Initiative for accurate media reporting in the frum community

    A Dose of Reality

    A Dose of Reality[1]

    “Never Again!”

    This was the slogan that reverberated throughout the land in the wake of the Holocaust.

    Many interpreted this to mean that we must learn to fight and arm ourselves to stave off the possibility of a repeat. This would imply that the reason that Hashem wrought the Holocaust among us in the first place was due to a lack of military prowess on our part. However, our Chachmai Hador have taught us that it was in principle due to spiritual rot caused by ויתערבו בגיום וילמדו ממעשיהם. Can a calamity of such great magnitude occur again? Well, if we are worried about an exact rerun, with Brownshirts, Nazis, yellow armbands, ghettos and concentration camps, maybe not. But there are other possibilities.

    It is an undeniable fact that in April and May the Corona virus had reached its zenith[2]. The few that ר”ל were since נפטר were for the most part due to local sub-par hospitals that for some inexplicable reason, הצלה continues to transport to. Mr. Daniel Regenye from the Ocean County Health Department commented, “…while there is an increase of cases, there is a decrease and declining trend of severe cases, hospitalizations and deaths”. He also noted that currently the ones affected “typically are 20- and 30-year-olds and exhibiting mild symptoms”[3]. Viewing the death rate chart (figure 1) leaves no room other than the logical conclusion that at the current time, no drastic interventions are necessary. Furthermore, it’s no secret that despite what askanim are telling politicians, for the most part, communal life within has been going on as normal. If COVID-19 would be the killer that it was in March through April, we wouldn’t be experiencing mere “micro-clusters”, but rather full blown mega-clusters. Instead of Askanim using this to our advantage, to prove to politicians that the severity is a thing of the past, they are trying to force a narrative that doesn’t exist.

    In the past two articles, we have explored the fallacies of testing.  R’ Yisroel Reisman put it this way:

    The government in its infinite wisdom is working with positivity rates. Positivity rates means that if 50 people take COVID tests and 5 are positive then 10% are positive. What about if there are 100,000 people in this area? It doesn’t matter. It goes by those who take a test. If we can convince 1,000 people to take tests and 5 are positive, then that is .5% (a half of a percent). Then everything is suddenly good. Then things are better. This is the way the government works.”

    In other words, testing rates are pure semantics. We know that the PCR tests aren’t accurate[4], we know that there’s a rate of false positives[5], we know that children aren’t spreaders of the disease[6]. and we know the CDC states “that some individuals test persistently positive due to residual virus material but are unlikely to be infectious”[7].

    Despite all, we are being told that weekly testing is “the only means of proving that we as a community are responsible and can be trusted in public health matters”. Putting aside that it simply doesn’t reflect the facts, this talk is extremely condescending, and implies that adherence to government mandates will ease up restrictions. But no matter how much the virus abates, the restrictions just keep on clamping down harder and harder. What Agudath Israel and its minions refuse to recognize is that it’s not simply a matter of a hoard of inept government bureaucrat epidemiologists who do not understanding the basics of math. Rather the goals behind the testing are likely quite nefarious. On October 29th the NJ Assembly passed amendments to make non-mask wearing a violation[8]. On Friday October 30, all our schools in New York were served papers saying that if schools weren’t fully compliant with draconian new testing protocols within 15 days[9], they would lose their state fundingand we thought that we were doing this voluntarily[10]. The current uptick in testing, egged on by community leaders resulted in positives depicted in figure 2. If you compare that to the chart of deaths in figure 1, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to discover that these results can be easily misconstrued against us.

    At this point in time, instead of digressing further and tiptoeing around the elephant in the room, it’s time to confront head-on some frightening and shocking events taking place around the world.

    “I live in a world of reality”.[11] These were the words uttered by Agudath’s Israel preeminent director in New Jersey and circulated around Lakewood. In a four-minute audio clip, he attempted to persuade everyone to test and to allay any fears that government would have anything less than our best interest in mind. Instead of trying to broaden those with an unlearned and myopic sense of history, let’s just take a look at the current ongoings.

    In Italy, three young adults were locked in quarantine separately for 61 days despite feeling better after two to three days[12]. The faulty tests kept on coming up positive thereby extending the quarantine endlessly. The only reason they were released was due to a change in law.

    In Canada, Health Canada released an RFI (Request for Information) regarding service provider(s) for federal quarantine/isolation sites.[13] In the document, the government listed 11 quarantine sites with a capacity for 1600 people and plans to double that with another 10 sites. There were also Security services, not offered for contract, listed there that will be guarded “24 x 7 at the sites by license guards which will be contracted separately”[14], with “Controlled access to different areas, space for donning and doffing, etc.” Most concerning, however, is a nondescript sentence that reads: “Over time, the use of the DQS may be temporarily discontinued until needed again by the Government of Canada or may be used for other requirements.” We will leave the reader to his or her own devices to guess as to what this could be a reference to.

    This was addressed on the parliament floor by Mr. Randy Hillier:[15]

    “Here’s the RFP, and in the RFP, it uses clear language to express that these camps can be used for a broad spectrum of people, not limited to travelers… it’s just a broad latitude of people. I’ll send over the copy of the RFP after.

    Your government must be in negotiations and aware of these plans to potentially detain and isolate citizens and residents of our country and our province.

    To the Premier: Where will these camps be built, how many people will be detained, and for what reasons can people be kept in these isolation camps? I’d like to have the Premier assure the people of Ontario—”

    In response to the question, his microphone was cut mid-sentence and he was told by The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott) to “take a seat”[16], with the question hanging thickly in the air, remaining unanswered. Evidently, internment camps are not just something that we are uncomfortable talking about, but it is something that government officials aren’t comfortable talking about either.

    In New Zealand, the Minister of Health, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, stated that any positive case even within a family will be managed within a quarantine facility[17]. Simply put, this means that these separations will be mandatory.

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern further stated:

    “I’ve got a number of questions about ‘What do we do if somebody refuses to be tested?’ Well they can’t now. If someone refuses in our facilities to be tested, they have to keep staying. So, they won’t be able to leave after 14 days, they have to stay for another 14 days. So, it’s a pretty good incentive. You either get your tests done and make sure you’re cleared, or we will keep you in our facility longer. So, I think most people will look at that and say: ‘I’ll take the test’.”

    In “Testing, Testing, 1-2-3” I wrote[18]:

    “In a widely circulated clip, Dr. Robert Levin from the Ventura County Health Department (CA) boldly claimed that in order to isolate people ‘we’ll be moving people [from their homes].’ He further stated that this is taking place in all other states. On May 12th Bertha W. Henry from the Health Department in Broward, Florida, also stated the need to go into family homes and move people out… She added that the directive was coming from Dr. Fauci himself!”

    Is this just two rogue counties in the vast United States? Why would two Health Departments in opposite ends of the country release nearly identical statements?

    An enlightening and extremely disturbing document comes from our very own CDC[19]. In a document published on July 26 (almost two months after the virus had flatlined), the CDC issued guidance on how to “shield” high risk individuals from contracting the virus. This document doesn’t discuss sick people; it doesn’t even concern those who tested positive but are asymptomatic. The document focuses on anyone deemed “high risk”. It discusses neighbors “swapping” households to accommodate high risk, and “green zones” with “one entry point” and “no movement into or outside the green zone.” It discusses the need for “community acceptance” because “Isolation/separation from family members, loss of freedom and personal interactions may require additional psychosocial support structures/systems.” Also, “high-risk individuals will be responsible for cleaning and maintaining their own living space and facilities”, notwithstanding that almost all high-risk are elderly. The document does acknowledge that “separating families and disrupting and deconstructing multigenerational households may have long-term negative consequences.” Lastly, they note that “Religious holidays, funerals and other rites of passage are cornerstones of many societies. Proactive planning ahead of time, including strong community engagement and risk communication is needed to better understand the issues and concerns of restricting individuals from participating in communal practices because they are being shielded.” Can the influx of messaging currently seen in our community be termed “community engagement” and “acceptance”?

