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Some Covid Links

John Tierney puts into proper perspective the odds of vaccinated individuals dying from Covid. Three slices:

The researchers report that none of the healthy people under 65 had a severe case of Covid that required treatment in an intensive-care unit. Not a single one of these nearly 700,000 people died, and the risk was miniscule for most older people, too. Among vaccinated people over 65 without an underlying medical condition, only one person died. In all, there were 36 deaths, mostly among a small minority of older people with a multitude of comorbidities: the 3 percent of the sample that had at least four risk factors. Among everyone else, a group that included elderly people with one or two chronic conditions, there were just eight deaths among more than 1.2 million people, so their risk of dying was about 1 in 150,000.

Those are roughly the same odds that in the course of a year you will die in a fire, or that you’ll perish by falling down stairs. Going anywhere near automobiles is a bigger risk: you’re three times more likely during a given year to be killed while riding in a car, and also three times more likely to be a pedestrian casualty. The 150,000-to-1 odds of a Covid death are even longer than the odds over your lifetime of dying in an earthquake or being killed by lightning.


Of course, the threat of Covid is greater for unvaccinated adults, but why should their personal decision to take that risk arouse so much angst among those who are safely vaccinated? The original argument for vaccine mandates—that they were necessary to stop the spread—is obsolete, now that it’s clear that vaccination doesn’t prevent reinfection and transmission. Even if vaccines might slow the spread, they won’t prevent the virus from eventually reaching everyone. In any case, the risk to the vaccinated is so low that there’s no justification for forcing everyone else to be jabbed.

Nor is there any justification for mandating masks or vaccines for schoolchildren. Even if masks were effective—and the weight of evidence shows that they do little or no good—it would make no sense to require them in classrooms where the risk is so low to everyone (including the vaccinated teachers). Some children with serious health problems could benefit from being vaccinated, but for others the vaccine offers virtually no benefit while risking rare and unforeseen side effects. By analyzing the rates of death and infection in 2020, before the arrival of vaccines, Cathrine Axfors and John Ioannidis of Stanford calculate that the risk of death for children and adolescents who were infected with the virus was 0.001 percent—one in 100,000. The risk today is lower still thanks to better treatments.

The recent scare stories about children hospitalized for Covid are based on inflated statistics. Studies have found that nearly half of the children whom the CDC classified as hospitalized Covid cases are actually being treated for other conditions and just happened to test positive.


If those odds still aren’t enough to assuage your dread of Covid, consider one more statistic, based on Ioannidis’s analysis of data from Covid tests and seroprevalence surveys. He estimates that in the United States, a nation of 331 million people, there have been a total of 250 million to 350 million Covid infections since the pandemic began. While that estimate includes some people who were infected more than once, it seems clear that the vast majority of Americans have already survived an infection and acquired natural immunity, many without being aware of it. Many don’t realize—and a horde of journalists and public officials are working hard to keep them ignorant—that their enemy today is not a virus in the air but the fear in their minds.

el gato malo sets straight the Covidians who equate opposition to the Canadian truckers’ anti-vaccine protest with the opposition of the brave man who in June 1989 stood before a government tank in Tiananmen Square. A slice:

when you are the one opposing peaceful people standing up for freedom to choose and basic human agency and bodily integrity, you are not the “tank man.” you are the tank.

John Palmer reflects sensibly on Covid vaccines and vitamin D.

Vinay Prasad is unimpressed with new ‘research’ – published in a CDC journal – on masks. Here’s his conclusion:

But I am more disappointed in smart scientists who share this essay. They are losing their credibility. I am sad to see it.

Ultimately, the CDC and NIH failed us. The agencies should have run a half-dozen masking cluster RCTs under different conditions, and for different ages. We were starving, and we needed this loaf of bread. Instead, the CDC published flawed study after flawed study. It didn’t even give us crumbs; it gave us a fistful of sand. Starving, we swallowed each grain, and begged for more. Medical leaders told us to fill our bowl before it runs out. Science lies on its deathbed.

After seeing a photo of Stacey Abrams smiling maskless amidst a crowd of masked school children (and school staff), the New York Post Editorial Board expresses appropriate criticism of Covid-hypocritical Progressives. Here’s the conclusion:

We’ve all been taken for suckers. The liberal elite is out partying in the Hamptons, at French Laundry and in luxury suites while the rest of us get bullied and condescended to.

Enough! These people aren’t worth listening to, they aren’t worth voting for. This isn’t about science. It’s about control. Want to know why Americans have lost faith in government? Look in the mirror, you feckless jackasses.

