In the days before Thanksgiving, public health spokespeople like Dr. Anthony Fauci urged Americans to gather virtually instead of in person to avoid potential exposure to SARS-CoV-2.1 The same calls for abstinence from friends and family were heard in Canada just before its October 12 Thanksgiving holiday.2
December 7, 2020, Fauci warned that the COVID-19 surge caused by families gathering for Thanksgiving was still ahead of us. â€œThe blip from Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet. So, we’re getting those staggering numbers of new cases and hospitalizations before we even feel the full brunt of the Thanksgiving holiday,” he said.3
Fauci suspects an upsurge of positive tests in the days leading up to Christmas and Hanukkah, stating that January 2021 “could be a really dark time.â€� Back in mid-November, Fauci stated that a successful mass vaccination campaign may be needed in order for Americans to be able to gather freely for the holidays â€” next year!4
Unelected COVID-19 czar Bill Gates, meanwhile, has gone on record saying self-isolation, business shutdowns and other restrictions will likely need to continue into 2022, even with a successful vaccine.5
UK Christmas Rules
In the U.K., a special set of restrictions have been issued for the five-day window of December 23 through December 27, 2020. Residents of Northern Ireland get one additional day on either side of these dates for travel.
The three-tier system of COVID restrictions6 rolled out at the end of November 2020 will be temporarily loosened to allow greater numbers of people to gather indoors in high-restriction areas.
Up to three households, including your own, will be allowed to gather indoors. â€œYou shouldnâ€™t mix with lots of different people every day. You need to pick your favorites and only see them during this period,â€� BBC health correspondent Laura Foster says in her Christmas rules video (above), adding that:
â€œThe best thing to do to make sure youâ€™re not infecting anyone else is to self-isolate for 14 full days [before Christmas eve], and then go directly to the people you want to spend the festive season with.â€�
Scotland specifies only eight people, at most, will be allowed at any given gathering, not counting children under the age of 12. Depending on the tier your area is in, you may or may not be allowed to gather with additional people outdoors. The video below sums up the ridiculousness of these kinds of micromanaging nanny-state rules quite nicely.
Is It Worth the Risk?
Even with restrictions on group sizes and various rules on mask wearing and sanitation requirements, weâ€™re being urged to consider whether getting together with your loved ones is really worth the risk this year.
By insisting on human contact, you may inadvertently kill someone you love, the warning goes. This is particularly true for elderly grandparents, who are at higher risk for complications from the infection. Whatâ€™s missing from this conversation is a key piece of logic, which is that every day of your life involves the risk of death.
There are no guarantees that any one of us will see the sun rise tomorrow. In the past, most of us have braved the wild unknown to see our loved ones, knowing in the back of our minds, if only subconsciously, that we might die in a car accident on the way, or that the plane might crash. We also accepted that we might come down with the flu at some point during the winter.
Yet rarely if ever did such concerns stop us. Barring certain mental health conditions, we all accepted not knowing what was to come, and went about our daily business with what now is viewed as reckless abandon.
We are now told that COVID-19 poses such an incredibly high risk that nothing is worth it. The problem with that is that the actual risk posed by SARS-CoV-2 â€” for the vast majority of people â€” is no greater than any other risk theyâ€™ve taken on any given day in their life thus far.
What Does the Data Say About Your Risk?
Research7 shows that the overall noninstitutionalized infection fatality ratio for COVID-19 is 0.26%. Those under the age of 40 have an infection fatality ratio of 0.01%, while people over 60 have an infection fatality ratio of 1.71%.
The estimated infection fatality rate for seasonal influenza cited in this paper is 0.8%. In other words, most people have a lower risk of dying from COVID-19 than they have of dying from the flu.
How many times in your life have you canceled plans for fear you might contract influenza? Even more importantly, how many times have you feared you might spread influenza to an elderly relative when you have no symptoms of a cold or influenza?
The issue of asymptomatic spread has lingered for months, but recent data8 from 9,899,828 residents of Wuhan city who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection found that not a single one of the 1,174 people who had been in close contact with an asymptomatic individual tested positive. Further testing of asymptomatic patients showed that 63.3% of them had antibodies.
This means that even though they never developed symptoms, they did at some point have a productive infection that resulted in the production of antibodies. Still, none of their contacts had been infected.
In other words, even in cases where asymptomatics were (or had been) carriers of apparently live virus, they still did not transmit it to others. Reasons for this appears to be because asymptomatics have very low viral loads and shed the virus for a very short period of time. These findings seem to support studies9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16 suggesting that immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection is far more widespread than anyone imagined.
Other data17,18 show the overall all-cause mortality has remained steady during 2020 and doesnâ€™t veer from the norm. In other words, COVID-19 has not killed off more of the population than would have died in any given year anyway.
Where Did Seasonal Flu Go?
