Fully vaccinated people can travel safely again, in the Us the CDC says and The One-Year Anniversary of Lockdowns by Edward Peter Stringham on the ides of March 2021 and Federal ‘COVID’ Spending Just Hit $41,870 Per Taxpayer. Did You See That Much in Benefit? and United Hatzalah Drops 288 Vaccine-Refusing Volunteers to Become 100% Immunized
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
Fully vaccinated people can travel safely again, in US CDC says
Add travel to the activities vaccinated Americans can safely enjoy again, according to new U.S. guidance issued Friday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to say fully vaccinated people can travel within the U.S. without getting tested for the coronavirus or going into quarantine afterward.
Still, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky urged caution and said she would "advocate against general travel overall" given the rising number of infections.
"If you are vaccinated, it is lower risk," she said.
According to the CDC, nearly 100 million people in the U.S. — or about 30% of the population — have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose.
The agency had said it would update its guidance as more people got vaccinated and evidence mounted about the protection the shots provide.
"Every day you get more data, and you change your guidance," said Dr. Ali Khan, dean of the University of Nebraska's College of Public Health.
The CDC is sticking to its guidance for unvaccinated people to avoid unnecessary travel. If they do travel, the agency says to get tested one to three days before the trip, and three to five days after. People should also stay home and quarantine for seven days after travel, even if their COVID-19 test is negative, the agency says.
The new guidance says:
— Fully vaccinated people can travel within the U.S., without getting tested for the coronavirus or quarantining. People should still wear a mask, socially distance and avoid crowds, the agency says.
— For international travel, the agency says vaccinated people do not need to get a COVID-19 test before leaving unless the destination country requires it.
— For travelers coming into the U.S., vaccinated people should still get a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a flight, and be tested three to five days after arrival. They do not need to quarantine. The agency noted the potential introduction of virus variants and differences in vaccine coverage around the world for the cautious guidance on overseas travel.
Already, air travel in the United States has been picking back up. Although traffic remains down by nearly half from a year ago, more than 1 million travelers daily have been going through U.S. airports in recent weeks.
Airlines do not require COVID-19 tests or proof of vaccination for travel in the U.S.
The CDC cited recent research on the real-world effects of the vaccines for its updated guidance. Last month, the agency said fully vaccinated people could visit with each other indoors without wearing masks or social distancing. It also said vaccinated people could visit with unvaccinated people from a single household under similar conditions, as long as the unvaccinated individuals were at low risk for severe illness if infected.
The U.S. began its vaccine rollout in mid-December. Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses given a few weeks apart. A one-shot vaccine by Johnson & Johnson was given the green light by regulators at the end of February.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Federal 'COVID' Spending Just Hit $41,870 Per Taxpayer. Did You See That Much in Benefit?
President Biden just signed his sweeping $1.9 trillion spending package into law. Once this bill hits the books, total taxpayer expenditure on (ostensibly) COVID relief will hit $6 trillion—which, roughly estimated, comes out to $41,870 in spending per federal taxpayer.
Did you see anywhere near that much in benefit?
The sheer immensity of this spending is hard to grasp. For context, $6 trillion is more than one-fourth of what the US economy produces in an entire year, according to Fox Business. The COVID spending blowout is at least eight times bigger than the (inflation-adjusted) price tag of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "New Deal."
Moreover, the COVID spending bills have all lost huge sums of money to unrelated carve-outs, politician pet projects, corporate bailouts, fraud, waste, and worse.
In the latest $1.9 trillion package, more than 90 percent of the spending is not directly related to containing COVID-19. Only 1 percent of the money, about $15 to $20 billion, is spent on vaccines. Meanwhile, hundreds of billions go to bailing out poorly managed state governments' budget holes that predate the pandemic and $86 billion rescues failing pension plans. Meanwhile, billions more go to Obamacare expansion and subsidizing public schools long after the pandemic.
And that's just scratching the surface.
The Math Doesn't Add Up
The numbers here really are quite damning.
For the same $6 trillion in expenditure, the government could have given every federal taxpayer a $41,870 check. Or, to think about it a bit differently, it could have written every American roughly an $18,181 check.
Let's compare this to what most Americans actually received.
Only someone who fully collected expanded unemployment benefits throughout the pandemic and received all $3,200 in total of the stimulus payments likely received more than $18,181 in direct benefit from this spending package. And that's a relatively small fraction of the public.
Because of the way the government used outdated (and arbitrary) income data to determine eligibility, many more taxpayers saw nothing or little in exchange for their $41,870 share of the cost, perhaps just the initial $1,200 stimulus or none at all. (Meanwhile, billions in checks went to dead people).
