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Covid conspiracy theories and fallacies that will get more people killed

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Covid conspiracy theories and fallacies that will get more people killed

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I found myself in Regents Park this morning on an unavoidable errand. As I walked back to my car, countless numbers of runners brushed past, panting and breathing all over me. I drew some comfort from the mask I was wearing. Londoners have clearly decided that the pandemic is over. No one is observing any form of social distancing or wearing face protection. Further afield, as temperatures have soared, tens of thousands have been congregating on beaches and attending illegal raves all over the UK.

Now, its up to each individual to decide what is best for themselves but no one has the right to impose their beliefs on others. My safe space, as defined by current lockdown rules, is a minimum circumference of 1 metre. I expect others to respect that space. However, its clear that there are those in our society who are more than happy to compromise the well being of others for their own convenience.

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As lockdown gradually eases in the UK Ive been hearing several questions in growing frequency. Firstly, if Corona is no different to a regular flu was lockdown with all the resultant socio-economic fallout a huge overreaction? Or was the whole pandemic a government engineered ruse?

For starters, Covid-19 is not just like regular flu. Its a hyper-infectious, lethal respiratory disorder (that can irreparably damage organs throughout the body). In my mind its more like an airborne pneumonia for which theres no vaccine or treatment. A doctor buddy of mine, who has been on the front line of fighting the pandemic, tells me the flu (or influenza) has a mortality rate of 0.1% compared to Covid-19 which has a much higher mortality rate of 1-2% (and even higher in the over 80s and/ or those with other underlying conditions where the risk of death is at least 10 fold greater). This has translated into the soaring casualty rates weve seen in the UK.

Back in February, President Trump labeled the Corona outbreak a hoax. Since then his nation has tallied up the highest number of Covid deaths in the world. Despite all that has passed, there is a segment of society that believes the pandemic, the fear of it and lockdown were concocted to manipulate the population for wider political reasons and to benefit big business. So who is behind this global conspiracy? America, China, Russia? Spectre? What are their dastardly intentions?

Of course, the mother of all conspiracies is that the US started the virus themselves to unite the world against China, win the trade war and defeat the Commies. It could explain why the UK and USA did so little to prepare for the onset of the disease. The flip side theory is that the Chinese unleashed the virus to destabilize the rest of the world, take advantage of the resultant dislocation and win the trade war themselves. If either of these situations were true, it would be one of the greatest acts of self-harm in history.

Has lockdown been used by the Republicans to further polarize the American population and consolidate its own conservative vote bank? You didnt have to be a soothsayer to predict that the economic pressures of lockdown were going to land heaviest on the lower income groups; mainly the Hispanic and Black communities. Yet the government seemed to do very little to mitigate the oncoming hardships. It took one knee on a black mans neck, coincidentally from a police officer known to Trumps campaign team (the plot thickens), to tip the situation over the edge. The US defence industry has had a nice fillip too as sales to police forces have had a boost amidst all the unrest. Everyones a winner everyone that matters that is.

Furthermore, did the right-wing lobby, realizing early on that the virus would take a particular hold in the Black and Asian communities, push for the adoption of a herd immunity strategy? If so, they must have been overjoyed to see so many black people and woke liberals congregating on streets around the world, hopefully infecting each other.

Meanwhile, back in blighty, the pandemic has conveniently drawn all eyes away from the slow motion car crash that is the Brexit negotiations. Boris Johnsons consigliere, Dominic Cummings, reportedly admitted that UK government favoured the herd immunity approach in order to see the back of the virus quickly. They aimed to get the UK economy restarted while the EU was still reeling from Corona and pressure them for a favourable deal. However, as of now the UK is more than likely to crash out of the EU without any deal at all. An economic shock that will only exacerbate the destruction left behind by Corona. They will need something to blame. So, in the most perverse way, its in the governments interest to keep the virus around for a while longer.

In the ensuing melee, the government also managed to pass a bill to drastically relax restrictions on mass surveillance. If these emergency laws take a permanent foothold, it would mark a significant weakening of our civil liberties.

Its the stuff of fantasy and I should know as someone who is apt to a few flights of fantasy of my own (for example, whats the chances that Ghislaine Maxwell, disgraced socialite and keeper of many secrets, catches a nasty bout of Corona in custody?). No doubt that governments have taken advantage of Corona chaos but the likelihood that theres been a coordinated, global (or even regional) conspiracy is nonsensical. It would mean the collusion of nations across the world at huge costs to their own individual economies. Moreover, it would take a gargantuan amount of foresight and modeling to execute such a plan. Were talking about Trump and Johnson. I mean, really?

