If not merely a cathartic response to the cessation of what has been a confusing, stressful, and financially challenging year-and-a-half for tens of millions, the Great Reconsideration of work, life, and self-actualization is likely to resonate vastly beyond the coming months. The net of the costs and benefits, as well as the minutiae of such changes in views towards work, will have to be assessed over time. And among other contexts, one within which it must be scrutinized is the weighty impact of unintended, while clearly foreseeable, consequences of stay-at-home orders, lockdowns, and other pandemic countermeasures.
What made matters worse is that both scientific journals and the general public are more interested in spectacular claims than in mundane ones. Journals have a strong incentive to publish papers claiming there is a big problem, as long as those papers are based on verifiable data and can therefore be defended. Whether those initial data are representative, or whether the conclusions others are likely to draw from a paper’s headline result are reasonable, are simply not questions that journals normally have to worry about. On the contrary, the more controversy the better, as long as a defence is at hand for any spectacular published claim.
The teams of scientists running journals simply don’t care that mere mortals, which is to say the rest of humanity, use the words in their papers differently. They dismiss others as ignorant if they do not make the effort to absorb all the subtleties about what particular words mean when used in that particular journal. Yet truly understanding those subtleties would involve years of study, which is not reasonable to demand of others. Their disinterest in assigning to words the same meaning as others assign to them leads to the rest of the population, including other scientists, being misled.
Hubris and a taste of power during the Great Fear led to a further perversion of truth, inflicted by scientists themselves. The epidemiologists asked to advise governments almost invariably admitted that what they were advocating was only based on their projections of Covid cases and Covid deaths, devoid of any analysis of the effects these actions would have on public health, the economy, education and other important aspects of life. They nonetheless had no problem advocating lockdowns and other draconian measures. Some hedged their bets by saying it was the government’s job to generate advice on the broader costs and benefits of these measures to society, while some failed to even mention the likely existence of such other costs and benefits.
The editors of The Lancet, the journal that published the earliest studies on Covid, were particularly guilty of jumping the gun. They simply assumed that copying the Chinese lockdowns was useful and worth the costs. In an editorial of March 3rd 2020, the editors boldly wrote ‘High-income countries, now facing their own outbreaks, must take reasoned risks and act more decisively. They must abandon their fears of the negative short-term public and economic consequences that may follow from restricting public freedoms as part of more assertive infection control measures.’
Climate scientists are nothing if not flexible, so a study by Cambridge University earlier this year purported to blame the pandemic not on the usual suspect of a decrease in vegetation-stressing bats, but on the opposite: an increase in vegetation leading to a greater diversity of bats in southern China. This is because the data shows that the climate there is very slightly warmer in winter (though not in summer) and wetter in summer than it was a century ago. The only problem with this study, I was astonished to find when I read it carefully, was that it used models to estimate the impact both of climate change on vegetation, and of vegetation changes on bat diversity, rather than actual data. It was models all the way down. This did not stop the media reporting the results as if they were facts. But note that the argument was the very opposite of the green grandees’ one: industrial emissions have made southern China more hospitable to bats.
Throughout the pandemic, the Government has justified its actions by claiming to be following “the science”. When the science turned out to be too cautious to give its consent to a pre-agreed course of action, they had to hastily come up with a different sort of evidence. Funny that closing schools and the damage it causes to children’s mental health never seemed to bother Professor Whitty when he was endorsing lockdowns and, er, closing schools. It brings to mind Groucho Marx’s slippery assertion: “Those are my principles and, if you don’t like them… well, I have others.”
As a mum, I understand why parents would be tempted to give consent for their teen to get jabbed. After 16 months of doing the Covid Hokey Cokey – in out, in out – and watching happy, confident offspring grow anxious and despondent, it’s such a relief to see kids get back to normal at school this week. Anything, literally anything, to avoid having your child’s education disrupted again, you might think.
But you’d be wrong. Parents and children are being bribed, almost threatened, to agree to a treatment which Professor Adam Finn of the JCVI says the latest data, from paediatric cardiologists in the States, suggests may have long-term side effects. It’s outrageous. “If you don’t let your 13-year-old have the vaccine, and cases spike, we may have to shut the schools again.” That’s what they’re basically saying, but it’s simply not true. Other European countries didn’t close schools for as long as we did; some barely shut them at all.
“Vietnam man jailed for five years for spreading coronavirus“. (DBx: When I use the term “Covid Derangement Syndrome,” I have in mind consequences of Covid hysteria such as this one – consequences explicable only if protection against Covid is the only goal worth pursuing until we’ve reached zero Covid.)
Dr. Fauci’s support for gain-of-function research represented enormously poor judgment. The same is true for his blindness to the harms of lockdowns.
The CDC/NIH/Fauci-backed pause of the J&J vaccine did more to invigorate vaccine hesitancy in the US than any other factor.