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Jaydee
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Could the the world be back to square one when it comes to Covid?
New coronavirus variant Omicron keeps spreading, Australia detects cases

  • Two cases detected in Australia
  • Israel announces it is barring foreigners for two weeks
  • May take time to assess Omicron's harmfulness -Chinese expert

LONDON, Nov 28 (Reuters) - The new Omicron coronavirus variant kept spreading around the world on Sunday, with two cases detected in Australia, even as more countries tried to seal themselves off by imposing travel restrictions.

Health officials in Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, said two passengers who arrived in Sydney from southern Africa on Saturday evening had tested positive for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Both people were asymptomatic, fully vaccinated and in quarantine, NSW Health said. Another 12 passengers from southern Africa were also in 14 days of hotel quarantine, while around 260 other passengers and aircrew have been directed to isolate. read more 

The Australian cases were the latest indication that the variant may prove hard to contain. First discovered in South Africa, it has since been detected in Britain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Botswana, Israel and Hong Kong.

Austria was investigating a suspected case on Sunday and in France Health Minister Olivier Veran said the new variant was probably already circulating there.

The discovery of Omicron, dubbed a "variant of concern" last week by the World Health Organization, has sparked worries around the world that it could resist vaccinations and prolong the nearly two-year COVID-19 pandemic.

https://www.reuters.com/world/new-coronavirus-variant-omicron-keeps-spreading-australia-detects-cases-2021-11-28/

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Government reactions to this variant are progressing extremely fast. What are they not telling us?? Why the sense of urgency? I can see Ontario shutting down again as soon as the first case hits the GTA.

 

NY declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron COVID variant

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 cases and the newly-identified Omicron variant of the virus.

Driving the news: The declaration enables the state to acquire supplies to fight a potential surge in cases, increase hospital capacity and combat potential staff shortages, NBC's local affiliate reports.

  • The declaration also allows the state's hospitals to ensure capacity is able to meet regional needs by limiting nonessential care until at least Jan. 15.

  • The Omicron variant has not yet been detected in the U.S., but Hochul said Friday that "it's coming," according to NBC 4.

The big picture: Hochul's declaration came on the same day that the Biden administration announced it would impose air travel restrictions from eight countries in response to concerns over the new variant.

  • Hochul encouraged New Yorkers to get the COVID-19 vaccine or booster against the virus.

  • "The vaccine remains one of our greatest weapons in fighting the pandemic, and I encourage every New Yorker to get vaccinated, and get the booster if you're fully vaccinated," Hochul said.

Go deeper: First cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant discovered in United Kingdom.

https://news.yahoo.com/ny-declares-state-emergency-amid-152000350.html

 

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Media Statement

27 November 2021

South Africa’s response to travel restrictions imposed by several countries

The South African Government has noted the announcements by several countries to institute temporary travel restrictions on South Africa and other countries in our region.

This follows the detection of the new Omicron variant.

South Africa aligns itself with the World Health Organisation’s position on the latest travel bans.

The World Health Organisation has pleaded with world leaders not to engage in knee-jerk reactions and has cautioned against the imposition of travel restrictions.

Dr Michael Ryan (WHO Head of Emergencies) has stressed the importance of waiting to see what the data will show.

“We’ve seen in the past, the minute there’s any kind of mention of any kind of variation and everyone is closing borders and restricting travel. It’s really important that we remain open, and stay focused,” Ryan said.

We also note that new variants have been detected in other countries. Each of those cases have had no recent links with Southern Africa. It’s worth noting that the reaction to those countries is starkly different to cases in Southern Africa.

This latest round of travel bans is akin to punishing South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants quicker. Excellent science should be applauded and not punished. The global community needs collaboration and partnerships in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A combination of South Africa’s capacity to test and it’s ramped-up vaccination programme, backed up by world class scientific community, should give our global partners the comfort that we are doing as well as they are in managing the pandemic. South Africa follows and enforces globally recognised COVID-19 health protocols on travel. No infected individuals are permitted to leave the country.

Minister Naledi Pandor said: "Whilst we respect the right of all countries to take the necessary precautionary measures to protect their citizens, we need to remember that this pandemic requires collaboration and sharing of expertise. Our immediate concern is the damage that these restrictions are causing to families, the travel and tourism industries and business”.

