Lifting Lockdown: Episode 13

Previously on Lifting Lockdown:
– We discussed the impact of lockdown outside of the gym, although we ended up discussing how gyms could help prevent a pandemic, and not spread it.
– We spent a significant amount of time discussing intimate terrorism, AKA domestic violence.
– We briefly ran though all of the lawsuits we’ve seen in regards to the pandemic.

Tonight, we discuss the impact of lockdown outside the gym, we discuss the relative safety OF gyms, and we get an accidental case study in the arbitrary nature of lockdowns from California. In addition, we add to Lifting Lockdown 12’s stack of evidence on obesity making COVID-19 worse, and check in on way too many lawsuits. Because people can only take this for so long.

By the way, PwrBld, the gym that everyone said would be the location of the next outbreak when it opened months ago, just celebrated its one-year anniversary. And they still haven’t been able to link anything back to that gym, or Atilis for that matter.

Let’s get started.

1.) Midnight Iron. Before we go anywhere, it’s time to recognize the new home. Midnight Iron will be the main archive for Lifting Lockdown going forward, and will also see regular updates relating to powerlifting OUTSIDE of the COVID-19 restrictions as competition resumes and, frankly, as issues such as the transgender debate evolve over the next few years. My goal is to ultimately produce a regular podcast of news from around the powerlifting world, focusing on USAPL and USPA events. We will discuss Midnight Iron in detail in a later update. For now, let us remain focused on COVIDS.

2.) COVID Stats —- For our lead story, which is a study on the impact of COVID-19 and whether the lockdown actually did anything productive that was worth their cost, I borrow from my friend Mike Newbern, who wrote that “as the data matures (or emerges depending on your training), we are learning our response came at a very high cost. Even if we stopped now, we’ll be paying the price for years to come.” — There is a growing body of evidence showing that the stay-at-home orders were at best worthless, and at worst counterproductive. —- The Wall Street Journal has called the lockdowns “overly blunt and costly.” — There is also an absolutely brilliant own goal out of Nashville, with emails showing that the city government wildly overstated COVID stats coming from restaurants.

3.) Gyms —- A national study involving check-ins at thousands of gyms has shown what we all suspected and what Norway already proved; gyms present no more of a risk than any other business. — This is where the data from O2 comes from. — Meanwhile, in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis rejected calls to close gyms back in July due to an increase of cases in the state. DeSantis said that the people who go to gyms tend to be fairly low-risk, and that “I think what they are doing is making them even less at risk of the coronavirus. So, I don’t think it would make sense to close them.”

For those looking for information that ISN’T coming from the industry itself, the simple fact is that there isn’t any. — CBS21 in Harrisburg filed a Right-to-Know request demanding information backing the state’s decision to restrict restaurants to 25% capacity, and was told that the information was “protected.”

The only info we have from outside of the industry is DeSantis’ musings; the successful opening of PwrBld, Atilis, as well as gyms in Georgia, Texas, and of course Florida.

We also have the odd note that, to be blunt, if there WERE an outbreak at PwrBld or Atilis, it would have been on 6ABC in Philly by now. In this case, absence of evidence IS evidence of absence.

But even if that’s not enough…..

3.1) Atilis — NJ gyms are opening under a carbon copy of the rules Atilis opened under. A sort of admission-by-plagiarism. — Commentator Matt Christiansen has an excellent review of the Atilis case here. —- NJ’s government is essentially demanding that Atilis mandate masks in their gym in exchange for not being fined….. —- After simultaneously admitting that there is no evidence linking gyms to COVID outbreaks and, apparently there never has been. Which is all the more ironic given that Atilis has been demanding for weeks to see the evidence linking COVID outbreaks to gyms.

3.2) California. — Also found this out of California. The gyms that are open in CA (not many of them), have also shown to have no real impact on the spread of COVID-19 —- News also broke out of California that, while they forced gyms to close in the city, San Francisco Government buildings keep their gyms open for their own use. —- About a week after that story broke, the city announced that gyms, hair salons, and nail salons would be permitted to open. Note that nothing changed about the SCIENCE of the virus, merely the POLITICS of the virus. —- Matt Christiansen has an excellent recap of the California case, as well. — Gym owners in California are now suing the state. Under the State’s plan, a gym’s in a county can operate at 50% capacity if there is less than a new case per day. That’s almost impossible, but as we’ve seen California government doesn’t much care.

Because, again, gyms in SF government buildings operated OUTSIDE of those restrictions.

4.) Obesity studies. We now increase the stack of evidence from Lifting Lockdown 12 with more studies on obesity and COVID-19. — Namely, studies showing that obesity could impact effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine.

5.) Lifting Lockdown Lawsuit Listings. —- A federal judge found the open-ended restrictions placed on PA citizens to be a violation of the 1st and 14th Amendments; namely the right to assembly and due process. The judge further noted that the Governor sees these restrictions as a “new normal” and has no plan to lift anything. —- Staying in PA, a restaurant in Brentwood is suing the health department over COVID-19 restrictions in the state. — Meanwhile in Ohio, we have another lawsuit looking to remove the restrictions on business entirely. You may recall Ohio gym owners two-pronged approach to getting their businesses open back in Episode 5. This focuses on the closures as a whole. — We have a lawsuit over the government’s emergency powers in Connecticut.

6.) Closing thoughts. The Atilis case has become a parody of itself. Not in terms of the gym, but in terms of what is being done TO the gym. First the state sued Atilis, only to release guidelines on reopening that are a carbon copy of what Atilis has been operating under. Weeks later, Gov. Murphy acknowledges that outbreaks were not traced to gyms OR indoor dining, for that matter. While all of this is going on, the government is apparently trying to get Atilis to agree to mandate masks as a condition of not being fined out of existence.

Meanwhile, California )which already was a parody of itself) managed to score an own goal by proclaiming gyms needed to be closed, only for it to be revealed that government gyms in San Francisco remained open. This case did not come out of the government being honest, but of a gym owner having it rubbed in her face.

Finally, we have the case of PwrBld Gym in Conshohocken. As stated earlier, the gym celebrated its one year a few weeks ago. The promises of doom made against Whitney (and the sizable amount of slander/libel he had to deal with) failed to materialize or be even close to accurate. As Gov. DeSantis noted in Florida, the clientele of most gyms tend to be fairly low-risk to begin with, and physical activity has been proven to boost the circulatory, respiratory, and immune systems.

All three cases on their own would demonstrate the arbitrary nature of the restrictions. Combined, they make clear not only the arbitrary nature; but also how government refuses to follow its own rules, in many respects.

But with restrictions now being actively fought in the courts, some governors actively rejecting the idea of a second lockdown, and the complete lack of supporting data; the case for lockdown continues to fall apart. Upwards of six months in, the damage is becoming too great for all but those most dedicated to the idea to ignore.

In short, it is becoming a lot harder for governments to avoid lifting the lockdown.

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