≡ Menu

Some Covid Links

Phil Magness documents the appalling track record of the reckless Neil Ferguson and his fellow Imperial College modelers. Two slices:

The satirist Ambrose Bierce once defined prophecy as the “art and practice of selling one’s credibility for future delivery.” Covid-19 has produced no shortage of doomsaying prophets whose prognostications completely failed at future delivery, and yet in the eyes of the scientific community their credibility remains peculiarly intact.

No greater example exists than the epidemiology modeling team at Imperial College-London (ICL), led by the physicist Neil Ferguson. As I’ve documented at length, the ICL modelers played a direct and primary role in selling the concept of lockdowns to the world. The governments of the United States and United Kingdom explicitly credited Ferguson’s forecasts on March 16, 2020 with the decision to embrace the once-unthinkable response of ordering their populations to shelter in place.

Ferguson openly boasted of his team’s role in these decisions in a December 2020 interview, and continues to implausibly claim credit for saving millions of lives despite the deficit of empirical evidence that his policies delivered on their promises. Quite the opposite – the worst outcomes in terms of Covid deaths per capita are almost entirely in countries that leaned heavily on lockdowns and related nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) in their unsuccessful bid to turn the pandemic’s tide.

Assessed looking backward from the one-year mark, ICL’s modeling exercises performed disastrously. They not only failed to accurately forecast the course of the pandemic in the US and UK – they also failed to anticipate Covid-19’s course in almost every country in the world, irrespective of the policy responses taken.
Why is Ferguson, who has a long history of absurdly exaggerated modeling predictions, still viewed as a leading authority on pandemic forecasting? And why is the ICL team still advising governments around the world on how to deal with Covid-19 through its flawed modeling approach? In March 2020 ICL sold its credibility for future delivery. That future has arrived, and the results are not pretty.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board weighs in with its own just criticism of the CDC’s decision to follow, not the science, but the teachers’ unions. A slice:

The AFT [American Federation of Teachers] acknowledged to the Post that it had been “in regular touch” with the CDC. Dr. Walensky’s spokesperson told the Post that the “CDC has traditionally engaged with organizations and groups that are impacted by guidance and recommendations issued by the agency” in part to ensure “our recommendations are feasible.”

That must be news to most Americans. Recall the uproar when critics accused the Trump Administration of sidelining CDC career scientists because it elevated outside scientists who disagreed with the liberal lockdown consensus. Now the Biden Administration is letting a powerful Democratic interest group dictate virus guidelines.

Robby Soave – documenting one of the countless sick consequences of Covid Derangement Syndrome – correctly describes the CDC’s guidance for summer camps as “insane.” A slice:

This is bonkers. First, COVID-19 is not easily transmitted outside, even if people are maskless. Second, all camp staffers will have likely had the opportunity to be vaccinated by the time summer arrives. Third, the campers themselves are not at risk of a negative health outcome: For kids, COVID-19 is probably less hazardous than the flu. (In a typical year, more U.S. kids drown than will have died of COVID-19.)

Ilya Somin reports on another court ruling against the CDC’s moratorium against evictions. A slice:

Today’s ruling is similar to most of the previous decisions that went against the CDC order, in so far as they all conclude that the government’s position would give the CDC sweeping power to that goes far beyond anything authorized by Congress. But it differs from the earlier cases because it addresses the issue within the context of the Supreme Court’s famous ruling in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council (1984), which requires federal courts to defer to “reasonable” executive agency interpretations of statutes in cases where the agency is tasked with enforcing the law in question, and Congress has not specifically addressed the question at issue. The Biden administration argues that the CDC deserves Chevron deference in this case. The court wasn’t persuaded.

