Glenn K. Beaton is a writer and columnist living near Aspen. He has been a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, RealClearPolitics, Powerline, Instapundit, American Thinker and numerous other print, radio and television outlets.
The first vaccine against the Wuhan virus was developed by a German biotech company, BioNTech, in partnership with American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
So why is the vaccination rate in Germany stuck at 4% while the American vaccination rate is now quadruple that? Throughout Europe, it’s much the same story. The vaccination rate is 4% in France, Spain, Sweden and Italy, and 5% in Finland, Greece, Poland and Norway.
Only the UK, now separate from the EU, is doing well with a vaccination rate of 27% after approving the vaccine weeks before the FDA did in the U.S. (with the same data that the FDA ultimately based its approval on, it should be noted).
Unsurprisingly, this dawdling on the Continent has an effect: death. While the death rates have come down from January’s peak wave, daily new cases and daily deaths in the EU remain stubbornly high. In contrast, in the UK where the vaccine is really rolling, daily new cases are down by three-quarters and daily deaths are down two-thirds.
Flynn and other scientists puzzled for years over the reasons we kept getting smarter. Even as scientists themselves along with everyone else got smarter and smarter, they still never managed to figure out why.
Senator Ted Cruz noted that the Democrats’ latest impeachment of Donald Trump even though Mr. Trump has duly departed from the White House is, “like Shakespeare, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Long-time NBC journalist Andrea Mitchell purported to correct Senator Cruz. On Twitter she sniped, “No, that’s Faulkner.”
But of course, Cruz was right. It’s Shakespeare. Faulkner centuries later wrote a book entitled “The Sound and the Fury” which consciously and famously borrowed Shakespeare’s line, as every high schooler knows (or used to).
The Twitter-verse went wild correcting Mitchell’s erroneous correction. She finally issued an apology of sorts: “I clearly studied too much American literature and not enough Macbeth. My apologies to Sen. Cruz.”
The bulk of seniors who are at risk from COVID have either died of the disease, survived the disease or been vaccinated against the disease. New cases are dropping quickly.
Over ten percent of the overall American population has been vaccinated – over 40 million of them – and that figure is increasing at the rate of about 11 million a week. It looks like nearly everyone who wants to be vaccinated will be vaccinated by late spring. Meanwhile, drug treatments have proved increasingly effective. Most recently, the FDA approved a drug cocktail from Eli Lilly.
There will come a time when COVID masks are no longer necessary.
The implicit assumption in that statement is that masks were necessary before. The science is not clear in that regard, but it seems logical that they helped to some degree. The virus seems to be transmitted by airborne particles like microdroplets of sputum. The virus is far too small to be intercepted by a mask, but many of those microdroplets are not.
Elon Musk wants to go to Mars. More precisely, he wants you or me to go. It’s a bad idea.
Apart from provisioning and energy problems that are potentially solvable, there are three big problems with a Mars mission: Getting there, getting back and being there. All three problems center around an insolvable radiation problem.
On Earth, molten material under the mantle slowly circles a solid iron core. This produces a dynamo effect generating an electrical current and a corresponding magnetic field. This magnetic field is well known, and is the basis for the simple magnetic compass that has been used for centuries.
Suppose you’re a die-hard Democrat. What do you do about such issues as:
Transgenderism in women’s sports. Do you side with persons having male chromosomes but identify as women when they want to compete in sports against women, simply because such persons are overwhelmingly Democrats? Or do you side with genetic women – who are also predominately Democrats – who are concerned that subjecting genetic women to competition from persons who’ve spent most of their lives developing height, girth and muscle mass as a man with male chromosomes and testosterone levels will destroy women’s sports?
Environmentalism and immigration versus unions. Do you side with trade unions – which are overwhelmingly Democrats – who understandably want good jobs for workers? Or do you side with environmentalists – who are also overwhelmingly Democrats – who want to eliminate the oil and gas industry and the millions of jobs that accompany it, and illegal immigration advocates – who are overwhelmingly Democrats – who want to flood America with low-paid immigrants that may eventually vote Democrat but will drive down America’s worker wages even further?
Regular Beatniks know that since last summer I’ve been enrolled in the clinical trials for the Pfizer COVID vaccine. Because it’s a “blinded” study, I never really knew whether I’d received the vaccine or a placebo.
The clinic called me last week to tell me that Pfizer was unblinding the study for people in my demographic (translation: old farts) if we wished. Moreover, Pfizer was offering to administer the vaccine to those whom the unblinding revealed had received the placebo.
I accepted Pfizer’s offer. They then told me I’d received the placebo. I suspected as much based on the complete absence of any side effects, as well as the antibody test that I took a week after getting the injection which told me I had no COVID antibodies. (Getting the antibody test was not prohibited by the paperwork I signed.)
Pfizer then offered me the vaccine. I accepted their offer, and received the vaccine this morning.
Although they aren’t exactly scientists, the media said that COVID vaccines would take years or even decades to develop and test and that they would probably be only about 50-60% effective.
