TBR News March 24 ,2020

Mar 24 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. March 24, 2020: “The public, domestic and foreign, initially were horrified by the media-created horror stories about a purported deadly Chinese plague that was descending on the world and which would kill millions in its progress.
All of this hype, which was initially very effective, was not designed to alert the public to coming dangers but solely to increase public interest in a serious subject and to gather paid readers (or subscribers)
This worked to a degree but the results of the wholly-invented fear campaign were that many American, and foreign, businesses and their employees suffered severe economic losses.
The media obviously does not care about damage to the public but they do care, very seriously, with the loss of paid readers and the resulting loss of advertising income.
This death-plague fiction will eventually vanish but the wreckage of the economic and social structures severely damaged by it will take a long time to recover.
A solution? If you subscribe to media that publishes scare propaganda, unsubscribe at once.”

Agitation From Reuters

• The United States could become the global epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, the World Health Organization said
• Britain goes into lockdown
• The Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed.
• Hopes high massive coronavirus bill will pass
• Italy cases “10 times higher than reported”
• Comcast shuts theme parks, delays film distribution due to COVID-19
• UK banks scramble to protect customers from wave of coronavirus scams
• India, Nepal lock down to stave off coronavirus
• NATO troops in Afghanistan infected
• Coronavirus sinks U.S. business activity to record low: IHS Markit

Agitation From The Guardian

• US, UK, eurozone and Japan head for deep recession as economic activity slumps
• UK PMI survey shows economy is slumpingEurozone PMIs bleak…. as in Japan
• Older people would rather die than let Covid-19 harm US economy – Texas official
• Wartime’ coronavirus powers could hurt our democracy – without keeping us safe
• During a war, the liberal democratic order is temporary suspended
• This is life or death’: homeless families reclaim vacant homes to survive virus outbreak
• Spain death toll jumps overnight
• Indonesia reports biggest daily increase in cases
• South Africa cases rise to 554 as nation prepares for 21-day lockdown

Agitation From the New York Times

• How a Soirée in Connecticut Became a ‘Super Spreader’
• Virus Brings States to a Standstill
• Fourteen Days. That’s the Most Time We Have to Defeat Coronavirus.
• Here Come the Death Panels
• Dip in Italy’s Cases Does Not Come Fast Enough for Swamped Hospitals
• New York Braces for Deluge of Cases
• Senator Sees Progress on Reaching Stimulus Deal
• Republicans Add Insult to Illness
• Feeling Powerless About Coronavirus? Join a Mutual-Aid Network
• Officials warned that New York was experiencing a virus “attack rate” five times that elsewhere in the United States

Agitation From the Washington Post

• WHO official warns U.S. could become next virus epicenter
• New evidence emerges of a coronavirus seasonal cycle
• Europe’s Ryanair prepares for a continental shutdown that could last until summer
• ‘Stay on the mainland’: Tensions grow as affluent city dwellers retreat to second homes
• ‘It’s going to get bad’: As outbreak surges, nation faces tough start to a grim week
• Restaurants closed by coronavirus won’t reopen without economic assistance
• NRA to cut salaries, brace for layoffs as coronavirus disrupts fundraising, internal memo states
• The new sick leave law doesn’t help the workers that need it most
• A man thought aquarium cleaner with the same name as the anti-viral drug chloroquine would prevent coronavirus. It killed him.
• For the first time, the United States reported more than 100 virus-related deaths in a single day.

The Table of Contents
• The hidden cost of causing a panic over coronavirus
• Coronavirus Hysteria: The Numbers Don’t Warrant the Media Hype
• Irresponsible journalism is contributing to coronavirus hysteria
• 13 Coronavirus myths busted by science
• Decline of Print Media
• Over 2000 American Newspapers Have Closed in Past 15 Years
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons

The hidden cost of causing a panic over coronavirus
by Douglas MacKinnon
The Hill
When the coronavirus panic hit about a month ago, my first thought was not about those who might contract the virus but, rather, about the thousands to potentially hundreds of thousands of hard-working poor people around the globe who soon would lose their jobs — and the only way to provide for themselves and their families — because of the coming panic. A panic deliberately created or exaggerated by some in the media as a cheap, easy way to increase clicks, newspaper sales, viewers, listeners and advertising rates.
Once it was clear that the panic was not only taking hold but spreading, craven politicians predictably jumped into the echo chamber to scream “The Sky is Falling!” for partisan or self-serving reasons.
To be sure, every effort must be made to stop or contain the spread of this coronavirus. That said, I recently spoke with a doctor in the field who believes the current virus will play out much like the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) pandemic of 2003. Although the doctor believes this strain is stronger than that earlier one and will affect more people, it still pales in comparison to the fatalities every year from the flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website reminds us that the SARS pandemic, which hit in February 2003, also was a coronavirus that originated in Asia. According to the CDC, by the time SARS ran its course by July 2003, it had spread to 29 nations, infected approximately 8,000 people and claimed about 775 lives; the vast majority of those who died were elderly or had severe pre-existing conditions.
Only eight people in the United States came down with SARS. All of them recovered.
Is the coronavirus of today a tougher strain? It appears so. But the doctor I spoke with stressed that it is still critically important to compare those past SARS statistics and the current coronavirus with the yearly influenza that hits the United States and the rest of the world. Tragically, tens of thousands of Americans (again, a majority of them elderly or with severe pre-existing conditions) perish because of the flu. During the 2017-2018 flu season, the deaths numbered approximately 61,000 — deaths which exponentially eclipsed the numbers from SARS in 2003, and which surely will be many multiples higher than the current coronavirus pandemic.
And yet, rarely is there such breathless panic over that yearly flu-related loss of life.
But panic — manufactured or otherwise — always brings negative consequences.
The CDC’s website also reports that the six-month run of SARS in 2003 cost the world an estimated $40 billion.
That $40 billion should not be viewed as some cold statistic, however. Instead, it should and must be seen as the devastation inflicted upon real businesses, real jobs, real lives. Don’t just see numbers. Instead, visualize the faces of the thousands to hundreds of thousands of people who lost their jobs as their companies were either forced to cut back or to go out of business altogether.
The panic created over this current coronavirus already far exceeds that of the SARS pandemic. That being the case, it’s safe to assume that when all is said and done, and this strain of the coronavirus has run its course, the financial punishment to businesses and the people they employ will be far greater than $40 billion.
In 1987, when Raymond Donovan, former Labor secretary under President Ronald Reagan, was rightfully acquitted of a smear campaign and criminal charge, he famously asked: “Which office do I go to, to get my reputation back?”
Now, with potentially hundreds to thousands of businesses about to close, and hundreds of thousands to millions of people about to be (or already) furloughed from their jobs, where do those business owners and their employees go to get their livelihoods back?
Who will care for them … or about them?
Panic does have dire consequences. And those consequences are the human faces of small business owners and employees working and struggling simply to survive the hysteria induced by exaggerated reports of dire consequences from a pandemic.
Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration..

