Health News Digest


May 11, 2020

My Last Article On COVID-19 (For Now)

By Michael D. Shaw

With most states starting a phased reopening, this seems like a good time to wind down our coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first thing to note is that a phased reopening is exactly the opposite of the draconian “one size fits all” lockdown that killed the economy, as it told all of us, regardless of health status, to shelter in place. You hardly need to be a medical professional to realize that a more individualized approach–tailored to the obvious differences among people–would have been a much more sensible strategy.

But, as we have said in several previous articles, the simplistic concept of “Population Health,” whereby the focus is on the health outcomes of a group of individuals while seemingly ignoring the specific problems of any single individual, is not good medicine. Any experienced physician will tell you that there are significant differences between individuals, and a cookie-cutter approach will not give the best results.

For the most part, though, the creators of official healthcare policy are quite far removed from actually treating patients. To such ivory tower denizens, concepts like population health and oppressive stay-at-home orders appear to be quite brilliant. And too bad for them, the real-world results of such policies are starting to come in.

In a widely-publicized piece in the Wall Street Journal (summarized here), the massive lockdowns are compared, both state-to-state, and against Sweden, which had a much more measured strategy. For the most part, perhaps except in New York City, the lockdowns were at best overkill, and at worst a failure.

There is also this article from Thomas Meunier, entitled “Full lockdown policies in Western Europe countries have no evident impacts on the COVID-19 epidemic.” Meunier applied detailed mathematical analysis to the trajectory of the epidemic–using official data–before and after the lockdown, and concluded that:

“[F]ull lockdown policies of France, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom haven’t had the expected effects in the evolution of the COVID-19 epidemic. Comparison of pre and post lockdown observations reveals a counterintuitive slowdown in the decay of the epidemic after lockdown. Estimates of daily and total death numbers using pre-lockdown trends suggest that no lives were saved by this strategy, in comparison with pre-lockdown, less restrictive, social distancing policies.”

We would be remiss if we left out the strange case of Neil Ferguson aka “Professor Lockdown,” already notorious for his overblown pandemic projections, who resigned from his role as a senior scientific advisor to the British government after being discovered breaking his own rules to visit his lover. To add to the fun, Elon Musk called Ferguson a “tool” and an “utter moron.”

What about masks? We turn to a preprint entitled “Mask Is a Double-edged Sword in the Fight Against COVID-19 Pandemic.” The key findings include:

  • Masks can prevent the penetration of viral particles, but will reduce oxygen uptake efficiency, raise inlet air temperature, and increase resistance to breathing.
  • Uninfected people should wear masks in any closed public building where viral particles from infected persons are expected to exist.
  • Masks can dramatically aggravate disease severity on infected persons; and use in these individuals is justified only if cross-infection and successive infections from external viral sources outweigh the expected harm.
  • Social distancing without appropriate mask use is insufficient for infection control.
  • WHO and CDC rules on mask use (as of March 28, 2020) are largely incorrect [cf. full paper].
  • Neglecting lung protection is the main reason for the current situation.

A few more items…

Governor Cuomo says it’s ‘shocking’ most new coronavirus hospitalizations are people who had been staying home. This coming from the same guy who is starting to take heat regarding the very high numbers of deaths in nursing homes.

We conclude with a few of Lionel Media’s Eight Rules of BioTyranny:

1.     Turn the police and military against the citizens for the slightest of transgressions to let them know that the last vestige of freedom they enjoyed has now been crushed under the bootheel of the statist gendarmerie.

2.     Overwhelm the public with fear over the magical and mystical Chinese wondervirus, a putative pandemic that follows no course of logic or reason and has no historic counterpart whatsoever. Use fear as a cudgel and the unknown as your volume toggle. Scare them constantly.

3.     Create the myth that the American public has to ask permission from local bureaucrats to do and perform the simplest of behaviors. Demand that the public ask permission for everything. Reiterate and reinforce submission as the new normal. Strip them of initiative and hope.

Sic semper tyrannis.