- Cafe Hayek - https://cafehayek.com -

Some Covid Links

Tweet [1]

“UChicago Must End Its Booster Mandate—We Are Not Lab Rats” – so argue some University of Chicago students [2]. (HT Jim Bennett) A slice:

Mandates for the COVID vaccine and booster are unnecessary to protect the health of the UChicago community.

COVID has a survival rate [3] of over 99.87% for individuals under the age of 65.

According to the CDC [4], only 5% of “COVID deaths” are solely attributable to COVID as the cause. The other 95% of “COVID deaths” involve, on average, almost 4 additional conditions (comorbidities) or causes per death.
We will not play pretend by accepting our university’s gross exaggerations of the public health risks of catching and transmitting COVID. We will not live in fear.

Cato’s Ilya Shapiro applauds the U.S. Supreme Court for blocking the abominable vaccine mandate that Biden sought to impose through OSHA [5].

National Review‘s Jack Butler is rightly appalled by a recent editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune in which the editors endorse the use of the national guard to prevent all persons who are unvaccinated against Covid from going “anywhere.” [6] (DBx: Just when I begin to think that humanity might escape and survive Covid hysteria, there comes along something like this Salt Lake Tribune editorial to reveal just how very thin a veneer is enlightenment and liberalism, and how readily human beings made panicky will embrace cruelty.) Butler appropriately concludes:

Instead of complaining about their state government, the editors of the Salt Lake Tribune should thank it for declining to indulge their fantasies of biomedical tyranny.

Michael Brendan Dougherty reports that one Australian official disparaged Novak Djokovic as being an “icon of free choice.” [7] (See also el gato malo [8].)

Simon Evans unpacks the deplorable scapegoating of Djokovic [9]. Two slices:

The grumbling nature of the final verdict – that the ban was upheld on ‘health and good order’ grounds – might however linger, unpleasantly, in the air. It suggests that Djokovic was being refused a visa at least partly on similar grounds as might a David Icke or a Tommy Robinson – because there was a whiff of the troublemaker about him. Because he was a threat to the moral purity of the people, rather than their respiratory systems, and to the placidity of the public square. He was thought by Hawke to be capable of fanning ‘anti-vaccination sentiment’. This, despite Djokovic never having uttered anything approaching ‘anti-vax’ sentiment, beyond admitting his own preference for remaining unjabbed, and his rather quaint adherence to some homoeopathy-adjacent eye-wash generally more popular in the Brighton Lanes than on the Pro-Circuit.

As Twitter might put it:

‘Djokovic: Remains unvaccinated, catches Covid, fails to die.
Australian government: “Oh my God, will this anti-vaccine sentiment never end?!”’

…..

Around the world, governments have supposedly been ‘following the science’. Yet their citizens and subjects have rarely found that this plays out the same from one county to the next, let alone across state lines and international borders. And nowhere has that conflict been more obvious than in Australia. [Scott] Morrison can say that the Australian people ‘have made many sacrifices during this pandemic’ as if to suggest consensus, but that cannot conceal the brutal imposition of the will of the state – and the chafing many have felt.

Wall Street Journal columnist Allysia Finley explains that “[t]he Omicron wave will leave most people with potent and durable protection against Covid.” [10] A slice:

Infection also strengthens the T-cell response. T-cells from vaccinated people have been found [11] to retain 70% to 80% of their efficacy against the Omicron variant spike protein. This has helped prevent more severe illness, even though vaccine antibodies are less effective against Omicron.

But infection trains T-cells to recognize virus proteins that also are less likely to mutate than the spike. Some of these proteins share similarities with the original SARS virus as well as four coronaviruses that can cause the common cold. SARS survivors have been found [12] to have memory T-cells 17 years after infection that also recognized parts of the Covid-19 virus. A new study [13] from the U.K.’s Imperial College found that people with pre-existing T-cells to non-spike proteins in common-cold coronaviruses were less likely to get infected with Covid-19.

