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Some Covid Links

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby eloquently defends the great Great Barrington Declaration – and decries the dogmatic hostility unleashed against it and its three authors. A slice:

In retrospect, it seems clear that the Great Barrington authors were on target in doubting the advisability of sweeping lockdowns. Numerous studies have found that shutting down the economy was largely futile in preventing COVID’s spread and achieved little that could not have been done through less restrictive means. “No two states have been more different in approaches to fighting coronavirus than California and Florida,” noted one CNN commentator, “yet both ended up with roughly the same outcome.”

Whatever effect the lockdowns had on containing the coronavirus, there is no disputing that they damaged public health in many other ways, including domestic abuse, mental illness and addiction, anxiety and depression among children, deterioration in oral health, missed cancer diagnoses, and thousands of additional deaths from untreated heart disease.

None of this means that the Great Barrington Declaration was unassailably correct, let alone that its prescriptions, if adopted, might not have caused other problems. But did it have to become a flashpoint in the culture war? In the midst of a pandemic, respected epidemiologists ought to be able to raise questions about prevailing public health policy without being savaged as fools or apostates. The fact that they couldn’t is appalling, and should make all of us uneasy, lockdown supporters and detractors alike.

The Brownstone Institute’s Jeffrey Tucker talks with Bill Walton, and also with Robin Koerner.

Reason‘s C.J. Ciaramella reports on yet more reasons to classify California strongman Gavin Newsom as a insufferable hypocrite and political opportunist.

Virologist Greg Brewer’s letter in today’s Wall Street Journal is excellent (although I’m less optimistic than he is about the political process):

Kudos to Gary Saul Morson for “Partisan Science in America” (op-ed, Oct. 12) and to David Klein for his accompanying illustration of scientists chained to a politician in groupthink. As a trained virologist and practicing neuroscientist, I am appalled at the scientific and political censorship regarding Covid-19 immunization.

Every medical student learns that viral immunity can be achieved by natural infection or by vaccination, but natural immunity is better. Natural immunity is recognized in Europe. An Israeli study earlier this year showed the stronger and longer-lasting benefit of natural immunity. But this may be a win-win situation: Either we’ll get cessation of vaccine mandates, as in Texas, or politicians will insist on them at the expense of jobs, education, healthcare and more—and then be voted out.

Greg Brewer, Ph.D.
Laguna Hills, Calif.

Camilla Tominey is correct: The raft of measures imposed on children – that is, on people who are least vulnerable to the virus but who pay the highest cost of Covid restrictions – cannot be justified. A slice:

Why, when children are at far less risk of being hospitalised and dying from coronavirus, are we treating them like we are still in peak pandemic mode? Adults aren’t being obliged to take two lateral flow tests a week, so why are children?

All of this also raises the bigger question of what the point of continued mass testing really is when the only route back to normality is to treat Covid as we would any other endemic disease.

Journalist Ole Skambraks protests the media’s failure to report objectively on Covid. A slice:

The Gates and Rockefeller Foundations drafted and financed the WHO guidelines for digital vaccine passes. These passes are now being rolled out everywhere. Only with these passes will public life be possible – whether you want to take the tram, have a coffee or get medical treatment. An example from France shows that this digital pass will stay even after the pandemic ends. MP Emanuelle Ménard demanded the following addition to the legal text: The digital vaccine pass shall end when the virus spread no longer presents a level of danger which justifies its use. Her proposed amendment was rejected. Thus we are but a small step away from global population control or even a surveillance state via projects such as ID2020.

Australia is currently testing a facial recognition app, to ensure that people stay at home when in quarantine. In Israel, electronic wristbands are used for this purpose. In one Italian city, drones are being tested to measure the temperature of beachgoers, and in France, the law is changed to allow large-scale drone surveillance.

All these topics must be subject to intensive and critical scrutiny within our society. This is not happening to a sufficient extent in the reporting by our broadcasting organisations and, indeed, was not an election campaign issue.

John Miltimore reports on a new paper, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, the authors of which find that higher vaccination rates are not associated with fewer Covid cases. A slice:

There is widespread agreement among scientists that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at reducing the risk of developing severe COVID symptoms, which can result in hospitalization and death.

Their effectiveness at reducing transmission of the virus, however, remains a subject of debate, particularly since the CDC released findings in June that show vaccinated individuals still contract the virus, transmit it, and carry just as many virus particles in their throat and nasal passages as unvaccinated individuals do when they contract the virus.

Jay Bhattacharya tweets, in response to this report in Newsweek:

The vax mandates were supposed to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed by high patient demand.

Instead, they will lead to hospitals being overwhelmed due to low labor supply.