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Some Covid Links

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At Jeffrey Tucker’s new Brownstone Institute, the great Harvard Medical School professor Martin Kulldorff again offers his twelve core principles of public health [2]. A slice:

6. Public health should focus on high-risk populations. For Covid-19, many standard public health measures were never used to protect high-risk older people, leading to unnecessary deaths. More [3].

7. While contact tracing and isolation are critically important for some infectious diseases, it is futile and counterproductive for common infections such as influenza and Covid-19. More [4].

8. A case is only a case if a person is sick. Mass testing asymptomatic individuals is harmful to public health. More [5].

Writing about what he correctly calls the “lawless moratorium” on evictions in the U.S., George Will decries this latest instance of what Robert Higgs described as the ratcheting increase in government power [6]. A slice:

By ordering yet another extension [7], as he did on Tuesday, Biden — who is more terrified of progressives than he is impressed by the Supreme Court — has decided to dare the court to make good on its signaled intent to defend the separation of powers. Whenever this lawless moratorium seems about to end, there will be another wave of media stories, like last week’s, anticipating a tsunami [8] of evictions [9], thereby triggering calls for what would be a sixth extension. Eventually, the memory of normality having faded, the moratorium would seem normal and warranted as “social justice” because evictions [10] might have a “disparate impact” on minorities, and hence be evidence of “systemic racism,” even absent evidence of disparate treatment.

Meanwhile, because of the moratorium, surely many tenants who could pay their rent are choosing not to: $99,000 earners are among the top 17 percent [11]; $198,000 households are in the top 11 percent [12]. Also, the moratorium is, like excessive unemployment benefits, an incentive for some to remain out of the workforce. Such are the ricochets of government, unbridled and gargantuan.

Writing also on the lawless eviction ban is the Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board [13]. A slice:

Too often ignored are the costs on the other side of the evictions ledger. Renters are facing hardships, but so are landlords. There are about 48 million rental housing units in the U.S., according to a 2018 federal survey. For 42% of them, day-to-day management of the property was performed by either the owner or an unpaid agent. Another 25% had a paid manager who was still “directly employed” by the owner.

There are millions of mom-and-pop landlords who own a house here, a duplex there, a small apartment building two streets down. Some of them are going on a year, or more, without rental income, yet they’re responsible for paying the taxes and the upkeep. A few nightmare stories are trickling out, say, of a woman living in a house with a basement apartment, occupied by abusive tenants who apparently saw the moratorium as impunity.

GMU Econ alum Byron Carson teams up with Justin Isaacs and Tony Carilli to argue that Covid-19 is best fought with social capital rather than with government-imposed stringency [14].

Richard Rahn rightly complains about the face-mask authoritarians in our midst [15]. A slice:

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the face-mask Nazis. Most people do not like wearing masks, but those with a tyrannical bent like Dr. Anthony Fauci and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seem to gain great pleasure from making millions of others miserable for no good reason. Do the flimsy cotton masks that most of us own and wear when forced to save lives? The overwhelming evidence (both empirical and theoretical) is no. It is nothing more than an attempt by people with power in government to get the herd (us) to obey them.

A sophisticated mask (such as medical personnel wear) can reduce the spread of influenza and pneumonia. Still, masks of all sorts tend to reduce the amount of oxygen and increase the amount of CO2 we breathe, thus making them more dangerous for those with heart and respiratory diseases. There is also evidence that masks do more harm than good for children. If the folks at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and other government agencies who are trying to control our lives really cared, they would provide detailed cost-benefit studies for people of different ages and health conditions as to who and when should wear a mask, if ever, – but the fact they have failed to do so is telling.

Reason‘s Jacob Sullum explains that “the evidence cited by the CDC does not show that vaccinated and unvaccinated Covid-19 carriers are equally likely to transmit the virus. [16]

Even the BBC reports that “long-lasting Covid-19 symptoms are rare in children. [17]

Laura Dodsworth takes aim at those who wage “a political war on breathing. [18]” A slice:

Morality has been generally topsy-turvy in a time riven by fear. We have no tolerance for Covid deaths but seemingly little interest in deaths from other causes. We were told we must protect the elderly, yet they were transferred from hospitals to care homes and last week we discover that 50,000 dementia cases have been missed. The government showed a worrying enthusiasm for the furtive use of shaming, bullying and fear-mongering to make the nation comply with lockdown rules. Culturally and economically, lockdown was easier for the middle classes and elite, rather than the working classes and front line workers who serviced them. Feminists tie themselves in knots explaining why ‘my body, my choice’ does not extend to vaccine mandates. Schools closed. People died alone at home. Focussing on one virus was never a simple moral equation.

Is NYC mayor Bill De Blasio a racist in disguise? Here’s a slice from a piece by John Fund [19]:

[Tilman] Fertitta can be dismissed by progressives as a self-interested rich guy. But what will happen when it dawns on them that de Blasio’s policy will disproportionately lock Hispanics and blacks out of indoor venues? Almost half of whites in New York City are fully vaccinated, compared to a third of blacks and just under 45 per cent of Hispanics.

‘That means that black New Yorkers will be barred from public accommodations at a far higher rate than will white New Yorkers. This is kind of an awkward policy,’ notes [20] columnist Tim Carney in the Washington Examiner. ‘There is no doubt that the impact of de Blasio’s rule is discriminatory.’

Brendan O’Neill points out a double-standard used by Covid warriors [21]. A slice:

Pointing out the errors made by lockdown sceptics has become the favoured sport of the chattering classes. It sometimes has the whiff of a bloodsport. Every time Sunetra Gupta or Karol Sikora pops up on Radio 4 or makes a comment in a national newspaper, an army of Little Stalins goes wild. ‘These people got things wrong about the virus!’, they cry. ‘Stop platforming them!’ These experts will never escape the mistakes and misjudgements they made about Covid-19 [22]. There will always be a shrill finger-pointer there to remind them. And to accuse them of killing people with their ‘disinformation’.

And yet the same thing hasn’t been done to the experts who were catastrophically wrong about Freedom Day. To the SAGE and Indie SAGE types who told us that opening up on 19 July would cause mayhem and death on a terrible scale. To those epidemiologists who are never off Channel 4 and the BBC and who branded Freedom Day a dangerous, unethical experiment that posed a threat to the entire world, no less. There are no demands for these people to be cast out, kept off the airwaves, asphyxiated of the oxygen of publicity. Funny that. It’s almost as if the hysterical war of words on lockdown sceptics wasn’t about standing up for truth and reality at all, but rather was an intemperate, censorious assault on those who had the temerity to criticise a political course of action – lockdown – that had the backing of the elites.