Some Covid Links

by Don Boudreaux on January 27, 2022

in Country Problems, Current Affairs, FDA, Legal Issues, Other People's Money, Risk and Safety, Science, Seen and Unseen

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine professor Marty Makary explains the danger of disparaging natural immunity. A slice:

The CDC study and ours confirm what more than 100 other studies on natural immunity have found: The immune system works. The largest of these studies, from Israel, found that natural immunity was 27 times as effective as vaccinated immunity in preventing symptomatic illness.

None of this should surprise us. For years, studies have shown that infection with the other coronaviruses that cause severe illness, SARS and MERS, confers lasting immunity. In a study published in May 2020, Covid-recovered monkeys that were rechallenged with the virus didn’t get sick.

Public-health officials have a lot of explaining to do. They used the wrong starting hypothesis, ignored contrary preliminary data, and dug in as more evidence emerged that called their position into question. Many, including Rochelle Walensky, now the CDC’s director, signed the John Snow memorandum in October 2020, which declared that “there is no evidence for lasting protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2 following natural infection.”

Many clinicians who talk to other physicians nationwide had have long observed that we don’t see reinfected patients end up on a ventilator or die from Covid, with rare exceptions who almost always have immune disorders. Meanwhile, public-health officials recklessly destroyed the careers of everyday Americans, rallying to fire pilots, truck drivers and others in the supply-chain workforce who didn’t get vaccinated. And in the early months of the vaccine rollout, when supplies were limited, we could have saved many more lives by giving priority to those who didn’t have recorded natural immunity.

The failure to recognize the data on natural immunity is hurting U.S. hospitals, especially in rural areas.

Michael Tracey is rightly critical of “bureaucrats riding the Omicron wave.” A slice:

Still, there are a multitude of contexts in which publicly objecting to various aspects Omicron-mania, no matter how narrowly-tailored those objections may be, could automatically place you under a cloud of suspicion — whereby you’re tarnished as “anti-vax” (regardless of whether you are personally vaccinated.) And of course, being “anti-vax” is widely viewed as interchangeable with being dangerously right-wing, which would also make you presumably sympathetic to “insurrectionists” — or perhaps even an “insurrectionist” yourself. Should we get the FBI on the phone, sir? The “MAGA” connotation here is especially odd, given that Donald Trump could not be more resolute in staking out an unwaveringly pro-vaccine stance, but the logical progression doesn’t have to make sense. This is more or less the school of thought that still, yes, today, dictates the social expectations at a wide variety of institutions, leading to absurdities of the kind that I’m about to list here. Someone’s gotta collect these, I guess, for posterity. Notwithstanding how very tedious it is. So, that’s what I’m doing.

Here’s a wild one I was told about recently: Oberlin College. Are you familiar with it? Depending on your level of familiarity, it may or may not surprise you that the dramatic “return to campus” earlier this month was accompanied by a host of hyper-scrupulous measures to ensure maximum Safety for the Community™. Professors — yes, fully accredited professors — were enlisted as emergency food delivery attendants for students consigned to “isolation.” This process entailed intensive “training” sessions, including instruction on the “Knock, Drop, Depart” rule, as well as how to accommodate students’ special dietary needs. (By the way, Oberlin recently laid off a huge percentage of its actual food service staff.)

Did you think “travel bans” were a thing of the past? Not at Princeton University, where students have been prohibited from traveling outside of Mercer County, NJ. (Mercifully, they’re also allowed to go to Plainsboro Township, in adjoining Middlesex County.) Anyone brazen enough to seek an exemption must undergo an unspecified “vetting process,” according to Dean Jill Dolan, who I hope it’s not rude to note is a Theater professor moonlighting as the university’s chief epidemiologist and emergency behavioral scientist. She previously ran the Gender and Sexuality Studies program.

Well, who’d a-thunk that what is documented here by my intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy would actually have come to pass: Government officials riding Covid hysteria to spend other people’s money lavishly?

Jacob Sullum’s latest essay is titled “Japan’s COVID-19 Strategy, Focused on Warnings Rather Than Mandates, Points the Way Forward.” A slice:

But contrary to the conventional wisdom in most other developed countries, [Japanese virologist Hitoshi] Oshitani says, “drastic measures, such as lockdowns, were never taken because the goal was always to find ways to live with Covid-19.” He adds that Japanese law “does not allow for lockdowns, so the country could not have declared them even if we had thought them necessary.”