Coronavirus Hysteria: The Numbers Don’t Warrant the Media Hype
There are already 18,000 deaths this year from the seasonal flu, while only 18 deaths this year from coronavirus
March 9, 2020
by Katy Grimes,
California Globe
Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in California because of the 114 reported cases of the coronavirus in the state of 40 million residents. Was this to play into the hand of the media, which has hyped the flu virus as the next plague, particularly because every year, tens of thousands of people die of that season’s flu?
Common human coronaviruses cause mild to moderate upper respiratory symptoms, including the common cold, while more severe types can cause pneumonia and death, NPR reported.
“Let’s call it Trumpvirus,” a New York Times opinion writer said. Cable news hosts wear their most dire faces while reporting on the coronavirus flu, as though the United States has never seen or dealt with an outbreak.
An Associated Press article was equally dramatic and hysterical: “Crossing more borders, the new coronavirus hit a milestone Friday, infecting more than 100,000 people worldwide as it wove itself deeper into the daily lives of millions, infecting the powerful, the unprotected poor and vast masses in between.”
Conspicuously missing from the AP article is the important distinction that being “infected” for nearly everyone is not life-threatening, and most people don’t even know they had the virus.
This coronavirus, first observed in late December in Wuhan, China, and was reported to the World Health Organization China bureau in Beijing. By January 31, 2020, President Donald Trump had declared a public health emergency and began restricting U.S. access to non-citizens from China.
“Compare Trump’s response time to the H1N1 pandemic in June 2009, when American health officials declared a public health emergency, but it wasn’t until four months later, October, that then-President Obama declared an H1N1 national emergency. By that time, the disease had infected millions of Americans and more than 1,000 people had died in the U.S.,” PJ Media reported.
Imagine if the media gave this much coverage to an actual pandemic health danger in California: hundreds of thousands of homeless drug addicts and the mentally ill living in squalor on city streets throughout California. Hepatitis, typhus, typhoid fever, and threats of Bubonic Plague are real in cities with homeless people living on streets, on rivers and in parks.
Actual Annual Flu Statistics
According to the Center for Disease Control, the 2018-2019 flu season, lasting 21 weeks, was the longest in a decade; 61,200 died, 647,000 people were hospitalized. The CDC says that is on par with a typical flu season.
In 2018, nearly 80,000 Americans died of nasty flu, the kind that more people end up in the hospital with. It caused more deaths, particularly among young children and the elderly.
In recent years, flu-related deaths have ranged from about 12,000 to — in the worst year — 56,000, according to the CDC, prior to 2018.
Did Sierra College close down in 2018 when two students tested positive for the flu? No, but it closed this week for two cases of coronavirus. How about the Elk Grove School District – did it close in 2018 for one case of the flu? Nope. But that is what the school district announced over the weekend, because of one case of coronavirus.
With 10 new virus cases in Bay Area, San Francisco public schools cancel “nonessential” public events.
For 2 cases of coronavirus, the Riverside County Public Health Department declared a public health emergency, including Indian Wells where the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament was to play the two-week event, normally attended by 450,000.
Occasionally during flu season, a small office will close down and post a sign: “Out sick with flu.” That’s a small office where everyone caught the flu. But if one person caught the flu the office would not shut down.
“Shocking. Elk Grove Unified School District closing its doors this week because one of its students was being quarantined for the coronavirus is shocking,” Marcos Breton with the Sacramento Bee wrote. “More shocking. Saturday’s announcement, with such widespread implications, including the possibility of triggering public anxiety and panic, was rolled out with little or no coordination between the county’s public health department or key elected officials in Sacramento, even though a letter to parents Saturday said ‘this complex decision involved close collaboration and coordination with our Board of Trustees, labor groups, the Sacramento County Office of Education and the Sacramento County Public Health Department.’”
The fatality rate is one percent or lower, despite the media claiming a much higher rate. “As the nation gears for battle against coronavirus, our biggest enemy is false information,” Betsy McCaughey wrote at Fox News. “Trump officials from the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services have been briefing the public daily, as they fine-tune their response to this rapidly evolving global virus. So Senators, just go to cdc.gov to read the 52-page plan and stop whining.”
McCaughey said so far there are 18 deaths this year from coronavirus while there are already 18,000 deaths this year from the seasonal flu. The hype is political and more dangerous than a flu virus.
UPDATE: The CDC reports on March 10 there are now 25 deaths from coronavirus.

