At the CVS down the street, the lines are very long to buy home Covid testing kits, $24 a pop, limit four per customer. Everyone seemed to be buying four. Employees cannot restock fast enough.
We can speculate why. Are businesses demanding negative tests from the unvaccinated? Is Omicron sweeping the country and people need to confirm? Do we have another round of disease panic happening? It’s most likely that everyone in line has a different answer. My intuition, for what it is worth: this virus is everywhere. Lots of people are sick.
Do you have some sense that we’ve been in this place before? Another variant, another round of panics, more restrictions, models forecasting mass deaths, experts weighing in on all the things you must do, masks masks masks, exhortations from discredited experts demanding that you do things again even though they didn’t work the last time.
This is just a remarkable scene. Nearly two years after locking down to crush the virus, to stop the spread, this is where we are. It should be more than obvious that the mitigation measures did not achieve the goal and caused enormous damage.
The ghoul this time is: Omicron. Only one death in the US has been attributed to it. Cases of course are through the roof. It could get worse in terms of severity. At the same time, there is a well-established and once-understood tradeoff within this family of viruses between their transmissibility and their severity. More “cases” – meaning infections in this context – tends toward fewer deaths.
South African health officials have clearly said that so far it is not resulting in severe outcomes. It killed no one in the country in which it was discovered. Still, the weary world seems always ready for another round of panic. Nothing has ever really made sense, but now the complete senselessness is on hyper-drive.
Universities all over the Northeast have closed and gone back to Zoom for final exams. New York events are being cancelled. Israel is blocking its citizens from travelling to some 10 countries, one of which is the US. Lockdowns are being imposed all over Europe along with ever more vicious enforcements of masks and vaccine passports.
Vaccine mandates and passports are spreading from city to city. And this is with a vaccine that has been widely adopted and accepted in all the countries now locking down.
Health authorities in Rhode Island, Maine, and many other states, are warning of impending disaster with overwhelmed hospitals and other facilities. This is because vast numbers have quit their jobs. Oh, but we are told, this has nothing to do with the vaccine requirement. No no. It’s because they found better job opportunities elsewhere.
Think about this. The staff and nurses 18 months ago were working like crazy and treated like heroes for exposing themselves to the virus. They were the fodder. They took a huge risk. They obtained natural immunity. These people should have been hired and given raises. But the CDC and NIH don’t like to breathe a word about natural immunity. Instead hospital management, pushed by government pressure, demanded that all staff get vaccinated on top of existing broad, safe, and effective natural immunity.
We’ve known about natural immunity for thousands of years. Now it is mostly denied or not spoken about. How can we account for that?
From the point of view of doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff, that’s an insult. It’s insulting enough to cause anyone to quit on the spot. So yes, many employees just began feeling demoralized. Here is where we stand and a look at why there is a crisis. Crisis upon crisis.
It’s the same in nursing homes.
So yes, the lockdowns and mandates created the health-care crisis that they strategized to prevent. The ICUs are filling up but not necessarily only from Covid. These are health problems generated by lockdowns. Cancer. Drug overdoses. Obesity. Broken immune systems leading to virus vulnerability.
But the question is why. The answer is that governors in every state locked down the hospitals for Covid only, with some exceptions made for urgent non-elective surgeries. Most hospitals in this country were empty for months. They were bleeding money. Spending on health care in general actually declined 8.6%.
As I’ve written, In the first half of 2020, inpatient admissions fell by 20%, while outpatient visits collapsed by 35%. Visits to the emergency room crashed too, in some places by as much as 42%. By the fall of 2020, elective surgeries were down by 90% of where they would normally be.
The financial crisis, the lockdown crisis, the mandate crisis, the public health crisis, have all pointed to one end: a genuine medical care crisis.
Now the Biden administration is taking the extraordinary step of forcing military doctors and nurses into the hospitals. Does that make you want to go to the doctor? Not likely. In fact, for nearly two years now, many people have been avoiding the doctor, letting cancer screenings go by and so on. This has produced the very public health crisis that the lockdowns were intended to prevent.
For the first time since this disaster began in March 2020, I feel a loss of words, an inability to explain or even describe the world in which we live. We are on the precipice of disaster, with not only a public-health mess unfolding before our eyes but now we must await a Supreme Court that is only days away from deciding on the OSHA mandate that could permanently change life in America.
Many businesses are now fighting for their lives. CEOs of major airlines have pleaded to end the mask mandate that is so awful for their customers flying on their extremely clean planes. Fauci flat out said no. We must wear masks forever, he says. Why is he, of all people, the dictator of our businesses, communities, and lives? And it all happened so quickly and shockingly.
We are surrounded by the carnage of the lockdown and mandate strategy, which not only did not stop the Omicron variant. They might have made it inevitable. And yet we still have major voices such as Jeremy Faust of Harvard University writing in his influential column: “am I willing to disrupt certain aspects of life temporarily when necessary to achieve a clearly stated goal? Yes. The key is to define that goal and to implement a strategy that can deliver it. Nobody gets tired of winning. What we’re tired of is losing.”
Yes, we are losing because of a losing strategy that favored force over social functioning, models over public-health wisdom, central planning over decentralized intelligence, coercion over persuasion, suppression over endemicity, and brutalism over rationality. As for “temporarily,” where have we heard that before?
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