COVID-19 a Pandemic of Fear ‘Manufactured’ by Authorities: Yale Epidemiologist

By Isabel van Brugen and Jan Jekielek December 5, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of fear, manufactured by individuals who were in the nominal positions of authority as the virus began to spread across the globe last year, according to Yale epidemiologist Dr. Harvey Risch.

In an appearance on Epoch TV’s “American Thought Leaders” program, Risch, an epidemiology professor at the Yale School of Public Health and Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, argued that by and large, what has characterized the entire CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic has been a “degree of fear and people’s response to the fear.”

“By and large, it’s been a very selected pandemic, and predictable. It was very distinguished between young versus old, healthy versus chronic disease people. So we quickly learned who was at risk for the pandemic and who wasn’t.

“However, the fear was manufactured for everybody. And that’s what’s characterized the whole pandemic is that degree of fear and people’s response to the fear.”

Risch has authored more than 300 original peer-reviewed publications and was formerly a member of the board of editors for the American Journal of Epidemiology.

The epidemiology professor suggested that individuals who held the nominal positions of authority during the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 initially spread a much worse picture of the “dire nature” of the virus than was warranted, he said.

That included the message that everybody was at risk, anybody could die from contracting the virus, and everybody needed to stay in their homes to protect themselves, and, in this way, protect society.

“People were quite afraid of that message, as anybody would be … with the government, with authorities, with scientists, scientific people, with medical people in authority in the public health institutions, all saying the same message starting in about February, March of last year. And so, we all kind of believe this,” he said.

In the first two months of the pandemic, stringent lockdowns and mask mandates were implemented to curb the transmission of COVID-19 in the United States and across the globe. Risch said that the types of messages issued by authorities led to widespread heightened anxiety levels.

Biden’s DOJ Releases Memo that Totally Blows Away the ‘Trump Incited an Insurrection’ Narrative

President Trump didn’t incite riots on January 6th at the Capitol and Biden’s DOJ knows it. Julie Kelly has done a masterful job of reporting on the January 6th protests at the Capitol and the arrests of American political prisoners since that day. The Gateway Pundit put together a site that lists the many Americans…

Source: Biden’s DOJ Releases Memo that Totally Blows Away the ‘Trump Incited an Insurrection’ Narrative

WHO: Omicron in 38 Countries, No Deaths Reported

By Jack Phillips December 3, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday said the COVID-19 omicron variant is now in 38 countries, up from 23 two days ago, suggesting that the variant may be more contagious than Delta.

During a news conference, WHO official Maria Van Kerkhove said the U.N. health body has seen “an increasing growth rate,” and “we see increasing numbers of Omicron being detected.”

No deaths have been reported so far in connection to the COVID-19 strain, another WHO spokesperson told reporters Friday.

“There is a suggestion that there is increased transmissibility, what we need to understand is if it’s more or less transmissible compared to Delta,” Van Kerkhove said. The Delta variant is the dominant strain throughout the world, she said.

In the United States, at least six U.S. states have confirmed Omicron cases so far, including a fully vaccinated male who traveled from an anime convention in New York City to Minnesota this week, according to health officials, who said the individual had mild symptoms and recovered. The first American case was detected in California’s San Francisco Bay Area.

A previous update from WHO said Omicron has numerous mutations to its spike protein, which is what it uses to bind to human cells, which may lead to higher transmission rates. It’s not yet clear, however, officials have cautioned.

But whether the new strain causes more severe disease or not is unclear, Van Kerkhove said. Early reports from South Africa and Israel suggest many patients experience mild symptoms.

Van Kerkhove said that the first Omicron cases were based on a cluster of college students, noting that younger people tend to experience milder symptoms than older people. A top South African doctor this week told news outlets that the symptoms were unusual but “extremely mild.”

“There was initial reports that it tended to be more mild, but it’s really too soon,” Van Kerkhove said. “Everybody who is infected with SARS-CoV-2 regardless of what variant will always start out with a mild disease. And so maybe it will stop there with mild, some people are asymptomatic of course, but it may stop with mild disease or it may take some time.”

In South Africa, where the variant was first detected, there has been an increase in hospitalizations, she said.  Officials haven’t seen an increase in deaths.

“If you’re traveling, you’re not sick or you shouldn’t be traveling if you’re sick,” Van Kerkhove stated. “So there’s a bias in terms of what is being detected at the moment, but that will change over time.”

COVID-19 Outbreak Reported on US Cruise Ship Despite Fully Vaccinated Passengers

By Jack Phillips December 5, 2021

At least 10 cases of COVID-19 have been reported on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship disembarking in New Orleans, officials said.

All of the crew members and passengers taking part in the cruise have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. The agency didn’t reveal the conditions of those who were infected with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

“Governor John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Department of Health, the City of New Orleans, and the Port of New Orleans are aware and working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to initiate existing COVID-19 agreements and protocols with the cruise line,” the Louisiana Department of Health said in a statement.

The Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship had left New Orleans on Nov. 28, making stops in Mexico, Honduras, and Belize. The ship was set to reach New Orleans on Dec. 5, according to its itinerary. Authorities with the department of health stated that more than 3,200 people were on board the ship.

Norwegian Cruise Lines “has been adhering to appropriate quarantine and isolation protocols as new cases and exposures have been identified aboard this vessel,” according to the statement.

Everyone on board will be tested for COVID-19 before leaving and will be provided with post-exposure and quarantine public health guidance by the CDC. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will either travel to their homes or self-isolate according to CDC guidelines, the health agency stated.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.

“We take this matter extremely seriously and will continue to work closely with the CDC, the office of Governor John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Department of Health as well as the city and port of New Orleans,” Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement to media outlets.

The “identified cases onboard are asymptomatic,” a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line told Business Insider on Dec. 5.

“In addition to requiring that 100 percent of guests and crew are fully vaccinated, per the company’s comprehensive health and safety protocols, we have implemented quarantine, isolation, and contact tracing procedures for identified cases,” the spokesperson said.

During the early phase of the pandemic in 2020, cruise ships were an early source of CCP virus outbreaks. Some ships were rejected at many ports, and passengers were forced into quarantine.

There were isolated reports of passengers dying out at sea, while reports stated that others had to be carried out of the ships on stretchers.

‘Conversion helps us move beyond existential deserts’, Pope Francis

Pope Francis presides over Mass with Catholic community in Athens

Pope Francis presides over Mass with the Catholic community in Athens, Greece, and encourages them to remain hopeful despite the “existential deserts” of our lives, since the Lord is always there to fill our emptiness if we make room for Him.

By Vatican News staff writer

On Sunday afternoon, the second day of his visit to Greece, Pope Francis celebrated Mass with the local Catholic community at the Megaron Concert Hall in Athens.

Around 2,000 faithful were onhand in two different halls in accordance with Covid-rules for social distancing. The Pope had returned to Athens a few hours earlier after his morning visit to the Greek island of Lesbos, where he met with refugees and migrants in a moving show of solidarity together with leaders of the Greek Orthodox Church and Greece’s President and authorities.

Pope Francis presides over Mass with Catholic community in Athens
Pope Francis presides over Mass with Catholic community in Athens

In his homily for the Mass on the Second Sunday of Advent, the Pope reflected on the Gospel reading for the day, which speaks of Saint John the Baptist in the desert calling people to conversion.

The Pope observed that the image of the desert makes us realize how the path of redemption did not begin in the context of worldly places of power, something we might expect, but in a place that is “poor” and simple and, paradoxically, inaccessible and dangerous.

But, precisely in the vast and arid expanse of the desert, “the glory of the Lord was revealed”. This is a surprise for human expections, but a beautiful message to appreciate, since the Lord values what is small and lowly, and that we need to be interiorly poor, without pride, “even as the desert is poor”.

Pope Francis presides over Mass with Catholic community in Athens
Pope Francis presides over Mass with Catholic community in Athens

The Lord visits our existential deserts

John the Baptist prepares the coming of Christ in the desert by preaching the need for conversion, the Pope observed, adding that, then as now, God turns His gaze wherever we are facing trials or sadness, able to reach us if we let Him fill our inner emptiness by visiting “our existential deserts.”

In our lives there often times when we feel that we are lost in the desert, he observed, and “it is precisely there that the Lord makes His presence felt,” providing our pride does not prevent us from letting Him in.

Pope Francis presides over Mass with Catholic community in Athens
Pope Francis presides over Mass with Catholic community in Athens

The Lord visits us “with words of closeness, compassion and tenderness,” and John’s preaching in the desert shares that message that God visits us anywhere we find ourselves, reaching out “with love to our littleness and to refresh our arid spirits.” The Pope told his audience in particular not to fear littleness or being few in number as a minority, but more importantly

“being open to God and to others.”

To convert is to “think beyond”

John the Baptist’s emphasis on preaching “conversion” may make us uneasy at first, the Pope observed, since we realize how changing our ways can be so frustratingly difficult, yet this is often because we are looking at it only in terms of arriving at moral perfection, something we can never achieve on our own.

Pope Francis presides over Mass with Catholic community in Athens
Pope Francis presides over Mass with Catholic community in Athens

Our problem, he noted, is thinking everything is up to us. And we need to look at the full meaning of “to convert” or “metanoeίn“, the original Greek work used for it in the Gospel. The literal meaning of the word is to “think beyond”, the Pope said, which means going beyond our usual ways of thinking, beyond our habitual worldview.