UK pubs and restaurants are opening today, much to everyones glee, even as the total UK death toll approaches the 60,000 mark and Leicester has been put back on lockdown. Across the pond, the US recorded 50,000 new cases in a single day. Even Trump is now touting masks. In fact, he thinks that he looks like the Lone Ranger when wearing one. Ahem, Mr. President, youre meant to cover your mouth not your eyes!

Dropping our guard at this critical juncture heightens the chances of a second spike in infections and history tells us that the second time round can be significantly more deadly. Whether you believe that Covid was created in a lab, spreads through the 5G network or has been part of a sinister plot to upset the current geopolitical status quo, over half a million deaths around the world prove that is certainly not a hoax. Given all we know about this deadly disease and indeed what we dont know, is wearing a mask in public settings really such a big ask?

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories – KTVZ

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories - KTVZ

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York are calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to create a new bipartisan committee focused on election integrity and schedule hearings to reassure Americans over a process President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine.

There is growing anxiety among Democrats, and some Republicans, that Trump will not only continue to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the coming election but throw the subsequent count into chaos by declaring victory before all the votes can be tallied, including the millions that will arrive by mail.

In a letter to McConnell, Sanders and Schumer quote back the Kentucky senator’s own words, in which he attested to the reliability of mail-in voting by citing its successes in Oregon, Washington and Colorado, which have been using the system for years.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of mail-in voting, promoted conspiracy theories questioning election security, called on supporters to act as unsanctioned “poll watchers,” and suggested that the absence of a clear result by the evening of November 3 would in some way cast doubt on the eventual outcome. Key allies in powerful positions, like Attorney General Bill Barr, have followed suit. Barr has persisted in puffing up a debunked claim that ballots received by mail would somehow strip the sender of their privacy — ignoring well-established safeguards.

By escalating the matter now, Sanders and Schumer are responding to growing concern, in partisan and nonpartisan spaces, that Americans are not adequately prepared for the potential of a longer-than-usual wait for results or Trump’s willingness to short-circuit the democratic process if he smells defeat.

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress must come together to ensure that we have a free and fair election where every vote is cast and counted without intimidation,” Sanders told CNN, “where no one has to put his or her health in danger to cast a ballot, and where we have full confidence in the results.”

The proposed hearings would invite a cross-section of election officials from across the country to testify to the security and reliability of mail-in, early- and in-person voting — subjects on which Sanders and Schumer, again, referenced McConnell’s own words.

“Despite the clear security of our vote-by-mail system, some have continued to undermine it with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud,” they wrote. “As you have correctly said, people ‘can vote early, you can vote on Election Day, or you can drop it in the mail,’ and that voters should ‘not worry about your vote not counting.’”

The minority leader and Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also want more detailed discussion about the fraught hours, or days, after the polls close and a real-time watch of the election horse race potentially swings from one candidate to another.

“We know a number of states may well be counting ballots for a period of time after Election Day, and that those votes may be determinative in this election,” the senators wrote to McConnell. “To avoid disinformation, conspiracy theories, and suspicion about results, we must understand the likely timeline for this process.”

The letter goes on to reference the recent war games-style preparations conducted by a group called the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan gathering of operatives and academics that made headlines when some of the outcomes of their exercises — including “both street-level violence and political impasse” — were reported on in late July.

“A bipartisan group of experts and officials have studied multiple scenarios where the outcome of the election was not immediately known. Some of these scenarios resulted in unrest and even violence,” Sanders and Schumer wrote, suggesting the Senate should elevate similar discussions and familiarize the public with the uncertainties ahead. “We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful.”

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS supported Caputo, with a statement that called him a critical, integral part of the presidents coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no immediate statement from the White House.

Attempts to reach Caputo were unsuccessful.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called on Azar to fire Caputo, accusing the spokesman of trying to interfere with CDC reports to the medical and scientific community, as well as the public at large. And Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Azar himself to resign, citing interference with the CDC as one example of what he termed the administration’s failures.

Officials at CDC have privately complained of recent efforts by political appointees at main HHS to try to edit or press for changes in the agency’s weekly MMWR publications, a go-to resource for public health professionals.

MMWR articles are technical, but they reveal telling details. One published earlier this year noted that while Trump’s travel restrictions dramatically reduced travel from China in February, nothing was being done at that time to restrict travel from Italy and Europe, where the coronavirus was spreading widely and rapidly. Analysis of virus samples from hard-hit New York in March suggested it was introduced there from Europe and other parts of the U.S., the CDC article reported.

Caputo is an unswerving Trump loyalist. His recent book, The Ukraine Hoax, claims the presidents phony impeachment was rooted in a vast conspiracy.

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS…

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS...

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My RSS Feedunwinona:

This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS and Polio narrative (among others), only we’re seeing it escalated to weeks and months instead of years or decades.

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