Have our rulers no decency or even awareness of reality? Lockdown tyrant Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, danced with his wife on New Year’s Eve in an almost-empty Times Square. (Why do so many people still obey Covid-19 dictators such as de Blasio and Gavin Newsom?)
Official lying about things large and small has been a staple of Covid politics: the letters to college students threatening them with arrest if they don’t quarantine, the interstate travel “bans” that were never enforced, the death counts that swept up anybody who died of any cause while infected with Covid.
Arguably, it began on day one. I don’t go to the doctor for a cold or flu, and neither do 80% to 95% of you. This has implications: Once Wuhan hospitals were besieged with severe cases, it was a waste of time asking ourselves if the virus was here. It was here. The blocked flights, the testing of recent arrivals were so much hand-waving so our government could be seen doing something.
The mummery has served to swathe and dilute a message that politicians were unhappy to deliver: It would be up to us citizens to control Covid the best we can.
Most of it won’t matter in the least when natural selection throws up another disease with the properties of Covid-19. The virus wasn’t just transmitted easily; crucially, its effects were mild enough that for billions of humans the cost of quashing it outweighed the personal benefit.
This rock-bottom truth our uninsightful media spent much of 2020 trying not to understand. Worse, it tried to make this truth go away by frightening or morally bullying people into behaviors at odds with perceived self-interest.
Viruses will always evolve to be more contagious if they can, but respiratory viruses also often evolve towards being less virulent. Each virus is striving to grab market share for its descendants. The best way of achieving this is to print as many copies of itself as possible while in a human body, yet not make that person so ill that they meet fewer people.
Where the sceptics have a point is that it is a worrying possibility that lockdowns could prevent this natural attenuation of the virus. They keep the virus spreading mainly in hospitals and care homes among the very ill, preventing the eclipse of lethal strains at the hands of milder ones.
My hardest realization of 2020 is that even most seemingly reasonable people go crazy in the face of a rather minor crisis. Biologically speaking, this pandemic could have easily have killed ten times as many people – or people we’d miss ten times as much. Never mind World War III. Taking a far view, I expect a lifetime median of two additional global events worse than COVID.
False beliefs about COVID that nonetheless have widespread adherence in the media, academia, and parts of the epidemiology profession:
– Large numbers of Americans refuse to wear masks (Reality: mask adoption has held steadily around 80% since July https://docs.cdn.yougov.com/cimt2pupbs/econToplines.pdf)
– Large numbers of Americans are skeptical of the vaccine (Reality: 75% of Americans indicate that they plan to take it in surveys – higher than most European countries https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-1124-9/figures/1)
– Large percentages of Americans believe in conspiracy theories about COVID’s origins or believe the virus is a hoax (Reality: most of these conspiracy theories only resonate among a tiny minority of the US population, which is about the same for most other countries https://docs.cdn.yougov.com/…/Globalism2020%20Guardian…)
– The reason the spring lockdowns failed is because not enough Americans followed directions and stayed home when they were told (Reality: US mobility patterns in the spring almost exactly matched Germany, the Netherlands, and several other middle-of-the-pack European countries https://www.aier.org/article/fact-checking-fauci/)
– The reason the spring lockdowns failed is because the US reopened too early (Reality: the US reopening was slower than almost every country in Europe except for the UK https://www.aier.org/…/did-the-us-lockdown-too-late…/)
– Trump opposed the lockdowns and ignored the epidemiology models (Reality: The federal government directly and explicitly adopted a policy based on Neil Ferguson’s Imperial College model on 3/16. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01003-6… Trump also specifically touted Ferguson’s model and spent most of the year explicitly citing its projections to claim credit for lives it supposedly saved. https://www.aier.org/…/professor-lockdown-now-claims…/)
– Trump sidelined Fauci in favor of the anti-lockdown recommendations of Scott Atlas (Reality: Fauci has repeatedly and publicly credited Trump for following his policy recommendations. https://www.huffpost.com/…/fauci-trump-listened_n… Atlas did not even join the task force until August, and was constantly outnumbered by the Fauci-Birx-Collins faction after he arrived)