What I have gotten right and what I have gotten wrong about SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19

We first started hearing about COVID-19 (the coronavirus”) seriously this past January 2020, and most of us didn’t think much of it. There was already a fissure forming between “the left” and “the right” as President Donald Trump shut down flights coming into the United States from China. Then, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi staged a press conference in San Francisco’s Chinatown in February, inviting tourists to visit the area. Also, President Trump formed the President’s Coronavirus Task Force to monitor, contain, and mitigate the spread of the virus, while ensuring that the American people have the most accurate and up-to-date health and travel information.

The word “coronavirus” has been around for years, yet it wasn’t until January 2020 that the mainstream media seemed to pick up on it, and the conflict going on between “the right” and “the left”. In fact, now there are seven types of human coronaviruses and this one has been promoted heavily by the general media.

The media was slowly ramping up its coverage of COVID-19 throughout February 2020 and it became nearly non-stop news in March 2020 here in the United States. The media coverage has been the dominant story of our 24-hour news cycle here and throughout the world. Much like our government and health officials, they have been parroting false information that the public soaked up.

My opinion on the matter has remained consistent from the beginning of the year to today. I feel our government and media have over-hyped COVID-19 to the point of reducing any last shred of confidence the American citizenry had for the elected officials, some doctors, and scientists. Much like other disasters, natural or otherwise, it became clear over these many months that the federal government and state and local governments are incompetent. There are many examples, but one that has stuck in the craw of many Americans is why our medical professionals did not have enough N95 rated masks. After the H1N1 debacle regarding not having enough masks in 2009, the federal government seems to have a problem replenishing its stockpile and now the 2020 federal budget has allocated over $700 million to (hopefully) keep things up-to-date.

What I have found interesting about how best to deal with the issue has many people at odds with one another. Even in my Libertarian world, Libertarians are at odds with the best policy to follow. Libertarian Party National Chair Nicholas Sarwark wrote a comprehensive essay titled “A Libertarian Approach to COVID-19in mid-April 2020. While Sarwark’s article seemed a reasonable, well thought out statement, he was attacked on social media by not only Republicans and Democrats but Libertarians.

So, what did I get right and what did I get wrong...so far?

I have been correct in my stance that COVID-19 was over-hyped by the media and actions taken by various governments in the United States have been excessive. Based on the death numbers, especially here in Florida, this has proven to be correct. Whereas the economic impact has been devastating, worse is the psychological impact it has had and the negative health consequences unrelated to COVID-19. I will be eager to see the numbers as they come out throughout the year on government actions which have caused an increase in cancer and heart disease deaths as many Americans have been fearful to go to the doctor or the emergency room. As we sit here on May 1, 2020, I realize while we should have taken various voluntary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and other viral diseases, the actions taken by our governments have been excessive. I have been correct that the number of deaths in Florida would never exceed those of regular influenza that hit us every year. This year the predominant strain has been H1N1.

Here in Florida, here are the leading causes of death with the most definitive figures available. While as of this morning COVID-19 has killed 1,268 people in Florida, it still has not reached close to the levels seen in this chart. Influenza and pneumonia kill far more people each year in Florida than COVID-19; however, why don’t we shut down the economy each year from January through March to save 3,000-4,000 lives? We don’t because we have accepted those number of contagious disease deaths will happen each year and we go about our business as usual.

Why don’t we take more Draconian actions to prevent the large number of deaths due to heart disease and cancer? While they are not communicable diseases, we have definitive proof we could save tens of thousands of lives each year if we somehow magically banned the sale cancer-causing and heart-disease causing foods, drinks, and other substances. We don’t do those things because they are not popular politically, and frankly, it is an idea that would create an underground economy of banned goods. So, we accept that a certain number of people will die each year because of drinking alcohol, eating fried foods, consuming processed foods, and smoking.

Screenshot 2020-05-01 at 5.12.01 AM

I have been incorrect in forecasting the death rate (number of confirmed cases/deaths). We can explain part of this because the official numbers coming from various sources are dubious and I hope we have a better way to code deaths. Dr. Birx has said during one of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force press conferences that “We’ve taken a very liberal approach to mortality.” Someone can die of a heart attack and be asymptomatic with COVID-19 and they still record it is as a COVID-19 death.

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So the official figures, unfortunately, are heavily skewed. In Florida, we have had 4,000 people die of influenza (including 13 children) while 1,268 in Florida have died of COVID-19 including zero children. I was also incorrect in the number of Florida deaths as I never thought it would exceed 1,000 this season. While every death is tragic, with a population of 21.5 million people, Florida has been nowhere near as affected as what the “experts” had predicted.

It would behoove all of us if we had more accurate reporting of deaths and more availability of testing for COVID-19. It almost goes without saying that once a vaccine is created many will take it every year while others will not. We should also get better at forecasting as this time around, the forecasting has been highly inaccurate.

