Some Covid Links – Cafe Hayek

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Wall Street Journal columnist Holman Jenkins continues to write wisely about Covid-19. A slice:

All of us, including the vaccinated and previously infected, will also have to realize we’re playing a role in circulation even if the unvaccinated dominate hospital admissions. A rational vaccine strategy, it will be more obvious than ever, would prioritize the vulnerable rather than the Biden approach of prioritizing anyone who works in a company of 100 employees regardless of infection history.

But then, as the White House prolifically leaked at the time, its vaccine mandate was always more about protecting the Biden presidency from the vicissitudes of Covid than protecting anyone from disease.

First, where we are: The administration’s leakers didn’t go deeply into the political calculation but I will. Older voters, understandably, have been terrified of Covid and also unstinting in their willingness to impose costs on young people for steps that lack any real benefit. As wonderful as the jabs are, these same voters have been inundated with unrealistic expectations about what universal vaccination can accomplish. A case in point is the Aaron Rodgers hysteria. Whatever the Green Bay quarterback was thinking, he could expect to be infected eventually and expect a good outcome without his vaccination status mattering a great deal to him or anyone else. Sure enough, he’s back playing alongside numerous NFLers who recovered from Covid whether or not they were vaccinated.

More insidious is how the media’s Covid ideology is influencing decisions made for children, where the risk-benefit trade-offs are an even narrower squeak. Only muddle exists concerning the perhaps half of kids who’ve already acquired some natural immunity. In their agonizing decision to recommend shots for the 5-to-11s, federal officials also had to run a gauntlet of subtle pressure to weigh the benefit to third parties—teachers, grandparents, the economy, the Biden administration—against the risks to children.

The same is true of masking in elementary schools: unlikely to be effective, possibly deleterious socially and developmentally. It’s done mostly to placate older people. Even if successful, there’s a question of whether you do kids any favor by delaying their inevitable first encounter with Covid when their young immune systems are best primed to cope with it.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board opines sensibly on the omicron variant. Two slices:

Markets sold off worldwide on Friday after South Africa raised alarm about the new “variant of concern” that the World Health Organization named Omicron. The panic may be driven more by the fear of new government lockdowns and social distancing than by the variant itself.

…..

Americans and the rest of the world need to learn to live with an ever-mutating virus. So do our politicians.

Here’s el gato malo on news of the emergence of the omicron variant. Two slices:

this is not history rhyming.

this is maybe even past history just repeating.

i’m starting to worry that we’re caught in some kind of groundhog day time loop.

just in time for the holidays and the real start of seasonal covid expression, here’s the same exact pollyannas prophesying the same exact doom using the same exact tactics of “super scary new variant.”

as it so often seems to, our new chapter starts once more at imperial university, the proud pants wetting capital of britain whose hopelessly inept and inapt prognostications and models have been wreaking havoc upon that sceptered isle and the rest of the world alike since early 2020.

and once more, a gleeful UK press is ready and willing to play up the terrors.

…..

we’re not being threatened by a new plague of virus, just the same old plague of incompetent hysterics determined once more to drive the world into a ditch because it gets them power and grant money.

the world has had enough of these clowns.

it is LONG past time we shut this circus down.

And here’s el gato malo on the newly declared “State of Emergency” in New York State – a State of Emergency alleged to be caused by the omicron variant but, in fact, caused by mandated vaccination of health-care workers.

Vinay Prasad:

We truly do not know if the actions taken in Austria, the Netherlands, Portugal etc. will result in a long term net health benefit to the community. The lockdown critics have been unfairly silenced and demonized. As we keep re-instituting these draconian measures some better evidence is needed, or we must abandon these as tools.  A politician looks strong when they use these tools, but do they merely bring more misery on the citizenry?….

We have become de-sensitized to these interventions (Lockdown & travel bans), and accordingly we use them more and more.

If Covid hysteria didn’t impose enormous negative externalities on non-consenting third parties, the peddlers of this hysteria would be comical. Here’s Phil Magness, at Facebook, on one such peddler:

Would you believe that the lead author of one of the most heavily cited pro-mask articles in a top tier medical journal also sticks panty liners on the inside of her own mask to create an additional “filter” for stray covid particles?

