Regarding Covid-19, Public Policy v. Panic

Nothing has better demonstrated to me the impossible clash of true science -- the constant search for and the skeptical sifting and winnowing of empirical evidence -- with public policy than the worldwide response to the Covid-19 virus about which so little was known  when it first appeared.

Science, like the Western legal advocacy system, depends on proponents and opponents clashing and presenting their best relevant arguments for us to decide an issue, but the search in science on any issue must be ongoing, and in law and public policy there are practical and procedural time limits. It would be wonderful if there were some alternative responsible forum to quickly test the assumptions of policy makers (often contradictory and based on little or poor evidence), but there isn’t much leeway to my knowledge.

The Western court systems are generally a reasonable way to test the validity of fact but the timing problems make it almost impossible to do so rapidly enough to matter when it comes to this disease. Good public policy on scientific issues should be made with far greater humility than it presently is, and perhaps the only way to get around the normal strictures is to create a rapid response team of experts critical of the public policy gurus who can file affidavits in support of their findings and persuade courts to issue temporary injunctions pending full expedited hearings. Absent that, the only way to deal with this overreaching is resistance, and -- down the road -- the ballot box. When it's often too late.

The face of the medical bureaucracy: Rochelle Walensky

This week the  CDC announced new guidelines suggesting fully vaccinated people should again mask. Among other things,"It added a recommendation for fully vaccinated people to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission."

The CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status. Director Rochelle Walensky stated this week that “fully vaccinated people have just as much viral load as the unvaccinated, making it possible for them to spread the virus to others,” so school children should be masked. She should be ignored if it her claim is not supported by equally sound research -- and it isn't. It's based instead on data from a single study in India, where different vaccines were in use, and was so deficient it was rejected in peer review.

She’s not alone, however. There has been a drumbeat to reinstate some of the most loathsome and freedom-destroying diktats we’ve just come out from under. Organizations and businesses are demanding employees be fully vaccinated and some even requiring vaccinated persons to mask. How do these square with the feminist slogan, “my body, my choice,” and the concept of privacy of medical information in HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)? How are these requirements that you prove you’ve taken the vaccine even constitutional?

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On July 18  a U.S. District Court decided preliminarily the first test case I know of against the new restrictions, Klassen v. Trustees of Indiana University. Law Professor Eugene Volokh , a legal scholar worth respect, explains why the Court denied a preliminary injunction sought by the students against being forced to mask, social distance and  vaccinate or qualify for an exemption on religious or medical reasons. 

Under guiding principles of federalism, our Constitution preserves the power of the States, within constitutional limits, to adopt laws to provide for public health and safety. Twice the United States Supreme Court has upheld state authority to compel reasonable  vaccinations. [The court is referring here to Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905) and Zucht v. King (1922). -EV] The States don't have arbitrary power, but they have discretion to act reasonably in protecting the public's health.

Students at Indiana University have a significant liberty protected by the Constitution—refusing unwanted medical treatment based on bodily autonomy. The Fourteenth Amendment says no state may "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." U.S. Const. amend. XIV § 1. Given this due process protection of liberty, longstanding constitutional law prevents a public university—an arm of the State—from mandating a vaccine for its students unless it has rationally pursued a legitimate interest in public health for its campus community.

Does this mean that it’s constitutional for the university to issue such a mandate? Not exactly. The students sought injunctive relief, not a final decision on the merits. As Volokh notes, the injunctive relief “requires a strong showing that they will likely succeed on the merits of their claims, that they will sustain irreparable harm, and that the balance of harms and public interest favor such a remedy.”

You can always transfer, kids.

But the students have other options which the court had to balance -- they could apply for a medical deferral, take the semester off (the mandate applies only for the coming semester), attend another university or attend online. (In this respect the students have more options and may have had a weaker case for injunctive relief than might some other litigants covered by similar mandates.) And in a request for injunctive relief there is usually no opportunity to fully flesh out that these directives are unnecessary in the public interest, unreasonable, and therefore unconstitutional .