South Africa has already started engaging countries that have imposed travel bans with the view to persuade them to reconsider.

For more information: Mr Clayson Monyela (Head of Public Diplomacy), 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE MINISTRY OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
Pretoria
0084

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1 hour ago, Jaydee said:

Government reactions to this variant are progressing extremely fast.

Almost magical eh? 

From initial discovery to identification, from naming it to multiple states of emergency, and from closing borders to having a new vaccine remedy in two weeks. All of that took place in a period of time easily measured in hours.

We’ll see, but I have the same doubts as I did after watching Colin Powell’s address to the UN on WMDs and when the FISA warrants were issued on the basis of Steele’s intelligence summary.

I’m not trying to be negative here but the level of optimism it takes to swallow this is akin to me expecting a 3.9 second 0-60 time in my old pickup truck this morning. I’ll let you know how that works out.

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Time to beat the rush and stock up on toilet paper ? :Scratch-Head:

Thirteen cases detected in Netherlands as Omicron variant spreads

Dutch health authorities announced that the 13 cases of the variant were found among passengers who were on flights from South Africa that arrived in Amsterdam on Friday.

 

Authorities had tested all of the more than 600 passengers on those two flights and had found 61 coronavirus cases, going on to test those for the new variant.

"It is not unlikely more cases will appear in the Netherlands," Health Minister Hugo de Jonge told a news conference in Rotterdam. "This could possibly be the tip of the iceberg."

https://www.reuters.com/world/new-coronavirus-variant-omicron-keeps-spreading-australia-detects-cases-2021-11-28/

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I'm just cynical enough to believe that the symptoms here will eventually prove less (not more) harmful than Delta and a propaganda push (starting now) will be strengthened against the un-vaccinated... that's what I would do.

Of note here, the international spread is clearly coming from travellers, the bulk of whom (I assume) are double vaccinated.

The other thing I suspect is that people will say "look, see, told ya so" because the southern regions of Africa have low vaccination rates. But (and it's a big but) they also have higher levels of observed immunity due to other factors like Ivermectin, anti malarial medications, sunshine etc.  

Viruses mutate and if high school biology is still credible, the mutations are most prevalent in areas with the highest immunities; those immunities push the virus to mutate for its own survival. It's why mass vaccination during the course of a pandemic (with a mutable virus) can be problematic... especially with a leaky vaccine. 

That doesn't mean you shouldn't vaccinate either, it means proceed with caution. It also means that blaming the unvaccinated for mutations is about as credible as the notion that duck hunters from PEI are shooting up the streets of Toronto.

Edited by Wolfhunter
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Covid: Swiss back government on Covid pass as cases surge

By Imogen Foulkes
BBC News, Bern

Published
 

Swiss voters appear to have backed the government's measures to tackle Covid, early projections suggest.

More than 60% opposed moves to remove somecination pass, Swiss media reported.

Sunday's referendum came after organisers said the pass was an unnecessary restriction of freedoms.

With just under two-thirds of the population fully vaccinated, the Swiss have one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe.

Now, Covid-19 infections are rising exponentially, with case numbers up by 40-50% each week.

From the start of the pandemic the Swiss government has performed a tricky balancing act, trying to introduce measures to control the spread of Covid while still staying true to Switzerland's system of direct democracy, in which the government has little formal power and the people have the final say.

Switzerland's lockdowns were never as strict as its neighbours'. People were allowed outside for exercise whenever they wanted and the schools only closed for a few weeks.

But last summer, with cases falling dramatically, Switzerland didn't have a celebratory, UK-style "freedom" day either.

Instead, a Covid certificate was introduced with proof of vaccination, negative test, or immunity through having had the virus. In September it became obligatory to enter bars, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, museums, sporting events, and face-to-face university classes.

BBC
I'm vaccinated, and with [the Covid certificate] I can go where I want and know everyone in here is safe, because they are all vaccinated, tested, or recovered
Tanja Blume, 23
 

But not everyone agrees.

Vaccination has long been a sensitive issue here, especially in German-speaking Switzerland. A belief that natural immunity is best led to a drop in childhood measles vaccinations that sparked a surge in measles cases across Europe.

Meanwhile, in the alpine communities, a historic pride in their own independence rooted, some say, in the time when the mountain villages were cut off from the world each winter, means there is resistance to the government issuing orders.

