It’s a Wuhan Virus Easter
For all who celebrate Easter, I wish you a happy one in the midst of so much social and economic disruption. There are signs that all this shall soon pass and we will get back to our regular programming, including the likelihood that those in the intelligence community who misused their positions and broke the law to spy on their political opponents will finally be brought to justice.
There are multiple signs that the pandemic is leveling off. Hastily constructed field hospitals in Oregon and New York were never filled, many hospitals are so empty staff is being laid off, and new treatments are being utilized successfully to cope with this unique virus. There are indications that some of the fatalities are being attributed to the virus when they are not. Tongue in cheek, Jeffrey Satinover looks at these figures and remarks:
COVID-19 has proven to be a blessing in disguise, dramatically reducing deaths from a myriad of other conditions. The virus has apparently also targeted the seasonal flu, causing a dramatic reduction in influenza deaths as well.
Cathy Johnston Fasano, looking at the same figures, is even more (sarcastically) optimistic: “If ALL deaths are caused by CV, then as soon as we find a vaccine or even an effective treatment, no one will ever die again! Those people who've had it and recovered are ALREADY immortal!!!”
Hospitalization and mortality data are changing rapidly, and, as noted, are somewhat suspect, but "as of April 10, 2020 there are now 16,697 Americans who have died who had coronavirus… But this data is misleading because the most recent data shows that only .9% of deaths related to the coronavirus are related to individuals with no comorbidity (i.e. pre-existing conditions)."
Worldwide, the COVID-19 fatalities add up to just under 20% of an average flu season. In the U.S., COVID-19 fatalities to date are 26% of the number that we suffered just two flu seasons ago. I am not sure why these numbers are not more widely known. They seem relevant to me.
Crudely speaking, if we assume that the U.S. is around 50% of the way through the COVID-19 epidemic, we might expect something like 33,000 fatalities, equal to an average seasonal flu year. An inevitable second round of infections after our governments finally let people go back to work, and out in public, may raise that number, but no one I know of has tried to guess to what extent. Still, any way you look at it, it is hard to see how COVID-19 deaths will exceed the flu fatalities we experienced two years ago. And that was barely a news story.
A final thought: What will happen when the catastrophic shutdown orders under which most of us have been living are finally lifted, in May or June? Since sheltering in place was only intended to delay the virus’s spread, not to prevent it, we should assume that COVID infection and death numbers will rise dramatically. But what if they don’t? Won’t that be strong evidence that the states’ extreme shutdown measures were not needed in the first place? Don’t expect any politicians to make the point, but I think the answer is Yes.
Media: The President Didn’t do Enough
As the great virus terror seems to subside, you can expect journalists to fail to understand that under federalism, governors of the various states are the main executives who mandate what steps are needed and the president can do little more than assist them in getting necessary information, materials and personnel. (Remember Katrina where they made that error? The mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana dropped the ball and -- coincidentally! -- the Republican president was tarred by the media with their failings.) Even the Democratic governors of California and New York, hardly Trump allies, publicly concede he did everything in his power to provide assistance.
Some states clearly have gone too far. In Mississippi, worshippers who attended a church service sitting in their cars with the windows rolled up and listening to their pastor on their car radios were fined. In New York a cop demanded a married couple sitting on a park bench near each other maintain six feet of distance even though they explained they were married and lived together. Not every gubernatorial diktat was smart nor was everyone hired to enforce it intelligent or reasonable. States that are not densely populated and have few infectious cases can and should have less onerous restrictions than states where the virus is raging. That’s one of the most important lessons of federalism: Localities can and should tailor laws to suit the circumstances where they live.
“The Great Iggy” rationally analyzes the dilemma a president whose public health officers have told him up to 2.2. million citizens will die if he doesn’t order social distancing:
How is it millions of people who a month ago knew absolutely nothing about epidemiology suddenly know enough to know the vast majority of epidemiologists not only color their projections for their own personal profit and political persuasions but they are, on the one hand, so incompetent they can't get a single number right but they are competent enough to engage in a worldwide conspiracy to lock everyone up in their homes and destroy the world economy so that communists and socialists will triumph?
Mankind is not too smart and not too knowledgeable, especially, as Yogi would say, about the future.
In areas where the uncertainty and variables are large and not too quantifiable man takes his best shot. In all areas that contain many variables and contingencies like long term weather forecasting, economics, business, military preparedness and yes epidemiology man generates the best numbers he can and usually they're not very good, but they're the best we have.
The problem is not poor projections.
Even if we took the number from Barijary's link of .04% mortality rate instead of the current 3%+ in the US. If we use a 50% attack rate in an unmitigated epidemic which seems reasonable, if not low, for a virus no one has encountered before that is still 666,000 extra deaths. An 80% attack rate would be over 1 million extra deaths. Nobody had to hypnotize Trump to be in their thrall to create those numbers. That's the main reason there are a tiny fraction of Native Americans there used to be. Smallpox and measles were "novel" to them and they swept through their populations. Because of their much higher R0 and mortality rate they wiped out 80-90% of their populations. So the idea this thing would kill .02-.04% of our population doesn't seem too unlikely. It may yet.
The problem is political.
Trump has to walk a tightrope to prevent the political death of himself and his agenda by being seen to have allowed a bug to run wild in favor of $, but to also prevent the economy from crashing to the extent it does the same. There are no good decisions to be had.