In a nutshell here’s the legal problem: testing the reasonableness of the state action would take a great deal of time, given the number of conflicting expert opinions on a scientific matter -- one on which we have so little empirical evidence  and where the evidence seems to be so quickly changing. Adding to that is that the mandates tend -- as here -- to be of short duration so that by the time the issue would be resolved it would likely be moot.

It would be wonderful if it were easier. It would be even more wonderful if the mass media and social media which combined in the Trusted News Initiative  to restrict information contrary to the official public health directives and the latter unable to hide behind the protections of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 to restrict diverse views on these mandates. More open discussion might improve state decisions and lessen the impact of scare accounts on judicial reviewers of those decisions. 

In any hearing on the merits here’s some of the evidence I expect the opponents of these mandates would produce;

  1. The mortality rate from Covid-19 in the U.S. has been low (affecting mostly the elderly and those with co-morbidities) and is now at the lowest point .Even the new bugaboo about cases from a new "delta" variant is overblown as the  “cases” are asymptomatic or very mild. Harvard Medical School Professor Martin Kulldorff pointed this out on Twitter, writing that “In [the] USA, COVID mortality is now the lowest since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.” He reports: "Far more people were dying from COVID-19 months ago as we were winding down restrictions than are dying today as some call to reinstate them." With mortality so low, it’s hard to argue that reinstatement of Covid restrictions is reasonable.
  2. Government restrictions ignore the fact that most of the U.S. has natural immunity to the virus. Some 80percent of American adults are immune to the virus: More than 64 percent have received at least one vaccine dose and, of those who haven’t, roughly half have natural immunity from prior infection. There’s ample scientific evidence that natural immunity is effective and durable, and public-health leaders should pay it heed. Only around 10 percent of Americans have had confirmed positive Covid tests, but four to six times as many have likely had the infection.
  3. At this point we know enough about treatment so that Covid 19 or its variants are easily treatable at home. It should be engaged in its early stages, not when hospitalization is required because no treatment has been received.
  4. Like every other drug or vaccine the Covid vaccinations are toxic at some level in some percent of people as Dr. Robert Malone, the inventor of the technology behind the mRNA gene therapy (the Covid vaccinations) indicates at the link.
  5.  There is already a cheap, effective, fast treatment in the early stages of Covid-19: Ivermectin.  “The statistically significant evidence suggests that it is safe and works both for treating and preventing the disease.”

So, on one hand we have reputable scientists confirming low Covid mortality, broad natural immunity to the virus, easy rapid treatability of the disease at home and seemingly deliberate  underreporting of vaccine toxicity by public health officials. The problem remains how to bring this information to judicial fora in time override the unconstitutional--because unnecessary and unreasonable -- restrictions on liberty.

   

With Help from the Media, the Bioweapon Worked Perfectly

There’s a remarkable line in the documentary, “Collective,” about Romanian journalists who discover private corruption and government incompetence following the infamous 2015 Bucharest fire at the music club, Collectiv. The lead journalist says, “We have blindly trusted the authorities… When the press bows down to the authorities, the authorities will mistreat the citizens. This happens worldwide and it has happened to us.”

There’s plenty of reason to suspect China intended to use Covid-19 as a bioweapon. Even if it wasn’t the intent, that was its effect.  Yet as bioweapons go, it delivered unimpressive results.  Without minimizing those who have suffered from Covid, the data from across the world shows Covid-19 was exceptionally effective at killing older people who were already very ill. For everyone else, not so much.

The virus was most successful in destroying the American economy, while also creating social chaos and suppressing liberty. The Chinese government must be delighted that their middling bioengineered weapon turned out to be a foreign social re-engineering bonanza.

I’ve summarized the data from the CDC, sources which culled data from it, and applied some math.  Here are the highlights on Covid-19’s US data:

This has all been apparent since the first few weeks of the “pandemic.” Then again, it wasn’t the virus that did the job. It was our own media and “authorities.” Too many Americans trusted them both. Together, they formulated protocols that were utterly ineffective, pointless, and did more harm than good.

Who was that masked man?

Masks don’t work. Not only does this study show no difference in transmission rates for high and low transmission areas, but the infection rate across every state is virtually identical. Nor would masks be expected to work. The vaunted “honest” media never bothered to mention that Covid-19 has a diameter of 12.5 microns.

The only mask that might stop transmission is the N95, which can protect down to 10 microns. Yet that’s not a guarantee, and it would only be effective if used once and fitted properly. Most Americans didn’t have access to N95 masks, and instead wore surgical masks (which permit Covid-sized particles through), or cloth or sponge masks which let just about everything through. So not only do masks not work, but mandating their use on children was utterly foolish, given that children were the least likely to get infected and generally don’t pass it on to others.

The CDC itself says keeping kids home from school was unnecessary, particularly in areas of low to moderate transmission. This again highlights the hyper-localized differences in communities that still resulted in many children being needlessly penalized.

Based on the data available, in-person learning in schools has not been associated with substantial community transmission…Some studies have found that it is possible for communities to reduce incidence of COVID-19 while keeping schools open for in-person instruction.10,20 A study comparing county-level COVID-19 hospitalizations between counties with in-person learning and those without in-person learning found no effect of in-person school reopening on COVID-19 hospitalization rates when baseline hospitalization rates were low or moderate.

When kids are forced to stay home, adults then must find child care or stay home from work themselves, further harming the economy.

This policy will prove to have been catastrophic. Children and teens were kept out of school for over a year, which will negatively impact their educational development. As it is, we have a lousy education system and keeping kids engaged is a challenge. The worst effects will be seen on the youngest, where socialization and schoolroom protocol is critical. There is no substitute for in-person group socialization, or for the confidence that elementary teachers instill in children. Learning facial cues and expressions of others will be stunted. Thanks to the media and governmental authorities, our younger generation’s ability to succeed and develop has been set back.

China must be delighted.

Since the beginning, common sense and science indicated that transmission while outdoors is negligible.  Yet municipalities like the city of Los Angeles shut down outdoor dining, prevented TVs from being turned on lest people gather to watch them, and even instituted a 10 p.m. curfew, presumably because the virus only hunted people at 10:01 p.m.

All of this nonsense destroyed some 200,000 businesses, and put tens of millions of people out of work.  The very people the Left proclaims they protect – minorities – bore the brunt of these policies. Minorities experienced the highest levels of unemployment after reaching historic lows mere weeks before. Minorities experienced the highest levels of food insecurity as well as the highest levels of missed rent. They will soon experience the highest level of evictions when federal and local moratoriums expire.

Crime of the century.

Worst of all, China’s social re-engineering bioweapon leveraged Trump Derangement Syndrome and pried open the political divide in the country to its widest gulf yet. Americans were at each other’s throats over wearing masks. Communities, marriages, and friendships have been torn apart.

The frustration over housing, income, and food insecurity unquestionably contributed to the summer 2020 riots. The violent tyrants known as ANTIFA and the anti-Semitic race-hustling BLM destroyed even more businesses. America descended into chaos.

And the Chinese government was laughing all the way to the CCP banquets. I have to wonder if China knows just how incompetent government is from experience, and knew American government at every level would be catastrophically unprepared for a manufactured contagion.

There’s a horrible parallel to 9/11 here. Those terrorists took advantage of the flaws at every level in our system, from lax private airport security to accessible cockpits and most important, of Americans' natural inclination to trust and obey authority. The Muslim terrorists told passengers to stay seated or they would detonate (fake) bombs. Americans did what they were told. Tragedy ensued.

The one glimmer of hope is that United 93’s passengers took matters into their own hands. Let’s hope that in the next “pandemic,” American conservatives don’t just give in like they did this time.

Do Fat Lives Matter? Not to Covid

America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation’s health protection agency, has declared that obesity significantly worsens Covid-19 outcomes. According to its website, obesity reduces immune function, decreases lung capacity, may make ventilation more difficult, and generally exacerbates the severity of Covid. During the first eight months of the pandemic, the CDC reports, at least three in ten Covid hospitalizations were attributed to obesity. As BMI (body mass index) rises, so do Covid-related risks of hospitalization, intensive care admission, mechanical ventilation, and death. 

