In a May 30 tweet, Dr. [Ashish] Jha asserted that Covid is “a far greater threat to kids than the flu is.” He linked to an article by Harvard Medical School instructor Jeremy Faust, which claims that Covid killed more than 600 children in 2021, whereas the flu kills “an average” of only 120 children annually. But Dr. Faust’s data are severely skewed, for three reasons.
First, while flu is seldom tested, everyone admitted to a hospital for any reason gets a Covid test. Between October 2018 and September 2019, 1.4 million flu tests were reported to public-health and clinical labs. As of May 31, 2022, there had been 897 million PCR tests for Covid.
Second, evidence from audits of death certificates found that 35% of all pediatric deaths in 2020 “had co-occurring diagnosis codes that could not be plausibly categorized as either a chain-of-event or significant contributing condition,” according to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Put another way, in at least 35% of pediatric “Covid deaths,” Covid couldn’t have been the cause.
Third, Dr. Faust relies on a figure for confirmed flu deaths that is well-known to underestimate actual flu deaths by an order of magnitude. Correcting for the lack of flu testing, the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases estimated 1,161 pediatric flu deaths in the 2012-13 season rather than the 142 that Dr. Faust reported.
There are far greater risks to children than Covid. Since March 2020, more than 1,000 kids have died with Covid (an average of around 38 a month), according to the CDC. In the same period more than 1,400 children died from drug- and alcohol-related causes.
A frequent phenomenon of our times is the flurry over an alleged scandal that on examination turns out to be false. The latest case is the claim that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis manipulated Covid data.
Mr. DeSantis became public-health enemy number one by defying the left’s lockdown consensus early in the pandemic. When former state health department employee Rebekah Jones claimed she was fired for refusing to fudge state Covid data to support the state’s reopening in spring 2020, national and local media outlets reported her allegations as fact.
“Florida Dismisses A Scientist For Her Refusal To Manipulate State’s Coronavirus Data,” NPR reported. After the Florida Department of Law Enforcement executed a search warrant of her home, Ms. Jones claimed Mr. DeSantis had “sent the gestapo” to silence her. “FDLE raid dramatizes Florida’s COVID-19 coverup” the South Florida Sun Sentinel editorialized.
But according to the Governor’s office, Ms. Jones was fired for repeated “insubordination” and making “unilateral decisions to modify the Department’s COVID-19 dashboard without input or approval from the epidemiological team or her supervisors.”
“If the complainant or other DOH staff were to have falsified COVID-19 data on the dashboard, the dashboard would then not have matched the data in the corresponding final daily report,” the IG explained, adding that “such a discrepancy” would surely have been detected by Bureau of Epidemiology staff, researchers or the media. The IG found no truth to any of Ms. Jones’s accusations.
Most important, the pandemic is over: COVID will keep on sickening and killing a few people, but only as a background threat, much like the flu. Pandering to the remaining hysteria only feeds fear, holding back the full return to normalcy.
to be sure, there are serious, dangerous liars in the mix here as well (a fellah whose name rhymes with “phony slouchy” comes to mind) but i suspect it’s far fewer than many have come to presume.
- we have a large group of highly unqualified people with generally technocratic/authoritarian mindsets that have failed up into positions of power for which no one, much less they are really suited.
- in a crisis, the emotional drive to “do something” is overwhelming. everyone clamors for action.
- so they did things, visible things, bold things, wrong things.
- then it all blew up and went wrong and by then, they were too emotionally invested to own the mistakes so they doubled and tripled down and blamed everyone but themselves for “not pandemicing hard enough.”
- and they all got trapped.
- and their cognitive dissonance and selection bias took over to protect their mental states.
and so in their minds they did not lose the debate. “you were too too benighted and dim to see that they won” is just the low energy pathway to preserve sense of self and self-worth.
PM Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act against anti lockdown truckers to suppress a legitimate protest, seize bank accounts of regular people, and take political prisoners. Public health that needs this kind of authoritarian power to get its way has lost moral authority.