Joseph Ladapo reached the same conclusion almost two years earlier. “Please don’t believe politicians who say we can control this with a few weeks of shutdown,” Dr. Ladapo, then a professor at UCLA’s medical school and a clinician on Covid’s frontline, wrote in USA Today on March 24, 2020. “To contain a virus with shutdowns, you must either go big, which is what China did, or you don’t go at all…. Here is my prescription for local and state leaders: Keep shutdowns short, keep the economy going, keep schools in session, keep jobs intact, and focus single-mindedly on building the capacity we need to survive this into our health care system.”
“That was before it became political,” Dr. Ladapo, 43, says in an interview conducted in person, indoors and unmasked. An orthodoxy soon hardened in the medical establishment and most of the media. He says his UCLA faculty colleagues’ reactions to his commentaries went from “Thanks, Joe, for providing us another perspective” to “How can we make Joe stop writing?” He believes USA Today “would never have published anything along that vein later in the pandemic.” But the Journal would: Since April 2020, I have accepted a dozen of Dr. Ladapo’s articles for these pages. One of them, in September 2020, was headlined “How to Live With Covid, Not for It.”
As policy makers’ views began to converge with Dr. Ladapo’s, he became a policy maker. His writings caught the attention of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who in September 2021 appointed him surgeon general, the state’s top health official. “It’s fun that I’m sitting here because of you,” Dr. Ladapo tells me—though he’s also sitting here because Mr. DeSantis had been quicker than most politicians to see the folly of lockdowns and the necessity of living with Covid.
He’s also uncomfortable with the call for ever more shots. “The CEO of Moderna is already talking about the next booster,” because the effect of the third shot begins waning within weeks. “I think that if someone wants to take the booster every few months,” Dr. Ladapo says, “that’s their decision.” But “the cycle of boosters that wear off after a few months … not even as a scientist but just as a human being, that doesn’t feel right to me.” This week an official of the European Medicines Agency confirmed Dr. Ladapo’s intuition by warning that repeated boosters could eventually weaken the immune system.
The justification for mandatory vaccination is that the unvaccinated put others at risk of infection. Dr. Ladapo maintains that rationale doesn’t apply to Covid, especially given Omicron’s infectiousness. So many people have been vaccinated that “if the vaccines stopped spread, this pandemic would be over,” he says. “The argument for the negative externalities does not hold water.”
For the benefit of readers who wonder how the other half lives, I ask him to compare California with Florida. “In Los Angeles during the pandemic, it felt like you lived under a blanket,” he says. “People who didn’t feel that they needed to take certain precautions, but there was—they would feel like they needed to be seen as taking certain precautions, because that was the atmosphere, the expectation. It was a very heavy air, sort of an oppressive atmosphere there….
“Here, in contrast, the thing that you feel you’re under is the sun…. Do you have a mask on you, are you ready to put it on when you go outside or go to a store—that whole sort of ambiance is completely absent here.”
I had Covid over Christmas break, after my triple-vaxxed husband brought it home from a conference, which means two things: I now have natural immunity, and you will never persuade me that vaccinated people don’t spread the virus to others.
That was supposed to be the rationale for vaccine passports. If vaccines prevented the spread of Covid, then there might be value in giving people the peace of mind of knowing their local cafe or museum or office building was a safe space where nobody would infect them.
Now that vaccines turn out to be better at protecting yourself than protecting others, the rationale for making them mandatory is dissolving. And yet this is the exact moment when cities across the country are launching their own vaccine passports.
The cities of Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., all have vaccine passport systems coming into effect this month, covering restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues, and other indoor locations. Los Angeles launched SafePassLA in November, following the lead of San Francisco and New York City, which launched their vaccine passports last fall.
The mayors of these cities don’t even pretend to have a good rationale for launching vaccine passports now. Reading their public remarks, the reasoning seems to be that the more they harass the unvaccinated, the higher their city’s vax rate will go. Invocations of “protecting others” are rote, with no explicit suggestion that vaccinated individuals don’t spread the new, highly contagious Omicron variant.
Though expected to distance and quarantine at the whim of local dictators, a few things gave us a clue that our pandemic response was not about health. Vices were deemed essential, as liquor stores and non-medical marijuana dispensaries remained open, while playgrounds were barricaded, beaches, and gyms, and houses of worship suddenly inaccessible.
