Brownstone » Brownstone Journal » Let the Real Investigations Begin
pandemic hysteria

Let the Real Investigations Begin


Now that the GOP has taken control of the US House investigative committees, we must pray that they will have the courage of their convictions and the intellectual clarity and steadfastness to pursue the nation’s god-forsaken descent into public health totalitarianism to the very bottom of this great folly. So doing, they need to name names.

Stated differently, the unspeakable stain of the Covid tyranny requires the very opposite of the “pandemic amnesty” that the craven poltroons at the Atlantic suggested recently. That’s because the precedent was such a grave affront to constitutional liberty and capitalist prosperity that those responsible should be exposed, hounded and shamed, and prosecuted where warranted, so that future power-grabbers will forever be reminded that tyranny cannot be imposed with impunity.

And that starts with the Donald. Had he had even a minimal regard for constitutional liberties and free market principles he would never have empowered the Virus Patrol and the resulting tyranny they erected virtually overnight. Indeed, his embrace of “two weeks to flatten the curve” was the original evil in the entire ordeal. It alone should disqualify him for the GOP nomination in 2024, even as it elevates the courageous governor of Florida to the top of what surely will be a large heap of candidates.

In this context, the one thing we learned during our days in the vicinity of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is that any president, at any moment in time, and with respect to any issue of public import, has call on the best experts in the nation, including those who might disagree with each other vehemently. Yet the record makes clear that in the early days of the pandemic—when the Virus Patrol’s terrible regime was being launched—that the Donald was entirely passive, making no effort at all to consult experts outside of the narrow circle of power-hungry government apparatchiks ( Fauci, Birx, Collins, Adams) who were paraded into the Oval Office by his meretricious son-in-law.

From the very beginning of the pandemic, in fact, there were legions of pedigreed epidemiologists and other scientists—many of whom later signed the Great Barrington Declaration—who correctly held that viruses cannot be extinguished via draconian quarantines and other clumsy one-size-fits-all public health interventions; and that when it came to coronaviruses in particular, it was doubtful whether even vaccines—which had never been successful with coronaviruses—could defeat the latter’s natural propensity to mutate and spread.

In a word, from its earliest days, there was no reason for a sweeping intervention by the public health apparatus at all. Nor for the coercive one-size-fits all, state-driven mobilization of quarantines, lockdowns, testing, masking, distancing, surveilling, snitching and ultimately mandated mass vaxxing with experimental drugs developed under a dangerous multi-ten billion government subsidy scheme called Operation Warp Speed, followed by an open-ended Emergency Use authorization that shielded the pharma companies from any and all liabilities.

That truth from the earliest days was especially the case because in addition to decades of scientific knowledge about the proper management of virus based pandemics, there existed the screaming real-time evidence from the stranded Diamond Princess cruise ship. The 3,711 souls (2,666 passengers and 1,045 crew) aboard skewed heavily to the elderly, but the survival rate known in mid-March 2020 was 99.7% overall, and 100% for those under 70 years of age.

That’s right. As of March 5, 2020, shortly before the Donald was persuaded to impose Chicom-style lockdowns on the US, the ship had already been quarantined for more than two weeks and the passengers systematically tested and tracked.

At that point, 3,618 passengers and crew had been tested multiple times. Among that population, 696 had tested positive for Covid, but 410 or nearly 60% of these were asymptomatic. Among the 8% (286) who were ill, the overwhelming share were only mildly syptomatic. At that point just 7 passengers—all over 70 years old —-had died, a figure which grew only slightly in the months ahead.

In short, just 0.19% of an elderly skewed population had succumbed to the virus. So the facts which were known to the White House (or certainly should have been) made absolutely clear that the Covid was no Black Plague-type threat. Full stop.

To the contrary, from the beginning it was evident to independent scientists that the Covid-19 spread was an intensive but manageable challenge to America’s one-at-a-time doctor/patient health care system. The CDC, FDA, NIH and state and local public health departments were only needed to dispense solid information per their normal education role, not orders and sweeping regulatory interventions into every nook and cranny of the nation’s economic and social life.

We are now 33-months on from the Donald’s foolish empowerment of Dr. Fauci and his Virus Patrol in mid-March 2020, and all doubt has been removed. If there were two countries on the planet which had diametrically opposite policy approaches with respect to Covid, it was Australia, which degenerated into an outright public health tyranny, and Sweden, where officials kept their minds open to the facts and social institutions—schools, churches, shops, theaters, malls, factories etc–open to the public.

The graph below, which charts the incidence of confirmed Covid cases on a cumulative basis, tell you all you need to know: Namely, that lockdowns and other draconian social control and quarantine measures can temporarily suppress the spread—essentially by extinguishing human social interaction—but cannot keep the genie in the bottle indefinitely.

Thus, as of one year ago (November 26, 2021) Sweden had recorded 114,000 confirmed “cases” per million people versus just 8,000 per million in Australia, leading the Covid crusaders to say, “We told you so.”

The answer, of course, was not so fast. Either the province of New South Wales and other heavily populated regions of Australia were going to remain outdoor prisons forever, or the lockdowns would eventually be lifted and the virus would do what respiratory viruses do—spread among most of the population.

That’s exactly what happened, and one year later the results are crystal clear. The cumulative rate of cases per million in Australia soared by 51X to 407,000 during the next 365 days!

The red line in the chart below is so stunning, in fact, as to suggest that the gods of contagion had determined to punish the insouciance of the Australian Virus Patrol with malice aforethought.

By contrast, the cumulative case rate in both the US and Sweden barely doubled during that period, since the vulnerable population had long since been exposed, infected and (overwhelmingly) cured.

Moreover, it’s not as if the late eruption of cases in Australia was owing to the nation being suddenly overrun with anti-vaxxers, as if the vaccines, as promised, actually stop the spread, which they do not.

Still, the evidence shows that Australia led the vaccination rate parade, as well. As of late November it had administered 242 doses per 100 people or slightly more than than the 237 doses per 100 in Sweden and 197 in the US.

Another perspective is available via the excess deaths statistics. The chart below tracks deaths from all causes per million population compared to projections based on the most recent pre-Covid years.

As it happened, the rate for Sweden at 1,202 per million was just one-third of that for the United States (3,510 per million) and dramatically below that for most other European countries, all of whom had far more draconian public health control regimes than Sweden.

Of course, the flaws in the insane numbers diarrhea about tests, case counts, hospital counts, death counts and heart-rending anecdotes about individual suffering and loss are now more than evident. But the single most important thing to grasp is that when it comes to the heart of the narrative—the alleged soaring death counts—the narrative is just plain bogus.

The undisputed fact is that the CDC changed rules for causation on death certificates in March 2020, so now we have no idea whatsoever whether the 1.05 million deaths reported to date were deaths because OF Covid or just incidentally were departures from this mortal world WITH Covid. The extensive well-documented cases of hospital DOAs from heart attacks, gunshot wounds, strangulation or motorcycle accidents, which had tested positive before the fatal event or by postmortem, are proof enough.

More importantly, what we do know is that not even the power-drunk apparatchiks at the CDC and other wings of the Federal public health apparatus found a way to change the total mortality counts from all causes.

That’s the smoking gun unless you consider the year 2003 to have been an unbearable year of extraordinary death and societal misery in America. To wit, the age-adjusted death rate from all causes in America during 2020 was actually 1.8% lower than it had been in 2003 and nearly 11% lower than it had been during what has heretofore been understood to be the benign year of 1990!

To be sure, there was a slight elevation of the all-causes mortality rate in 2020 relative to the immediately preceding years. That’s because the Covid did disproportionately and in some ghoulish sense harvest the immunologically vulnerable elderly and comorbid slightly ahead of the Grim Reaper’s ordinary schedule.

And far worse, there were also extraordinary deaths in 2020 among the less Covid vulnerable population owing to hospitals that were in government-ordered turmoil; and also to an undeniable rise in human malfunction among the frightened, isolated, home-bound quarantined, which resulted in a swelling of homicides, suicides and a record level of deaths from drug overdoses (94,000).

Still, the common sense line of sight across this 30-year chart below tells you 1,000 times more than the context-free case and death counts which scrolled across America’s TV and computer screens day-in-and-day-out. It tells you there was no deadly plague; there was no extraordinary public health crisis; and that the Grim Reaper was not stalking the highways and byways of America.

Compared to the pre-Covid norm recorded in 2019, the age-adjusted risk of death in America during 2020 went up from 0.71% to 0.84%. In humanitarian terms, that’s unfortunate but it does not even remotely bespeak a mortal threat to societal function and survival and therefore a justification for the sweeping control measures and suspensions of both liberty and common sense that actually happened.

This fundamental mortality fact—the “science” in bolded letters if there is such a thing—totally invalidates the core notion behind the Fauci policy that was sprung upon our deer-in-the-headlights president stumbling around the Oval Office in early March 2020.

In a word, this chart proves that the entire Covid strategy was wrong and unnecessary. Lock, stock and barrel.

Indeed, it would not be going too far to say that the eruption of irrationality and hysteria in America during 2020-2021 most resembled not 1954, when Senator McCarthy set the nation looking for communist moles behind every government desk, or 1919, when the notorious raids of Attorney General Mitchell were rounding up purported Reds in their tens of thousands, but the winter of 1691-1692. That’s when two little girls—Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams of Salem, Massachusetts—fell into the demonic activity of fortune-telling, which soon found them getting strangely ill, having fits, spouting gibberish, and contorting their bodies into odd positions.

The rest became history, of course, when a malpracticing local doctor claimed to have found no physical cause for the girls’ problems and diagnosed them being afflicted by the “Evil Hand,” commonly known as witchcraft. Other ministers were consulted, who agreed that the only cause could be witchcraft and since the sufferers were believed to be the victims of a dastardly crime, the community set out to find the perpetrators.

Within no time, three witches who were famously accused —the Parris’ slave, Sarah Good, an impoverished homeless woman and Sarah Osborne, who had defied conventional Puritan society. Many more followed, and as the hysteria spread, hundreds were tried for witchcraft and two dozen hanged.