He explained that it means letting go of our belief in our own self-sufficiency, or thinking only of ourselves and the way we do things. “By calling us to conversion, John urges us to go ‘beyond’ where we presently are,” he said, since “the reality is that God is greater.”

God is always present

Conversion is about knowing that “God is always present,” that we must have trust in Him, “for He is our beyond, our strength.”  He said we need only open the door to Christ to “let Him enter in and work His wonders.” in us, “just as the desert and the preaching of John were all it took for Christ to come into the world.”

Pope Francis presides over Mass with Catholic community in Athens
Pope Francis presides over Mass with Catholic community in Athens

With God things really do change

In conclusion, the Pope prayed for the grace that we may all believe “that with God things really do change,” as He can banish our fears, heal our wounds, and “turn our arid places into springs of water.”

We ask for the grace of hope, he added, since it nourishes our faith and outreach to help each other. “It is for this hope that the deserts of today’s world are thirsting.”

The difference between lasting and temporary friendships

Aristotle sheds some light on why some friendships last forever, and others are so ephemeral.

As the years go by, we find that some friendships last practically forever, while others fade away without us even realizing it. In an age when social media make it materially possible—and quite easy—to stay in touch despite distances, an age-old question becomes even more relevant: why are some friendships so lasting, and others so ephemeral?

While there can be various factors involved, there are some commonalities that we can identify. For an answer, let’s turn to one of the greatest and most influential thinkers of all time: Aristotle (384/383-322 BC).

He addresses this topic In his work Nicomachean Ethics. While friendship is necessary in human life, he says, there can be different foundations for friendship, two of which—pleasure and utility—lead to merely temporary relationships.

They who have friendship for one another desire one another’s good according to the motive of their friendship; accordingly they whose motive is utility have no friendship for one another really, but only insofar as some good arises to them from one another.

And they whose motive is pleasure are similar: I mean, they have friendship for people of easy pleasantry, not because they are of a given character but because they are pleasant to themselves. So then they whose motive for friendship is utility love their friends for what is good for themselves; (…) that is to say, not in so far as the friend beloved is but in so far as he or she is useful or pleasurable. These friendships then are a matter of utility: since the object is not beloved in that the person is the such as he or she is, but in that he or she furnishes advantage or pleasure, as the case may be.

Such friendships are of course very liable to dissolution if the parties do not continue alike: I mean, that the others cease to have any friendship for them when they are no longer pleasurable or useful. Now it is the nature of utility not to be permanent but constantly varying: so, of course, when the motive which made them friends is vanished, the friendship likewise dissolves; since it existed only relatively to those circumstances.

Young people

According to Aristotle, these characteristics are frequently found in friendship between young people, and this is why such relationships are often inconstant and fleeting:

But the friendship of the young is thought to be based on the motive of pleasure: because they live at the beck and call of passion and generally pursue what is pleasurable to themselves and the object of the present moment: and as their age changes so likewise do their pleasures.

This is the reason why they form and dissolve friendships rapidly: since the friendship changes with the pleasurable object and such pleasure changes quickly.

The young are also much given up to love; this passion being, in great measure, a matter of impulse and based on pleasure: for which cause they conceive friendships and quickly drop them, changing often in the same day: but these wish for society and intimacy with their friends, since they thus attain the object of their friendship.

Seeking what is good

For Aristotle, only those who seek what is good in itself can have lasting friendships:

That then is perfect friendship which subsists between those who are good and whose similarity consists in their goodness: for these people wish one another’s good in similar ways (…) and those are specially friends who wish good to their friends for their sakes, because they feel thus towards them on their own account and not as a mere matter of utility; so the friendship between these people continues to subsist so long as they are good; and goodness, we know, has in it a principle of permanence.

Moreover, each party is good in itself and also relative to their friend, for all good people are not only good in an abstract sense but also useful to one another. Such friends are also mutually pleasurable because all good people are so not only in themselves, but also relative to one another (…). Now when people are good they will be always the same, or at least similar.

Friendship then under these circumstances is permanent, as we should reasonably expect, since it combines in itself all the requisite qualifications of friends. (…) Moreover, in it there is what is good in itself and what is pleasant in itself, and as these are specially the object-matter of friendship so the feeling and the state of friendship is found most intense and most excellent in people of this kind.

Rare

Aristotle recognizes that such friendships are rare:

It is probable that friendships of this kind will be rare, because people of this kind are rare. Besides, all requisite qualifications being presupposed, there is further required time and intimacy: for, as the proverb says, people cannot know one another “till they have eaten the requisite quantity of salt together;” nor can they in fact admit one another to intimacy, much less be friends, till each has appeared to the other and been proved to be a fit object of friendship.

Although this kind of friendship can be difficult to attain, we should never give up on the desire of having and being this kind of friend. Today’s world needs good people who form lasting friendships and seek what is good for others, not just seeking their own pleasure and utility.