November 28th, 2021 1-3PM ET
Sunday on The Robert Scott Bell Show:
New Botswana variant with 32 ‘horrific’ mutations is the most evolved Covid strain EVER and could be ‘worse than Delta’ — as expert says it may have emerged in an HIV patient British experts have sounded the alarm over a new Covid variant believed to have emerged in Botswana that is the most mutated version of the virus yet. Only 10 cases of the strain, which could eventually be named ‘Nu’, have been detected so far. But it has already been spotted in three countries, suggesting the variant is more widespread. It carries 32 mutations, many of which suggest it is highly transmissible and vaccine-resistant, and has more alterations to its spike protein than any other variant. Professor Francois Balloux, a geneticist at University College London, said it likely emerged in a lingering infection in an immunocompromised patient, possibly someone with undiagnosed AIDS. Changes to the spike make it difficult for current jabs to fight off, because they train the immune system to recognise an older version of this part of the virus.
WHO labels new Covid strain as variant of concern named Omicron with possible increased reinfection risk The World Health Organization on Friday assigned the Greek letter omicron to a newly identified Covid variant in South Africa. The U.N. health agency recognized the strain, first referred to as lineage B.1.1.529, as a variant of concern. Health experts are deeply concerned about the transmissibility of the omicron variant given that it has an unusual constellation of mutations and a profile that is different from other variants of concern. “Omicron, B.1.1.529, is named as a variant of concern because it has some concerning properties,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, said in a video published on Twitter. “This variant has a large number of mutations, and some of these mutations have some worrying characteristics.” Experts fear that the sharp upswing of Covid cases in South Africa’s Gauteng province — where the heavily mutated strain of the virus was first identified — could mean it has greater potential to escape prior immunity than other variants. The number of omicron cases “appears to be increasing” in almost all of South Africa’s provinces, the WHO reported.
Race against time to tweak vaccines against Omicron variant: AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna say they can create NEW jab for super-mutant amid claims it makes existing ones 40% less effective against transmission Scientists are racing to tweak existing vaccines against the new Covid variant spreading rapidly across the planet. The ‘monster’ strain, named Omicron and designated a ‘variant of concern’ by the World Health Organisation on Friday, has reached the UK and Belgium after being discovered in South Africa. The UN public health body sparked panic by warning that preliminary evidence suggested that the mutation has an increased risk of reinfection and is more transmissible than other strains. Downing Street’s scientists previously said that the variant could be vaccine resistant. Health Secretary Sajid Javid banned flights from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia yesterday, telling MPs that there is ‘huge international concern’ about the mutation. The Prime Minister is due to hold a press conference at 5pm this evening after health officials confirmed two cases of Omicron were found in Nottingham and Brentwood. Now a number of pharmaceutical firms have said they are working to adapt their vaccines to beat Omicron. AstraZeneca said it has ‘developed, in close collaboration with Oxford University, a vaccine platform that enables us to respond quickly to new variants that may emerge’ and is ‘already conducting research in locations where the variant has been identified’. Pfizer and BioNTech said that in the event of a variant which could escape the effects of the vaccines, the firm expects ‘to be able to develop and produce a tailor-made vaccine against that variant in approximately 100 days, subject to regulatory approval’. Novavax said it has ‘already initiated development of a new recombinant spike protein based on the known genetic sequence of B.1.1.529 and will have it ready to begin testing and manufacturing within the next few weeks’.
NY governor declares state of emergency to prepare for omicron New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) declared a state of emergency to prepare for a new coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa. Hochul’s declaration on Friday is one of the first emergency steps taken by a state in the U.S. against the new variant, known as omicron, whose discovery was announced Thursday. The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, said in an interview Friday with CNN that there have been no omicron cases detected in the U.S., although he acknowledged that doesn’t rule out the possibility the variant could be in the country. “We continue to see warning signs of spikes in COVID this winter, and while the new Omicron variant has yet to be detected in New York State, it’s coming,” Hochul said in a tweet. The executive order, in effect until at least Jan. 15, allows nonessential procedures to be postponed in hospitals in order to increase hospital capacity.
