Prime Minister Justin Trudeau probably didn’t expect much opposition when he imposed a Covid-19 vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers on Jan. 15. The Canadian Trucking Alliance had estimated that 85% of Canada’s 120,000 truckers were vaccinated, and a recent poll found two-thirds of Canadians favor mandatory Covid shots for everyone, including children. Yet it was a significant policy shift. Truck drivers and other “essential” workers had been exempt from Canada’s two-week quarantine for unvaccinated travelers crossing by land from the U.S.
But for people fed up with the federal government’s Covid-19 restrictions, this was the last straw. In a very un-Canadian fashion, they pushed back. Which brings us to the Freedom Convoy.
Estimates of the convoy’s size ranged from 551 to 1,155 vehicles, most of them cars and not trucks. A significant amount of money was raised, too. A GoFundMe campaign, relying particularly on small donations, raked in more than five million Canadian dollars (around U.S. $4 million) by Jan. 25. Three days later, it was at C$7.5 million. The goal was increased to C$9 million, which was surpassed on Jan. 30—and has now been pushed to C$10 million.
The convoy reached Parliament Hill on Jan. 29. Roads were clogged, and truck horns could be heard from one end of downtown Ottawa to the other. Thousands showed up. Most protesters were peaceful, and seemed to be there simply to let the Trudeau Liberals know why they oppose mandatory vaccination.
Canadian coronavirus lockdown policies have been, and remain, some of the most stringent and restrictive in the entire Western world. It may be a Commonwealth thing, given that Australia and New Zealand have also descended into unrecognizable islands of cruel and capricious public health tyranny.
In Ontario, citizens are now allowed to eat popcorn at movie theaters that only opened up again earlier this week on Monday at fifty percent capacity, and only because of comprehensive drubbing that the government was subjected to regarding this ridiculous, make-believe public health directive.
Life in Canada has been tedious, tyrannical, and indescribably punitive. That is why for many months throughout the pandemic, ordinary Americans and pundits alike have been looking north from the land of the free (red states at least) and pretty much sneering at Canadians, bereft as they are of the First and Second Amendments. The polite Canadians, they scoffed, without their guns and their freedom of speech, were a lost cause.
And then one day, Prime Minister Trudeau pushed the nice Canadians a rule too far.
“Dr. Anthony Fauci … advocated school lockdowns even while admitting he hadn’t studied their impact on children” – so reads a caption accompanying Wall Street Journal columnist James Freeman’s latest piece (titled “The Lockdown Catastrophe”). A slice:
Government disease doctors and politicians around the world panicked in the face of Covid and began shutting down societies in early 2020. The accounting has hardly begun on the impact of isolating human beings, denying them opportunities, education and experiences—not to mention disrupting non-Covid medical treatments and myriad other valuable services—and then attempting to simulate the benefits of a functioning society by printing fiat money. It will take years to understand the full cost of this man-made catastrophe, But emerging research suggests that on the other side of the ledger, public health benefits were extremely small, if they can be verified at all.
For some seven years, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic has been the No. 1 ranked men’s tennis player in the world. So why did Australian officials just kick him out of the country, where he was supposed to compete in the Australian Open?
It appears they did so because they thought it would look good to their COVID-weary constituents. And the courts let them get away with it.
If this sounds like the behavior of a Third World country, rather than a Western democracy, you’re not far off.
Yet another crisis remains — that of power-hungry governors and mayors who insist upon wielding emergency powers they should have given up two years ago. The crisis is too many state legislatures and city councils that sit on their hands rather than restore political power to its rightful place with the people’s representatives. And this crisis will not end until our leaders tell us what the goals are and when we have met them.
Along every step of the way in COVID response New York’s leadership has selectively chosen information that only supports shutting things down. When then Governor Andrew Cuomo’s own tracing data showed restaurants only accounted for 1.4% of COVID spread in December of 2020, he closed indoor dining anyway.
New York City is ready to fully open, without mask mandates or other restrictions. There is no other solution to the cavalcade of bad trends it has suffered for two years. Empty streets promote crime and vagrancy by the mentally ill. Empty storefronts harm neighborhoods. Kids masked all day at school suffer educational and developmental setbacks. This entire parade of horribles and more all stem from the unwillingness of our leaders to call an end to the madness.
It is manifestly clear that the panic phase of the Covid-19 pandemic has to end. The costs are too high.
I don’t mean end as a state of mind. The pandemic has to end officially, as a matter of stated public policy by the U.S. government.
President Biden needs to declare publicly that the pandemic phase of Covid is over so people can resume living in a reality not dominated by masks, tests or vaccines.
Daily life has been suspended since March 2020. It won’t be the same for years, as the virus and its mutations circulate indefinitely. But the daily routines of life need the freedom to reassemble as what they were pre-pandemic, rather than what people are putting up with now.
The seemingly unto-eternity extension of the Covid crisis is now doing more nonmedical damage to the country than the virus itself. Masking and testing have turned life into a Rubik’s Cube of detail and wheel-spinning decisions. What matters more, a negative or positive rapid-test result? When is the ideal time to test yourself? How long before you retest? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains in arcane detail how test to stay works in its “K-12 Transmission Science Brief.”