All of this suggests that infection with Omicron is likely to stimulate potent and durable protection against Covid-19—and potentially other coronaviruses—even if it mutates to become more virulent. As Omicron rapidly spreads, people who have been vaccinated or previously infected will develop superimmunity. Covid-19 will become a virus that causes cold- and sometimes flulike symptoms—annoying but rarely deadly or disruptive.

Jim Geraghty decries the federal government’s contradictory, confusing, and incomplete and often downright mistaken messaging on Covid [14]. A slice:

What can Biden do? He can start by leveling with people. One of the reasons people are in such a sour mood right now is that the vaccines were oversold [15] – specifically, they clearly don’t stop 95 percent of infections. The good news is that the vaccines reduce serious illness, hospitalization and death — and that’s really important! But the vaccines don’t prevent you from catching the virus, and they can’t guarantee you will not get sick, particularly against Omicron.

The approval processes at the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have mostly been a black box – unless you’re looking for the arguments, you won’t find them. In September, Biden said all Americans would need boosters, but until November 18, the FDA recommended that only the elderly or those with comorbidities should get boosters; the next day, they said [16]all adults should get one. Biden should acknowledge that not all scientists, doctors, and medical experts agree, and stop arguing as if “THE SCIENCE!” speaks with one clear voice. A little humility, and respectful acknowledgment of dissenting voices, would go a long way.

Biden needs to avoid the Lucy-and-the-football dynamic that has characterized policies during this pandemic – the sense that you, the citizen, have never done enough to prevent the spread. Israel has conducted a study on a fourth shot, and the results seem pretty underwhelming [17]. Three shots is probably going to be fine for most Americans; there isn’t much point in starting up a new argument in a few months about whether Americans with “only” three shots should count as “fully vaccinated.”

Biden could acknowledge that wearing masks has not proven effective against the highly contagious omicron variant so far. Biden’s mask rhetoric hasn’t changed — “please wear a mask. If you’re in a — you know, I think it is part of your patriotic duty” — even as the cities with the strictest masking rules see the same Omicron spike as everywhere else.

There are other dumb rules that Biden never seems to get around to criticizing. Sonoma County wants to restrict the spectators to youth sports to 20 percent of capacity [18] – while in nearby San Francisco, the Golden State Warriors play to sellout crowds. The editorial board of the Salt Lake City Tribune wants to “deploy the National Guard to ensure that people without proof of vaccination would not be allowed, well, anywhere.” Minneapolis enacted, and then rescinded, a proposal requiring kids 2 to 4 to show proof of a negative test to enter a restaurant [19].

Rich Lowry ably defends Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin’s efforts to allow parents to keep their school children unmasked [20]. A slice:

Glenn Youngkin [21] promised to be on the side of parents as Virginia governor, and on his first day in office, he delivered.

The Republican issued an executive order allowing parents to decide whether their kids will wear masks in school and met an instant wall of resistance from Democratic-controlled counties and criticism from the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki. A Washington Post headline said that Youngkin is “terrifying” people.

The flak notwithstanding, his order is a sign of a growing backlash against COVID restrictions that will likely only gain force as the pandemic drags on and former articles of faith, including on masking, get increasingly called into doubt.

There is, I believe, much truth in Gary Sidley’s claim that “[g]overnments use masking to force compliance, not fight viruses.” [22] A slice:

A further piece of evidence in support of the idea that face coverings act as a compliance device is provided in Laura Dodsworth’s book, A State of Fear. Dodsworth interviewed Gavin Morgan — an educational psychologist and member of the SPI-B (the behavioural science subgroup of SAGE) — who told her that his antipathy to masks had been nullified by some colleagues in the group who believed they were useful in promoting a sense of “solidarity [23]“, strengthening people’s feelings of cohesion in the collective fight against the virus.

If I lived in Oxfordshire, I’d patronize this pub [24].