Seasonal influenza, by the way, is also nonexistent this year. According to the World Health Organization, there has not been a single reported case of influenza since week 17 of 2020 anywhere in the world.19 That alone should tell us something about the real COVID-19 numbers.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports20 that reported flu hospitalizations are too low to generate an estimate of the influenza burden for the 2020 season. That said, it still estimates that up to 740,000 Americans were hospitalized for influenza and as many as 62,000 died from influenza between October 1, 2019, through April 4, 2020.
Statistics21 released by the CDC August 26, 2020, also show that only 6% of the total COVID-19-related deaths in the U.S. had COVID-19 listed as the sole cause of death on the death certificate.
As of December 15, 2020, the CDC reported 300,032 Americans had died with COVID-19.22 Using the 6% sole-cause calculation, we can extrapolate that 18,002 Americans have died from COVID-19 alone, and not some other underlying condition or accidental cause.
When looking at these numbers, doesnâ€™t it strike you as odd that one type of death is considered so much worse than another? Why is it worth shutting down businesses and shunning social interactions for COVID-19 but not for influenza, which clearly is just as lethal? Why is it more unacceptable to die from COVID-19 than the flu, or heart disease, or cancer?
Why are some deaths acceptable while COVID-19 deaths are to be avoided at all cost? Why are healthy people told they must cease all semblance of life to protect the vulnerable while no one has ever had to quit living to prevent any other kind of death, including accidents that could be avoided by banning certain everyday activities.
Are You Sacrificing That Which Matters Most?
Of course, Iâ€™m not telling anyone what to do. I would encourage you, though, to ponder what matters. Most people will agree that the most valuable moments in life are those spent with family and friends, especially elderly relatives whose days are already numbered. Those very moments that make life worth living are now being stolen â€” if we let them.
The question is, what value do we place on family, versus the risk of illness? As mentioned, Gates predicts social restrictions will need to stay in place for the next two years. Are you willing to give up three years of life for an illness that poses no greater threat to life than a bad flu season?
How about five years? Ten? In all likelihood, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is here to stay, just like the pandemic swine flu, which is now one of the many viruses we encounter in any given flu season. In 2009, the swine flu pandemic was touted as a grave threat, yet no panic has ensued in the years since, even though itâ€™s still in circulation. Why is that? Why should SARS-CoV-2 be any different?
As noted by A.J. Kay in a recent Medium article,23 â€œIf safety requires us to indefinitely forfeit the most valuable parts of our lives, what exactly are we trying to save?â€�
According to a report24,25 by the AARP and United Health Foundation, social distancing measures have led to an epidemic of loneliness, and this too has significant risks that should be included in the risk-benefit calculation as it increases mortality from every cause.26 Public health researcher Kassandra Alcaraz recently told the American Psychological Association:27
“Our research really shows that the magnitude of risk presented by social isolation is very similar in magnitude to that of obesity, smoking, lack of access to care and physical inactivity.â€�
Pandemic Measures Sabotage Health
I believe the real threat right now is what weâ€™re doing to sabotage the mental, emotional and physical health of people, especially our children, whose development is dependent on social interactions, physical contact and facial expressions. Between mask wearing and social distancing, I fear the impact on children in particular may be long-term, if not permanent.
But itâ€™s clearly taking a cruel toll on the elderly as well. If you knew your days were numbered, how would you want to spend them? Would your main concern be to prevent an infection that might speed up the inevitable, or would you want to spend whatever time you have left surrounded by those you love?
These are significant questions that will guide your choices and thus the course of your life, and theyâ€™re more pressing now than ever. So, choose wisely this holiday season, because whatever you choose, youâ€™ll have to live with your choices.
Stop Believing in Unscientific Lockdowns
Itâ€™s high time to start questioning what is credulous and what is not. A powerful essay28 in the American Institute for Economic Research does just that. It specifically questions whether lockdowns really are the best way to minimize casualties in this pandemic.
Using historical examples beginning with Voltaireâ€™s words, â€œthose who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities,â€� the author reasons that lockdowns are not going to save the world from COVID-19, if for no other reason than whenever lockdowns are eased, infections naturally start to creep back up.
However, the vast majority of those who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 are asymptomatic and pose no real risk. A rising â€œcaseâ€� load also does not mean people are actually getting sick and dying. As you can see in the graph below, positive tests (aka â€œcasesâ€�) in blue do not correlate with COVID-19 deaths in red.29
Santa Reveals How COVID-19 Hurt His Business
To close on a slightly lighter note, in a December 16, 2020, interview with Patrick Bet-David, Tim Connaghan, a national Santa, the official Santa for Los Angeles Christmas Parade, and founder of the International University of Santa Claus, reveals how COVID-19 has impacted the Santa business.
Like everyone else, Santaâ€™s around the world have had to adjust to a number of restrictions. While many are still working the malls, social distancing procedures are being observed, which means no children on Santaâ€™s lap, for example. They also wear masks or clear face shields. Other Santaâ€™s have joined the virtual landscape.
If youâ€™re curious about how to become a professional Santa Claus, listen to Connaghan, who has an interesting story about how he ended up teaching this unusual job.