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“For me to wear a mask defies the efficacy and purpose of a mask and sends an untruthful message that I’m susceptible to infection or could transmit it.”
Sanford Health’s chief executive says South Dakota doesn’t need a mask-mandate, and the worst of the pandemic is days away from being in the rear-view mirror. Kelby Krabbenhoft, president and CEO of Sanford Health, told the Argus Leader in an interview Thursday his healthcare system is positioned well to handle the amount of COVID-19 patients coming through the door. Krabbenhoft, 62, said as of Thursday, Sanford Health’s network of hospitals in the region were caring for a 1,400 patients, 390 of which are hospitalized with COVID-19. And while that has put a large burden on front-line workers, he said Sanford has capacity to handle even more patients should hospitalizations continue to go up before mass vaccination begins in January. “At this point, we feel we’ve got this under control,” Krabbenhoft said. “There’s not a crisis.”
And though state health officials have previously stated vaccine doses would begin arriving in South Dakota sometime in December, Krabbenhoft said new information provided to him Thursday indicates Sanford’s first vaccine shipment could come even sooner than that. “I feel like with a vaccine — I’m told we’re about 10 days away from receiving it — it feels like the cavalry is coming,” he said. Krabbenhoft was reiterating comments he made the day prior in an email sent to all Sanford Health staff, in which he disclosed that he dealt with a COVID-19 diagnosis of his own earlier this year. In the Argus Leader interview, he said he contracted the virus while watching a football game on an outdoor patio with a friend who was asymptotic at the time.
He likened his case to that of a severe cold or the flu, having worsening symptoms for about a week before beginning to improve. Now that he’s had the virus, he presumes he’s immune to the virus for at least a few months and can’t spread it. That’s why Krabbenhoft told his employees in the email that he doesn’t always wear a mask when he’s in public settings. “The information, science, truth, advice and growing evidence is that I am immune for at least seven months and perhaps for years to come, similar to that of chicken pox, measles, etc,” he wrote in the email. “For me to wear a mask defies the efficacy and purpose of a mask and sends an untruthful message that I’m susceptible to infection or could transmit it.”
“The bar is very high,” Moss says. “In many cases, the genetic material just isn’t there.”
In late June, Sanne de Jong developed nausea, shortness of breath, sore muscles, and a runny nose. At first, she thought it might be lingering effects from her COVID-19 infection in the spring. De Jong, 22, had tested positive on 17 April and suffered mild symptoms for about 2 weeks. She tested negative on 2 May—just in time to say farewell to her dying grandmother—and returned to work as a nursing intern in a hospital in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. But when her symptoms re-emerged, her doctor suggested she get tested again. “A reinfection this soon would be peculiar, but not impossible,” she told De Jong, who by then had again lost her sense of smell and had abdominal pains and diarrhea. The call from her municipal health service came on 3 July. De Jong had tested positive again. “You’re kidding me!” she recalls saying.
Scientists are keenly interested in cases like hers, which are still rare but on the rise. Reinfections hint that immunity against COVID-19 may be fragile and wane relatively quickly, with implications not just for the risks facing recovered patients, but also for how long future vaccines might protect people. “The question everybody wants to answer is: Is that second one going to be less severe most of the time or not?” says Derek Cummings, who studies infectious disease dynamics at the University of Florida. “And what do reinfections teach us about SARS-CoV-2 immunity in general?” South Korean scientists reported the first suspected reinfections in April, but it took until 24 August before a case was officially confirmed: a 33-year-old man who was treated at a Hong Kong hospital for a mild case in March and who tested positive again at the Hong Kong airport on 15 August after returning from a trip to Spain.
Since then, at least 24 other reinfections have been officially confirmed—but scientists say that is definitely an underestimate. To count as a case of reinfection, a patient must have had a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test twice with at least one symptom-free month in between. But virologist Chantal Reusken of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) explains that a second test can also be positive because the patient has a residue of nonreplicating viral RNA from their original infection in their respiratory tract, because of an infection with two viruses at the same time or because they had suppressed but never fully cleared the virus. So most journals want to see two full virus sequences, from the first and second illnesses, that are sufficiently different, says Paul Moss, a hematologist at the University of Birmingham.
