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Some Covid Links

Happily, my George Mason University colleague Todd Zywicki – who, having had Covid-19, already enjoys protection against significant suffering from the disease – has been granted by GMU officials a waiver from the University’s vaccine mandate.

Brumby tweets

Sweden’s 7-day average COVID deaths have been at ZERO for about a month now.

I feel like its only a matter of time before the very existence of a place called Sweden is scrubbed from the internet.

and Martin Kulldorff follows up:

If the 2020 media coverage of Sweden is to be believed, the only logical explanation is that they are all dead by now, so nobody left to die.

This level of Covid hysteria by New Zealand’s government is inexcusable. A slice from Christian Britschgi’s report:

The New Zealand government is also asking residents to only make physical contact with the people they live with.

“If you want to talk to a friend, call or video chat with them. If you want to talk to a [neighbor], do it over the fence,” reads the government’s guidance on social interactions. Separated parents can still shuttle their children back and forth, provided the parents both live in the same city.

“Do not congregate. Don’t talk to your neighbors. Please keep to your bubbles. We know from overseas cases of the Delta variant that it can be spread by people simply walking past one another,” said Adren at a press conference. “So, keep those movements outside to a bare minimum, wear a mask, and make sure you keep up that physical distance.”

New Zealand has pursued a policy of generally closed borders and snap lockdowns as a means of fighting COVID-19. That approach is credited with keeping the island nation’s number of cases and deaths exceptionally low. In a population of 5 million, there have been 3,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and only 26 confirmed deaths.

The consequence of this strategy is that New Zealand is periodically thrown into a sudden shutdown of all social life over a single case popping up. Auckland had to endure multiple lockdown episodes of this sort in February of this year, for instance.

Some Ohio Judges Are Mandating Vaccinations as a Condition of Probation. That’s an Abuse of Power.” Yes it is.

Recent lockdowns in Melbourne and Sydney have driven a surge in calls by distressed children to the Kids Helpline, taking demand to the highest level recorded in the pandemic.”

Freddie Sayers:

Meanwhile, Israel, one of the earliest countries to vaccinate almost all its citizens and therefore a useful sign of things to come, is experiencing a surge in infections. In May, the Israeli Ministry of Health estimated the efficacy of two vaccines against infection at 95 per cent; by July 5, that estimate had fallen to 64 per cent; and the most recent estimate puts it at 39 per cent. They’re now rolling out booster shots to try to shore up the crumbling wall of immunity against infection.

As usual, there’s a lag of a month or two before the full implications of such a fast-changing situation sink in, but let me try to put it simply. If you have had your two vaccines, it doesn’t mean you will not get Covid: there is no way to remove that possibility. Happily, if you do get it you are much, much less likely to get seriously ill or die, so it is absolutely worth getting vaccinated, as well as taking booster shots when they are offered. But the case rests on protecting yourself from ill health, rather than other people.

Allison Pearson asks why the British government is hellbent on pushing Covid-19 vaccinations on children. As she says, “Teenagers no more need protection against Covid than they need protection against dementia or heart disease or asteroids.” Another slice:

For my son and his friends, who are in their early 20s, the risk-benefit analysis looks very different. Unlike their grandparents, they don’t need to be protected against serious symptoms and hospitalisation. Unless they have underlying conditions, they are at almost zero risk of dying from Covid (most will experience a “mild illness”, as Professor Chris Whitty said at the start of the pandemic). As for children, researchers from University College London, and the universities of York, Bristol and Liverpool, estimated that 25 deaths in a population of some 12 million children in England gave an overall mortality rate of two per million children. To put that into context, Nasa says the odds of asteroid Bennu hitting the Earth are one in 1,750.

David Henderson is among those who are rightly appalled by NIH director Francis Collins’s “shocking innumeracy.” (DBx: Unlike David – who is kinder than I am – I’m unwilling to excuse Fox News’s Chris Wallace for not challenging Collins. Members of the press incessantly preen as the ‘fourth branch,’ helping – often, they boast, with ‘tough questions’ – to keep the three formal branches of government honest. Further, as EconLog commenter Daniel B points out, government officials such as Collins have perverse incentives to present distorted, out-of-context information. Wallace should have been aware of this reality. That Wallace wasn’t aware of this reality isn’t surprising; on this matter I agree with David. But I believe that Wallace nevertheless deserves criticism for this failure.)

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