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From the Desk's NON-FICTION Series.

©20 The Media Desk

Covid 19 by Gaslight

"Happiness is good health and a bad memory."
- Ingrid Bergman (1915 – 1982)
, and throughout this article, except for one (you’ll see)

A question arrived via FB.

      It is going to take some time. Some research. A great deal of black coffee. Some junk food in the form of spicy pork rinds. And a good measure of Ol' Stumpwater to complete.

Here it is so you can ponder it as well:

"do you think we've been getting gaslighted over covid?"

      The Desk's first short response was "Yes. Of course. Both ways. And from Every Body."
      Stand by for a slightly longer, hopefully better reasoned, and HEAVILY documented response.

      But first we need to define some terms. Right? That’s always a good place to begin. And for this work, we’ll define the two most important terms in the entire paper.
      "Ol’ Stumpwater" is whatever brand of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was on sale last week at the place down the road.
      Well, OK, we’ll touch on the term "gaslight" as well.
      The original use of the term was in a British play from the late 1930s. It was then made into a movie in Britain, that nobody ever watched, then remade in Hollywood in 1944 with a larger budget than its English cousin and a cast that included a young, and absolutely mesmerizing Ingrid Bergman, who won an Academy Award for her role. It costarred an even younger Angela Lansbury, who, along with a great many of the cast, as well as the movie itself, were nominated for other Oscars. The picture won for ‘art direction – black and white’.
      The 1944 picture, which has become one of the defining works of the term film noir (crime drama), and Ms Bergman also won a bunch of other awards, Golden Globes and such, but, given Hollywood’s mysterious accounting practices, which probably also involve pork rinds and ‘Stumpwater’, the film earned MGM less than a million dollars profit.

wonderful, but what has that to do with the Novel Coronavirus we’re all dealing with?

      We’re glad you asked.
      In the movies and the stage play that they drew from, the leading man went to great lengths and some trouble to convince his wife that she was going insane. He did so by convincing her that she was remembering events that didn’t happen, or, conversely, forgetting things that really had happened. Bending reality to suit his own nefarious ends, which were most assuredly not in his poor wife’s best interest, in spite of his insisting that everything that he did was for her own good... .. ... ..
         ... you can see where that would tie in to our current- the Autumn of Two Thousand Twenty, and indeed, the entire year -situation with our viral friend.
      And THAT is exactly what we are going to look at, beginning with the initial "lockdown" in the spring, that long dumb summer, and now moving into the end of the year. With the words and deeds from everybody from the ‘talking head’ national media, to the ‘talking head’ national and state politicians, to the ‘talking head’ local leaders, and the ‘talking/typing/meme-ing head’ people on social media. We’re going to look at all of them, or with the latter two categories, SOME of them, there’s too many to keep track of.

      We’ll Say It Here And Now.
      This is NOT about where this particular bug started. Whether or not a foreign government instigated intentional spread world wide while shutting down their own internal travel. And if, and or when any particular leader knew it was bad and how bad it could be and what they did or did not do in February or March.
      For our work here, that those bits of trivia are immaterial. It Is Here, it is now part of our life and whether it began in a lab run by the Chinese military, some barn on an Italian farm, or at the bottom of a swamp in Mississippi, It Is Here, and we have to deal with it.
      And do our best to live with it. OK?
Now. GO.

"I have no regrets. I wouldn't have lived my life the way I did if I was going to worry about what people were going to say."
- Ingrid Bergman

From the World Health Organization:

31 Dec 2019
Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, China, reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province. A novel coronavirus was eventually identified.

13 January 2020
Officials confirm a case of COVID-19 in Thailand, the first recorded case outside of China.

22 January 2020
WHO mission to China issued a statement saying that there was evidence of human-to-human transmission in Wuhan but more investigation was needed to understand the full extent of transmission.
- (more in the links below)

      It arrived seemingly from nowhere.
      It was described in some statements from otherwise unemotional medical academics as "Aggressively Contagious" (see link below).
      The world’s medical community came into it from a standing start.

      In the fall of 2019 most of the health news on TV was whether or not "vaping" was causing serious lung disease. The last update on the Centers for Disease Control web page on EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury) ( link below) was on 18 February 2020. Evidently, once COVID hit, EVALI went away, or at least got shuffled to the bottom of the pile of things to do on some Admin's desk. However, we have to say here and now, vape usage increases the risk of serious Covid complications, see Stanford Medical link below.