Jeff Singer – encountering a symptom of Covid Derangement Syndrome – is waiting for behavior to catch up to the realities. A slice:

Yet, while walking alone towards my car in a parking lot the other day, I was chastised by a woman who was several yards away from me because I was not wearing a mask. The woman was double‐​masked and also wearing a face shield. I told her about the CDC’s new outdoor mask guidelines and that I was fully vaccinated. The woman replied that she too was fully vaccinated but knows better than to walk outside without wearing a mask. Realizing that there was nothing to be gained from continuing the conversation I got into my car and drove off.

The woman would have agreed with the Brookline, Massachusetts Town Manager, who announced on April 30 that, despite the new CDC guidance, and despite the state easing its outdoor mask mandate, the outdoor mask mandate will remain in place in Brookline.

Sarah Knapton reports that “Almost a third of recent Covid deaths in England and Wales not caused by virus.” A slice:

Weekly death data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that, for nearly 33 per cent of people included in the overall coronavirus death figures, Covid was not an underlying cause of death but was merely mentioned on the death certificate.

The number of people who are not principally dying from Covid but are still being included in the official figures has been creeping up steadily as the pandemic has declined.

It had been running at around 10 per cent for most of the crisis but had risen to nearly a quarter by mid-April and is continuing to increase.

Also writing about “Covid deaths” that are not caused by Covid is Ross Clark. A slice:

But the figures which arguably give the best overall view of the lethality of the pandemic are those published by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries as part of its Continuous Mortality Investigation. These look at mortality as a whole, and don’t just compare it with a raw, five-year average as the ONS does – they adjust for population growth and for an ageing population by looking at the standardised mortality rate. The latest figures, published today, show that cumulative mortality for 2021 up to 23 April is running just 2 per cent ahead of the average for the years 2011 to 2020.

We have become conditioned to hearing frightening daily death figures, which are often crudely converted into ‘Jumbo jet-loads’. Yet the wider picture is of overall mortality running only slightly ahead of a normal year.

Dissent from the official Covid line in Germany is being criminalized. A slice:

For over a year, anyone questioning or protesting the “Covid emergency measures” or the official Covid-19 narrative has been demonized by the government and the media, and, sadly, but not completely unexpectedly, the majority of the German public. And now such dissent is officially “extremism.”

Yes, that’s right, in “New Normal” Germany, if you dissent from the official state ideology, you are now officially a dangerous “extremist.” The German Intelligence agency (the “BfV”) has even invented a new category of “extremists” in order to allow themselves to legally monitor anyone suspected of being “anti-democratic and/or delegitimizing the state in a way that endangers security,” like…you know, non-violently protesting, or speaking out against, or criticizing, or satirizing, the so-called “New Normal.”

TANSTAFPC (There Ain’t No Such Thing As Free Protection From Covid.)

Here’s a report on Jay Bhattacharya’s recent testimony in a court case in Manitoba. A slice from the report:

Lockdowns meant to reduce the spread of COVID-19 push the problem into the future, an outspoken critic of pandemic restrictions said Tuesday at a court hearing on a challenge to Manitoba’s right to impose such orders.

Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University who has criticized lockdowns in the United States, acknowledged that the strict measures reduce the initial peak number of cases, but said the practice delays those infections to a later point.

Bhattacharya testified as a key witness Tuesday of the applicants — seven rural Manitoba churches, a pastor, a deacon and a man ticketed for attending an anti-lockdown protest — who argue Manitoba’s lockdown measures are unjustified violations of Charter-protected freedoms of conscience, religion, expression and peaceful assembly.

John Lee decries Covid Derangement Syndrome.

More than two months ago – on March 2nd – Texas governor Greg Abbott conditionally eliminated all state-wide Covid restrictions. At the time, Abbott’s alleged “Neanderthal thinking” was predicted by many pundits and pols to lead to calamity. Here’s the record (from no less a source than the New York Times.) Since March 2nd, it looks quite good. As of yesterday, May 5th, the 7-day rolling average of new Covid cases in Texas is only 39 percent of what it was on March 2nd. Covid hospitalizations and deaths are also significantly down.)


Next post:

Previous post: