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Some Covid Links

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

Stoking panic, as Fauci and other public health leaders did, had a purpose — to manipulate human behavior. The breach of ethics is monumental and will require a reckoning.

The Brownstone Institute shares tweets from people who deplore the forced separation of the very ill from their loved ones. A slice:

“Our good friend was only 44 and had no idea he had stage 4 colorectal, liver, lung, and lymphatic cancer. He fought as long as he could but none of us were ever able to see him in his final days in the hospital. Final months really. One visitor per day. Today is his birthday.” – Dave (@Dave31952257)

“My vaccinated Dad wasn’t able to go see his vaccinated Mom (my Grandma) last Mother’s Day because of a ban on “non-essential” travel between Quebec and Ontario. She died 2 days before the ban was lifted. Her brother was killed by Nazis. Lest we forget.” – Adam Millward Art, Montréal, Canada (@nexusvisions)

“My aunt died in an empty hospital in Amarillo from breast cancer in late 2020. She was so scared of the virus she didn’t go to the doctor until her breast literally started to atrophy and she collapsed. No visitors. I had to help her son sneak in to see her and we were kicked out.” – razumikhin (@cw_cnnr)

“I’m afraid to let my family members [be admitted] to the hospital. Not afraid of covid at all, we’ve all had it, but worried about having family isolated and no one to advocate for them.” – Donna H, Pleasant Grove, Utah (@Donna_H67)

el gato malo is less than impressed with Canadian strongman/weakman Justin Trudeau.

Douglas Murray, writing in the Telegraph, sees through to the ugly realities of New Zealand strongwoman Jacinda Adhern and Canadian strongman/weakman Justin Trudeau. Two slices:

Jacinda seems not to have got the memo. Last summer she notoriously locked down her country again after one man was found to have Covid in New Zealand. I wouldn’t have wanted to have been him. Now, even Australia, which has been one of the strictest, harshest, countries during Covid, has started to lift regulations. And New Zealand?

Well, Ardern has announced yet another batch of regulations for her countrymen. New Zealand seems almost hooked on the stuff. The international media once again went doolally for Ardern when she gave a press conference announcing fresh lockdowns and saying that this meant that her own wedding was off. How much she seemed to care! How much her face crumpled as she talked of the plight of her countryfolk! How selfless she was even to cancel her own nuptials!

What people should have said was that New Zealand’s prime minister had clearly become a mad person. There was no reason to do this performative caring. There was no reason to sacrifice the opportunity to get hitched. The rules were the problem, and getting rid of them should have been the priority.

Instead, everyone got swept along, yet again, on an ocean of Ardern ardour. And on it seems this will go. What will come of New Zealand? Perhaps it will remain always stuck in the summer of 2020, never allowing anyone in or out. Those of us who once went there will tell of it to our grandchildren who will listen in awe to tales of this remote island people who voluntarily cut themselves off from the rest of the world.


In an effort to persuade the population to get vaccinated, Trudeau did everything he could to defame those who disagreed with him. This extended to him dismissing anyone hesitant about taking the vaccine as being (guess what?) racist, misogynistic and more. Trudeau had no evidence for any of this, but this is the modern way of excommunicating any person or group of people. Say that they are racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobes and you have successfully un-personed such people.

Unfortunately for Trudeau, many Canadians can see through this playground antic and are not persuaded by it. Specifically, Trudeau found that his vaccine demands had riled Canadian truckers.

There is no special reason why truck drivers (one of the most isolating professions in the world) should have to display vaccine passports in order to do their work. But Justin decided that they had to, or their livelihoods would come to an end.

Gloriously, last month, thousands of truckers drove in convoy to Ottawa. As they arrived there for their protest, Justin decided to pretend he had a headache. Or rather he said that he had met someone who knew someone who had once danced with someone who had Covid. And so the prime minister was doing the reasonable thing and self-isolating.

The truckers stayed. At present they remain in Ottawa. Officials have looked into how to criminalise them. They have even looked into criminalising the thousands of Canadians who gathered at the roadsides to show their support. The Ottawa police are now actually stealing the truckers’ fuel and other necessities in an effort to make the protest go away. But the truckers aren’t budging.

