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So Is It About Public Health?...Or Control?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing, well Public Health and Control. This is obviously an opinion piece. You are going to see here shortly, we are basically discussing this continuing response to what they say is the response to COVID-19 here in Thailand but specifically we are talking about the alcohol policy here. It caused me to have something of an epiphany here recently which made me decide and make this video. For those who are used to our videos, they are rather I hesitate to say short, but we like to keep them concise. This will probably be a comparatively longer video so go ahead and buckle up because we are going to do a deep dive on all of this and as you will see here shortly, a publication that came to my attention just caused me to go into a rather deep rabbit hole on this. If you want to travel down the rabbit hole with me please feel free to be my guest. We are going to go ahead and get into this right now. 

So, this all started when I read a recent article from Thai Visa, that is, and the article is titled: Reopening Bars: People Drinking Alcohol are Difficult to Control and Risk Spreading the Virus. Okay, we will keep on rolling here. Unlike a lot of our videos where I like to do excerpts, I am going to go ahead and read this whole article. It is rather short because I am going to break down a lot of this point by point. Quoting directly: "The Committee for COVID-19 Situation Administration has placed the blame squarely with drinkers of alcohol for not opening pubs and bars in Thailand. Dr. Aphismai Srirangsan said the CCSA sympathize with the Industry after they begged the Government," and I mean begged. We have done, to get into an editorial here, we have done multiple different videos on the state of play with respect to the Food and Beverage Industry most assuredly, and just SMEs in Thailand and it is desperate out there. Yes, beg is not an overstatement; they have begged! Quoting further: "the Government to let them reopen the multi-billion Baht industry last week. But she said, infections of COVID-19 are caused by the (and I quote) "actions of the people" (We will get into that in a minute) and people drinking alcohol make it hard to control situations reported Siam Rath." Quoting further: "She said they lose their restraint making bars and pubs hot beds for the potential spread of the virus. She urged pubs and clubs to demonstrate how they can mitigate this tendency and show how they can re-open safely." Thai Visa notes that such comments are likely to inflame the industry leaders who say they have fallen over backwards to ensure safe environments for people to enjoy a beverage. What is a massive industry in Thailand is currently on its knees begging to be included in other businesses that have been allowed to re-open this week and in recent days yet the authorities with the good doctor included, continue to blame drinkers above most others." Now let's go through some of this here and let's break this down. First of all who are we talking about? Dr. Aphismai Srirangsan said the CCSA sympathized with the industry. I am sure that sympathy is a great comfort to folks who are barely surviving as a result of not being able to make a living during this situation. That said I was curious to what are the qualifications of Dr. Aphismai Srirangsan? So I am not doing this to cast expressions at anyone, I am not doing this bringing this up to be hyper critical. Why am I getting into this? Well this is the Spokesperson, this is the person who is being quoted. Also and we did another video on this a couple of months ago when they started this new "non-lockdown" or whatever you want to call this thing, and they quoted a child psychologist who was saying that "Thais can't control themselves"! We did another video, the title of it is Thailand are a Nation of Children is basically the title of the video, where we got into that. When I first saw this I was kind of curious if this was the same person. Who was this? So I went ahead and did a deep dive trying to figure out who this is. Now let's go ahead and put this on screen. This is from Wikipedia. Dr. Aphismai Srirangsan, nickname: Birth was Miss Thailand 1999. She competed in the Miss Universe 1999 pageant competition held in Trinidad and Tobago as the last Miss Thailand title holder to compete. Currently she works as the Director of Bangkok Hospital, Rehabilitation Recovery Center, Bangkok, Thailand. Then if we go down here, News Presenter, channel 7, looks like channel 7, NBT, Channel 131. So news presenter and former Miss Thailand and then on January 14, 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand she was appointed Assistant Spokesperson for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), by the CCSA Board led by Prayuth Chan-o-cha. So okay, then I went over here and we will put this up on screen too. This is from the website of Bangkok Hospital, that is She is an MD, Khon Kaen University, specialty in Psychiatry. So again, as I said in the last video that we did regarding "Are Thais to be Treated like Children?" and this one begs the question and forgive me, why is a Psychiatrist talking to us about communicable disease? I understand it is an MD and I do get but for example I am an Attorney. I do a fair amount of general practice but to talk to me about Maritime Law which is a very specific set of Law and it is unrelated to anything I otherwise do, for me to go out there and be just talking at length about Maritime Law, something I don't have a great deal of experience in; I have dealt with some things dealing with Maritime Law, or Patent Law for example, I personally haven't dealt a lot with Patent Law, there are just certain things that are outside of my bailiwick so forgive me if I come across as a little bit incredulous when hearing some of these things from a former Miss Thailand news presenter with a Medical Degree certainly and a specialty in Psychiatry, why is it that all of the people that are spokespeople for this thing are in