Wednesday, March 15, 2023

America’s COVID Response Was Based on Lies


Almost all of America’s leaders have gradually pulled back their COVID mandates, requirements, and closures—even in states like California, which had imposed the most stringent and longest-lasting restrictions on the public. At the same time, the media has been gradually acknowledging the ongoing release of studies that totally refute the purported reasons behind those restrictions. This overt reversal is falsely portrayed as “learned” or “new evidence.” Little acknowledgement of error is to be found. We have seen no public apology for promulgating false information, or for the vilification and delegitimization of policy experts and medical scientists like myself who spoke out correctly about data, standard knowledge about viral infections and pandemics, and fundamental biology.

The historical record is critical. We have seen a macabre Orwellian attempt to rewrite history and to blame the failure of widespread lockdowns on the lockdowns’ critics, alongside absurd denials of officials’ own incessant demands for them. In the Trump administration, Dr. Deborah Birx was formally in charge of the medical side of the White House’s coronavirus task force during the pandemic’s first year. In that capacity, she authored all written federal policy recommendations to governors and states and personally advised each state’s public health officials during official visits, often with Vice President Mike Pence, who oversaw the entire task force. Upon the inauguration of President Joe Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci became chief medical advisor and ran the Biden pandemic response.

We must acknowledge the abject failure of the Birx-Fauci policies. They were enacted, but they failed to stop the dying, failed to stop the infection from spreading, and inflicted massive damage and destruction particularly on lower-income families and on America’s children.

More than 1 million American deaths have been attributed to that virus. Even after draconian measures, including school closures, stoppage of non-COVID medical care, business shutdowns, personal restrictions, and then the continuation of many restrictions and mandates in the presence of a vaccine, there was an undeniable failure—over two presidential administrations—to stop cases from rapidly escalating.

Numerous experts—including John Ioannidis, David Katz, and myself—called for targeted protection, a safer alternative to widespread lockdowns, in national media beginning in March of 2020. That proposal was rejected. History’s biggest public health policy failure came at the hands of those who recommended the lockdowns and those who implemented them, not those who advised otherwise.

The tragic failure of reckless, unprecedented lockdowns that were contrary to established pandemic science, and the added massive harms of those policies on children, the elderly, and lower-income families, are indisputable and well-documented in numerous studies. This was the biggest, the most tragic, and the most unethical breakdown of public health leadership in modern history.

In a democracy, indeed in any ethical and free society, the truth is essential. The American people need to hear the truth—the facts, free from the political distortions, misrepresentations, and censorship. The first step is to clearly state the harsh truth in the starkest possible terms. Lies were told. Those lies harmed the public. Those lies were directly contrary to the evidence, to decades of knowledge on viral pandemics, and to long-established fundamental biology.

Here are the 10 biggest falsehoods—known for years to be false, not recently learned or proven to be so—promoted by America’s public health leaders, elected and unelected officials, and now-discredited academics:

SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has a far higher fatality rate than the flu by several orders of magnitude.

Everyone is at significant risk to die from this virus.

No one has any immunological protection, because this virus is completely new.

Asymptomatic people are major drivers of the spread.

Locking down—closing schools and businesses, confining people to their homes, stopping non-COVID medical care, and eliminating travel—will stop or eliminate the virus.

Masks will protect everyone and stop the spread.

The virus is known to be naturally occurring, and claiming it originated in a lab is a conspiracy theory.

Teachers are at especially high risk.

COVID vaccines stop the spread of the infection.

Immune protection only comes from a vaccine.

None of us are so naïve as to expect a direct apology from critics at my employer, Stanford University, or in government, academic public health, and the media. But to ensure that this never happens again, government leaders, power-driven officials, and influential academics and advisors often harboring conflicts of interest must be held accountable. Personally, I remain highly skeptical that any government investigation or commission can avoid politicization.

Regardless of their intention, all such government-run inquiries will at least be perceived as politically motivated and their conclusions will be rejected outright by many. Those investigations must proceed, though, if only to seek the truth, to teach our children that truth matters, and to remember G.K. Chesterton’s critical lesson that “Right is right, even if nobody does it. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong about it.”


Covid’s cockups and conspiracies: Australia wasn’t immune

Those debating whether the deadly schemozzle of pandemic mismanagement that has cast a pall over the last three years was due to a cockup or a conspiracy should abandon binary thinking. All the evidence, from both sides of the Atlantic, indicates that there were both cockups and conspiracies and they came not as single spies but in battalions.

In the UK, the ‘Lockdown files’, a trove of 100,000 WhatsApp messages released by the Telegraph over the last week, provide a portrait of former health minister Matt Hancock as a cruel careerist and a clown better suited to appearing on ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here’, which he did for a fee of hundreds of thousands of pound, rather than running Britain’s pandemic policy.

The liberty of millions of Britons was curtailed based on the whims of decision-makers who, because they were not subject to parliamentary scrutiny, simply claimed they were following the best scientific advice.

Guilt and fear were shamelessly used to enforce the draconian dictates with Hancock writing that he would ‘frighten the pants off everyone’ with a new strain to get compliance.

A fan of Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum (WEF), Hancock wrote that he hoped Covid would propel his career into the next league. He discussed with his advisers how ‘pushing on vaccines’ would be ‘the most politically beneficial thing’ to do. When Dame Kate Bingham who led the UK vaccine taskforce suggested in October 2020 that only people who were ‘at risk’ should be vaccinated, Hancock branded her as ‘wacky’ and ‘totally unreliable’.

In the US, the Twitter files made public by Elon Musk exposed a conspiracy between key members of Team Biden, agencies such as the FBI and Big Tech to help Biden get elected and to censor and smear those who criticised the government orthodoxy.

Evidence of conspiracies continues to be uncovered by House Republicans. The latest emails show that Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 1984 to 2022 and chief medical advisor to the president from 2021 to 2022 and Dr Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, the third largest charitable foundation in the world, hid their roles in February 2020 in the writing of a scientific paper whose purpose was to cast as much doubt as possible on the fact that the Covid virus originated in a lab in Wuhan. Both pretended they played no part in the paper’s genesis but both prompted the scientists to write it, Farrar edited it and Fauci hid the fact that his agency funded research in a Wuhan lab to make bat coronaviruses more dangerous.

In view of Farrar’s role in obfuscating the origins of Covid, leading scientists such as Dr Richard Ebright, a microbiologist at Rutgers University, has called for him not to take up an appointment announced last year to be the next chief scientist at the World Health Organisation.

Farrar also signed a notorious letter to the Lancet organised by Peter Daszak, the CEO of the EcoHealth Alliance who provided US tax dollars for research into bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The letter condemned as ‘conspiracy theories’ any suggestion that Covid-19 did not have a natural origin.

Conspiracies were not limited to promoting lies about the origins of Covid. As Dr Marty Makary, a professor of surgery and health policy at Johns Hopkins University said in sworn testimony before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic’s first hearing on Tuesday 28 February, ‘The greatest perpetrator of misinformation during the pandemic has been the United States government’.

Makary damned public health officials for lying to the American people that Covid was spread through surface transmission, that vaccinated immunity was greater than natural immunity, that masks were effective, that myocarditis was more common after infection than vaccination, that young people benefit from a booster and that vaccine mandates would increase vaccination rates. ‘We’ve seen something that is unforgivable,’ he said, ‘and that is the weaponisation of medical research itself’.

The common link between the UK cockups and the US conspiracies is the total disregard for scientific evidence, which either didn’t exist or contradicted what policy makers wanted to do and so was ignored or discredited.

There is no comfort for Australia in any of this. Like Little Sir Echo it copied all of its pandemic policies from the US and the UK. The question is what to do now?

It is impossible to prevent cockups or conspiracies, but it is possible to make them more difficult to engage in by subjecting governments and their agencies to greater scrutiny. We could start by requiring that they table all health advice.

Agencies such as the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) need to collect more data about adverse events, for example, by requiring the same information that is collected in the US. It needs to publicly state the background rates for adverse events, the rate of these events for comparable drugs, and provide a weekly update on the rate of these events in new products so that dangerous drugs can be withdrawn as soon as warning signs appear.

The meetings of committees that advise the TGA should be publicly televised as they are in the US and anybody who advises the TGA or any other part of government on health should be required to publicly disclose any funding they receive from pharmaceutical companies or other interested parties.

The power of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency needs to be curbed. By issuing an edict telling healthcare workers that they must do nothing to undermine confidence in the government’s response to the pandemic, it pressured health practitioners not to report adverse events or tell their patients about the potential for adverse events.

The misinformation and disinformation laws tabled by the Morrison and now by the Albanese government are also a shameless attempt to curtail totally justified criticism of pandemic polices.

Too often over the last three years, Australians’ rights and freedoms have been violated in the interest of ‘public health measures’ that were harmful.

Only by making the work of the government and its agencies fully transparent can we start to restore confidence that we will be subjected to anymore conspiracies or cockups.




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