Raymond Richman - Jesse Richman - Howard Richman
Richmans' Trade and Taxes Blog
COVID-19 is getting less deadly -- I'm published in American Thinker this morning
The Swedish COVID-19 statistics, as published by Worldometer, suggest that COVID is simultaneously becoming more communicable and less deadly. To see the latest, check out the Daily New Cases and the Daily Deaths on the Worldometer webpage for Sweden. Daily New Cases are rising, suggesting that the disease is getting more communicable. Meanwhile, Daily Deaths are falling, suggesting that the disease is getting less deadly.
These results are not surprising to those who know about The Evolution of Virulence (pdf) in infectious diseases. Viruses, not having DNA, do not reproduce themselves as precisely as do higher organisms. As a result, there is much more genetic variation within their descendants, resulting in rapid evolution which:
These factors have been studied extensively in wild populations of the animal world. The first causes the infectious period of a virus to lengthen. The second causes the virus to become less deadly. As a result, almost all viruses found in wild populations are intermediate in severity. They are neither so strong that they debilitate the host, nor so weak that the host can quickly overcome them.
We have excellent examples of intermediate-severity viruses in the human world – a bunch of different viruses known as the “common cold.” They are not so strong that they kill or debilitate, nor so weak that they can be overcome in less than a week.
The public health authorities have been selecting for decreasing viral symptoms and thus decreasing deadliness in COVID-19. People who display obvious symptoms are getting tested for the virus and then isolated so that they cannot spread the virus to others. A virus without obvious symptoms can hardly be deadly!
As I noted at the beginning of this posting, the Swedish charts clearly suggest that COVID-19 is becoming more communicable but less deadly, just as scientific theory would expect. But what about COVID-19 in the United States? At first glance, the Worldometer webpage for the U.S. appears to show that more and more people are getting the disease and that more and more people are dying of it.
But our Worldometer death statistics are collected differently from the way they are collected in Sweden. In the U.S. we get our death reports from hospitals, and we pay hospitals more money if COVID is included as one of the possible contributors to the death. As a result, our statistics show death with COVID, not death by COVID. If we used the same method to calculate deaths by common cold we might conclude that the common cold becomes a deadly disease during sniffles season!
Fortunately, the CDC publishes another set of data (the Excess Death data) which allows us to separate out death by COVID from death with COVID. In the graph below I have plotted, in red, the Deaths with COVID published by Worldometer and, in blue, the Excess Deaths published by the CDC.
The CDC first calculates expected deaths by averaging the number of deaths for the same week over the last three years. Then it calculates Excess Deaths by subtracting the expected deaths from the actual deaths. I have added a third step: I have divided the Excess Deaths by 10 so that they would fit on the same scale as the Deaths with COVID. The results are displayed in the graph below:
Beginning August 15, there has been a clear divergence between the trends of the two sets of data. In recent weeks Deaths with COVID have actually been rising while Excess Deaths have actually been falling.
The most recent week, the one that ended on November 7, was the first week since the epidemic began in which Excess Deaths were negative. But that week’s death count will almost certainly be revised upwards as the CDC notes:
In both the U.S. and Sweden, COVID-19 is following the disease course predicted by scientific theory. The communicability of COVID has been rising, as shown by rising Daily New Cases, while the deadliness has been falling, as shown in the U.S. by falling Excess Deaths and in Sweden by falling Daily Deaths.
But even though COVID-19 is weakening, these data show that it is still deadly. And this is true in both Sweden and the United States. So don’t start acting recklessly! If you have symptoms, isolate yourself. Don’t spread COVID to others!
You won’t read about COVID weakening in the Democrat Party’s media (i.e., the main stream media and social media) until the presidential election has been decided. They need to pretend COVID is still extremely deadly, or their lame excuses for cheating would crumble (such as their claim that “social distancing” concerns prevented them from letting Republican poll-watchers get close enough to see what was going on).
But the science cannot be denied. Deadly viruses eventually evolve into more communicable but less deadly forms. COVID-19 is no exception.
To read it on the American Thinker website, go to:
How to fix the debates - Jesse and I are Published on the American Thinker blog this morning
By Jesse Richman and Howard Richman
The first presidential debate of 2020 was a national embarrassment. The interruptions and talk-overs numbered more than 90 by some counts. The moderator struggled to enforce the rules yet also led Trump to accuse him of being a third debate participant. Demolition derby in place of debate.
The best solution is simple, elegant, and fair. Let the candidates manage their time but let only one microphone be on at once. This solution is also readily extensible to a debate in which the candidates are in different places to minimize risk from Covid-19. It is sometimes called a ‘chess clock’ debate format.