“The bar is very high,” Moss says. “In many cases, the genetic material just isn’t there.” Even if it is, many labs don’t have the time or money to clinch the case. As a result, the number of genetically proven reinfections is orders of magnitude lower than that of suspected reinfections. The Netherlands alone has 50 such cases, Brazil 95, Sweden 150, Mexico 285, and Qatar at least 243.
Why bother if other vaccines don’t require this?
Pfizer is now the first company to apply for emergency authorization of its coronavirus vaccine, setting off a sprint by scientists at the Food and Drug Administration to approve it. About 25 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine may become available in December, 30 million in January and 35 million more in February and March, according to information presented to the National Academy of Medicine this week. Recipients will need two doses, three weeks apart. CBS News got an inside look at the logistical challenges of getting Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to the public, including a required storage temperature you would find in the coldest places on Earth.
Colder than Antarctica in winter, dry ice – made from carbon dioxide – is crucial for moving and storing these vaccines. Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be kept at 94 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Dry ice helps maintain the subarctic temperature during shipping. Pfizer developed a thermal shipper, which they call a “cool box,” for the trip. It’s about the size of a carry-on suitcase. “There’s dry ice that goes around it, and then it has actually a device within it that has a continuous GPS and temperature monitor,” said Tanya Alcorn, vice president of Pfizer’s BioPharma Global Supply Chain. Each “cool box” contains a minimum of about 1,000 vaccine doses, which poses a challenge for rural communities with no place to store them.
Tim Size, executive director of the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, which represents 43 rural hospitals across the state, said, “I don’t think anybody wants to give a message that rural Wisconsin or rural America is second class.” “If you can ship 1,000, you can ship 200,” he added. “It’s more expensive. It’s more cumbersome, but it allows rural to be getting vaccinated at the same time urban’s getting vaccinated.”
“..end rebates paid to the so-called middlemen in Medicare..”
The Trump administration on Friday announced three measures designed to cut prescription drug prices – with a particular focus on seniors – pursuant to executive orders signed earlier this year. “Together, these reforms will save Americans patients many, many billions of dollars every single year,” Trump said during a press conference at the White House. The first would end rebates paid to the so-called middlemen in Medicare, who are supposed to pass them on to commercial plans – though there is doubt over whether that happens. Instead, the discounts are expected to be offered to consumers directly at the pharmacy counter. There has been a concern that this policy could result in higher Part D premiums for beneficiaries.
The second action announced on Friday aims to make U.S. drug prices more competitive by linking prices paid for prescriptions under Medicare to prices charged for the same drugs in other countries. Trump said that Medicare will look at prices paid by other developed nations and instead of paying “the highest price on the list,” the program “will pay the lowest price.” Additionally, the administration said it would end the Unapproved Drug Initiative, which was designed to prevent the use of unapproved drugs, but instead has allowed drugmakers to exploit older drugs that have received renewed approval and exclusivity by hiking prices. One study found that prices were increased by as much as 1,644% after approval.
30% of Democrats Believe Election Stolen from Trump
Most voters now believe President Trump should admit that he lost the election, although they’re less certain their friends and neighbors would agree. They’re more closely divided, however, over whether the Democrats stole the election as Trump contends.The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 61% of Likely U.S. Voters think Trump should concede the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden. Just 33% disagree. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 84% of Democrats, 37% of Republicans and 59% of voters not affiliated with either major party believe Trump should concede. 57% of Republicans disagree.
