Censorship Kills: US Government's Focus On COVID-19 'Messaging' Over Actual Protection Did Real Damage

from the free-speech-saves-lives dept

We’ve been writing a lot about the need for real transparency in the midst of a pandemic. The lessons to be learned from Taiwan’s transparency compared to China’s censorship and speech stifling are important. Tragically, it has become abundantly clear that the US is following the path of China, not Taiwan.

We’ve already covered hospitals trying to silence doctors and nurses from revealing what’s actually happening within their hospitals, Jared Kushner hiding his coronavirus task force efforts in a private email account, and the CDC’s tragic media gag order for its staff, but it’s looking much, much worse.

A bunch of stories came out on Wednesday that more or less show how hard the government is working towards silencing anyone “off message” within the administration. First came a NY Times report that head of the the HHS group working on a COVID-19 vaccine was dismissed from his job for daring to question Trump’s weird infatuation with hydroxychloroquine as the “miracle cure” to COVID-19 (which studies now suggest actually may be killing more patients than it’s saving). Dr. Rick Bright, who had been the director of the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, released quite a statement about what happened:

?I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the COVID-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit. I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science ? not politics or cronyism ? has to lead the way.

I have spent my entire career in vaccine development, in the government with CDC and BARDA and also in the biotechnology industry. My professional background has prepared me for a moment like this ? to confront and defeat a deadly virus that threatens Americans and people around the globe. To this point, I have led the government?s efforts to invest in the best science available to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unfortunately, this resulted in clashes with H.H.S. political leadership, including criticism for my proactive efforts to invest early into vaccines and supplies critical to saving American lives. I also resisted efforts to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections. Specifically, and contrary to misguided directives, I limited the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which clearly lack scientific merit.

While I am prepared to look at all options and to think ?outside the box? for effective treatments, I rightly resisted efforts to provide an unproven drug on demand to the American public. I insisted that these drugs be provided only to hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 while under the supervision of a physician.

These drugs have potentially serious risks associated with them, including increased mortality observed in some recent studies in patients with COVID-19.

Sidelining me in the middle of this pandemic and placing politics and cronyism ahead of science puts lives at risk and stunts national efforts to safely and effectively address this urgent public health crisis.

I will request that the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services investigate the manner in which this administration has politicized the work of BARDA and has pressured me and other conscientious scientists to fund companies with political connections and efforts that lack scientific merit.

Rushing blindly towards unproven drugs can be disastrous and result in countless more deaths. Science, in service to the health and safety of the American people, must always trump politics.?

But, that’s not all. Around the same time that story came out, the Wall Street Journal reported that the administration wanted to fire Nancy Messonnier, the CDC official who had spoken out in February about the likelihood of COVID-19 becoming a global pandemic. Rather than heeding her words, they wanted to fire her (and did appear to gag her from speaking to the media).

On Feb. 25, Nancy Messonnier, a CDC official, said the agency was preparing for a potential pandemic and that community spread of the virus was likely. The stock market plunged.

At a media briefing later that day, Mr. Azar sought to quell concerns, saying the virus was ?contained.?

But it was too late. A furious Mr. Trump, flying back to Washington from India, called Mr. Azar and threatened to oust Dr. Messonnier.

The next day, the president announced he was putting Vice President Pence in charge of the federal response?news Mr. Azar learned a few hours before the announcement.

And then, soon after those reports came out, in his daily political rally press conference, the President hauled out CDC director, Robert Redfield, asking him say that the Washington Post misquoted him in its story warning that a second wave of COVID-19 infections could be even more problematic, as it could be timed to coincide with next winter’s flu season. Here’s what the Washington Post said:

?There?s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,? CDC Director Robert Redfield said in an interview with The Washington Post. ?And when I?ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don?t understand what I mean.?

?We?re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time,? he said.

Trump claimed that Redfield was “totally misquoted” saying that he spoke to Redfield and that Redfield told him “it was ridiculous.”:

?I do want to mention, Dr. Robert Redfield was totally misquoted in the media about the fall season and the virus. Totally misquoted. I spoke to him and he said it was ridiculous,? the president said during the daily Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the White House.

?He was talking about the flu and coronavirus coming together at the same time, and we will knock it out. We?ll knock it out fast. That?s what he was referring to, coming together at the same time,? Trump continued.

?I would ask Dr. Redfield to straighten out. He didn?t say it was a big explosion. The headline in the Washington Post was ridiculous, which is, as I say, ?fake news? and CNN is fake news, which they knew.?