Irresponsible journalism is contributing to coronavirus hysteria
March 13, 2020
by Brian Burgess
The Capitolist
“We fear what we do not understand.”
Fueled by infections of the powerful and famous, fear of the coronavirus reached panic level across the world on Thursday. In Australia, Tom Hanks and his wife tested positive for the virus, and a famed Formula One racing team, McLaren, pulled out of the Australian Grand Prix, before the entire event was later cancelled because one of the McLaren race team members tested positive.
In the United States, the National Basketball Association suspended their season indefinitely after Utah Jazz players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell tested positive for the virus. Suddenly, we all “know” someone who has been infected, and the whole thing seems a lot more personal.
The panic didn’t stop there. The NCAA canceled it’s national championship tournament, giving a brand new meaning to the term “March Madness.”
Then governors in several states created quarantine zones, called in the national guard, and issued executive orders shutting down their public school systems and limiting the size of public gatherings.
Disneyland in California announced it will close its doors starting next week. And late Thursday, the beating heart of Florida’s tourism economy – DisneyWorld – announced it would shut down for the remainder of March.
The Drudge Report, which garners 25 million page views per day, and hit 44 million on Thursday alone, featured a screaming, red-lettered headline:
It’s the kind of headline that gets attention. That many infected Americans would make even the most wild-eyed conspiracy theorist look sensible while standing watch over the machine gun nest guarding the entrance to a sandbagged, backyard survival bunker.
But the headline is bogus. The article should get the reporter who wrote it and the editor who published it fired, and the politicians who promoted the misleading information should be driven from office for inciting panic.
Sadly, it’s not the only example of intentionally misleading, terrifying journalism. In the Washington Post, another headline proclaimed:
Coronavirus burial pits so vast they can be seen from space
Burial “pits” so vast they can be seen from space? Whoa. Those must be massive holes in the ground, right? With tens of thousands of dead bodies being bulldozed to prevent the world from knowing just how many have died.
Nevermind that Google Earth’s satellite view is so powerful we can count the number of chairs our neighbor has on his patio. Reading the story, we learn that Iran, which has 10,000 infections in a nation of 81.5 million people, has just 429 total dead, and a number of those were in a town with inadequate cemetery space. They had to dig some additional graves – not “vast pits” – yet the Washington Post is so desperate for clicks, they justify a headline that conjures up imagery of mass graves holding thousands of corpses.
Like the Drudge Report headline, it’s fake news at its worst. And it’s disgusting.
Without context and a deeper understanding of the underlying facts surrounding the virus, it’s easy to understand why politicians, CEO’s, college presidents, and executives worldwide are pushing the panic button. Politically speaking, the media is giving these leaders no choice but to play it extremely safe, lest they be blamed for endangering the people they are responsible for protecting.
But a simple read through of these news articles predicting mass casualties in the United States, or playing up the death toll around the world reveals major plot holes.
For starters, the Drudge headline contains a word that should instantly set off clickbait alarms: the word “could.” Of course 150 million Americans could get infected if we went around licking the freshly used forks and spoons of other Americans known to be infected. But in that case, why stop at 150 million Americans? Why not say ALL Americans could be infected, if only everyone threw caution to the wind and broke into the local hospital quarantine ward, breathing in every sneeze from the local coronavirus victims?
That article, and most other alarmist news coverage, leaves out crucial context. In the Drudge case, which is actually written by Agence France-Presse (AFP), the story doesn’t mention in what time frame we’re talking about. Here’s the opening sentence:
Between 70 to 150 million people in the United States could eventually be infected with the novel coronavirus, according to a projection shared with Congress, a lawmaker said Thursday.
The phrase “could eventually” is critically important here, and yet it’s never explained, never unpacked, never given any further context in the story.
Another headline – this one equally alarming – at least offers some context in the body of a story published by The Hill:
Ohio health official estimates 100,000 people in state have coronavirus
That’s terrifying, especially considering China’s total infections haven’t exceeded 81,000 yet. But reading further, we start to get some critically important context and the story doesn’t seem nearly as frightening:
Not everyone with the virus has symptoms, and about 80 percent of people with the virus do not end up needing hospitalization, experts say. However, the virus can be deadly especially for older people and those with underlying health conditions.
Despite this irresponsible statement from Ohio officials, the state currently has just five known cases, and tested thirty more people. All of those came back negative.
Here’s some additional data to help put coronavirus hysteria into context:
China has a population of 1.4 billion people. They have 81,000 cases. That’s an infection rate of just 0.006%. To be perfectly clear, that’s six-thousandths of one percent, as in, take 1 percent of the population, divide that group into 1,000 parts, and only six parts are actually infected. The flip side of that means that 99.994% of the population is either completely fine or their symptoms are so mild they don’t even know they have the virus.
The world’s true hotspot right now is Italy. They have 60.5 million citizens, and as of this morning, over 15,000 cases of the virus, and cases there continue to climb. That’s a much higher rate of infection: 0.025% of the population, and it will get worse, still.
Despite the media hype, even 100,000 infections in the United States, where we have 350 million citizens, is just not a big number. In Florida, that’s somewhere between 1289 and 5,371 cases out of 21.5 million residents, and as the media sometimes remembers to report, around 80 percent of those cases will exhibit only mild symptoms.
Even though we have vaccinations for it, the flu seems like a much more significant threat to public health than coronavirus. The difference is that we understand the flu. We have a lot more data about the flu. And so we do not fear the flu.
We don’t fully understand coronavirus, so we fear it. And obviously, the projections above are based on current data and worst-case scenarios playing out in Italy and China. It’s possible that the virus could mutate into something worse, or we could experience new complications in the United States that make the outbreak far worse here than in those other countries. So far though, that hasn’t happened, and there’s no indication or evidence that it will. The virus is slowly spreading in Florida, with just 33 active cases so far – and that’s also good news.
We can’t minimize the seriousness of coronavirus, particularly for those with weakened or compromised immune systems. For many people, coronavirus is a lethal threat. But for the vast majority of Americans and in particular, Floridians, most will likely never be infected, and even if they are, will never show symptoms.
Irresponsible journalism is adding to the coronavirus hysteria when the facts suggest it’s all just a bit over the top. There’s a very real possibility that we’ll look back on this week of cancellations, closures, travel restrictions and quarantines as an unfortunate overreaction to what will soon become a common and treatable infection.