    From viewing the timeline, we see that the most restrictive laws are being put into place at a time when the virus has passed it’s prime. It’s plainly obvious that the government isn’t quite done with this yet. (Notice the date on the email from the Ocean County Health Department in figure 3.) Currently, New Jersey employs an army of close to 2,000 contact tracers[20] and is seeking to hire 100 more per week[21]. Like other “interventions”, recruitment for contact tracers only began after the brunt of the virus had passed. One only has to imagine that when the cases drop to a select few (like in New Zealand) then another approach may be taken. And the USA wouldn’t be the first democratic country doing so. As long as we keep on testing as a community, there will always be “data” and “figures” available to use against us. If we reject testing en-mass, there can be no basis ע”פ דרך הטבע to further curtail upon our freedoms.

    The point of this essay isn’t to frighten, only to get a grip on reality. R’ Yeruchom Levovitz and R’ Elchonon Wasserman explain that Mashiach’s arrival necessitates that the entire social order be broken down, both in ruchniyus and in the physical, so that we will learn that אין לנו על מי להישען אלא על אבינו שבשמים. If we can internalize that perhaps we can forestall great calamities by achieving the result without the “patch”. The point of חבלי משיח is to awaken us that אין עוד מלבדו, and to do תשובה.

    We needn’t be crestfallen, however. This is analogous to a child who needs to clean up his own mess and is very reluctant to do so. However, when he is excited to do it “to surprise” his mother, the child does all the hard work with such gusto and vigor. Likewise, in our times, in time to clean house. Not for us, but to invite the Shechina to a pristine world.  We know it may be hard for us, but the excitement we have that the Shechina can finally rest in its proper place far overshadows our petty discomfort. With this in mind, we can do teshuva מאהבה and all be זוכה together to bask in the splendor of the Shechina.


    [1] A continuation to Testing, Testing, 1-2-3, and Testing 2.0

    [2] See chart in figure 1. As mentioned in Testing, Testing, 1-2-3, the chart is disingenuous. It warps the actual timeline by giving eight data points for April and May with increasingly less points for the following months. This results in a skewed timeline to seem as if there was more time with heightened deaths, and less time with a very low death rate.

    [3] https://www.ochd.org/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/2020/10/2020-09232020-minutes-September-23-2020.pdf

    [4] https://www.bitchute.com/video/wOSeTz57xrCF/

    [5] See Testing, Testing, 1-2-3

    [6] https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02973-3

    [7] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/k-12-testing.html

    [8] https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/A4500/4453_R1.PDF

    [9] https://hamodia.com/2020/10/30/cuomo-allows-yeshivos-red-zone-open-students-must-tested/

    [10] Notwithstanding the fact that the CDC states “It is unethical and illegal to test someone who does not want to be tested, including students whose parents or guardians do not want them to be tested”.

    [11] https://agudah.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/corona.pdf

    [12] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8846875/Three-British-friends-stuck-quarantine-Italy-61-DAYS-finally-leave.html

    [13]https://buyandsell.gc.ca/cds/public/2020/09/16/20659b7271164ad9984dc3f33b194f38/ABES.PROD.PW__ZL.B105.E38463.EBSU000.PDF

    [14] Meaning, unlike all the other services being up for contract, the “security” will be carried out by the government itself.

    [15] https://youtu.be/TTEF79z2Mvc?list=PL_quIYuBEP0BU72RXJdUUk0j-AHrElz7J&t=2891

    [16] Transcript can be found here: https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/house-documents/parliament-42/session-1/2020-10-07/hansard#P223_27972

    [17] https://twitter.com/berniespofforth/status/1320860041910591489

    [18] Testing, Testing, 1-2-3

    [19] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/global-covid-19/shielding-approach-humanitarian.html

    [20]https://dashboards.doh.nj.gov/views/DOH_Contact_Tracing_Dashboard/ContactTracingDashboard?:embed=y&:isGuestRedirectFromVizportal=y&:origin=viz_share_link&:display_count=n&:showVizHome=n

    [21] https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/approved/20201026b.shtml

    Baruch Katzenstein
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