It’s not clear whether the media really believed their own dire predictions, or whether they were just rooting for the virus because they thought it hurt Trump and hurt America, both of which they like to see hurt. Although (or perhaps because) they’re not scientists and not very smart, they are Democrats after all.
In any event, the pharmaceutical industry proved them wrong. They developed new vaccines with new technology in a few months, then finished testing them in a few more months. The effectiveness is about 95%.
Expect media reports that in the 5% of the population where the vaccine seems not to work, it’s all Trump’s fault. The headline will read something like, “Although impeached and out of office, Trump is still killing people.”
Now that the scientists, physicians and businessmen at pharmaceutical companies have performed scientific, medical and business miracles, we can conquer the pandemic and get back to watching proper football in sports bars by simply taking the vaccine. Right?
No, not right. Because the simple distribution of the vaccines wound up the responsibility of the people who brought you the Obamacare website and VA Hospitals.
The first act in their comedy of errors was to suggest that the first people to get the vaccine should not be the people over 70 who are dying, but the people who have the darkest skin. Because social justice.
Imagine the vaccination center. Would they have a light meter to measure a person’s pigmentation, or would they just take the person’s word for it? What if they were white, color-wise, but identified as very black, at least on that day?
Ironically, or perhaps intentionally, but probably just carelessly, the effect of this scheme would be more deaths among both older whites and older blacks because the vaccine supplies would be used instead on not-at-risk younger blacks.
But no matter. The point was not to reduce white deaths or even black deaths. It was to feel very, very woke. After a suitable outcry from doctors – the kind with patients, not the kind jockeying for government grants – the government quietly backed off that racist plan.
The FDA finally approved the vaccine in mid-December. That was weeks after Great Britain already had. In the interim, another ten thousand died. The government boasted that we’d get 20 million doses administered by the end of the year. As it turned out, they administered only about 10% of that.
Happy New Year!
What happened? Intra-governmental squabbling between the bureaucratic Center for Disease Control and military brass heading up Operation Warp Speed (why military brass for that task?) consumed months. Eventually, they decided that the vaccinations should proceed in phases.
Fine. But they decided that we cannot go onto a new phase until the prior phase is finished. They never specified what “finished” means. Does it mean 100.00% of the people in the prior phase have been injected? What if less than 100.00% of those people actually want to be injected? Is 90% enough? Or 70%?
They never said. Meanwhile, millions of vaccine does were, and are, sitting in freezers while people continue dying at the rate of about 4,000 a day.
The vaccines are administered in two shots about three weeks apart. The government decided they couldn’t proceed to a new phase until they had in-hand enough of the vaccine to administer the second shot to people who’d gotten the first shot in the prior phase.
But the pharmaceutical companies had already told the government that their manufacturing capabilities are sufficient to manufacture those second shots on-the-fly. The government didn’t need to keep the second shots on ice. But the government did anyway, and still more people died.
Moreover, the data indicates that just a first shot is highly efficacious, so if somehow a person doesn’t get his second shot he’s very likely protected anyway. No matter, the government insisted on reserving a second shot for a person who’d taken the first shot rather than administering it as the first shot to another patient. Meanwhile, thousands more died.
Finally, the government relented and decided to administer that shot to new patients rather than reserving it to be the second shot for earlier patients.
This Keystone Kops routine has literally cost tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of lives. More Americans have now died of COVID than American soldiers died in WWII. But the government types don’t care because as “essential workers” they personally have gotten the vaccine.
Call me cynical, but are these lazy, selfish and inept government types the people we want running the health care system? Or anything else?
Twitter and Facebook candidly play political favorites. They censor ideas and content on the right while permitting countervailing ideas and thought on the left
Events of last week compared to events of last summer drive this home. Social media has been clamping down on complaints about a stolen election, to the point now that Facebook says it will censor all references to “Stop the Steal.”
Meanwhile, Twitter has altogether banned the President of the United States from its platform. Their justification for this is that his tweets threaten our country.
In contrast, neither Twitter nor Facebook banned Antifa or Black Lives Matter last summer when they were actively advocating the overthrow of the government. They chanted “No USA at all” and “Burn it Down” as they attempted to do precisely that. They failed, so far, but they did kill and maim a number of people and destroy billions of dollars in property.
Last summer, criminal mobs stormed federal buildings in an attempt to intimidate our elected officials and overturn our democratic republic. “Burn it down” and “No USA at all” were their frequent chants. Some demagogic politicians egged them on. People died.
Fast forward to last week. Another criminal mob stormed another federal building in another attempt to intimidate our elected officials and overturn our democratic republic. “Stop the steal” was their frequent chant. Some demagogic politicians egged them on. People died.
The media accurately reported last week’s riot as a riot, but they reported last summer’s riots as “mostly peaceful protests.” The reason for the disparate reporting is of course that the media sympathized with last summer’s criminal mob but not with last week’s criminal mob.
Never willing to let a crisis go to waste, an outfit here in Aspen called Aspen Journalism promptly sent out an email yesterday congratulating themselves for their “truth telling and the free exchange of ideas.” They went on to portray themselves as victims of the DC riot 2,000 miles away: “As journalists we were alarmed by the violence and menacing rhetoric directed at the media.”