13 Coronavirus myths busted by science
March 23, 2020
by Live Science Staff
As the novel coronavirus continues to infect people around the world, news articles and social media posts about the outbreak continue to spread online. Unfortunately, this relentless flood of information can make it difficult to separate fact from fiction — and during a viral outbreak, rumors and misinformation can be dangerous.
Here at Live Science, we’ve compiled a list of the most pervasive myths about the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, the disease it causes, and explained why these rumors are misleading, or just plain wrong.
Myth: Face masks can protect you from the virus
Standard surgical masks cannot protect you from SARS-CoV-2, as they are not designed to block out viral particles and do not lay flush to the face, Live Science previously reported. That said, surgical masks can help prevent infected people from spreading the virus further by blocking any respiratory droplets that could be expelled from their mouths.
Within health care facilities, special respirators called “N95 respirators” have been shown to greatly reduce the spread of the virus among medical staff. People require training to properly fit N95 respirators around their noses, cheeks and chins to ensure that no air can sneak around the edges of the mask; and wearers must also learn to check the equipment for damage after each use.
Myth: You’re waaaay less likely to get this than the flu
Not necessarily. To estimate how easily a virus spreads, scientists calculate its “basic reproduction number,” or R0 (pronounced R-nought). R0 predicts the number of people who can catch a given bug from a single infected person, Live Science previously reported. Currently, the R0 for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, is estimated at about 2.2, meaning a single infected person will infect about 2.2 others, on average. By comparison, the flu has an R0 of 1.3.
Perhaps, most importantly, while no vaccine exists to prevent COVID-19, the seasonal flu vaccine prevents influenza relatively well, even when its formulation doesn’t perfectly match the circulating viral strains.
Myth: The virus is just a mutated form of the common cold
No, it’s not. Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that includes many different diseases. SARS-CoV-2 does share similarities with other coronaviruses, four of which can cause the common cold. All five viruses have spiky projections on their surfaces and utilize so-called spike proteins to infect host cells. However, the four cold coronaviruses — named 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1 — all utilize humans as their primary hosts. SARS-CoV-2 shares about 90% of its genetic material with coronaviruses that infect bats, which suggests that the virus originated in bats and later hopped to humans.
Evidence suggests that the virus passed through an intermediate animal before infecting humans. Similarly, the SARS virus jumped from bats to civets (small, nocturnal mammals) on its way into people, whereas MERS infected camels before spreading to humans.
Myth: The virus was probably made in a lab
No evidence suggests that the virus is man-made. SARS-CoV-2 closely resembles two other coronaviruses that have triggered outbreaks in recent decades, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, and all three viruses seem to have originated in bats. In short, the characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 fall in line with what we know about other naturally occurring coronaviruses that made the jump from animals to people.
Myth: Getting COVID-19 is a death sentence
That’s not true. About 81% of people who are infected with the coronavirus have mild cases of COVID-19, according to a study published Feb. 18 by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. About 13.8% report severe illness, meaning they have shortness of breath, or require supplemental oxygen, and about 4.7% are critical, meaning they face respiratory failure, multi-organ failure or septic shock. The data thus far suggests that only around 2.3% of people infected with COVID-19 die from the virus. People who are older or have underlying health conditions seem to be most at risk of having severe disease or complications. While there’s no need to panic, people should take steps to prepare and protect themselves and others from the new coronavirus.
Myth: Pets can spread the new coronavirus
Probably not to humans. One dog in China contracted a “low-level infection” from its owner, who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, meaning dogs may be vulnerable to picking up the virus from people, according to The South China Morning Post. The infected Pomeranian has not fallen ill or shown symptoms of disease, and no evidence suggests that the animal could infect humans.
Several dogs and cats tested positive for a similar virus, SARS-CoV, during an outbreak in 2003, animal health expert Vanessa Barrs of City University told the Post. “Previous experience with SARS suggests that cats and dogs will not become sick or transmit the virus to humans,” she said. “Importantly, there was no evidence of viral transmission from pet dogs or cats to humans.”
Just in case, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people with COVID-19 have someone else walk and care for their companion animals while they are sick. And people should always wash their hands after snuggling with animals anyway, as companion pets can spread other diseases to people, according to the CDC.
Myth: Lockdowns or school closures won’t happen in the US
There’s no guarantee, but school closures are a common tool that public health officials use to slow or halt the spread of contagious diseases. For instance, during the swine flu pandemic of 2009, 1,300 schools in the U.S. closed to reduce the spread of the disease, according to a 2017 study of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. At the time, CDC guidance recommended that schools close for between 7 and 14 days, according to the study.
While the coronavirus is a different disease, with a different incubation period, transmissibility and symptom severity, it’s likely that at least some school closures will occur. If we later learn that children are not the primary vectors for disease, that strategy may change, Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, previously told Live Science. Either way, you should prepare for the possibility of school closures and figure out backup care if needed.
Lockdowns, quarantines and isolation are also a possibility. Under section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S. Code § 264), the federal government is allowed to take such actions to quell the spread of disease from either outside the country or between states. State and local governments may also have similar authority.
Myth: Kids can’t catch the coronavirus
Children can definitely catch COVID-19, though initial reports suggested fewer cases in children compared with adults. For example, a Chinese study from Hubei province released in February found that of more than 44,000 cases of COVID-19, about only 2.2% involved children under age 19.
However, more recent studies suggest children are as likely as adults to become infected. In a study reported March 5, researchers analyzed data from more than 1,500 people in Shenzhen, and found that children potentially exposed to the virus were just as likely to become infected as adults were, according to Nature News. Regardless of age, about 7% to 8% of contacts of COVID-19 cases later tested positive for the virus.
Still, when children become infected, they seem less likely to develop severe disease, Live Science previously reported.
Myth: If you have coronavirus, “you’ll know”
No, you won’t. COVID-19 causes a wide range of symptoms, many of which appear in other respiratory illnesses such as the flu and the common cold. Specifically, common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and rarer symptoms include dizziness, nausea, vomiting and a runny nose. In severe cases, the disease can progress into a serious pneumonia-like illness — but early on, infected people may show no symptoms at all.
U.S. health officials have now advised the American public to prepare for an epidemic, meaning those who have not traveled to affected countries or made contact with people who recently traveled may begin catching the virus. As the outbreak progresses in the U.S., state and local health departments should provide updates about when and where the virus has spread. If you live in an affected region and begin experiencing high fever, weakness, lethargy or shortness of breath, or or have underlying conditions and milder symptoms of the disease, you should seek medical attention at the nearest hospital, experts told Live Science.
From there, you may be tested for the virus, though as of yet, the CDC has not made the available diagnostic exam widely available.
Myth: The coronavirus is less deadly than the flu
So far, it appears the coronavirus is more deadly than the flu. However, there’s still a lot of uncertainty around the mortality rate of the virus. The annual flu typically has a mortality rate of around 0.1% in the U.S. So far, there’s a 0.05% mortality rate among those who caught the flu virus in the U.S. this year, according to the CDC.
In comparison, recent data suggests that COVID-19 has a mortality rate more than 20 times higher, of around 2.3%, according to a study published Feb. 18 by the China CDC Weekly. The death rate varied by different factors such as location and an individual’s age, according to a previous Live Science report.
But these numbers are continuously evolving and may not represent the actual mortality rate. It’s not clear if the case counts in China are accurately documented, especially since they shifted the way they defined cases midway through, according to STAT News. There could be many mild or asymptomatic cases that weren’t counted in the total sample size, they wrote.
Vitamin C supplements will stop you from catching COVID-19
Researchers have yet to find any evidence that vitamin C supplements can render people immune to COVID-19 infection. In fact, for most people, taking extra vitamin C does not even ward off the common cold, though it may shorten the duration of a cold if you catch one.
That said, vitamin C serves essential roles in the human body and supports normal immune function. As an antioxidant, the vitamin neutralizes charged particles called free radicals that can damage tissues in the body. It also helps the body synthesize hormones, build collagen and seal off vulnerable connective tissue against pathogens.
So yes, vitamin C should absolutely be included in your daily diet if you want to maintain a healthy immune system. But megadosing on supplements is unlikely to lower your risk of catching COVID-19, and may at most give you a “modest” advantage against the virus, should you become infected. No evidence suggests that other so-called immune-boosting supplements — such as zinc, green tea or echinacea — help to prevent COVID-19, either.
Be wary of products being advertised as treatments or cures for the new coronavirus. Since the COVID-19 outbreak began in the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have already issued warning letters to seven companies for selling fraudulent products that promise to cure, treat or prevent the viral infection.
Myth: It’s not safe to receive a package from China
It is safe to receive letters or packages from China, according to the World Health Organization. Previous research has found that coronaviruses don’t survive long on objects such as letters and packages. Based on what we know about similar coronaviruses such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, experts think this new coronavirus likely survives poorly on surfaces.
A past study found that these related coronaviruses can stay on surfaces such as metal, glass or plastic for as long as nine days, according to a study published Feb. 6 in The Journal of Hospital Infection. But the surfaces present in packaging are not ideal for the virus to survive.
For a virus to remain viable, it needs a combination of specific environmental conditions such as temperature, lack of UV exposure and humidity — a combination you won’t get in shipping packages, according to Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, Senior Scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, who spoke with Live Science’s sister site Tom’s Hardware.
And so “there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures,” according to the CDC. “Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods, and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.” Rather, the coronavirus is thought to be most commonly spread through respiratory droplets.
Myth: You can get the coronavirus if you eat at Chinese restaurants in the US
No, you can’t. By that logic, you’d also have to avoid Italian, Korean, Japanese and Iranian restaurants, given that those countries have also been facing an outbreak. The new coronavirus doesn’t just affect people of Chinese descent.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflected updated knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 transmission in children.
Tia Ghose, Yasemin Saplakoglu and Nicoletta Lanese contributed to this article

