Before hurrying into panicked policy decisions, U.K. policy-makers should have been aware that Neil Ferguson’s Imperial College team had a history of defective modeling. With minimal effort, policy-makers would have quickly discovered that that team had a track record that makes astrology look respectable.
That dreadful record started with the U.K. foot-and-mouth disease epidemic in 2001, during which the Imperial College modelers persuaded the government to adopt a policy of mass animal slaughter. Their model predicted that daily case incidences would peak at about 420. At the time, the number of incidences had already peaked at just over 50 and was falling. The prediction missed its mark, and as many as 10 million animals, most of which could have been vaccinated, were needlessly killed.
Shortly thereafter, in January 2002, the Imperial team suggested that up to 150,000 people in the U.K. could die from mad cow disease. As it turned out, the total number of U.K. deaths was 178 — another miss for the Imperial team.
Then, in 2005, Neil Ferguson suggested that “up to around 200 million” could die from bird flu globally. He justified this claim by comparing the lethality of bird flu to that of the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak, which killed 40 million. By 2021, bird flu had killed 456 people worldwide, making it Imperial’s biggest miss yet.
Neil Ferguson and his team were back at it again in 2009 when they claimed that 65,000 people could die of swine flu in the U.K. By the end of March 2010, the outbreak had killed fewer than 500 people before petering out. Neil Ferguson’s “reasonable worst case” scenario was over 130 times too high — yet another big miss.
Governments across the world should also initiate their own public inquiries to draw lessons and address the measures needed to protect their citizens from reckless public-health modeling. Never again should “scientists” armed with flawed models get away with shouting, “Pandemic!” in a theater filled with politicians and bureaucrats eager to grab yet more power.
Almost everyone seems to view masks as a temporary expediency that is no longer necessary. The number of people who think that will only grow as the pandemic continues to fade away. It seems more likely that their preferences about the social norms of mask-wearing will win out in the end.
Not least among the reasons I hope Ron DeSantis is the next Republican nominee for president is this one: The nation deserves a clear, honest reckoning with how we faced up to the Covid crisis, unclouded with any distractions such as the personality defects of Donald Trump. DeSantis is the one potential candidate who can vigorously represent what has become the conservative position: that non-pharmaceutical interventions such as masks were generally useless in stopping the spread of a highly contagious airborne disease, and even if they did have some small benefit, it was certainly not worth the immense psychological and developmental cost imposed cruelly and mindlessly on the children of this country. Florida children went back to school unmasked in August of 2020 and got on with their lives. I wish I could say the same of New York children, who have been beaten into submission and in many cases are still wearing masks, though they are no longer mandated.
Noah Carl reports on paper by the University of Washington’s Kevin Bardosh, et al., the title of which is “The Unintended Consequences of COVID-19 Vaccine Policy: Why Mandates, Passports, and Segregated Lockdowns May Cause more Harm than Good.” A slice from Carl’s report:
Yet as Bardosh and colleagues note, many unvaccinated people had perfectly good reasons for remaining unvaccinated, such as being in a low-risk category or having natural immunity from previous infection.
Turning to the legality of Covid vaccine policies, the authors note that many measures were merely decrees, passed under states of emergency in the absence of normal democratic governance. As a result, injured parties (such as those who lost their livelihood) have had fewer or no opportunities for proper redress.
Vaccine passports also constitute a significant infringement on privacy, insofar as they require the sharing of medical information with people other than one’s doctor, including not only border officials, but owners of pubs, restaurants and nightclubs.
What’s more, vaccine mandates that disproportionately restrict people’s access to things like work, education and social life can be considered violations of basic human rights, the authors argue. This may explain why the WHO’s Director of Immunisation said in 2020, “I don’t think we envision any countries creating a mandate for vaccination.”
George Leef rightly applauds a recent essay by Aaron Kheriaty. A slice from Leef:
Nothing better illustrates the difference between true liberals (i.e., people who believe in allowing individuals to act without coercion) and the statists who want to exert the maximum of control over society, which satisfies their authoritarian urges and also gives them access to lots of tax dollars, than the reaction to Covid. The latter have used it as the excuse for an astounding grab for power while declaring that everything they wanted was based on science.
South Korea is ending covid restrictions at a time of record infections and deaths.
Covid tyranny is coming to an end not because it succeeded but because it failed, utterly and completely.
A snapshot into America’s uncanny booster enthusiasm: Pfizer applied for a 4th dose for people >65, but the FDA granted them an authorization for people >50. In other words, the FDA gave Pfizer more than what they asked for. And bypassed their own expert advisors voting to do it.
There was never any scientific basis for the idea that vaccinated people do not “carry the virus.” This false idea was the fundamental premise behind the discriminatory vaccine mandate/passport scheme that has violated the civil rights of countless people worldwide.