      Something else that was all over the news was the risk of concussions in contact sports.
      Think back (all puns at no extra charge) to the rampant bickering over whether or not it was worth the risk of serious brain injury to have young people, especially boys, play youth football, hockey, and even 'the beautiful game' soccer. Yes. Soccer, or as the Brits call it, football. See link below to an article from November of this year.
      There were special investigative reports into the NFL. Discussions about why Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to give up driving in NASCAR because of recurrent head injuries from high speed crashes in a race car (see link below). Then some emoting reporter would get all breathless about why girls were being ignored while the NCAA or a high school sports association was having boys evaluated.
      Then it all vanished. As did all of the spring sports and most of the rest of the schedule for the year.

      And we mustn't forget the dire hazard from 'calorie free sweeteners'. Oh, no! Those were almost certainly instant death to anybody that put a brightly colored packet of whateveritmaybe in their coffee. There's a link below to an article from Harvard about how terrible they all are. Yes, they are bad for you, and during 2020 some health editor that wanted to write about something besides a "Chinese virus" would dredge up a report about sorbitol or something. Oh, well. By noon the next day they were back to Covid.
      Or was it an in depth report about how commercials on that evening news show were pushing prescription drugs without telling you exactly what that medication was supposed to cure. You know the ones, where some fast-talking sales bunny would run through a greatest hits list of side-effects while attractive people frolicked along the seashore? Again, see link below.

      No Covid didn't "cure" any of these. But what it did do was to knock them out of the lead position on the evening news.

      And that was just during late winter, late February and March.

      Notices like this suddenly appeared everywhere:

Effective immediately, due to the severity of COVID-19, we are restricting all visitors except essential personnel, by recommendation of the CDC.
Thank you for your cooperation during this difficult time. Please contact us with any questions.
- Borrowed from a local "assisted living facility".

      The NBA killed their season just when it was getting interesting. March Madness in the NCAA died on the vine. Hockey went dark. Baseball's spring training quit. All of the sudden every race car worth talking about was back in its garage. And NOTHING happened for months on end.

      NASCAR was the first major sport to even try to do something.
      They ran on March Eighth. And then sat around and played video games until mid-May.
      And when they did come back, it was without fans, and barely with live media coverage. In most cases, the commentators were in another state.
      And that is the way everything came back in the sports world.
      And the political world. This was a US Election year and the conventions were "virtual".
      "Work From Home" became the mantra, even for businesses that before insisted that everybody report to the office every day.
      The Official Word was that any group of people was risking spreading the virus to everybody, and even if you didn't get sick, you'd take it to grandma and she'd get it and die. And while that did happen, it seemed to be rare, so people began to let their guard down and life began to return to a somewhat odd form of normal during the summer.

"And Therein Lay The Rub"

      It would seem The Bard of Avon had something similar in mind in Hamlet. Act Three, scene one to be exact:

    "...To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil..."

- From:, full works in the public domain, see below

      During the first, how shall we put it, "Covid Lockdown"? "Stay at home order"? "Shut down"? in March that went something like this in the majority of the states of the US and many other countries.....

THEREFORE, by the powers vested in me as the Governor of the State of Illinois, and pursuant to Section 7.... of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, and consistent with the powers in public health laws, I hereby order the following, effective March 21, 2020 at 5:00 pm ........With exceptions as outlined below, all individuals currently living within the State of Illinois are ordered to stay at home or at their place of residence... (link to full text of order below)

And a note from "over yonder", this is part of the larger statement from the government of the UK
"... Following these measures will help limit the spread of coronavirus, reduce the impact on the NHS and save lives. Key parts of the measures are underpinned by law, which sets out clearly what you must and must not do – every person in the country must comply with this." (link to full document below)

      The stated purposes of all of these orders / advisories / directives and whatever else you wish to call them is to, save lives of course, but also to prevent the local health services from becoming overwhelmed, and after overwhelming the medical establishment, including using up all the advanced life support equipment (ventilators), then the mortuary trades will be buried with new 'clients', and you end up with freezer trucks full of dead bodies outside hospitals (see link below). And, remember, the medical community was treating Coronavirus patients in addition to everybody that got hurt at work, or were in a wreck, or were having a baby, or a heart attack, and all of the usual stuff that happens to people in the course of a day. And you couldn't put a guy with a broken leg in the same room as somebody with the virus.
      There were also endless statements from officials about "slowing the spread" and "bending the curve". They would talk about the "R" number and how it needed to be below 1 to avoid linier and, Heaven forbid, Exponential Growth of the disease.