There was no guidance on health-seeking behavior to bolster the first line of defense against the onset of ailments, just a band-aid for a bullet wound grade of national mitigation strategy that left many dying alone, surrounded by strangers. We willfully sacrificed our most fundamental duty of keeping grace in the handling of human disease humanely.
We antisocialized ourselves, fully withdrew from random commingling, and in a way filtered ourselves from society. Life lost its luster when expected to test or inoculate oneself with something with no longitudinal safety assessments in order to live a life anything close to what we once took for granted.
Not only that, but multiple studies have shown that the Omicron variant itself affects the upper airways far more than the lungs, even as it’s much more transmissible than any other variant. This is exactly what happened in the later stages of 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, according to John M. Barry, author of “The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History,” who spoke to me about it on SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio this week.
There is no guarantee that the same will happen now, but it would behoove our public-health leaders to make the comparison, as opposed to the constant fearmongering.
The obsession with testing and isolation is counterproductive not only because we lack readily available home tests, but also because the virus is now almost everywhere, and isolating yourself if you aren’t sick does little to decrease the amount of virus circulating in the community.
One reason President Joe Biden’s poll numbers are dropping is most Americans recognize that he overpromised on the vaccine. Vaccines have two essential purposes: to prevent spread and to decrease severity. And though the mRNA vaccines clearly decrease severity of infection, especially with a recent booster, they clearly are doing little to prevent spread. This makes the mandate argument even more unconvincing — why mandate a vaccine that doesn’t prevent spread of the pathogen?
Adams campaigned on getting the city moving again. Killing a mandate that clearly no longer makes any sense is the best single step he can to take to making that a reality.
Events in recent days seem to suggest that the managers of the Covid narrative are attempting to effect a back-door climbdown of numerous of its longstanding articles of faith.
They are suddenly admitting that the PCR tests were deeply flawed and that huge numbers of the Covid hospitalized were admitted primarily for reasons other than the virus, from which we can deduce that many died often or even mostly because of other maladies.
They are handing out directives that say that diagnoses for Covid should be derived (who knew!) primarily from symptomology and not from testing. They also are now admitting that we are suffering a massive mental health crisis, especially among our young.
They are even—albeit in a weaselly way—admitting the reality of natural immunity when, as is happening in many places, they welcome the previously-infected to come back to work in hospitals and home care facilities with few questions asked shortly after their bouts of illness.
University of Delaware professor David Blacker explains why “[m]asking is harming our work to educate.” (HT Jay Bhattacharya) Two slices:
I’ve been a full-time professor at University of Delaware since 1998 and I’ve seen a thing or two. We have now reached a crisis point for students and it is necessary to speak out. Following Gov. Carney’s panicky mask mandate, UD has directed everyone to wear N95 or surgical masks indoors. This includes students and also professors even while they are teaching. In my opinion, this policy is misguided and, worse, it will drastically erode an already deteriorating situation for UD students. They can step across Main Street into a crowded and maskless bar, but when they go back on campus supposedly to learn, they still have to cover up and isolate.
During the pandemic, UD has pursued a somewhat middle path vis-à-vis other universities. It has not been as draconian as some. But our campus has seen its share of COVID-19 safety theatrics, including pointless measures such as the hand sanitizing stations still dotting the hallways.
Above all there has been masking, the great symbol of the pandemic. We have been told incessantly — with great sanctimony and an air of expert certainty — that cloth masks are crucial to stopping the spread. Yet despite the informational fog, comparison after comparison of masking mandates among countries and U.S. states and localities, and also the only two randomized control trials thus far, from Denmark and Bangladesh, show that cloth and surgical masks do little or nothing nothing to stop COVID-19. And that was before Omicron. Now, among many others, even CNN’s medical advisor has recently admitted that the cloth masks most people wear are little more than “facial decorations.”
And now we face a choice: recognize reality and ditch this cosmetic farce or double down with N95 masks. N95 masks are appropriate for medical settings where they are worn properly and disposed of immediately after use. But take a step back and consider the logic: cloth and surgical masks that allow proper breathing and speaking seem not work with viruses, particularly Omicron. The masks that may, at best, work a little bit are those that do not allow proper breathing or speaking. It is simply not possible to conduct meaningful education with N95s. It would be better to go back online to Zoom as bad as that was. Every semester I have a lecture class with 100 students. Yes, 100 students packed tightly into a classroom for 3 hours with windows sealed shut where everyone pretends cloth masks are protecting us. How are we supposed even to hear one another in a large space with N95-smothered faces? Conversational seminars will be even worse.
