Stats Show Spike in Deaths and Cases Come from Brazil and Mexico

It has now become apparent the spike in cases and certainly in deaths in the border states of Arizona, California and Texas closely parallel the rise in cases in Mexico. In addition, spikes in cases and deaths in Florida closely mimic the curves displayed for Brazil.

The Brazilian population in Florida counts more than 300,000, one of the largest Brazilian communities in the United States. And if you think the travel ban prevents Brazilians from entering the U.S., this document details the many exceptions to the rule.

Daily cases in Brazil via Worldometers.info

It is generally accepted that it takes approximately five days to get infected with coronavirus and for those who tragically succumb to the illness, which is a tiny percentage of all cases, it takes anywhere from 10 to 18 days to die. The peak cases in Mexico occurred in late July (at this point people may have had it for more than 10 days) and the peak of deaths in the U.S. border states of Arizona, California and Texas occurred in early August.

Daily cases in Mexico via Worldometers.info

Undoubtedly, there are delays in reporting due to slow data collection in Brazil and Mexico. In the United States, there are also delays in reporting cases and deaths.

People who cross the border or fly in from Brazil seeking medical attention are most likely already ill and desperate to receive premium U.S. healthcare at our fine hospitals.

When the cases were at a peak in Brazil and Mexico, you can assume those infected had been sick for at least several days or more than a week. If you get tested in Brazil or Mexico and the result is positive, it’s very likely you’ve had COVID-19 for a while. The chances that the very day you get tested align with the exact day you contract the virus are slim.

Now back to the numbers … the peaks of cases in Brazil and Mexico occurred the third week of July, and the peak deaths occurred in early August in Arizona, California and Texas. The curves in these states precisely mirror the curves in Brazil and Mexico, accounting for the lag between cases and deaths. This is not a coincidence, my friends. This is a very real example of The Politics of Duh.

Some people will say the rise in cases and deaths in these border states is due to the fact these states presumably opened up early – in late April and early May. But this isn’t true. Following the trajectory of infection and subsequent deaths, the rise would’ve appeared much sooner than the end of July.

Panic is unwarranted. Recently, cases have started dropping in both Brazil and Mexico, and because the situation is so closely tied to our border states, we’ve also seen significant drops in cases and deaths throughout Arizona, California, Florida and Texas as well.

There is an excellent short book by former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson in which he explains in great detail why lockdowns are ineffective against preventing the spread of COVID-19. Mr. Berenson provides well-researched scientific reasons based on data but he leaves out the 800-pound gorilla in the room: the politics of the coronavirus.

In January 2020, the unemployment rate stood at its lowest number in more than half a century. It would’ve been an extremely difficult feat to win an election against the President who created such a historically strong economy; there’s simply no arguing with numbers.

Let’s admit it, most people are concerned about the economy over almost anything else. Remember that wonderful saying, “It’s the economy stupid” coined in 1992 by Democratic Strategist James Carville? Well, it really is. Or it really was because coronavirus was able to infect and sicken one of the healthiest U.S. economies in our nation’s history.

There’s no doubt ill-advised lockdowns destroyed the economy and created unprecedented levels of unemployment, driving national discontent to soaring heights. This new concern about rising cases and a small amount of rising deaths in border states is another attempt to keep the economy locked down until the elections. There are basically four things Democratic governors can do to defeat Donald Trump in November:

  1. Keep the economy locked down to depress GDP numbers, making unemployment numbers artificially high in their states.
  2. Block schools from re-opening in September, which would inhibit parents from easily working, whether it’s at home or in the office.
  3. Create a situation where unemployment benefits are higher than the salaries of many who lost their jobs thereby providing no incentive for these unemployed workers to return to work.
  4. Encourage mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus, which can be replete with voter fraud and thus fraudulently can swing the election in the Democrats’ favor.

So far the governors of Arizona, Florida and Texas have resisted locking down their states again although California Governor Gavin Newsom has locked down most of his state. Governor Newsom’s actions to successfully shut down businesses once again, thwarting any growth from the semi-recovering economy, is just one more way Democratic politicians are using coronavirus as an effective strategy to defeat President Trump in November.

In his book, Mr. Berenson avoided any discussion about the politics of the coronavirus, which I understand, (keep to the facts) but in this particular situation, a no-politics treatise on the topic of COVID-19 is like corona without the virus – it misses the point. If anything has been proven by this entire coronavirus fiasco, it’s that in the real world, no matter how many times you present the scientific evidence, politics trumps science every time.

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Are Deaths Coming from South of the Border?

Even though cases are rising drastically in four states – Arizona, Texas, California and Florida – most of the uptick in cases is benign, unaccompanied by a concurrent increase in mortality. (I explained my theory of the rise in cases here.)

