The spike in new cases is among those who have chosen to remain vulnerable. Everyone should not face mandates because some have made these choices. Meanwhile, those who are vaccinated face a very small risk. It’s not zero risk, but in pre-COVID times, people interacted with others and risked getting the flu, the common cold, and other communicable diseases. COVID risks are analogous, for the vaccinated.
Recognizing the COVID will never completely disappear, and that those who want to can get vaccinated to protect themselves from it, it is time to set aside “temporary” emergency policies.
A year and a half of restrictions on individual liberty is too long, has given the government too much power, and has set a bad precedent that is likely to have negative effects on our liberties down the road. Florida is one state that has taken the path of freedom over mandates. That’s one reason I’m happy to be a Floridian.
So, the Ninth Circuit decision reaffirms the freedom of private alternatives to public schools to offer options that might be at odds with the preferences of public officials—or with the policies of other private institutions. Private schools, microschools, learning pods, and homeschoolers retain their ability to cater to different styles, needs, risk-tolerances, and philosophies, as they should in a diverse and at least nominally free society that respects individual choice.
However, fear ginned up during the recent pandemic based on pronouncements reflecting “expert” authority caused individuals to stop thinking of health as a personal issue and to embrace “public health.” The notion that “public health” reflects an objective reality must be challenged, especially since so much focus is on only one among many viruses and on only one disease among many ailments that afflict mankind. It is troubling that these political feats of legerdemain have induced many citizens to accept an artificial collective construct, with solidarity dominating individual autonomy and security elevated over human liberty.
Yet nothing quite so illustrates the bureaucratic incoherence of Britain’s post-vaccination policy as this lunatic quarantine rule for travellers.
Jacob Sullum rightly criticizes CDC Director Rochelle Walensky both for her seeming inability to understand what is meant by the effectiveness of a vaccine and her definite inability to put risks into proper perspective. A slice:
In the United States, breakthrough infections still seem to be rare, notwithstanding the delta variant, as the CDC acknowledges. “The 125,682 ‘breakthrough’ cases in 38 states found by NBC News represent less than .08 percent of the 164.2 million-plus people who have been fully vaccinated since January, or about one in every 1,300,” CNBC reports. CNBC notes that “the total number of breakthrough cases is likely higher,” since “nine states, including Pennsylvania and Missouri, did not provide any information” and “vaccinated adults who have breakthrough cases but show no symptoms could be missing from the data altogether.” But even if the true number is two or three times as high, it would still not be remotely consistent with Walensky’s risk estimate.
It is by now notorious that its [CNN’s] producers were caught on tape admitting that its infamous death ticker was a cynical ploy to boost ratings. Producer Charlies Chester told his fake Tinder date that “fear really drives numbers … which is why we constantly have the death toll on the side.”
(DBx: To vaccinate myself here from possible push-back: To decry the over-hyping of some danger is not to deny the danger.)
He isn’t the only one to have fallen victim to the online mob of armchair experts who think they know better. Oxford professor Carl Heneghan has also been criticised, not only on social media but by fellow academics as well for questioning the restrictions, while Professor Sunetra Gupta, also from Oxford, says she faced an “astonishing backlash” for calling for a focused protection approach. Leading oncologist Professor Karol Sikora, who has pointed out the collateral harms of lockdowns, has also been singled out for abuse.
So much for science supposedly being advanced by open debate.
One article blamed the media for “pitting scientists against each other” but as Cambridge statistician Professor David Spiegelhalter was brave enough to point out: “Shouldn’t this be: ‘Scientists should rise above polarised policy debates’? Odd to just blame media.” Indeed.