William Mattox reports, in the Wall Street Journal, on a happy development in Florida: Children in school districts that mandate masks have been given greater access to school choice in the form of (as Mattox describes it) “a Hope Scholarship that allows them to attend another (public or private) school of their parents’ choosing.” A slice:
The announcement elicited widespread praise from parents who oppose mask mandates and knee-jerk derision from Mr. DeSantis’s detractors nationwide. But the most interesting response came from some Covid-wary Florida parents who support mask requirements. They asked if they too could take advantage of the Hope Scholarships. The department said yes.
Thus, it is now possible for families on all sides of the mask wars to send their kids to a school with Covid policies that match their preferences. That’s a win-win.
But what about the delta variant, which is far more transmissible, if otherwise roughly the same in effects on unvaccinated populations, including kids? “Our most significant post-Delta data comes from the UK,” Brown University economics professor and school-COVID data-collector Emily Oster wrote this week, “where the positive test rate for children up to age 11 was around 2% at the height of the Delta surge, when schools were open (largely without masks). This 2%, of course, reflects transmission from all sources—schools, but also households. Repeat: Household transmission is a much more common vector for children, meaning vaccinating people in the household is your most important prevention strategy.” (Emphasis Oster’s.)
It’s also worth noting that, unlike in the U.S., kids between the ages of 13 and 17 are still ineligible for COVID vaccines in the U.K.
The most shocking findings of the report were the extent of the abuse of power that transpired under the guise of fighting Covid-19. In Western liberal democracies, the restrictions were quite severe with prohibitions on travel, discriminatory behavior, executive overreach, attacks against free expression, and a lack of time limits on emergency powers being common themes. However, what has transpired in more autocratic regimes under lockdowns would make even the most tyrannical American governors blush. Ultimately, the report concludes that liberal democracy during the lockdowns took a hit, but the damage can be minimized if restrictions are lifted and emergency powers are reformed. Lockdowns, as devastating as they were, are only one factor in the chronic decline of our liberal democratic system. However, such a decline opens the door to even worse possibilities.
The doubt/denial of immunity after prior COVID disease, and the resulting vaccine passports/mandates, is gravely damaging the confidence in both public health authorities and vaccines.
Steve Waterson harshly – yet appropriately – decries Australia’s Covid Deranged tyrants. (Also available here.) Three slices:
Many of us in the anti-lockdown corner are asked how many lives we would sacrifice to see the country open up again, our accusers triumphantly certain there is no decent answer because, as the NSW Premier told us in May, “no death is acceptable”.
She and her interstate counterparts would rather smash our lives and livelihoods in pursuit of their ridiculous, hubristic ambition.
If a foreign power were causing damage on this scale we would regard it as an act of war, when deaths in defence of the country would become acceptable again.
Perhaps we should bite the bullet and say 5000 predominantly old people taken prematurely is a sad but tolerable price to pay for the restoration of our freedoms and the repair of our society – as long as it’s not my precious grandparents. Oh wait, mine have already died of old age, like all my ancestors since humans first wandered out of the African Rift Valley. It happens a lot, I understand. And by the way, those 5000 projected deaths assume we could find no other way of protecting the vulnerable, which is hard to believe.
The politicians look on, stern-faced and witless, bleating their platitudes about feeling our pain, and urging us to get vaccinated as the only way to escape the shackles on our lives, as though they had nothing to do with the sinister emergency powers they have granted themselves and aimed against us. “A surge in cases has closed restaurants”; “the latest outbreak means tradesmen can’t go to work”; “thanks to some selfish cab driver we must stay at home for the next month”.
No, ladies and gentlemen, the virus hasn’t done this to us; you have, cosy in your luxurious offices with your index-linked financial cushions, surrounded by sycophants and shoving people around like demented puppetmasters.
What begins as absurdity soon turns dark. In NSW you must carry evidence of your address at all times when outside your home, and produce it to a police officer – “Papers please!” – on demand. You must carry a mask on your person, even to walk the dog around the block. Cold War Berlin-style police checkpoints have appeared on our streets to confirm cars are within 10km of their homes, and their occupants not intending to protest against their rulers. The army is on patrol in areas whose citizens are often refugees from regimes where camouflage battle-dress is rarely a welcome sight.
Do Western concepts of freedom no longer matter in Australia? Is it a trivial matter that we are commanded not to leave our homes? Does it seriously not bother anyone in office that we are being compared – accurately – to North Korea in our legislated refusal to allow our citizens to leave the country, or overseas Australians to return? This is very bad company we find ourselves in.
The politicians say they’re faced with tough decisions, but they’re not making decisions at all. They defend their abdication of responsibility by loftily declaring they are acting on the health advice they receive. They don’t evaluate that advice, mind, they simply follow it.