So, for almost all Americans, the actual benefits of the multiple pieces of lengthy stimulus legislation come in far, far below the figure that they would have received if the entire pile of money was just even split up and sent out.
How can that possibly be considered a success? In fact, it's actually a net negative.
Trade-Offs Are Inescapable
Too often, the stimulus conversation is simply framed around whether we should give money to a certain group of people or program—rather than also including the trade-offs and costs.
The question isn't just: Should we send people $1,400 "stimulus" checks? It is, instead: Should we send people $1,400 stimulus checks at the cost of taking the equivalent amount (or more if you factor in waste) from other people? It's not just whether we should send $350 billion to state and local governments—but should we do so at the cost of taking an average of $2,442 per federal taxpayer?
The Government is Not Santa Claus
Money doesn't grow on trees. Or, as the great economist Ludwig von Mises put it, the government "does not have the powers of the mythical Santa Claus."
"The truth is the government cannot give if it does not take from somebody," Mises wrote in Bureaucracy. "They cannot spend except by taking out of the pockets of some people for the benefit of others."
The government cannot create wealth out of thin air. It can only give anyone anything via three ways:
Directly increasing taxes, which discourages economic growth and directly takes money away from people
Running up debt, which means much higher taxes in the future plus interest, creating a drag on economic growth
Printing money, which "stealth taxes" the public via inflation
There's no such thing as a free lunch, and, much to the chagrin of spend-happy politicians', Santa Claus is not real. Government spending doesn't create wealth; it only transfers wealth, generally destroying a lot of it in the process.
So, unless Americans are actually seeing equal or greater benefit from spending compared to its cost, it's a raw deal for taxpayers. And for the federal government's "COVID" spending binge, it's not even close.
Don't believe me? Well, did you see $41,870 in benefit from these programs? Or even $18,181?
For almost everyone, the honest answer is no.
Old city and City of David on ides of March 2021
Published Mar 15, 2021
The One-Year Anniversary of Lockdowns by Edward Peter Stringham on the ides of March 2021
One year ago, between March 13 and 16, 2020, began what most of us would agree were the most difficult days of our lives. We thought our rights and liberties were more or less secure or could only be hobbled on the margin. We took certain things for granted, such as that our governments would not – and could not – order us to stay home, close most businesses and schools, shut down travel, padlock churches and concert halls, cancel events, much less lock down society in the name of virus control.
All that changed with a federal document issued March 13, 2020, and declassified three months later. It was the lockdown guidelines. Over the following days, governors panicked. People panicked. Bureaucrats were unleashed. All the powers of the state at all levels of society were deployed not on the virus but on the people, which is all that governments can really control. The lockdowns were nearly universal, implemented around the world but for a few holdouts, one of which was in the US (South Dakota).
A year later, most states are opening up while those still clinging to lockdowns can no longer control people. Regardless of warnings from the top that going back to normal life is too dangerous, most people have decided to be done with the whole dreadful episode.
All year we've asked ourselves the question: why did this happen? Pathogens are part of life now and always have been. For the better part of a century, social and economic outcomes from new viruses were ever less disruptive. Public health had a settled consensus that disease is something to mitigate through doctor-patient relationships. Taking away people's rights was out of the question. The last time that was tried in very limited ways in 1918 demonstrated that coercion only distracts, divides, and delays. This is why lockdowns were not attempted for another hundred years. Wisely so.
In the severe pandemic of 1957-58, officials explicitly said: ''[T]here is no practical advantage in the closing of schools or the curtailment of public gatherings as it relates to the spread of this disease.'' It was the same in 1968-69, 2006, 2009, and 2012-13.
Then came 2020 and SARS-CoV-2. The 24-hour news cycle and social media kicked in. Shocking images from China – people dropping dead in streets, police dragging people out of their homes or otherwise sealing whole apartment units – were blasted onto cellphones the world over. Then a part of Italy seemed to erupt. To many, it felt like a plague, and a primitive disease panic took over political culture.
We know now that the US had sent a delegation to Beijing in mid-February 2020 to get lessons in how properly to control a pandemic, even though the information coming from the Chinese Communist Party has been unreliable at best; there simply is no evidence that their lockdowns in Wuhan were actually responsible for beating back the virus. Obviously so. No disease in history has been suppressed by reliance on brute force over intelligent mitigation.