And so, when the certificate was introduced and Covid tests stopped being free, life for the unvaccinated became difficult and even going out for a beer was suddenly expensive.

The government hoped the measures would encourage people to get vaccinated. Instead, many took to the streets and others gathered enough signatures to challenge the Covid certificate in Sunday's referendum.

 

For weeks there have been demonstrations. Some have turned violent, with police using water cannons and rubber bullets against protesters trying to storm parliament.

At a rally in Bern this month, thousands turned out to hear speakers, including renowned anti-vaxxer Robert Kennedy Jr, who hailed Switzerland as Europe's last great hope against what he claimed were sinister powers forcing people to get vaccinated, while at the same time, via the Covid certificate, introducing a draconian mass surveillance system.

The crowd, huddled together, all mask-less, roared their approval.

Some wore the insignia of the far right, others the far left. Health minister Alain Berset was depicted, complete with red horns, as the devil.

Among the crowds was part-time student Manuela. She refuses to get vaccinated because, she says, she is "a healthy young woman" for whom getting the virus poses little risk.

 
BBC
The restrictions make me feel like I'm in a prison. I cannot go where I need and want to go
Manuela
Part-time student
 

In fact, the World Health Organization advises that, while young people are less likely to be hospitalised with Covid-19, they are still susceptible to infection, and with it the risk of serious and long term health consequences.

Prepare the hospitals

And so, for fear of increasing opposition to the Covid certificate, the health minister was loath to introduce any new restrictions ahead of Sunday's crucial vote.

Alain Berset and his science taskforce are convinced Switzerland needs infection control measures during this increasingly bleak Covid winter. Abolishing the certificate, they believe, could be a huge risk, especially as booster vaccinations have scarcely begun.

 
 

Instead, as cases rise, the government has advised hospitals to increase their intensive care capacity. This has brought a bitter laugh from Switzerland's nurses, who point out that extra beds won't help when there aren't enough staff to look after the patients in them.

It's estimated 10% of Swiss nurses and care workers have left the profession since the start of the pandemic.

"Everywhere we have too few staff," says Michèle Giroud, a nurse who's also president of the Swiss Federation of Nurse Anaesthetists. "We are constantly working without breaks, doing overtime, extra shifts. A third of us have burn-out symptoms: anxiety or insomnia."

But unlike in other European countries going through similar health sector shortages, Swiss nurses have the power to change things. They have gathered the signatures for a nationwide referendum demanding more investment and better working conditions.

On Sunday, Swiss voters appeared to back them.

 
 

So now the health minister will return to the grim business of counting the rising Covid cases, and he is likely to start thinking about what new restrictions might be necessary. He may also have to count out around CHF8bn (£6bn) for Switzerland's nurses.

But the anger, fear and social division born of the pandemic cannot be solved by a referendum or two, and the demonstrations are sure to continue, in Switzerland and across Europe.

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12 hours ago, Jaydee said:

Canada confirms first two cases of Omicron variant;

It looks like these two folks spent time in Nigeria.

The reason I often say: “it’s a bad idea…. let’s do it” is that for our own good, we need to reacquire and re-embrace that “does this make sense” portion of our collective consciousness previously yielded to government and the media.

That’s how I see vaccine mandates and passports… let’s do it and be done with it. The sooner we get to Crazy Island the sooner canoe construction efforts can begin.

People need to experience the consequences of bad ideas, see it with their own eyes, they need to realize that not only doesn’t it protect them but that it causes real harm to real people in the process. And they need to see that our rights and freedoms, payed for in blood are at their most valuable during the course of trying times. If they don't apply during trying times they were never worth defending in the first place.

This variant is being exported around the globe by double vaccinated passport holding people and there’s no way to hide it now. 

The good news is that people are beginning to see it. Hopefully they also see that what they need to regain their “does it make sense” abilities (temporarily ceded to government and the media) is/was what they already have because it’s what they learned in high school. 

I don't understand a word the MBA crew utter, other than "this is different." I take that statement as a warning and judge the journey based on a glimpse of their map as opposed to what they say about cartography... the projected course points to Crazy Island.

https://www.foxbusiness.com/money/turks-abandon-the-lira-for-dollars-as-currency-crisis-deepens

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Ummmmmmmm ?