A social coarsening has taken place. People die without funerals or in-person memorials even now because of infection fear. Isolation has become its own pandemic. Untended friendships have eroded. Much of the country is now divided between mask dissenters and mask wardens.
Lockdowns prevented just 0.2 per cent of deaths in comparison with simply trusting people to do the right thing, a new study suggests.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University, in the US, Lund University, in Sweden and the Centre for Political Studies, in Denmark, said the costs to society far outweighed the benefits and called for lockdown to be “rejected out of hand” as a future pandemic policy.
The team even found that some lockdown measures may have increased deaths by stopping access to outdoor space, “pushing people to meet at less safe places” while isolating infected people indoors, where they could pass the virus on to family members and housemates.
“We do find some evidence that limiting gatherings was counterproductive and increased Covid-19 mortality,” the authors concluded. “Often, lockdowns have limited people’s access to safe outdoor places such as beaches, parks, and zoos, or included outdoor mask mandates or strict outdoor gathering restrictions, pushing people to meet at less safe indoor places.”
Jonas Herby, a special adviser at the Centre for Political Studies and one of the study’s authors, told The Telegraph: “When we look at lockdown, we don’t find much of an effect.
“We think that most people don’t want to get sick or infect their neighbours, so if you just give people the proper knowledge they do the right thing to take care of themselves, and others, and so that’s why lockdowns don’t work.
“In general, we should trust that people can make the right decisions, so the key thing is to educate them and tell them when the infection rates are high and when it’s dangerous to go out and how to protect yourself.
“One possible reason that lockdowns seem ineffective is that some measures are counterproductive. There is some evidence that putting limits on gatherings actually increased the number of deaths.”
The authors criticised the original Imperial College London model which suggested that Britain could see 500,000 deaths without a lockdown, saying it did not take into account the real-world behaviour of people during a pandemic.
Millions of people have seen their holidays ruined in the last two years, but a fresh tale of woe might just take the biscuit.
Karl Mohan, 26, from Dublin, has been travelling across Africa and Asia with his girlfriend Aisling since September 2021, and was nearing the end of a month-long stop in Cambodia when he unexpectedly tested positive for Covid in Siem Reap on January 16, just ahead of his scheduled flight to Sri Lanka.
“I had no symptoms, the lateral flow test I’d taken for peace of mind just beforehand had been negative, and so were the two I took after the positive PCR,” Mohan tells Telegraph Travel. With Aisling also testing negative, he asked for the test to be repeated, but to avail.
“In Cambodia they seem to think Covid is a flesh-eating disease,” he adds. “I felt like a leper when they told me I was positive – doctors and nurses literally ran away from me.”
The couple were swiftly taken to a local hospital, where Mohan underwent a chest X-ray in the car park. It was all clear, but the pair were still collected in an ambulance by officials dressed in hazmat suits and taken to the grim ‘Covid camp’ where the real nightmare began.
It was a unisex facility in a repurposed sports field, comprising rows of wooden bed frames, filthy open lavatories, and little else. Mohan gathered from other inmates that he would be required to stay there for at least seven days, and would then only be released after testing negative twice, two days apart. Several occupants said they had been stuck in the camp for weeks.
Panicking, the couple initially managed to escape but were met at their hotel by police and Mohan (but not Aisling) was frog-marched back into the camp, where he accepted he would be stationed for the foreseeable future. Mohan started sharing footage of his bleak surroundings – ant infestations, thousands of spiders, stray dogs and excrement on the floor – to Cambodia’s main Facebook page for travellers.
The Fauci/Collins playbook to create a false impression of scientific consensus on COVID policy (used on lab-leak, lockdowns & early treatment):
1. Call scientists who disagree “fringe”
2. Deploy big tech misinformation hordes to suppress opposing thoughts
3. Deploy press propagandists & scientist allies to smear and takedown opponents
4. Reward allies with large grants
“Crisis-prone individuals don’t just like to live in a state of high alert—they seem to relish being called upon to fix all those problems that are causing the crisis,” Susan Krauss Whitbourne, professor emerita of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, wrote in a 2014 Psychology Today article. These people, she explained, “seek—if not revel in—drama, become worked up over small problems, and tend to see themselves as the center of their all-too-frenetic universes.”
Whitbourne wrote years before vaccine passports were a twinkle in a bureaucrat’s eye, referring to people hooked on disruptive adrenaline rushes at work or home. But a substantial share of our population seems to get much the same kick from a public health crisis.
Let’s not forget the public health officials who found themselves thrust into the spotlight and the politicians who assumed unprecedented powers. Newly minted New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) declared a state of emergency in November while scientists were still assessing what, if any, special dangers the omicron variant posed. Stepping back into obscurity and normal power parameters is difficult when you’ve been juiced by a crisis.
Adrenaline junkies, those who can work in pajamas, and empowered politicos don’t entirely explain the lingering crisis. Mask mandates, travel restrictions, and vaccination requirements maintained solid majority support among Americans in a Morning Consult survey conducted after omicron appeared. Those who enjoy disruption may be persuading or shaming others to embrace chaos.