Decline of Print Media
According to statistics of Newspaper Association of America, print media is declining at an alarming rate compared to previous years (Newspaper Association of America, 2011). The publishing market has gone down drastically for a while as the reduction of economic activity of newspapers confronts the global recession. The US print media had a 30% decline in income from online and off-line distribution and advertisement between 2007 and 2009.
The decline of the print media is as a result of over reliance on advertising than most newspapers in the rest of the world. According to OECD, 2010, “total advertisement income of newspapers is 57%, as circulation totals to 43%” (OECD, 2010). This deduces that the average revenue of US print media generates 73% from advertisement. Circulation has declined, resulting to 23% drop in 2008 advertisements income.
This poses challenges to newspaper supply chain as buyers are keen on the competition that is on the rise from alternative media such as the Internet. This reflects the dwindling profit in print media business. The drop in revenue and the deteriorating circulation compels the firms to reduce the number of staff and the editorial content. However, this creates more problems of circulation declines with increasing loss of advertisement revenue.
An increase on Internet usage through Google for searching information has seen readers shift their reading habits. They decline to use print media as they pursue exceptional sources of information via varied sources rendering the newspaper and other print media unimportant.
With the growing trend of digital format overtaking print, marketers and publishers should consider embracing more visual and multimedia resources to add to written materials. This will help capture the target audience with appropriate content. This will raise the consumer expectation as they access written information on affordable, faster, multimedia devices. In their messaging, marketers should aim for messages that are engaging, experiential, and comprehendible in an easy format.
Observed Trends in Print Media Decline
In the recent past, the print media industry has witnessed some significant changes that can transform its existence. According to Carr, Google had plans to digitalize print media and consequently reached a settlement with book authors and publishers (Carr, 2008). A number of print media companies have indicated that they will reduce or stop publication works.
At the same time, most magazine and newspaper organizations such as Sports Illustrated, the Olympian, Fortune, and People have shown interests in reducing workforces and reorganizing their staff. This trend has not spared Gannet, the US largest print media publisher. The company announced that it was reducing its workforce by 10 percent (3,000 workers). The Tribune Company had also expressed its intention of reducing its workforce at The Los Angeles Times. 1
There are also declining trends in the pricing of print media products. For instance, some print media companies such as TV Guide commenced prices reductions in reactions to decline in readership, preferences, and purchasing power.
Despite these downward trends, print media still have the audience. However, most consumers prefer visiting print media online publications. This implies that many people still rely on print media but in different formats and platforms for deliveries. Herman Wong has observed that there is a decline in print magazines (Wong, 2009). They have lost advertisers and readers. This trend is also visible in San Francisco Public Library (Main Branch).
The library has significantly reduced its spending on print media.2 They have noticed that most magazine organizations are reacting to changes in the industry by switching to online databases. Still, the library has also experienced reductions in the number of its collections and subscriptions.
Such decline in print publications reflects changes among consumers. Students and library users demand fast access using their computers and other hand-held devices. Therefore, supplies for print media and spending have moved online. This implies that supplies and contracting among organizations in print media have significantly declined, shifted to online business, or ceased altogether.
Why the Decline in Print Media
Economic factors may bear the blame for the current worrying situation of the print media, but there are other variables that offer the explanation to the decline of the US print media. The three distinct reasons mainly are:
Deteriorating quality of journalism
The publishing firms are in quest of making profit, regardless of the circulation decline. Therefore, cutting on the staff number and trimming of the coverage. As of 2009, the number of employees in newspaper newsroom dwindled to 41,500. Such initiatives cause strained work in the newsroom that result to undeniably poor quality of journalistic work production. The American dailies have cut off many of the significant news sections.
As well, noted are the incidents of errors and falsifications that pose questions on the accuracy of journalistic work. Shortages of internal control, facilitated by financial challenges are some factors triggering unreliability and inaccuracy in print media. Staff cutbacks results to reduced editorial oversight and reduced check for accuracy.
This translates to degradation of the print media. Therefore, financial motivation has adverse effects on the quality of the paper and readers are reluctant in consulting the paper due to inaccuracy and unreliable content. Therefore, they opt for reliable and accurate information sources such as the Internet.
Poor readership
In the course of struggling to maintain the paper’s quality, print media feels the impact of the large number of American disinterested population. Decline in readership, shot in the age bracket of 18-24 years equivalent to 42% in 1999 and in 2009, decreased to 27% (Filloux, 2011).
Poor readership is as a result of readers shifting to other means of accessing news like Internet. Terminating circulation in distant areas is another cause for poor readership. This is an initiative to reduce the delivery cost. This deprives the reader the opportunity for information. As a result, readers opt for other means of acquiring information and drop the inaccessible print media.3
With prices of print media going up, and with the current global recession, readers have dropped spending on newspapers. Instead, they embrace affordable media that offer information without subscription.
Failure of the public to accept authority and institutions reinforces the print media decline. In the 20th century, print media had an agenda to set power within the realms of American politics. As the public interest decreased towards authority, the power of the print media to attract readers diminished.
The old generation associates with high readership of newspapers while the young age delves more in technology in quest for information. As the old group continues to age, the readership within the group dwindles. This reflects the dropping trend of the American readership in turn spelling the demise of print media.
Competing news media
News media compete in target for similar resources that include customers and advertisers. According to The McCombs, “Relative Constancy Hypothesis” concludes that customers set aside equal amount of income to news media irrespective of the number they can access (Edmonds, Guskin, Rosenstiel and Mitchell, 2012).
The theory is a basis for claims that decline of print media, revenue from advertisement and circulation is a result of rapid increase in other new media forms like radio, Television and most recent the Internet.
Proliferation of the Internet contributes heavily to the decline of print media. Readership of print media seems to have gone down as readers access information from the Internet. This focuses on the patterns of readership reflecting that though circulation of print is declining, on the other hand, it reaches a larger audience than before via website.
The Washington Post and Boston Globe for example record a high readership of papers on the web than on the paid circulation of the same print newspaper.
Nielson data report an increase in web readership from 60 million in 2007 to 72 million in 2009. A research on the US newspapers reflects undesirable relationship existing between web and print newspaper circulation for varied newspapers. This means that the web related news diminishes the print newspaper ability to maximize profit from circulation.
As print media are yet to recover from the recession, the Internet thrives in attracting customers for advertising due to friendly costs. While the Web pays five cent reaching for the audience, the print media spend a dollar. This indicates Internet responsibility in print media downfalls with regard to advertisement revenues.
The Internet has also taken over on classified advertisements. This has affected the once successful newspaper classified sections in terms of revenues and profits. In a bid to go online with advertisements, the print media have failed to generate sufficient funds to sustain expenses for new business ventures. The advertisement and circulation threats from the Internet indicate that new media are outdoing the print media.
Effects of Decline in Print Media in supply management and contracting
Organizational behaviors tend to reflect dynamics in the industry. The declining trend in print media is risky to the industry. Therefore, most print media companies will strive to avoid risks related to production and supply as most consumers have changed their preferences to online media. In addition, contracting has equally declined in print media. In general, operation management in print media industry has changed. Most firms have reduced a significance proportion of their workforces and budget.
Organizations must weigh risks associated with reductions in print media to their supply chains. Procurement procedures consider sustainability and affordability of materials and buying media has shifted to online contents as they tend to be cheap, and reach a wider readership across the globe.
This trend has caused risks to supply management. Organizations must focus on impacts and losses that occur as a result of decline in print media to their specific business operation. This means that they must avert risks and move with consumers’ demands. For instance, UCPS (Berkeley University of California) puts it that it has experienced difficulties in combating the decline in print and graphic markets since 2001.
UCPS notes factors such as recession and economic situations had negative impacts on their operation and financial viability leading to closure of its three units.4 This implies that such risks are serious and affect the entire supply management to a point leading to closure of the organizational units.
Organizations can plan to minimize decline in print media on its supply management and contracting. A careful planning cannot eliminate risks to the organization but can help avert serious effects such as job losses and operation closure. Managing risks to the supply chain needs a “contingency plan that must indicate possible alternatives and solutions before any problem arises” (Singel, 2000). 5
In this case, the question of “what if the there is a decline in print media” can help an organization develop a contingency plan for minimizing effects to its supply chain.
The case is that there is a general decline from primary suppliers (print media production). This issue will force the organizational decision-making teams to review their logistic processes regularly. Regular reviews of logistic procedures enable organizations to enhance their adjustment strategies, thinking, and reduce chances of possible surprises in cases of dwindling demands.
We cannot look at effects without looking at substitute products, and how they impact supply management and contracting. The Internet and mobile platforms are replacing the traditional print media. Internet giants like Google, Facebook, and Yahoo! among others constantly engage in tactics of ensuring advertisements in print media go online. Thus, the Internet and mobile are the main threats to print media, and its traditional source of revenues (advertisement).
The idea of supply chain management touches every activity in the organization. Thus, business units provide the concept of a value chain in an organization. The production processes go through all these stages and create value in the product. Distribution of print media limits availability to certain geographical regions. Costs of distribution rise and put much pressure on the industry.
Traditionally, print media have depended on advertisement revenues for supporting their operation. However, these revenues decline as online media conquer the advertisement industry. The print media have a challenge of adjusting their prices upwards due to possible consequences of reduced buyers. This implies that print media will have cost-related pressure resulting to the above observed trends of workforces’ reductions, salary cut, and possible closures.
In the supply chain, circulation revenue is hardly enough to contain huge costs of operation in organizations. Advertisers will not use print media with low circulations. Circulation of print media has become a value added service that does not generate revenues to the organization. It requires efficiency through industry expertise for fair logistic services, management, product organization, and distribution.
The print media industry should identify suitable platforms for their products and financial flows in order to align them with the supply chain and other industry practices. The most crucial factor is product flow, which is information flow. Therefore, the print media industry should optimize information flow in supply chain management. Efficient supply chain management is crucial in adjusting the industry to meet consumers changing needs, efficiency, and demands within the print media industry.
The Future of Print Media Industry
Some industry analysts concur that print media is facing its end, but some do not agree with such conclusions. There is a need to review the industry supply chain and develop conclusive understanding of all areas, especially the audience.6 The supply chain management must identify and develop strategic elements that can provide focus and future direction of the print media industry.
The industry should drive its performance. There should be different incentives and performance tracking systems. This will introduce a new culture of performance in media organizations. There are also calls to replace some aspects of traditional supply chain systems such as circulation. The industry should engage in collaboration processes with regards to aspects of distribution, warehousing and elements that media houses can outsource cost effectively.
The print media industry must also attract, retain, and enrich their workforces. This means that the print media must evolve as demands and needs of consumers change. Changes must also affect contents of the print media. The print media must create experience and engagement among consumers.
Creating experience and engagement shall remain a major challenge even if the print media changes its platform to online access. Thus, the supply chain management must create value to ensure that the print media remain relevant even if it is in the form of e-paper (Edmonds, Guskin, Rosenstiel and Mitchell, 2012).
This means that the decline in print media signifies the need for the industry to move to new platforms as the industry demands. Technology is responsible for such changes in the print media industry. This calls for diversification in the supply chain management especially in value creation in different stages and processes involved.7
Carr, D. (2008). The Media Equation: Mourning Old Media’s Decline. The New York Edition , 1.
Edmonds, R., Guskin, E., Rosenstiel, T. and Mitchell, A. (2012). Newspapers: Building Digital Revenues Proves Painfully Slow. The State of the Newspaper Media 2012: Annual Report on American Journalism , 1-5.
Filloux, F. (2011). The Publisher’s Dilemma. Monday Note, 2(27) , 4-6.
Newspaper Association of America. (2011). Trends and Numbers. Retrieved from https://www.newsmediaalliance.org/
OECD. (2010). The Evolution of News and the Internet. Washington, DC: OECD.
Singel, S. (2000). Books, libraries and electronics. New York: Knowledge Industry Publications.
Wong, H. (2009). Want evidence of the decline of print media? Go to the library. SF Weekly Articles, 8, 1-2.
1 “The American Society of News Editors employment census, released in April 2012, counted a loss of 1,000 full-time newsroom jobs in 2011, a decline of 2.4%” (Edmonds, Rick, 2011).
2 In 2009, the branch spent nearly $385,000 on periodicals, down by almost $75,000 from the year 2008.
3 “Fifteen years after the concept’s emergence, the impact of digital media on the news industry could be added to the list of most quoted examples of disrupted (devastated?) sectors” (Frédéric Filloux, 2011).
4 UC Printing Services closed all three units by April 30th 2010. These units include, the main facility located at 1100 67th St. Emeryville, CA, University Hall room-70, and The Copy Center located at UCOP.
5 Sigel notes that contents that readers need to read as “a whole and that can command an audience will continue to be more effectively disseminated in traditional book form – inexpensive, compact, portable, requiring no equipment to use and easy to handle & read” (Sigel, 2000).
6 See “The Future of Print Media: How to Adapt to the Digital Age” Monday, April 28, 2008 “We renegotiated a number of contracts, eliminated wasteful habits and realigned resources to grow online revenue, stabilize print news, improve quality, create niche products, incorporate local video, online radio and ask what else we can sell from our web presence” (Speakers: Brian, Theodore Olson, and Brian Tierney, 2008).
7 See Newspapers: Building Digital Revenues Proves Painfully Slow “Along the way, newspapers, whatever balance they strike, are getting more serious about identifying and building the elements of an innovation business culture, not just invoking innovation as a mantra” (Rick Edmonds, Emily Guskin, Tom Rosenstiel and Amy Mitchell, (2012).

