J.B. Shurk identifies ominous parallels between the nuclear calamity at Chernobyl and the calamity of governments’ response to Covid-19. (HT Todd Zywicki) Here’s his conclusion:
Nothing the West has done in response to COVID distinguishes it from the Soviets’ handling of the preventable Chernobyl tragedy. After brute force was used against citizens from Australia and New Zealand to Austria and Democrat-controlled cities in the U.S., Canada’s recent “emergency” declaration and bank account confiscation against protesting citizens proved just how Sovietized the West has become. The worst part is that everything done against us has been repeatedly defended as for our own good.
As an old communist in the Chernobyl miniseries exclaims before a rousing ovation: “The State tells us it wants to prevent a panic. Listen well! It’s true, when the people see the police, they will be afraid. But it is my experience that when the people ask questions that are not in their own best interest, they should simply be told to keep their minds on their labor and leave matters of the State to the State. We seal off the city. No one leaves. And cut the phone lines. Contain the spread of misinformation. That is how we keep the people from undermining the fruits of their own labor.”
Tell me that doesn’t sound just like Justin Trudeau, Jacinda Ardern, or Joe Biden.
The federal rule that requires air travelers to wear face masks, which the Transportation Security Administration first imposed more than a year ago, was scheduled to expire this Friday. But the TSA extended the requirement for at least another month, for reasons even harder to understand than the original rationale for the mask mandate.
That is saying a lot, because the scientific justification for the TSA’s rule has always been weak, given that the conditions on airplanes are not conducive to COVID-19 transmission. The ventilation systems on commercial aircraft, which mix outdoor air with air recycled through HEPA filters and limit airflow between rows, help explain why there were few outbreaks associated with commercial flights even before vaccines were available.
“The risk of contracting COVID-19 during air travel is low,” an October 2020 article in The Journal of the American Medical Association noted. “Despite substantial numbers of travelers, the number of suspected and confirmed cases of in-flight COVID-19 transmission between passengers around the world appears small.”
The Association of Flight Attendants nevertheless urged the TSA to retain the mask rule. The AFA’s enthusiasm for hygiene theater is of a piece with its enthusiasm for security theater: Back in 2005, when the TSA began letting passengers carry small scissors and short screwdrivers, the union warned that “the aisles will be running with blood.”
In that case, calmer heads prevailed. But more than two decades after 9/11, US travelers are still saddled with myriad nonsensical restrictions. The mask rule is just the latest example.
We should remember the man who called out this crazed ideology back in 2006. He is Donald H. Henderson, the world’s most important epidemiologist at the time. He had worked with the World Health Organization and is given primary credit for the eradication of smallpox. His book on the topic is a tour de force and a model of how a genuine public health official goes about his work.
His 2006 article provided a comprehensive critique of lockdown ideology. The title is “Disease Mitigation Measures in the Control of Pandemic Influenza.” He notes the new interest “in a range of disease mitigation measures. Possible measures that have been proposed include: isolation of sick people in hospital or at home, use of antiviral medications, hand-washing and respiratory etiquette, large-scale or home quarantine of people believed to have been exposed, travel restrictions, prohibition of social gatherings, school closures, maintaining personal distance, and the use of masks.”
“We must ask,” he writes, “whether any or all of the proposed measures are epidemiologically sound, logistically feasible, and politically viable. It is also critically important to consider possible secondary social and economic impacts of various mitigation measures.” Coming under special scrutiny here was the neologism “social distancing.” He points out that it has been deployed to describe everything from simple actions to avoid exposure to covering full-scale closures and stay-at-home orders.
He approves of course of hand-washing and using tissues but points out that while these practices have individual value, there is no evidence that making the practices widespread will somehow end a pandemic or even stop the spread of a virus. As for the other measures – travel restrictions, closures, stay-at-home orders, prohibition of gatherings, masking – he shoots them down one by one using logic, experience, and citations from literature. While it is good to be prepared for a pandemic, we must remember that they do come and go. Wrecking society and rights achieves nothing.
Not that more evidence of Anthony Fauci’s carelessness, incompetence, arrogance, and propensity to slander those who dissent from his assessments is needed, but here nevertheless is more such evidence.
Already, it seems clear that the Government would prefer to focus on Covid deaths and the Covid “bereaved”, and avoid painful contemplation of the lockdown victims – that is, those whose mental and physical health, livelihoods and education were damaged by actions taken by ministers, scientists, civil servants and the NHS.
It is far too easy for “the pandemic” to become a catch-all scapegoat for human error. Like those infuriating recorded messages you still get whenever you try to see a GP: “Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are planning on stringing out working from home for as long as possible, because, well, it really suits us, actually, so please try to avoid illness or death where possible. If you must see a doctor, make yourself available in a 4.5-hour window (yes, even if you’ve got a job!), when a GP will eventually call you and tell you there are no appointments until April. But do call 111 instead! Alternatively, you may try the surgery again at 8am tomorrow when you can dial our number 73 times and finally be told all appointments for the day are taken. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are experiencing high call volumes. To lose the will to live, please press 1…”
Let’s be clear: the virus is not to blame for GPs failing to see their patients. (Doctors in most other countries never stopped face-to-face appointments.) The virus is not responsible for this week’s devastating news that mental health services received a record 4.3 million referrals last year. The Royal College of Psychiatrists calls it “the biggest hit to mental health in generations”.
The virus is not to blame for the fact that a frantic mum I know, whose 10-year-old says he wants to die, has been told the first appointment that CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) can offer her son is in three years’ time. That’s three years, not months.
Lockdown caused, and continues to cause, all of the above. We are now living with the tragic consequences and any inquiry worth its salt must ask some hard questions of the people who did this to us. How dare they?
China reported 5,280 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, more than double the previous day’s tally, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant spread across a country that has stuck tightly to a zero-Covid strategy.
That approach, which pivots on hard localised lockdowns and has left China virtually cut off from the outside world for two years, appears stretched to the limit as Omicron finds its way into communities.
At least 13 cities nationwide were fully locked down as of Tuesday, and several others had partial lockdowns, with some 15,000 infections reported nationwide in March.