But there is a lesson in this classic tale that is embarrassing in its verisimilitude. Namely, one of the best academic explanations for the outbreak of seizures and convulsions which fueled the Salem hysteria was a disease called “convulsive ergotism,” which is brought on by ingesting rye grain infected with a fungus that can invade developing kernels of the grain, especially under warm and damp conditions.

During the rye harvest in Salem in 1691 these conditions existed at a time when one of the Puritans’ main diet staples was cereal and breads made of the harvested rye. Convulsive ergotism causes violent fits, a crawling sensation on the skin, vomiting, choking, and, hallucinations—meaning that it was Mother Nature in the ordinary course working her episodically unwelcome tricks, not the “Evil Hand” of a spiritual pathogen, which imperiled the community.

The truth is, in 2020 it was also Mother Nature—likely abetted by the Fauci-sponsored gain-of-function researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology—who disgorged one of the nastier among ordinary respiratory viruses. Such viruses, of course, have afflicted humankind over the ages, which, in turn, has evolved marvelous adaptive immune systems to cope with and overcome them. So again, there was no Evil Hand sci-fi pathogen at large that was something new under the sun, nor a disease that was extraordinarily lethal for 90% of the population.

In the great scheme of things, therefore, the Covid-19 pandemic has already been recorded as an unfortunate bump on the road to longer and more pleasant lives for Americans and the much of the rest of the world, too. That truth is strikingly depicted in the chart below.

While the all-cause mortality figure for 2020 shown above did not exist when the CDC published the chart below, the green line would have depicted it as only a tiny upward blip—of which there have been several during the last 120 years shown below. Indeed, the true analogue is the year 1918 when an estimated 675,000 Americans succumbed to the Spanish flu from a population (100 million) just 30% of today’s level.

In that case, the green line (all cause deaths) pushed up by nearly 400 per 100,000 population compared to the pre-war baseline (1914). By contrast, the excess rate in 2020 over 2019 was just 118 per 100,000.

And, yes, there is the sad fact of senseless dough-boy deaths on the killing fields of France embedded in these 1918 numbers, but it turns out that upwards of 45% of the conventionally reported 117,000 GI deaths were not from German bullets, but the Spanish flu that ripped through the massive US training camps that were hastily assembled after Woodrow Wilson foolishly declared war in April 1917 with no meaningful standing army to fight it.

So on the true measure of pandemic lethality—deaths from all causes—the Covid-19 was not even in the same ballpark as the Spanish flu. And as the chart also shows, the former occurred way down the green line curve that is actually the ultimate rebuke to today’s on-going Covid-policy disaster.

The US age-adjusted death rate in 2020 (828 per 100,000) was actually 67% lower than it had been in 1918 (2,542 per 100,000) because since then a free capitalist society has gifted the nation with the prosperity and freedom to progress that has ushered in better sanitation, nutrition, shelter, lifestyles and medical care.

It is those forces which have pushed the green line relentlessly to the lower-right corner of the chart, not the Federales atop their bureaucratic perches in Washington.

At length, perhaps some future historian will need to find the “convulsive ergot” theory of 2020 to explain the Covid Hysteria because the explanation will not be found in the “science” embedded in what will be a tiny blip in the green line of the chart above. But to do so, they might well be advised to look due westward in the state of Massachusetts from Salem in the east and site of the original hysteria, through Camp Devon in the middle, where the worst of the Spanish flu breakouts occurred, to Great Barrington on the western edge of the state, where a ray of enlightenment finally burst upon the scene in October 2020.

The Great Barrington Declaration was penned by three fearless world leading epidemiologists—Dr. Martin Kulldorff of Harvard, Dr. Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford—and was a powerful antidote to the Evil Hand theory then raging through the MSM and political class of almost every stripe.

At essence, it said the real science was that America was not being attacked by a Grim Reaper visiting death upon one and all regardless of age, health status or physical circumstances, but, instead, was a highly selective respiratory disease variant that honed in tightly on the immunity-impaired aged and comorbid.

Accordingly, the one-size-fits all Lockdown policy was dead wrong, and what was needed was highly targeted help, protections and treatments for the smallish minority of the vulnerable, which policy would presently lead to the attainment of “herd immunity” and the ultimate extinguishment of the pandemic in the normal way.

So let the US House investigations begin. Colonial America found its way out of the Salem aberration in 1692, and surely 330 years and much science later it can do so again, exposing the 21st century miscreants who brought on this insensible hysteria as it does.

Reposted from the author’s paid service, ContraCorner

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author.


  • David Stockman

    David Stockman, Senior Scholar at Brownstone Institute, is the author of many books on politics, finance, and economics. He is a former congressman from Michigan, and the former Director of the Congressional Office of Management and Budget. He runs the subscription-based analytics site ContraCorner.

    View all posts

Donate Today

Your financial backing of Brownstone Institute goes to support writers, lawyers, scientists, economists, and other people of courage who have been professionally purged and displaced during the upheaval of our times. You can help get the truth out through their ongoing work.

Subscribe to Brownstone for More News

Stay Informed with Brownstone Institute