Except that he then called Redfield up to the podium… and he noted that he had been quoted accurately, but did want to “clarify” his quotes:

“The issue I was talking about being more difficult is that we’re going to have two viruses circulating at the same time. This spring we had a benefit of having the flu season ending so we could use all our flu surveillance systems to say this is coronavirus, we need to focus. Next fall and winter, we are going to have two viruses circulating and we are going to have to distinguish between which is flu and which is coronavirus. And so the comment that I made ? it’s more difficult. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be worse. It just means it’s more difficult because we have to distinguish between the two.”

Which is what the Washington Post article said. Some have argued that Redfield and Trump’s complaints are about the Washington Post’s headline, which claimed: “CDC director warns second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating” and it appears they’re taking issue with the use of the word “devastating.” But that seems to be a perfectly reasonable word to sum up what Redfield is saying. Indeed, as many people noted, before Trump threw this little temper tantrum, Redfield himself had retweeted the Washington Post article approvingly, saying nothing about the headline:

So, yet again, all of these stories suggest a similar theme: the President and the administration are — like the Chinese government — heavily focused on controlling the message, and making things look rosier than they really are, and not accurately telling the public and the press what is going on. And, once again, that’s a very real life or death situation. In times of crisis like this, leadership is the ability to tell the truth, no matter how bad, and put forth a plan of action to deal with the situation and to chart the best path forward while acknowledging the challenges. That’s not what this administration is doing. It’s trying to silence dissent, and look for any silly scrap of “positive spin” it can find.

And people are dying because of it.

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Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: the lawn is still green.

Kind of hilarious the conservative echo chamber focussing on Nancy Pelosi’s fridge to try and paint her as an out of touch elitist while acting like a guy who was a millionaire before puberty thanks to inherited wealth, a man who lives in an honest to god gold plated tower is a man of the people.

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Godfree (profile) says:

Talk about controlling the message: Covid is home-grown

CNN host Chris Cuomo said he believes there will be revelations showing the novel coronavirus was spreading in the United States as early as October. by Anthony Leonardi | April 17, 2020

While discussing his wife’s recent coronavirus diagnosis, the network host, who announced he tested positive for COVID-19 in a March 31 social media post, speculated that the virus may have begun spreading as early as fall 2019.

CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta started by asking, “You and Cristina both have tested positive. You’re both having symptoms. So, maybe I’m missing something, but you guys can’t be together now? … But if you both have it, why can’t you interact now?”

Cuomo then said officials don’t presently know if someone diagnosed and recovered from COVID-19 could become reinfected. “In the abundance of caution, I could get reinfected, so they want us to stay separated. We do have completely different symptoms, which is, again, part of the weirdness,” he said.

New York subway train cutback helped spread coronavirus: MIT study
However, the host speculated that the coronavirus may have been in the U.S. earlier than experts suggest.

“The kids now anecdotally, Cristina believes, that at least two of them have had it in the last few months. Why? We don’t know, but atypically long-duration sinus, fever, lethargy. I think we’re going to learn that coronavirus has been in this country since, like, October, that there have been cases,” Cuomo said.

“And as you guys both know, and I hear all the time from all over the country, how many people do you hear saying, ‘I think I had it, I had this and this, I lost my sense of smell and this and that, but I never got tested’? Those cases are, like, abounding all over the country,” he added.

The novel coronavirus pandemic is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, late last year. The World Health Organization’s investigative report in February concluded that “early cases identified in Wuhan are believed to have acquired infection from a zoonotic source as many reported visiting or working in the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market.”

The first confirmed case of the coronavirus in the U.S. was reported in Washington state on Jan. 21.

Reports this week said U.S. officials are increasingly considering the possibility that the outbreak began in a Wuhan laboratory and not in a market.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/chris-cuomo-predicts-evidence-will-show-coronavirus-was-spreading-in-us-since-october

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well, the story mentions Chinese censorship, so I guess he feels he needs to.

I am curious if Godfree was "assigned" to monitor and post on all Techdirt stories mentioning China, or if just goes around searching for such stories to post on. But it’s now becoming like clockwork if a story mentions China, Godfree will be along, posting via a known proxy service based in Asia, to comment with Chinese government talking points.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"If they haven’t figured it out by now, with multiple people calling them out for posting laughably obvious propaganda…"

True enough.

