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

Some Covid Links

Tweet [1]

The Telegraph‘s Science Editor Sarah Knapton reports that Neil Ferguson’s Covid modeling that prompted the first U.K. lockdown was based on case numbers that were ‘inaccurate.’ [2] Two slices:

Scientists did not have accurate Covid case numbers, and were unsure of hospitalisation and death rates when they published models suggesting that more than 500,000 people could die if Britain took no action in the first wave of the pandemic, it has emerged.

On March 16 2020, Imperial College [3] published its “Report 9” paper suggesting that failing to take action could overwhelm the NHS within weeks and result in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Before the paper, the UK coronavirus strategy was to flatten the peak rather than suppress the wave, but after the modelling was made public, the Government made a rapid u-turn, which eventually led to lockdown [4] on March 23.

However SPI-M (Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling) minutes released to the Telegraph under a Freedom of Information request show that by March 16, modellers were still “uncertain” of case numbers “due to data limitations”.

…..

At the briefing, Prof Ferguson [5] told journalists that the new conclusions had been reached because “the last few days” had provided “refinements” in the estimates of intensive care demand and hospital surge capacity.

But the minutes now show that SPI-M did not believe the data were complete.

Bob Seely, the MP for the Isle of Wight, who has been critical of modelling throughout the pandemic [6], said: “The arguments for and against lockdown are complex, but what is becoming clear is that the evidence that the Government saw was incomplete and potentially inaccurate.

Prof Carl Heneghan, the director of the centre for evidence based medicine (CEBM) at the University of Oxford, said: “This has always concerned me about the modelling. Throughout the two years there has been systematic error, consistent over-estimation and a tendency to go directly to the media with conclusions, without validation or peer review.

“It’s clear from the SPI-M minutes there were issues with the data, it wasn’t robust. And it shows that they should have been looking for additional outside expertise.

“This is a national scandal. No question about it. The data that petrified politicians was inaccurate.”

Writing in the Telegraph, Jonathan Sumption calls for legislative changes that ensure that lockdowns will never again happen in Britain [7]. Two slices:

Lockdown was an extreme, crude, and untested experiment embarked upon with the minimum of thought, no advance planning and no exit route. The original decision was taken in a moment of panic with no consideration of more sensible alternatives, and no thought for the appalling collateral consequences.

It failed to stop the virus, which is still with us. It inflicted untold misery and economic pain. Its main victims were the young, who were at negligible risk of death, and the poor, for whom confinement was a harsher fate. There is now mounting international evidence that it achieved nothing that could not have been achieved just as well by timely and moderate measures of social distancing and by trusting people to take common-sense steps to protect themselves. We did not need to turn ourselves into a police state.

…..

How can we stop this kind of thing happening again? For it will happen again if we do nothing. There will be more variants and fresh epidemics, some of them worse than this one. Governments now know that they can get away with anything if they frighten people enough. They will not forget.

Jon Sanders applauds the crumbling of Ozymaskias – but he also worries that it might be rebuilt [8]. Two slices:

In Spring 2020, when public health officials including Dr. Anthony Fauci [9] suddenly did an about-face on wearing masks, many people fell in line. They were led to believe the change of official guidance was indicative of a sudden convergence of scientific certitude. It didn’t occur to them that it bespoke a high degree of uncertainty combined with the prideful folly of needing to appear to be doing something.

This uncertainty is the very reason why mandates are wrong. No rational leader in a free society uses emergency powers to force a behavior on the dice throw that it might work. No one even remotely familiar with the propensity for public policies to harbor unseen, unintended negative consequences in the short and long term could have countenanced such a rash reaction. Bastiat wept [10].

After all, nothing prevented these same officials from offering people the best information at the time in an unclear environment, providing advice and recommendations on what to do rather than ordering them about — i.e., treating Americans as free-thinking fellow citizens, their co-equals in the eyes of God and the Constitution. When they issued unthinkable mandates (not just masking but also lockdowns, business closings, etc.) and told people and the credulous press that they were [11] merely “following the science [12],” the question should obviously have been whether the research literature offered a slam-dunk justification [13] for such extreme emergency orders.

Anything less, however, and they should have leveled with us and offered their recommendations. As the situation became clearer, they could have then adjusted their recommendations without fearing damage to their credibility. If anything, such honesty and humility would have enhanced public trust. Then we would actually have been “in this together,” rather than antagonized by a blundering bunch of political actors reimagining the fallacy of Oz and now increasingly desperate to keep people from seeing the little old charlatan behind the curtain.

…..