South Africa says it’s being “punished” for detecting new COVID variant South Africa said Saturday it’s being “punished” for detecting the new Omicron coronavirus variant as more countries rush to enact travel bans and restrictions. Driving the news: The U.S. imposed air travel restrictions from eight countries Friday in response to the Omicron variant. Countries in Europe and Asia have also implemented their own travel restrictions in response to Omicron. The United Kingdom announced Saturday that two cases of the new variant were detected in the country with a “link to travel to Southern Africa.” The variant has also been found in Botswana, Israel and Hong Kong. The big picture: South Africa, which has some of the world’s top epidemiologists and scientists, detected the variant early on in its life cycle, Reuters reports. The variant, known formally as B.1.1.529, was first reported to the World Health Organization on Nov. 24, which then designated it a “variant of concern” on Friday. Early evidence suggests “an increased risk of reinfection with this variant compared to other” variants of concern, the WHO added. What they’re saying: South African officials said Saturday that although new variants have been detected in other countries, “the reaction to those countries is starkly different to cases in southern Africa.””This latest round of travel bans is akin to punishing South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants quicker,” the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation said.
New Strain Causes “Mild Disease”, Says South African Medical Body: Report The new Omicron variant of the coronavirus results in mild disease, without prominent syndromes, Angelique Coetzee, the chairwoman of the South African Medical Association, told Sputnik on Saturday. The World Health Organization (WHO) identified on Friday the new South African strain as one of concern, as it is reported to carry a high number of mutations — 32 — which possibly makes it more transmissible and dangerous. The WHO has dubbed it Omicron, the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. “It presents mild disease with symptoms being sore muscles and tiredness for a day or two not feeling well. So far, we have detected that those infected do not suffer loss of taste or smell. They might have a slight cough. There are no prominent symptoms. Of those infected some are currently being treated at home,” Ms Coetzee said The official noted that hospitals have not been overburdened by Omicron patients and that the new strain is not been detected in vaccinated persons. At the same time, the situation might be different for the unvaccinated. “We will only know this after two weeks. Yes, it is transmissible, but for now, as medical practitioners, we do not know why so much hype is being driven as we are still looking into it. We will only know after two to three weeks as there are some patients admitted and these are young people aged 40 and younger,” Ms Coetzee added.
The EU is planning a 9-month expiration date on its Covid vaccine passports The European Union is considering a nine-month expiration date on its Covid-19 vaccine certificates, which allow tourists certain freedoms to travel while the coronavirus pandemic still rages. The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, proposed Thursday that the EU Digital Covid Certificate should be updated. This document has allowed people to travel more easily amid the pandemic by outlining their vaccination status, whether they have recently recovered from the virus, or whether they have recently tested negative. The idea now is that the document has a life span of nine months after the first set of vaccines are administered — so after the second dose for Pfizer–BioNTech shot, for example, or after one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The idea is that as immunity wanes, then a vaccine passport will expire. Thursday’s recommendation does not yet address booster shots. The commission said that “it can reasonably be expected that protection from booster vaccinations may last longer than that resulting from the primary vaccination series.” As such, a new expiration date could be announced in a couple of week’s time to include the advice for booster shots. In a major policy shift, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control suggested Wednesday that all adults should receive vaccine boosters, with priority given to those over 40.
UK data shows the vaccines are NOT saving any lives at all. Zero. Zip. Nada. My good friend Mathew Crawford is an amazing statistician. He’s one of the smartest people I know. He just published a new analysis on his substack showing that the UK data show that the COVID vaccines aren’t saving any lives at all. It’s all statistical noise as shown in the graph below from his article. Please check it out and if you like his work, please honor him by subscribing to his substack. Mathew’s work really shouldn’t come as a surprise. It certainly wasn’t a surprise to me. Norman Fenton pointed out two months ago that the UK data shows that vaccinated people are dying at a greater rate than the unvaccinated (even after adjusting for age). More recently, Fenton showed that with a simple time skew of deaths, we can make the vaccines look extremely effective even if they do absolutely nothing (paper and video). Fenton’s conclusion: we currently have no real evidence that the vaccines work. So now we have two statisticians that I have very high respect for claiming the vaccines are, at best, not saving any lives. And for some odd reason, nobody wants to challenge them in a live video debate. I can’t figure that one out.