There’s a reason for the daily mortality count in these four states: In border states like Texas, Arizona and California there has been a large jump in the number of illegal immigrants from Mexico crossing the border with COVID-19.

In the Politics of Duh world, we say this makes sense. It fits with the statistics that are now being reported. Mexico is currently experiencing one of the biggest COVID-19 outbreaks in the world. Even though immigration is supposedly blocked from Mexico due to the virus, there is an important exception: If illegal immigrants come to this country in need of medical care, we do not turn them away. This is defined as an “essential crossing” and the Mexico-U.S. land border, while closed, is still open to “essential crossings.” According to a legal document published as a Notice on the U.S. Federal Register, one component that satisfies an “essential crossing” is if “individuals [are] traveling for medical purposes, (e.g. to receive medical treatment in the United States).”

Interesting, very interesting.

In June, The New York Times published an article detailing how hospitals in California are being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients who are coming across the border. If this happened in mid-June in California when cases were not as high as they are now then it’s logical to expect it’s happening in Texas and Arizona, also border states. In June, this article reported that hundreds of border agents were infected with COVID-19, which also fits into this narrative. Mexico is a Third World country with an infamously terrible healthcare system. Of course people would be incentivized to cross the border for better medical care in U.S. hospitals, especially if they know they won’t be forced back to Mexico due to the essential crossing exception.

Total mortalities by country, as reported on worldometers.info for July 9, 2020

And what about Florida? Well, let’s talk about Brazil. Like Mexico, Brazil is also in the midst of one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the world. So it would also be sensible to assume Brazilians are traveling to the United States (and specifically, to Miami) for its superior medical treatment. Most of the increase in deaths in Florida are in the Miami-Dade area, which is the primary destination for travelers from Brazil.

President Trump banned travel from Brazil to the U.S. on May 24, 2020. However, there were many exceptions and loopholes to the immigration law, which you can view here.

This rise in cases in the border states is being used by some politicians to justify keeping states closed down or even reverse re-opening guidelines. Dr. Fauci, who has been wrong about almost everything all pandemic long, told The Wall Street Journal today, “I think any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down.”

Despite what politicians and authorities say, the facts should help us understand that the rise in mortality is not due to the progression of the virus in the United States and instead is being caused by outside factors. How else can you explain the fact that the rises are only occurring in certain pockets? Why don’t we see a similar rise in Georgia, which famously opened the earliest of all the U.S. states?

There’s absolutely no breakdown of mortality in those four states by nationality, (it would probably be illegal to disclose that information or even frowned upon to even investigate it); we’re left with using our deductive reasoning skills to figure out why, at the exact time Mexico and Brazil are surging, we’re seeing subsequent case numbers rise in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. I don’t believe this is a coincidence, I believe it’s symptomatic of America’s status as a beacon of hope and the great, strong country we all know it to be.

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School’s Out Forever?

Who could’ve predicted the famous 1972 Alice Cooper verse, “school’s out for summer / school’s out forever,” would turn into the 2020 motto for those who are now basically trying to keep schools shut indefinitely?

Many educators and so-called medical professionals are advocating for either not opening schools in the fall or a very, very modified form of learning via online classrooms. Recently, Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, spoke about the danger of re-opening schools in the fall, warning that it imposes too high of a health risk for teachers. His solution? School should basically be closed until there is no danger from the coronavirus.

This attitude is also apparent in institutes of higher education; Harvard University just announced plans to limit their reopening in the fall to freshman only. The university will provide online courses to the rest of its student body. (Incidentally, despite this modified form of learning, tuition will not be lowered.) 

There are many studies both in the United States and around the world that underscore the importance of social interaction in classrooms for young people and conclude online learning is not only ineffective but also psychologically detrimental to students. In 2015, during a time far removed from the COVID-19 outbreak and its subsequent politically charged theories about education, a study conducted by Stanford University showed that online learning was ineffective and actually harmful. The study showed that in a one year period of online learning, the amount of acquired knowledge was so diminutive, it was as if the students had not gone to school at all. And the students who are hit the hardest by the school shutdowns are are those who come from poorer socioeconomic groups – exactly the students who need education the most in order to succeed. In conversation with Dr. Scott Atlas of the Hoover Institution, Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw asked the doctor about the impact of virtual learning on lower-class families. The doctor explained that many of these families do not have the means (an iPad, an available computer or even a quiet spot within their living space) to institute online learning for their children.

“[Closing schools] has nothing to do with the children and that point must be made loud and clear,” Dr. Atlas said. “In fact, it’s harmful to the children.”

So, OK. We’ve established that online schooling is not great (or even feasible for some) and that schooling is extremely necessary for students’ educational, emotional and psychological well-being. But while politicians and officials seem to be ignoring these facts, elsewhere in the world the push for a return to traditional education is getting a brighter spotlight. In the UK, for instance, many pediatricians were pleading with the government to reopen schools for the health and intellectual good of young people. They even deemed it a “national priority.”

There is no question the collective mental health of students is suffering because of these prolonged shutdowns. Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a leading pediatrician who directs the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital and is editor-in-chief of the prominent medical journal JAMA Pediatrics published a piece where he eloquently outlines the long-term, lasting outcomes of these shutdowns on children. In an article published by NPR, the publication writes: “[Dr. Christakis] argues that the risk to children’s learning, social-emotional development and mental health need to be better balanced with the risks of spreading the coronavirus.”

Convinced yet? No? Then let’s get onto the science of re-opening the schools. It is now July. We have ample data and statistical analysis to show young people have been largely unaffected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Actually, there have been no fatalities under the age of nine in the U.S. There have also been no fatalities in the U.S. not attributed to co-morbidities for people under the age of 21.

The common influenza has been much deadlier when it comes to young people; COVID-19, as we well know, affects the very elderly and sick. About 50% of the deaths in the U.S. occurred in assisted living homes. The science for keeping schools locked down is just not there, especially when you look at studies – like this one conducted in France – that show children are highly unlikely to get the disease and just as unlikely to spread it.

Ah, but what about the teachers? As Dr. Atlas explained in Congressman Crenshaw’s podcast, half of all teachers are 41 years of age or younger and 82% are under 55. “We know the risk from COVID-19, the fatality rate for COVID-19 for people less than 60 years old is less than or equal to the seasonal flu,” Dr. Atlas said, adding that “there is no significant risk to the teacher population.”

For those teachers who are worried – especially those over the age of 60 – they can either not teach and allow younger teachers to take over their duties or they can simply advise via a computer screen while a teaching assistant manages the in-person classroom. This way, we can open the schools, which the science says we should do.

Here is a chart from May showing that only three people out of 15,000 under the age of 15 died of COVID-19 in New York City. The following statistics illustrate the incredibly small chance young people have of dying from COVID-19.

Statistics via worldmeters.info

In the real world, school re-openings have not triggered large increases at all in COVID-19. In France, it has been conclusively shown that reopening the schools did not put the students or teachers at risk.

One ploy to ramp up the fear has been scaring people about a rare disease in young people called Kawasaki Syndrome. This is yet another fear tactic to panic people into keeping children isolated and out of a normal school environment. The noted Swiss epidemiologist Dr. Sadler explained when someone gets COVID-19, T cells begin to attack the virus-infested cells all over the body. In very rare instances, this can lead to an exaggerated immune response called a Cytokine Storm. Also very rarely this can happen in small children, which is known as Kawasaki Syndrome. It’s interesting, however, that this super rare syndrome is very easily remedied. The infected children receive antibodies from antibody-positive donors and they’re cured.

There is simply no scientific or educational reason to keep schools closed or resort to virtual learning. Let’s recap: The young do not get sick and rarely pass COVID-19 on to others – certainly teachers under 60 have nothing to fear, unless they’re also just as terrified of getting the flu. And if older teachers are fearful they simply don’t have to teach. There are plenty of people who could use the jobs right now. With the science disproving school shutdowns at every conceivable turn, the only reason to keep schools closed has to be political. It’s simply another tactic to stall and basically kill the resurgence of the American economy. This nefarious plot must be countered with strong scientific evidence. The mental, physical and educational well-being of our youth depend on it. Hopefully Alice Cooper was wrong with his lyric and school is not out forever.

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UPDATED: Cases Are Up, Let’s Celebrate

Florida is a great example of what happens when people are put into isolation for months and then suddenly allowed to mingle in bars, beaches, restaurants and other public places.

In isolation, the body’s immune system stops functioning properly. (For more on this, Science Alert details what happens to the brain and body in isolation.)

Deaths in Florida over the last two weeks varied from about 25 per day to a high of 68 per day. When you look at these figures, they’re not very high in a state with a population of nearly 22,000,000 people. In addition, many of the people who tragically died were not even tested for COVID-19 yet classified as COVID-19 deaths because their doctors suspected it. (Yes, the classification is that hazy and unscientific.)

Regardless of the actual recent death toll in Florida due to COVID-19, there’s a question these numbers bring up: Why has the case number in Florida risen so highly – anywhere from 5,000 to 11,000+ cases per day? Granted, the case number includes those who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies, which means the person doesn’t actively have the disease. The number also includes a positive result on the standard “COVID” test, which picks up any type of coronavirus that may not be COVID-19 at all.