 

Wait what? FDA wants 55 years to process FOIA request over vaccine data

Reuters) - Freedom of Information Act requests are rarely speedy, but when a group of scientists asked the federal government to share the data it relied upon in licensing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, the response went beyond typical bureaucratic foot-dragging.

As in 55 years beyond.

That’s how long the Food & Drug Administration in court papers this week proposes it should be given to review and release the trove of vaccine-related documents responsive to the request. If a federal judge in Texas agrees, plaintiffs Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency can expect to see the full record in 2076.

The 1967 FOIA law requires federal agencies to respond to information requests within 20 business days. However, the time it takes to actually get the documents “will vary depending on the complexity of the request and any backlog of requests already pending at the agency,” according to the government’s central FOIA website.

Justice Department lawyers representing the FDA note in court papers that the plaintiffs are seeking a huge amount of vaccine-related material – about 329,000 pages.

The plaintiffs, a group of more than 30 professors and scientists from universities including Yale, Harvard, UCLA and Brown, filed suit in September in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, seeking expedited access to the records. They say that releasing the information could help reassure vaccine skeptics that the shot is indeed “safe and effective and, thus, increase confidence in the Pfizer vaccine.”

But the FDA can’t simply turn the documents over wholesale. The records must be reviewed to redact “confidential business and trade secret information of Pfizer or BioNTech and personal privacy information of patients who participated in clinical trials,” wrote DOJ lawyers in a joint status report filed Monday.

The FDA proposes releasing 500 pages per month on a rolling basis, noting that the branch that would handle the review has only 10 employees and is currently processing about 400 other FOIA requests.

By processing and making interim responses based on 500-page increments, FDA will be able to provide more pages to more requesters, thus avoiding a system where a few large requests monopolize finite processing resources and where fewer requesters’ requests are being fulfilled,” DOJ lawyers wrote, pointing to other court decisions where the 500-page-per-month schedule was upheld.

Civil division trial lawyer Courtney Enlow referred my request for further comment to the DOJ public affairs office, which did not respond.

Plaintiffs' lawyers argue that their request should be top priority, and that the FDA should release all the material no later than March 3, 2022.

“This 108-day period is the same amount of time it took the FDA to review the responsive documents for the far more intricate task of licensing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine,” wrote Aaron Siri of Siri & Glimstad in New York and John Howie of Howie Law in Dallas in court papers.

The entire purpose of the FOIA is to assure government transparency,” they continued. “It is difficult to imagine a greater need for transparency than immediate disclosure of the documents relied upon by the FDA to license a product that is now being mandated to over 100 million Americans under penalty of losing their careers, their income, their military service status, and far worse.”

They also argue that Title 21, subchapter F of the FDA’s own regulations stipulates that the agency “is to make ‘immediately available’ all documents underlying licensure of a vaccine."

Given the intense public interest in the vaccine, the plaintiffs' lawyers say that the FDA “should have been preparing to release (the data) simultaneously with the licensure. Instead, it has done the opposite.”

Siri declined comment.

To meet the plaintiffs’ proposed FOIA deadline, the FDA would have to process a daunting 80,000 pages a month. But the plaintiffs note that the FDA has 18,000 employees and a budget of $6 billion and “has itself said that there is nothing more important than the licensure of this vaccine and being transparent about this vaccine.”

To be sure, most people -- including many who sanctimoniously proclaim “I do my own research” -- lack the expertise to evaluate the information.

But the plaintiffs, who also include overseas professors from the UK, Germany, Denmark, Australia and Canada, appear to be well-positioned to do so.

As Siri and Howe argue, “Reviewing this information will settle the ongoing public debate regarding the adequacy of the FDA’s review process.”

U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman has set a scheduling conference for December 14 in Fort Worth to consider the timeline for processing the documents.

https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/wait-what-fda-wants-55-years-process-foia-request-over-vaccine-data-2021-11-18/

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11 hours ago, GDR said:

From the article….
 

“ Why is the mainstream media now not providing balanced reporting and asking these tough questions to provincial and federal governments of today? Why are they deciding to choose which science they want to report on?

As Dr. Pelech said to me: “This is an information war and the media have helped to create a state of mass psychosis and fear in our society. The media want to keep pushing the sensationalism as they are generating good ad revenue as well as several mainstream media companies are receiving financial support from our federal government (that is our tax money paying the mainstream media).” 