Rather than wondering how much swag Fauci is going to pocket from the preexisting vaccine he and Bill are withholding until just the right moment, it would probably be more profitable to pray that Trump and company are guided to the wisest course and that the communist Chinese are destroyed by this fiasco they created.
In any event we now have more hard data than we did last month, and we are seeing fewer deaths, better recovery statistics, great economic disruptions and loss, and we know this state of affairs cannot continue. It’s reported that the president wants to get America working again by May, and that’s a plan we endorse.
At the same time, we hope that you understand that the president had no choice once the CDC failed its central mission in botching the development of a widespread test for the virus. It has to be returned to its central mission, pared down, and better staffed.
Crossfire Hurricane Team -- A Tool of Russian Intelligence
Despite the best efforts of the intelligence agencies involved in the shameful conspiracy to destroy the Trump campaign and then his presidency to hide the extent of their perfidious illegal surveillance, it is finally coming to light. Among the most serious of the team’s failing were those in the classified footnotes to Inspector General Michael Horowitz’ report which this Friday were partially declassified. They reveal that Christopher Steele, with the knowledge of the FBI, may well have been part of a Russian disinformation campaign.
Key FBI officials failed to review an intelligence file identifying Christopher Steele's ties to Russian oligarchs and were later advised some of the information he provided agents in his dossier appeared to be misinformation planted by Russian intelligence, according to declassified information made public Friday. [snip]
One of the newly declassified footnotes highlights a glaring misstep early in the Russia case, when key officials failed to review the intelligence control file for Steele, a former MI6 agent who approached the FBI with unverified allegations about Trump after he was hired to do opposition research by the firm working for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.
Checking such files is a basic procedure in a counterintelligence probe when an informant is involved, officials told Just the News.
The footnote states that an FBI intelligence analyst and a supervisory special agent working on the Crossfire Hurricane probe admitted they "did not recall reviewing information in Steele's Delta file documenting Steele's frequent contacts with representatives for multiple Russian oligarchs in 2015."
"In addition to the information in Steele's Delta file documenting Steele's frequent contacts with representatives for multiple Russian oligarch[s], we identified reporting the Crossfire Hurricane team received [redacted] indicating the potential for Russia disinformation influencing Steele's election reporting," a second footnote revealed. [snip]
That same footnote reveals a separate report to the FBI, dated 2017, “contained information … that the public reporting about the details of Trump’s [REDACTED] activities in Moscow during a trip in 2013 were false, and that they were the product of RIS ‘infiltrat[ing] a source into the network’ of a [REDACTED] who compiled a dossier of information on Trump’s activities.” RIS is an acronym for Russian intelligence services. [snip]
Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who worked to get the footnotes declassified, said Friday the information withheld from the American public for two years confirms the FBI collusion probe that dogged the Trump administration was flawed from start to finish and covered up by a false narrative driven by news media leaks.
Attorney General William Barr has signaled that the probe of U.S. Attorney into these matters has turned up “far more troubling evidence” and John Solomon reported this week that multiple subpoenas have been issued by Durham’s office for testimony before a D.C. grand jury. (For those wondering why the grand jury is in D.C., an unfavorable jurisdiction for trying members of the Obama-Biden administration’s election interference gang, it’s because by law that, unfortunately, is the appropriate venue.)
Mark Wauck, a retired FBI special agent, explains the import of Barr’s remarks as Barr defended the firing of CIA Inspector General Michael Atkinson and loosed the news about the Durham probe:
- The Durham investigation -- evidence gathering -- is nearing a conclusion;
- The language Barr used indicates there were multiple people engaged in illegal activities and it’s likely we’ll see a “sprawling” conspiracy case.
- It’s likely that in addition to prosecutions we will get a report detailing what happened.
- “Crossfire Hurricane was initiated for the purpose of developing a narrative that could derail and sabotage a presidential election. But that baseless investigation nevertheless served as the predication for what Barr says he has found "even more concerning": "...what happened after the campaign -- a whole pattern of events while [Trump] was president... to sabotage the presidency."
From this I think we can readily gather why this Durham investigation is so "sprawling." What happened after the campaign? The attempt to frame Michael Flynn and to sabotage the presidency through the frame job on Flynn, at the very inception of the administration, to tar it as "colluding" with Russia, rather than conducting foreign policy. The continued renewals of the Carter Page FISA, known to be fraudulent, which implicate the highest levels of the FBI and of DoJ -- McCabe, Comey, Yates, Boente, Rosenstein, and many more. The bogus Intelligence Community Assessment, the development of which we're told Durham has spent so much time examining.
And lastly but far from least, the entire Mueller Witchhunt -- which, as framed by Rod Rosenstein, purported to be a continuation of the baseless FBI investigation, Crossfire Hurricane. The release of the Papadopoulos transcript not only is a dagger in the heart of the predication for Crossfire Hurricane and the Carter Page FISA, a dagger in the heart of the FBI's role in the conspiracy. It is also a dagger that, along with the final FISA renewal, we may learn is directed at Team Mueller through its pursuit of George Papadopoulos.
And no doubt there is much more to come.
More than the CDC must be swept clean to resurrect the Republic and make us strong again. The intelligence community requires a strong disinfectant.