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A Note on Covid Carelessness

I just read Robert Tracinski’s October 3, 2022, Discourse essay, “Do the Populists Have a Point?” It contains much insight and wisdom.

But it also features this bizarre line:

Take the complaint about Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, asking about a “quick and devastating” rejoinder to the Great Barrington Declaration, a manifesto by COVID skeptics demanding that we adopt a strategy of “herd immunity” (which amounts to just doing nothing and letting everyone get the disease).

Mr. Tracinski – whose intellect I greatly admire – clearly did not read, or read carefully, the Great Barrington Declaration before writing this line. The GBD emphatically does not call for “just doing nothing.” It calls for Focused Protection. Now Mr. Tracinski might believe that Focused Protection – which was the recommendation of most public-health experts before January 2020 – is a poor strategy compared to locking societies down indefinitely. But he is simply, objectively mistaken to write that the GBD advocated a strategy of “just doing nothing.”

Mr. Tracinski is also wrong to describe the authors of the GBD as “covid skeptics.” They doubted neither the reality of covid nor its seriousness.

(I also, to put it mildly, find odd Mr. Tracinski’s failure to see nothing objectionable in Francis Collins’s hostile reaction to the GBD. But that’s another matter.)