Kate Clanchy explains what lockdowns took from her parents [25]. A slice:

But under pressure, first austerity and now lockdown, they had seen it drift into an ever more attenuated, disparate, emergency-orientated system. With Covid, the imperative to save lives, through high-tech medical measures, especially the lives of elderly frail people like them, intensified, while the means of delivering simple, limited medical care, such as podiatry and physiotherapy, withered away. This, though, was the reverse of my parents wishes. They had each had more than their fill of hospitals. They had sore backs and feet. They wanted no more drastic interventions. If their conditions couldn’t be humanely managed, they wanted to die at home.

Over lockdown, my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, entirely over the phone. He never met a nurse or received physiotherapy. In order to change his drug regime he had to come off his antidepressants: a terrifying step when the Parkinson’s locked his mood, made his depression unshiftable. But no new prescription was forthcoming. Each day, after I’d reached something down from a shelf or photographed a wound, we would supplicate another doctor. Eventually, we were told the consultant had gone on holiday and forgotten the prescription. I walked my shaking father round the water meadow and he remembered his father.

Bill Muehlenberg decries what he accurately calls “health fascism.” [26] Two slices:

The stuff of shocking dystopian novels and films is now fully upon us. Consider this – a good friend in WA [Western Australia] just told me: ‘My dad is scheduled for surgery for cancer in a few weeks. The surgery has now rung my parents and said that he cannot have the surgery unless he has a first dose of the vaccine. Wow. They would just leave him to die of cancer instead.’

Wow indeed. Talk about heartless bastards and health fascists. The fundamental rule of medicine for millennia has always been, ‘First, do no harm.’ Refusing to treat patients because they are making informed health choices is wrong. Making them the subject of unjust discrimination is the height of cruelty and inhumanity.

…..

Our governments – drunk on power and control – are fully involved in the creation of a two-tiered society where grossly immoral and unjust discrimination takes place at the most crucial of levels: in the access to basic goods and service, to travel, to education, and even to healthcare.

Our leaders are effectively saying, ‘You get the jab or else. Do as we demand or you can just die.’ Never mind the legitimate concerns so many have about the efficacy and safety of Covid vaccines. Never mind the human rights declarations that speak of the vital need for there to be no compulsion in medicine, and the need for full voluntary informed consent [27].

If hospitals and emergency rooms are not turning away those making irresponsible choices – such as drug addicts and heavy drinkers – it should not be turning away those who in my view are making very responsible choices about things like vaccination.

Paul Collits describes and decries “[t]he strange emergence of the anti-vaxxer bogeyman.” [28] A slice:

To Sir (!) Tony Blair, they are selfish idiots. To Bob Carr, they are simpletons. To the Archbishop of Canterbury (and, no doubt, the Pope), they are immoral. To Justin Trudeau, they are misogynist racists.

Emmanuel Macron wants to ‘p**s them off’. Jacinda Ardern smirks at the suggestion that punishing them ushers in a two-tiered society. Daniel Andrews wants them excluded from the economy. Scott Morrison wants one in particular excluded from Australia and from an iconic tennis tournament.

The LA Times journalist Michael Hiltzik suggests that mocking their deaths from Covid is ‘necessary’. They have been described as a ‘global underclass’. Two academics of very different political hues reckon they should be punished via the tax system, since they are ‘free riders’. They are taking up all the ICU beds. Ergo, killing people. Even Covid ‘Liberals’ like Dominic Perrottet want them excluded from certain classes of public service, including teaching, seemingly unaware that children are close to being at nil risk of catching Covid.

To all of the above, they are a tiny minority (which is actually not true), and so able to be gaslit.

Of course, I speak of the fate of the so-called anti-vaxxer. In the words of British media scholar Michael Wayne, the current vilification of the unjabbed amounts to ‘moral condemnation’. It is condemnation of an enemy by those engaged in a propaganda war worthy of a Dantean circle of hell, (probably).

Defaming anti-vaxxers has become quite the sport, to go along with their exclusion from non-deplorable society and the evisceration of their rights by the Covid State and its allies. The unjabbed are at the coal face of the papers-please society.