You’d think at some point someone would inform China’s leadership that any attempt to deny the obvious only makes them look daft and incompetent in addition to looking malicious and they’d be better served by being a bit more upfront – or at least pretend not to hear the questions asked.

Darth Vader at least gets respect, Jar Jar Binks, not so much.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

On the other hand, the US president is feeding his people suggestions to inject bleach, and the thing he thought would save face was to claim that he was using sarcastic humour during his daily updates on the death toll of his own people, after he dismantled all the safeguards his predecessors put in place for this exact situation.

Maybe they realise they can’t look worse than the opposition, so don’t care about how they look to everybody else?

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

the thing he thought would save face was to claim that he was using sarcastic humour during his daily updates on the death toll of his own people

The distressing thing is it probably worked. His base probably ate it up. "Yeah, he sure showed those dumb reporters with that sarcastic question! I bet they feel stupid now! GO TRUMP!"

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Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Say no more

It is hard to extricate scientific achievement from politics, but there are examples of politicians giving scientists a challenge and then using those achievements for their own advantage. To name a couple, the development of the nuclear bomb and the space race, both of which have ancillary consequences both good and bad. I am sure there are many others.

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Bloof (profile) says:

This is what happens when you put someone in a position of power whose only real skill in life is finding others willing to market him. Everything is a marketing exercise, everything is viewed through the media lens, how it would affect his TV ratings, as that’s the only thing he’s ever cared about aside from money. Anyone who isn’t prepared to shill or say inconvenient truths out loud must go to set an example to others, consequences be damned.

Michael says:

I’m going to start with saying that I do not agree with the President or the way his administration is handling things.

Than I am going to go on to agreeing with some of it, but I’ll at least try to explain.

There is something to be said about trying to keep media outlets and government officials from creating panic where there shouldn’t be. Someone in a position of knowledge should have the chance to explain what they mean by something being "devastating" and we should be concerned about headlines when a seeming large portion of our population stops reading when the font gets smaller.

There is also something to be said about the economic impact of the virus causing more deaths than the virus itself at some point, and I think that is a complicated thing to balance. The President and this administration do not seem to handle "complicated" well, but that does not mean all of their decisions are poorly motivated.

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Richard M (profile) says:

Re: Panic?

There is a huge difference between creating panic and following the science rather than politics.

Political leaders who hide the truth from its citizens never do it for the good of those citizens. It is always for the good of the political leaders who are lying and hiding the truth.

Every single decision Trump has made during this outbreak has been politically motivated rather than what is good for the country. That is poorly motivated and there really is no honest way to spin this as "Trump has been making decisions based on what is good for the country".

The sad thing is that he has completely miscalculated the political and economic side of things. Nobody (or at least very few) are blaming Trump for the virus coming to America. It is his response that is the problem.

If instead of trying to downplay, ignore, and hide what was happening he had attacked it like South Korea both the political and economic outcome would have been much better. If we had numbers anything like SK or Germany his approval rating would be extremely high right now compared to what he now has which is low and getting lower.

However he responded exactly like he would do when running his companies, hiding the bad information as long as he could hoping he would be able to fix the problem before it became public. This is what he has done his whole life though to be fair he is not the only businessman to work this way, he has a lot of company when it comes to that mindset.

The problem is that this a horrible way to run a country in general and especially one in our current situation. It is the exact opposite of what he should be doing which has killed tens of thousands of people with many more deaths on the way.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Panic?

The mantra of big business is "socialise the risks, privatise the rewards", and Trump has made quite the career of that. The problem is now that he’s at the point of heading into yet another bankruptcy, he can’t just file, stiff contractors and con someone else into investing in his next business as per his usual M.O. There are real consequences this time.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

"creating panic"
You believe it is the media creating panic? Any examples?

"Someone in a position of knowledge"
Strange how these types of people have been removed from key government positions.

"economic impact of the virus causing more deaths than the virus itself "
This claim needs well thought out analysis of empirical data from past pandemics, I assume you have a reference to same and I’m also quite sure reading it would be of interest to myself and others … but there is no such thing is there?

"The President and this administration do not seem to handle "complicated" well"
Indeed, as they seem to not understand exponential growth, resource limitations and just how bad it could get.

"But that does not mean all of their decisions are poorly motivated."
Yeah .. all of them. I can not think of one thing this administration has done that did not involve personal enrichment of themselves and/or friends and business partners. Note, I consider corrupt business practice to be "poorly motivated".