Aaron Rodgers shows off bare foot to prove he doesn’t have ‘covid toe,’ says it’s a fracture It remains unclear if his little piggy cried, “Wee, wee, wee,” all the way home, but Aaron Rodgers went to great lengths Wednesday to refute reports that he was suffering from “covid toe.” The Green Bay Packers quarterback has a fracture in his left pinkie toe, he clarified in a Zoom media session. To prove the injured area was not afflicted with covid-related “lesions,” as he put it, Rodgers hoisted his bare foot up to the camera and showed off five dermatologically healthy-looking digits. “Oh, there’s no lesions whatsoever. Oh, what a surprise,” Rodgers said sarcastically. “No, that’s actually called disinformation, when you perpetuate false information about an individual. I have a fractured toe.” Rodgers said he suffered the injury during a 10-day isolation period mandated by NFL protocols, after he tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this month while unvaccinated. He hurt his toe while “trying to ramp up my conditioning,” Rodgers said, and he only discovered the severity of the injury when he was allowed back into the Packers’ training facility, where he got an X-ray examination. That took place a day before Green Bay’s Week 10 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks; after being forced to sit out a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs the week before, Rodgers made a solid return in a win despite limited preparation.
L.A. firefighter accused of wiping butt, leaving fecal matter on non-compliance letter in protest of vaccine mandate The Los Angeles Fire Department is investigating an incident in which a firefighter “responded inappropriately” after being handed a letter to comply with the city’s vaccine mandate, a department spokeswoman said Wednesday. The Stentorians of Los Angeles City, a group representing African American firefighters, said Wednesday that the LAFD member responded to receiving the non-compliance letter by dropping his pants and wiping his buttocks with the letter, leaving fecal matter on the document. He then dropped the letter on the ground. The alleged incident underscores the deep resistance among some within the Fire Department over the city’s mandate that employees be vaccinated. LAFD spokeswoman Cheryl Getuiza said the alleged incident occurred on Nov. 18. “The department is aware of the seriousness of the allegations and took immediate action upon learning of this incident,” she said Wednesday, but declined to comment on the details.
Hour 2 ENCORE!
NBC suggests not having Thanksgiving turkey this year to deal with inflation costs A segment on NBC’s “Today” on Saturday suggested American families could drop the traditional Thanksgiving turkey from their tables this year to deal with inflation. “With inflation on the rise, prices are going up on everything from your Thanksgiving meal to your gifts for the holidays,” anchor Kristen Welker said to introduce the segment. NBC News correspondent Vicky Nguyen noted the 6.2 percent rise in prices in October from a year ago – a three-decade high – calling it “real money.” In addition to setting a meal budget with an online app and buying store rather than name brands, Nguyen said something she admitted may be controversial. “Perhaps forgo the turkey,” she said. “Bear with me. I know that is the staple of the Thanksgiving meal. However, some people think turkey is overrated. It tends to be the most expensive thing on the table. Maybe you do an Italian feast instead.” Nguyen added that if you tell guests you’re dumping the turkey, “some guests may drop off the list, and that’s a way to cut costs too.”
Special Guest Ed Szall
Are you tired of the lies, deception, and greed that now govern our modern media? Our nation is in trouble, but we were given a solution 2000 years ago. The answer is Jesus. Where worldly media has chased him out to create fear and intimidation, CrossTalk News welcomes Him in as King. Our Savior wants us to be wise as serpents, yet gentle as doves, so that is what we plan to do – give our viewers enough honest information to make wise and prayerful choices for their family, but to always come back to the Hope we have in Christ. The devil tries to steal our joy, but God commands us to not worry, and to instead rejoice. So we welcome you to join us as we boldly go where no news show has gone before… The Good News you need with the hope of Jesus! Edward Szall, Lauren Witzke, and Pastor Todd Coconato bring years of professional experience in news coverage, media production, biblical teaching, and insider knowledge of global politics to educate and inspire generations young and old through the lens of the hope we have in Jesus’s saving grace. Our mission statement is: To be voices of hope, truth, and inspiration during a time of growing deceit, delusion, and chaos. To share the Gospel of the Kingdom, with generations old and new, through communication in the media. Promote Biblical values and build a coalition of like-minded influencers to bring meaningful change to society through the renewal of minds, hearts, and souls. Provide discernment-on-demand, witty wisdom, and happiness and hope through fact-based reporting, grace-based interviews, and Christ-centered live commentary. Does this mission resonate with you? Would you enjoy a Christian news show produced by the up and coming generation? Do you know someone who loves to watch the news, but doesn’t know Jesus? We would love for you to partner with us to help make this show happen. God has already provided an amazing studio and office space for us to work in, and team members who are talented and believe in the mission, as well as some great opportunities to put our show on existing and new platforms. But we need your help to produce the content.
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30% of Docs Say They Don’t Want Own Kids 5-11 to Get COVID Vaccine A Medscape poll on clinicians’ confidence surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5-11 showed significant hesitancy. Among physician respondents who have children in that age group, 30% said they would not want their children to be vaccinated; 9% were unsure. For nurses/advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), more (45%) said they did not want their kids to get the COVID-19 vaccine; 13% were unsure. Among pharmacists, 31% said they would not get them vaccinated and 9% were unsure. Clinicians were more likely to want vaccinations for their kids 5-11 than were 510 consumers polled by WebMD at the same time. Overall, 49% of the consumers who had kids that age did not want them to get the COVID-19 vaccine. On November 2, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendation that children 5-11 be vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine. That decision expanded vaccine recommendations to about 28 million children in the United States. The CDC states that, in clinical trials, the Pfizer vaccine had more than 90% efficacy in preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection in children 5 to 15 years old, and that the immune response in children ages 5-15 equaled the immune response in people 16 to 25 years old.
Vaccine superheroes: Experts impressed with communications that target children Whether using a video of Batman shadowing a public health professional or a picture of a purple cartoon character playing hockey, Canadian health units and science communication groups are trying to find ways to inspire young audiences to get the COVID-19 vaccine days before the country is expected to begin the next phase of its immunization drive. Health Canada approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for kids aged five to 11 on Friday after reviewing safety and efficacy data from the company for weeks, and doses are expected to arrive in the provinces and territories in the coming days. As jurisdictions await their shipments, some are gearing up their vaccine communication strategies by injecting youthful themes into their messaging. Experts say communication around the pediatric vaccine rollout needs to be kid-friendly, clear and concise to drown out misinformation from social media. “There’s a lot of misinformation that can get amplified when it comes to children,” said Shana MacDonald, a communications expert with the University of Waterloo. “The fear is that’s going to produce hesitancy that doesn’t need to be there.
Several hundred Google employees sign manifesto against widened Covid vaccine mandate Several hundred Google employees have signed and circulated a manifesto opposing the company’s Covid vaccine mandate, posing the latest challenge for leadership as it approaches key deadlines for returning workers to offices in person. The Biden administration has ordered U.S. companies with 100 or more workers to ensure their employees are fully vaccinated or regularly tested for Covid-19 by Jan. 4. In response, Google asked its more than 150,000 employees to upload their vaccination status to its internal systems by Dec. 3, whether they plan to come into the office or not, according to internal documents viewed by CNBC. The company has also said that all employees who work directly or indirectly with government contracts must be vaccinated — even if they are working from home. “Vaccines are key to our ability to enable a safe return to office for everyone and minimize the spread of Covid-19 in our communities,” wrote Chris Rackow, Google VP of security, in an email sent near the end of October. Rackow said the company was already implementing requirements, so the changes from Biden’s executive order were “minimal.” His email gave a deadline of Nov. 12 for employees to request exemptions for reasons such as religious beliefs or medical conditions and said that exceptions would be granted on a case-by-case basis.
Marine Corps compliance with vaccine mandate on course to be military’s worst Up to 10,000 active-duty Marines will not be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus when their deadline arrives in coming days, a trajectory expected to yield the U.S. military’s worst immunization rate. While 94 percent of Marine Corps personnel have met the vaccination requirement or are on a path to do so, according to the latest official data, for the remainder it is too late to begin a regimen and complete it by the service’s Nov. 28 deadline. Within an institution built upon the belief that orders are to be obeyed, and one that brands itself the nation’s premier crisis-response force, it is a vexing outcome. The holdouts will join approximately 9,600 Air Force personnel who have outright refused the vaccine, did not report their status, or sought an exemption on medical or religious grounds, causing a dilemma for commanders tasked with maintaining combat-ready forces — and marking the latest showdown over President Biden’s authority to impose vaccination as a condition of continued government service. “Marines know they’re an expeditionary force, and pride themselves on discipline and being first to fight,” said David Lapan, a retired Marine Corps officer and former communications chief for the service. Leadership, he said, should be alarmed that the Marine Corps ethos of always being ready for the next mission appears to be tarnished in this case. “Why,” Lapan asked, “did they decide not to follow a direct order?”