It cannot be said any longer that there are no educational costs. I rarely have students stay to chat with me — or one another — after class any longer. Everyone interacts less and everything is made a notch or two more boring. People can’t wait to get out of the building and away from the dull oppressive atmosphere.
Worse, masks render us faceless drones to one another. Over time they dehumanize and reduce human interactions to mere transactions to be gotten over as quickly as possible. They destroy the lifeblood of teaching and learning. It is dishonest not to admit this.
As the COVID narrative crumbles, these are the establishment’s terms of truce:
•Pretend they saved tons of lives
•No talk of CCP influence
•Accept masks and vaccine mandates in some places forever
Not happening. Accept no less than unconditional surrender.
The future will view our time as being backwards.
Mike Smelt tweets: (HT Martin Kulldorff)
I’ve said it before that if the World recovers it’s sanity, students in medicine, economics, sociology, psychology and just about every other discipline, will be studying the madness of the last 2 years a 100 years from now in total disbelief!
Unfortunately for the global poor, the vulnerable, and the working class, the pandemic ends when the laptop class decides it ends, and not a moment sooner.
At this point, covidian policies — the mandates, the school closures, the propaganda & fear-mongering, etc. — are like zombies. Brain-dead, but still eating the minds of too many good people.
Simple Covid advice for you:
1. Watch what higher ed does in response to covid.
2. Assume by default that it is going to be ineffectual and/or crazy.
3. Do the opposite.
‘We failed’. An editorial in Ekstra Bladet, Denmark’s leading tabloid, berates the Fourth Estate – including itself – for failing to hold ministers to account during the pandemic. Worn down by repeated warnings of ‘the dormant corona monster under our beds’, Ekstra Bladet claims Danish journalists mostly took the government line.
‘We have not been vigilant enough at the garden gate when the authorities were required to answer what it actually meant that people are hospitalised with coronavirus and not because of coronavirus,’ the paper told its readers.
Ekstra Bladet‘s accusation is that the Danish media did not properly question hospital admissions data, which appears to show that many of the country’s Covid hospitalisations might have been incidental (patients ‘with Covid’ but admitted to hospital for something else). The same self-criticism could, of course, equally be applied in the UK, where hospitalisation data has been similarly opaque. Two weeks ago, Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, clarified that ‘incidental’ Covid cases made up approximately 25 to 30 per cent of admissions, similar to the Danish experience.
Dan Wootton, in reaction to only the latest in a loooooonngg series of Covidocrats hypocritically violating their own diktats, writes that “the lockdown laws are an ass and always have been.” Two slices:
The public are rightly apoplectic with rage that Boris broke the inhumane and frankly ludicrous rules that he inflicted on all of us with far too much zeal so he could cheer on his very social staff (and wife) while downing Tesco rose wine and gin.
But once again, the political, scientific and media establishment are using that outrage to obscure the reality that the rules were never workable, or even necessary.
The people who made them and voted them through time and again – from Cummings to Hancock to Starmer to Drakeford – have never followed them to the letter.
They weren’t living in mortal dread of the virus themselves. They were all prepared to take calculated risks to improve the quality of their lives.
They simply wanted all of us mere mortals to be terrified and so it was easier to enact disturbingly dystopian levels of control and deny us the right to make our own decisions.
Lockdown laws are an ass that should be ruled out as an option from the public health playbook forever.
History will show that those who backed shutting schools, discouraged cancer patients from attending hospital and allowed helpless souls like little Arthur Labinjo-Hughes be brutally abused for days on end – locked in a house without the usual protection of teachers and extended family – have blood on their hands.
It’s only now, with BoJo’s political life on the line, that the penny is starting to drop for his allies.
His Cabinet pal Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has been valiantly sent into the enemy territory of the BBC’s Newsnight and liberal LBC to defend his boss, is starting to ponder, 22 months too late, that maybe the rules were too tough, after all.
He must have known that at the time, given he admits to being lobbied by a friend who was cruelly banned from attending the funeral of his two-year-old granddaughter – the sort of moral outrage that the government brushed off as acceptable collateral damage.