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Teachers Unions continue to refuse to listen to science as they oppose school reopenings

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Health and safety — those are the rallying cries for teachers unions across America as many cities continue to brace for continued problems with plans. Chief amongst those problems is actually getting teachers back in the classroom so in-person instruction can happen.

Whether its Chicago, Philadelphia or San Francisco, teachers unions are all singing the same tune and it is one that is completely anti-science.

For Jesse Sharkey, the head of the Chicago Teachers Union, there is no such thing as “the science” and anyone thinking that said science is settled is a liar. “The science says it’s safe to reopen? Really? There’s not a thing called “The science,” said Sharkey on Twitter. “Scientific studies look at very specific questions. Ignoring certain questions and certain studies, while endlessly repeating others, does not prove your proposition or convince us.”

Sharkey is right, that studies take a look at very specific things — like transmission of the virus in children and adults at schools all over the world. In fact, the CDC just released two separate studies last week on the matter.

Both studies should be very relevant to Sharkey and Chicago, because they came from neighboring Wisconsin. One study, albeit focusing on rural areas, points out that despite large community spread amongst adults, there wasn’t a single case directly linked to in-person schooling.

“Relying on local contact tracing, the study identified few instances of the virus spreading in school buildings from September through November,” noted Chalkboard. “Although 58 school staff members contracted COVID during that time — which included periods of high community spread — not a single case could be directly linked to schools.”

In total, just seven students had contracted the virus at all amongst those 17 school districts.

The second study found that spread associated with schooling was more rampant this fall, totaling some 5,700 cases across the entire state of Wisconsin. All of it found by contact tracing and with a very broad “outbreak” definition of two or more cases in a school.

“But from early September to mid-November, 5,700 individual cases were linked to outbreaks in K-12 schools and childcare facilities,” notes Chalkboard. “That amounts to 14% of the cases connected to outbreaks in the state, and schools had more outbreak-linked cases than restaurants and bars or food production facilities.”

So, those two studies suggest some very different outcomes. In that respect, Sharkey is right that there is no such thing as “the science,” however, he doesn’t realize that there is a mountain of evidence out there and the second study out of Wisconsin is actually the needle in the haystack of studies that say school reopening is safe for both the students and adults.

Sharkey isn’t alone though, because his counterpart in Philadelphia, Jerry T. Jordan, is “disgusted” by that city’s plan to return to in-person schooling. He also noted that the coronavirus is “deadly” to students.

“This morning, I joined @solomonjones1#onWURD and closed with this: I don’t need to convince anyone that COVID19 is deadly” Jordon noted on Twitter. “And I cannot recommend to anyone that the buildings are safe based on the information that we have right now. #phled

That would be counter to all known evidence, with the latest CDC numbers noting that just 67 kids aged 5-14 have died from a cases involving COVD-19. A total of 286 children in that age range have died from Pneumonia, Influenza or COVID-19 in the past year.

Those numbers are vitally important because school districts are trying to prioritize the youngest and most in-need of in-person instruction. What the data tells us about that age group is that they have virtually no issues even when they do contract the virus.

Scientific data from all over the world has also told us over and over again that this age group are the least likely to contract it and least likely to spread it widely should they get it.

Literally, there is no group of school-age children better equipped to handle a return, and more in need of a return, to in-person schooling.

Yet, teachers unions seem to be less and less interested in telling us about science and more and more about continuing to push the political agenda they’ve been advocating for.

It’s not about the students, it’s not about health and safety of their members. It’s about maintaining power and grabbing more power.

Philadelphia has some on the city council who seem to be on the side of the union, noting schools must be completely renovated in order for a reopening to be considered.

“We know the shameful conditions children have long been expected to endure – from overcrowded classrooms and cafeterias to flooded bathrooms, stifling temperatures and flaking ceilings. This is what our children endured pre-pandemic and why we have called for a massive investment to modernize and improve our public school buildings,” the statement reads

That’s a nice sentiment and if true, something Philadelphia should be taking seriously, but this is coming from a city council who allowed the kids to go to school in those conditions for years or decades at this point without a real care or push to do anything about it.

Now that opportunity and fear are mixed together, this is the time to take that stand?

At that rate, schools wouldn’t return to in-person instruction for years and that’s a recipe for disaster the likes of which no child deserves to find out about. We already know that low-income students, the very students that get used as a cudgel every union contract negotiation season, have the biggest struggles in online learning environments.

Other cities have seen calls for vaccination of all students and teachers before a return to the classroom. It’s just too bad that science once again tells us how foolish that idea is. The vaccine is not meant to inoculate one from getting Sars-CoV-2, it’s there to attempt to limit the severity of the disease that results from the virus and thusly limit the chances for overwhelming our health care system.

Does that matter to anyone involved in these discussions? No.

Sharkey and other heads of Teachers Unions all over this country continue to push for the vaccinations for everyone, right now. But, even when the school administrators agree and local and state vaccination plans put teachers near the front of the line, the goal posts suddenly move again.

At what point will scientific evidence actual matter to teachers unions? About the same time as it aligns with their political agenda. It sure would be nice if the kids were put before political power grabs by adults.

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Veteran of the Digital Sports Media world, with work featured on Fox Sports, ESPNU and other outlets. Previously employed at Bleacher Report, The Comeback and FanSided. Consumer of sports media and member of it since 2011, you can find me still beating the drum of independence and truth in sports coverage.

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The New COVID-19 Panic? Your Kids Must Mask Up

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As the adult population reaches nearly 50 percent getting the COVID-19 vaccinations, where will the people who have made a living off pushing panic upon the population of America turn to next? Look no further than the kids you hold near and dear, because it’s coming.

On April 19, the American Academy of Pediatrics wanted us to all be aware that children now make up 21 percent of all new cases of COVID-19 for the second week of April (8-15). The worry comes because children have made up just 13.9 percent of cases since the beginning of tracking by age group, yet today there is a nine percent difference.

A NINE PERCENT INCREASE? Time to push the panic button once again, right?

WRONG.

Why? Let’s start with the fact that we must interpret what the AAP is trying to tell us, because what I just presented to you is the crux of the entire report. So, what would be the point of this information being made in to a report in the first place?

What other reason have any of these types of reports been made in the past year-plus? Fear.

But Andrew, the kids are soon to be the only age demographic to not get the vaccine, so getting this information out is vital to their survival, you might be saying. Well, speaking of that, the AAP had the following information to tell us about kids getting COVID-19 in the United States:

“At least 297 children have died of COVID-19, about 0.06% of all deaths. About 0.01% of children diagnosed with COVID-19 have died. At least 14,849 children have been hospitalized, about 2% of all hospitalizations. Roughly 0.8% of children with COVID-19 have been hospitalized.”

That’s right, just 0.8 percent of all kids who have ever gotten COVID-19 in the history of this virus in the United States have had to even go to the hospital. Yet, we’re supposed to believe that an increase in the percentage of children as a percentage of the overall case numbers means panic?

All of this is pure evil and pure insanity — from the very people who are supposed to be scientifically trained to understand how to interpret data.

Yes, it’s true that children are representing a greater number of the overall case totals today than over the course of the past year. But, that shouldn’t be surprising to anyone, because what else is happening at the exact same time?

Oh, that’s right, those pesky adults are getting vaccinated at warp speed and thusly becoming less and less susceptible to contracting COVID-19 and having negative outcomes should they get it.

Wouldn’t that naturally mean the population that isn’t eligible for the vaccine would represent an ever-increasing percentage of cases to the point that should every adult be vaccinated that kids would represent nearly 100 percent of all cases in the country?

Wouldn’t it also tell us that the vaccinations are having their desired effect — of making anyone who may even get the virus become an asymptomatic case or immune from getting the virus at all?

It would be one thing if we were also seeing a massive spike in kids being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19. But, given what we do know, none of this makes any of the assumptions and insinuations made by the AAP or other organizations true.

Just how bad has the fear-mongering gotten? Well, just three days ago, despite all this evidence we’ve just laid out, the state of Michigan decided that their mask mandates must spread to kids aged 2-4 now too.

Now that vaccinations have hit over 50 percent of American adults and now that mitigation efforts are lessoning as the CDC and states continue to upgrade.

Need proof that children are now the target of the panic and fear-mongering of our media and political elite? Look at what Michigan has recently done — mandating that kids as young as two years old must wear a mask in public spaces.

Yes, your child, that you send to daycare as your company attempts to get back to office work or because you want to concentrate on your work at home, must now wear a mask for the entire duration of their stay in daycare in the state of Michigan.

How did that become a thing that should ever be done given what we have seen about kids this young and their impact on COVID-19 cases and deaths? Well, reports that came out like this one from the AAP is how. When you make the correlation between increasing percentages of the makeup of case numbers and something being wrong with that, you get the fear and the panic.

It is true that Michigan was seeing a super-sharp rise in cases throughout the beginning of this month. But, they’ve also recently seen a dramatic dip in the numbers that really matter — like hospitalizations. The recent peak came on April 19 where some 4,358 adults in the state were hospitalized because of COVID-19. Yet, just 10 days later and the spike is a straight line down, with a 22 percent decline in hospitalization numbers (as you can see below).

Those mask mandates? They were put in place on those little kids just three days ago (as of this writing). Yet, at the time we were seeing not only a decline in the hospitalizations of adults, we were also seeing a decline in the overall case numbers for the entire state of Michigan.

Not just kids, but the entire population of the state, and still the kids must now mask up? None of it makes any scientific or data-driven sense in any way you could possibly parse out the numbers.

Fear is indeed a powerful, but also very dangerous drug. When will those in power stop pushing that panic porn button? When more of us push their buttons right back. It’s the only way to stop what appears to be a never-ending cult.

After all, we’ve moved from 15 days to flatten the curve to 30 days to slow the spread to “do it for others” and government mandates of various varieties in every state to “just get the vaccine” to double mask, even if you got the vaccine, to now the kids must mask up.

Literally nothing you’ve sacrificed, nothing you’ve done to protect, nothing you’ve given in to has been enough for the fear-mongers and panic porn pushers in the media and political classes. NOTHING.

So, is it time to stop now that they’re going after your kids well-being for today and tomorrow for a virus that has killed fewer kids than your fellow mankind has via murder in a typical year?

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Oppose Vaccine Passports? You’re going to ‘cost lives’ according to MSNBC

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Remember when were shamed in to wearing masks because if you didn’t, you were going to kill all the grandmas and grandpas in the world? Well, a year later and the panic porn pushers in leftist media (but I repeat myself) are still pushing that panic button hard.

On Monday, former Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) let us know that not supporting vaccine passports is the thing that will continue to kill people. She was speaking during a segment on MSNBC with host Nicolle Wallace, who let us know that it was the right politicizing our coronavirus response.

“I don’t know how the right got so far ahead creating such a political connotation around the conversation of vaccine passports but again, down here on planet earth, just about every college that has announced back-to-school policies for the fall has announced a policy that includes proof of vaccination,” Wallace said.

The host would also go on to tell us that we have to compare the need for proof of vaccination for schools or traveling to exotic locales to setting up the vaccine passport system here in the United States.

You know, because, naturally the need to vaccinate against diseases and viruses that are infinitesimally more deadly to kids or to adults upon travel is the same as being able to participate in our free society here in the United States.

But, Wallace only served to feed the fear that McCaskill was about to lay down.

“I don’t know, but it’s bad,” McCaskill replied. “I live in a state that the state legislature is dominated by Trumpers and they are busy making it illegal for a business to require a passport, a vaccine passport.”

McCaskill would continue to instill the fear, noting, “This is just, this is not – the fact that they first politicized masks and people died, and now they’re politicizing the appropriate way to encourage people to get vaccines, which will cost lives.”

All of this comes with the news that Lord, President, Savior, Dr. Anthony Fauci has told us that the federal government wouldn’t implement vaccine passports. But, there is a catch with that statement, because White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki noted that while Dr. Fauci’s statement was true, it would be because the government expected the private sector to do what the government wouldn’t do.

Multiple states have already taken action, on both sides of the vaccine passport debate, with states like Idaho, Florida, Texas and Utah putting in measures to ban vaccine passports and New York implementing a system of opening up society with the vaccine passports required for larger social gatherings.

So, to believe McCaskill and Wallace, some of these states are more responsible for death than others. It’s just too bad that the numbers don’t bare that out. Texas, a state that has lifted all statewide mandates saw just 13 deaths as of April 25, with a rolling 7-day average that is the lowest it has been since early June.

Florida is also seeing a huge downturn in deaths, with the rolling 7-day average at its lowest point since mid-November. New York saw 52 deaths as of April 25, nearly identical to the number in Florida. It also has a 7-day average that is nearly identical to that of Florida today.

That doesn’t mean that one set of policies is right and another set is wrong. However, it does show us the idiocy of McCaskill’s comments, because at a minimum, the differing policies have not led to divergent results in deaths or hospitalizations to date.

The difference in vaccination rates also show little effect has been had, with New York having five percent more of its population (45% to 40%) receiving at least one dose of a vaccine. According to McCaskill and Wallace’s thinking, none of this should be true. We’ve seen months of evidence and data and literally none of it points to their assumptions being true.

Will that stop the leftists in our media from fear-mongering or shaming us in to their way of thinking? A year’s worth of evidence suggests that simply won’t be the case.

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What’s Acceptable Dr. Fauci?

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Late last week Dr. Anthony Fauci and congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) got in to a viral spat over getting liberties back and the continued lockdowns in much of the United States. During that spat, Dr. Fauci kept repeating that our COVID-19 case numbers were “unacceptable.”

That only served to enrage Jordan, who attempted to pin Dr. Fauci down on a number, any number, that we could quantify as “acceptable.” Amazingly, Dr. Fauci forgot to his hearing aid or suddenly had enough of being asked hard questions. Either way, he refused to give a number that would pinpoint an acceptable rate.

Dr. Fauci was great about telling us what was unacceptable, noting that our daily case numbers of 60,000 weren’t good news. What would bring about good news and the return to normal life? Again, that was beyond Fauci’s expertise apparently, other than to tell us when the rate of infection got to a point that it didn’t pose a risk of an explosion of cases — whatever that means.

If you’re like me, you were left still wondering exactly what would be acceptable, especially considering we’re supposed to “believe science” these days.

Which got me curious about our response to other viruses and what makes COVID-19’s case-rate any more worrisome or different. It turns out, not-so-surprisingly, that the response this virus and even its case-rate is completely out of whack.

As of Dr. Fauci’s testimony last week, we had just over 31 million cases in about 13 months of counting cases. That makes for a case rate of around 2.3 million per month, which is significant, but only in a vacuum.

Our friend, influenza? The yearly thing that we get a shot for in the hopes and prayers of not getting put in to a hospital or dying from? It infects between 9 and 41 million people in the United States alone. That means in an epidemic level year (which 2020 was, and likely because COVID-19 was already here, we just didn’t test for it) we see an average of nearly 4.5 million cases per month.

Lest we forget that the flu season isn’t year-round and lest we forget that influenza case numbers are a guessing game because we really have no official or recognizable test specifically for influenza itself.

But, so far we see a nearly 3-to-1 ratio in the difference between case numbers per month, a measure that is more accurate that total numbers given the seasonality of the flu and the ongoing positive case rates with COVID-19.

Ok, so, let’s say 41 million influenza cases is a bit out of whack? How about an average or median year then? It turns out that’s more like 25 million cases, which translates to 2.8 million cases over the typical 9-month flu season.

Last time I checked, 2.8 million is still more than average per month of COVID-19 as it stood last Thursday during Lord, President, Savior, Dr. Anthony Fauci’s testimony in front of congress.

Does that mean that we shouldn’t take COVID-19 seriously? Of course not, but what these numbers do is give us some badly needed perspective. So, once again, I ask (and I wish someone in congress would ask), “what is acceptable and what makes these case numbers any different than what we see in an influenza outbreak every year?”

I’m not, nor should congress be, interested in rehashing just how much more lethal a novel version of a coronavirus is than the typical flu that we have become accustomed to, even if what’s being sold to us there is also a lie (or at best wrong because the data around these viruses sucks).

What congress and myself should be interested in is getting the likes of Lord, President, Savior, Dr. Anthony Fauci to recognize just how disproportionate our response has been, or at least asking why the response from within society, not science, had to be so different this time around.

Now, for the likes of Dr. Fauci and Co. maybe the case I am making is that we must mask up all the time, must shut our lives down for six to nine months a year. But, that response has never, ever, had real momentum during even epidemic levels of influenza outbreak here or in the rest of the world.

Why? Why are the responses here any different? Are we to believe that an epidemic year of the flu is not as important? Do those deaths not matter? Do those with life-altering hospitalizations from influenza and pneumonia caused by influenza not matter? Are they not worth protecting?

If we have to believe science, as the left has been telling us for over a year now, shouldn’t we believe the science that tells us we live with a virus that infects more people, in a shorter amount of time, and that we shouldn’t be afraid to live life in this case either?

One of the two responses is out of whack. I’m not willing to let Lord, President, Savior, Dr. Anthony Fauci tell us how our society should react anymore, nor should you.

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