Tag Archives: Covid-19 response

Coronavirus Counterfactual: A True Enemy Would Have Alerted Us In 2019, by John Tamny

What if there had been no official response to coronavirus other than advice to wash your hands, blow your nose, cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, and stay at home if you felt sick? Odds are the disease would have come and gone with very little notice and very little damage to the economy and society. From John Tamny at realclearmarkets.com:

With the coronavirus, the most frustrating counterfactual of all is to think about how much better off we all would have been if politicians had done nothing. Stop and think about it for a minute. The more desperate the situation, the more freedom makes sense.

The reality is that well before the needless lockdowns began, Americans had started to adjust their behavior. This included staying at home for some. Notable about this is that it was in the U.S. states that locked down the latest that citizens adjusted the most. In a global sense, it was reported by the great Holman Jenkins that the supply of masks had run out before major action by Merkel et al in Germany. People get it. They don’t need a law. Fear of sickness or death concentrates the mind.

Remember how restaurants started to clear somewhat before the lockdowns? People were adjusting. Imagine if businesses, including restaurants, had been left free to meet the needs of customers (or not at all) free of business tips from those who brought us the DMV.

No doubt some businesses would have gone under amid fear of the virus, but they were already going under before that. Particularly retail. Remember all the hand wringing about Amazon and the internet “hollowing out” shopping malls? While the nailbiters will eventually regret the association of their names with such alarmism, the reality in a dynamic economy is that the roster of names in shopping malls and town centers is constantly changing.

Continue reading→

The Great Barrington Declaration and Its Critics, by Jenin Younes

They’re taking shots at a declaration that argues for a more rational coranavirus policy. From Jenin Younes at aier.org:

Early this week, three of the world’s top epidemiologists published the Great Barrington Declaration, a short treatise that advocates a controversial approach to managing the coronavirus pandemic. Professors Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University, Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University, and Martin Kulldorff of Harvard University argue that societies across the globe should reopen immediately and completely.

Instead of observing measures designed to slow the spread of the virus, the young and healthy should resume normal activity in order to incur herd immunity and thereby protect those vulnerable to severe illness. The authors urge the adoption of this strategy, which they call “Focused Protection,” in light of increasing evidence that “current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. . . Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.”

As of this writing, the Declaration has been signed by 3,089 other medical and public health scientists, 4,532 medical practitioners, and around 70,000 members of the general public.

Continue reading

Over 6000 Scientists, Doctors Sign Anti-lockdown Petition, by Steve Watson

These scientists and doctors now want to do what should have been done six months ago. Better late than never. From Steve Watson at summit.news:

Calls for only ‘focused protection’ of vulnerable people from COVID so everyone else can build herd immunity

Over six thousand scientists and doctors have signed a petition against coronavirus lockdown measures, urging that those not in the at risk category should be able to get on with their lives as normal, and that lockdown rules in both the US and UK are causing ‘irreparable damage’.

Those who have signed include professors from the world’s leading universities. Oxford University professor Dr Sunetra Gupta was one of the authors of the open letter that was sent with the petition, along with Harvard University’s Dr Martin Kulldorff and Stanford’s Dr Jay Bhattacharya.

It declares that social distancing and mask mandates are causing ‘damaging physical and mental health impacts.’

The petition, dubbed the Great Barrington Declaration after the town in Massachusetts where it was written, has been signed by close to 54,000 members of the public at time of writing, as well as over 2600 medical and public health scientists and around 3500 medical practitioners.

“Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal,” it notes, adding “Keeping these [lockdown] measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.”

Continue reading→

The High Price of COVID-19 Lockdowns, by Bill Bonner

We may be repeating ourselves here, but the cure for Covid-19 has been far, far worse than the disease. From Bill Bonner at rogueeconomics.com:

SAN MARTIN, ARGENTINA – We begin today with a new study by the RAND Corporation.

It tallies a little more of the hidden cost of House Arrest.

ABC News reports:

Now, new data shows that during the COVID-19 crisis, American adults have sharply increased their consumption of alcohol, drinking on more days per month, and to greater excess. Heavy drinking among women especially has soared. […]

“The magnitude of these increases is striking,” Michael Pollard, lead author of the study and a sociologist at RAND, told ABC. “People’s depression increases, anxiety increases, [and] alcohol use is often a way to cope with these feelings. But depression and anxiety are also the outcome of drinking; it’s this feedback loop where it just exacerbates the problem that it’s trying to address.”

The bills will continue to trickle in for years. Jobs lost. Companies bankrupted. Careers and families stifled and stunted.

Job Cuts

Yesterday came more news of job cuts. Here’s Bloomberg:

American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. will start laying off thousands of employees as scheduled, spurning Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s appeal for a delay as he negotiates with Congress over an economic relief plan that includes payroll support for U.S. carriers.

American is furloughing 19,000, while United is laying off about 13,000.