These are grim facts, particularly so as the CDC also reports that obesity is on the rise, especially amongst America’s poorest, and has been made worse by lockdowns. The highest prevalence of self-reported obesity is among “non-Hispanic black adults,” at a whopping 39.8 percent percent. Nearly four out of ten black Americans are not just overweight, but obese.   

One might expect that in the name of saving lives, a national conversation about reducing obesity would be underway. The CDC website emphasizes the need for “culturally tailored interventions to address poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and tobacco use.” It advises obese adults to limit calories, choose leaner meats and vegetables, engage in regular activity, and reduce alcohol.

In the Covid red zone.

Yet as Michael Fumento recently pointed out in “Obesity: Covid’s Third Rail,” the average person would hardly know of the link between Covid severity and obesity from mainstream reporting, which has largely either remained completely silent about the connection or even denounced those who point it out. “It seems we’ve seen a backlash to linking Covid-19 to obesity without ever seeing the lash,” he notes wryly. 

Fumento is the author of a book about obesity, The Fat of the Land, that devotes a chapter to the popular myth that one can be fat and healthy at the same time. He deplores the tendency to denounce discussion of obesity as more debilitating than obesity itself, noting that “NBC News devoted a long print story to shaming “fat shamers,” but provided no evidence that they even existed beyond an oblique reference to social media trolls.” 

Thanks in large part to a social justice interdiction against what has come to be called “fat shaming,” it is now unacceptable to address the health effects of obesity. Some health officials even claim that so-called “fat shaming” is worse than being fat. A 2018 article in the peer-reviewed medical journal BMC Medicine targeted weight “stigma” as the main driver of the current obesity epidemic, finding “compelling evidence that weight stigma is harmful to health over and above objective body mass index.” The article’s authors were particularly concerned about anti-fat bias amongst health practitioners. 

Stigma and bias are still acceptable in mainstream discussions, of course—just not against the fat. During a pandemic rife with slogans about being “in this together,” divisive shaming tactics have become standard fare in much reporting. In early April of 2020, the Huffington Post’s Richard Stokoe eagerly fueled evidence-free animus by declaring that “The White Male is the Biggest Risk in Spreading the Virus.” Allegedly, white men’s “privilege” and “toxic masculinity” made them less likely to follow health guidelines or care about the safety of others. 

A year later, the specific issue was different but the scapegoating impulse was the same in an April 5, 2021 New York Times article on “How White Evangelicals’ Vaccine Refusal Could Prolong the Pandemic.” This piece of fear-mongering claimed that due to their alleged anti-science prejudices and other irrational objections—none of which were presented as having even a shred of credibility—evangelical whites posed a threat to American national health. The article skipped quickly over the possibility of vaccine refusal by non-white evangelicals.

Toxicity, thy name is white manhood.

Discussion of coronavirus impacts has often been indistinguishable from invidious identity politics. An April 4, 2020 article in the New York Post, “Why Women are Better than Men at Defeating the Coronavirus” showcased a cartoon image of a Super Woman flexing her muscular body next to a 98-pound male weakling. The article sounded a note of unmistakable crude triumphalism in emphasizing women’s greater ability to fight infection, and lesser chance of dying from Covid, due to their XX chromosome.

The tone was very different just a few days later, on April 7, when the New York Times reported that “Black Americans Face Alarming Rates of Coronavirus Infection in Some States.” The subheading noted that even in the absence of sufficient data to draw firm conclusions, the potential that black people were dying at higher rates than whites was worth discussing with “alarm,” and alleged that black infections and deaths illustrated entrenched social inequalities.

An article on the same day in The Washington Post titled “The Coronavirus is Infecting and Killing Black Americans at an Alarmingly High Rate” quoted Donald Trump calling the statistics “terrible,” Anthony Fauci referring to the racial disparity as “unacceptable,” and Surgeon General Jerome Adams saying it broke his heart to hear about higher death rates in the black community.

