By Steven Ferry
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” Groucho Marx
Do you personally accept the “New Normal” for the hospitality industry and society as a whole—which is based on the premise that Covid-19 is a singularly dangerous threat that requires a complete change in our lives, when (as it turns out) it is actually on a par with the common flu and (as it turns out) every other incorrectly declared pandemic? Or do you want to understand what has happened and do whatever is in your power, big or small, to return to the old, fun and life-filled normal that has been snatched from us?
While on a tour of southern Europe in the summer of ’86, my wife, who was walking behind me a couple of paces through Milan railway station, suddenly started yelling angrily. I turned around to see her gesticulating wildly and half-a-dozen girls scattering. “What?” “They all came at me at once, and the one with the piece of cardboard was using it as cover to try to steal from my bag.” I smiled, because the girls had no doubt thought, “Tourists, easy mark (target),” but did not know my wife is aware of her environment and more than willing to fight back. These girls only kept picking pockets because enough people are half asleep, easily distracted, and too trusting to suspect others of ill-intent.
Anyone with a hidden agenda who wants something that others would rather not lose, will smile in the target’s face while stabbing them in the back; a key technique being to cause a confusion that distracts and then striking from a different angle.
In the same vein, we have been given solutions to manage a pandemic-that-isn’t (as this article will prove in no uncertain terms), which solutions nevertheless continue to be enforced and which we would never have agreed to without an apparent pandemic necessitating them.
Throughout recorded history on Earth, man has very rarely demonstrated the capacity to reach rational conclusions and bring about sensible solutions that are maximally beneficial to the maximum areas of life impacted by that solution. Too often, the solutions benefit the few, or none at all, and usually involve ill-thought-through fixes and the use of force to implement them over the backs of those who are not benefitted.
Furthermore, it appears that in the absence of correct information, Man is subject to panic—whether the witch trials of Salem or the 471 times on record over the last 4,800 years that certain groups believed the world would end.
The current panic will probably stand out as the greatest of all panics simply because almost the entirety of mankind trusted the suppositions and assertions they were fed, supported by what transpired later to be spurious statistics and specious simulations.
How come our advanced civilization is making the same mistakes as our more primitive forbears?
There are at least four reasons, maybe more:
- The disappearance from educational institutions over the last century of information-analysis and critical-thinking-skills instruction, social engineering being the preferred goal;
- The rapid advance in so many specialized fields that it is difficult for an individual to grasp all subjects, making the easy path, in our crammed-full lives, reliance upon authorities and the media for guidance—instead of taking the harder path of the amateur sleuth;
- The majority tend to make the mistake of thinking other people are as kind and decent as they themselves are. Yet, patently, there is a minority that has a hidden agenda—they and their purposes are not what they seem and not to be trusted;
- People tend to be scared of invisible things they believe can harm them: Bacteria, viruses, radiation, and even ghosts!
And so after the dust has settled on the pandemic, what is the reality we are facing?
- Collapse of economies around the world (in the US alone, $7.9 trillion loss in GDP (mid-May), anticipated by the Federal Reserve in Atlanta to end up at 52% loss, and taking a decade to recover); 40 million out of work in the US alone (38% of these in leisure and hospitality), 50% of small businesses, the backbone of the country, many closing for good as they cannot service their debt; $7 trillion more debt in the US; in the rest of the world (29 April snapshot) half the world’s work force was predicted to be at risk, as well as more than 436 million enterprises facing serious disruption; $9 trillion US injected into economies internationally (April), increasing debt and devaluing currencies;
- Many more are dead or predicted to die from the lack of normal medical services over the several months of lockdown, from suicides (increase by 10,000 in Europe), etc., than actually died from the pandemic;
- The hospitality industry was the first to collapse (95% of hospitality staff have been let go, cut off from any income in countries where there is no unemployment coverage) and is predicted to be the last to recover, all of which has industry leaders nervously trying to predict and prepare for an unpredictable future that lacks precedent. Restricted travel worldwide for up to four months has been devastating to many countries relying on tourism for their economies.
This is a serious case of “Oops, we made a little mistake…” and one would expect some effort to rectify the mistake, not to hear “…but we are continuing with the same actions.” So maybe this is the time for us citizens to be more attentive. Should a complete failure dictate a new normal? In years past, we have been lulled by a relatively stable society and generally buoyant markets into thinking that everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds, to quote Voltaire’s Pangloss—but when everything we know has been turned upside down, one might say it is no longer possible to ignore what changes are being visited upon us, nor any window of opportunity that may present itself to take remedial action.
In plain talk, where something does not make sense, it bears closer inspection. We inevitably will be subject to a repeat unless we recognize that the disruption has been sufficiently momentous to warrant a greater-than-normal inquisitiveness regarding how we reached this point and to take an honest look for ourselves at how we can ensure such a civilization-buster never happens again.
Who wants that? If some government medical authorities are already wising up, then maybe we should, also:
“It’s all bullshit! It’s all exaggerated. It’s an acute respiratory disease with minimal mortality.… Why has the whole world been destroyed? That I don’t know.”
Dr Alexander Myasnikov, Russia’s head of coronavirus information (said privately, believing a recorded May 26 interview to be over)
“The Danish Health Authority continues to consider that Covid-19 cannot be described as a generally dangerous disease, as it does not have either a usually serious course or a high mortality rate.”
“A global false alarm.”
Analysis of the Crisis Management, a leaked 93-page report drafted by a scientific panel appointed by the German Ministry of the Interior
If you are fed up or dispirited with the whole subject, you owe it to yourself to climb out of the confusion. Grab a coffee, mute the phone, switch off the TV and sit down for half-an-hour to bust through the confusion and events over which you seem to have no choice. We have broken the article into three parts, to run over the next three weeks, in order to make the subject more assimilable.
In this first week, we will examine what has happened over the last four months: What we were told to believe and do, and what actually transpired;
Week two, we will review the censorship of the medical community that allowed the pandemic to be miscalled, its possible causes, actual dangers, and possible cures to be hidden from public view, laying bare some unpleasant truths about the vaccine industry and why this pandemic has been a political event, not a medical one, with almost every action taken by authorities being at variance with science;
Week three, we wrap up by shining a spotlight on the movers and shakers responsible for this mismanagement of the millennia, the timelines of their relevant actions, and what we can still do to bring back the fun-loving world we helped create as hospitality professionals—which means we also need to make it impossible for anyone to repeat the same concatenation of errors and misguided efforts, to which end a simple two-step program is presented.
As a note, the author lives in the US, so quite a few of the statistics and actions relate to the US; do not let this lull you into feeling that this does not apply in your country: Much of what is reported is mirrored in other countries, as we are talking about an international phenomenon driven by the same international players.
What We Were Told
The basic message communicated was that the threat was extreme and called for extreme measures. The statements made seemed to be supported by images of people keeling over in the streets of Wuhan, overflowing hospitals, and other dystopian (imagined state in which everything is bad) motifs—all somehow made worse by the initial suppression of information by Chinese authorities—in the absence of information, it is natural for some to fear the worst. Official statements have included variously:
1. Covid-19 is 10x or 20x or 44x worse than the flu; 3.2% of those infected will die (WHO); 2.2 million Americans and 510,000 British will die (the pivotal predictive Imperial College model used by the governments of both countries to institute lockdown); a predicted 15% mortality rate for those who catch the virus. Statistics were further mis-stated and miscalculated by certain experts who did not lack understanding.
a. Of note: The flu averages 60,000 deaths out of 39-56 million cases in the US each year, hitting a peak in 1957 of 125,000 deaths; 1 billion people catch the flu worldwide and 290,000-650,000 die of it.
2. Lockdown is just for two weeks; we need to lockdown until there are no more cases or until we have the only solution possible, a vaccine, which will take 18 months to develop;
3. We need the lockdown to avoid hospitals being overrun; we need to set up field hospitals to cover the predicted catastrophic shortage of hospital beds;
4. We need society to stop and to quarantine everyone, not just those who are ill;
5. We must track and trace all Covid-19 cases;
6. Contact tracing requires quarantining those who have come into contact with an infected person;
7. We need to send home those who test positive;
8. The virus lasts for weeks on plastic or metal surfaces;
9. You must wear masks and wash your hands constantly, because the main transmission method is person-to-person via respiratory drops, hence social distancing;
10. Covid-19 spreads through the eyes;
11. People are being re-infected after being cured;
12. People who have no symptoms can infect others;
13. This virus came from wild animals in a Chinese market;
14. If we end lockdown too soon, cases will skyrocket;
16. As the weeks of lockdown continued, statistics continued to show an alarming spread—April 7: 1.36 million confirmed cases and 76,000 deaths in 184 countries; May 28, 5.82 million confirmed cases and 358,185 deaths in 213 countries and territories.
With such fearful information emanating from all quarters, it is no wonder citizens panicked, just as they did when they heard George Orwell’s October 1938 radio-broadcast adaptation of H. G. Wells’ novel, War of the Worlds, about an ongoing Martian invasion of New England. The dramatization caused utter panic amongst some of the citizenry who were so used to believing everything they heard on the radio. Reportedly, deaths may have occurred and certainly miscarriages and early births as people panicked with various remedial actions against this fictional invasion. The reaction was extreme when the truth became known, including lawsuits; but to those who had been paying attention, they knew the dramatization was a work of fiction.
Fast forward 10 weeks, let’s see how these feared outcomes fared:
What Actually Happened
1. The percentages of cases and mortalities were roughly the same in the different States and countries, whether or not they locked down; those countries that did not lockdown saw their economies suffer the least;
2. Lockdown where it occurred was less than two weeks in a handful of countries like Turkey and up to 3 months in most countries; 8 countries and 5 US States did not lock down at all;
3. Re-openings after lock down showed no surge in cases;
4. 35% of those who tested positive for Covid-19 had no symptoms or idea they had it as they built up antibodies and contributed to herd immunity; of the 65% with symptoms, many were mild and very few needed hospitalization; per the CDC, the fatality rate of those infected was 0.26% and per other studies, the mortality rate of those infected varied by region from 0.02-0.4%, compared with 0.1-0.2% for seasonal flu;
5. Some died in part because the wrong treatment was administered (remedying the lack of oxygen by forcing it into their lungs with ventilators as opposed to using hyperbaric oxygen therapy which could have saved their lives);
6. People without symptoms or during an incubation period did not infect others—the statement in January that it did was based on an incomplete case study of just one patient that was not peer reviewed—which incorrect data the WHO declined to correct when it was made known;
7. The virus, despite apparently being engineered to spread as broadly and effectively as possible (called “gain of function”) in order to find a vaccinee for such a virus, was not in fact doing so: What it was doing was tipping the balance for those elderly with pre-existing conditions, particularly lung (COPD) conditions and heart patients taking statins to lower their blood pressure;
8. The CDC admitted mid-May that the virus does not persist for long on surfaces but is airborne and breathed in. As with the trillions of other viruses in existence, Covid-19 blows around the world on the wind as its main form of transmission; the secondary form of transmission—droplets that have a 3-foot range from a person’s mouth—make trying to stop this vector akin to toweling oneself dry in the rain;
9. Re-infection does not occur, because antibodies, as with all viruses, exist after a person has caught a virus; South Koreans appeared to be re-infected after testing positive, but this was because the (PCR) tests were unable to differentiate between live and dead cells—and in any case, these patients were found not to be contagious;
10. The number of Covid-19 cases in the US was inflated for a number of reasons: The CDC was double counting, for instance, but primarily because the tests were faulty. The below are some specifics, but for a scientific explanation that is understandable to laymen, Flaws in Coronavirus Pandemic Theory undercuts the idea that one can test for Covid-19 at all by showing tests to be completely inadequate and furthermore on a symptological level, that Covid-19 is not even identifiable as a discrete disease, the symptoms (fever, cough, and difficulty breathing) being very similar to a cold or flu:
a. The PCR testing used to determine if a person had SARS-CoV-2 genetic material proved to be inaccurate, resulting in no great certainty on the actual numbers of Covid-19 cases;
b. Test kits were not available for the first few crucial weeks because the CDC wanted to make its own test kit and declined to use a German one available; the test kits produced eventually by the CDC did not follow their own protocols and so were faulty—as were ones imported from China that were found mid-April to be “wildly inaccurate” (by many countries including the USA);
c. The PCR tests created false positives as well as false negatives; this is not surprising, given that Dr. Mullis, who won the Nobel Peace prize for Chemistry in 1993 for inventing PCR, stated it should not be used for detecting viruses, as it was unable to determine how much of a virus a person has in their body and whether that would be sufficient to make them sick (“The tests can detect genetic sequences of viruses, but not viruses themselves.”);
i. The FDA authorized 33 different PCR tests to be used for Covid–19 testing but the manufacturers used different standards for confirming positives (between 1 and 3 RNA segments needing to be detected; and the number of cycles engaged by the manufacturers to detect enough genetic material varied between 30 and 45);
ii. Some patients flipped from testing positive to negative and back again;
iii. WHO labs reported samples sent to them had tested positive, even though they were actually collected from a goat and the pawpaw fruit (the President of Tanzania had sent these fake samples when he became suspicious of the spike in Covid-19 cases);
d. Until May 20, the CDC was combining viral test results until May 20 from nose swabs or salvia samples (that determine if an individual is sick in real time) with antibody blood tests (that show whether a person has ever been exposed to SARS-CoV-2), thus making it impossible to know the actual number of infected cases in the US;
i. The antibody tests are wrong up to 50% of the time, according to the CDC.
11. No great certainty exists on the number of Covid-19 deaths, either:
a. Dr. Birx of the White House Covid-19 Task Force sent hospitals a seven-page document requiring they label deaths as being presumed to be from Covid-19, without testing for it, and that Covid-19 be given as the cause of death when actually an existing morbidity was the cause—for instance:
i. Gunshot fatalities were listed as Covid-19 in Washington State;
ii. Colorado finally lowered their totals by 31% and New Jersey by 21%;
iii. The County Supervisor of San Diego stated the number of actual Covid-19 deaths by May 13 to be 6, not the reported 194 (out of the 3.3 million citizens of the county);
b. The US government was giving hospitals $13,000 for every patient admitted with Covid-19 and $39,000 for every patient put on a ventilator, and the CARES Act added a 20% premium for COVID-19 Medicare patients, creating a potential path for administrators (who were struggling with the lack of funds following the loss of elective surgery income because of the pandemic), to make ends meet; this hunger for funds could also be why one hospital charged $18,415 for a Covid-19 test;
12. $660 million of taxpayer monies was spent setting up field hospitals in various states and these were disbanded late May after 1,095 patients were treated in NYC and 82 patients in two other hospitals. The other hospitals treated zero patients;
13. The Microsoft software used for the pivotal prediction of millions of mortalities by the Imperial College in London, funded by Mr. Gates, was not duplicatable, a basic requirement for any science; ivory tower academia without real-world experience is not the proper source for modelling when compared with insurers who employ data scientists, modelers, and managers to ensure the model is grounded in reality, and software engineers to test the software.
14. Even though a 2003 movie included the notion of lockdowns, the idea of social distancing and lockdown was first proposed for dealing with epidemics in 2006, based on a 14-year-old girl’s high-school science experiment using agent-based modelling techniques supported by zero knowledge of life, science, viruses, medicine, or disease mitigation. Despite its unscientific provenance, the proposal was adopted as policy by DC politicians over the objections of expert epidemiologists.
A Big Nothing Burger
For those doctors and experts and savvy citizens who were looking at the unfolding pandemic, it was obvious early on that the alarming predictions and fudged statistics were contradicted by the closed environments provided by ships on lock down. Take the case of the USS Roosevelt: Out of 4,800 sailors in close quarters 1,156 tested positive, 60% of them experiencing no symptoms, 6 ended up in hospital, one in intensive care, and one died.
On the Diamond Princess, out of 3,711 passengers and crew, 712 became infected, 57.6% with no symptoms, 40 were put in intensive care and 12 (1.7%) died.
On the French aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, and its strike group, 1,046 out of 1,760 sailors became infected, two required intensive care, and none died.
Multiple medical professionals also spoke out about the many anomalies regarding the official narrative compared with the reality on the ground. Two ER doctors revealed how their clinics in California were witnessing a large number of Covid-19 cases with no-to-few symptoms, and very few deaths. Their video went viral, 5.46-million views within a few days, and then was removed from YouTube for “violating community guidelines;” in this case, removing anything that contradicts the idea that the virus is dangerous and requires lockdown until a universal vaccination can be implemented.
Confirming these low mortality rates, the total count of Covid-19 deaths after three months stood at 250,000 compared to 1.5 million deaths during the influenza wave 2017/18.
Yet despite these obvious results, governments around the world kept on with their policies of shutting down their economies until a vaccine could be produced.
How does one explain such stubbornness in the face of contradictory facts?
The Need to Know
The complete nuking of all hotels, resorts, and airlines around the world, not to mention other sectors, has sadly been a replay of the 1938 radio broadcast—panic created by taking trusted sources on blind faith instead of looking for the facts and thinking with them critically—if not at first, which was admittedly difficult, but certainly later, and even-
more certainly as we move forward. This statement being directed at everyone from our political leaders on down—as we kept being told, “we are all in this together,” let’s climb out of it together.
If we simply try to move forward with what is left after the commotion and chaos dies down without discovering and understanding how we reached this point, we will be rearranging the china in the shop while the bull is still in it—hoping it will leave some china intact before it leaves, if indeed it ever does leave.
Unless we work out how and why the bull came into the shop, nothing will stop it from remaining in it or from coming back and wreaking the same havoc, or worse.
When a catastrophe occurs in nature, such as an earthquake, it is not caused by any cognitive agency but is the somewhat predictable result (as our science and understanding improve) of mechanical combinations of particles and forces in motion.
When some catastrophe occurs in human activity, one or more someones was behind it, deliberately or accidentally bringing about the catastrophe. Just like the family members of a murder victim rarely find any closure unless they discover who did it and why, so does humanity deserve an explanation of how this pandemic train-wreck went so thoroughly off the rails, in order to move on with any degree of confidence that we do not have to experience this agony again. It would be a mistake to forget it all, for there are those in authority still making noises about the pandemic resurfacing (expecting us to keep thinking of this pandemic as a valid medical event rather than the political one it has turned out to be).
Having spent weeks of lockdown digging through reams of spectacularly contradictory and erroneous statistics and data, any determination that the bull came into the shop because it saw an attractive cash-cow, often the motivation behind bull-like misadventures, would be too simple and neat a conclusion and as it turns out, a valid but not fundamental motivation. The truth and the science are far more exciting and enlightening and make for a great whodunnit—all the more so because we are living this drama every minute, whether or not we stand back and recognize it, and the effects on us personally and on civilization are palpable.
The Theater of the Absurd
To highlight the absurdity of the government reactions to the pandemic-that-isn’t, during May, AstraZeneca continued with human trials of its hoped-for Covid-19 vaccine AZD 1222, using 1,000 healthy volunteers in Oxford, England (with another 10,260 adults and children to follow)—despite the complete failure of their animal trials, wherein all the vaccinated monkeys caught Covid-19. While the media was being told the trials were going well, AstraZeneca was actually finding that their human vaccine trials were also proving problematic because they could not prove their vaccine prevented those inoculated from catching Covid-19 because there were so few people with Covid-19 in the UK from whom they could be infected.
The UK government is hoping the trial will succeed so that they can buy 100 million doses by September and thus release lockdown and allow people to go back to work and revive the economy. The US has contributed and pledged a further $1.2 billion for the development and delivery of 300 million doses, and the Gates Foundation has put in $750 million—so there is plenty of financial incentive to bring the vaccine to market no matter how recalcitrant the safety trials, and ahead of the other 100 vaccine trials in the race to the Covid-19 immunization bonanza.
A week later, the UK government announced that lockdown makes it illegal for two or more people meeting in a public place or inside a home where they do not live. Seems 1984 has finally arrived in the UK, where phones can pinpoint such a meeting and record them secretly until the knock on the door—the British Police Federation having asked for the power to enter homes forcefully where illegal meetings are suspected.
On the US side, Judge Michael McHaney summed up the inanity of the government lockdown approach in his ruling against an illegal executive lockdown-order by Illinois Governor, J.B. Pritzker:
“Since the inception of this insanity, the following regulations, rules or consequences have occurred: I won’t get COVID if I get an abortion but I will get COVID if I get a colonoscopy. Selling pot is essential but selling goods and services at a family-owned business is not. Pot wasn’t even legal and pot dispensaries didn’t even exist in this state until five months ago and, in that five months, they have become essential but a family-owned business in existence for five generations is not. “A family of six can pile in their car and drive to Carlyle Lake without contracting COVID but, if they all get in the same boat, they will. We are told that kids rarely contract the virus and sunlight kills it, but summer youth programs, sports programs are cancelled. Four people can drive to the golf course and not get COVID but, if they play in a foursome, they will. If I go to Walmart, I won’t get COVID but, if I go to church, I will. Murderers are released from custody while small business owners are threatened with arrest if they have the audacity to attempt to feed their families.
“These are just a few examples of rules, regulations, and consequences that are arbitrary, capricious, and completely devoid of anything even remotely approaching common sense.
“State’s attorneys in this state, county sheriffs, mayors, city councils, and county boards have openly and publicly defied these orders, followed by threats to withhold funding and revocation of necessary licenses and certifications unless you obey.
“Our economy is shut down because of a flu virus with a 99.7% survival rate. Doctors and experts say different things weekly. The defendant cites models in his opposition. The only thing experts will agree on is that all models are wrong and some are useful. The Centers for Disease Control now says the virus is not easily spread on surfaces. “The defendant in this case orders you to stay home and pronounces that, if you leave the state, you are putting people in danger, but his family members traveled to Florida and Wisconsin because he deems such travel essential. One initial rationale why the rules don’t apply to him is that his family farm had animals that needed fed. Try selling that argument to farmers who have had to slaughter their herds because of disruption in the supply chain.
“When laws do not apply to those who make them, people are not being governed, they are being ruled. Make no mistake, these executive orders are not laws. They are royal decrees. Illinois citizens are not being governed, they are being ruled. The last time I checked Illinois citizens are also Americans and Americans don’t get ruled. The last time a monarch tried to rule Americans, a shot was fired that was heard around the world.
“That day led to the birth of a nation consensually governed based upon a document which ensures that on this day in this, any American courtroom, tyrannical despotism will always lose and liberty, freedom, and the constitution will always win.”
There will be some who find acceptable the events described above, as well as a future that includes continued shutdowns of one stripe or another, continued fear-mongering in the media, repeated waves of viruses that are blown out of proportion (whether Covid-19 or the next one to appear—nobody shuts down the world, for instance, because the annual flu kills up to 600,000 people), a loss of personal freedoms, and a hospitality industry that is focused on sanitizing and enforcing social distancing that is not only impractical but also antipathetic to the notion of social intercourse as well as the hospitality we have lived and breathed for millennia. Those who have no issue with what has happened may be agreeable to guests having to stay in some tawdry government-provided room and board for two weeks of quarantine before finally being able to enjoy their one-week vacation at their resort, and then returning home, presumably, for another two-weeks of quarantine. They may believe hospitality guests will be willing and able to apply for and be granted a passport to prove, using faulty tests, that they have been vaccinated or have antibodies for any number of potential viruses; that they will be willing to experience the Covid-19 gauntlet (as demonstrated in the Abu Dhabi Airport videos showing social distancing, sterilization booths, facial recognition, thermal and mask tracking, and Covid-19 testing) in addition to the airport security gauntlet developed over the last two decades; and they may believe that a 50% jump in airline prices will also encourage tourism.
If this is their honest point of view and they are happy to sacrifice the world we used to know for reasons that absolutely do not add up, then they are thanked for reading this far and encouraged not to proceed to Part II.
For those brave and curious souls who prefer to have access to and study information on any particular subject from a variety of knowledgeable sources, then make up their own mind and take action to improve any given situation, Part II provides information they most probably have not been exposed to because the tradition of investigative journalism is sadly almost completely missing from the media in this 21st Century, and any idea of human rights regarding freedom of speech a past indulgence.
As the saying goes, “The truth shall set you free”, and that begs the question, of course, “What is the truth?”
If you feel something does not add up about this whole affair—and if you want the perfectly good and relatively worry-free lives we enjoyed before, especially in the hospitality industry, to return one day, then keep an eye out for Parts II and then III of this article, because something can be done about this as long as enough understand and act together constructively.
First published by Hotel Business Review and reprinted with updates with permission from the author.