Imagine this introduction by the moderator of the next debate.
Welcome to the second presidential debate. The rules are as follows. Each candidate has forty-five minutes total speaking time during this debate. You cannot speak for more than three minutes at a time before the other candidate gets a turn. When one of you is using your time, the other will have a muted microphone. To request to speak, push the button on your podium. Your time will start when the other is done speaking. The first question is…
Such a simple set of rules. Such a radical transformation of the debate.
No interruptions. Each candidate will have a live microphone only when using their time. The epidemic of interruptions for instant rebuttals during the other candidate’s argument will be eliminated. Instead, this format lets each candidate speak at will, but forces the candidates to take turns. No more than three minutes each.
No moderator cutting off candidates. A clock with time to speak on the current question and total time will be visible for each candidate. The alternative way to get turn taking is to let the moderator or the networks mute candidates. This risks the appearance and actuality of unfairness and invites rhetoric attacking the moderator.
It will be candidate driven. No one has more incentive to raise the tough questions and tough follow-ups for an opponent. Both will have time to pursue those questions and their answers. The moderator will enter with a new question only when no eligible candidate requests time, or at pre-selected intervals.
It will be fast paced. Candidates will know that they can always use additional time to rebut, but no candidate will want to grant an opponent the luxury of the only extensive closing statement, and candidates will have less incentive to waste time by answering any question with more words than necessary.
It would work equally well for a ‘Zoom’ debate. Because of the turn taking managed by requests to speak and the clock, this format will work well even if the candidates, as a health precaution, are not able to be in the same room together.
Minor candidates can also potentially be included in this format without giving them an unfair advantage, and large primary candidate stages can be similarly accommodated. The key is to use a formula (based on polling, fundraising, or some other metric) to allocate a small amount of time to minor candidates. They would not receive the (arguably inappropriate) equal billing with major candidates, but they would also have a brief chance to make their case.
A debate structured in this way will be good television and good for our democracy. It will move the moderator to the sidelines, allow for more physical distance during the debate, and prevent interruptions.
To read this on the American Thinker website, go to:
Evidence is in: Hydroxychloroquine works -- I'm published in American Thinker this morning
To read it on the American Thinker website, go to: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/07/evidence_is_in_hydroxychloroquine_works.html
Scientific Fraud in Anti-Choloquine Study?
Emergencies often present ripe opportunities for fraud, and apparently this includes a share of the medical studies purporting to examine treatment outcomes.
A set of studies published in leading medical journals claiming negative outcomes from patient treatment as a result of Choloquine seem to be based upon fraudulent data. For more see this Guardian story...
Dr. Fauci and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study Victims - I'm published in American Thinker this morning
[Click here to read it on the American Thinker website]
On Friday, President Trump announced Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership to develop a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year if possible. He put two “can-do” people in charge of the process – Glaxo Smith Kline’s vaccine expert Mancef Slaoui to oversee vaccine development and Army General Gus Perna to oversee logistics.
Not only will they facilitate testing of the available vaccines, but they will also arrange production of promising vaccines even before they have been approved. In contrast, during President Obama’s Swine Flu (H1N1) epidemic, the CDC got vaccines approved quickly (just 7 weeks after Phase 1 clinical trials began), but then a shortage ensued while the vaccines were being produced.
Taking Vaccines out of Fauci’s Hands
President Trump just took the power to slow-walk vaccines out of the hands of Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of NIAID (one of the institutes of the NIH). When the first COVID-19 vaccine, the Inovio vaccine, was ready for clinical testing, Fauci buried it in a year-long Phase 1 clinical trial which began in April 2020 and is not scheduled to end until April 2021. (Fortunately, Fauci never got control over Bill Gates’ Moderna vaccine, which is making rapid progress, having already completed its Phase 1 clinical trial.)
President Trump officially announced Operation Warp Speed in the White House Rose Garden. Fauci stood behind him with hands folded in front of him (at the 24:00 mark) while Trump was saying, “And we hope to be able to do something by the end of the year, or shortly thereafter.”
Just three days earlier at a Senate hearing, Fauci had reiterated his claim that no vaccine could possibly be completed in less than a year to 18 months, even though in an earlier interview with Samantha Guthrie on the Today show Fauci had admitted that the coming Operation Warp Speed could get a vaccine out sooner.
Operation Warp Speed is a totally brilliant political move by Trump. He put a “can-do” leader in charge of vaccines, and “can’t-do” Fauci can’t object. Trump’s primary goal is to open up the economy ASAP. Firing Fauci would have hurt that effort. Trump has figured out how to neutralize Fauci’s obstructions without firing him....