Reading these latter articles, one would never know that higher rates of obesity in black communities has certainly played a role in the death figures. For when it comes to talking about obesity, nothing that might remotely be seen to cast blame, or even simply to identify concern, is allowed. At a time when being overweight means undeniably greater risk from Coronavirus, it has become near-impossible to talk about the problem. 

Whom we don't don't about when we don't talk about it.

Fumento notes that obesity “has long been politicized.” But the particular ferocity of contemporary reality-denial would have been impossible without the concerted efforts of activist academics, who bear the largest share of responsibility for our present impasse. Thanks to the social sciences’ craze for extreme constructivism, which denies biology and insists that society “constructs” reality, alongside a cultural-Marxist imperative, fat is now considered a category of oppression rather than a medical condition. 

What began in 1978 with Susie Orbach’s bestseller Fat is a Feminist Issue, which argued that a sexist society makes women and girls hate their bodies, is now an entire area of identity studies called Fat Studies, complete with its own social justice terminology and a zealously-held ethical mandate to liberate the “stigmatized” from the prison of body-shaming. 

According to the practitioners of "fat studies," bias against fat people is a human rights issue of equal importance to racism, and is expressed in countless micro-aggressions, including even the kindest and least aggressive of warnings or encouragement about weight-related health.

Fat studies’ shocking divorce from reason was strikingly illuminated in a 2016 article by three North American academics with expertise in psychology and health. “Scientific Weightism: A View of Mainstream Weight Stigma Research Through a Feminist Lens,” co-written by Rachel Calogero, Tracy Tylka, and Janell Mensinger, begins from the now-widespread premise that fat stigma, rather than obesity itself, is the real killer. The authors go so far as to deny that there are any negative health consequences of obesity, insisting that although there are correlations between obesity and disease, correlation is not causation. They also deny that obesity is a condition within an individual’s power to control or modify. 

A social-justice issue, in the flesh.

“Weight stigma is a social justice issue,” the authors assert, “because people who are fat are denied their basic civil rights in every aspect of their lives, including their right to be fat and to live free of unfair treatment.” Merely to allege that obesity is medically harmful or undesirable is an example of “unfair treatment” that the authors believe should be outlawed. “It is absolutely essential,” they conclude “that scholars campaign for formal legislation to protect against weight stigma and discrimination.” Such legislation does not yet exist, but a powerful cultural consensus now denounces those who break the taboo against “fat-shaming.”

Even the CDC, though stating the negative health effects (and causes) of obesity unequivocally, has been affected by fat studies’ social justice cant. The website tends to speak about “having obesity” rather than “being obese,” as if obesity were an illness that one could catch unawares. It also frequently soft-pedals the direct connection between individual behavior and obesity, preferring a narrative of group deprivation, as when it alleges that “racial and ethnic minority groups have historically not had broad opportunities for economic, physical and emotional health, and these inequities have increased the risk of getting sick and dying from Covid-19 for some groups.” Such language reinforces the idea that the morbidity of the obese has more to do with oppression by others than with individual choices. 

But at least the CDC actually names obesity as a problem. Many other outlets have remained silent, deliberately rejecting the opportunity to educate the public on a crucial health problem. At a time when many in our society exhibit a near-hysterical concern for safety at any cost, it is bizarre to see our cultural mandarins refusing to provide basic life-saving information. 

The Mask of the Red (Covid) Death

Just this morning I was looking out my window at the esplanade that borders the Fraser River when a couple strolled by and paused for a moment beside the guardrail. They were, of course, fully masked, though as a couple they were exempt from the Covid distancing rules. As they turned to leave, they embraced and exchanged a long kiss, mask to mask, which would have made a charming scene were it not so grotesque, two masks glued together in surreal intimacy.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam would have felt vindicated. “Like other activities during Covid-19 that involve physical closeness,” she advised, “there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of getting infected and spreading the virus.” The safest strategy is to “skip kissing, avoid face-to-face closeness, wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose.”