Continue reading

A Primer for the Media on Viruses, Vaccines, and Covid-19, for Roger W. Koop

From a medical standpoint, the Covid-19 response was a massive and foolish overreaction. From Roger W. Koop at aier.org:

tutorial, reporter

2020 is a year when many things besides people have died, or at least placed on indefinite life support. Music and most arts and culture (at least audience-based), education, a person`s livelihood, social trust and interaction, common sense and common decency, debate, and we can include responsible journalism to the list.

In fact, responsible journalism was one of the first casualties of 2020 and bears responsibility for much of the rest.

My path to 2020 was unusual, to say the least, but it prepared me to deal with the events that have transpired. Each step of my career as a scientist I chose a path which led me to 2020. Here are some examples:

  • My two leading choices for the Ph.D. program in chemistry were at the University of Southern California (USC), where I had interviewed with Professor George A. Olah (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1992), and the University of California, Riverside (UCR). I chose UCR and Professor M. Mark Midland, who had earned his degree with Professor Herbert C. Brown (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1979) and was young, enthusiastic, and broad-based in his interests . If I had chosen and been able to study with Dr. Olah, my career would have been set but much more narrowly focused. I chose Dr. Midland and I have never regretted the choice.
  • With the Ph.D. in hand, I had a choice of academia (the expected route) or industry. I chose industry, specifically, the pharmaceutical industry since I had always been interested in medicinal applications and medicine in general.
  • In industry, I chose development over research based upon the unique challenges.
  • Later, I chose to move out of direct scientific work and into Quality Assurance. Part of this choice was the opportunity to learn new things.
  • Still later, I chose to move into Biopharmaceuticals and vaccines in particular. This afforded me a new opportunity at learning.
  • Finally, I moved into consulting to try and use my experience to assist others in the industry.

The last company I worked for was a vaccine company, as Director of QA. For those that do not understand, being responsible for Quality Assurance is an immense task. You have to be both an expert and a judge.

The company was founded in an attempt at development of an HIV vaccine. After 9/11, the company expanded into Biodefense and was pursuing the development of vaccines for anthrax and smallpox for the US National Stockpile as part of the newly formed Dept. of Homeland Security. I joined the company at that time and I became the project leader on a new smallpox vaccine being developed in collaboration with a Japanese company.

Continue reading→

 

Covid-19: Does Sweden have herd immunity? by Sebastian Rushworth M.D.

Sweden went its own way and its statistics were no worse and in many cases better than countries that instituted the whole enchilada of Covid-19 restrictions. However, one big difference between Sweden now and most other nations: it appears the Swedes have achieved herd immunity. From Sebastian Rushworth M.D. at sebastianrushworth.com:

Covid is over in Sweden. No sign of it on the front pages of newspapers.

At the beginning of August I wrote an article about my experiences working as an emergency physician in Stockholm, Sweden during the covid pandemic. For those who are unaware, Sweden never went in to full lockdown. Instead, the country imposed a partial lockdown that was almost entirely voluntary. People with office jobs were recommended to work from home, and people in general were recommended to avoid public transport unless necessary. Those who were over 70 years old, or who had serious underlying conditions, were recommended to limit social contacts.

The only forcible restriction imposed by the government from the start was a requirement that people not gather in groups of more than 50 at a time. After it became clear that covid was above all dangerous to people in nursing homes, an additional restriction was placed on nursing home visits. At no time has there been any requirement on people to wear face masks in public. Restaurants, cafés, hairdressers, and shops have stayed open throughout the pandemic. Pre-schools and schools for children up to the age of 16 have stayed open, while schools for children ages 16-19 switched to distance learning.

My personal experience is that people followed the voluntary restrictions pretty well at the beginning, but that they have become increasingly lax as time has gone on. As a personal example, my mother and my parents-in-law stayed locked up in their homes for the first six weeks or so of the pandemic. After that they couldn’t bear to be away from their grandchildren any longer.

Continue reading→

South Dakota: America’s Sweden, by Amelia Janaskie

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has demonstrated a lot of courage, independence, and good old common sense during the coronavirus outbreak. From Amelia Janaskie at aier.org:

Most people know South Dakota for the distinguished faces carved onto the side of the Black Hills mountain. Mount Rushmore reminds us of four American leaders who instilled values of freedom and hope in this country.

These values are under attack in our tumultuous coronavirus days. Lockdowns have assaulted core values that we believed were sacrosanct: property rights, in the right to run a business; freedom of association and movement, in the right to travel, gather, work, consume, have fun, and so on. In short, the right to pursue happiness.

Under the leadership of South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, however, the Great Plains state has effected a fortress of liberty and hope protected from the grasps of overbearing politicians. And interestingly enough, South Dakota policies echo many of the same values and approaches as Sweden, and both have uncoincidentally experienced positive outcomes.

Recently, Governor Noem has been subjected to media lashings over an incredulous report regarding the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, alleging that it is connected to 266,000 Covid cases. Despite pushback, Noem continues to protect the individual freedoms of South Dakotans against the speculative study, calling it “fiction” owing to faulty assumptions, data, and questionable academic modeling approaches.

Continue reading→

 

Governments Will Impose New Lockdowns If They Think They Can Get Away with It, by Ryan McMaken

Once governments seize new powers, they never willingly relinquish them. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

This year’s stay-at-home orders and lockdowns imposed by governments on their populations represent a watershed moment in the history of the modern state.