There is no reason why Trudeau should not make peace with the truckers. Any more than Ardern should not start to walk back from isolating her island nation.

But the problem is that when you have presented yourself as the most moral person in the land – the most feeling, the most understanding – and portrayed all your critics as Nazis, it is hard to move to ground we might once have called common. So there Justin is, like Ardern, holed up in a problem entirely of his own making.

Connor Harris, writing at City Journal, deplores “authoritarian science” – an oxymoron of the first rank – and, in particular, this “science’s” impact on perceptions of hydroxychloroquine. Two slices:

The dismissal of hydroxychloroquine as a possible Covid-19 treatment, however, was never based on solid science. The Los Angeles Times article reveals a fundamentally authoritarian worldview: medical claims are “unproven,” and dangerous for the public to discuss, until some official body endorses them—an approach that threatens public health and science alike.


But there is a broader point here: the brokenness of the criteria that political authorities and Internet platforms use to determine acceptable opinion. With a handful of largely politically motivated exceptions—the scientific backing for mask mandates, for instance, amounts to scarcely more than artificial laboratory studies and cherry-picked epidemiological comparisons, with scant if any support from randomized controlled trials—medical regulatory agencies consider RCTs the only acceptable source of evidence. Though RCTs are immune from certain classes of bias, though, they can be poorly designed in other ways and are hardly infallible. Moreover, RCTs are expensive, labor-intensive, and typically beyond the reach of researchers without institutional backing, for often wholly artificial reasons—such as pettifogging ethical oversight requirements imposed by institutional review boards, and a ban on human challenge trials that could allow conclusive randomized testing of disease treatments with drastically reduced expense and time.

As blogger Scott Alexander has pointed out, the phrase “no evidence,” frequently used to dismiss potential alternative Covid-19 treatments, is one of the most overused in science communication, applied both to assuredly false statements and to those that are likely true but simply lack sufficiently authoritative proof. Critical thinking about medicine or any topic requires weighing multiple sources against one another and distinguishing between degrees of certainty, not ruling out all sources of evidence but one and equating “unproven” with “false.” The approach to health information increasingly taken by public officials, reporters, and social media—under which any statement is “unproven” and must be assumed harmful, barring some definitive pronouncement by public health authorities to the contrary—is thus not only authoritarian but also damaging to public health and science as a whole.

Freddie Sayers tweets:

Latest from Neil Ferguson and Imperial estimates Omicron as intrinsically 70% less severe than Delta.

Quite a difference from their 16th Dec report to SAGE: “We find no evidence of Omicron having different severity from Delta.”

No mention of why they got it so wrong before.

And Martin Kulldorff tweets:

The Massachusetts Bay Colony leaders presiding over the Salem Witch Trials were never held accountable for their brutal misguided conduct. Most did not even apologize.

France has its own Freedom Convoy. A slice:

The context is the yawning gap between a caste-like political elite and the general public. While the British political elite has unraveled with ‘partygate’ and other scandals, the French presidency has maintained a tight formation, strengthening the vaccine passport at the very moment when other countries are abandoning it. The constitutional court obligingly rubber-stamped the latest vaccine passport even though it violated its own conditions set for the previous version. Weekly demonstrations in almost every sizeable French town and city have fallen on deaf ears, as was a petition against the vaccine passport that gathered more than a million signatures in a matter of days.

The convoy’s official spokespeople say the aim is to gather in a picnic ground outside Paris and ask political leaders to come and meet them for a dialogue. They say it is peaceful and not about a blockade. But this doesn’t mean that no one will enter Paris: Parisians are hosting reception committees for the arrivals, and on Telegram chats convoy members appear to be looking for beds for the night in the city.

The European political elite is lining up against the convoy. The French secretary of state for European Affairs said that the participants were “irresponsible”: “it’s not the convoy of liberty, but the convoy of shame and egotism”. He dismissed the event as “the umpteenth episode of antivaxxers” that include “conspiracy theorists who think that the vaccine is inserting chips into the arms of people”. The prefect of Paris police has prohibited all demonstrations between Friday and Monday, threatening the organisers of any demos with imprisonment and 7500 euros fines.

Meanwhile, Belgian authorities have banned all ‘demonstrations with motorised vehicles’, to block the Brussels stage of events.