Some Covid Links

by Don Boudreaux on January 2, 2022

in Country Problems, Current Affairs, Education, Legal Issues, Risk and Safety

In response to the American Medical Association’s amicus brief – accessible here – filed in support of Biden’s abominable private-sector vaccine mandate, Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

This stunningly ignorant amicus brief, filed by medical organizations in favor of the OSHA vax mandate, is the end of the credibility of public health. Is it really possible that scientists in those organizations are so unaware of the underlying science about which they write?

Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff talk with Max Blumenthal about the assault on scientific dissent.

Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson tweets, quite appropriately:

We salute the great @MartinKulldorff @DrJBhattacharya and @SunetraGupta who never foreswore the principles of epidemiology to fall in line with a cowardly and hysterical anti-scientific consensus.

History will restore them to their rightful place.

Bethany Mandel documents astonishingly brazen misrepresentations made to the public by so-called “public-health officials.” A slice:

Public health officials and the media have employed an interesting strategy for the almost two years of this pandemic: lie to and manipulate the public to try to elicit their desired behavior. Some are better at it than others, who don’t realize they’re not supposed to say the quiet part out loud.

“Pediatric hospitalizations are becoming an increasing point of concern,” NBC New York reported Wednesday, a day after Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the state has 184 child COVID hospitalizations, 109 of them in Gotham.

“Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the state health commissioner,” NBC continued, “said pediatric COVID hospitalizations have doubled in the last three weeks. In New York City, they’ve quintupled in that time span.”

Here’s the quiet part that NBC New York knew to keep out of its reporting but Bassett volunteered during the same hearing: “The numbers that we gave on pediatric admissions weren’t intended to make it seem that children were having an epidemic of infection. These were small numbers that we reported in our health alert. That was based on 50 hospitalizations, and I’ve now given you some larger numbers, but they’re still small numbers. It really is to motivate pediatricians and families to seek the protection of vaccination.”

A leading expert on pediatric vaccination, Dr. Paul Offit of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, explained on “The Today Show” Tuesday, “It’s winter, and this is a winter virus, and this Omicron is particularly contagious, so I think you were going to see an increase anyway.”

He went on: “We test anybody who’s admitted to the hospital for whatever reason to see whether or not they have COVID, and we’re definitely seeing an increase in cases. However, we’re really not seeing an increase in children who are hospitalized for COVID or in the intensive care unit for COVID.”

Writing in Canada’s National Post, Sabrina Maddeaux explains that “[l]ockdowns are killing young Canadians.” (HT Lowell Epp) Two slices:

A pandemic that disproportionately kills the elderly is undeniably bad, but just as tragic is a response that disproportionately kills the young. As time goes on, the latter is claiming more and more Canadian lives.

In a devastating year-end update on COVID-19’s social and economic impacts, Statistics Canada estimates there were 19,884 “excess deaths” (more deaths than what would normally be expected) in Canada between March 2020 and May 2021. While excess deaths early in the pandemic largely occurred among seniors and were attributable to COVID-19, such deaths rose significantly later on among younger Canadians and were not caused by the virus.

Approximately 35 per cent –– or over 7,200 –– of total excess deaths occurred among those between 45 and 64 years old despite the demographic accounting for only seven per cent of COVID-related deaths. Perhaps even more disturbing, approximately 15.6 per cent –– or about 3,100 –– of Canada’s excess deaths occurred among those younger than 44, even though that youngest cohort accounts for only 0.7 per cent of the country’s COVID-19 deaths.

…..

Many proponents of harsher restrictions prefer to present this cost in economic terms, framing the choice as being between lives and dollars. This has the benefit of bestowing their views with moral righteousness while painting those who disagree as deranged Scrooge McDucks. We now know this is a straw man argument. There are lives on the other side of the scale, too, and they’re excessively young.

It’s a painful question to ask, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. At what point do COVID hospitalizations and deaths among older generations stop justifying the growing sacrifice of Canada’s young? If people aren’t willing to consider this question, and publicly justify their answers, they shouldn’t be in the business of recommending further lockdown measures.

Inspired by Maddeaux’s piece, George Leef, writing at National Review, observes that:

Government policies almost always have unseen, unintended, and unhappy consequences. Frederic Bastiat said that good economists would contemplate such eventualities before advocating government action whereas bad economists thought only about the immediate and visible consequences.

That’s as true about Covid policy as anything else. Those who demanded and got heavy-handed lockdowns and vaccine mandates never bothered to think about the possibility that their approaches might have severe adverse consequences. They were (and remain) hostile towards anyone who argued that they were doing more harm than good.

Todd Porter, a primary-care-providing pediatrician, decries the harm inflicted on children by the Covidocracy. A slice:

When constructing clinical practice guidelines, the AAP states: “For each key action statement, the quality of evidence and benefit-harm relationship were assessed and graded to determine strength of recommendations. When appropriate, parents’ values and preferences should be incorporated as part of shared decision-making.”

Yet neither the CDC, AAP, state or local public health have done any of this with respect to COVID policies imposed on our children. Where is this quality of evidence that mandating masks in school or rushing to vaccinate children prevents either infection or transmission while also satisfying the benefit-harm relationship?

Phil Magness on Facebook:

Left-Libertarian Lockdowners, October 2020: “Twitter, Facebook, and Google are private companies, and if they want to suppress the GBD that’s their right! It’s not censorship unless the person doing it is the government!”

LLLs, December 2021: “So what if Collins and Fauci tried to suppress the GBD! They were right to do so!”

(DBx: For the record, I – I think unlike Phil – endorse the Left-Libertarian Lockdowners’ October 2020 claim. But certainly like Phil, I reject their December 2021 claim. And regardless of whether I’m correct or incorrect to endorse the October 2020 claim, Phil is definitely correct to call out the LLLs for their inconsistency. [As Phil tirelessly documents, the LLLs are not an intellectually impressive bunch.])

I hope that Telegraph columnist Janet Daley is correct when she predicts that

Lockdowns are over. This is not only because they do devastating economic damage – which the Left obtusely believes is of concern only to rampant capitalists – but because they are now clearly seen as a danger to our fundamental constitutional principles.

Putting an entire population under house arrest, intervening explicitly in the most intimate areas of private relationships, and prohibiting personal contact of the kind that was once believed to be essential to normal life, is now seen by virtually everyone who is not an aspiring totalitarian as unacceptable.

Steve Brine explains that humanity has much further to go before its Covid policies are rational. A slice:

More fundamentally, if we are serious about living with endemic Covid, it is surely time to start rethinking mandatory isolation for those who have tested positive for Covid. In the first year I was public health minister [in Britain], just over 20,000 people sadly died of flu (despite us having a vaccine) yet it has never been a legal requirement to stay at home if you have flu.

A barrier to Chinese economic growth is indeed Beijing’s insane and tyrannical pursuit of zero Covid (but even without this deranged policy, also stymying economic growth in that country is its retreat from market-oriented policies).

TANSTAFPFC (There Ain’t No Such Thing As Free Protection From Covid.) HT Jay Bhattacharya, who tweets:

If there was ever a time to speak for educational investments in poor kids, it’s now as lockdowners agitate for closing schools again. The closures harmed them last year. Doing it again now will amplify the damage.

Martin Kulldorff tweets:

The idea that Covid is spreading because we didn’t lockdown, mandate, contact trace or mitigate enough is farcical. Never before have people complied with more public health edicts. In good faith, people did its part. It was the ineffective and damaging policies that failed.

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