In the Wall Street Journal, GMU Law professor Eugene Kontorovich explains, with Anastasia Lin, that not until China’s authoritarian regime used lockdowns did policy unthinkable in the west suddenly become a widespread dystopian practice. Two slices:
Stay-at-home orders weren’t part of the script in pre-Covid federal pandemic plans. The idea of “flattening the curve” through what are known as “layered non-pharmaceutical interventions” can be traced to an influential 2007 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance paper, updated in 2017. Contemplating a severe pandemic with a 2% case fatality rate, the CDC recommended now-familiar strategies, such as masking, surface disinfection and temporary school closings.
Yet aside from suggesting limits on mass gatherings, the CDC paper makes no mention of closing workplaces. Instead, it concludes that such a severe pandemic could warrant recommending that employers “offer telecommuting and replace in-person meetings in the workplace with video or telephone conferences.” The closest it comes to lockdowns is recommending “voluntary home quarantine” for people with an infected family member.
The Chinese Communist Party aimed to eradicate Covid cases completely, regardless of the human cost. China’s zero-Covid policy continues. A handful of cases can put a city under strict lockdown, devastating normal life. Xi’an, a city of 13 million people suddenly went into lockdown in December. An eight-month-pregnant woman lost her baby after being denied medical attention for hours, causing national outrage. This month, a 4-year-old girl in Changchun died while waiting for a negative Covid test before being admitted to a hospital for acute laryngitis.
By denying individual dignity and freedom, communism leaves no basis for moral judgment other than a brutal utilitarianism. On the Chinese internet at the pandemic’s outset one could read comments to the effect that sacrificing 11 million for the sake of 1.4 billion was a good bargain. A Wuhan resident, in an anonymous March 2020 essay for NPR, saw through this rationale: “When someone says we can accomplish something but we must pay a price, do not rush to applaud. One day you may become the price that is paid.”
When Western nations were confronted with Covid-19, they seemed to believe the Communist Party’s unproven claims about the efficacy of lockdowns. In the end, every other country got some variant of the virus and some variant of China’s official response.
… in response to which Karol Markowicz tweets:
Our leaders behaved as if the lockdowns were so super easy to do (remember: “stay the fuck home!”) and would have no consequences. They did.
Health care has featured some significant rule waivers. Telehealth has received an enormous boost. Like remote work, the required technology has existed for some time. Legal restrictions were holding telehealth back. The pandemic forced experimentation for patients fearful of catching COVID at a doctor’s office.
Telehealth, though, offers enormous benefit going forward, particularly for residents of underserved rural areas. Safety is also a factor: individuals with health conditions can avoid potentially dangerous drives to doctors’ offices. Patients with rare illnesses or difficult cases can consult more specialists.
State licensure creates barriers for virtual consultation across state lines. State medical boards claim to uphold quality in licensing, but this is only true if other states license unqualified quacks. I read about a Pennsylvania patient again facing a two-hour drive to Johns Hopkins in Maryland with the end of the pandemic exemption. Does the Pennsylvania medical board truly think that doctors at Johns Hopkins – one of the nation’s leading medical schools – are not qualified to treat Pennsylvanians?
Pandemic deregulation waived limits on medical professionals known as scope of practice regulation. For example, physician assistants were allowed to practice to the extent of their training. Scope of practice limits are driven by profits, not safe medicine and simply keep professionals from fully employing their expertise. Researchers will determine if these exemptions increased misdiagnoses; if not, this would demonstrate the limits’ lack of medical purpose.
Imagine that a new pandemic hits and, sadly, you test positive. Luckily, we’re better prepared this time and a widely used, safe, convenient pill priced at only $1 is available and can reduce your risk of death by 56%. Would you take it?
Actually, such a drug was available during this pandemic. It has been on the market for decades.
This drug and others like it were available at the start of COVID-19. Yet few of us knew about them or had them easily available as therapeutic choices. Why? These life-saving drugs were purposely and systematically ignored and, when not ignored, denigrated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, making them generally unavailable. If they had been widely available, and encouraged, hundreds of thousands of Americans might not have died unnecessarily.
While newer drugs are often better than older drugs, older drugs have something that newer drugs don’t: they are cheap and widely available today. When a pandemic starts, they are all we have.
Since the pandemic started, some older drugs, vitamins, and minerals have been widely tested for therapeutic activity against COVID-19. Table 1 shows some of the key results. Mortality rates are shown because death is the most serious outcome, and yet these pills also prevent infections, help keep patients off mechanical ventilators, keep them out of the ICU and the hospital altogether, foster faster recoveries, and improve viral clearance. Their utility against this deadly virus has been tested in hundreds of clinical trials involving hundreds of thousands of patients. Moreover, their other attributes are clearly known after decades of use and many millions of doses.
getting hooked on dope is not really different than getting hooked on betting the ponies. anything that you can use to hide from, avoid, or escape something painful in your life can become an addiction. this is why people who carry damage, who were raised in badly dysfunctional families, who were abused as kids, who have been through war, or who have undergone some other massive stressor see their rates of addiction explode: they are the ones with things to avoid and escape.
and this is what made a 2 year fear campaign about a virus in combination with compulsory masking and lockdown a truly nasty form of societal predation.
this is going to be with us for a long time.
that’s the nature of addiction. when you remove that which has been being used to mitigate pain and the pain returns, addicts will bend reality and anyone around them to get back to the place where it doesn’t hurt.
Two whole years have now passed since the first Covid lockdown. None of us will ever forget how awful it was. The park benches taped off. The children’s swings removed. The innocent dog walkers tracked by police drones. The local councils trying to stop shops from selling Easter eggs, because they weren’t deemed to be “essential items”. And, most absurdly of all, the father in Rotherham reprimanded by a police officer for playing with his own children in his own front garden.
It was absolutely suffocating, and often farcical. Believe it or not, though, it could actually have been even worse. Because, crazy though some of our rules were, at least we didn’t adopt the craziest rule of all.
Newly published documents reveal that, in spring 2020, the Scottish government was invited to consider adopting a bizarre lockdown policy from Panama. A paper presented to Scotland’s Covid advisory group listed a wide range of measures that were being tried out in other countries across the globe. And one of them was called “population scheduling”.
This, the paper explained, would mean that on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, only men would be allowed to leave the house. And on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, it would only be women.
The aim, apparently, was to reduce the risk of overcrowding in supermarkets and chemists. In the event, the proposal was rejected. Which is a relief. Because just imagine what it would have been like.
(DBx: The fact that such a proposal was even aired in Scotland testifies to the dangers that Covid Derangement Syndrome poses to liberal civilization.)