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Some Covid Links

Here’s UCLA medical-school professor Edward Livingston’s letter in today’s Wall Street Journal:

The world would be different today had “medical misinformation” been disallowed in the past as is now proposed in California (“California’s Medical ‘Misinformation’ Crusade Could Cost Lives” by Allysia Finley, op-ed, April 21). Smoking would be embraced by clinicians.

In 1959 the editor in chief of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, wrote, “Neither the proponents nor the opponents of the smoking theory have sufficient evidence to warrant the assumption of an all-or-none authoritative position.” In 1958 the leading expert on statistical analysis, R.A Fisher, wrote in Nature, “Unfortunately, considerable propaganda is now being developed to convince the public that cigarette smoking is dangerous.” Imagine if doctors would have lost their medical licenses for disagreeing with the expert opinion.

With Covid-19, honesty about what we know and don’t know would have been better than forced mandates. Had leaders been forthright about the limited efficacy of masks, the public may have been much more accepting of interventions with overwhelming evidence of success like vaccines. Suppressing dissenting views will only foster greater skepticism within the public at large.

Prof. Edward H. Livingston
UCLA School of Medicine

Writing at City Journal, Todd Lee and Vinay Prasad warn that the U.S. government’s purchase of Pfizer’s Paxlovid is perhaps reckless.

Debbie Lerman decries the pandemic-industrial complex. A slice:

We find ourselves in a state of crazy limbo: There is no more acute threat from Covid (as Fauci himself admitted), yet we cling to responses whose only justification was to address the acute threat of Covid.

The reason, I would contend, is that the pandemic-industrial complex cannot and will not let go. If we leave the pandemic behind us, as it technically already is, then…:

…the politicians who have catered to their base by supporting the most draconian measures and demonizing anyone who questions them as science-denying baby killers, will have to find new reasons to portray their opponents as monsters. (Yes, I’m talking about you, so-called liberals. As a lifelong very left-leaning Democrat I am appalled by your shocking and ultimately disastrous pandemic groupthink.)

…the public health officials who have gained so much fame and adulation for finding ever more variants to track and reasons to remain vigilant will lose the spotlight and have to return to their anonymous and complicated day jobs in which they are supposed to address all aspects of what makes a population healthy. It’s so much easier to focus on just one disease! They will also have to face the public health catastrophes in terms of addiction, mental health, educational deficits, untreated conditions etc. that the all-encompassing, devastating war against Covid hath wrought.

…news outlets and online platforms will no longer be able to rivet audiences and target users with bleeding red maps, skyrocketing case counts, and doomsday predictions. The transition from Trump to Covid as a fool-proof attention-getter helped all media remain sensationally relevant. In fact, I would argue that for a large segment of the media, just as for the left-leaning parts of the country, fighting Covid almost seamlessly replaced fighting Trump, which is how the response to Covid became so hopelessly and destructively politicized.

…the multi-billion-dollar markets for masks, tests, and vaccines will significantly shrink, leaving what I imagine will become vast stockpiles of useless medicine and equipment. Stock prices and investor returns in related companies and industries will probably fall.

…all the people, most of them in the so-called liberal coastal cities, such as Philadelphia where I live, who have spent two years wearing more masks, getting more vaccines, advocating for more school closures, and feeling infinitely superior to anyone who suggests these measures are ineffective or bad, will have to find a new cause to get super anxious and super angry about.

And Bill Gates is among those who is doing his damnedest to keep covid fear alive.

Well, Oprah is free to wallow in covid hysteria for as long as she likes.

Events in China continue to be surreal and dystopian.

Writing in the Spectator, the Institute of Economic Affairs’s Christopher Snowdon calls on those who continue to demand covid restrictions to “let it go.” Three slices:

In the week ending 15 April, there were 644 deaths registered in England and Wales involving Covid-19 as the underlying cause. In total, there were 9,919 deaths registered. Or, to put it in terms that a Covid hysteric might understand, enough people to fill 24 jumbo jets.

You don’t hear much about the 9,275 deaths that didn’t involve Covid because other respiratory diseases haven’t attracted a vocal lobby group that puts platitudinous opposition to them at the very core of its being.

Despite the latest wave of Covid being on its way out in Britain, there still exists a surprisingly resilient and increasingly hysterical movement calling for lockdown restrictions to be reintroduced. And as the health service has struggled in recent weeks, there have been predictable calls for society to close down again.

Two weeks ago, the chief executive of NHS Providers called for the government to bring back facemasks and social distancing to protect the health service. Independent Sage, a knock-off version of the government advisory body, has lobbied for restrictions to return. Academics on Twitter are still calling for masks and ventilation to prevent long-Covid.

When Matthew Taylor of the NHS Confederation called for more restrictions this month it was not because the NHS was collapsing or even exceptionally busy, but merely because it was quite busy for this time of year. He accused the government of having a ‘living without restrictions ideology’ rather than a ‘living with Covid plan’. The word ‘ideology’ is nearly always a pejorative. How telling that he spits it out when talking about living normally.


The Office for National Statistics recently estimated that 71 per cent of the English population had Covid between 27 April 2020 and 11 February 2022. Add in the people infected before and after this period and it seems reasonable to assume that four out of five of us have had the disease at least once. What is the point of trying to suppress a virus that everybody is going to get? As China’s Canute-like efforts to eliminate Omicron become more draconian and surreal, does it ever occur to the likes of ‘Independent Sage’ that this is not a virus that is going to be beaten by face masks and air filters? Is it all performative now? Is it just political?

Here’s the abstract of a new paper by Beny Spira (emphasis added):

Masking was the single most common non-pharmaceutical intervention in the course of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Most countries have implemented recommendations or mandates regarding the use of masks in public spaces. The aim of this short study was to analyse the correlation between mask usage against morbidity and mortality rates in the 2020-2021 winter in Europe. Data from 35 European countries on morbidity, mortality, and mask usage during a six-month period were analysed and crossed. Mask usage was more homogeneous in Eastern Europe than in Western European countries. Spearman’s correlation coefficients between mask usage and COVID-19 outcomes were either null or positive, depending on the subgroup of countries and type of outcome (cases or deaths). Positive correlations were stronger in Western than in Eastern European countries. These findings indicate that countries with high levels of mask compliance did not perform better than those with low mask usage.

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

It is a deep conflict of interest to have scientific funders like Fauci also closely involved with health policy. Scientists’ careers depend on winning funding. How many stayed in the sidelines because of this conflict while Fauci pushed destructive, anti-scientific lockdowns?

Tim Young tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

The servers at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner had to wear masks so that they understood their place was beneath all the elite in that room.