Among all voters, though, only 51% think their friends and neighbors believe Trump should concede. 30% suspect they would disagree, but 18% are not sure. 47% say it’s likely that Democrats stole votes or destroyed pro-Trump ballots in several states to ensure that Biden would win, but 50% disagree. This includes 36% who say it’s Very Likely and 41% who consider it Not At All Likely. The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted November 17-18, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
Looking back at the presidential election, Trump voters overwhelmingly say they voted for the president, while a sizable number of Biden supporters admit they were voting against Trump rather than for the former vice president. The older the voter, the less supportive they are of Trump conceding the election to Biden. Whites oppose concession more strongly than blacks and other minority voters do. Even among those who Strongly Approve of Trump’s job performance, nearly one-in-four (23%) believe he should admit he lost. Of course, that compares to 93% of those who Strongly Disapprove of the job he’s been doing. 61% of Republicans say it’s Very Likely the Democrats stole the election, but just as many Democrats (61%) say it’s Not At All Likely. Among unaffiliateds, 29% feel it’s a stolen election; 45% do not.
80% of voters who do not believe Trump should concede yet think it’s Very Likely Democrats stole votes or destroyed pro-Trump ballots in several states to ensure that Biden would win. Fifteen percent (15%) of those who want Trump to concede agree. Trump’s job performance was the most important issue for Biden voters, closely followed by the coronavirus. For Trump voters, the economy came first and then how the president did his job. Just two weeks before this year’s Election Day, 94% said their vote would be correctly recorded and counted, with 73% who said it was Very Likely. Following the election, those findings fell to 71%and 47% respectively.
PBS Went to Georgia One Week Before the Election
One week before the 2020 election PBS went to Georgia to do a deep dive of their Dominion Voting Systems. One of their experts, Harry Hursti from Nordic Innovation Labs, told PBS the Georgia system does not seem to have any safeguards. Georgia’s vote tabulating system was a complex system of laptops, ipads, magnetic cards, touch screens, printers and scanners. Investigators found several troubling issues before the election. One expert said it would be easy to dublicate the ballot codes and make up new ballots.
PBS does a deep dive on Georgia’s use of Dominion Voting Systems machines.
Not a great look.
Dominion Voting Systems Thursday night abruptly backed out of attending a fact-finding hearing that was set for Friday morning with the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee. At a press conference Friday morning, State Govt Committee Chair Seth Grove said the 1.3. million Pennsylvanians who used Dominion’s voting machines have been “hung out to dry and slapped in their faces.” Pennsylvania lawmakers had scheduled the hearing with the voting machine manufacturer “to help identify and correct any irregularities in the election process,” according to the House Republican Caucus. “It is vitally important voters have faith in the machines they use to cast their ballots.
On the heels of Gov. Tom Wolf unilaterally decertifying every voting machine in the Commonwealth, we need to know whether these new machines met expectations, whether they are reliable and whether they are not subject to interference,” said Rep. Grove (R-York). Dominion had initially agreed to attend the hearing, before it “abruptly canceled,” Grove said. “I was impressed at what appeared to be the willingness that Dominion Voting Systems to address accusations and it would have put 1.3. million Pennsylvanians who used their machines at ease—including myself, thinking that Dominion was willing to publicly back up their product which PA taxpayers invested millions to purchase” he noted during the presser. “Unfortunately, last evening, Dominion Voting Systems lawyered up, and backed out of their commitment to the people of Pennsylvania to provide their input in a public format.”
Grove blasted the company for “retreating into the darkness,” rather than appearing at the hearing with “honesty and integrity.” The committee chair said he wanted to know why a company with nothing to hide would back out. “Why would a vender of public goods fear discussing their product sold to the public for the public good? If Dominion’s products were successful and operated as they were supposed to, why wouldn’t Dominion take the opportunity to publicly review its success?” Grove demanded. “How hard is it to say, ‘our ballot machines worked exactly as promised and they’re 100 percent accurate’?” “After weeks of accusations, why has Dominion Voting Systems not released any analysis of the success of its voting machines to the public in order to stop their accusers in their tracks? If they have nothing to hide, why are they hiding from us?” he asked.
John Oliver slammed the use of electronic voting machines, admitted Trump was completely right https://t.co/K50SUaBabK
— President-Elect of Jesusland Poso (@JackPosobiec) November 21, 2020
“..we’ll have to stand by like grownups and see how it all plays out in the courts.”
“(If I were her, I’d be deep into the George Dickel No. 12 Sour Mash by eight o’clock that night, Tucker Time.)”
