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Some Covid Links

Phil Magness argues sensibly that young adults are being killed by Covid-19 lockdowns. (Where’s the sympathy for these victims?) A slice:

The concession itself is stunning. If opioid overdose deaths are up compared to their 2018 baseline, they could explain the surge in excess deaths among young people rather than the speculated undercounting of Covid fatalities.

Opioid and other substance abuse problems have a well-documented connection to mental despair and economic downturns alike. The lockdown policies that have plagued the United States since the spring have unleashed their own mental health pandemic, in addition to destroying the national employment sector. It’s not unreasonable to conclude that younger people are among the hardest hit by these dual lockdown punches.

On December 18, just two days after the JAMA study came out, the Centers for Disease Control released preliminary data that strongly suggest the alternative explanation is correct. Substance abuse deaths including opioid overdoses have dramatically increased since the 2018 numbers that the JAMA article used as its baseline.

Furthermore, those already-increasing overdose deaths dramatically accelerated after the start of the lockdowns. The new CDC study shows this uptick across all measured categories of substance abuse deaths for April through June, the only months for which records are available as of this writing. In all likelihood, this pattern will continue when data are eventually made available for the summer and fall of 2020.

Robert Dingwall – in contrast to most mainstream pundits – writes like a sane and historically informed adult about infectious diseases and humanity’s responses to them. A slice:

Indeed, until the early 2000s when we started to vaccinate for flu, we accepted that outbreaks would kill [in the U.K.] 20,000 to 50,000 people every winter without much comment. It was a great number of deaths, but it was not considered so great that we should shut down the economy. Lots of us would get flu, some of us would have a bad time, but almost all of us would get better.

If we took a similar attitude to COVID-19 today, and got on with our lives, then we would find ourselves returning to the death rates of the early 2000s, before vaccination started delaying deaths (sometimes we seem to forget death can only ever be postponed, not prevented). There should, in other words, be a real choice in front of us, a choice that is not being discussed. We could move on from our current state of fear to acceptance.

It is important that we do this. Yet we are not being offered this choice by those in authority. Why not? Why are we still locked into the fear and anxiety of February and March?

Some people think that, in continuing with the draconian restrictions, there is a conspiracy to enslave the British people. I am not one of them. I think, rather, we have found ourselves in the hands of a scientific and medical elite with limited understanding of humanity and its needs. This failing is in the nature of their background and their high-minded pursuit of a noble ideal. Their intentions are good, but not practical.

Arthur Diamond laments the failure, during the Covid hysteria, to heed Hayek’s insights about local knowledge.

For the distressingly many of you who continue to cling to the fantasy that politicians will generally behave responsibly and apolitically during pandemics, Art Carden has some information that you might wish to consult.

“The incessant urge to make COVID-19 infection a morality play is corroding our humanity and distracting us from solutions.” – so writes Reason‘s Matt Welch. A slice:

Paradoxically, those most likely to wield blame against individuals and regions suffering from coronavirus tend to be far more sure in their judgments – and reliant on the mantra follow the science – than the people who spend their days actually compiling the messy data about this deadly virus. The anonymous author of the Marginally Compelling newsletter, which painstakingly assembles COVID research by region, had an interesting Twitter thread Thursday in response to the aforementioned DeSantis/Cuomo comparison.

“I’m fascinated with how wedded the press continues to be to the idea that COVID numbers MUST be driven by policy decisions,” he wrote. “They constantly say that numbers are rising in red states DUE TO those states not taking it seriously[.] Let me be as frank as I can here: There is no solid evidence that state policy choices protect a region from a COVID surge[.] None[.] To the degree that they can be controlled (which is not very high, but does seem to exist) the most impactful variable seems to be social patterns.” And those “are not controllable by the government.”

He continued: “Yet the press continues to *demand* that COVID numbers are a direct result of state policy … but only when it fits the insanely crude rubric of ‘red is bad, blue is good’. They are proffering an absolute fiction as if it was obviously true. And the insane thing (to me) is their confidence in this. They clearly believe this to be true when it is *obviously* untrue to anyone who has tried to weigh this idea against the data. They *clearly* have no idea what they are talking about but the speak as if they are experts.”

Christian Britschgi reports on one of the many ways that the deranged response to Covid-19 appears already to be transforming public policy permanently for the worse. Who’d a-thunk it?

Lucio Saverio Eastman and Micha Gartz detail 15 signs that ordinary people are in an abusive relationship with their ‘governments.’ A slice:

9. Tell you it is for your own good, and that they know better

In May, AIER’s Editorial Director Jeffrey Tucker documented how dentists and doctors were prevented from accepting new patients. We were told that, to protect our health we cannot receive medical care (unless it is an emergency). You cannot see a dentist. You cannot see a doctor. You cannot have elective surgery, continue chemotherapy, or receive a transplant either.

They will tell you that it is for your own protection and to follow the experts to ensure the safety of the whole. “Consensus” is the clarion call of these pundits. This is a form of Pathological Altruism which is defined as:

any behavior or personal tendency in which either the stated aim or the implied motivation is to promote the welfare of another. But instead of overall beneficial outcomes, the altruism instead has irrational… and substantial negative consequences.

10. Don’t allow you to question it

Many highly qualified and respected scholars and public health officials stepped up to question the current trajectory and consequences of lockdowns and policy. They have been met with brutal opposition. Any attempts to question the lockdowns or raise doubts about the approach led to attempted deplatforming or silencing of any debate.

A California trauma medical director, Dr. Michael Deboisblanc, was fired for concluding (based on data) that it is safe to reopen schools and writing a letter questioning Contra Costa County’s lockdown measures. Even our local town council condemned the Great Barrington Declaration, and the official website was originally excluded from Google searches in the UK and Australia.

11. Tell you you’re crazy, and no one agrees with you

If you spend any amount of time on social media and if you have an opinion that counters the narrative, you probably experienced some backlash. As our colleague Phil Magness knows too well, there is seemingly no end to accusations of “strawman” arguments and denials of any wrongdoing from lockdown supporters.

Political figures, such as Fauci, claim there is consensus on “the science” they are following. Claims of consensus are defied by petitions, such as the Great Barrington Declaration – now signed by nearly 40,000 medical practitioners, over 13,000 medical and public health scientists, and 700,000+ members of the public – which show that you are not alone in recognizing the substantial adverse effects (and limited success) of lockdowns.