Over 2000 American Newspapers Have Closed in Past 15 Years
January 6, 2020
by Douglas A. McIntyre
The newspaper industry has continued its relentless downward spiral, which started with the advent of the internet and accelerated during the Great Recession. The pace of the decline has not slowed. New research shows that over 2,000 newspapers have closed since 2004, a staggering figure given that the industry was once among the largest employers in America.
Penny Abernathy, the Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Media and Journalism, is widely considered the preeminent authority on the number of newspapers in the United States. That is not an easy task, since the number is in the thousands, and some are so small that their fates are hard to track. She is the author of “The Expanding News Deserts,” a term coined to describe areas where there is almost no local news coverage.
Abernathy said that, “It appears at this stage that we’ve lost approximately 2,100 papers, all but 70 of which are weeklies, since 2004.” The industry implosion has left almost half of the counties in America (1,449) with only one newspaper, which is usually a weekly. As of the most recent count, 171 counties do not have a paper at all.
The number of papers in America is currently about 7,000, but as revenue at most of them declines, that number is bound to shrink further. Some newspapers already are close to shuttering. Publishers, both individual owners and chains, have resorted to the equivalent of life support. A recent example is that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which was started 233 years ago, will cut the number of days it is printed from five to three. Two years ago, the paper appeared seven times a week. Management says that it plans to phase out the print edition completely. While the paper may survive online, the “downsizing” will cost dozens of jobs. A drop in the numbers of days a paper appears is part of the industry’s playbook to cut expenses.
No one in the newspaper business has come up with a solution to the industry’s falling revenue. Very few newspapers continue to flourish. Among them is The New York Times. Well over 3 million people pay for digital versions of the paper and its other products. Management has set a goal to reach 10 million paid subscribers by 2025. The Times, however, can afford a newsroom large enough to create a product that is unequaled anywhere else in the United States. The editorial staff of the paper is over 1,200 people.
While the Times flourishes, only one other U.S. paper (leaving aside The Wall Street Journal) has done well. The Washington Post, owned by Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, is said to be profitable and growing. That makes the list of highly successful papers, financially, in the United States as a club of two.
Another handful of papers, mostly large city dailies, are owned and supported by billionaires or nonprofits. These include the newspapers in Boston, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and Tampa. Even these properties are not immune to the industry’s problems. The papers in Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and Tampa have recently cut staff.
Almost all the other daily newspapers in America have the same problems. Print advertising has been eroding for nearly two decades. Classified advertising, in particular, has moved almost entirely online. Digital advertising growth at most newspapers has slowed. The digital advertising business, in general, is difficult because of the large market share held by Google and Facebook.
Papers also have difficulty convincing readers to pay for digital subscriptions. This is for two reasons. The first is that most newspapers have cut so many editorial employees that they cannot create compelling content. The other is that there is a massive amount of news, entertainment and sports material available online for free.
The notion of “creative destruction” has gained a great deal of currency in the business world. It assumes that aged and inefficient business models are relentlessly and necessarily replaced by new ones. As the process shreds the newspaper industry, it begs the question of what the advantage might be if one of the primary underpinnings of free speech and public discourse disappears.