How did that work out? “Broadly speaking,” Oshitani says, “Japan has weathered Covid-19 well.” If anything, that is an understatement. According to Worldometer’s numbers, Japan has seen 147 COVID-19 deaths per 1 million people. The rate for the United States is 18 times as high. The U.S. currently ranks 19th on Worldometer’s list of countries by COVID-19 fatality rates, while Japan is 154th. Even U.S. states that imposed lockdowns early and often, such as California and New York, have much higher fatality rates (about 2,000 and 3,300 per million, respectively) than Japan.

In the once-free country of Australia, Sarah Mclellan is angry. A slice:

It has been a hard time and what’s looming now is far worse. They are coming for the kids, and they are relentless. If we do not act now, the government will place further restrictions on the children by not allowing them to participate in certain social activities if not double, triple, and quadrupled jabbed. The mandates are not scientifically backed but, like almost every other ‘health orders’, they are politically motivated.

We are still waiting to see the health advise that led to the lockdowns, the closure of the playgrounds, the curfews etc… And should I even mention the Novak debacle? What an embarrassment. The evidence to support the orders is never shown by the government because there is no evidence. None of substance anyway. And now they want our kids injected – for what? A virus that is so minuscule in its impact on them that it’s negligible? But, I’ll volunteer my child to roll up her sleeve so you can drug her with a substance that has known serious side effects, known deaths and unknown long-term effects. Certainly, I see the benefits of injecting my child. She will protect others and herself. Oh wait, no that cannot be right. It does not limit the spread and it doesn’t stop her from getting Covid. Um hang on…

Great news from Denmark: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

JUST IN – Denmark no longer classifies COVID-19 as a “socially critical disease,” all restrictions will be lifted from February 1 – PM Mette Frederiksen

el gato malo notes the massive size of the anti-Covidocracy protest in Ottawa.

el gato malo also notes the intransitivity of the Covidocracy’s ‘science.’

Jacob Sullum isn’t buying OSHA’s promise threat to impose Biden’s abominable vaccine mandate through the regular channels of making administrative law diktats. A slice:

Today the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officially withdrew its “emergency” vaccinate-or-test mandate for private employers, acknowledging that the Supreme Court’s January 13 stay blocking the rule’s enforcement means it has no realistic chance of surviving judicial review. At the same time, OSHA said it may yet seek to impose a similar mandate through the usual rule-making process.

That is quite unlikely to happen, both because of the time that process requires and because of the Supreme Court’s reasoning in granting the stay. Given these realities, any talk of turning the rescinded “emergency temporary standard” (ETS) into a permanent rule should be viewed as little more than a bureaucratic face-saving gesture.

Aaron Kheriaty understandably wonders what Pfizer might be hiding:

Pfizer has intervened in our FOIA request to the FDA for release of their vaccine safety/efficacy data, which the judge ordered to be released in 8 mos. DOJ lawyers for the FDA agreed that they want Pfizer’s help in redacting the documents before release.

Tory MP Bob Seely, writing in the Daily Mail about Neil Ferguson and other reckless Covid ‘modelers,’ says that “never before has so much harm been done to so many by so few, based on so little, potentially flawed data. It is a national scandal.” Here are two more slices:

This is not just the fault of the modellers. It is how their work was interpreted by public health officials, by the media and, yes, by politicians and by government, too.

Modelling and forecasts were the ammunition that drove lockdown and created a climate of manipulated fear which was despicable and unforgivable.

I don’t doubt that modelling is important, or that there has been some good modelling. But, too often, it has been drowned out by hysterical forecasts.

I do not have, as Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London has implied, ‘an axe to grind’. I do, however, care about truth.

If you influence policy as the modellers have done, you should be rigorously questioned. Frankly, they have not been questioned enough.

…..

So I’ve got a question for Professor Ferguson and the doomsday modellers: Why are so many of your fellow academics disputing your work and your findings?

To the BBC: why did you so rarely challenge Ferguson, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) or independent SAGE? Why did you allow yourself to become the propaganda arm of the lockdown state?

To government: how could we have been so blinkered to think that following the science meant shutting down scientific debate?

Why did we never use other data sets in context with the British people? Why did we think it was in our nation’s interest to create a grotesque sense of fear to manipulate behaviour?

Twice in 20 years we have made errors of judgment using modelling. Never again should government rely on this glorified guesswork.

(DBx: Yes, but the scandal isn’t confined to Britain. It’s international. Neil Ferguson and his ilk, with their reckless modeling, fueled worldwide fear of Covid far in excess of the disease’s actual dangers. Some of these ‘modelers’ cheered, while others remained silent, as governments the world over imposed draconian restrictions destined to have ill-consequences far worse than any resulting benefits. Politicians, pundits, professors, and intellectuals across the globe swallowed these imprudent predictions, heaping unwarranted praise on their promulgators while ridiculing – and sometimes calling for the silencing – of scientists who dared to dissent. Appalling.)

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