So Ozymaskias is crumbling. But it’s not enough for mask orders to come down when the politics of coerced masking takes a setback. These horrible, unscientific, illiberal, anti-human mandates must be sunk forever in the desert sands of history along with the rest of their Covid-excused tyrannies.

National Review‘s Nate Hochman reviews the real achievements of the Canadian truckers’ protest [14]. Two slices:

The Freedom Convoy leaves Ottawa with a number of material wins under its belt. Five Canadian provinces — Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island — opted to drop their vaccine mandates in the midst of the protests. Alberta dropped [15] its school mask requirement. At the federal level, the Canadian government relaxed [16] its border pandemic restrictions — the initial source of the truckers’ ire. Many Covid mandates remain in place, of course, but the eased pandemic rules mark an extraordinary victory for a relatively short-lived movement that was panned as an extremist fringe [17] by both the Trudeau government and the mainstream press.

Some critics of the convoy have dismissed the idea that the truckers were the cause of these dismantled mandates. “Most provinces were already planning to roll back restrictions as the Omicron wave flattened,” University of Calgary professor Matt McManus argued [18] on Twitter. Last week, the Canadian Globe and Mail editorial board wrote [19] that “the reason the provinces are relaxing the rules now is because people got vaccinated, not because a handful of anti-vaxxers are soaking in hot tubs in front of Parliament Hill.” (The trucker convoy wasn’t actually anti-vax — it was anti-mandate — but its members did, in fact, have a hot tub. Considering the frigid weather, that was just good planning.)

…..

Why does the Ottawa convoy matter? Beyond its political achievements, the movement’s power lay in its simple rejection of the pandemic mindset that has become embedded in many technocratic circles. In an era of lockdowns and nanny-state Fauci-ism, the Freedom Convoy’s defiant joy was an open revolt against the dreary vision of life on offer from an army of experts, bureaucrats who insist that a “return to normal” is impossible. The truckers were relentlessly, unequivocally, unapologetically free. And their protest was an invitation for any who wish to join them.

Johns Hopkins school of medicine professor Marty Makary deplores the CDC’s practice of withholding data [20]. Two slices:

People say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a messaging problem. But the CDC’s problem is not messaging — it’s issuing flawed guidance while covering up the data.

Case in point: pushing boosters for young people. [21]

After the Food and Drug Administration inexplicably bypassed its expert advisory committee to authorize boosters for all young people, the CDC director overruled her own experts’ downvote [22] of the boosters-for-all proposal. That’s the magic of a call from the White House. Two top FDA officials, including the agency’s vaccine-center head,quit over White House pressure [23] to authorize boosters for the young.

But after the FDA and CDC rammed through the recommendation, they made sure the public wouldn’t see the real-world data. Despite repeated pleas to release all its data, the CDC only posted stats on boosters in people over age 50.

What have they been hiding? As a proxy, let’s take a look at what the CDC just published on people 50 to 65: For the fully vaccinated, the booster reduces the risk of COVID death from four per million to one per million. Who are those three helped by a booster? They’re not healthy people. One study of breakthrough hospitalizations found 75% had at least four comorbidities.

…..

A note for college administrators enforcing booster mandates: You can’t reduce a mortality risk of zero any lower with a booster.

The CDC claims it didn’t release booster data because it feared the information would be misinterpreted. No, it’s because the stats don’t support its agenda. Yet public-health officials continue to beclown themselves by demanding all Americans over age 12 get boosted.

Most of the media have fallen for it. Throughout the pandemic, The New York Times [24] and other outlets have only sourced doctors on the establishment groupthink bandwagon, dangled fear to young people and blindly amplified every edict government doctors fed without asking questions, just as the press did with weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

We’ve seen medical-bandwagon thinking hurt us before. The dogma that COVID spreads by surface transmission, children must be shut out of school and the barbaric separation of Americans from their dying loved ones. Our public-health leaders continue to make critical mistakes and affirm each other with groupthink while journalists give them a megaphone to broadcast their agenda, unchecked, failing to ask basic questions, like: Where’s the supporting data? What’s the incidence of myocarditis after a booster in young people?

This week, one Times reporter finally picked up [25] on what many of us have been saying about the CDC’s deception.

“A New Zealand High Court challenge questioning the legality of Covid vaccination mandates for Police and Defence Force employees has been upheld, with the court determining that the government mandate is an unjustified incursion on that country’s Bill of Rights, as well as being unreasonable under its Public Health Response Act. [26]

Jay Bhattacharya tweets [27]:

Imagine if we had focused on actually protecting the vulnerable instead of indulging ourselves in the destructive illusion that we could control the spread of a highly infectious virus.

Phil Kerpen puts into perspective Omicron’s impact on hospital inpatient volume [28]: (HT Jay Bhattacharya [29])