Amherst College in Massachusetts is welcoming students back to campus by implementing some of the most restrictive COVID-19 mitigation efforts anywhere in the country. Administrators will now require students to wear two masks while indoors, get tested every other week, eschew large social interactions, and generally refrain from leaving school grounds.
The new policies were announced last week, catching many students by surprise. They are much more restrictive than what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend. They are slated to be enforced for at least the first two and half weeks of campus, or until such time as the administration is “confident the virus is not harder to control than we had predicted and is not beginning to take an even more virulent form.”
Amherst was already requiring all students and staff to be vaccinated, and less than 1 percent of the campus had sought any sort of waiver from this requirement.
Currently, Greater Sydney and Melbourne, and regional New South Wales and Victoria, are in various degrees of lockdown. Some of Sydney and all of Melbourne are under night-time curfew – something that has never occurred in Australia before, even under threat of Japanese invasion in 1942.
Even lockdown-permitted exercise walks in the early spring sun are decreed anti-social. A week ago, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said angrily, ‘Today is going to be a nice day, but stay at home. At home. Otherwise, there’ll be a lot of Sundays spent in hospital’. He’s also said Victorians venturing from home to view the sunset is a dangerous act.
Andrews’s edict highlights how fearful Australian leaders have become of Covid – any Covid, let alone the vast infection and mortality numbers faced by Britain, Europe and North America – and how deeply restrictions on civil and personal liberties have bitten. Thousands of families, including parents and children desperate to care for and comfort loved ones seriously ill or dying, have been sundered by Berlin Wall-like state borders guarded zealously by contagion-fearing provincial politicians, as well as stopped from returning home from overseas.
There is no talk of future freedom. Instead, Australians are told lockdowns are staying, even with vaccines widely available and vaccination rates finally accelerating. Indeed, last Sunday Andrews extended Victoria’s lockdown indefinitely, and Western Australia and Queensland premiers are using the Sydney and Melbourne outbreaks to repudiate prior commitments to end lockdowns and reopen their states once full vaccination rates reach 70-80 per cent.
It’s Australians generally who are to blame. We wished this upon ourselves. It’s as we were a nation of toddlers, craving parental protection.
We are the ones wanting our leaders to double down. We are the ones wanting to be told by our governments what to do and what not to do to stay safe from a virus one state health minister insisted is the most dangerous bug ever (clearly never having heard about the Black Death). We are the ones meekly giving up our rights and freedoms to politicians who, being on the public purse, avoid the economic hunger games of prolonged lockdowns. And we are the ones turning on friends and neighbours, informing on rule and curfew breakers as if we are living in East German Stasiland.
Here’s more from Arthur Chrenkoff on Australia. Two slices:
A powerful coalition of those with the most to lose and those who have not lost anything is driving the official “zero Covid” fantasy. The media has piled on, helping the government to terrify the population. The Fauci Syndrome is strong in Australia, too: health experts and bureaucrats have tasted unprecedented fame, power, and influence, and continue to be among the main drivers of the most ridiculous restrictions. The ever-growing section of society directly or indirectly dependent on taxpayers for its livelihood has been well care for during Covid-related upheavals. Those most at risk of death or serious complications remain strongly supportive of government “protecting” them from the virus. And the so-called laptop class also hasn’t had a bad pandemic, with many enjoying being able to work from home.
This leaves a minority of Australians driven to despair by isolation, lockdowns, travel restrictions, and the disappearance of their livelihoods.
The success in suppressing Covid comes with other price tags. The single-minded obsession that no one get sick and die from Covid is being paid for by a slowly unfolding mental-health crisis. Social isolation and dislocation are taking their toll in terms of rising suicide, depression, substance abuse, and domestic violence. Physical health suffers, too, as treatable conditions don’t get treated in the health system that now seems to have only one goal.
How long can this last? If it was up to the drunk-on-power politicians and bureaucrats who have found a winning electoral formula, health experts who have found relevance, and the deathly scared who have found a sense of safety (and, for some at least, the frisson of being a part of something big and important), the answer is “forever.”
Here’s Jon Miltimore’s latest. His conclusion:
Vaccine passports would be immoral and a massive government overreach even in the absence of these findings. There is simply no historical parallel for governments attempting to restrict the movements of healthy people over a respiratory virus in this manner.
Yet the justification for vaccine passports becomes not just wrong but absurd in light of these new revelations.
People who have had COVID already have significantly more protection from the virus than people who’ve been vaccinated. Meanwhile, people who’ve not had COVID and choose to not get vaccinated may or may not be making an unwise decision. But if they are, they are principally putting only themselves at risk.