Joel Zinberg writes on the lockdown study by Jonas Herby, Lars Jonung, and Steve Hanke. A slice:

A new study from Johns Hopkins University’s Institute for Applied Economics supports what I and others have long maintained: lockdowns do not work, and their economic, social, educational, and psychological costs far outweigh any health benefits they might bring.

Early in the pandemic, epidemiological modelers predicted catastrophic casualties that could be averted only with stringent lockdown measures. In response, nearly every country around the world imposed lockdown measures by the end of March 2020. Yet little evidence existed to support such actions, and the modeling studies were fatally flawed. Now the Hopkins literature review and meta-analysis, by Professors Jonas Herby, Lars Jonung, and Steve Hanke, finds that lockdowns—“defined as the imposition of at least one compulsory, non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI)” such as school and business closures and limitations on movement and travel—“had little to no effect on Covid-19 mortality.”

The authors reviewed thousands of studies and culled 34 that had reliable and sufficiently relevant data to review. The results were mixed: several studies found no statistically significant effect of lockdowns on mortality; other studies found a significant negative relationship between lockdowns and mortality; and others found a significant positive relationship between lockdowns and mortality—i.e., that lockdowns actually increased deaths from Covid-19.

When the authors performed a meta-analysis—a statistical technique that combines the results of multiple studies addressing the same question and uses the pooled data to draw conclusions—they found that lockdowns failed to show a large significant effect on Covid-19 mortality: “the effect is little to none.”

The Hopkins findings echo and confirm the conclusions in an April 2021 review by Canadian economist Douglas Allen that lockdowns had little or no impact on the number of Covid-19 deaths. Allen’s review of studies that distinguished between voluntary and mandated lockdown effects found that voluntary changes in behavior explained most of the changes in cases and deaths. In a January 2021 review, Danish economist Jonas Herby, a coauthor of the Hopkins study, found that voluntary behavioral changes were ten times as important as mandatory measures in limiting the growth of the pandemic.

“From Canadian truckers to European protests, the world is fed up with COVID crackdowns” – so writes James Bovard in USA Today.

Matt Ridley decries the WHO’s complicity in maintaining Beijing’s smokescreen. A slice:

During 2020 the WHO took several months to negotiate the terms of a visit to China to investigate the origin of the virus. When that team eventually visited Wuhan in January 2021, they were treated to a strictly controlled tourist itinerary that included a museum and the wrong campus of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, followed by a risible press conference at which they endorsed a fanciful Chinese theory that the virus might have been imported from frozen food.

During these many months, the British government kept telling me that we should leave it to the WHO to carry out such investigations. So the WHO’s role was to prevent a proper investigation, albeit inadvertently.

It is, I think, my friend Frank Stephenson who I first heard describe the 2022 international Winter sporting event now underway in China as “the Gulag Games.”

Gary Sidley rightly insists that the Orwellian propaganda methods used by the British government to instill in the British people fear of Covid “must never be repeated.” Two slices:

Who can forget the constant images during the pandemic warning people to stay indoors to ‘save lives’, students being told that breaking the rules would be ‘killing their granny’, or the ‘Look him in the eyes’ campaign, which showed Covid patients in hospital wearing an oxygen mask, imploring people to never bend the rules and to keep a ‘safe distance’ from others. Even now, as the number of Covid cases continues to fall, we are surrounded by billboards showing black Covid particles hanging in the air like smoke, enveloping people going about their everyday lives.

The consequences of this unprecedented state-sanctioned campaign have been visible everywhere: from the old lady in the street, paralysed with fear of contamination from another human, darting into the road to avoid someone walking the other way, to the neighbour donning a face covering and plastic gloves to wheel the dustbin to the end of her drive. These kinds of incidents are the product of an intensive messaging campaign, designed by the government’s behavioural scientists, to ‘nudge’ us into compliance with the Covid-19 restrictions and the subsequent vaccine rollout.
But three particular interventions during the pandemic raise major ethical concerns: fear inflation, equating compliance with virtue and the encouragement of peer pressure to conform. The use of these covert psychological strategies infringe the basic ethical principles of psychological practice.

It can be argued that a civilised society should not strategically frighten, shame and scapegoat its citizens as a way to increase compliance. This deliberate creation of distress resembles the tactics used by regimes to eliminate beliefs and behaviours that the state thinks is deviant.

And the collateral damage associated with these methods is considerable. It is likely that fear inflation may have significantly contributed to non-Covid excess deaths recorded during the pandemic. Meanwhile, the shaming and scapegoating of the those deemed to be non-compliers has inevitable created minority outgroups (the unvaccinated, for example) that others feel empowered to vilify and verbally abuse.

Here’s excellent satire from The Babylon Bee – satire that is disturbingly believable. (HT Jay Bhattacharya)