Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Kicks Off With Bang Amid Virus Controversy: 84 arrests, 226 Citations, 18 Crashes In 24 HoursTyler DurdenTue, 08/11/2020 — 17:05
Sturgis meet coronavirus shutdowns: the world’s largest annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota has been source of immense controversy this year after health officials warned it could be a ‘super-spreader event’.
Running from Aug. 7 to 16, it’s expected to be the single largest gathering that’s taken place since national virus-related shutdowns took effect earlier this year. Some 250,000 bikers are expected to descend on the town, which is still a much smaller number than recent years. 2015, for example, witnessed a recordmore than 700,000 people.
With a reputation for attracting ‘outlaw’ biker types and gangs, the Sturgis rally goes back to 1938, but this year some angry locals have argued before the town council “it’s a huge, foolish mistake” given current pandemic fears.
But the rally is already off to a wild start even with what’s expected to be a smaller than average crowd, as CBS reports:
“The Department of Public Safety reported that police made 84 arrests for driving under the influence or drug-related offenses during a 24-hour period spanning from Saturday into Sunday morning. That’s up from last year, when 76 people had been arrested in a similar time frame.”
Police have also reported at least 18 crashes so far. It comes on the very week the US passed another grim milestone, surpassing five million confirmed COVID-19 cases, and as South Dakota may be witnessing a resurgence in cases similar to other states.
Regardless, as one person interviewed told CBS: “People are tired of being at home, you know. This is what this rally started about is freedom.”
Attendees in Sturgis are being encouraged, but not required, to wear masks. Few appeared to be doing so.
So far, as the town’s Main Street fills with bikes and bars fill with bikers, there is scant evidence of social distancing. Visitors to this 80th edition of the cycle rally already greatly outnumber the 6,000 residents of Sturgis, wedged into the South Dakota hills.
While the majority of city residents, based on polls, are said to be against holding the rally this year, the city council approved by firm majority to move forward, given especially the event has generated some $800 million in total revenue in recent years, based on the state’s Department of Tourism figures.
Texas Becomes Third State To Pass Half A Million Confirmed COVID-19 Cases: Live UpdatesTyler DurdenTue, 08/11/2020 — 17:04
Texas becomes third state to pass 500,000 cases
Dutch impose mandatory quarantines on those ‘exposed’ to COVID
Arizona reports latest cases
Hawaii, South Dakota and Virgin Islands added to tri-state qurantine list
Nursing home cases on the rise in the US
Florida reports record COVID deaths
Cases in children have increased 137%, CNN says
Goldman weighs in on US outbreak
Auckland back on lockdown as first cluster of covid cases discovered in 102 days
Russia approves world’s first COVID vaccine
Global COVID total tops 20 million
* * *
Update (1640ET): After seeing its positivity rate surpass 20% to hit new records amid a dropoff in testing (suggesting either the outbreak is spiraling out of control, or more of the people being tested are likely already exhibiting symptoms) Texas has just become the third state after California and Florida to pass half a million confirmed cases, public health authorities just confirmed in a report.
The state reported 220 more COVID-19 deaths, and 8,913 new cases. The exact number is 500,620, since the pandemic began. Meanwhile, there are 7,216 confirmed COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals.
* * *
Update (1345ET): The Netherlands, after a startling rebound in new cases, has ordered that all people exposed to COVID be ordered to quarantine for 2 weeks, or face legal repercussions.
Update (1215ET):Arizona reported 1,213 new cases of the virus on Tuesday, while deaths bounced back to 45. The state’s total case count climbed to 188,737 and 4,199 deaths.
ICU capacity declined again to 79%.
* * *
Update (1110ET): The tri-state area has reportedly added two more states and a territory to its COVID quarantine list, bringing the total number to roughly 34 (32 states and 2 territories), as four states were also removed.
N.Y. ADDSHAWAII, S. DAKOTA, V. ISLANDSTOQUARANTINELIST
Here’s the complete updated list:
The mandatory quarantine order applies to any person that arrives from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average, or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.
* * *
Update (1100ET): Just minutes after we warned about a rise in cases at nursing homes, which are populated with the most vulnerable COVID patients, Florida’s case count bounced back on Tuesday (yesterday’s was the lowest since June) with the state reporting more than 5,000 new cases and a record 276 deaths.
* * *
Update (1055ET):In a horrifying report from the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in US nursing homes is rising again after a steady drop in June.