[Click here to read it on the American Thinker website]
To read it on the American Thinker website, go to:
I’ve got a piece in American Thinker this morning about the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in our nation’s capitol, which at that time was Philadelphia. The parallels with COVID-19 today are amazing,
Just as Democratic-Republicans disparaged the only successful treatment – quinine – in 1793 just because Alexander Hamilton endorsed it, Democrats disparage the successful treatment by quinine’s successor, hydroxychloroquine, today just because President Trump partially endorsed it. See:
Here's a selection:
Click here to read it on the American Thinker website.
Fauci time and the Coronavirus Vaccine - I'm published in American Thinker
The American vaccine’s Phase 1 clinical trials are bogged down. They began on March 3 and are not scheduled to end until June 1, 2021.
Why fifteen months for the first American vaccine’s clinical trials? The reason is simple. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), is conducting them in Fauci Time. (Fauci is also conducting the clinical trials to see if Remdesivir is effective against COVID-19 in Fauci Time – those trials are not scheduled to end until April 1, 2023.)
Normally, during a health emergency, the U.S. gets out a vaccine within months. Take the H1N1 (Swine Flu) pandemic of 2009. The CDC has published a timeline:
So, in 2009, the FDA started its clinical trials of a vaccine on July 22 and approved four vaccines seven weeks later. Meanwhile, in 2019, Fauci’s NIAID started its clinical trials on March 3 and plans to take 15 months to complete them.
U.S. regulations allow for two rapid approval processes for vaccines during a health emergency. One of them, called Accelerated Approval, is the process used to approve the H1N1 vaccines after less than two months of clinical trials. The other, called Emergency Use Authorization, is the process used to approve the anthrax vaccine so that it could be administered to the soldiers invading Iraq.
In the Accelerated Approval process, a single clinical trial phase determines whether the vaccine is safe and whether it creates the required antibodies. In vaccine terminology, these pathogen-specific antibodies are considered to be a “surrogate endpoint,” permitting the vaccine to be approved for use without field studies. For such vaccines, there is a “Phase 4” process during which the success of the vaccine is continuously monitored while it is being used.
The following are among the successful vaccines approved through the Accelerated Approval process:...
Click here to read it on the American Thinker website
Testing Hydroxychloroquine as a Prophylactic -- I'm published in this morning's American Thinker
There are three experiments getting started now that will determine whether hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) works as a prophylactic. A prophylactic functions almost like a vaccine, except that it has to be taken daily.
All three experiments are the type that researchers dream about. They are called double-blind studies because neither the subjects nor the people working with the subjects will know which subjects are taking an HCQ pill and which are taking a placebo pill. Both pills will look identical.
The subjects of all three experiments will be healthcare workers and/or first responders. The experimenters will follow the subjects closely to determine which ones catch COVID-19. All three experiments are being conducted by reputable top-notch institutions:...
To read it on the American Thinker website, go to:
State restrictions on the use of HCQ
I've gone through two websites (one published by the National Academy for State Health Policy and the other published by the American Medical Association) and have classified state restrictions regarding use of HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) to treat COVID-19. I have classified those state policies into three groups:
Others may look at the same charts and classify the states differently. The rules regarding Pharmacy Discretion and Prophylaxis are largely to prevent shortages from occurring in the event that there is not enough to go around. The Legal Restrictions appear to be designed to prevent primary care physicians from prescribing HCQ based upon symptoms. In this posting, I will just discuss the states that have legal restrictions:
And here's a table showing the deaths per case and deaths per million people in the states with legal restrictions, as compared to the national average of all 50 states:...
Lots of studies of HCQ - none of which use zinc
We will soon know whether HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) works by itself (none include zinc with the HCQ). I just searched clinicaltrials.gov. Eight new studies are testing the effectiveness of HCQ against COVID-19:
Deborah Birx: 1 million Abbott Lab tests not being used.
See this video from Wednesday's Coronavirus task force briefing at the 1:38:35 mark:
Detroit hospital system starts test of HCQ as Prophylactic
President Trump isn't the only one who is bypassing the Washington bureaucracy in an attempt to find a solution to COVID-19. The Henry Ford Health System in Detroit has announced the WHIP COVID-19 study to find out whether HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) works as a prophylactic. They are now asking for volunteers among healthcare workers and first responders, people who are likely to come into contact with those who are sick from the virus. It will be a randomized, double blinded study, and the first results will become available about 4 weeks after the experiment begins -- probably around June 1.
They started the study in response to a request from Detroit's mayor and local health care experts, according to their April 2 press release:...
The South Korean solution to the COVID-19 virus (widespread testing and the hydroychloroquine-zinc cure) is beginning to work in the United States. Americans, like South Koreans, will soon be back at work and school. But at Monday's Coronavirus Task Force press briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci ignored the success. Instead, he pretended that the only way the U.S. could get back to normal was through vaccines and new therapies. He was responding to a question directed to him by reporter Jonathan Karl at the 37:37 mark of this video:
Fauci was being disingenuous. His own organization NIAID (one of the institutes of NIH) is slow-walking both therapies and vaccines. For example, NIAID is currently conducting a study on the effectiveness of Remdesivir, a drug which, along with chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, proved effective against COVID-19 in the Chinese test-tube studies. Here's NIAID's schedule for completing Phase 3 of its approval process:
Believe it or not, that is not a misprint! Fauci was touting new therapies even while his own organization was slow walking the most promising of them so that it would not be ready until 2023!
The same is true of vaccines....
[Click here to read it on the American Thinker website.]
The solution to COVID-19 is in Sight! - we're published in today's American Thinker
The solution to COVID-19 is in Sight! It is the South Korean solution: (1) widespread testing, and (2) treatment at home using a hydroxychloroquine-zinc cocktail.
The South Korea solution works! People there are back at work. The death ratios (deaths/recoveries; deaths/cases) are low. Unfortunately, the bureaucrats in the U.S. health bureaucracy are trying to stop it from happening in the United States. See the commentary that my son and I wrote in today’s American Thinker:
COVID-19 shows that imbalanced trade is killing US - we're published in today's American Thinker
by Jesse Richman and Howard Richman
We have been warning of the costs and dangers of imbalanced trade for decades. With the election of Donald Trump, U.S. voters showed they got it. But our country's elites in Congress and the bureaucracy have dragged their feet. Perhaps with COVID-19, U.S. elites will recognize that imbalanced trade is killing the U.S. and finally get behind President Trump to fix it.
When a country configures its policies so that it consistently buys almost a trillion dollars more in goods from abroad than it sells, several things happen. First, it stops making stuff. Second, it goes deep in debt to foreigners. Third, it becomes less resilient in the face of disasters and threats.
The consequences of imbalanced trade are dramatically apparent in the manifold weaknesses revealed by the current pandemic. When China fought the virus, its medical workers had available top-quality respirators and full-body protective suits. Millions of face masks were sent to the people of Wuhan, allowing each person to play a role in reducing transmission of the virus.
When American companies produce abroad, their factories may be taken over by the countries where the factories reside. In fact, that is exactly what happened in China during the COVID-19 epidemic, as President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro pointed out in an interview with Maria Bartiromo on February 23 (see the 2:15 mark):
As the U.S. attempts to fight the pandemic that spread from China, our hospitals have dwindling supplies of the most basic protective gear and no possibility of providing our medical workers with the kind of protection China's doctors and nurses had available.
[Click here to read the rest on the American Thinker website.]
Deborah Brix announces breakthrough -- FDA has agreed to let at-home testing resume later this week
Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force said the following at the press conference yesterday:
You can see her say it on this video, starting at the 26:20 mark:
FDA shuts down at-home tests for COVID-19
Proving again that they are part of the problem, not part of the solution, the FDA on March 21 shut down the at-home tests for COVID-19 that had been developed by several companies according to techcrunch.com:
by Howard Richman and Jesse Richman
The world is entering an economic recession and health crisis partly due to the continuing lack of imagination and capability among experts in the bureaucracy. Perhaps these supposed experts are suffering from a disease first named by C. Northcote Parkinson several decades ago: injelitance or the rise to power of incompetents who are skilled only in the arts of preventing problems from being solved by the capable.
The now legendary failure of the CDC to manage the task of developing an effective test for the virus is being compounded by the efforts of state and federal government bureaucrats to block Americans who developed their own tests, including the heroes at the Seattle Flu Study. U.S. public health officials have advised Americans not to wear face masks that work and can be made at home, and even though some countries are requiring masks to slow virus transmission.
Many millions of Americans now on lock down are paying with their liberty for the freedom accorded to a few hundred thousand travelers from China and Europe over the last two months by incompetent government agencies like Homeland Security, despite President Trump’s clear intention to close the border to the disease.
