Martin Kulldorff and Jay Bhattacharya – who, along with Sunetra Gupta, wrote the great Great Barrington Declaration – expose lies spread about physicians who are honest about the consequences of lockdowns. Two slices: Politicians and journalists will sometimes mischaracterize their opponents’ views and then argue against those phantoms rather than real views. It is a cheap but effective political and journalistic trick. Medical news sources have adopted this tactic during the pandemic, with disastrous consequences for public trust in public health and medicine. The latest example comes from Medpage Today, a medical news site popular among doctors. Many physicians get their pandemic information from Medpage Today. Once trusted sources that provided the latest medical information from a
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Martin Kulldorff and Jay Bhattacharya – who, along with Sunetra Gupta, wrote the great Great Barrington Declaration – expose lies spread about physicians who are honest about the consequences of lockdowns. Two slices:
Politicians and journalists will sometimes mischaracterize their opponents’ views and then argue against those phantoms rather than real views. It is a cheap but effective political and journalistic trick. Medical news sources have adopted this tactic during the pandemic, with disastrous consequences for public trust in public health and medicine.
The latest example comes from Medpage Today, a medical news site popular among doctors. Many physicians get their pandemic information from Medpage Today.
Once trusted sources that provided the latest medical information from a variety of perspectives, medical news sites like Medpage Today have turned into political mouthpieces for governments that imposed unsuccessful lockdown policies resulting in more than 750,000 U.S. Covid deaths and enormous collateral damage.
A population panicked by public health messaging closed schools and skipped basic medical care resulting in worse cancer, cardiovascular diseases, mental health, and educational outcomes. Universal lockdowns dragged out the pandemic over a longer time period.
Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries implemented more limited restrictions, focusing instead on protecting older, high-risk citizens. The result? Scandinavia has lower Covid mortality than most other European countries and less collateral harm. In the United States, Florida shifted to a similar approach, resulting in a lower age-adjusted Covid mortality than the national average and less collateral harm.
Medpage Today also falsely claims the previous White House “embraced” the Great Barrington Declaration. Public health scientists have an obligation to politicians of all stripes. In late August 2020, we met with President Trump, Vice President Pence, and others at the White House, with no effect.
Second, the moment he lied, it was over. Even Fauci’s most ardent fans will concede that Fauci lied. He lied about masking, per his own admission. Of course, he claims he did so to protect the mask supply for healthcare workers early in the pandemic. Indeed, if true, that would be a noble lie, and we can all understand why some might forgive him. But surely, we can also understand why many Americans would start to distrust him, as well? A leader in a national crisis has to speak to all Americans and lies make that impossible.
An easy solution would be to resign and pass the baton to someone with a fresh reputation. But, that wasn’t when he lied. The meta-lie is the idea that Fauci was initially deceitful about masking, but later told the truth. That is also a lie. The truth is that Fauci was initially honest about masking, and later, and to this date, lied about the evidence. We summarize all lines of evidence for masking in our recent paper.
Thanks to the vaccine rollout and natural infection (Covid has gone through schools like a dose of salts) some 92 per cent of adults [in Britain] now have antibodies. And children were never strongly implicated in infection anyway. There is no reason whatsoever to cancel school events or send kids home because one boy in the class sneezes. Indeed, given the appalling mental health crisis among our young people, it is unforgivable to persist in treating them like lepers, denying them the healing pleasure of togetherness.
The most distressing school story I have heard recently came from Jane, whose daughter suffered terribly during lockdown. Jessie being denied access to her playmates was, her mother thought, “cruel and entirely unnecessary”. But, at least, once she started a new term, things would be back to normal. Bizarrely, the previously sensible and pragmatic school, decided to reintroduce mask-wearing “to keep the children and staff safe”.
“I have yet to find any evidence as to why wearing a piece of cloth with gaps at the side all day long is ‘keeping my daughter safe’,” fumed Jane. Furthermore, the decision was taken after the Covid vaccine had been given to all children who wanted it. But it was another email from school containing the following sentence that shocked Jane to the core. “Those pupils who were exempt from wearing a mask last academic year will once again be exempt and should wear a yellow badge to indicate this,” it said.
Take a minute to absorb that. A school is singling out pupils by making them wear a yellow badge. Is the school’s head so astronomically dim that they have never heard of the way Nazi Germany ostracised its Jews? If so, education is in more trouble than we knew.
It is the old, not the young, who are afflicted by Covid. Society has no business insisting that its youngest members put on masks when they are at no risk. But to make kids who, for whatever reason, can’t cover their face, wear a yellow sign of stigma, well, that goes beyond anything that is acceptable in a decent country.
Remote learning, which was imposed upon most California schoolkids from March 2020 to August 2021 despite the Golden State’s famously temperate climate and generous outdoor school space, has been a well-documented educational disaster. A November 14 National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) working paper on the pandemic and test scores led by Brown University economist Emily Oster found that (in Oster’s words) “Bottom line: losses are big, and much bigger with less in-person school.”
Yet several California school districts, affecting an estimated 350,000 kids combined, are gearing up to re-sentence their unvaccinated students to remote learning dysfunction. Piedmont’s vax mandate deadline was November 17; Culver City’s was November 19, San Diego students aged 16 and over have until December 20, Oakland kids hear the vax bell ring January 1, and West Contra Costa follows on January 3. Sacramento and Hayward at least will allow unvaccinated students to test their way into staying in class.
A number of democratic countries—the report specifically mentions the United States in this section—have implemented COVID measures “that were disproportionate, illegal, indefinite or unconnected to the nature of the emergency,” according to the IIDEA report. Those include travel restrictions and the use of “emergency powers that sometimes sidelined parliaments.”
The last two years have indeed been littered with examples of previously unheard-of government powers on display in the U.S. That includes everything from statewide lockdowns in which governors decreed which businesses were “essential” to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with the backing of both the Trump and Biden administrations, making it nearly impossible for property owners to evict deadbeat tenants. It took until this month for the U.S. to reopen its border with Canada for supposedly “nonessential” travel, even though there was probably no good justification for closing the border in the first place.
Outside the U.S., places like Austria and Australia continue to rachet up authoritarian restrictions on public interactions and economic behavior—even for people who have been vaccinated. According to the report, 69 countries have made violating COVID restrictions an imprisonable offense, with two-thirds of those countries being ones the group considers to be democracies. Albania and Mexico have the most punitive laws on the books, allowing prison sentences of 15 years and 12 years, respectively, for violating pandemic-related protocols.
More than 20 percent of countries have used their militaries to enforce COVID controls, which the report warns could contribute to “the normalization of increasingly militarized civil life after the pandemic.” Meanwhile, 42 percent of countries have rolled out voluntary or compulsory apps used for contact tracing, which may be effective in curbing the spread of the virus but create concerning new opportunities for government surveillance in a post-pandemic world.
Yesterday morning Karol Markowicz tweeted this: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)
It’s 37 degrees in NYC today and kids at public schools around the city are still eating lunch sitting on the ground outside. Grown-ups who enact these policies should try it!