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nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

There is also something to be said about the economic impact of the virus causing more deaths than the virus itself at some point

The thing to be said about that is that nobody has yet provided any actual evidence that that might happen. Not that I’ve seen anyway. Do you have any? Like actual numbers based on objective projections.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yes, the well to do can afford healthcare while others not so much. But what does that have to do with the economic impact of the virus across the entire work force?

The question of virus impact vs econ impact and the measurement criteria set at death. There are way too many variables here and certainly too few equations.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It’s not all about affording healthcare, but back to the question of what will cause more deaths.

In general, the difference in life expectancy between poor and rich is ~10-15 years. In the USA ~15% (~50 million) of the population live in poverty, if that number increases due to higher unemployment and lower salaries the average life expectancy will drop (although the correlation isn’t linear due to when people go from affluent to poor and vice versa).

There is some projections pointing to an unemployment rate of 32% (~47 million people affected) but we don’t really know for how long the unemployment will last (everything is kind up in the air right now).

So if ANY of those now affected by the economic downturn dies earlier because of it, that counts. Which means we can have up to 47 million people whose deaths can be attributed to the economy. Although, we also have to balance it against people who actually will live longer for different reasons (like change of lifestyle for economic reasons, ex. taking a bike to work instead of a car)

Of course, the above is a very simplistic view of it and it doesn’t really tell the whole truth but on the face of it the potential early deaths because of it seem to far outstrip the projected deaths due to COVID-19.

There is a study that explores life expectancy vs income mobility that probably can be used to better determine the numbers of deaths attributed to a economic downturn.

In the end, until we know more we can’t with certainty tell what it’ll be.

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nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

So if ANY of those now affected by the economic downturn dies earlier because of it, that counts. Which means we can have up to 47 million people whose deaths can be attributed to the economy.

A better measure would be years of life lost. How much earlier might those people die? What effect is seen if unemployment lasts a few months or a year and then they’re back on their feet? What economic effects will there be if the health system collapses because we stop taking effective steps to slow the spread of the virus? Anyone dying early due to those has to be taken into account. How many people will die from other causes due to not being able to receive medical care from an overburdened health care system? Those have to count too.

We’d better be pretty sure of these numbers before opening up the economy without adequate testing and contact tracing, because we know for sure the death toll in that case will be quite high.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I was primarily responding to the claim that –
"the economic impact of the virus causing more deaths than the virus itself "
To be nice, this claim is a stretch.

How might the economic impact cause death? I can dream up post apocalyptic scenarios where crime runs rampant thru the streets but is that attributable to the virus?

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

How might the economic impact cause death?

Bad economy -> less available jobs -> more unemployed people -> unemployed people have no wage -> they become poor.

Living in poverty means your health will deteriorate faster, which means more people will die earlier than they would have before they became poor – ie bad economy causes more people to die before their time.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

You are asking the wrong question, it’s not about who or what directly kills you.

The question should be based on if X, how much do that affect a persons life expectancy? for the simple reason that everything in life affects the life expectancy.

And if a certain event or action significantly changes the expectancy negatively we can then attribute that as the main cause of death.

Btw, for those interested in how different things affect life expectancy in general – look up what a micromort is.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

A bit like asking, when you fall off a tall cliff; was the cause of death the sudden wind which pushed you off, or because you landed in the pond full of hungry crocodiles kept there by your unscrupulous landlord?

You can’t do very much about the wind, but you could ask the landlord to not keep his damn pokemon godzillas where people could fall on top of them.

The virus may kill but it certainly is for the government to ensure unemployment isn’t deadly.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

"On a side note, it is not the fall that kills you – it is the rapid deceleration trauma."

Hence the need for a safety net to properly disperse the deceleration to survivable proportions.

Or, to draw the analogy further, a parachute. An instrument in plentiful use for any senior corporate executive to become similarly suddenly accelerated by way of metaphorical defenestration.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"To be nice, this claim is a stretch."

In the US?

I’m inclined to think the claim is correct, but mainly because I’m fairly convinced that suddenly becoming unemployed in the US can very easily be a death sentence when your house is suddenly repossessed over not meeting the monthly mortgage, your kids no longer go to school, your family lives in an overturned dumpster in the nearest landfill shanty town and your health plan got canned alongside your job.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

"Yes, but that would happen with or without the virus being public enemy number one."

Well, yes, but without SARS-CoV-2 making the rounds the economy wouldn’t be in the state where multiple millions became unemployed in a hurry.

In the US the equation becomes "Unemployed == Homeless" effective almost immediately.
In the EU there’s often a far longer buffer between getting sacked and getting to the point where you don’t have a home and can’t feed your children. Not to mention that in the US you are screwed without a health plan, really.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Of course, the above is a very simplistic view of it and it doesn’t really tell the whole truth

It does not make a lot of sense either, because death due to covid-19 is an immediate problem, while the life shortening effects of poverty are due to cumulative effects over a long time. A few months or even years of poverty will not have the same outcomes of a lifetime of poverty

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"A few months or even years of poverty will not have the same outcomes of a lifetime of poverty"

In the US, that month may indeed wreck you for life.

Once you fail to make your first mortgage, or god forbid, have to send yourself or the kids to a doctor without a health plan, you will be carrying a debt for a great many years which you, once you have employment again, might not ever be able to pay off. Consider that even a minor ailment or broken leg might net you a bill of 3-5k USD without that health plan your employer gave you.

In the US a few months of poverty WILL make you poor for life barring a great deal of luck. That’s basically how it works.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There’s a very strong correlation between a persons income and life expectancy

Sure, and that’s part of the equation. So you need a projection of how income will drop as a result of closing down the economy, and then from there how many additional deaths we can expect from that. Then you need a projection of how many people will die from the virus if we do not close down the economy. I think I’ve heard of numbers in the hundreds of thousands for that scenario, and we’re already over 30,000. Do you have both numbers?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Lets see 20 million plus people unemployed .
Manufacturing grinding to halt .
Our food supply being plowed back into the ground .
Where do you think things come from ?
A star Trek replicator ?
By the time you realize your wrong it will be too late ,
Without a functioning economy we have no Society .
The wheels of the bus are being held on by loose lug nuts and
we’re close to them falling off . That happens the bus doesn’t
recover it crashes .
So people put on your man pants and face reality .
Life is risky .
Staying locked up is basically preparing to die
Last I checked no one gets out of here alive
It just depends on how you want to get there
Cowering in fear waiting for someone who will never come to save you
Or Face life head on and power on .
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"The thing to be said about that is that nobody has yet provided any actual evidence that that might happen."

It’s fairly self-evident. In the US, thanks to the state of what passes for a social security net there, ten million unemployed might as well be written ten million new homeless.
After that it’s just a case of finding the statistics over dead homeless and see if it matches the expected deaths generated by covid.

Since few politicians in the US gives much of a fsck about dead homeless people the fact covid kills homeless people as well becomes irrelevant.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the sort of calculation Trump’s cabinet came up with.

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

There is something to be said about trying to keep media outlets and government officials from creating panic where there shouldn’t be.

Yes. But lying to the public is not how you do it.

True leadership is being transparent about how problematic things are, but explaining how you’re dealing with it to minimize the damage and help on the upside. That’s how you don’t create a panic. You explain the reality, but also the plan to deal with it, while admitting what can go wrong.

That’s not what’s happening. Not by a long shot.

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Bloof (profile) says:

The problem is in a lot if cases, the government are not acting in good faith, they are not doing this to try to prevent panic, they are doing their best to make people afraid to speak out because they are afraid it’ll affect his re-election campaign. People needed to be made aware how serious this is, and they downplayed it, and now there are assholes in the streets protesting because they were told it was no worse than the flu.

There is something to be said about re-opening the economy eventually, not as soon as possible which is what they are going for. They have done nothing to justify giving them the benefit of the doubt over this, nothing about tweeting attacks on Democratic governors for not being willing to endanger lives, or for being angry about his incompetent and partisan handling of the allocation of essential resources says they are doing their best. They’ve played politics with this since day one, and have gone so far as to screen campaign adverts during press conferences so people’s skepticism when it comes to their motives is entirely justified.

tz1 (profile) says:

Of Course YouTube and Facebook and even Twitter will shadowban or actually ban you for disagreeing with the organization that said there is no evidence of human to human transmission around the time being complained about here. The WHO is also responsible for negligent homicide to a far greater degree, and should be dismantled, not just tax-defunded. But hey, Bill Gates is one of the globalist shills with the rest of Big Tech.

There is NO evidence that HClQ kills more than Corona. Ask the Lupus patients. Ask those who took it when going to Africa.

What happened to all the complaints about NOT censoring and firing anyone who even slightly dissented from “Climate Change Disaster” science? There were even stronger calls for this over the last decade. And from this side I heard … Crickets.

No worries about the Big Tech Democratic Party Line. We can censor skeptics by calling them “science deniers” when they disagree with the consensus but not when they are shown to be wrong.

A second problem is it is fine to express a PERSONAL opinion on personal time with your own credentials, but if you try to say “I work for the CDC and the CDC says (should be saying)…”, you should be fired if speaking officially for the CDC isn’t your position or job.

I’m sure TechDirt wishes to hire people to write hit-pieces on Trump (often for doing the same thing Obama did but far worse, e.g. kids in cages), so if I was hired by TechDirt to write those, and wrote 100% true and accurate stories on the good things Trump has done (and he has), I could expect TechDirt to censor and fire me because they hired me to do something else.

At least there will be no reason to visit Glacier NP as there are no glaciers now that it is 2020. Oh, wait!

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tz1 (profile) says:

Of Course YouTube and Facebook and even Twitter will shadowban or actually ban you for disagreeing with the organization that said there is no evidence of human to human transmission around the time being complained about here. The WHO is also responsible for negligent homicide to a far greater degree, and should be dismantled, not just tax-defunded. But hey, Bill Gates is one of the globalist shills with the rest of Big Tech.

There is NO evidence that HClQ kills more than Corona. Ask the Lupus patients. Ask those who took it when going to Africa.

What happened to all the complaints about NOT censoring and firing anyone who even slightly dissented from “Climate Change Disaster” science? There were even stronger calls for this over the last decade. And from this side I heard … Crickets.

No worries about the Big Tech Democratic Party Line. We can censor skeptics by calling them “science deniers” when they disagree with the consensus but not when they are shown to be wrong.

A second problem is it is fine to express a PERSONAL opinion on personal time with your own credentials, but if you try to say “I work for the CDC and the CDC says (should be saying)…”, you should be fired if speaking officially for the CDC isn’t your position or job.

I’m sure TechDirt wishes to hire people to write hit-pieces on Trump (often for doing the same thing Obama did but far worse, e.g. kids in cages), so if I was hired by TechDirt to write those, and wrote 100% true and accurate stories on the good things Trump has done (and he has), I could expect TechDirt to censor and fire me because they hired me to do something else.

At least there will be no reason to visit Glacier NP as there are no glaciers now that it is 2020. Oh, wait!

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s like a collage of easily-debunked memes and half-truths spread by the most insular echo chambers. A perfect fractal of wrongness.

I’m not sure whether to be happy that such people rarely venture into places where the non-willfully-ignorant gather, or to be concerned that there are people among us IRL who have such a tenuous grasp on reality.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

" I was hoping to see a sarcasm tag at the end to sustain some faith in general civil and informed discourse."

Sadly the avid trump defenders don’t do either "civil" nor "informed" very well. what you see from tz1 is what they usually have on offer – a wordsalad which has everyone, from the WHO to Bill Gates and Big Tech actively trying to kill everyone, because, apparently, the hate of America The Great which Google, WHO and Bill Gates hold is more intense than their love for their own lives.

It is, apparently, the current state of hardline republicans today.

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Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Trump is good, science is bad, conservatives are the real victims despite dominating most of the western world since the days of the new deal!’

This is why you shouldn’t base your worldview on reddit posts and youtube videos, folks.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"This is why you shouldn’t base your worldview on reddit posts and youtube videos, folks."

The medium is not as important as evaluating the sources correctly. There are some very good, valuable and truly informative sources on both of those places (or at the very least reddit threads that point you to such), but there are also some very bad sources in other media. "Read the science" can lead to someone being hoodwinked by Andrew Wakefield, "stick to traditional sources" can lead you to Alex Jones, while there some excellent YouTube sources from knowledgeable professionals in the field.

The problem isn’t using those media as sources, the problem is not using anything else and believing what someone has to say just because they worked out how to use iMovie.

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Rocky says:

Re: Re:

You said:

There is NO evidence that HClQ kills more than Corona.

From Yahoo, an article about the study the Department of Veteran Affairs did:

Department of Veterans Affairs found evidence of what experts have been warning about all along — that the drug may cause more harm than good.

You said:

At least there will be no reason to visit Glacier NP as there are no glaciers now that it is 2020. Oh, wait!

