Some Covid Links

by Don Boudreaux on May 9, 2022

in Current Affairs, Reality Is Not Optional, Risk and Safety, Seen and Unseen

Here’s the longer version of John Tierney’s warning that, “after the pandemic, Americans should never let public-health authorities deprive them of their liberties.” Three slices:

Some Americans refused to submit to these rituals, but their resistance only intensified solidarity among the faithful. The most zealous kept their masks on even after they were vaccinated, even when walking alone outdoors. The mask became their version of a MAGA hat or a fraternity brother’s ring; some have vowed to keep wearing theirs long after the pandemic. They’ve already called for permanent masking on airplanes, trains, and buses, and they’ll probably clamor for more school closures and lockdown measures during future flu seasons.

Facts alone will not be enough to change their minds. To undo the effects of the hazing, we need to ease their cognitive dissonance by showing that they’re not to blame for their decisions. The mental mistakes were not made by citizens who dutifully sacrificed for two years. They assumed that the Centers for Disease Control knew how to control disease and that scientists and public-health officials would provide sound scientific guidance about public health. Those were reasonable assumptions. They just turned out to be wrong.

…..

The Great Barrington scientists’ ideas about focused protection and natural immunity have been vindicated—unlike the counterclaims and unproven strategies promoted in the John Snow Memorandum—but these researchers were no match for their media-savvy opponents, as Stanford’s John Ioannidis recently concluded after analyzing the credentials of the two sides. By considering how often the scientists’ research had been cited in the scientific literature, he found that the signatories of the Great Barrington Declaration included just as many top-cited scientists as did the signatories of the John Snow Memorandum. But there were a few crucial differences: the Snow signatories had many more Twitter followers, and they received a lot more attention on Twitter than in the scientific community. They had the dubious distinction of scoring much higher on a scale called the Kardashian index, named after the celebrity Kim Kardashian, which measures the discrepancy between a scientist’s social-media footprint and the citation impact of the scientist’s research. Twitter enabled activist scientists to exert an outsize impact on the public debate over Covid strategies. The lockdowns and mask mandates came to be perceived as “the science,” parroted by the mainstream press and enforced by censors on social-media platforms.

…..

Those are the hard truths that Americans need to hear after two years of Covid hazing. It won’t be easy convincing them that they fell for a deception, but it can be done, as DeSantis demonstrated at a recent appearance in Florida when he urged a group of high school students on the podium to take off their masks. “We’ve got to stop with this Covid theater,” he said. “If you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.” As usual, the facts were distorted by the press, which pretended that by giving the students a choice, DeSantis was somehow guilty of “bullying”—as if these poor students hadn’t been bullied for two solid years into wearing masks that they didn’t need. Some students on the podium kept their masks on, looking like meek pledges during Hell Week, but a few were emboldened to uncover their faces and breathe fresh air. At least for the moment, they were free to wonder whether this ridiculous fraternity was worth staying in anymore.

Let’s never forget that the government that is still tyrannizing its own people in its vicious pursuit of zero covid is the same government whose covid lockdown policies are admitted by Neil Ferguson to have inspired lockdowns in the west.

Ian Williams reports that “China’s zero-Covid horror show is inspiring Taiwan to open up.” A slice:

China is a lonely exception, and Shanghai’s ordeal has been closely watched in Taiwan, where TV shows and newspapers have followed the traumatic stories of Taiwanese living in China’s largest city, barricaded in their homes and struggling to secure food and medical supplies amid a harsh and brutally enforced lockdown.

el gato malo decries the on-going Covid hysteria in Puerto Rico.

Gabrielle Bauer exposes the shallowness of covidians’ knee-jerk habit of calling those persons who aren’t afflicted with their hysteria “selfish.” A slice:

Caught in the froth of their moral indignation, the finger pointers never doubt that they hold the correct, “unselfish” world view. They don’t consider that the pandemic strategy they endorse, which requires everyone to dance in lockstep around a single threat, may cause downstream suffering to a large swath of the human family—like the estimated 50 million extra people plunged into extreme poverty by 2030. They dismiss the mental-health impact of social isolation and business closures as a “necessary sacrifice,” pooh-pooh the ethical arguments for bodily autonomy, and reduce the profound ramifications of canceling the human face to “just a piece of cloth.”

Robert Dingwall is correct: “Sweden’s WHO figures must radically change the terms of the Covid inquiry.” Here’s his conclusion:

Sweden shows that there was another path not taken, that could have brought this country through the pandemic in far better shape, socially and economically. The inquiry [in the U.K.] must not be diverted into the minutiae of arguments about whether we should have locked down a week or two weeks earlier. It must be free to examine the whole strategy – in particular, why robust social science evidence on managing emergencies, and its contribution to pandemic planning since the early 2000s, was abandoned so precipitately.

Jay Bhattacharya tweets:

Public health weaponized empathy. There is no way young people could rebel since they believed it meant hurting grandma.

It was easier for the boomers. For them, rebellion meant no draft & not killing people with whom they had no personal beef. Empathy favored rebellion.

Olivia Thunder tweets: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

On the Collapse of Prudence

“Whatever the state of sound judgment in our society before the pandemic, (it is clear) that the requirements of wise judgment have been egregiously flouted at every level of society since the pandemic erupted.”

Jay Bhattacharya, Sunetra Gupta, and Martin Kulldorff discuss their great document, the Great Barrington Declaration. Here’s a slice from the remarks of Prof. Gupta:

By October 2020, we had witnessed the huge damage Lockdowns had already caused in the Global South. This schedule of uncertainty was actually inverted by those who wished to protect themselves using lockdowns as a measure, those who had the luxury of being able to endure lockdown. On each of these three points, this was inverted. What we were most uncertain about–whether these measures worked–they treated as if absolutely settled. That there was no doubt whatsoever that these lockdowns would work to suppress infection, even though they didn’t even have a clear strategy of what that was. The zero COVID people acted as if there was absolutely full certainty that these measures would eradicate the disease, even though that was pretty unlikely.

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