Seems like this vaccine mandate has more to do with politics than science. Politicians often want to be seen as doing something and are often ineffective as they are too entrenched in the situation.”

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29 minutes ago, Jaydee said:

“ Why is the mainstream media now not providing balanced reporting and asking these tough questions to provincial and federal governments of today? Why are they deciding to choose which science they want to report on?

And on a variety of issues to boot, but I'll remain on topic.

I’m not judging whether this is true or false, right or wrong…. I’m only saying I’ve been watching for it, expecting it, and would have crafted the headline exactly as presented. My StratCom section would have been working on this since Saturday when border closures were announced:

Hundreds have tried to enter Canada with fake COVID-19 test results, proof-of-vaccine documents: CBSA

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/falsified-covid19-documents-cbsa-1.6266686

Since international travel is largely limited to double vaccinated, passport holding individuals, the question of global distribution of Omicron needs addressed proactively. Penalties need to be increased, the unvaccinated need to be held accountable, digital ID needs to be enhanced, and I would be priming the pump for a variant specific inoculation to maintain passport validity.

I would also ensure that no paper published the only anagram for “Omicron” that immediately leaps into view.

Edited by Wolfhunter
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Let me take the passport issue one step further and make a prediction... I'm watching for this too.

It will be enhanced, it will be widely adopted and accepted, it will be digital, and it will contain a unique alpha numeric ID number that applies to the individual holder.

I'll bet you right now that the unique ID number will be in the form of an 18 digit alpha numeric. 

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Last observation for a bit:

The Moderna CEO is no fool, he didn’t “misspeak,” this was planned and my question is why?

https://financialpost.com/investing/moderna-ceo-warns-covid-19-shots-less-effective-against-omicron-spooks-markets

I will bet that he, they, and others have known about this variant for at least 6 weeks, nothing else explains the speed and coordinated resolve of those who could best (and charitably) be called slothful in previous responses.

I'll also bet that the race is on for a vaccine right now... even though South African Doctors have assessed the variant's symptoms as much milder than Delta (albeit with higher transmissibility). That assessment will be ignored as much as circumstances allow and the media will ask no (or few) probing questions.

That’s not being cynical BTW, if you are defending Duffers Drift you consider how you would attack it, if you’re attacking it you consider how you would defend it. 

Best wishes of the season to all.

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Germany reports highest daily COVID-19 death toll in nine months

The grim record comes as four fully vaccinated people in southern Germany test positive for the Omicron variant.

000_9T68YB.jpg?resize=770%2C513
People wearing face masks stand in a reportedly 700-metre-long queue to get vaccinated in the Philharmonic Hall 'Elbphilharmonie' in the northern German city of Hamburg on November 22, 2021 [File: Morris Mac Matzen/AFP]
Published On 1 Dec 2021
 

Germany has reported the highest number of deaths from coronavirus since mid-February as hospitals warn that the country could have 6,000 people in intensive care by Christmas, more than the peak of last winter.

The Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s state infectious disease agency, reported 67,186 new cases on Wednesday, up 302 from a week ago, and 446 deaths – the highest daily figure since February 18, bringing the overall death toll to 101,790.

However, the seven-day incidence rate per 100,000 fell for a second day to 442.9 people, from 452.2 on Tuesday.

Germany’s federal and regional governments agreed on Tuesday to take action to counter the fourth wave of COVID-19, including stepping up the vaccination campaign and restricting contact, especially for unvaccinated people.

Already criticised by scientists for acting too late, the leaders agreed to take firm decisions on Thursday on proposals such as forcing customers to show proof of vaccination or recovery in shops and limiting numbers of people at big events.

Gernot Marx, president of the DIVI association for intensive care medicine, warned that the country could still have 6,000 people in intensive care by Christmas regardless of what measures are now decided by politicians.

That compares with a previous high of 5,745 coronavirus patients in intensive care on January 3. Germany also has fewer beds available now due to a shortage of nursing staff.

“The situation is really becoming increasingly tight,” Marx told ZDF television, calling for the government to consider a temporary lockdown. “We need to save the clinics from collapse.”

