Current Affairs

White House Launches Effort To “Recalculate” US COVID Hospitalization Numbers

Since soon after the start of the pandemic, hospitals and public health authorities have refused to acknowledge the important distinction between patients being hospitalized with COVID and those being hospitalized (or those who eventually succumbed) because of COVID. Authorities unwillingness to acknowledge this distinction has led to both the “casedemic” and people who have died from motorcycle accidents being counted as COVID deaths.

Now, Politico reports that the Biden Administration is working on recalculating the number of COVID hospitalizations in the US to exclude those who may have tested positive for COVID, but were actually being treated for something else.

A task force comprised of scientists and data specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working with hospitals nationwide to improve Covid-19 reporting. The group is asking hospitals to report numbers of patients who go to the facility because they have Covid-19 and separate those from individuals who go in for other reasons and test positive after being admitted, the two officials said.

As the majority of Americans clamor for all COVID restrictions to be dropped after two years of living with the pandemic (and the onerous government restrictions imposed supposedly to help combat its spread), it seems the Biden administration is suddenly concerned with getting an “accurate sense” of hospitalizations caused by the virus.

The administration’s goal is to get a more accurate sense of Covid-19’s impact across the country and whether the virus is causing severe disease. Senior Biden health officials have increasingly relied on hospitalization numbers, rather than case counts, to determine how to respond to the virus as well as the efficacy of the vaccines. Lower hospitalization rates could inform the administration’s thinking on public health measures such as masking. More accurate Covid-19 numbers also could provide a better picture of the strain on hospitals and which resources they might need during surges.

Of course, accomplishing this won’t be easy. Each case will need to be reviewed by a “panel of experts” in an arduous process…read more.

Erin O’Toole ousted as leader of the Conservative Party

A majority of Conservative MPs have voted to remove Erin O’Toole as party leader.

Three sources have confirmed to the National Post that 73 MPs voted against O’Toole and 45 voted in favour.

The decision was made on Wednesday morning during a virtual meeting. Caucus members heard speeches from signatories of a letter sent calling for a leadership review, then from O’Toole before they proceeded to a secret ballot. The results were released around 11 a.m.

Insiders from both camps were expecting a potentially extremely tight result, with many saying that his tenure as leader would be finished either way with such an affront from caucus.

It remains to be seen who will serve as interim leader. That vote will be held later during the day…read more.

Fauci Knew About Likely Lab-Leak From Secret Teleconference, Pushed Alternate Narrative Instead

Dr. Anthony Fauci was told in a secret teleconference that the coronavirus had very likely leaked from a laboratory in China, yet still pushed the alternate narrative that it had originated naturally, new evidence allegedly shows.

Redacted emails that were recently made public suggest that Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), initiated efforts to cover up evidence pointing to a laboratory leak as the origin of Covid-19.

Evidence suggests that Fauci also actively shaped a highly influential academic paper first published on Feb. 16, 2020, before later being printed in the prominent science journal Nature which excluded such a possibility.

The article, titled “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2,” was co-authored by five virologists, four of whom joined Fauci in a Feb. 1, 2020, teleconference.

During the phone call, at least three authors of the paper said they were 60 to 80 percent sure that the virus had originated from a laboratory, something that they also reiterated in emails following the call.

At the time, public reports also emerged of a potential link between the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China and the virus outbreak, yet these reports were dismissed by Fauci and other medical professionals as conspiracy theories…read more.

Wait, are NFTs the new Beanie Babies?

In early 2021 Amber Vittoria, a New York-based graphic designer and digital artist, first heard about nonfungible tokens (NFTs), or digital art tokenized on blockchain networks. She was smitten and by February she and her husband spent $33,331, the money they’d been saving up to buy a car, on CryptoPunk #589, a pixelated woman punk with a mohawk, bright red lips, and a pair of aviator sunglasses. CryptoPunks are a collection of 10,000 pixel portraits that were algorithmically generated to have random attributes like a mohawk or smoking a pipe. The NFT is now her Twitter profile picture.

“You know what, like YOLO I guess,” Vittoria told Morning Brew. “We could only get one obviously.”

Her CryptoPunk is nothing like her own artwork, which explores femininity, physical identity, and emotion. As a professional artist, Vittoria has collaborated with brands including Gucci and Louis Vuitton and she’s been recognized by the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. So she seemed like the perfect person to ask: Is a CryptoPunk art? She hesitated before responding.

“I think they’re more like collectibles in the sense of like, folks who collect baseball cards, or folks who collect like model car sculptures,” she said…read more.

Time to cure what ails Canada’s health-care system

Health reform has been talked about enough.

The need to reform Canada’s health-care systems has long been a hot topic of debate. After all, Canada is an easy target. It has one of the highest price tags among countries with universal health systems in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, but its performance has lagged for years.

The effect of the poor performance of Canada’s health-care systems on the lives of patients is bad enough, but now the lack of capacity is interfering with the daily lives of all Canadians. Indeed, the (re-)re-introduction of strict public health measures in several provinces in response to the Omicron wave has been repeatedly justified by our health systems’ lack of capacity.

So how do we fix them? On one side of the debate, there are those who believe throwing more money at the problem would be a miraculous cure. Unfortunately, several provincial premiers seem to be of this opinion, with their plea to substantially increase the Canadian health transfer.

And yet, health-care spending in Canada has increased at an average yearly pace of over seven per cent since 1975, without delivering better results for patients. In fact, 55 per cent of Canadians believe the additional amounts of money injected over the past decade have either had no effect at all or actually worsened their health-care system. At this point, spending even more taxpayer dollars would simply be placing our health systems on an artificial respirator…read more.