“As we feared and have been warning government leaders over the past couple months, the spike in COVID cases in the general population across the U.S. has led to increased cases in nursing homes,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the AHCA/NCAL, said.
According to a summary of the report from CNN, it relied on data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which in conjunction with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiles weekly statistics from nursing homes, to try and gauge infection trends nationwide.
These numbers show COVID-19 cases in nursing homes, and they rose to 8,628 for the week of July 19, from a low of 5,468 for the week of June 21, just a month earlier.
* * *
Update (1030ET):In Florida, the total number of cases in children 17 and under rose from 16,797 on July 9 to 39,735 on Aug. 9, an increase of 137%, as mainstream media outlets tout a surge in COVID cases among children as part of their agenda to try and keep schools shut.
However, across the country, the total number of COVID-19 cases among children rose from 179,990 on July 9 to more than 380,000 on Aug. 6, an increase of about 90%, according to a report published Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
Of course, testing of children between March and June was virtually non-existent beyond those showing symptoms since schools were shuttered.
While testing rates in Florida and Texas have fallen since the peak in Sun Belt cases, New York’s rate of testing has increased, and cases have still declined, Gov Cuomo bragged.
More testing only uncovers more positives when there are positives to be found.
Update (0920ET): Here’s an excerpt from Goldman’s latest daily COVID research, which again affirmed that case numbers in the US continue to decline: “The number of new confirmed coronavirus cases has been declining nationally over the past few weeks, but case levels remain elevated in much of the country. The positive test rate has ticked down from its peak in July.”
“But looking at additional testing data clouds the picture somewhat. The US is now performing fewer coronavirus tests nationwide compared to a couple weeks ago, with Florida and Texas contributing much of this decline. In these states and a few others, cases rose to very high levels in the summer virus resurgence and have now fallen sharply. But over the past few weeks as cases declined so did the number of tests conducted, leaving the positive test rate very elevated.”
* * *
They really thought they had it licked.
After surmounting what was at worst an extremely mild outbreak, New Zealand declared “victory” over the coronavirus two months ago, only to see a mild spike two weeks later.
Since the very beginning, New Zealand’s COVID-19 response effort, led by progressive prime minister Jacinda Ardern, was infused with the pinch of “compassionate” social justice, as the island nation focused on using it as an opportunity to look into how to recalibrate society to make more time for leisure by adopting a 4-day work-week.
But in its desperation to establish New Zealand as a liberal (and polar) antithesis to President Trump’s America, Ardern made what now looks to be one critical error: She lifted practically all of the country’s COVID travel restrictions after her sweeping “victory” declaration.
New Zealand announced on Tuesday it would shut down Auckland, its largest city (though not the capital), after four new cases of the virus were confirmed in the city, the first sign of new domestic spread after 102 days without any domestic COVID cases.
NZ’s Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the four confirmed cases were all within one family living in South Auckland. One patient is in their 50s. The family had no history of international travel. Family members have been tested and contact tracing — which might actually prove pretty effective with such a small body of the infected — is being carried out.
News of the cases sent panic across the country with media reporting people rushing to supermarkets to stack up, and businesses preparing to shut.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Auckland would return to a “level 3 restriction” beginning at noon local time on Wednesday as a “precautionary approach,” which would mean people should stay away from work and school, and gatherings or more than 10 people would again be restricted. Though, with so few cases, even these economically-constricting decisions might be overkill.
Though fortunately, these restriction would be applied for three days until Friday, which she said would be enough time to assess the situation, gather information and make sure there’s enough widespread contact tracing.
Meanwhile, the world finally crossed a major COVID-19 threshold last night: 20 million confirmed cases, according to JHU. As we reported last night.
As expected, Johns Hopkins has just confirmed that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has surpassed 20 million since the start of the pandemic. Of those, more than 700,000 have died.
It comes just days after the US, the world’s biggest outbreak, topped 5 million, and Brazil, the No. 2, topped 3 million.
Aside from this, perhaps the biggest COVID-related news of the day is coming out of Russia, where Vladimir Putin just hailed the approval of the country’s — and the world’s — first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved by a regulator.
Recently I held a live Q&A Zoom call with my friend Peter Schiff, and several dozen members of our Total Access group.
And towards the end of the call, one of our members asked– what do you think the future looks like for the US, and the West in general?
Peter went off into one of his classic tirades about how the US dollar is doomed because of how much money the central bank is printing.
And while I generally share Peter’s dim view about the dollar (were it not for all the other world currencies that are being printed into oblivion), my answer was a bit different.
In deference to the 20th century Danish Proverb– “predictions are hard, especially about the future”– I do think it’s possible to look at major trends to at least have a sense of direction.
So if you want to understand where things are going, just take a look at everyone’s priorities.
Most governments’ Covid reponses are an obvious example.
The economic destruction they’ve created is staggering. Tens of millions of people unemployed, countless businesses gone bust, trillions of dollars of wealth wiped out.
In the first wave back in March, they shut down the economy to protect us from the virus. Then they opened up again… but– shocker– the virus was still there.
What a surprise! Shutting down the economy did not eradicate a virus.
So what did a lot of these people do when the second wave hit? They started shutting down the economy again.
It didn’t work the first time, so let’s keep trying the same approach and expect a different result. It’s genius!
This is clearly economically destructive. But again, economic prosperity is no longer the priority. All that matters is force-feeding people a false sense of safety.
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York probably captured this mentality the best when he said back in May,
“We don’t want to lose any lives [to reopen the economy]. We’ll figure out the dollars, and we’ll figure out the economic impact, but we’ll protect people in the meantime, and we’ll protect their health.”
This is total BS. The sad reality is that lives are lost all the time in the normal course of economic activity.
In New York City, two workers died during the construction of Freedom Tower. Plus there were dozens of life-altering injuries, like spinal fractures and paralysis.
The government knew the tower’s construction would likely cost human lives. But they approved the construction permit regardless, because they knew the benefit would outweigh the human cost.
Similarly, over 100 people died constructing the Hoover Dam in the early 1930s. The government knew that people would die. But the benefit outweighed the cost.
Today there can be no discussion of cost or benefit. There is one priority, and it’s no longer economic prosperity.
But the shift in priorities doesn’t stop there.
Basic fiscal responsibility is no longer a priority– and it hasn’t been for a long time.
Most western governments were racking up enormous debts even before Covid started.
In the US, even during the economic boom of 2015 – 2018, the federal government added at least $1 trillion to the debt each year.
Now the debt growth is completely insane:the US Treasury Department expects to add $5-$6 trillion to the debt this calendar year.
(That’s more than the entire national debt as recently as 2001!)
And not to be outdone, the Federal Reserve has conjured trillions of dollars out of thin air since the start of Covid and slashed interest rates, once again, to zero.
Plus, there’s a good possibility they’ll make interest rates negative. Just imagine how much prosperity you’ll achieve once you have to start paying your bank just to save money.
Of course, all of these tactics– printing money, going deeper into debt, negative interest rates, paying people $600/week to stay home and NOT work– are destructive to economic prosperity.
Then we have the rise of the Bolsheviks… a growing chorus of politicians (and voters) who despise capitalism.
Like Seattle city councilwoman Kshama Sawant, who claimed she wants to overthrow “the racist, sexist, violent, utterly bankrupt system of capitalism” and replace it with “a socialist world.”
A few years ago this was a fringe view. Now it’s mainstream fever.
They want to get rid of capitalism– the system that created the most prosperous nation in the history of the world– and replace it with the same economic model as Cuba and the Soviet Union.
And Joe Biden, of course, unveiled his economic plan last month, built around ending “the era of shareholder capitalism.”
He wants the government (and Twitter mob) to set the priorities and stakeholders in your business, rather than the market.
This, again, is an obvious reflection of priorities. And economic prosperity is clearly not on the list.
Economic prosperity also takes a backseat to social justice.
Yes, most reasonable people probably agree that the mistreatment of minority groups should change. But that’s not an excuse to go on a violent rampage.
Yet whenever angry mobs take to the streets and destroy private property, the media elite and their political allies justify criminality as necessary to end systemic racism.
Meanwhile, universities have turned into hotbeds of progressive radicalism to perpetuate white fragility and the evils of capitalism.
Corporate America has also caved.You can’t even sell beans anymore without things turning political.
Countless people who are talented, productive, and made valuable contributions to their companies have been fired because they used the wrong words or expressed some intellectual dissent from the Twitter mob.
Firing a rock-star employee because of his/her personal (and non-controversial) views would ordinarily be considered completely stupid. But now it’s the norm… because economic prosperity is no longer the priority.
This trend is obvious: several powerful movements have gripped the world… and most of them are economically destructive.
So it’s not terribly difficult to see where things are headed.