Some Covid Links

by Don Boudreaux on August 26, 2021

in Country Problems, Current Affairs, Education, Reality Is Not Optional, Risk and Safety, Seen and Unseen

BOUTROS on Twitter:

I don’t know if it was deliberate, but Dr. [Martin] Kulldorff just goaded half of Twitter into basically admitting that the moralistic response to COVID (othering, blame, ostracizing) is equivalent to a thousand-and-one historic atrocities.

Glenn Greenwald decries “the bizarre refusal to apply cost-benefit analysis to COVID debates.” A slice:

This framework [of cost-benefit analysis], above all else, precludes an absolutist approach to rational policy-making. We never opt for a society-altering policy on the ground that “any lives saved make it imperative to embrace” precisely because such a primitive mindset ignores all the countervailing costs which this life-saving policy would generate (including, oftentimes, loss of life as well: banning planes, for instance, would save lives by preventing deaths from airplane crashes, but would also create its own new deaths by causing more people to drive cars).

While arguments are common about how this framework should be applied and which specific policies are ideal, the use of cost-benefit analysis as the primary formula we use is uncontroversial — at least it was until the COVID pandemic began. It is now extremely common in Western democracies for large factions of citizens to demand that any measures undertaken to prevent COVID deaths are vital, regardless of the costs imposed by those policies. Thus, this mentality insists, we must keep schools closed to avoid the contracting by children of COVID regardless of the horrific costs which eighteen months or two years of school closures impose on all children.

It is impossible to overstate the costs imposed on children of all ages from the sustained, enduring and severe disruptions to their lives justified in the name of COVID.

Matt Welch’s advice is wise: “Don’t Let the Media Scare You with COVID Numbers from L.A. Schools.” A slice:

One of the most irritating parts about being a parent of school-aged children during the past 18 months has been trying to hack through the journalistic hysteria enough to extract useful and contextual information about COVID, group settings, and kids.

Last August, that meant brushing past the “kids are not all right” headlines to get to underlying studies showing that no, minors are not carrying and transmitting the disease in numbers similar to adults, and that the policy response of preemptively closing most elementary schools was not consistent with the available research and contrary track records in summer camps and functioning schools around the world.

The result of those failures of both journalism and policy? “Devastating learning setbacks,” The New York Times editorialized this week. (Pssst: Y’all should tell that to the newsroom.)

This August, shamefully if not quite surprisingly, many American news outlets are exhibiting the same preference for acontextual, anecdotal sensationalism, as bedraggled parents muster themselves for a third consecutive school year marred by the coronavirus.

Charles Oliver reports yet another instance of petty Covid tyranny.

Some police officers in the once-free country of Australia are speaking out against the draconian Covid restrictions these officers are ordered to enforce.

Jeffrey Tucker laments the rise of “plexiglass nation.” A slice:

The normal things we expected before last year have just evaporated. There are strange and random shortages. A friend rolled up to a McDonald’s in Massachusetts and ordered a burger only to be told they are out of beef. Imagine that! Stores have empty shelves of products one would never expect to run out. Menu prices are soaring each time you go back to your favorite place – but these price increases are only transitory, don’t you know!

A strange cynicism pervades the whole country. We are settled into living less well, as if it is our plight and our fate about which we can do nothing. We know our leaders have lied to us. We cannot begin to count the ways. But no one in charge will actually admit it. They pretend to have the knowledge and be in control and we pretend as if they have credibility and deserve compliance, though we don’t believe and only perfunctorily comply.

South Dakota governor Kristi Noem is right to oppose government prohibitions on private entities requiring proof of vaccination.

TANSTAFPFC (There Ain’t No Such Thing As Free Protection From Covid.)

Glen Bishop wonders when Neil Ferguson will finally admit that he, Ferguson, was wrong. Here’s Bishop’s conclusion:

The [new Imperial College] paper continues to support lockdowns as if they were a laboratory experiment on rats with no damaging side effects or moral hazards involved. It remains completely blinkered to anything but an obsession with controlling one particular virus, with a reckless disregard for the wider societal consequences of the lockdown policies they advocate. In the ethics declaration on the paper, the Imperial team declare “no competing interests”, yet this is not the case. It is clearly in the interests of the Imperial team to denigrate Sweden’s policy as best they can. If their paper was to conclude anything else, they would have to admit that they have caused enormous damage to society and cost countless excess non-Covid deaths in the UK and around the world because of their advice. It is strongly in the interest of their careers, reputation and standing in society to spin Sweden as a failure in any way they can.

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