And now health bureaucrats are slow-walking their testing of possible vaccines. Nowhere is this more evident than in the lethargic actions of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
Massachusetts-based Moderna Therapeutics completed the world’s first candidate COVID-19 vaccine in just 42 days and rushed the first vials to NIAID on February 24. But then NIAID bureaucrats started slow-walking it. They told TIME that they and the rest of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) couldn’t possibly prepare the vaccine for human testing before April, at the very earliest. Finally, perhaps due to intervention by the Trump administration, they discovered that they could, after all, begin human testing on March 16.
Meanwhile, NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci has repeatedly told reporters that no vaccine could possibly be approved in less than a year to a year and a half. In fact, one of the first times he said this, he was directly contradicting President Trump who had just said that he expected a vaccine in months, or a year at the most. The question becomes: Is Fauci’s bureaucracy intentionally slow-walking the approval process?
But the problem is not just bureaucratic lethargy, it is also a regulatory system which was designed to protect the public from vaccines made from attenuated pathogens, not vaccines that are synthesized in the lab. Attenuated viruses are dangerous. Sometimes they mutate within the body so that they can reproduce themselves and produce a disease. The following appears in a 2019 medical journal article, available on the NIH website:..
[Click here to read it on the American Thinker website]
by Jesse Richman and Howard Richman
Search Amazon today for face masks and the product will be unavailable, dramatically marked up, and/or shipping from China. In the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, masks are an essential component of the equipment medical professionals need but one that some hospital systems are also struggling to procure. And if they were widely available, face masks could potentially help Americans reduce the risk of infection as well, since one of the main infection pathways is through breathing the virus in, and masks substantially reduce exposure.
One of the reasons why masks have been in short supply in the U.S. is inevitable – any time there is a major pandemic involving a respiratory infection, there will be mask shortages. Part of it also involves decisions about trade policy that have systematically made the U.S. more vulnerable to political, economic, and health shocks....
To read the rest on the American Thinker website, go to:
Human trials for US Vaccine moved up from April to today!
The human trials for the U.S. vaccine, Moderna's mRNA vaccine, will start today. According to The Online Citizen:
Originally, according to TIME magazine on February 25, the first human trials were not going to start until April:
My guess is that somebody in the Trump administration intervened to get NIAID and NIH moving.
Israelis moving quickly to get out a COVID-19 vaccine - I'm published in American Thinker this morning.
Israeli scientists at the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute had worked for four years and had successfully developed a coronavirus vaccine for chickens which passed clinical trials. When they saw the genetic sequencing of the COVID-19 virus, they realized that they could quickly adapt their chicken vaccine to the human virus. Ella Dagan, a spokesman for MIGAL told europorter:
Dr. Shahar, one of the scientists at MIGAL, saw God’s hand in this. He told nocamels.com:
MIGAL created its vaccine by synthesizing two proteins. Unlike vaccines that are created by injecting a dead or weakened disease-causing virus, there is little danger that a synthetic virus will give patients a disease.
Its vaccine creates antibodies in the mucosal immune system of the body which consists of thin permeable barriers to infection in the lungs, gut, eyes, nose, throat, uterus and vagina. Dr. Chen Katz, MIGAL’s biotechnology group leader, gave europorter a detailed cellular-level description of how MIGAL’s vaccine works:...
To read the rest at the American Thinker, go to:
God's Providence at work: The Israeli COVID-19 vaccine
Israeli scientists have developed an oral COVID-19 vaccine. The latest report is from nocamels.com, a website that reports Israeli innovation news:
The MIGAL vaccine was created by synthesizing two proteins. Unlike vaccines that are created by injecting a dead or weakened disease-causing viruses, there is very little danger of the MIGAL vaccine giving patients a disease.
The main danger with synthetic vaccines is that they will only work in the test tube, not in-vivo. But the researchers at MIGAL have already proven in clinical trials that the avian version of their vaccine works in live chickens.
Most vaccines create antibodies in the bloodstream – not this one! This one creates antibodies in the mucosal immune system which consists of thin permeable barriers to infection in the lungs, gut, eyes, nose, throat, uterus and vagina. The nocamels.com website quotes Dr. Chen Katz, MIGAL’s biotechnology group leader saying:...
Is Manufacuring in Recession? No.
In the last several days I have read several opinion pieces which stated as a fact that manufacturing was in "recession." But as is all too often the case even in a world where hyperlinking is easy and simple, they linked to no evidence. So I went looking. It seems that they were likely mislead by a one month blip driven by the autoworker's strike into thinking manufacturing was is recession. Hardly. Take a look at the graph of manufacturing employment by the St. Louis Fed. Whilst there is that sharp one-month drop, it is followed by a sharp rebound to a level higher than has been seen since before the Great Recession. Some recession.
Journal of Economic Literature:
Atlantic Economic Journal: