I see a world I no longer recognize!
It is a world in which there appears to be a deliberate campaign of disinformation and misinformation the purpose of which, more than anything else, seems to be to instill and maintain an atmosphere of unreasonable fear.The underlying purpose of this is still unclear. One result, however, is that the American people have accepted almost without question a degree of government encroachment of their personal liberties which would have been impossible without the fear factor. We have permitted the Federal, state, and even local city governments to tell us we cannot leave our homes, we cannot keep our businesses open, and we cannot gather in other than tiny groups. A population of 300 million people has allowed itself to be quarantined and a trillion dollar economy has been shutdown, without a timetable or any inkling of the possible repercussions, for the first time in our history. All this because of fear. Fear of a virus about which we admittedly do not know everything, but about which we know quite a lot.
(Studies of the presence of Covid in the general population as early as March 2020 showed that stopping the spread of Covid was not possible.) The plan was to “flatten the curve”. The problem was that flattening the curve to prevent a sudden, massive influx of ill people that would overwhelm our medical resources, guaranteed that the pandemic would extend out many more weeks and months than if it had been allowed to run its course, as we do every year for seasonal flu. Combined with the extreme social distancing recommendations and shutdown of all but those businesses deemed essential, this also assured the U.S. of an incredibly long social disruption never before experienced and incalculable damage to the U.S. economy (This translated directly to more lives lost than from the virus).
Never before have we dealt with a viral pandemic by quarantining the entire population rather than those who are actually ill or at increased risk of serious illness. Despite having data almost from the first that SARS-Cov-2 was unusually benign to children and healthy adults under 60 years of age, we have persisted in behaving as though everyone is equally at risk (we knew early that adults over 70 had a 1000 times greater risk of illness and death than a healthy 15-year-old). Instead of taking rational measures to isolate and protect the most vulnerable, we have confined a nation to their homes except for necessities- which, as a matter of course, violate strict quarantine guidelines in and of themselves. Instead of allocating resources according to where they are most needed (In writing this, I anticipated the Great Barrington Declaration by six months), we have emptied hospitals everywhere, even in communities that have hardly been affected by the virus on the premise that there would be a “surge” of cases at some yet to be determined time in the future. Necessary surgery has been postponed because it was not deemed an emergency, healthcare workers have been furloughed, and medical practices shutdown. We have no clue how many people may have suffered worse outcomes or died because of delays in treatment. Again, fear has played a huge role in that many people have been afraid to leave their homes for needed medical care. My own hospital has been essentially deserted, awaiting a surge that never came and, with each passing day, is less likely to. (A surge did come in the fall of 2020 came and although it stressed the health care system, was managed and was falling before there were any vaccines. The Delta surge in 2021 came despite vaccine availability.)
We now know that the models and formulas used to calculate the progression of the pandemic and the potential numbers of sick and dead were seriously flawed and inaccurate. Projections of millions dead have been scaled back greatly. (The claim of one million dead in the US from Covid is controversial because we know some died from other causes, but with a positive Covid test, and were listed as Covid death. Hospitals had a monetary incentive from the government to list Covid as a cause of death.)
The main stream media has seemed to delight in playing up the worst case scenarios. The White House press corps has distinguished itself as a group more interested in scoring points against Trump than in providing helpful, objective information. No one knows who to believe anymore. We believe the media only when it reports what we already think is true. The main stream media never acknowledges its mistakes. Many of the extreme measures taken so far in this pandemic are virtue-signaling to avoid media censure.
Elected officials and medical personnel are vilified no matter what they do. If our leaders respond early and are shown to have overreached, they are criticized, but if they respond late or inadequately, they are crucified. So, they err on the side of draconian measures versus a more limited response. This has, without a doubt, playing into the overreach displayed so far as well as the timid and tentative steps being taken to open up our country and restore the economy. Politicians and medical consultants know they will be raked across the coals at the first upward bump in cases and mortality due to Covid-19 once the shelter-in-place is lifted and businesses reopen, as though this was not to be expected.