Time out for an explanation of "R"
      The "R number", always a capitol letter 'r' and often in italics, is the "effective reproduction number" or rather, how many other people one single infected person will give the bug to over the course of their having it.
      An "R" of 1 means you've got it, and you give it to a coworker, who then gives it to their bookie and only one person at a time has it. Less than one, say, .7, and the disease will eventually die out because it is NOT passed from some of the patients to others, the lower the number, the quicker it goes away. And R of 1.5 or 2, or more, means that by the third generation you're looking at perhaps eight or nine people with it.
      Which is that "exponential growth" they also talked a lot about during the early days of the pandemic, something where the model looks like one of those financial pyramid schemes from back in the good old days of con artists peddling get rich quick deals where each three people recruit three more who recruit three more while the originator of the idea retires to the Bahamas.
See links to the "New Scientist" and "Lancet" articles below.
End of R

      So the idea behind all of the restrictions, no indoor dining, don't sing in church, cancel the high school wrestling tournament, and all the rest of it was to limit how much community exposure the virus got. If everybody stayed a double arm's length away from each other, washed their hands every time they turned around, didn't sneeze at their neighbor, and all the rest of it, the virus wouldn't have a chance to spread.

      Unfortunately, even where such directives were followed by a good percentage of the populace, the virus, demonstrating that term we mentioned earlier, its being "Aggressively Contagious". Which means it takes minimal exposure in both time and virus load for someone to become infected by the disease. Coupled with its ability to be aerosolized and perhaps even airborne for a short time, as well as a tendency to survive on surfaces for longer than some other pathogens. This Novel Coronavirus was able to breach everything except the most stringent controls, such as those in Taiwan (see link below), and became a serious problem in very short order.

      Of course, some of the media types, local and national, and even some on the international stage, buttered their toast with stories that were just one step this side of a full blown panic over it. And some went over into that infamous "we're all gonna die" mode for the sake of headlines. Below you'll find a link to a story from a former reporter in New York who decries his former bosses for just that.
      Don't panic just yet, we'll come back and touch on that entire mindset and compare that hysteria with another one of the same sort, and why years of hand wringing over one has now influenced the current situation.

      In other locations, such as Sweden (see below) where they decided to 'ride it out' in hopes of quickly establishing what is unflatteringly called "herd immunity", their plan apparently backfired because some patients became re-infected with the virus only months after recovering from their first bout (see article linked below), which may be tied to the way viruses mutate as they go along.

      So, with our executive orders in hand, we're going to move into that somewhat murky world of those who, for whatever reason, refuse to cooperate with the recommendations of various elected officials, public health administrators, and others, and go about their daily lives, until they get sick that is, then, later, we'll look at all that as illuminated under a Gas Light.

"I regret the things I didn't do, not what I did."
- Ingrid Bergman

      In doing this research, the Desk went through various "social media" posts, as well as listening to "man on the street" sorts of interviews through media outlets, and even collecting some from people it knows personally.
      To be fair before we even start, SOME of these objections do have a bit of validity to them, and the Desk even agrees with a couple of them. And, some others of these are total... well... yeah.
      We'll run through something of a greatest hits list and then move on. Ready? OK. (all links working at time of original posting)

"They can't tell me I have to wear a mask in a store."
      Well, yes 'they' can. You wear a shirt and shoes in a store, right? While in most cases that is NOT a rule from public health, it can be, and often is, a requirement of the owner of the business, and possibly by the business's insurance carrier. And we won't mention the seat belt law which applies in your privately owned vehicle, no, we'll skip that.
      See more about shirts and shoes:

"They over reacted, it's not really that bad."
      For most people, no, it wasn't 'that bad' in the beginning. However, as time went on, stories of "long haulers" who were mostly younger and healthier came to light. As did complications such as neurological issues and even enlarged hearts that took months to resolve. More here: "Puzzling, often debilitating after-effects plaguing COVID-19 'long-haulers'"

"More people die from the flu."
      This one is simply wrong.
      The worst flu season in recent history in the US was the winter of 2017 to 2018. An estimated 61,000 people died during that round of the disease ( ).
      As of this writing, 25 November 2020, there have been 261,000 deaths in the US.

"The numbers of illnesses / deaths are all made up."
      While most of the authorities will admit that there is a significant margin of error in all of the categories, you cannot reasonably claim that the numbers are fictitious in most Western countries. In fact, they may quite well be HIGHER:
Fauci Says U.S. Death Toll Is Likely Higher.

"I had a test last week, I'm fine."
      "Because there may be a delay between the time a person is exposed to the virus and the time that virus can be detected by testing, early testing after exposure at a single time point may miss many infections." CDC

      And an example: "At the beginning of the trip, passengers were not required to wear face masks. Sloan explained that the ship believed that its extensive testing prior to passengers boarding 'would block Covid at the door, so to speak.'"