UnHerd‘s Freddie Sayers writes wisely in Britain about responding to the omicron variant. A slice:

By contrast, the decision to reimpose mandatory facemasks in shops is effective immediately. Is there a single scientist that believes upgrading the advice on reusable cloth facemasks in shops from recommended to mandatory for the entire population is a meaningful response to two new cases of a new variant on our shores? As Boris Johnson himself said, the protocols we had in place already were adequate for the previous variants, so any new strategy for the “Omicron” variant is, in theory, all about containment.

But what percentage of Covid transmission events have ever happened in shops? What percentage of those would be cases of the “Omicron” variant? And what percentage of those would be prevented by the return of mandatory advice? We are into a very small fraction of 1 percent at this point.

Meanwhile, masks are not mandatory in hospitality settings, or public events — or, obviously, homes and workplaces, where most transmission actually occurs after prolonged exposure.

So it’s utterly tokenistic. But worse, it suggests the return of restrictions as a form of gesture politics. In exchange for a theoretical gain so marginal as to be entirely irrelevant, the Government is choosing to impose a daily inconvenience that is a notorious source of division on its entire population. This is a bad bargain, and a continuation of a blinkered policy mindset that has bedevilled this pandemic.

Andrew Lilico decries Boris Johnson’s new mask mandate. A slice (link added):

Absent any emergency justification, the imposition on the public is simple tyranny. If the government had suddenly declared, in mid-2018, that it was making masks mandatory in all shops for no better reason than this might cut down on respiratory illness a bit, would you have complied? Of course not!

In Britain it has long been understood that there is a basic threshold of natural justice or necessity for something to be a law. There can be good laws and bad laws, but if a purported law does not meet a required threshold of justice or necessity, it is not truly a law at all.

A key reason Britain has not fallen victim to the tyrannical governments seen in other countries is that Britons have refused to accept laws that lacked sufficient natural justice or necessity. By refusing to comply with them, and being backed in that to a greater or lesser degree by the courts, they have forced the government to back down.

A famous example of that is the case of Clarence Harry Willcock – the last man the government attempted to prosecute for refusing to carry an ID card. Mr Willcock said he did not believe in such things. The judges heavily criticised the government for maintaining ID cards long after their initial justification (the second world war) had ended. And the government backed down and abolished them.

Jeffrey Tucker praises the new book by Scott Atlas. A slice:

Atlas’s book has exposed a scandal for the ages. It is enormously valuable because it fully blows up what seems to be an emerging fake story involving a supposedly Covid-denying president who did nothing vs. heroic scientists in the White House who urged compulsory mitigating measures consistent with prevailing scientific opinion. Not one word of that is true. Atlas’s book, I hope, makes it impossible to tell such tall tales without embarrassment.

Anyone who tells you this fictional story (including Deborah Birx)deserves to have this highly credible treatise tossed in his direction. The book is about the war between real science (and genuine public health), with Atlas as the voice for reason both before and during his time in the White House, vs. the enactment of brutal policies that never stood any chance of controlling the virus while causing tremendous damage to the people, to human liberty, to children in particular, but also to billions of people around the world.

…..

Throughout the book, Atlas points to the enormous cost of the machinery of lockdowns, the preferred method of Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx: missed cancer screenings, missed surgeries, nearly two years of educational losses, bankrupted small business, depression and drug overdoses, overall citizen demoralization, violations of religious freedom, all while public health massively neglected the actual at-risk population in long-term care facilities. Essentially, they were willing to dismantle everything we called civilization in the name of bludgeoning one pathogen without regard to the consequences.

The fake science of population-wide “models” drove policy instead of following the known information about risk profiles. “The one unusual feature of this virus was the fact that children had an extraordinarily low risk,” writes Atlas. “Yet this positive and reassuring news was never emphasized. Instead, with total disregard of the evidence of selective risk consistent with other respiratory viruses, public health officials recommended draconian isolation of everyone.”

“Restrictions on liberty were also destructive by inflaming class distinctions with their differential impact,” he writes, “exposing essential workers, sacrificing low-income families and kids, destroying single-parent homes, and eviscerating small businesses, while at the same time large companies were bailed out, elites worked from home with barely an interruption, and the ultra-rich got richer, leveraging their bully pulpit to demonize and cancel those who challenged their preferred policy options.”

…..

We all owe Atlas an enormous debt of gratitude, for it was he who persuaded the Florida governor to choose the path of focused protection as advocated by the Great Barrington Declaration, which Atlas cites as the “single document that will go down as one of the most important publications in the pandemic, as it lent undeniable credibility to focused protection and provided courage to thousands of additional medical scientists and public health leaders to come forward.”





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