It's extremely telling that the lockdowners have stopped seriously arguing that the lockdowns worked. Justin Fox writing in Bloomberg goes to great lengths to justify the lockdowns on grounds that Covid-19 was more deadly than the Hong Kong and Asian flus of the past, due to exaggerated death data relative to the death data of 2020. In truth, we do not actually know enough about the data to make this assessment. The problems of testing accuracy raise gigantic questions both about case and death data. It will be many years before we can sort out the mess. That people are still arguing death rates from 1918 is telling.
Regardless, pandemic central planning, even if you believe in it, relies on knowing the severity of a particular disease before the evidence is in. That is simply not possible. Viruses don't come with severity and prevalence labels. What's more, there is no escape from the circumstances of time and place. SARS-CoV-2 hit different countries in different ways based on demographics and the population's immunity profile. Africa, Asia, and America all had very different experiences with the virus regardless of policy.
What's most revealing about the article is Fox's passing comment: "[I]t was not crazy to rely on more-primitive measures. How successful those measures have been will remain a matter of much research and debate…. In the U.S. it's much harder to know how many lives all the testing and quarantining and mask-wearing and lockdowns have saved."
All of which is to say: he doesn't know. This is the new line of the lockdowners. They can't cite broad-based evidence of any correlation much less causation between lockdowns and virus control. There simply isn't any, and meanwhile AIER has assembled 31 serious papers showing no apparent connection between lockdowns and better disease outcomes.
Let's imagine an alternative scenario in which lockdowns actually did work on one pathogen. Would they be worth it? Public health, as Martin Kulldorff continues to explain, must consider not just one ailment but the whole well-being of the community, not just in the short run but the long run. Even if Covid-19 was controlled via coercion, was it worth it to wreck so many businesses, force missed cancer screenings, keep kids out of school for a year, shatter so many communities that depend on houses of worship, lock people in their homes, and hobble the ability to travel?
These are egregious actions, and contrary to all the policy practices we associate with free societies that respect human rights. So in one sense, the argument about whether lockdowns "work" – they do not – is beside the point. For the sake of social and economic functioning as well as human rights, disease mitigation must not be managed by political actors but rather medical professions, as AIER has been saying for a full year.
When the Great Barrington Declaration, hosted by AIER, appeared in October, millions found the statement to be a breath of fresh intellectual air. Finally some good sense! Others were scandalized that some were willing to dissent from the lockdown orthodoxy. In the end, a full year after this terrible experiment began, it is almost time to declare a narrow victory: the Declaration was right and the lockdowners were wrong. The lockdowners are in retreat just as is the virus, and exactly the way that the authors said it would, through the acquisition of population immunity via natural exposure and vaccines.
Even if this battle is won, there are so many ahead of us. We have a broken federal budget, a broken monetary system, and a broken and demoralized population that never imagined people could be so ill-treated by their own political class. The trauma of 2020 will be felt decades hence. The healing will only come from honesty and truth, and a thorough rejection of the folly, duplicity, and deception that has defined our era.
It's time for the truth.
United Hatzalah Drops 288 Vaccine-Refusing Volunteers to Become 100% Immunized
United Hatzalah, Israel's largest all-volunteer EMS provider, has ceased the operations of 288 of its 6,000 volunteers due to their preference to not receive the Coronavirus vaccine.
The organization was following through on the promise made by its president and founder Eli Beer last month, resulting in 100% of its volunteers and staff being fully vaccinated.
Beer issued a statement on Thursday when the decision was put into effect, saying: "All the volunteers of United Hatzalah, our EMTs, paramedics, and doctors who go out and respond to nearly 2,000 medical emergencies a day, bear a responsibility to protect the health of those they treat, as well as their health and the health of their families."
"It is for this reason that I instructed the management of the organization that every last volunteer be required to get vaccinated. The vast majority of our volunteers understood the importance of this and complied with our request," he said.
Beer added, "I personally suffered from this disease. I was hospitalized one year ago almost to the day and I almost lost my life. I said goodbye to my family and my chances of survival were very slim. I want to prevent anyone ever having to go through that experience. I don't want anyone to suffer needlessly due to accidental exposure to the virus—neither our patients nor our volunteers nor their families."
"I love each and every one of the volunteers who give of themselves and their time to help others and save lives. It causes me great pain to say goodbye to some of our volunteers, who for personal reasons have chosen not to receive the vaccine. They will now be departing our organization and our family, but their lives and the lives of the patients whom we serve are more important. Should any of these volunteers change their mind and elect to receive the vaccine, or should this virus disappear completely, we would welcome them back with open arms. In the meantime, I wish them all continued health and success in their future endeavors," Beer concluded.