Of course, Tam’s counsels were meant for casual encounters, but why stop there? Safety first—and second, third, ad infinitum, the Covid way of life. In fact, you can’t be safe enough. According to this expert, the sexual activity with the lowest risk “involves yourself alone.” Talk about self-isolation! 

Be fruitful and don't multiply.

Similarly, the provincial Center for Disease Control advises people, among the “tips and strategies [and] protective steps” sexual partners should adopt, to “wear a face covering or mask,” which cuts down on “heavy breathing,” or to “use barriers, like walls (e.g., glory holes), that allow for sexual contact but prevent close face-to-face contact.”

One should also consider that “video dates, phone chats, sexting, online chat rooms and group cam rooms are ways to engage in sexual activity” without taking risks. Most important, recognize that “you are your safest partner.” Best to go it alone and avoid close contact with others. However, “If you’re feeling fine and have no symptoms of Covid-19, you can still have sex.” Permission has been granted. 

It is obscene that unelected officials in the sublimity of their wisdom can tell us how and when to perform intimacy. The idea is not only hideous, but on a human level fundamentally alienating, an antidote to the normal expression of human passion and romantic feeling—especially when the risk for younger and asymptomatic people is vanishingly low.

As the American Institute for Economic Research reliably reports, cutting through the panic and the hype, there is “a mortality rate of 0.01 percent, assuming a two-week lag between infection and death. This is one-tenth of the flu mortality rate of 0.1 percent.” Sucharit Bkakdi, a leading microbiologist at the University of Mainz and, unlike Tam, a genuine authority on the virus, gives an estimate “of 0.1 percent-0.3 percent, which is the range of moderate flu.”

No matter. When I venture out for my afternoon walk along the esplanade, I feel as if I’m entering a carnival horror arcade or a grade-C zombie flick. Nearly everyone is masked, not only the elderly who may be in the statistical danger zone, but the middle aged, families, bicyclists, joggers, younger people, children and even toddlers, who are effectively immune.

True, very few are kissing or engaging in indecorous activity, but that is no consolation. The sense of the eerie, of something morbid and freakish this way coming, is deeply distressing, no less than the abject compliance with government mandates in the absence of common sense or intelligent reflection.

A recent IPSOS Reid poll finds that 93 percent of Canadians “say they are doing their best to abide by public health recommendations regarding Covid-19.” The poll reports that more Canadians “are wearing a protective mask than was the case just a few months ago,” and that “support for safety measures remains high.” Support for critical scrutiny and independent inquiry into the facts does not.

Home sweet home.

We are living in the Age of Covid, enjoined or compelled to stay in our “bubble,” to practice “social distancing” (six feet is the officially designated distance, the same as the typical grave depth), and to wear those ghastly medical ornaments, multi-ply masks, over half our faces.

Over time, coercion has turned into willing consensus and self-enforced mutilation of the spirit; a fearful and pliable public has surrendered its autonomy of judgment to a statistical reign of terror practiced by ignorant and power-hungry politicians and their self-serving health officials. People have suffered a mental lockdown, a form of cerebral morbidity. As Stephen Kruiser writes:

The lockdowns ruined far more lives than they’ve saved—if they’ve saved any at all. The data on wearing masks has been kind of all over the place too. Those who’ve been spreading the pandemic panic porn for political purposes treat the masks as if they have super powers. We will more than likely find out that wearing them was all just so much useless theater too.

The mask has become the major symbol of a time when human relationships, what we used to call face to face contact, are relics of a receding past. Facebook was bad enough, when personal reciprocity was replaced by digital transmissions and friendship became “friending.” Now Facebook has become Facemask, eliminating the human smile, articulate speech, normal conversation and personal expressions while transforming sexual and romantic intimacy into a lurid caricature of communion, affection, affinity and warmth—the empty husk of human presence.

In a poem delightful for its insouciant humor, Canadian poet Michael Harris wished to be “among the essential kissers of all time.” The volume, New & Selected, appeared in 1998. He would have had another think coming had he written his poem today.

Fear The Walking D(r)ead

Richard Feynman wrote “science is the belief in the ignorance of experts,” and nothing could demonstrate that point more readily than the public’s growing disaffection with the experts of the public health apparatus --  the WHO, the CDC, and Dr. Anthony Fauci. Their proscriptions (often conflicting) respecting the handling of Covid-19 were simply not “scientific.” They were, in fact, nothing more than guesses which did not work out. Not that that stopped them from silencing those whose experience, both medical and non-medical, contradicted their guesswork.

Ignoring cost-benefit analysis and utterly discounting the contradictory experience of thousands of medical doctors who were actually treating patients with the dreaded Covid, they’ve wreaked havoc and hardship throughout the world and doubtless contributed to many more deaths than necessary. Unfortunately, much of the media still insist that their actions were based on pure science, and many of our fellow citizens -- driven to neurosis by it all -- have been propagandized to thinking this is akin to the Black Death.

It’s hard to know where to even begin answering this.

What have I done?

Let’s start with masks -- virtue signalers and tyrants alike love them, since they broadcast submission and compliance to the world. Of course, the masked Karens of the world also enjoy hounding the noncompliant. In the beginning of the Covid spread here Dr. Fauci said masks weren’t needed. Later he said they were, and that his earlier statement was based on a fear there would be too few available to medical personnel. In fact, they are useless as presently designed and worn by the general public, as Dan Formosa explains:

A coronavirus virion (particle) is spherical, averaging around 125 nanometers in diameter. Compare that to bacteria’s 1,000-nm size. It’s a grape compared to a grapefruit. A surgical mask whose purpose is to block bacteria will do little to prevent passage of the smaller coronavirus particle. That’s why N95 masks, which block 95% of all airborne particles, are the gold standard in hospitals treating Covid-19 patients. They have a much more selective filter.

But even N95 masks are flawed. Before coronavirus, my team and I investigated whether N95 masks could be a viable alternative to standard surgical masks. Interviews with doctors and nurses at several hospitals at the time revealed that N95 masks were rarely used or supplied. The overwhelming majority of healthcare workers I spoke with had never worn one. They are more expensive than surgical masks, they’re harder to breathe in, and medical workers deemed them unnecessary for most procedures. (Keep in mind that masks protect in both directions. They protect the wearer from airborne particles or splash, and protect the patient from contamination by the surgical staff—the latter is especially important in procedures that require deep incisions.)

I have some, purchased when it was feared after 9/11 we would be hit with an anthrax attack and we were encouraged to get them. Everyone else I see wears masks virtually useless for the purpose of preventing viral infections. Recently released evidence from CDC bears this out. 

A Centers for Disease Control report released in September shows that masks and face coverings are not effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19, even for those people who consistently wear them. A study conducted in the United States in July found that when they compared 154 “case-patients,” who tested positive for COVID-19, to a control group of 160 participants from the same health care facility who were symptomatic but tested negative, over 70 percent of the case-patients were contaminated with the virus and fell ill despite “always” wearing a mask.

“In the 14 days before illness onset, 71% of case-patients and 74% of control participants reported always using cloth face coverings or other mask types when in public,” the report stated. In addition, over 14 percent of the case-patients said they “often” wore a face covering and were still infected with the virus. The study also demonstrates that under 4 percent of the case-patients became sick with the virus even though they “never” wore a mask or face covering.

With the mask requirements and much else Covid related, another Richard Feynman admonition comes to mind, "If you thought that science was certain -- well, that is just an error on your part."

We're sorry, too.

On to Lockdowns.

The most absurd move was to lock down states and countries in the belief that would stop the spread of Covid-19. 

President Trump never urged more than a temporary lockdown in order to manage scarce resources, such as ventilators, and protect health workers from an illness the experts warned would otherwise overwhelm existing health services. State governors and other countries, however, made these restrictions long term and only recently did the WHO advise against this -- long after irreparable economic was wreaked harm around the world.

