirus came, and the plan was put to work across the country for the first time.”
Even as the CDC was putting its 2007 plan together, many scientists and physicians with expertise in treating pandemics worried about the weakness of real-world evidence for lockdowns and other interventions.
Among the most vocal critics of lockdowns was Dr. Donald Henderson, who led the successful effort to eradicate smallpox. In December 2006, Henderson and three others wrote an 11-page paper called “Disease Mitigation Measures in the Control of Pandemic Influenza.” After outlining potential lockdown measures, they wrote, “We must ask whether any or all of the proposed measures are epidemiologically sound… [and] consider possible secondary social and economic impacts.”
Efforts in past epidemics to slow – much less stop – the spread of the flu had largely failed, the authors wrote. They attacked quarantines, travel bans, and school closings of more than two weeks as likely counterproductive. They did not even mention full lockdowns, presumably because they viewed those as so unlikely. And near the end of the paper, they made a heartfelt plea:
Experience has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted.
In 2020, their warning went unheeded.
At this point, I'd like to add a bit more commentary, specifically, on the ever-more-punitive and grotesquely extralegal "techniques" that certain politicians -- in the United States, invariably shitty, worthless Big Blue City liberal Democrats, and their pussy governor counterparts-- are using to ensure endless lockdowns and destruction of society itself on the bitterly and darkly ironic pretext of "saving" it from "the Covid-19."
We're talking forcible quarantines, massive fines, and bullying with threats to cut off people's power and water. This is jointed, of course, by a degenerate, whore media shrieking about "SUPER SPREADERS!!!" or in an endless shitstorm of liberty-choking, spiritual-crushing death for an ever-more-fraudulent "pandemic" pretext.
These are the same Democrat politicians -- with their media enablers -- who can't get enough of the rioting, looting, and general mayhem of Antifa / BLM or Maoist WOKE lunacy. Rather than cutting off water and power, they will be offering both FREE for those engaging in "morally clear" violence against "systemic racism" wherever they perceive it.
But, at present, the biggest Covid-19 dystopian nightmare unfolding is not in the United States but rather in Australia, specifically, in Melbourne -- in the Australian State of Victoria -- where, recounted by this lady named Katie Hopkins that was reposted on the Twitter feed of a man named John Kirby in this tweet -- the entire city is under a quasi-totalitarian lockdown for six weeks because seven old people (in their 70s, 80s, or 90s) died of "coronavirus-related" issues.
[OK, the rest of this entry contains topically-unrelated images of the Beirut explosion including the aftermath. Many of the aftermath images are from here.]
And always remember:
They disproportionately kill young and poor people, those who lack means and resources, and those who must interact with the world on a daily basis just to survive. Yet lockdowns create long-term human and economic mayhem.
Yet they are being wildly and irrationally imposed by Illiberal Left local political leaders in a medical version of lunatic WOKENESS with zero accountability.
The fact is, the stated purpose of "stopping the disease" is nonsense -- and it is immaterial whether they "believe" that what they are doing is right. The deeper totalitarian aim here is as it is always: Complete and total control of everyone and everything.
Destructive society-wide lockdowns for this Covid-19 (Wuhan flu) are just that -- destructive -- and, invariably, do not and cannot work.
And given Covid-19's impact almost entirely on elderly and people with compromised immune systems, it is severely counter-productive to force lock downs on young and healthy people for whom it is no worse than seasonal flu.
Indeed, getting to herd immunity is PRECISELY what you want to happen among the young and healthy.
But stupid, spasmodic public policy responses combined with a socially destructive Media Infotainment Complex -- characterized by panic porn, endless fear-mongering, and nihilism -- DEMAND endless, open-ended hard lockdowns.
Thankfully in the U.S., we still have a strong pushback against this totalitarian mindset -- especially in certain regions of the country -- but it's difficult given the all-devouring, endless media shitstorm.
OK, that's all for now. I still need to post an entry about the impact of Hurricane Isaias.
Even more than that, as mentioned at the start of this entry, I had want to post an entry on that titanic explosion in Beirut on Tuesday that killed at least 135 people and injured 5,000+ with an estimated quarter million people displaced from their homes and hospitals overwhelmed.
The images of the explosion are transfixing and of the aftermath are horrifying. The aftermath images really don't need captioning.
Filmed from many angles -- because a giant fire was already intensifying -- it looked like nothing less than a small atomic bomb detonating.
The detonation of ~ 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate on a timebomb of a Russian cargo ship (berthed at the Port of Beirut for nearly 7 years) produced a blast wave with over-pressure that resulted in massive structural damage within a mile radius and shattered glass for miles.
OK, I'm going to wrap up this entry. Given the length and complexity of it, I'm probably not going to have another posting until over the weekend, perhaps Saturday night.