That’s the extant of time the United States has spent under a national emergency declaration. On Monday, the White House issued a single sentence press release noting that President Biden had signed into law House Joint Resolution 7 which ended the Covid pandemic emergency declaration first initiated by President Donald Trump on March 13th (backdated to March 1, 2020).
The emergency was “renewed” 13 times by the director of Health and Human Services— first Azar and most recently Becerra.
At this point, one is tempted to say: “… and thus ends our long national nightmare” but the damage and impact of the policies enacted during the declaration are just now being tallied and some are ongoing.
The healthcare system experienced significant disruption as a result of the disease but arguably more-so from Covid policies themselves. Medical errors increased in hospitals due to the constraints on resources and mandates. Millions of cancer screenings were missed, potentially causing a future surge in late-stage cases. HIV testing was disrupted, leading to delayed diagnoses and treatment.
Many of the Covid models that informed Covid policies proved to be flawed or unreliable, further eroding trust in the institutions that promoted them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) faced multiple controversies, including accusations of hiding data, unreliable data, and tracking millions of Americans’ phone locations. Additionally, the influence of unions on CDC policy raised concerns about political interference in public health decisions. Additionally, decisions to count Covid illnesses with the widest latitude led serious inaccurate death counts, prompting more fear and furthering egregious policies.
Privacy and censorship concerns related to Covid policies also loomed large. Governments and private companies used Covid apps to expand surveillance, stop protests, and profit from user information. Reports of CDC collusion with big tech have prompted multiple hearings on Capitol Hill. Credentialed experts, like Stanford’s Jay Bhattacharya, were targeted for censorship by unelected government bureaucrats and even former officials used their influence to try and silence others – like yours truly.
The massive spending on Covid relief programs also had significant consequences — arguably leading to the many of the financial hardships we are experiencing today. In Canada, billions were wasted in poorly managed programs. Similarly, in the United States, the vaunted PPP loans – designed to help American businesses retain W2 workers – suffered over $80 billion in fraudulent claims. LIkewise, billions in aid went to hospitals that didn’t need the funds, raising questions about the allocation and oversight of any and all Covid relief funds.
One of the most significant consequences of Covid policies has been the impact on child health and development. Lockdowns led to a distressing increase in infant abuse and a surge in anxiety among children. Notably, the restrictions had a devastating impact on teenagers, as well as causing developmental delays in babies. The development of children was negatively impacted by masks and isolation, exacerbating speech and expression difficulties. The reporting of abuse was diminished by lockdowns, and the implementation of Covid regulations led to an increase in cases of child sexual abuse.
Globally, Covid regulations also led to a rise in child labor worldwide, with millions of additional child marriages predicted as a consequence of the pandemic. These policies contributed to a significant crisis in child development.
The consequences of Covid regulations on education are equally jarring. Learning loss was a significant outcome of lockdowns, as remote learning proved to be unsatisfactory and even a complete failure. The learning of 1.6 billion children was disrupted due to Covid regulations, worsening the global learning crisis. Students were greatly affected by the disastrous impact of lockdowns, leaving them ill-equipped for the future.
Despite evidence showing that immunocompromised children have a low risk of contracting Covid and that it is uncommon for children to experience Long COVID, the debate around vaccination and its effectiveness in children continues. The UK has initiated compensation payments for vaccine-related injuries, and some experts advise against children receiving boosters due to potential risks.
Interestingly, interacting with children has been shown to improve Covid outcomes, suggesting that isolation measures may not have been the most effective approach. Lastly, vaccination rates for other diseases among children continue to decline, raising concerns about future public health challenges – demonstrating the serious loss of trust in our health institutions.
Journalist David Zweig recently highlighted a Montessori school in Ithaca, NY that just can’t seem to shake the stringencies. Like some remote tribe in the Amazon, the school goes on foisting Covid mandates on its pupils long after its peer schools have moved on. A good majority of major universities still require vaccine mandates for their students and numerous public institutions will run visitors through the gauntlet of plexiglass and pandemic policies which are a distant memory in some states.
This litany of terrible consequences should trigger a long reflection on our deeds – even to the level of sackcloth and ashes – but don’t hold your breath. We succumbed – all of us – in one way or another to the terrible decisions. It took the climate lobby four decades to convince us that what we exhaled was killing the planet. It took the Covid lobby all of four weeks to convince us that what we exhaled would kill grandma.
The Covid pandemic policies have had far-reaching impacts on our society. People now have lowered trust in public institutions, raised worries about privacy and freedom of speech, and the financial ramifications will persist for a long time. As we tally up the damage, it’s vital to draw lessons from these missteps so future responses are more balanced, open, and successful in tackling public health crises without compromising civic rights and public confidence.
Republished from the author’s Substack
Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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