The Encyclopedia of American Loons
Thomas Lodi

Cancer woo is big business (just see the previous entry), and few things are more repugnantly ludicrous than pushing homeopathy for cancer – though we suspect that most people aren’t really aware of how amazingly ridiculous the magical pseudoscience of homeopathy actually is. Well, at the Oasis of Healing in Arizona, Thomas Lodi will offer you homeopathy for cancer. Apparently, Lodi used to be a real MD (remember that MDs aren’t necessarily trained in science and there is thus no particular reason to think that they are particularly immune to pseudoscientific nonsense), but apparently decided along the way to become a Homeopathic Medical Doctor specializing in “integrative oncology” instead (yes, the state of Arizona allows you to call yourself HMD, and they even allow you to perform surgery).
At the Oasis of Healing there are few limits on what kind of nonsense they’re willing to push (while, predictably, hinting at Big Pharma conspiracies). The guiding principle appears, predictably enough, to be a return to “nature” and natural remedies, though as far as we can tell they fail to explain precisely what makes homeopathic remedies more “natural” than conventional therapies – “natural cancer cures” is mostly an apparently effective marketing ploy. Well, cancer is itself natural, and Lodi seems to agree: “Cancer in fact, is the name that we have given to the extraordinary effort of the body to protect us against chronic irritation. Consequently, cancer has been termed, ‘the wound that wouldn’t heal’. And the term ‘cancer prevention’ is misused to include receiving vaccinations and diagnostic screening, such as mammograms. These and all others under this category of cancer prevention have nothing to do with the prevention of the development of the healing process that we have termed cancer.” Yes, according to Lodi, cancer is a “healing process”, like all disease: “It must be remembered that ‘disease’ is the body attempting to re-establish optimal functioning. Health is not the absence of disease nor is it the absence of anything. It is the presence of something. It is the ability to regenerate, rejuvenate and procreate. Health is the condition that results when one lives according to the biological laws that govern the functioning of the organism.” I hope even those with little or no medical background are able to see how insane this nonsense is (it sounds a bit like this).
So what does Lodi suggest for treating cancer? Intravenous vitamin C – a favorite among cancer quacks, and more or less completely useless – and Insulin potentiation therapy (IPT), which must rank among the crazier and more insidious types of delusional quackery out there. How IPT manages to count as “natural” is anyone’s guess – though, once again, “natural” is of course only a marketing ploy; it doesn’t really mean anything.
In short: Lodi’s suggestions won’t help cure cancer, but insofar as his patients also renounce conventional therapies that do, few of them will end up in any position to provide negative testimonials (Lodi’s got testimonials). He also recommends “massage therapy or acupuncture” to “…. assist with opening energy meridians and allowing the lymph to drain more freely reducing the toxic load on the body,” and “[f]ocusing on the power of prayer or meditation will help strengthen the spirit and mental well-being which will add another level to the success of a patient healing from cancer.” It won’t.
His main focus seems to be on cancer prevention. Lodi recommends: Living Foods, juicing, oral & IV supplements, chelation therapy, lymphatic drainage, structural integration, infrared sauna, EWOT and colon hydrotherapy. None of these will remotely protect you from cancer, but some of them, like chelation therapy, are actively harmful. Lodi’s evidence? Testimonials, of course. You really didn’t need to ask. He’s got not a shred of evidence. But lack of evidence has never stopped people like Lodi, who apparently travels around to promote his nonsense, as well; he appeared for instance at the 2013 “A Cure to Cancer Summit”, a New Age conspiracy quackfest if there ever was one – the kind of event where the organizers actually used the fact that it featured Robert O. Young in its marketing campaign; yes, that’s the kind of company Lodi keeps.
Oh, and he doesn’t like criticism, apparently, and responds to criticism in precisely the manner you’d expect from someone like him.
Diagnosis: We think it is important to emphasize that Thomas Lodi is not only a crackpot offering to treat you for serious illnesses his alternative recommendations won’t treat; he is also (for that reason) a really, truly shitty person. Apparently he is also one of the more influential characters in “natural cancer cure” schemes. Stay well away.

