Although it has one or two nits that can be picked, this essay by Paul Collits is very much worth reading in full . (HT David Hart) Two slices:
2020 was a year of abject surrender, of hysteria, of derangement, of paranoia, of delusion on a grand scale. A Kafkaesque year in which governments and their voters opted into the creepy new project of making the whole world a safe space. A year in which we gave up our cherished freedoms for a middling virus that in Australia was less harmful to our health than the 2018 flu season. Less harmful than many other flu seasons.
Freedom of speech? Gone.
Freedom of movement? Gone.
Freedom of assembly? Gone.
Freedom to earn a living? For many, gone.
Whole industries shot to pieces. Hopes and dreams eviscerated. Plans derailed. A year in which the young and the healthy have been forced by the Covid State sacrificed much, for no gain whatsoever. A year of political venality and bungling on a massive scale, of politicians self-protecting by lies big and small.
A year where rational thought, perspective, evidence-based policy and science all left the building. A year that saw the triumph of ideologised technocracy (the rule by experts who may not actually be experts), the victory of those with global power.
For many, life has become prematurely purgatorial. Life replaced by mere existence, clock-watching instead of living. The dying who were wickedly deprived of the chance to say goodbye to their loved ones. We had to keep them alive a little longer, just so they could … die! The grieving who, also, could not say goodbye. Except by zoom. Not for these families the joy of a good death surrounded by peace and love.
A purgatorial year too for the imprisoned of Victoria and elsewhere. The populations under house arrest. Those stressed by being forced to wear muzzles. By the curfews. By the fear mongering that was all too successful. The innocent citizens who were hounded, and in some cases brutalised, by thuggish, out-of-control police whose job used to be catching criminals. And innocent cardinals.
2020 has been a year of Covid cliches, of casual propaganda, of corporates doing infomercials for the government. Stay safe. We are all in it together. Now more than ever … Unprecedented. Uncertain times. We’re here for you. In effect, they have been promoting the purgatorial life. Superspreading the message. Enjoy misery! It is good for you.
Flatten the curve? How about flatten the English language. Make the language a cliched implement of oppression. To flatten the population.
Inaccurate statistics also played a role in faulty decision-making during the Vietnam conflict. General Westmoreland’s beloved “body counts,”  or the number of enemy killed, wounded, or captured during an operation, were routinely overstated to overestimate progress and enhance funding and support for the war. In the Covid-19 context, both “cases” (overwhelmingly either asymptomatic or with mild symptoms) and deaths (with the virus, not of the virus) are overstated, to increase funding for the “war” against the virus and to magnify and prolong the “state of emergency.”
The same scientists from Imperial College London whose wildly inaccurate models stoked panic in March and April are wreaking havoc once again, with dire predictions of a “new strain” of the virus. This has prompted more severe lockdowns and travel restrictions in several nations. At the same time, recent studies showing how rare asymptomatic spread of the disease is (e.g., from the University of Florida ) are virtually ignored by the media and politicians.
For those of you who ridicule those of us who point out that those with political power today act arbitrarily and tyrannically, read Billy Binion’s report on the latest from New York state’s dictator-in-chief, Andrew Cuomo . (Do not forget that any lockdowns or other restrictive measures implemented in response to infectious pathogens will be implemented and enforced by people such as Cuomo.)
Martin Kulldorff :
In case you hadn’t noticed, the lesson of 2020 is that people who thought spring lockdowns would work have all been proved wrong, and the people who tried to warn you that they would simply postpone things have all been proved right.
Weekly mortality through October 3 is partitioned into normal deaths, COVID, and nonCOVID excess deaths (NCEDs). Before March, the excess is negative for the elderly, likely due to the mild flu season. From March onward, excess deaths are approximately 250,000 of which about 17,000 appear to be a COVID undercount and 30,000 non-COVID. Deaths of despair (drug overdose, suicide, alcohol) in 2017 and 2018 are good predictors of the demographic groups with NCEDs in 2020. The NCEDs are disproportionately experienced by men aged 15-55, including men aged 15-25. Local data on opioid overdoses further support the hypothesis that the pandemic and recession were associated with a 10 to 60 percent increase in deaths of despair above already high pre-pandemic levels.