Four people in southern Germany have tested positive for the Omicron coronavirus variant even though they were fully vaccinated against the virus, the public health office in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg said.

Three of the infected people returned from a business trip to South Africa on November 26 and November 27 respectively, and the fourth person is a family member of one of the returnees. All four showed moderate symptoms.

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Germany excludes unvaccinated from parts of public life

Frank Jordans Published Thursday, December 2, 2021 9:36AM ESTLast Updated Thursday, December 2, 2021 9:36AM EST
 

BERLIN -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that people who aren't vaccinated will be excluded from nonessential stores, cultural and recreational venues, and parliament will consider a general vaccine mandate, as part of an effort to curb coronavirus infections that again topped 70,000 newly confirmed cases in a 24-hour period.

Speaking after a meeting with federal and state leaders, Merkel the measures were necessary in light of concerns that hospitals in Germany could become overloaded with people suffering COVID-19 infections, which are more likely to be serious in those who haven't been vaccinated.

"The situation is our country is serious," Merkel told reporters in Berlin, calling the measure an "act of national solidarity."

She said officials also agreed to require masks in schools, impose new limits on private meetings and aim for 30 million vaccinations by the end of the year.

Merkel herself backed the most contentious proposal of imposing a general vaccine mandate. She said parliament would debate the proposal with input from the country's national ethics committee.

If passed, it could take effect as early as February, Merkel said, adding that she would have voted in favor of the measure if she were still a member of parliament.

About 68.7% of the population in Germany is fully vaccinated, far below the minimum of 75% the government is aiming for.

There have been large protests against pandemic measures in the past in Germany and the vaccine mandate is likely to be opposed by a minority, though opinion polls show most Germans are in favor.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who is expected to be elected chancellor by a center-left coalition next week, has also backed a general vaccine mandate, but favors letting lawmakers vote on the issue according to their personal conscience rather than party lines.

"If we had a higher vaccination rate, we wouldn't be discussing this now,"he said.

The rise in COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks and the arrival of the new omicron variant have prompted warnings from scientists and doctors that medical services in the country could become overstretched in the coming weeks unless drastic action is taken. Some hospitals in the south and east of the country have already transferred patients to other parts of Germany because of a shortage of intensive care beds.

Agreeing what measures to take has been complicated by Germany's political structure -- with the 16 states responsible for many of the regulations -- and the ongoing transition at the federal level.

Germany's disease control agency reported 73,209 newly confirmed cases Thursday. The Robert Koch Institute also reported 388 new deaths from COVID-19, taking the total since the start of the pandemic to 102,178.

To reduce the pressure on hospitals over the festive period, the sale of fireworks traditionally set off during New Year's in Germany will be banned. Each year, hospitals treat hundreds of people with serious injuries because of mishandled fireworks.

The new measures will take efffect once Germany's 16 states incorporate them into existing rules, likely in the coming days

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Constant state of panic does not help solve our problems

 

  • Calgary Herald
  • 3 Dec 2021
  • GEORGE BROOKMAN George H. Brookman is the chairman and company ambassador of WCD Ltd.
img?regionKey=gqX3OZ9R3XoIf8wBZtzhMA%3d%3d  

There was a time when lovers would pick a daisy, pull the petals off while saying, “She/ He loves me, or loves me not.” Of course, when they pulled the last petal, if they were not at the spot they wanted to be, they might just pick another daisy and start again.

This week I went to a local Chinese restaurant and all of the chairs were stacked to prevent in-house dining. When I inquired, a hostess said, “Well, we were going to open, but then the Omicron variant happened so we decided to wait.” I suggested to her that if they were to stay closed every time a new variant came along, then they might never open again, because as far as I can tell, we are going to have new variants forever.

Are we not all getting tired of these roller-coaster pronouncements and Doomsday declarations? “Alberta is going broke.” No, wait. “Alberta is awash in riches.”

“Young people are all leaving and no one wants to invest in Alberta.” No, wait. “Tech companies are opening in Alberta every month and billions of dollars are being invested.”

The mildest November in years will soon bring out proclamations of disastrous climate change, but when we have a blizzard next

April that too will generate another round of hand-wringing and dire warnings.

