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Trump-favored proposal for ‘herd immunity’ ignores an egregious detail: op-ed

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The proposal written by a group of well-credentialed scientists titled the “Great Barrington Declaration,” is getting the attention of the Trump administration and several state governors for its pushing of policy that emphasizes herd immunity over lockdowns as a mean to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposal wants to allow “those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally,” allowing people “to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.”

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“We call this Focused Protection,” the proposal states. Writing for the New York Times, John M.Barry points out that the academics behind the proposal are a distinct minority, with some of their colleagues even suggesting that their plan could amount to “mass murder.”

“The signers of the declaration do have a point. Restrictions designed to limit deaths cause real harm, including, but by no means limited to, stress on the economy, increases in domestic violence and drug abuse, declines in tests that screen for cancer and on and on,” Barry writes. “Those living alone suffer real pain from isolation, and the young have every reason to feel bitter over the loss of substantive education and what should have been memories of a high school prom or the bonding friendships that form in a college dorm at 2 a.m. or on an athletic team or in some other endeavor.”

But while the proposal may be seductive to people who want to get back to some semblance of normalcy, it becomes less seductive when one examines certain “enormously important omissions” in the declaration, according to Barry, one of which is the potential harm to people who are in low-risk groups, as well as the fact that a significant number, including those with no symptoms, suffer damage to their heart and lungs.

“Second, it says little about how to protect the vulnerable,” Barry writes. “One can keep a child from visiting a grandparent in another city easily enough, but what happens when the child and grandparent live in the same household? And how do you protect a 25-year-old diabetic, or cancer survivor, or obese person, or anyone else with a comorbidity who needs to go to work every day?”

The most egregious omission, according to Barry, is the amount of people the policy would kill, which is a lot.

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“The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, whose modeling of the pandemic the White House has used, predicts up to about 415,000 deaths by Feb. 1, even with current restrictions continuing,” he continues. “If these restrictions are simply eased — as opposed to eliminating them entirely, which would occur if herd immunity were pursued — deaths could rise to as many as 571,527. That’s just by Feb. 1. The model predicts daily deaths will still be increasing then.”

Read the full op-ed over at The New York Times.


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Armed ‘sovereign citizen extremist’ arrested at Boston train station: report

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Authorities in Boston arrested an armed extremist at a train station on Thanksgiving.

"A Boston man was arrested last night and charged with illegally carrying a loaded pistol. The defendant, who allegedly purchased a firearm and body armor, and material that could be used to assemble explosives, adheres to the anti-government/anti-authority sovereign citizen extremist ideology," the Department of Justice announced Friday. "Pepo Herd El a/k/a Pepo Wamchawi Herd (El), 47, of Dorchester, was charged by criminal complaint with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition."

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Texas Republican hasn’t even been sworn in yet and already a GOP congressman is publicly dunking on him

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There was some drama on Twitter on Friday when a four-term Republican congressman dunked on a Texas Republican who won a seat in Congress but has yet to be sworn in.

It started when Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) urged President Donald Trump to pardon Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.

Rep.-elect Tony Gonzales (R-TX) called out Gabbard for being "full of more than just turkey."

Snowden and Assange are Russian agents who pose a direct threat to US National interests. Clearly @TulsiGabbard is full of more than just turkey. https://t.co/RI4XgdZRUy

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2020 Election

Biden’s lead in Milwaukee increases after Trump blew millions on Wisconsin recount: report

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President-elect Joe Biden's lead over Donald Trump in Wisconsin extended on Friday as Milwaukee finished their recount.

The Trump campaign had to pay $3 million for the recount in Wisconsin.

"Milwaukee County concludes its recount of the presidential election -- one of two counties where Trump sought a recount in Wisconsin. The results: Biden's lead, currently at about 20,000 statewide, grew by 132 votes," Rosalind Helderman of The Washington Post reported Friday.

Edward-Isaac Dovere of The Atlantic did a quick, back-of-the-envelope economic analysis.

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