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Some Covid Links

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Philip Krause and Luciana Borio advise the vast majority of people to ignore claims that they should get a fourth Covid booster. A slice:

The New York State Health Department’s large database shows the effectiveness of full vaccination (that is, at least two mRNA doses) remained above 90% against hospitalization, including during the recent Omicron surge. A study from Sweden found the same. Studies from Qatar and California showed no decline in protection against severe disease with Omicron.

Booster advocates point to other studies that show declining vaccine effectiveness over time, especially against Omicron. But these appear unreliable, reporting a range of results for vaccine efficacy against symptomatic disease from as high as 40% to 50% to as low as negative 40%.

Also advising skepticism of a fourth shot is Vinay Prasad. A slice:

In short, you cannot infer 4th vs 3rd dose reliably from these sorts of studies. Also there are downsides to more doses of the old, ancestral mRNA, such as original antigenic sin, which may hurt people when the Omicron on novel mRNA sequence booster comes out. Such people may keep mounting strong immune response to original spike, and not the modification.

Karol Markowicz sings the praises of Florida governor Ron DeSantis. A slice:

DeSantis was right and other governors were wrong. We could not hide from COVID. We could not pause living because of COVID. It was freedom he was championing, yes. But it was also life. The acceptance of that rightness, even acknowledging it, has been reluctant at best. Even as other states followed Florida’s lead, in similar or worse COVID circumstances, recognition of DeSantis being correct all along has been hard to find.

The governor of Florida made tough decisions in opposition to common thinking. In our era of conformity, this was not an easy call. His policies exposed how other states deeply hurt themselves and damaged their residents, children in particular, for no reason at all.

(DBx: I do not agree with everything that DeSantis does or says. I do not agree with all that DeSantis’s supporters do or say. But I believe that DeSantis was largely – and largely alone, among politicians, in being – correct on one of the biggest public-policy issues of my lifetime: Covid lockdowns, mandates, and other restrictions. In my book, Ron DeSantis’s refusal to join in the Covid hysterics – his wise decision to seek and take advice from Scott Atlas, Jay Bhattacharya, Sunetra Gupta, Martin Kulldorff, and Joseph Ladapo – forgives many sins.)

Aaron Kheriaty warns of the “bio-fascist state.” Here’s his conclusion:

Furthermore, these measures would require (1) law enforcement to enforce arbitrary, capricious, and often unscientific public health measures mandated by unelected bureaucrats, such as indoor masking requirements, (2) schools to become medical centers that routinely administer medical tests to your children without consent and share that private information with third parties without your knowledge, (3) the state to track and share private health information across government agencies, (4) the state to force novel medical interventions on all competent adults as a condition of working.

In these proposed laws we see the features I’ve sketched in previous posts on the Biosecurity Surveillance Regime unfolding around us: the welding of public health, digital technologies, and the police powers of the state into an invasive model of surveillance and control.

The headline of Will Jones’s latest report is “Lockdowns Cost More Lives Than They Saved and Must Not Happen Again, Scientists Tell MPs.”

Philip Cowley decries Hong Kong’s Covidocratic tyranny. A slice:

If your goal has ever been to get locked in a room for weeks on end, then Hong Kong has become the place to be. The authorities would lock you up if you had Covid. They’d lock you up if you’d been close to someone who had Covid. At one point, they’d even lock you up if you’d been close to someone who’d been close to someone who had Covid.

You also got locked up just for getting into the country. You paid for the flight and the Hong Kong authorities would do the rest. Actually, that last bit wasn’t quite true: you had to book and pay for your room as well. But you get the point.

Brutal as it was — caring little for minor things like family separation or childcare — this system worked relatively well by its own standards until earlier this year. For extended periods there were no Covid cases at all and overall deaths remained low. But then Omicron broke through, as almost everyone knew it would: ironically, as the result of a cross-infection in a quarantine hotel, something the government had been warned about repeatedly.

Writing at UnHerd, Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff expose the ad hominem fallacies and idiocy that are standard fare in the ‘arguments’ of very many lockdowners. Three slices:

During the Covid-19 pandemic, tribal politics have pushed scientific discourse into the back seat. Scientists who provide their honest assessment of medical and public health data have often been subject to ad hominem attacks and slander.

When Left-leaning journalists defend the government’s pandemic strategies by falsely classifying opponents as Right-wing, it hurts the Left while boosting the Right. The latest example is an article in the New Republic with one of the most far-fetched personal attacks we have seen since March 2020 — a true accomplishment during a pandemic filled with logical somersaults.


The New Republic article is called ‘Why Is This Group of Doctors So Intent on Unmasking Kids?’ The straightforward answer is that the doctors concluded that there is no reliable scientific evidence that masks on children reduce disease spread alongside a strong presumption that they may harm some children. The New Republic dismisses this possibility, claiming that “the science is strong” that masks help to “quell the pandemic”, and that there is “‘little scientific disagreement”. The last point is self-evidently untrue given the participation by many eminent scientists in the Urgency of Normal itself.

The essay then goes full ad hominem, attempting to link Dr. Prasad to “libertarian” efforts by the Koch family to unmask children via a convoluted chain of supposed associations, each of which is weak and the combined effect of which is simply conspiracy (see below). It appears that the New Republic, once a fierce critic of Sen. Joe McCarthy, has now embraced McCarthy’s guilt-by-association techniques.

Dr. Prasad is an excellent epidemiologist, but to paraphrase the New Republic, it seems “that the days of listening to the epidemiologists are over”. They are not alone. The Daily Poster/Lever and Jacobin magazine have used similar ad hominem arguments to falsely “connect” lockdown opponents with the Koch network, falsely claiming that the two of us are “connected to Right-wing dark money”. Our closest and only financial “connection” to the Koch Network is to have worked for universities, Stanford and Harvard, which have received millions of dollars from Koch foundations, although unrelated to any of our own work.


Views on pandemic strategies do not map onto a simple Left/Right binary. In the United States, Dr Anthony Fauci’s lockdowns were implemented by both Republicans and Democrats, generating enormous collateral damage toeducation, cancer, cardiovascular disease, vaccination rates, mental health, and hunger, to name a few malign outcomes. More often than not, members of the working class were the hardest hit. In Europe, the social democrats in Sweden chose not to copy Fauci’s response to the pandemic. One contributing factor may have been that its prime minister came from the working class, having started his career as a welder.

Classifying those like Dr Prasad as “Right-wing” for taking different views on pandemic restrictions is only damaging to the Left. Instead of permitting the Right to claim full credit for opposing misguided Covid policies, the Left should rightly claim some of that credit — Dr Prasad is, after all, on the Left himself. Instead, publications like the New Republic seem intent, not merely on smearing scientists instead of learning from them, but on driving reasonable men and women to the Right.