≡ Menu

Some Covid Links

Noah Carl patiently picks apart a recently expressed argument, in the Daily Kos, in support of Zero Covid. Here’s Carl’s conclusion:

The author then invokes the spectre of long Covid, noting that persistent symptoms “are not rare”. However, if he’d referred to the latest estimates from the ONS, he’d know that only 2–3% of patients still report symptoms after 12 weeks, and this is before you factor in widespread immunity.

Even if ‘Zero Covid’ were achievable, which it almost certainly is not, the costs of getting there would be enormous. We’d not only need a massive annual re-vaccination program, but also constant vigilance at the border, as well as large-scale testing in perpetuity.

“Whatever the price of defeating COVID-19 may be,” the Daily Kos article concludes, “it must be paid.” And that more or less sums up the case for, and against, ‘Zero Covid’. For you can’t take a proposal seriously if there’s no estimate of costs.

J.D. Tuccille, citing the work of Robert Higgs, explains that crises fuel unwarranted expansions of government power – and, thus, are today making ‘Long Lockown’ a real and frightful thing. A slice:

“Crises have always granted reformist policymakers powers to bypass legislative gridlock and entrenched interests,” Cornell University historian Nicholas Mulder gloated in March 2020. “The coronavirus crisis is already allowing the implementation of ideas that would have been considered very radical just months ago.”

That explains why we’re likely to be stuck with some elements of the expanded state apparatus and extended government powers that were allowed to metastasize during the 18-months-and-counting of the pandemic. Much of the public has lost its taste for large and expensive government, but its brief shift in sentiment allowed enough of an opening for the ratchet to click forward into a new position. And many people really have returned to their usual preference for smaller, cheaper government.

“Given a choice, half of Americans say they prefer fewer government services and lower taxes, while 19% want higher taxes and more services,” adds Gallup. “Twenty-nine percent want taxes and services as they are now.”

After a taste of lockdowns and mask mandates, the public may, by and large, want to push officialdom to the sidelines where it can do less damage. But that’s not what lawmakers and presidents have been up to during these long months of viral fears, spending, and dictates. It’s certainly not what’s in the far-reaching, multi-trillion-dollar, 2,465-page bill that’s pending in Congress.

Charles Oliver reports yet another small yet ominous incident sparked by Covid Derangement Syndrome.

Laura Dodsworth rightly fears the authoritarianism that is at the core of ‘nudge.‘ A slice:

Is it a nudge too far when someone is hurt by the nudging? How about deliberately increasing people’s sense of personal threat because they understand the risk of Covid to their own demographic, to make them more scared in order to make them comply with the lockdown rules.

Fear is a very destabilising tactic. I interviewed people who were quite undone by fear for my book A State of Fear: how the UK government weaponised fear during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of them identified that it was specifically government messaging and advertising, the 24/7 doom-mongering in the media, the steep red lines on graphs of worst case scenarios, the use of terms like Covidiot to shame and other and encourage social conformity.

The once-liberal world is creating a new class of untouchables.

Margery Smelkinson tweets:

Students without age-appropriate immunizations in MD
2019: 62
2021: 23,000

Covid myopia mean forgoing childhood vaccines for high-risk diseases in order to “stay safe” from a virus that has very low-risk of childhood disease.

Robert Dingwall urges his fellow Brits not to succumb again to the panic that keeps the straw man threatening to pay yet another visit to that country. Here’s his conclusion:

The promoters of a moral panic selectively represent data to justify a claim to judge their fellow citizens according to their personal standards. These values never need to be justified because their virtue is self-evident. If we cannot describe the present campaign as such a panic, the concept has no meaning. The lesson for governments is that it is usually best to hold one’s nerve.