Janet Levatin

Janet Levatin is a pediatrician and one of few actual pediatricians who sympathize with the anti-vaccine movement – she has, for instance, been used in the marketing campaign for the anti-vaxx film “The Greater Good” after praising the movie for “offer[ing] a balanced discussion of the issues” (it doesn’t). Of course, Levatin doesn’t care about “balanced”; Levatin is a hardcore anti-vaxxer whose article “Why Do Doctors Push Vaccines” appeared right there on leading anti-vaxxer Sherri Tenpenny’s website. That article is rich in standard anti-vaccine tropes, such as:
Confusing correlation and causation: “the deterioration of our nation’s health with the bloated vaccination schedule” (the correlation is itself highly questionable; the causation claim demonstrably false).
Claiming that many pediatricians continue to recommend vaccines “out of fear” of authorities (and possibly greed).
Of course, taking a look at Levatin’s own practices is revealing. Yes, she does have a medical degree; she has also been a Homeopathic Master Clinician for 15 years who “regularly refers children for chiropractic, craniosacral therapy, allergy elimination, and other modalities,” and proclaims that her practice offers “holistic pediatrics” and homeopathy for children and adults. Yes, Levatin is a good, old-fashioned quack. And, says her bio: “Throughout her training Dr. Janet disagreed with much of what she observed in the conventional medical practice, including overuse of medications, unwholesome hospital nutrition, and virtually nonexistent methods for true prevention and health promotion. Since seeing more than one case of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) after infant vaccination in the 1980s, she has been an outspoken physician against the over-vaccination of children”. Of course, vaccination is demonstrably negatively correlated with SIDS, but Levatin is not one to let facts override conclusions she emoted herself to through motivated reasoning.
None of her background in quackery and the antivaccine movement was mentioned in the marketing campaign for “The Greater Good”, of course.
Levatin is otherwise a mainstain at antivaxx conferences and gatherings, and makes sure to keep the pseudoscience content high and levels of accountability and sensitivity to evidence low. You can see a summary of her talk at the 2012 AutismOne quackfest conference here (the hib vaccine causes peanut allergy because some pseudochemical equivalent of astrology that outweighs the complete lack of evidence for any connection; and vaccines causes autism since science and evidence don’t matter when up against Levatin’s powers of intuition guided by what she already knows to be true regardless of evidence.)
She also appeared as an alleged expert in Ty Bollinger’s Truth About Vaccines series.
Diagnosis: Good, old-fashioned crackpot; and as all crackpot she bolsters her pseudoscience by rejecting actual science, evidence and facts in favor of an epistemic system based on inference by free emoting. But since she does have an actual education, anti-vaxxers cherish her firm commitment to the cause, and gives her ample air time. Frighteningly dangerous, in quite tangible ways (her vaccine position, if adopted by merely a small number, will likely lead to real deaths).

Patrice Lewis

Patrice Lewis is a columnist at the WND, and we could really have ended this entry right there. But it’s hard not to watch such trainwrecks unfold, so here we go:
One topic on which Lewis focuses is eduction. In particular, she is fearful that Common Core, with its “brainwashing” and “indoctrination techniques,” is bringing Nazism to America. To support her case, Lewis mentions a biology teacher she heard about from a friend (almost as good as real evidence) who is telling her students to “sing a song praising Common Core,” which makes the teacher just like Hitler. For good measure, Lewis adds that a public school is like a totalitarian “jail” that turns students into “zombies” (she is no fan of public schools).
The curriculum isn’t the only thing that’s wrong with public schools, however. Lewis also laments measures to protect gay and in particular transgender students. Measures to protect gender-nonconforming youth at school, says Lewis, prove that “the government is getting into the underpants of our children” and “seems veritably obsessed with our children’s genitals.” Funny then, that it is people like Lewis who wants to police precisely that part – “creepy” and “sinister”, indeed. The real danger, though, is that once this androgynous generation grows up, there will be no one to defend the country when it is “flooded with a primitive, warrior people who aren’t interested in androgyny … but would welcome coming into an androgynous population.”
Moreover, complains Lewis, a girl is now “urged [by the government, it seems] to let herself be used by as many randy boys as she can accommodate (since, after all, Planned Murderhood stands on the sideline, eager to get rid of any ‘issues’ that result).” “Slutty” feminists want to “sacrifice” your children “to sex gods,” argues Lewis. Yes, one of the primary evil forces at work here, is of course “feminism”. In her column “Are Feminists Insane?” she attacks the commonly invoked straw feminist (the evil one who hates mothers and men), but since she cannot find an actual feminist that would serve as her target, she rather quotes from a Salon piece that says the exact opposite of what she attributes to it, and concludes that “feminists like Gloria Feldt think the height of feminism is to work 80 hours a week at the office, hook up with an assortment of random men and kill your baby every other year or so.” She doesn’t provide a reference. In an earlier piece, Lewis called on wives to submit to their husbands in order to free themselves from feminist oppression, arguing that making the man the head of the household is “true women’s liberation” since it makes women’s lives easier. (Also this).
But Lewis also makes forays into politics in general. In 2015, for instance, she suggested that conservative states should secede and start a Godly nation, thereby to “win His favorable attention once again,” just as they did last time.
Diagnosis: This is standard wingnut fare – predictably unconcerned with truth, accuracy or accountability – but embellished with some flamboyantly delusional language. Probably limited influence, though.

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