Before March 2020, it is unlikely that many politicians—let alone many ordinary people—thought it would be feasible or likely for government officials to force hundreds of millions of human beings to “self-isolate.”

But it turns out governments were indeed able to force a sizable portion of the population to abandon jobs, religious practices, extended families, and community life in the name of “flattening the curve.”

Whether through fear manufactured by the news media or through outright threats of punishment, business owners shuttered their shops and offices, churches closed down, and schools abandoned their students.

Over time, most governments lessened their restrictions, largely out of fear that tax revenues would collapse and out of fear that the public would become unwilling to obey lockdown edicts indefinitely.

Those fears—not scientific objectivity—have been guiding the gradual loosening of lockdowns and lockdown-related restrictions in recent weeks. After all, in many jurisdictions—both in the USA and in Europe—cases and case growth are far above what they were back in March and April when we were told that high case totals absolutely required strict lockdowns. If case numbers are higher now than during the previous peak, why no new lockdowns?

Make no mistake, many politicians would love to impose lockdowns again, and indefinitely. After all, the power to micromanage the behavior of every business and household in the manner of covid lockdowns is a power undreamed of by even the most despotic emperor of old. It’s not a power a regime would abandon lightly.

But could they get away with it? This is a question every prolockdown politician is asking. For the extent to which lockdowns have been scaled back and lessened, we cannot thank any enlightenment or change of heart on the part of politicians. If lockdowns now seem to be receding, it’s because policymakers fear another round of lockdowns would be greeted with resistance rather than obedience. In short, the retreat of lockdowns is a result of an uneasy truce between the antilockdown public (which is by no means the whole public) and the prolockdown politicians. The politicians have conceded nothing in terms of their asserted authority, but they nonetheless fear greater resistance in the future.

Continue reading→

Open letter from medical doctors and health professionals to all Belgian authorities and all Belgian media.

Belgian doctors make the medical and scientific case for immediately ending all Covid-19 restrictions. From Belgian doctors and health professionals at docs4opendebate.be:

We, Belgian doctors and health professionals, wish to express our serious concern about the evolution of the situation in the recent months surrounding the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We call on politicians to be independently and critically informed in the decision-making process and in the compulsory implementation of corona-measures. We ask for an open debate, where all experts are represented without any form of censorship. After the initial panic surrounding covid-19, the objective facts now show a completely different picture – there is no medical justification for any emergency policy anymore.
The current crisis management has become totally disproportionate and causes more damage than it does any good.
We call for an end to all measures and ask for an immediate restoration of our normal democratic governance and legal structures and of all our civil liberties.

‘A cure must not be worse than the problem’ is a thesis that is more relevant than ever in the current situation. We note, however, that the collateral damage now being caused to the population will have a greater impact in the short and long term on all sections of the population than the number of people now being safeguarded from corona.
In our opinion, the current corona measures and the strict penalties for non-compliance with them are contrary to the values formulated by the Belgian Supreme Health Council, which, until recently, as the health authority, has always ensured quality medicine in our country: “Science – Expertise – Quality – Impartiality – Independence – Transparency”. 1

We believe that the policy has introduced mandatory measures that are not sufficiently scientifically based, unilaterally directed, and that there is not enough space in the media for an open debate in which different views and opinions are heard. In addition, each municipality and province now has the authorisation to add its own measures, whether well-founded or not.

Moreover, the strict repressive policy on corona strongly contrasts with the government’s minimal policy when it comes to disease prevention, strengthening our own immune system through a healthy lifestyle, optimal care with attention for the individual and investment in care personnel.2

Continue reading→

“It’s Like Using A Hammer To Kill A Fly” – Architect Of Sweden’s COVID-19 Anti-Lockdown Strategy Finally Vindicated, by Tyler Durden

It often takes awhile for an unpopular position to be vindicated, but when you’re right, you’re right. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

When the history books are written about 2020 and the great coronavirus pandemic, Anders Tegnell, the humble Swedish state epidemiologist and architect of the global-consensus-defying ‘Sweden strategy’, will inevitably loom large throughout the text. But whether he is portrayed as a hero or villain may – like so many things in this highly polarized era – ultimately depend on who’s writing the piece.

As the FT explained in its latest in a series of interviews with Tegnell, the American press – thanks in large part to its newfound fanatical  devotion to the cause of “science” – including the NYT, has been particularly hard on Tegnell. The Gray Lady has called Sweden a “pariah state” and “the world’s cautionary tale.”

European papers have been somewhat more forgiving. That’s perhaps because the lockdowns imposed across Europe were far more restrictive than what most, outside NYC, experienced in the US. And despite all that work, new daily cases are back to seeing record highs in France, and post-lockdown highs in Spain, while cases climb in Italy, the UK, Germany and across Central Europe into Ukraine.

But sure enough, there’s one European nation where cases haven’t been showing a “second wave”: Sweden.

Instead, cases have continued to fall well into September.

Continue reading→

 

%d bloggers like this: