George Leef, writing at National Review, reports on the efforts by some of us at George Mason University to resist our university’s newly announced booster mandate for faculty, staff, and students. A slice:
What I would really hope for is that the GMU leadership would have to come out and defend this decision. Washington should debate the merits and demerits of his order with any of the knowledgeable people at GMU who oppose it. I mean a real debate, not a circus like our presidential “debates” — he should have to present evidence that a booster shot will actually have a net positive impact and respond to contrary evidence.
(DBx: I would, without hesitation, agree to publicly debate GMU Pres. Washington on this matter.)
In a recent Epoch Times commentary, Bhattacharya and Kulldorff wonder if Collins and Fauci ever read the GBD and why they opted for a “takedown” instead of “vigorous scientific discussion.” The GBD authors recall the harm caused by the lockdowns caused, particularly the school shutdowns that harmed children without affecting disease spread. That damage will take years to reverse but the authors have thoughts on the ways to avoid similar disasters.
The NIH director commands a budget of $42.9 billion and the NIAID $6.1 billion. “If we want scientists to speak freely in the future, we should avoid having the same people in charge of public health policy and medical research funding.” Those same bureaucrats also remain in power for far too long.
Francis Collins was the first appointed NIH director to serve more than one president. Anthony Fauci, 81, earned a medical degree in 1966, was hired on with the NIH in 1968, and has headed NIAID since 1984. The NIAID and NIH directors should work on a contract basis and be shown the door after five years, at the most. Lifetime tenure is bad for public health, and white coat supremacy is no basis for a system of government.
K. Lloyd Billingsley also defends Aaron Rodgers. Here’s Billingsley’s conclusion:
For Dr. Anthony Fauci, it’s pretty much his way or the highway, with mandatory vaccinations and destructive lockdowns. As the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration note, such lockdowns have caused widespread suffering and damage. Dr. Fauci backed the school shutdowns and lied about funding dangerous gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, yet he retains his position of power. That marks another contrast with the world of Aaron Rodgers.
Players and coaches often violate the rules of football, but the game does not continue until the penalty has been marked off. On the other hand, government bureaucrats can repeat destructive mistakes, deceive the public, and still keep their position. These powerful bureaucrats demand blind obedience, with no debate about what works best for individuals’ health and safety. For embattled Americans heading into a new year, that makes little sense.
The biggest single thing he could say to convince American parents that he was on their side, being serious and trying to end this pandemic well is to put himself and his party in some jeopardy by finally, late in the game, going forcefully against the most reactionary force in American public life, the teachers unions. The selfish, uncaring attitude they weren’t ashamed to show regarding the closing of schools, their fantasies about how uniquely vulnerable they themselves now are, and their pleasure in flexing political muscle—they covered themselves in shame the past two years. Their relationship with parents won’t recover for a long time, if ever.
The Chief [Justice, John Roberts] brought up a re-tweet last year by White House chief of staff Ronald Klain hailing the mandate as the “ultimate work-around.” “I mean, this has been referred to the approach as a work-around. And I’m wondering what it is you’re trying to work around?” the Chief asked, adding it is “hard to argue” that Congress has given such “free rein” to OSHA, the agency that promulgated the mandate.
Ouch. Chief Justice Roberts is especially attuned to executive decisions that duck proper legal procedure, as he showed in tossing the Trump Administration’s Census citizenship question.
Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar responded gamely, arguing that the unprecedented nature of the pandemic allows the government sweeping power to take unprecedented measures. But she couldn’t articulate a limiting principle to OSHA’s emergency power—perhaps because the Administration doesn’t seem to think one exists.
As Robby Soave reports, it’s dispiriting and depressing to learn that an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court – in this case, Sonia Sotomayor – is so terribly misinformed about the facts of Covid. A slice:
Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor was particularly adamant that the surging omicron variant wave represents a real crisis. In discussing the issue, she significantly exaggerated the threat of COVID-19 to children.
“Omicron is as deadly as delta and causes as much serious disease in the unvaccinated as delta did,” she said. “The numbers—look at the hospitalization rates going up. We have more infected people today than we did a year ago in January. We have hospitals that are almost at full capacity with people severely ill on ventilators. We have over 100,000 children, which we’ve never had before, in serious condition, and many on ventilators.”
If by serious condition, Sotomayor meant hospitalized, then her claim is false. There are not 100,000 children currently hospitalized with COVID-19. In fact, if you tallied up all the children admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 since August 2020, you would still not find 100,000 of them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hospitals have admitted about 82,000 COVID-19 patients under the age of 18 in that time period. The current seven-day average for this age group is 766 hospitalizations.
The overwhelming majority of children who contract COVID-19 experience only mild disease. The disease’s age skew is so great that even unvaccinated young people are at less risk than elderly people who are vaccinated. Most kids admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 have underlying health conditions—particularly obesity.
Sotomayor’s behavior suggests she is perhaps the most COVID-cautious judge. She is the only one of the nine who always wears her mask inside the courtroom, and she opted to participate in today’s oral arguments virtually, from her private chambers.
That’s her prerogative, of course. But if she is trying to justify President Joe Biden’s far-reaching and unprecedented vaccine mandate on the grounds that the disease is uniquely dangerous to children, then she should demonstrate a more accurate recitation of the statistics.
I was delighted to accept the invitation to join the Scientific Advisory Board for Collateral Global as I believe it is important to name and account for all the impacts of mandated restrictions in the pandemic. I am particularly interested in accounting for the harms that children and adolescents have suffered in terms of their development, education, health and mental health. What we adults might think of as ‘nice to have’ such as play and socialisation are absolutely to vital development in children and adolescents. It’s not enough to say ‘young people are resilient’ – much of that resilience is scaffolded and supported by the environment and the community. When we take away these supports, we hamper resilience. In closing schools and society, we have conducted a mass experiment with child and adolescent development, which will take many years to unpack and investigate
In response to the graph just below from the Financial Times, Phil Magness writes at Facebook:
In case you missed it, Australia’s per capita case numbers have officially surpassed the US and the EU.
As Daniil Gorbatenko facetiously comments in response to Phil’s post, “But allowing Djokovic to play [in the Australian Open tennis tournament] would make it so much worse.” (DBx: Viruses virus; that’s why they’re called “viruses.” The pursuit of zero Covid is as futile as it is tyrannical.)
We will get to Zero Covid on the exact same day we get to Zero Influenza.
(DBx: And in addition, I add, we’ll get to Zero Covid also on the exact same day that we get to Zero deaths.)