One thing you could say about the three Trump campaign lawyers’ joint press conference at high noon, Thursday: it sure wasn’t slick. But then, are we now such a nation of lobotomized chumps that our chief criteria for any public acting-out of an acute national melodrama is slickness of presentation? I guess we like our crises fluffed, like a Caitlin Jenner spot on The View. This one, though, is raw and savage.
And so there stood Rudy Giuliani in that cramped briefing room, with dark rivulets running down both temples as if he were sweating blood (more likely, hair dye), cracking jokes at times, and laying out some rather harsh predicates for pending election fraud lawsuits. Next up, the usually demure Sidney Powell appeared boiling over with grief and rage at the hijacking of American democracy, and the Deep State’s long-running connivance with all that, yielding nearly to tears at moments as she sketched out the sinister history and associations of the Dominion and Smartmatic vote systems — and the utter failure of public officialdom to monitor any of it for many years. Then Jenna Ellis, much in command of herself, emphasized perhaps half a dozen times, and quite sternly for the obdurately seditious news media, that the actual evidence would be revealed in court and that the day’s presentation was a mere overview. Got that? In court.
The news media didn’t get the message — on purpose, as usual — and so the stories flew all over the Internet’s gaslit echo chambers that the three lawyers failed to make a case. Later that night, Tucker Carlson piled on Sidney Powell for not sharing what she intends to present in a court of law. Apparently, she hung up the phone on him. Let’s face it, the lady has had a hard month, and a hard year, having to battle the malevolent and depraved Judge Emmet Sullivan over the dismissal of the case against General Flynn (as ordered by the DOJ), and now this colossal hairball of a momentous and historic election fraud case. (If I were her, I’d be deep into the George Dickel No. 12 Sour Mash by eight o’clock that night, Tucker Time.)
All right then, Mr. Trump’s lawyers have set the table for this epic political food-fight with just a few weeks to file and proceed, and we’ll have to stand by like grownups and see how it all plays out in the courts. There may be other sideshows and shenanigans in the various state legislatures over electoral college slates and such, along the way, but meanwhile I want to remind you that there are many other layers in this burgeoning mega-crisis worth being mindful of.
“..As soon as he saw multiple states shut down the voting on the night of the election, he knew the same thing was happening here.”
Sidney Powell, an attorney on President Trump’s election legal team, shot back at Fox News host Tucker Carlson the morning after he said she “got angry” and refused to provide evidence on his show for her claims of voting software flipping votes. “No, I didn’t get angry with the request to provide evidence,” the former federal prosecutor said Friday morning during an interview with Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo. “In fact, I sent an affidavit to Tucker that I had not even attached to a pleading yet to help him understand the situation, and I offered him another witness who could explain the mathematics and the statistical evidence far better than I can. I’m not really a numbers person,” she added. “But he was very insulting, demanding, and rude, and I told him not to contact me again, in those terms,” Powell concluded.
Powell did not state whether it was Carlson or a member of his team she spoke to about appearing on his show. [..]On his show Friday night, Carlson said that he had made “a lot of requests” for Powell to provide evidence for the Trump campaign’s allegations of widespread voter fraud but was given “not a page.” “We took Sidney Powell seriously. We had no intention of fighting with her. We’ve always respected her work. We simply wanted to see the details. How could you not want to see them? So, we invited Sidney Powell on the show. We would’ve given her the whole hour. We would’ve given her the entire week, actually, and listened quietly the whole time at rapt attention. That’s a big story. But she never sent us any evidence, despite a lot of requests — polite requests. Not a page,” Carlson said.
After Powell told Carlson to stop contacting her, he said that his team “checked with others around the Trump campaign, people in positions of authority,” who said that “Powell had never given them any evidence either.” Carlson’s show followed a wild press conference featuring Powell and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in which they laid out their claim of a “massive” vote-rigging scheme, laying much of the blame on Dominion Voting Systems. “We have one very strong witness who has explained how it all works,” Powell said. “His affidavit is attached to the pleadings of Lin Wood and the lawsuit he filed in Georgia. … As soon as he saw multiple states shut down the voting on the night of the election, he knew the same thing was happening here.”