"We're going to have people over. They can't tell me what to do in my own home."
      To a point. Unless you want to do something where there's a Homeowner's Association. Or a noise ordinance. Or you live in an Historic Area and want to paint a rainbow on your house. Or... etc.
      While "a man's home is his castle", there are limits to that, and when Public Health is involved, or the welfare of children, or senior citizens, the local authorities have often extended their reach into the private home.

"Masks and social distancing don't work all the time."
      The best response to this is: "they work a lot better if you do it." Second best is: "What DOES work 'all the time'?"

SARS-CoV-2 infection is transmitted predominately by respiratory droplets generated when people cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe. CDC recommends community use of masks, specifically non-valved multi-layer cloth masks, to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Masks are primarily intended to reduce the emission of virus-laden droplets (“source control”), which is especially relevant for asymptomatic or presymptomatic infected wearers who feel well and may be unaware of their infectiousness to others, and who are estimated to account for more than 50% of transmissions.1,2  Masks also help reduce inhalation of these droplets by the wearer (“filtration for personal protection”). The community benefit of masking for SARS-CoV-2 control is due to the combination of these effects; individual prevention benefit increases with increasing numbers of people using masks consistently and correctly. ...

"Social distancing remains the most effective intervention that we have to reduce the spread of COVID-19, according to a new PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)"

"Social distancing is more effective than travel bans"

"We're all gonna get it anyway."
      What can you say to answer this one? By the same logic you could say "we're all going to die anyway." Well, yeah, but if it is all the same to you, we'd rather delay it at least for a little while. It's like they Want to get it, and get it over with one way or the other.
      The point of the exercise is to avoid filling up the hospitals so if you are in a traffic accident there's medical personnel and room in the building to treat you.

"Many of those who died, died of something else."
      The truth here is the opposite. Yes, they had diabetes, or were overweight, or in a motorcycle crash, or whatever, but the virus put them over the edge. They may well have survived whatever else was going on, and may have been living with it for years, but the difficulty and all the complications, not just the respiratory issues but everything from brain swelling to kidney failure, killed them.
"Complications Coronavirus Can Cause"

"The vaccine is the Mark of the Beast from Revelation"
      This one would be laughable except the person that said it was totally serious.
      The Desk pointed out that the person that said it ALREADY had 'the mark of the beast' on their arm. That little round scar from the smallpox vaccine they got in grade school.
      They got a bit upset.
Go see: "Why the smallpox vaccine leaves a scar."

"We need to obey God before we obey men."

"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same."
Romans 13: 1-3 (NKJV)

      Perhaps instead of 'thumping' their Bible, they should read it....

          ....time to change gears....

“I said, 'I don't think I can give you that kind of emotion.' And he [Sir Alfred Hitchcock] sat there and said, 'Ingrid, fake it!' Well, that was the best advice I've had in my whole life, because in all the years to come there were many directors who gave me what I thought were quite impossible instructions and many difficult things to do, and just when I was on the verge of starting to argue with them, I heard his voice coming to me through the air saying, 'Ingrid, fake it!' It saved a lot of unpleasant situations and waste of time.”
- Ingrid Bergman

Man Made Global Warming, the Covid-Reaction, and a Vaccination, oh my

      There was A LOT of screeching hysteria several years ago about Man Made Global Warming.
      Now, don't get the wrong idea here, the Desk admits that the Globe IS 'Warming'. Yes it is. We are in an interglacial period, and we are still coming off the "Little Ice Age" a thousand years ago or so. It is warmer now than it was during Prohibition. OK, no problem. Are we OK with that? Good. Moving on.....
      Go look it up, links below. When the Dinosaurs were roaming around the world was "warmer and wetter" than it is now. When our distant cousins the Neanderthals finished painting the walls in France, the area was cool and dry. Then when Caesar was passing through, it was downright hot and muggy in the region. Should we discuss when the Vikings were getting their mail in Greenland, and what was going on weather wise when they left?

      The "Global Climate" has NEVER been anything that could be called 'stable' for a geologically significant period of time, as you'll see in that article about the Roman era linked below. Yet that "inconvenient fact" has been ignored by those with a vested interest in dipping into your checking account to fight 'man made global warming'.
      Is your SUV contributing to the phenomenon of a slowly warming planet? Probably. But how much is subject to outright speculation. And when compared to something like when Tambora cooked off and caused "the year without a summer" in the eighteen teens, and changed the color of sunsets for a dozen years after its 1815 eruption, well, moving on, link below.

      However, claims that 'climate change' will push more women into sex work for money may have been taking things a bit too far. (link below)

      Should we mention the infamous "more and stronger" storm prediction by Mr. Gore (the former VP that takes a chartered jet halfway around the world to catch a bus in from the airport to accept a prize for climate activism) that turned out to be total nonsense? No. We'll skip that. You can look it up on your own. That and the backward hurricane on the cover of his book.

      The point of this section is that official "doom and gloom" predictions by politicians, and more shrill and urgent screeching by activists and social engineers, seldom pan out. And, as best exemplified by Mr. Gore, are usually a case of "do as I say, not as I do".

      And remember when those that know better what is good for you than you do wanted everybody to quit using butter and switch to "oleo" and related products? Then there was a firestorm because the original products were up to their lids in 'trans fats' which were worse for you than anything that comes out of a cow. So the producers of the stuff had to go back to the lab, link below.
      Point being, life, and the Earth itself, is more complicated than a sound bite or book title.

      And, as we've seen, the new "Novel Coronavirus: Covid-19" is a lot more complicated as well.

“In Hollywood, you're never any better than your last picture.”
- Ingrid Bergman

(Ms Bergman won an Emmy for her last role, as Golda Meir in a TV movie. Not bad at all.)

To Gaslight or not to Gaslight.......

      One of the things people were complaining about was the conflicting information that was pouring out of supposedly authoritative sources on a daily basis. For example we'll pull down our face mask and give a good hearty Bronx Cheer to the lead story on tonight's evening news that is directly contradicting one they had on just a month ago or so. That would be the one that said that face masks are a waste of time, or was it that they'll save everybody else, or was it that they'll save you, anyway, the science on the whole thing is a moving target, and THAT is the point.

      Are "They" intentionally trying to make us crazy? Well, to a point, yes. They Were.
      Now, just who are "they"? well, let's look.
      Before the US national election it would appear that some major media outlets were actively working to confuse the national discussion about the virus and the response to it. And they had some help from various national health outfits as well who were sometimes contradicting themselves in their own press conferences. With good reason.

      And, to a point, the coverage elsewhere, such as in the UK and Canada, was just as confuzzeled.

      That confusion led to a patchwork quilt of policies from regional and local governments that contradicted and crossed and countermanded and conflicted with each other, that, to some degree, still holds true today. You have local mayors or county executives, and others spouting some statement they heard from somebody in May that has since been disproven, brought back up, then debunked, then restated, and so on. Then you have state or national authorities that either will not, or Can Not, override the nonsense from below, while they are busy issuing their own nonsense.
      Some of the statements from the politicians demonstrated what the Desk has taken to calling:

"ignoramus et ignorabimus et superbia"

We do not know, We will not know, and We're really proud of it

      And that doesn't go just for politicians, but to the people the Desk saw at a local store a couple of days ago who were actually strutting around. They were acting like stupidity and arrogance were a protection against the pathogen. Well, there are plenty of stories on the evening news where somebody who 'denied' the reality of the bug ended up catching it, sometimes to their own bad end. You can find plenty of those on your own, so we didn't link to any.

      Early on, in the spring through early summer, what was known, and what wasn't known, about this virus was changing hourly. If a virologist looked through a microscope after lunch they'd write a memo that sounded like it was in direct conflict with what a microbiologist wrote that morning. And then by the time they were ordering supper, an epidemiologist had said something else again.
      And you know what? As it turned out, they were all at least partially right about what they had said. They were each surveying the same totally alien world, and doing so from different perspectives with different instruments for different purposes.
      The virus CAN become airborne, at least for a short distance over a short period of time. It IS easily aerosolized through the coughs or sneezes of an infected person, and those droplets can hang in the air for a longer time over a greater distance. And a Cloth Mask of natural material can reduce the transmission of the virus if the mask is several layers of cloth AND is properly worn AND the overall exposure through casual contact is minimal. If you're stuck in a huge crowd, indoors, with poor air circulation, for hours, there's nothing this side of a space suit that will protect you.
      The bug Can and Will happily live on most surfaces for several hours waiting on the unwary or unlucky to happen by and pick it up. Hot soapy water makes it really unhappy and many alcohol based cleaners make it even more unhappy.
      More, and updates, at the NHS / CDC / JHU and other links that are coming up in a moment.

      Let's say it this way: if you rely on one national media source for your information, you are a fool. If you only use various 'social media' outlets for news on the subject, you're a damned fool. And if you actually believe any of that, or what your cousin's BFF's hairdresser posted, and refuse to consider other options, you're trying to win a Darwin Award (see below). Which is why in articles like this, the Desk uses as many different resources as it can from wherever it can find them, and provides those links (all links working at time of original posting):