WHO envoy Dr. David Nabarro said such restrictive measures should only be treated as a last resort, the British magazine the Spectator reported in a video interview. “We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,” Nabarro said. “The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it.” Nabarro said tight restrictions cause significant harm, particularly on the global economy. “Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer,” he said.

Social Distancing.

Public health services are demanding we close non-essential businesses and keep six feet apart at all times. On what basis? None that I can see. Michael Thau cites some scientific studies that refute any basis for these commands, and maintain that there is no “solid basis for ANY social distancing measures.”

We have cases where the viruses traveled across oceans, infecting people in Antarctica while they were in their 17th week of isolation; and those aboard an Argentinian naval ship “after 35 days at sea which had been preceded by 14 days of isolation for everyone on board.” This make-believe perimeter was set at the same time most U.S. jurisdictions kept only megastores open which to my (and Thau's) mind only increased the possibility of viral transmission. In smaller neighborhood shops it would seem there would be fewer opportunities to come in contact with the virus.

And then to seal our belief that the CDC social distancing dictates were partisan-inspired bunk, they simply abandoned them for mass social protests. No social distancing there!

Not the Black Death.

Why are so little of these conflicting reports making it to public attention? Thau reminds us that Harvey Risch, a professor epidemiology at Yale University with a distinguished career in the field, has accused Dr. Fauci of lying about the effectiveness of hydroxychlorquine and influencing the suppression of its use because he, and others in the public health bureaucracy, are “in bed with other forces that are causing them to make decisions that are not based on the science and are killing Americans.”

I know you remember President Trump early on suggesting that this drug , long used safely to treat other ailments like Lupus, might be effective in combating Covid. Maybe you even remember the claim by Dr. Fauci that it was proven ineffective. Actually, it wasn't established to be so at all. Physicians (hundreds in the U.S. and thousands worldwide) were using it successfully when administered along with zinc and azithromycin. The public was led astray by Dr. Fauci who appeared to rely on trials where the HCL was not administered within the 5-7 days after symptoms first appeared (the effective window) or where it was administered alone without the rest of the drugs necessary for the cocktail.

Interesting that the media ignores not only the work of Dr. Risch and the hundreds of doctors with extensive hands-on experience, but also Nobel Prize-winning biophysicist Michael Levitt. These people describe Fauci’s lockdown advice as a “mass casualty incident.”  There is now a large-scale pushback on Fauci’s policies known as The Great Barrington Declaration. It was authored and signed earlier this month by Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard; Dr. Sunetra Gupta, Oxford epidemiologist and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford Medical school. More than 13,000 medical professionals have also signed it, along with more than 176,000 members of the public by mid-September -- and the number keeps growing. They call for an end of the lockdowns; removing quarantines from all but the sick; isolation only of the vulnerable and allowing the young and healthy to proceed with caution.

Does the quackery at the top and the suppression of empirical evidence remind you of the global warming/climate change saga? It does me.

It all makes sense now.

Meanwhile, publications like the Washington Post have started to take a sick pleasure in highlighting the Covid neuroses which they themselves have inspired with their coverage.

Because the demographics of those terrorized by the virus and fearful of re-opening the country and returning to normal would appear at first glance to be the very same people who watch CNN, MSNBC and read the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times.

There are, however, signs that this Fauci-engendered nightmare may soon be over. New York Times science reporter, Donald G. McNeil Jr., reports that treatments are improving every day, and vaccine development is moving along much faster than was previously expected, both helped along by the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed. Moreover, economists are predicting a rapid recovery.

The press will have to find something else to keep the populace in a state of full-blown hysteria when that happens. In the meantime it is probably a good idea for healthy people to do some common sense stuff, such as avoiding crowds, washing your hands more frequently, and taking dietary supplements (especially zinc and Vitamins C and D). But don't pay attention to Dr. Fauci. Listen to the president instead, specifically the phrase which drove so many leftists insane: "Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life."

And for heaven's sake, calm down.