Psychiatry or Psychology? Where are the Epidemiologists that are talking to the public, where are the Virologists out there? I do understand there is no Pandemic Specialist in a sense but again where are the Virologists, where are the Epidemiologists, Immunologists, where are those folks; Internal Medicine people, where are they in all of this? That is just the beginning. This is just a person who has been slated to be the Spokesperson for the CCSA but I would be very curious to see if a Virologist made this statement and to quote this again: "she said infections of COVID-19 are caused by the "actions of people". What kind of statement is that? People do not cause Coronavirus, the virus causes infection of Coronavirus. I have done another video on this channel. I urge those are watching this who haven't seen it to check it out. Go into our search function, it is called Proximate Cause. The Proximate Cause of the virus is the virus itself. As I said in that video, if you have a tornado and the winds of a tornado knock the door off a house, you can't say that "oh, because you put your house in a certain place, that tornado knocked that door off and caused me damage." No! The proximate cause of the door hitting someone or something is the tornado not the location of the house. The proximate cause of a virus and infection therefrom is the virus. The people that inadvertently end up in the chain of transmission, let me clear on this, inadvertently. If you know you have Coronavirus and you intentionally go out of your way to either spread it or you just negligently don't care and let someone get it, that is one thing. I am not talking about that. The infection by the Coronavirus is not caused by "actions of the people or actions of people", it is caused by the virus. I do have some qualification to make that statement because that is a legal notion; that is not purely medical. Yes, I understand people can inadvertently be in the chain of transmission but we as humanity have been inadvertently in the chain of transmission to how many countless viruses since the dawn of time. We have inadvertently been in the chain of transmission of how many colds and bacteria since the dawn of time. There is nothing in the legal codes of this earth anywhere that creates a burden or duty on people if they are inadvertently in the chain of transmission of a disease. Because you can't do that. People could never move around; they could never do anything if that was the standard. They couldn't leave their house ever because there is an off chance they may inadvertently be in the chain of transmission of a virus. So let's go back to that. I just want to reiterate on that. Infections of COVID-19 are caused by the "actions of people"! Sorry, I am just not buying that. Moving forward "and people drinking alcohol make it hard to control situations." Well so what is this about then? Because alcohol has not been a main feature of many of the "lockdowns" we have seen throughout the world and I am going to get into places where it has been here in a moment. Where does this come from? and all of this is presented as if there is this self-evident notion that these lockdown measures work; that this is how we need to be handling this rather than quite frankly as I felt that Prayuth pointed it out rather well where he said "we just have to learn to live with this". My opinion is I think we need to learn to live with a lot more quickly than 120 days from now but leave that where it is at. We do need to learn to live with this. We have learned to live with every other disease since the dawn of time and we haven't locked down countries; we haven't made economies completely eviscerated and moribund and we certainly haven't said the diseases are caused by "actions of people"! Because they are not, they are caused by diseases. Diseases cause disease, diseases cause infection. 

So moving forward, as I said, "She urged pubs and clubs to demonstrate they can mitigate this tendency and show how they can re-open safely?" Well this is the interesting thing because this is predicated upon the presumption that these lockdown measures and I know we are in Thailand, we are in a "non-lockdown" notwithstanding literally everything is as closed as it can be with the exception of certain eateries till 9:00 p.m. here in Bangkok, but it is predicated on this presumption that these lockdown measures just work; that it is just self-evident that this all just works. Look back in April, May, June of 2020 I did not go out of my way to make a big issue about this because I didn't know what was going on. It was a pretty new phenomenon and everybody was trying to do the best that they could. The reason I am getting more upset about this now and I am making these videos one I am seeing people having tremendous economic hardship as a result of all of this and it is being based on presuppositions that at this point I can't seem to find any data that leads me to believe that this is the correct course of action. Yet, we are all being spoken to, in this case spoken down to in my opinion, as if this is all just self-evidently the correct course of action. So to speak to that point, I have a few things to bring up. First of all, from the Telegraph, that is, and this is from 3rd June, 2021. The title being: Lockdown 'Had no Effect' on Coronavirus Pandemic in Germany. "Scientists of Munich University found German infection rate was already falling before lockdown was imposed." Quoting further: "A new study by German scientists claims to have found evidence that lockdowns may have had little effect on controlling the Coronavirus." I urge those who are watching this I don't want to make a big video about lockdowns; that is not the purpose of this video. More to the point is this issue of alcohol and frankly this talking down to us the way the Media has done it, I found it really galling frankly on a personal level but that is just one. So again this is June 3rd 2021. This isn't the first. Going back from December 9th, 2020 from the, the article is titled: 3 Studies that Show Lockdowns are Ineffective at slowing COVID-19.

1. The Lancet, July quoting directly: "A study published on July 21 in the Lancet, a weekly peer review medical journal founded in 1823, indicated that government lockdowns were ineffective. Researchers collected data from the 50 countries with the most cases and then quoting directly from that Lancet study: "Government actions such as border closures, full lockdowns and a high rate of COVID-19 testing were not associated with statistically significant reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality" the study concluded." 2. Frontiers in Public Health, November. "Similarly a study published in Frontiers in Public Health several months after the Lancet Paper found neither lockdowns nor lockdown stringency (that is interesting because one could argue this non-lockdown we are in with the stringency of having no alcohol associated with it, is kind of a stringency as opposed to a feature of the lockdown if you will) nor lockdown stringency were correlated with lower death rates." Quoting further: "Stringency of the measures settled to fight the pandemic including lockdown "did not appear to be linked with death rate" the researchers concluded." Quoting further: "3. Tel Aviv University Study, October. Research from Tel Aviv University published in October on the website medRxiv said that strict lockdowns may not save lives.” Quoting further: “We would have expected to see fewer COVID-19 fatalities in countries with a tighter lockdown but the data reveals that this is not the case.” the researchers explained.” Quoting further: “In May Bloomberg article titled The Results of Europe's Lockdown Experiment Are In. Quoting further: "There is little correlation between the severity of nation's restrictions and whether it managed to curb excess fatalities the report concludes." Again there is a lot in there. I urge those to go check out for that and then finally and this is from, quoting directly: "Pandemics are serious problems but the belief that they can be effectively managed by Central Planners who refuse to recognize the limits of their own knowledge and power poses a much graver threat to human freedom and prosperity in the long run." You can say that again. The reason I found that rather interesting is this again is presented as just a self-evident foregone conclusion that this is the right course of action. Well as you can see there seems to be and I don't know, I am not claiming to know, let me be clear on that but there seems to be data out there, serious studied peer review data out there, that suggests that perhaps this isn't the right course of action which brings us to the specific issue of alcohol. Now that is just talking about lockdowns specifically or generally but this specific issue the specific stringency if you will, this specific feature with respect to this alcohol lockdown if you want to call that or alcohol ban, I was reading through and I sort of sift through the detritus of the internet frequently so I find things that are somewhat unrelated topically that can be pulled back into a more coherent narrative if you will and an article I found, Late Stage Globalism: When Anything that is Not Censored is a Lie authored by Mark Jeftovic, quoting directly: "It may turn out there is a saturation level of manufactured narrative that the public can be led to believe or tolerate and beyond that point it all begins to look like hyper reality. Not only do fewer people believe it anymore, more of them are done with even pretending to believe it. With too many things that were presented to us as truthful information over the last year turning out to be wrong or a lie and almost everything that was dismissed as "already debunked conspiracy theory" turning out to have more substance, we may be crossing that point." Now I thought that was really interesting when I was postulating or positing making this video. I thought that was a good way to look at it because I am not out there thinking that there was any narrative being created with respect to lockdowns. That seemed to be the immediate thing everybody jumped on and I can see where a certain momentum grows of its own accord but there does seem to be a narrative in Thailand and it is exemplified again we will put this back up on screen, it is Thai Visa article but it is reporting what is being said. There seems to be this strange narrative that it is just self-evident that alcohol bans are necessary to fight the Coronavirus. I don't see where the data is on that. As we just stipulated or brought to the forefront, there is already some healthy disagreement. Reasonable people seem to be disagreeing, at least in the academics' sphere regarding the efficacy of lockdowns generally, so therefore this narrative of alcohol ban, where is this coming from? My gut tells me and I hesitate to go out too far on a limb and speculate as to why someone would push this, but there seems to be kind of a puritanical bent to some folks who just don't like to drink or they don't think drinking is a good idea. But again, in this whole thing, there is no data, there is just things like this. She said "they lose their restraint making bars and pubs hot beds for the potential spread of the virus". I mean what does that mean? Then this was interesting. “She urged pubs and clubs to demonstrate how they can mitigate this tendency and show they can re-open safely?” So again, moving back to this where this narrative is coming from. I find it really fascinating because they are okay to just say we need to shut down bars and pubs, that is self-evident or that is clear that is what we need to do and we need to keep doing this because "actions of people" cause infections and "it is hard to control situations". And they can become "hot beds" for the potential spread of the virus. Okay, well construction sites seem to have been "hot beds" for potential spread of the virus and there has been no advocacy for the banning of construction in Thailand. I mean why not? Why hasn't there been a narrative surrounding that and there is a narrative surrounding alcohol usage? Could it be because there are those that have a political agenda against alcohol usage? Is this being politicized? I am asking the question. I am not asking it rhetorically. I am genuinely asking that question because I don't know because I am not seeing any narrative, I am not seeing any data to support this notion that alcohol and the "actions of people" spread infections.

To that end, a recent article I found when researching this in a more general sense is it appears South Africa has had similar issues with their Government dealing with this alcohol ban or this presumption that alcohol in and of itself is this great spreader of COVID. A recent article from Independent online, the article is titled: Government Must Show Science Behind Booze Sale Ban Says Liquor Industry and this is from and quoting directly: "Our constant call is for Government to share the data that they base their decisions on with the objective of understanding the science behind the decisions so that we can find other ways in future to limit the spread of the virus while protecting the livelihoods that are supported by our sector, not just for the Easter weekend but for all the restrictions placed on Industry over the last year. To this end, we have submitted a request in terms of the promotion of Access to Information Act that the Government explain the science behind it. We remain hopeful that the Government will share the data with us in due course he said." And he is Sibani Mngabi, Chairperson of the South African Liquor Brandowners Association. And just for clarification this is from April 4th, 2021. Again back in 2020, if this had been April 2020 or June 2020, I think people were willing to give the Government a benefit the doubt when they were putting these restrictions on because things were more opaque frankly. We didn't know what this disease was, we didn't know what it could do. We are 15 months in; we know what this thing does; we know what it can do; we know the mortality rates of it and candidly yes all deaths are terrible. No one wants to see anyone die but there is a certain cost benefit I think that we can do at this point as pointed out by this gentleman from the South African Liquor Brandowners Association. There are livelihoods at stake, seriously at stake. I don't think people in this CCSA are really thinking about that because unfortunately sometimes people get professional blinders on. I can do it myself. I am a lawyer. When I see a situation I see it through the eyes of a lawyer. If you are a hammer, everything you see are nails; that is just how you view problem solving. So people that are looking to deal with the spread of this disease, all they are looking to is how to stop the spread of this disease. They are not looking at the wider ramifications of the policies that they may be advocating notwithstanding the fact I have serious issue with anybody that says "actions of people cause infection". That in and of itself leaves me to question things. 

To put the finest point I can on it though I am going to go ahead and put this up on screen. This is from Twitter; this is from @bkmango. As you can see: Pattaya at Breaking Point. “Pattaya's situation is getting worse due to the fact that there have been almost no tourists for 15 months. The suffering is visible everywhere". As you can see there is a link to a video in there. I urge those who are watching this video to go check that out and you will really see the ramifications of these policies. And yes, at one time perhaps it might have been necessary to take rather serious and stringent steps to deal with this but we are 15 months down the road. I know it is hard for some people to understand, perhaps people that don't drink; perhaps people that have a religious or philosophical problem with drinking that people like to drink, and that businesses make their living from supplying people with alcoholic beverages. I understand there are people out there who just don't fundamentally understand that but the fact is, this is about Public Health. Public Health isn't just one disease. If you look in that video from that Twitter tweet I just put up, there are people homeless throughout Pattaya right now. I mean people who are having food insecurity issues. I mean these are problems too. I am not saying that just allowing drinking in pubs or bars or even just in restaurants maybe they don't go even so far as Pubs and Bars, but just in restaurants is going to magically cure everything. What I find really hard to watch at this point is this dismissal of everything else other than COVID and this dismissive tone in people saying things, "actions of people cause infections", "bars and pubs are hot beds for potential spread of the virus"! Notwithstanding you could arbitrarily pick other things that could be viewed as hotbeds that we are not saying need to be closed forever and ever. "They need to demonstrate how they can mitigate this tendency"! Well you need to demonstrate the data that shows there even is a tendency that these are "hot beds", that there is data out there which shows unequivocally that this alcohol ban is somehow necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. I would say it is not on the public to prove that what they use to make their living, that they need to prove themselves innocent of the spread of COVID, that is not the point. First of all that has never been how we viewed Public Health, as "actions of people cause infection". That has never been how I have ever understood it and in my opinion if the government imposes a policy, any government, this could be the US too, if they impose a policy that is this restrictive and quite frankly that is this burdensome on the public, shouldn't it be on them to show the data that unequivocally proves that these mandates are necessary.