[NOTE: Because Covid hysteria seems to be cooling significantly in many places (if not, sadly, in China), I’ll no longer offer “Some Covid Links” daily. I’ll offer these links only occasionally, fervently hoping that the collective madness of the past 25 months is finally far enough behind us that it won’t return – at least not until the next more-dangerous-than-average pathogen emerges, as one will do, and is portrayed by the media and politicians as a Satanic threat, as it will be.]
We were right and Anthony Fauci was wrong. The person I never expected to hear say this, however, was Anthony Fauci.
Fauci finally admitted to the nation this weekend what has been obvious to everyone, except the most hysteria-prone slice of the population, since last summer: that the pandemic is now endemic. That means it’s here to stay, no matter what we do, so let’s learn to live with it. There is no point to the insane restrictions people insist on like latter-day Puritans denouncing each other for failing to carry out the prescribed rites to ward off the Devil.
“This is not going to be eradicated, and it’s not going to be eliminated,” Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And what’s going to happen is that we’re going to see that each individual is going to have to make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take.”
Great! But what has changed? This is exactly the message Fauci needed to deliver to the people . . . approximately a year ago.
“The emergency phase of the disease is over,” Stanford professor and health economist Jay Bhattacharya said last summer. “Now, we need to work very hard to undo the sense of emergency . . . panicking over case numbers is a recipe for continuing unwarranted panic,” because the vaccines provide superb protection against death or hospitalization.
Yet as recently as November, Fauci said, preposterously, that he was going to put off calling the virus endemic until we got the thing cornered: “We want control and I think the confusion is at what level of control are you going to accept it in its endemicity.”
Huh? Asserting “control” has nothing to do with “accepting its endemicity.” When you do the latter, you’re acknowledging the former isn’t possible. COVID is not subtle: ever since we learned in the middle of last year that even vaccinated people can catch it and spread it, it has been flashing a message as unmissable as the American Eagle signage in Times Square: “You can’t control me, bro. I’m coming for everybody. Get vaccinated and you’ll live.”
You may have missed it, but Fauci said something even stupider than “We gotta control this thing before we admit it’s endemic” in the November interview: that we shouldn’t get too excited about the distinction between such COVID outcomes as “getting killed” and “missing a day of work.”
Why did he say something so absurd? Because he’s Larry Lockdown and loves to create confusion and panic.
This brutality has unsurprisingly reached its zenith (or nadir, if you prefer) in China, a nation of 1.4 billion governed by a despotic regime that has gone all in on Zero-Covid. The outbreak of Covid in Shanghai after years of restrictions proves the futility of the objective. The CCP’s response to the proof of the futility shows its insanity.
In response to the outbreak, the regime has locked down a city of over 26 million people. And this ain’t your Aussie or Kiwi or American or Brit or Continental lockdown, boys and girls: this is a hardcore lockdown. Mandatory daily testing, with those testing positive sent right to hospital, symptomatic or not–despite the fact that this has overwhelmed the medical system and is depriving truly sick people of vital care. Children separated from parents. People locked in their abodes, often without adequate food. Pets slain.
It is draconian–and dystopian.
The other prominent example is “Net Zero” carbon emissions. This has become the idol which all the right thinking bow down before, especially in the West. Governments, financial institutions, and other businesses (especially in the energy industry) are judged based on a single criteria: do their actions contribute to achieving “net zero” emissions of greenhouse gases? And woe to those who do not pass this judgment.
The situation has grown increasingly dire: Two people who tried to leave their apartment to walk their dog were confronted by a COVID prevention worker who they ended up attacking. At least one man allegedly tried to get the cops to apprehend him so he could at least have food to eat. Meanwhile, people who end up in central quarantine—state-administered facilities where COVID-positive people are sometimes sent so others in their apartment buildings don’t get sick—complain about the fact that it’s so unhygienic, it may well be facilitating greater spread of the virus (or even reinfection). Shared rooms, no running water, broken toilets (or disgusting ones shared by hundreds of people), and people crammed into overflow beds in hospital hallways have grown to be expected by the city’s increasingly angry residents.
This is all after reports emerged that parents were being separated from their COVID-positive children (a policy officials claim has been altered, with parents now allowed to apply to remain with their sick, minor children). Meanwhile, last week, a graphic video went viral on Chinese social media of a COVID prevention worker killing a family’s corgi dog in the streets.
Shanghai’s lunatic lockdown shows just how dangerous Covid fanaticism can be.
It was like a scene from a dystopian B-movie. Over a bleak, black city, in the dead of night, a drone emerged. From its speaker, it issued monotone instructions to the masses locked in their homes in the apartment blocks below. ‘Control the soul’s desire for freedom!’, the robotic voice said. ‘Do not open the window or sing!’, the joyless flying machine said. Then came the robot dogs. They staggered through deserted streets, barking diktats at residents cowering behind their curtains: ‘Wear a mask, wash your hands, check your temperature.’ No one dares ‘disobey the dog’s diktats’, according to one local newspaper.
Of course, this was no B-movie. This was not a cack-handed Hollywood attempt to do Orwell. No, it was real life, in a real city – Shanghai. Shanghai’s severe lockdown has shocked people across the world. Following a spike in Omicron infections, all 25 million of Shanghai’s residents were forced into house arrest. Forget an hour a day of outdoor exercise and the right to buy milk and bread at the local supermarket – the tiny liberties we comparatively lucky Brits enjoyed during that mad first lockdown we had in March 2020. No, in Shanghai people are not allowed to leave their homes at all. For anything. Not even food and water. Instead, essentials are being delivered to them by masked key workers, adding to the sense that this city has become the backdrop for an episode of The Walking Dead.
Every aspect of people’s lives is minutely governed. They are forbidden from walking out of their front doors. Streets and parks have become no-go zones. Covid testing is mandatory. Groups of people are frogmarched to testing sites to see if they’re infected. Woe betide those who are – they are not allowed to isolate in their own homes, but instead are packed off to vast quarantine centres that are reportedly overcrowded and under-resourced. Most controversially of all, the Shanghai authorities have taken to separating children who test positive from their parents. This caused a backlash, not surprisingly, so officialdom made a compromise: if parents also test positive, then they are permitted to join their kid in one of the heavily policed isolation centres. What compassion!
Every day has become a struggle for survival in locked-down Shanghai. Residents report getting up at the crack of dawn to find out which, if any, food-delivery app has a free slot that day. People are running out of basic foodstuffs. This was ‘the first time in my life that I have gone hungry’, said one social-media user. Some families have limited themselves to one meal a day. Predictably, public fury has exploded. This is why that drone warned people not to open their windows – because the locked-up, food-deprived folk of Shanghai have had the temerity to yell from their apartment windows, ‘We have no food to eat! We are starving to death!’.
If we’re honest, we’ll admit that the chilling message issued by that drone in Shanghai – ‘Control the soul’s desire for freedom’ – was the unofficial slogan of our lockdowns, too. Sure, a nighttime drone didn’t bellow those words from the skies. Our politicians are not so crass that they would utter such a sentence at a Covid press conference. But, like those Chinese cities, we suspended almost everything – civil liberty, democracy, the right to protest, the right to associate, the right to go outside (except for one hour a day) – in the name of tackling Covid. Public life and private life were made subservient to the war on a virus. In the UK drones didn’t shout at us, but they did spy on dog-walkers in the Peak District. Cops threw people out of parks. A man was warned (wrongly) that he was forbidden from being in his own front garden. Let’s not get on our high horse over China’s crazy lockdowns – we did it, too.
What is being pursued in China is the mad and hopeless ideology of ‘Zero Covid’. The lunacy in Shanghai is ‘China’s latest attempt to achieve Covid Zero’, as the New York Post said. And we have our fair share of Zero Covidians over here: activist academics, ‘experts’, public-health fanatics and others who openly said society should be shut down until Covid had been eliminated. If they’d had their way, we would be like Shanghai now, putting on hold everything – from socialising to shopping, education to leisure – in pursuit of that most impossible of tasks: erasing Covid.
Indeed, some British experts praised China for its severe response to Covid. When it was revealed in late 2021 that the CCP had built a 5,000-room quarantine centre, UCL’s resident doom-monger, Professor Christina Pagel, congratulated China for ‘tak[ing] its Covid approach very seriously’. SAGE adviser Professor Susan Michie cooed in March 2020 that ‘China has a socialist, collective system… not an individualistic, consumer-oriented, profit-driven society badly damaged by 20 years of failed neoliberal economic policies’. Then there was Imperial’s infamous modeller, Neil Ferguson, who said he and his fellow lockdown promoters never imagined that they could ‘get away with’ the extraordinary measures being pursued in China at the start of the pandemic – but ‘then Italy did it, and we realised we could’. We realised we could get away with doing to the people of Britain what China had already done to its citizens – that’s what he meant.
Public health officials face a temptation to summarily dismiss anecdotal vaccine injury stories and people concerned about the publicly available VAERS reports, but in public health, we cannot do that. We must take people’s concerns seriously.
Whatever the truth is, we need to convincingly determine whether there is a problem or not and make that evidence public. Rather than the CDC and FDA feeding the public with inferior VAERS data that cannot answer the question, Americans deserve to be presented with solid evidence from the superior VSD and BEST systems.
Robby Soave reports that the White House’s mad Covid Czar, Ashish Jha, revealed – disappointingly if unsurprisingly – that the federal government might very well further extend the idiotic mask mandate for commercial air travelers and other public-transit customers and workers. A slice:
But the policy of forced masking on airplanes actually runs counter to what many industry experts say is appropriate: The CEOs of several major airlines have testified before Congress that the air quality on planes is better than the air quality in the ICU. They think it would be extremely safe to let passengers make their own decisions about whether to wear a mask; it is not likely that COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths would surge as a result.
Unfortunately, the responsibility for making this determination does not rest with the individual traveler or even the individual airline: It largely rests with Walensky. This means that even though hospitalizations and deaths remain steady as cases rise,extreme risk-aversion will likely continue to be the law of the land.
For many families with young children, the practical implication is that they cannot travel by airplane at all, since it is difficult to force small kids to wear their masks for entire flights. Masks are not a cost-free intervention for parents in this circumstance, and whatever benefits the CDC thinks this policy yields must be weighed against the very real downsides.
[DBx: I wonder if Drs. Walensky and Jha, along with other Covidocrats, are aware that the science shows that travel by automobile is much riskier than is travel by commercial airlines. How many additional deaths and injuries are there now as a result of these mask mandates prompting some people who would otherwise fly instead to drive?]
The essential thesis of the book is, regardless of the efficacy of pandemic management measures, that there was never an assessment of what the likely damage was going to be. The equation between benefit and damage was unbalanced; in fact, the damage side was left blank. As the heroic Lord Jonathan Sumption, former Supreme Court judge from the UK, repeatedly pointed out in the early days of the pandemic, it was immoral not to weigh the potential for harm when introducing severe measures to manage COVID-19. He was aghast at the restrictions to basic and assumed freedoms that the Common Law in the UK traditionally assured us and claimed there was a moral case for ignoring them.