Saturday, September 17, 2022

Why shut-down advocates in the US are blaming the Republicans

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made the most incredible comment early this month during a press briefing, after a US government report found American primary school students’ test scores had dropped dramatically since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, wiping out, in effect, more than 20 years of steady improvement in reading and maths.

Jean-Pierre blamed Republicans for keeping schools closed too long – a policy followed around the world, including Australia, where schools remained shut for at least a year in some states.

Opening schools, she said, “was the work of Democrats, despite Republicans”, as if determined to win the prize for the greatest furphy in the history of the briefing room.

As a quick internet search shows, some Republicans, sane people, and Donald Trump in particular, who as president had no power over schools, were castigated by Democrats and so-called public health experts as akin to murderers for arguing as early as July 2020 that all schools should open immediately.

Jean-Pierre’s comment came a week after Democrat New York Governor Kathy Hochul conceded shutting schools, something her Democrat predecessor Andrew Cuomo did repeatedly throughout 2020 and last year, was a disaster.

“Wow, what a mistake that was … women couldn’t go to their jobs. They lost their jobs, or they thought they’re back at their jobs and one child in a classroom tests positive, the whole class goes home for a week and a half. It was chaos,” Hochul said.

If you’ve been wondering how the debate that erupted in March 2020 was panning out between proponents of China-style lockdowns and that small minority of people who argued in favour of following established pandemic plans, look no further than the US.

The proponents of shutting everything down, China-style, have gone very quiet, or tried to blame their opponents for the policies they championed with vehemence for almost two years.

Even Anthony Fauci, who perhaps had more influence in pushing authoritarian health policies than any other individual, is washing his hands of them. “I think we need to make sure that your listeners understand I didn’t shut down anything,” he told Fox News last month.

The internet can be a right pain, can’t it? “When it became clear that we had community spread in the country, with a few cases of community spread … I recommended to the president that we shut the country down,” Fauci said in October 2020.

The outcome of this debate matters because if the most destructive and far-reaching interventions in peacetime history had costs greater then benefits or, more shockingly, didn’t appear to work to slow the spread of Covid-19 at all, it’s best we don’t repeat them.

It should be clear lockdown proponents have been eviscerated on the question of schools. But schools are just the beginning.

In a few years, I predict, defenders of authoritarian health policies will be like supporters of Vichy France after World War II – close to non-existent.

Even renowned US public health expert Leana Wen, one of the doyens of authoritarian health restrictions in the US, who demanded the unvaccinated be forced to stay in their homes, has done an about-face.

“Masking has harmed our son’s language development,” she said a recent column in The Washington Post, foreshadowing the death of mask mandates even as Covid cases soar in the northern winter.

Excess deaths across the West have increased this year when they should have declined significantly, as elderly deaths from Covid-19 throughout 2020 and last year were brought forward in time.

Whatever the cause, you can bet it stems from the unprecedented Chinese Comnmunist Party-style interventions enacted in 2020 to “save lives”.

From January to May, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, deaths were about 17 per cent higher than usual but only about half of those were accounted for by Covid-19.

Moreover, health systems are struggling, severely in Europe, when shutting them down was supposed to ensure they were protected – the opposite of what was promised.

Mandatory vaccination will be the next policy to succumb to condemnation, as it becomes clear that forcing healthy young people, let alone children, to be vaccinated against a disease that obviously poses negligible threat to them was insane.

For instance, a new study by nine top scientists and doctors, including from Oxford, Harvard, the University of California and Johns Hopkins University, published this week, concludes forcing young people to obtain boosters to attend university was totally unethical, contrary to longstanding practice of Western medicine.

“We estimate that 22,000-30,000 previously uninfected adults aged 18-29 must be boosted with an mRNA vaccine to prevent one Covid-19 hospitalisation,” the study’s authors conclude.

“Per Covid-19 hospitalisation prevented in previously uninfected young adults, we anticipate 18 to 98 serious adverse events.”

It shouldn’t be a shock that forcing hundreds of millions of people to take a vaccine that, despite repeated promises from experts, obviously failed to prevent transmission, illness or confer lasting immunity resulted in complications for a tiny minority.

After the global financial crisis in 2008, it became obvious that greed and capture of the financial regulators led to shockingly bad outcomes for the economy.

Yet we are meant to believe today that pharmaceutical regulators, which are funded to a much greater extent by the entities they regulate than financial regulators are by the institutions they regulate, are beyond reproach.

Fauci, in remarks almost totally missed in the wake of the Queen’s death, told Canadian television there “wasn’t the time” to test the new Covid-19 booster, about to be foisted on millions of people, on humans, happy instead to rely on trials on eight mice (which apparently still developed mild Covid).

“Masking 2 year olds … and boosting 20 (year old) men with a new vax tested in 8 mice is openly crazy … policy,” one of the study doctors, Vinay Prasad, said this week on social media.

It might be crazy but boy is it lucrative, as big pharma in the US pencils in tens of billions of revenue guaranteed by the state – for now, at least.

One by one, the liturgy of absurd restrictions, either made up or copied from China, or motivated by greed, will fall into disrepute. It can’t come soon enough.


COVID stress eases in young people: survey

Young people are more positive about their lives and in less psychological distress as Australia comes out of the pandemic, a new study shows.

More than two in three young people aged 18 to 24 said their lives had improved in the past year, while there was a five per cent drop in psychological distress, ANU's Professor Nicholas Biddle found.

Prof Biddle said stress remained above pre-pandemic levels, with young people "the most dramatically impacted" by COVID-19. "Overall this is really encouraging news," he said. "It's heartening to see the majority of young Australians say they are feeling much better ... even though they still face ongoing pandemic pressures."

While young people recorded the biggest decline in psychological distress, Australians of all ages felt better than they did in October 2021.

More than half of those surveyed said they thought their life was worse in May 2020, months after tough restrictions including lockdowns were introduced. This dropped to about one in five - or 20 per cent - in August 2021.

"Wellbeing and mental health outcomes have improved over recent months as lockdown conditions have substantially eased and despite high case numbers," Prof Biddle said.

The report is based on 12 surveys of 3500 Australians over two years.

It comes as national cabinet decided pandemic leave would remain in effect as long as mandatory COVID-19 isolation periods are in place. The payments were due to expire at the end of the month.

National cabinet also agreed to limit the number of payments to three in six months unless people can argue extraordinary circumstances.

The ACTU welcomed the decision to extend the payments. It said it was critical workers were able to isolate while they were infectious.

The union's assistant secretary Liam O'Brien said financial incentives for people to stay home while sick should remain.

"Paid pandemic leave needs to stay in place as long as working people are being asked to isolate and take time away from work to control the spread of the virus," he said.

"The third of our working population who do not have access to paid sick leave cannot be expected to go without pay to keep the rest of the community safe."




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