The dispute between Tucker Carlson and Sidney Powell points to a larger failure—the failure of the media to do anything resembling investigative journalism on this or any other story pic.twitter.com/LV4Lb9GG8o
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) November 20, 2020
Not the President.
President Trump has announced that he is ordering a partial withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq during the waning days of his administration. Why only partial? And why now in the waning days of his presidency? After all, when Trump campaigned in 2016. his expressed aim was to bring all the troops home from those two countries. He repeatedly vowed to bring an end to America’s “forever wars.” There is a simple explanation for Trump’s failure, one that unfortunately so many Americans are loathe to consider: It’s not the president who is in charge of foreign policy. Instead it is the Pentagon and the CIA that are in charge. Trump had four years to bring home those troops. Clearly he wanted to. The reason he didn’t – the reason he still can’t – is because the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA won’t let him.
Longtime readers of my blog know that I have periodically referenced a book titled National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon, who is a professor of law at Tufts University and served as counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He knows what he is talking about. I highly recommend his book.Glennon’s thesis is a simple one: The real power of the federal government lies with the national-security establishment – namely the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. They permit the president, the Congress, and the Supreme Court to maintain the veneer of power. That veneer is unimportant to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. What’s important to them is who holds the power, not who appears to hold the power.
Trump’s inability to bring the troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq provides confirmation of Glennon’s thesis. Trump wanted to bring them home. He vowed to bring them home. He had four years to bring them home. He was unable to do so. The Pentagon and the CIA simply would not permit it. In his Farewell Address in 1961, President Eisenhower warned about the danger to America’s democratic processes from what he called the “military-industrial complex.” That was almost 60 years ago. As we have seen with President Trump, the national-security state has grown ever more powerful since then.
What the NYT has become.
Did you ever wonder why ‘western’ mainstream media get stories about Russia and other foreign countries so wrong? It is simple. They hire the most brainwashed, biased and cynic writers they can get for the job. Those who are corrupt enough to tell any lie required to support the world view of their editors and media owners. They are quite upfront about it. Here is evidence in form of a New York Times job description for a foreign correspondent position in Moscow:
To be allowed to write for the Times one must see the Russian Federation as a country that is ruled by just one man. One must be a fervent believer in MI6 produced Novichok hogwash. One must also believe in Russiagate and in the multiple idiocies it produced even after all of them have been debunked. One must know that vote counts in Russia are always wrong while U.S. vote counting is the most reliable ever. Russian private military contractors (which one must know to be evil men) are ‘secretly deployed’ to wherever the editors claim them to be. Russia’s hospitals are of cause always much worse than ours. Even when it is easy to check that Vladimir Putin (the most evil man ever) is at work in the Kremlin the job will require one to claim that he is hiding in a villa.
Most people writing for the Times will actually not believe the above nonsense. But the description is not for a position that requires one to weight and report the facts. It is for a job that requires one to lie. That the Times lists all the recent nonsense about Russia right at the top of the job description makes it clear that only people who support those past lies will be considered adequate to tell future lies about Russia. No honest unbiased person will want such a job. But as it comes with social prestige, a good paycheck and a probably nice flat in Moscow the New York Times will surely find a number of people who are willing to sell their souls to take it.
Interestingly the job advertisement does not list Russian language capabilities as a requirement. It only says that ‘Fluency in Russian is preferred’. ‘Western’ mainstream media are filled with such biased, cynic and self-censoring correspondents who have little if any knowledge of the country they are reporting from. It is therefore not astonishing that ‘western’ populations as well as their politicians have often no knowledge of what is really happening in the world.
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Neil DeGrasse Tyson Galileo
Between now and Dec 21 Saturn & Jupiter approach each other on the sky until a mere tenth of a degree separates them. Last time this happened Galileo was alive.
The solar system: A Cosmic Ballet, choreographed by the forces of gravity.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) November 20, 2020
— RT (@RT_com) November 21, 2020
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