From USGS:

In Glacier National Park (GNP) some effects of climate change are strikingly clear. Glaciers are melting, and many glaciers have already disappeared. The rapid retreat of these small alpine glaciers reflects changes in recent climate as glaciers respond to altered temperature and precipitation.

Do you just make shit up as you go? If you where for some godawful reason a writer for any kind of organisation that believes in truth and facts, being fired would be too kind.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The best thing about the GNP thing is that it depends on taking in one statement and ignoring everything else.What he presumably means is that he heard / was fed a quote where someone said that it being gone by 2020 was a worst case scenario. Then, either he’s incapable of understanding words and he thought that "worst case scenario" means "this will definitely happen", or he’s incapable of understanding that positions made by honest intelligent people may evolve based on new information and that the position from 1991 or whenever this was originally quoted may not be the exact position in 2020.

This may help explain why he’s confused and misinformed about the current pandemic, but there’s no helping these people when they only exit the echo chamber to mock those who understand the science then dismiss everything before they retreat again.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

"The people involved all look like idiots."
Yes, from Donald all the way down (or up?) to Fox News – the present administration and all its cohorts are acting like idiots and I’m not sure it is an act.

"It obviously doesn’t have a vaccine."
To what do you refer with use of the word "it" – SARS-CoV-2?
Of course there is no vaccine at the moment, the virus was previously unknown. You think vaccines simply appear out of nowhere?

"The malaria option would require a specific nontraditional treatment method that isn’t immediately obvious or available."
Option? Chloroquine is hardly an option now is it. Nontraditional treatment, is that what you call it?

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That One Guy (profile) says:

'Better that thousands dies than I look bad.'

The sad thing is that even now there are people so deluded that they will give a pass to Trump and others at the top for caring more about their image than the lives of others, but I suppose some are so lost and/or demented that any amount of deaths are acceptable if it means not having to accept that they have and continue to support a monster.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"…including a staggering amount of animals of which almost all are wild."

It’s still unknown to which degree wild animals and pets may infect humans. So far we’re clear that there is a danger with bats and pangolins.

But yes, a lockdown will slow, not stop dispersion. What we are currently doing is buying time – for health services not to get swamped and to minimize the death toll before we have some form of cure, mitigation, or at best a vaccine available.

In the end, a few years down the line, we’ll all have acquired covid one way or the other. But there’s a world of difference between being one of those who get actual treatment because the number of patients in one go is possible to handle, or being someone who gets told to stay at home and ride it out because every hospital is overwhelmed.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The animal angle is troublesome to get a grip on, we know that some animals are susceptible but are they also a transmission vector? Heck, we have hardly begun to understand how some people doesn’t seem to be very infectious vs people who are.

Until that question is answered, a total lockdown to stop the spread is kind of futile – we can only take measures in an effort to slow the spread and come up with better treatments until the day an effective vaccine is available.

From an intellectual viewpoint, this is all very interesting but the cold, hard numbers that we will have when this is all over will make many people quail.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That would include all of the people who work at grocery stores and hospitals. So your "would be over" would come at a cost of many thousands of lives, those already sick and left to recover or die on their own as well as those without a prepper’s pantry.

Dumb idea. Might even say it is totally moronic.

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Mike Read (profile) says:

Silence the doctors, push an unproven drug, make billions.

The mindset of these people is fucking disgusting. The virus won’t threaten them and theirs, they can isolate in total luxury and buy the best medical attention in the world, so all it represents to them is a business opportunity.

Who cares if more people die because of a little misinformation? There’s money on the table!

ECA (profile) says:

DEPTS.

Why is it that we have departments that are not supposed to be political, They are supposed to be balanced and fair and Just do their jobs with Little to no intervention..
ANd THEN politics comes up and tries to change/deny/subvert the Whole idea of these dept’s.

Its been said along time,t hat the Gov. is to big, and Yep, the gov. cut and cut and cut, and now who is in change? And dont get me going on the WHO(world health org. Idiots).
So where are all these Dept’s that should be doing things, we needed in the past, and if its still around, WHY in hell is a corp stooge in charge of it??

Anonymous Coward says:

To be fair to the president, he was being serious...

The COVID 19 outbreak is no worse than the flu, he just left out the part about referencing the flu of 1918, I mean this ‘shouldn’t’ be any worse than that flu.

So what’s all the complaining about, when this is over the robber barons will be able to enslave the populace who will be willing to do ANYTHING to get a job at that point…

Or I could be mixing up the Mad Max pandemic pilot project…

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