The new favourite social media word is “emergency.” An emergency is a fall and a broken arm, a house on fire, a car accident or a bank robbery, even a tsunami or a flood. Any serious, unexpected crisis can constitute an emergency. Today, the weather, which has been changing for about 4 1/2 billion years, is suddenly a “climate emergency.” We survived the Ozone Layer Emergency, the Leaded Gasoline Emergency, the Asbestos Emergency and many others. It seems we've forgotten that Calgary was under about 2,500 metres of ice just 10 thousand years ago, but glaciers melting is now “an emergency.” Our “Pale Blue Dot” of a planet has gone from molten rock, through ice ages and tropical surges to what we have today. Who thinks that this is it? Who actually believes that this is the end of evolution or a changing climate and that thousands of years from now, we can make the weather identical to what it is today?

Should we reduce our garbage, find better ways to power our homes and our transportation? Of course, we should! Can we consume less, waste less, deal with cleaning our oceans and rivers and focus our efforts on being better inhabitants of this earth? There is no question about that, and it is important that government, corporate and community leaders of all kinds work together to create the standards that are needed to maintain the planet in the future. However, creating constant panic and declaring emergencies that over and over prove not to be true, only diminishes the importance of doing the rational and logical things that we need to do.

The British said it right in the Second World War: “Keep calm and carry on.” We are going to hand over a better world than we inherited. Children all over the world will live longer, be better educated and have more opportunities than any generation in the past. I believe that today's adults will live longer and healthier lives but not because we keep the population constantly on edge.

Let me end on a very positive note. Cancer has been another plague of our generation. Is there anyone whose lives have not been touched by cancer? Today, however, more and more people survive a cancer diagnosis and recently I learned much about the new cancer centre being constructed in Calgary. This will be one of the finest cancer centres in the world and will result in saving thousands of lives. This is progress, developed over time in a consistent and constant drive to improve.

We need to apply this to all of our challenges, solutions are found through progress, not panic.

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This story is in the Epoch Times which I know can be a bit suspect at times as it is further right than many  Canadians want to.  However, this account is published on many internet sites and I can find nothing that denies the story.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/mkt_app/dying-covid-19-patient-recovers-after-court-orders-hospital-to-administer-ivermectin_4130754.html

The question is still, if a doctor wants to prescribe ivermectin, and if the patient wants it why is government blocking it? In this case the patient was dying and had nothing to lose anyway.

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OK, if true, even I’m surprised by this.

It’s not widely covered in the media (you have to look for it), and I can’t even speak to the voracity of it, but apparently New Brunswick is now allowing grocery stores and other businesses previously designated as essential to demand vaccine passports as a condition of entry.

What always struck me about the Federalist Papers (in addition to the wisdom of the US founding fathers) was their cautionary exhortations against “inducements to war.” As I recall, it shaped some of the divisions of state/federal powers (such as valuable resources) in order to limit domestic/international conflict and provide a frame work for unity. A dumb grunt would call it “unity of command” and might even acknowledge it as one of the unassailable principles of war.

If this catches on and becomes mainstream, it may signal a turning point in our society. That once in a century event that shapes your future and the succeeding three generations. The smugly arrogant among us may now be congratulating themselves unaware of what they are unaware of.

All I can say to them is thank you. You have made history come alive for me and I’m grateful for the opportunity to watch that which I never expected to bear witness to.

Welcome to Crazy Island.

 

 

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Quick!  Never thought I'd see it happen - a fair, right of centre POV on the CBC.  Read this opinion piece  before it get memory-holed:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/opinion-covid-measures-gaslighting-shifting-goalposts-1.6268380

 

On COVID restrictions, our governments keep firing up the gaslights and shifting the goalposts

 

If you give the government an inch on your rights, they will go for the mile every time

 
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Allan Richarz · for CBC Opinion · Posted: Dec 03, 2021 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: December 3
 
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Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak during a news conference last month in Ottawa. Every infringement on citizens’ privacy, mobility, autonomy and conscience rights has been justified by officials in the name of the infallible technocratic might of “the science,” writes privacy lawyer Allan Richarz. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
 

This column is an opinion by Allan Richarz, a privacy lawyer in Toronto. For more information about CBC's Opinion section, please see the FAQ.

Listen closely and one might be able to discern the unmistakable sounds of our elected and unelected officials frantically firing up the gaslights and moving the goalposts on COVID restrictions and vaccinations. 