Lastly, we never should close our economy and have our governments spread out “helicopter money” onto the masses. The financial ramifications will be challenging as opposed to doing the alternative. There are no rosy scenarios when something this major comes our way, but there are better ways to be prepared and better ways to handle it. Had we been reducing our federal debt and our deficit spending over the last few decades, this last situation would have been more palpable, financially.

2018 best cities for vegetarians and vegans

With World Vegan Day coming up on November 1st and research showing that skipping meat can save the average person at least $750 per year, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2018’s Best Cities for Vegans & Vegetarians as well as accompanying videos.

In addition to saving money, if you believe that humans are able to change the direction of global warming, the IPCC’s SR15 report just came out and confirmed that going vegan is crucial in that effort. This has been known for years; however, many of my climate alarmist friends continue to eat meat and drink dairy while cursing at the fossil fuel industry. Seems a bit hypocritical. Regardless, even if you don’t live in or near the cities mentioned below, there is no reason 99+% of the U.S. population cannot change over to eating vegan. I did it in 1994 and much to my mother’s surprise, I haven’t keeled over dead from a lack of protein. I would dare say that I am healthier than the average 53-year-old male with a higher level of testosterone and great blood circulation. So go vegan for your health, the planet, and the animals. I am also living proof one can be a libertarian while being a vegan.

To determine the best and cheapest places for following a plant-based diet, WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities across 16 key indicators of vegan- and vegetarian-friendliness. The dataset ranges from the share of restaurants serving meatless options to the cost of groceries for vegetarians to salad shops per capita.

Top 20 Cities for Vegans & Vegetarians
1 New York, NY 11 Washington, DC
2 Portland, OR 12 Tampa, FL
3 Orlando, FL 13 Chicago, IL
4 Seattle, WA 14 Phoenix, AZ
5 San Francisco, CA 15 Miami, FL
6 Los Angeles, CA 16 Atlanta, GA
7 Austin, TX 17 Anaheim, CA
8 Scottsdale, AZ 18 Nashville, TN
9 San Diego, CA 19 Houston, TX
10 Las Vegas, NV 20 Madison, WI

Best vs. Worst

  • Scottsdale, Arizona, has the highest share of restaurants serving vegetarian options, 33.44 percent, which is 16.8 times higher than in Laredo, Texas, the city with the lowest at 1.99 percent.
  • Scottsdale, Arizona, has the highest share of restaurants serving vegan options, 20.23 percent, which is 37.5 times higher than in Newark, New Jersey, the city with the lowest at 0.54 percent.
  • San Francisco has the most community-supported agriculture programs (per square root of the population), 0.0128, which is 18.3 times more than in Houston, the city with the fewest at 0.0007.
  • New York has the most salad shops (per square root of the population), 0.2510, which is 42.5 times more than in Laredo, Texas, the city with the fewest at 0.0059.

 

Movement afoot to help keep kratom legal to help the many that need it #TAKEACTION

As many of you know, nine noted scientists have started working with the American Kratom Association (AKA) and have authored a letter to President Trump’s White House Opioid Crisis Team Leader Kellyanne Conway and Acting DEA Administrator Robert W. Patterson.
In their letter, the scientists called out the FDA directly for their use of “bad science” when determining the safety profile of kratom.
And that’s why you and I must demand they disregard the FDA’s latest disinformation campaign against kratom.
There are organizations across the United States and within the Federal Government working day and night to criminalize kratom.
They don’t care about the truth, the science, or the disastrous impacts banning kratom would have on millions of Americans.
Below is the text of the petition being sent to President Trump and Ms. Conway:
———————————————————————————————————
PETITION TO PRESIDENT TRUMP AND KELLYANNE CONWAY
We the undersigned ask for your immediate action to protect the freedom of consumers to make their own health care decisions and stop the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from their broad regulatory overreach and the criminalization of millions of Americans who use kratom.
Kratom is a safe herbal supplement that is used by Americans to manage their health and well-being. Many have found kratom to be an effective alternative pain management therapy to dangerously addictive and deadly opioids. Leading scientists have concluded that banning kratom will create an unsafe kratom black market, and force kratom users who manage acute or chronic pain to deadly opioids and will lead to increased opioid deaths in America.
Mr. President, we ask that you direct the FDA and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) to research how kratom can best be used as both an alternative pain management therapy, and as a potential step-down from opioid addiction; and direct the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to return the proposed scheduling recommendation for kratom to the FDA and NIDA for those additional studies — and leave those Americans who use kratom for their personal health and well-being alone!
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Once you sign this petition, please forward this post to friends, family and even neighbors. Even if they are not a kratom consumer, please try to get their help in supporting this petition.

What can I take to sleep better?

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Make your voice heard in the upcoming hearings in Florida regarding medical marijuana regulation

The Department of Health has proposed rules for Amendment 2

Here is an article about the proposed Department of Health Hearings.

February 6-9, 2017 staff members from the DOH Office of Compassionate Use are visiting five Florida cities. The tour is an effort by the Department to fulfill the public comment requirements.  

Anyone can make a comment about the implementation of Amendment 2 through the Departments’ online form found here. 

If you are passionate about ensuring patients have safe, legal access to cannabis, consider attending and speaking at a meeting near you.

Items to speak out about!

  • Changing the definition of caregiver – Any close blood relative should be allowed to act as a caregiver without a background check. A level 1 background check won’t exclude a con artist or swindler from becoming a caregiver and extorting a patient, unless the rules exempt people convicted of fraud or elder abuse. 
  • Don’t ask Doctors to order specific quantities of cannabis. The proposed rules require doctors to “order” specific quantities of cannabis, which is too much like an unlawful prescription and puts doctors at risk under federal law. If doctors don’t participate, patients won’t be able to enroll.
  • Let the doctor make the decision if cannabis is right for the patient. The proposed rules give the Florida Board of Medicine — not the patient’s doctor — the ability to determine whether the patient’s condition is “substantially similar” to those listed in the amendment.
  • Ensure doctors can re-authorize our recommendation every 45-days without a subsequent visit! Patients can’t afford to pay a doctor, often out of pocket, every 45-days just to stay on the registry.

When preparing to speak, here are some things to consider. 

  • Know what you’re talking about. Read the proposed rules carefully and look up the references. 
  • The DOH can only implement the laws as written in the Constitution or written in Florida Statute. Make sure you understand the difference and speak to what DOH can actually do. Here is the full statute as it exists.
  • Don’t try to cover more than one or two items when you speak. Pick your point, have your facts on hand and make it relevant.
  • There will be forms available before the meeting, get there early and fill one out. Your statement becomes part of the official record and the information you provide is public.
  • Your time will be limited to three minutes or less. If enough people ask to speak you could get one minute. Get to your point quickly.
  • Don’t waste time introducing yourself. They have your form. Get to your point quickly.

Here are the times and locations of the public hearings. You don’t have to attend to be heard.


Remember, everyone can comment through
this online form.

Feb 62:00 pm Office of Compassionate Use Public Hearing – Duval County Health Department, 900 University Blvd. North in Jacksonville

Feb 710:00 am – Office of Compassionate Use Public Hearing – Broward County Health Department, 780 SW 24th Street in Fort Lauderdale

Feb 89:00 am – Office of Compassionate Use Public Hearing – Florida Department of Health, Tampa Branch Laboratory, 3602 Spectrum Blvd.

Feb 86:00 pm – Office of Compassionate Use Public Hearing – Orange County Health Department, 6102 Lake Ellenor Drive in Orlando

Feb 94:00 pm – Office of Compassionate Use Public Hearing – Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Room 148 in Tallahassee.

marijuana-leaf

Take Action: help stop the essential ban of Kratom!

We have some great news that needs urgent action BY 5pm ET TUESDAY! We, with our lobbyist’s help, have found some champions in Congress to write a bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter asking the DEA to slow down this process. Featured Image -- 3019

The letter asks, among other things, that the Director of OMB and Acting Director of the DEA delay a final decision on the placement of Kratom as a schedule I, provide ample time for public comment on this significant decision, and resolve any inconsistencies with other Federal Agencies regarding the use of Kratom.

So this is what we need you to do!!! Find your Rep here and e-mail them over the weekend! http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ Then use the number below to call YOUR representative first thing Monday morning. Tell them you are a responsible adult consumer of Kratom for help with ______ (ailment) and ask that they please contact Congressman Pocan’s office to sign-on to the Pocan/Salmon Dear Colleague letter on this issue.

Click HERE to view this hope-inspiring video that will help organize your phone call in order to relieve any ‘phone call anxiety‘.

Read Paul Kemp’s full explanation of the scenario HERE!

SEND YOUR CALLS, LETTERS & TESTIMONIALS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE!!

Loretta Lynch can single handedly stop this ban:
https://www.justice.gov/contact-us

Kratom Proponents Present 120,000-Signature Petition To White House To Stop DEA Rush To Ban Coffee-Like Herb In U.S., Seek Opportunity To Comment

Palm Beach Free Press

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — Organizers of a march and rally in Lafayette Park here on September 13, 2016, presented the Obama White House with a “We The People” petition signed by 120,000 Americans opposed to a rushed and unjustified effort by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to effectively ban as early as October 1, 2016 a coffee-like natural herb that has been used safely for hundreds of years. Organizers of the protest event want the DEA to allow for a full and open comment period from medical experts and the public.

Under the ill-considered DEA action, the herb kratom would be placed on an emergencykratom basis in the same drug classification as heroin and LSD, even though (1) there is no documented evidence of a kratom “public health threat” and (2) hundreds of thousands of Americans make use of the herb with no ill effect.  For more information about kratom…

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