It’s funny to hear politicians who call for more “testing, testing, testing” without even knowing what the test actually measures. Right now, testing is picking up people with the virus but also giving many false positives because a lot of people tested are not contagious, they just have remnants from their immunological reactions.

Knowing all this, is this rise in daily case numbers cause for concern? According to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, it’s not.

“This week, which (there) have been increased cases, that median age is plunging even further,” Gov. DeSantis said from the Florida International University last week.

The jump in cases can also simply be a factor of months-hibernating immune systems now compromised and unable to combat even the slightest infection or virus.

Our immune system has to come in contact with viruses, bacteria and pollutants in order to elicit a response, therefore allowing us to fight off all sorts of outside contaminants and exist in a world full of viruses potentially dangerous to our health. This is nothing new. Britannica offers a comprehensive overview of the entire immune response process in a variety of different living creatures. From terrestrial vertebrates like reptiles and mammals to lowly protozoans, organisms have developed a way to identify self components from nonself components, and only through exposure to the latter does the organism elicit a response to rid itself of these foreign invaders that could potentially threaten their survival.

As background, the human immune system response consists of the following: T-Cells, antibodies, NK cells, macrophages, lymphokines and monokines. (More detail from Medical Microbiology can be found here.)

One example of immune system stifling is found in astronauts. It has been shown conclusively the astronauts who are totally isolated in space from viruses and bacteria have very, very suppressed immune systems once they return to Earth.

On this planet, broad scientific research has shown that isolation severely weakens our ability to cope with diseases.

Returning to the Sunshine State, this documented research could explain why Florida is now seeing such a high daily case count for COVID-19. It makes sense that people who are now free to mingle in Florida are now coming down with all sorts of viruses and bacterial infections, the former of which may or may not be COVID-19.

As Gov. DeSantis pointed out, the majority of these cases are young people (the average age has dropped to the low 30s) who are healthy but their immune system response is sluggish because it has to acclimate again to foreign contaminates making it abnormally slow in response to viruses.

The media is quick to sound the alarm bells about this huge rise in cases without looking at the minuscule rise in mortalities. Of course after prolonged isolation, it would be totally expected to see a rise in COVID infections and viral infections among the general population. Their collective immune system has been compromised after months of harmful isolation, hand washing, mask wearing and the like.

If anything, we should be celebrating the most recent statistics because people are not dying at alarming rates, the jump in COVID cases is not concurrently followed by a correlated rise in mortalities. This is good news. It’s how we can achieve herd immunity and actually defeat this virus.

There is a real attempt to panic the United States into closing down again that is not based on anything scientific or the least bit documented. The rise in cases can be largely attributed to the fact that young people’s immune systems have been severely impacted by this prolonged shutdown. It’s also quite possible the COVID virus has mutated to a weaker form, which is normal during warmer seasons. Even though people are testing positive, there’s no reason to panic. The country should fully re-open, and we should begin the road to restoring what was the best and strongest economy in the world. It’s time to take politics out of our decision-making and just stick to the science.

A few days ago, Beda M Stadler, former director of the Institute for Immunology at the University of Bern, biologist and professor emeritus published a piece for the Swiss magazine Weltwoche – “Coronavirus: Why Everyone Was Wrong.” In the piece, he basically outlines everything written above. “The immune response against the virus is much stronger than we thought,” he says.

And it makes sense. Tests are not rising very much in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. These places have mass transit and are far more congested than Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. People in the Northeast were probably already exposed in February and March before the shutdowns and had strong immunological reactions to the virus. About 50% of the fatalities occurred in the Northeast because foolishly we quarantined everyone instead of protecting those over 65 who were more likely to die from the virus. (It’s no coincidence that about 50% of the fatalities across the country happened in nursing homes.)

Writes Stadler: “Those young and healthy people who currently walk around with a mask on their face would be better off wearing a helmet instead, because the risk of something falling on their head is greater than that of getting a serious case of COVID-19.”

It’s only now after prolonged lockdowns that the younger population is getting sicker – with mild symptoms – as they are infected with the virus. Stadler, a prominent immunologist, says most researchers and doctors were wrong about the coronavirus. He’s in a far better position to look at all the data at this point than the crazy theorists who only spoke of doom and gloom during the height of the pandemic.

It is likely that a large proportion of the daily reported infection numbers are purely due to viral debris. He also said many of the new cases are not contagious.

The virus is basically gone for now. It will probably come back in the winter but it won’t be a second wave, it’ll be, as Stadler points out, just a cold.

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