 

It was a precipitous but inevitable shift from "two weeks to flatten the curve" to get the jab or lose your job, and unsurprisingly, there is still more to come. 

Met the provincial vaccination targets? Great; but now it's time for a booster. Ready for the "temporary" vaccine passport system to expire? Sorry, we need to extend it through spring; proving once again that if you give the government an inch on your rights, they will go for the mile every time. 

Less than a year ago, government and public health officials touted vaccination as a panacea to end the pandemic. It's safe, effective and will allow the country to put COVID behind us, we were told. To that end, citizens were encouraged, prodded and eventually threatened to get their shots, with holdouts demonized by politicians at all levels. Yet, in Ontario, even as the province exceeded by weeks its vaccination and case number targets of the government's phased reopening plan, citizens were offered only breadcrumbs in return: moving up Phase 3 reopening by just a few days, with no plans at the time for a complete reopening.  

Goalposts shift again

And now, with new case numbers in Ontario essentially split evenly between the unvaccinated and fully vaccinated and questions about waning vaccine efficacy, the goalposts shift again with the rollout of booster shots elsewhere in the country and calls for expanded eligibility

One does not need to look hard to guess what the next step will be across Canada. In Israel and France, the definition of fully vaccinated was changed to include boosters; those six months out from their second dose, or first booster, are now considered unvaccinated, and their vaccine passport privileges suspended.  

There is, of course, the popular rebuttal that these goalpost shifts are entirely above-board as the "science evolves." But that exposes the flaw inherent in governments' COVID response: for nearly two years, debate and dissent from burdensome COVID restrictions has been short-circuited with demands that citizens "trust the science"; a modern take on debate-defusing exhortations to "support our troops" during the War on Terror. Every infringement on citizens' privacy, mobility, autonomy and conscience rights has been justified by officials in the name of the infallible technocratic might of "the science."

 
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Ontario Premier Doug Ford attends a news conference at the Queens Park legislature in Toronto in April, the same month he apologized to Ontarians and cancelled a number of COVID-19 restrictions after facing intense backlash. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

But when proven wrong – or more importantly, unpopular at the polls – that formerly rock-solid science on which officials acted is simply dismissed out of hand. Policymakers, however, cannot on one hand demand unyielding adherence to science, and then down the road simply hand-wave away their previous demands on the grounds that their knowledge or political fortunes have evolved. 

It is for this precise reason that checks and balances exist in governance: to prevent rule through unaccountable technocratic appeals to authority. Debate and dissent in the age of COVID, however, have become four-letter words

Our public health officials and elected politicians should not at this point expect any benefit of the doubt. Considering that we are still taking our shoes off and binning bottles of water at airport security 20 years after 9/11, that government officials and their unelected mandarins are unwilling to cede their newfound power in an age of COVID should not come as any surprise.  

Indeed, officials have shown they are not above apparent falsehoods to further their aims. Last week, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Kieran Moore justified the immunization of children between the ages of five and 11 by claiming hospitalization and case counts for that age group were increasing. Yet, according to Ontario's own data, there had been zero hospitalizations in that age group in the past two weeks at the time of Moore's statement.

Always another threat

As the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) once knew, "There will always be a new disease, always the threat of a new pandemic." Accordingly, the number of boosters, or the percentage of fully-vaccinated citizens, needed for a return to normal will always be n+1. Meet one metric, and be met with two more. As the ACLU continues, "If [fear of disease] justifies the suspension of liberties and the institution of an emergency state, then freedom and the rule of law will be permanently suspended." 

Already we see public health officials priming the pump for the next goalpost shift. Even if vaccine uptake is high among five to 11-year-olds, it will still not be good enough. According to Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, toddlers under the age of four will be next to need the shots, claiming with an absolute lack of shame that – unlike all the other times we were promised an end to the pandemic – vaccinating that group will be a "turning point." 

The government, of course, will never walk back its emergency powers of its own volition. And why would they? After two years of fomenting terror and division among the population, they have cultivated a solid base of support that combines the post-9/11 see-something-say-something paranoia of a middle-class yuppie with the unctuous 1980s Moral Majority sense of superiority. 

Until public opinion turns sharply against government overreach, we will continue to live in an artificially prolonged state of emergency, beholden to the whims of bureaucrats and elected officials.

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