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Some Covid Links

Well, who’d a-thunk that government officials would abuse the power to ‘nudge’? A slice:

The minutes of the SPI-B meeting of March 22nd, 2020, demonstrate that its endorsement of a covert psychological strategy was a calculated decision to scare the British people, recommending that: “The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent… using hard-hitting emotional messaging.” In her book, A State of Fear, Laura Dodsworth interviewed members of SPI-B who confirmed that there had been a concerted effort to elevate the fear levels of the general public. One committee member, Educational Psychologist Dr. Gavin Morgan, admitted: “They went overboard with the scary message to get compliance.” Another SPI-B member – who wished to remain anonymous – was even more forthright: “The way we have used fear is dystopian… The use of fear has definitely been ethically questionable. It’s been like a weird experiment. Ultimately, it backfired because people became too scared.”

Peter Earle and Jessica Rood ask if lockdowns contributed to an increase in injuries from the performance of do-it-yourself projects. A slice:

Current data strongly suggests that accidents associated with home improvement projects spiked in 2020 as people sought to productively couple idle weeks or months with stimulus payments. And further, that tens (and perhaps hundreds) of thousands of individuals who were hurt undertaking those do-it-yourself plans avoided medical treatment out of fear of contracting Covid at hospitals and other medical facilities.

Noah Carl reports on yet another study that finds that Covid-19 lockdowns fail a reasonable cost-benefit test.

“The Sweden experiment: how no lockdowns led to better mental health, a healthier economy and happier schoolchildren” – that’s the headline of this piece in The Telegraph by Richard Orange. A slice:

Sweden’s decision to eschew lockdown and leave pubs, restaurants, shopping centres and primary schools open throughout the pandemic generated furious discussion internationally.

Millions of people across the world have been confined to their homes, watched businesses go under, and struggled to stay on top of their studies amid wave after wave of restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

But for some 10 million Swedes, the eighteen months since the first local Covid-19 case was registered last February have been largely unremarkable.

Two-thirds of people are not worried about the consequences of the pandemic for them and their family, according to the most recent opinion survey for the Civil Contingencies Agency, carried out in mid-June.

For this reason (and others) let’s hope that Larry Elder will soon be resident in California’s governor’s mansion.

Well, SARS-CoV-2 does use animals in addition to humans as reservoirs, so you can’t be too safe.

Colin Axon warns against the normalization of masks. A slice:

For a year or more, many commentators have been suggesting that the Government’s responses to the pandemic owe more to politics and polls than science. We must resist the creeping normalisation of masks and resist the way in which they have been adopted as a talisman by the campaign for the impossible state of zero Covid.

Vinay Prasad tweets:

Right now America is intoxicated on masking 2 year olds outside and inside (‘cept when they nap – virus naps too)

Soon we will be sober and look at what have we done.

It won’t age well, I promise.

Here’s a letter in today’s Wall Street Journal from Michael Raab, MD:

Dr. Michael Segal advises the reader to “Follow Your Nose to Herd Immunity” (op-ed, Aug. 17). At present, mucosal immunity requires environmental exposure. We know the risk of serious infection among vaccinated people is small, which makes the vaccinated the ideal group to develop mucosal immunity. Mask use among the vaccinated can only decrease the number who safely develop mucosal antibodies, slowing the development of herd immunity. Masking the vaccinated is the wrong solution.

Michael F. Raab, M.D.
Sanibel, Fla.

Jay Bhattacharya writes that “the war on Covid should be over – we do not need lockdowns.” Two slices:

Instead of body bags, we now count the number of people who test positive for the virus that causes the disease. The problem is that the count of cases does not measure the actual danger that the virus poses to people.

There is a thousand-fold difference in the mortality risk from Covid infection between young and old. Based on World Health Organization data published before the vaccine, the survival rate after infection is 95 percent for those over 70, while for those under 70, it is 99.95 percent.

Tracking cases among the vulnerable old is thus a much better marker of progress in the epidemic than cases overall.
Second, mass testing is an insidious form of lockdown by stealth.

Testing regimens aim to check whether perfectly healthy people harbour the virus though they display no symptoms whatsoever.

Careful reviews of the published data show that a significant fraction of the time, though a PCR test for viral fragments (the type typically used for testing) may be positive, a healthy person is not infectious and poses no risk of spreading the virus.

Further, the contact tracing system forces into quarantine countless people who come within the vicinity of the non-infectious healthy person who tested positive.

The result is that a vast number of healthy adults and children are forced to stay at home and miss out on life, with no infection control benefit whatsoever.

Third, mass testing causes lockdown. When cases go up, the media and politicians push for draconian and ineffective lockdown measures, including closed businesses and (in the US) schools. Australia and New Zealand are the apotheosis of this policy of institutionalised hypochondria, where governments impose lockdowns whenever even a single case is found.

This tactic works because obsessive case tracking and reporting are closely tied to the sense of panic and dread in the population.

Here’s more from Ramesh Thakur on the dystopian tyranny now in full force in the once-free country of Australia. A slice:

In Canberra, suffering perhaps from relevance deprivation syndrome while macho state premiers imposed tough lockdowns to increased popularity, Andrew Barr declared a shutdown on 12 August based on one case. Yet a week later, with 67 active cases, there was not a single Covid hospitalisation in the ACT. Not to be outdone, across the ditch Jacinda Ardern shut down the whole country based on just one case.

Many of us have family (parents, siblings, children) in neighbouring and far-flung countries. Politicians and health bureaucrats cannot decide for us the balance of risks of dying from a virus and the joys of spending time with family in our remaining years. As a short-term holding operation while the world tried to figure out what was happening, the harsh restrictions were perhaps tolerable, if barely. Now, as data accumulates and the rest of the world opens up with significantly reduced deaths that contradict the embarrassment-proof Henny Pennies of the epidemiological community, the stubborn devotion to the cult of zero Covid is unforgivable. Remember news anchor Howard Beale in the 1975 film classic Network? ‘I’m a human being, Goddammit. My life has value … I’m as mad as Hell and I’m not going to take it anymore’.

The straw man extends his visit to New Zealand. A slice:

New Zealand’s government on Monday said it will extend a strict nationwide lockdown until at least Friday as it tries to extinguish a growing coronavirus outbreak.

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