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The Freezer-Truck Canard


These are the days of grasping for excuses. In sector after sector, leaders who gave us lockdowns and all that followed are trying to account for their actions, not apologizing of course but admitting that, in the classic formulation, mistakes were made. That said, they all agree on the core point. The government had to take big steps to deal with the pandemic. 

A book just released from the original lockdown gangsters (about which I will write more later), a book celebrated by the Washington Post as the authoritative account, puts it this way:

“American leaders entering the Covid war plunged ahead with a breathtaking political and social experiment. Facing a dangerous pandemic, they adopted the broadest, most ambitious, and intrusive set of government controls on social behavior in the history of the United States. Given the lack of preparation at all levels of government, mistakes were inevitable and to be expected, perhaps even excusable.”

Excusable is the new watchword, and Anthony Fauci has picked it up. In a recent interview, he admits that many things went wrong but adds: “I don’t think anybody would argue with the fact that you had to shut down.”

Then he adds what he clearly considers the key talking point. We know because he has said this is in several interviews. He says that the obvious disaster of freezer trucks at hospitals signaled and proved the desperate need for lockdowns. 

Notice too how CNN had a terrifying graphic ready to run alongside his comments. This still is particularly evocative with the Statue of Liberty in the background, not that anyone would suggest that this was staged (he said with a nudge). 

These images from Getty are not even from March or April 2020. The Daily Mail ran them alongside an article posted on May 6, noting that the images were from May 6 and 7, 2020. Here is the entire gallery

So the excuse that we had to lock down because of freezer trucks does not hold water. The lockdown edict was issued on March 16, 2020, following the declaration of emergency on March 13, three days after Trump’s advisers convinced him to issue the lockdown. 

In that time, the funeral parlors and morgues closed too, as did most all medical services. The country was also in panic, which is not generally good for public health. 

That there was a wave of death in those two weeks is clear. What’s not clear is whether that was Covid alone. After all, the virus had been circulating in the US since October 2019. The period of 15 days was also the time when intubation was deployed as the best method to deal with a seemingly problematic Covid case, resulting in many unnecessary deaths

What’s crucial here is the timing. Two weeks following the lockdowns, the news media began running alarmist stories of the legendary freezer trucks at hospitals, giving the impression of a movie-like pandemic sweeping the country, whereas the problem was centered in only a few locations. These stories ran for a full month throughout April and into May. 

On March 29, 2020, the New York Times quoted Trump himself: “I have been watching them bringing in trailer trucks, freezer trucks because they can’t handle the bodies. There are so many of them. This is in essentially my community in Queens, New York. I have seen things that I have never seen before.”

Not much of this makes sense. In this very period, New York City hospitals saw an overall 50 percent drop in admissions, which is what happens when you close down all services to spare all resources for one virus. If you add to that a shutdown of the entire industry of funerals, funeral homes, morgues, and cemetery services, one can imagine that a crisis would ensue. 

Naomi Wolf in Bodies of Others explains:

Cemeteries had been forced to reduce their hours of operation, meaning that the number of bodies they could bury in a day had been restricted. In other words, the bodies were stacking up so graphically and alarmingly not solely because their overwhelming number meant there were too many to process, but also because the cemeteries had not been allowed to process them during normal working hours.

Even the normal embalming protocols were disrupted on the advice of the WHO and CDC. The bodies of the dead were treated as icky and untouchable and this attitude was encouraged by authorities. Workers were terrified. It’s hardly surprising that bodies piled up and needed to be stored. The whole population and especially the health community was told that the whole of life should be organized around running away from the bad bug.

These events unfolded two weeks following essentially the same events in Italy. Morgues closed. The normal process of dealing with the dead was dramatically interrupted. Workers were at home. Funerals were banned and this ban was heavily enforced. Medical personnel were especially terrified of the death.

All of the factors led to a pile-up of bodies in the midst of a panic. The chaos caused by the panic itself was deployed by the media, and used as an excuse by government, to intensify and prolong the lockdowns. 

This is like shouting fire in a crowded theater and citing the ensuing panic as the reason for an evacuation order. The fomenting of panic itself created the conditions for the panic managers to enhance their own power. 

In this case, however, the ploy is pretty obvious simply because of the timing. The freezer-truck excuse frankly does not fit the timeline. 

Or we can give Fauci the most charitable interpretation of his comments and say that he cited the freezer trucks as evidence that they did the right thing in locking down two weeks (or one month) earlier. Even then, if that is his thinking, that doesn’t justify the initial lockdown at all. It only cites the evidence of the failed policy as the reason for the policy itself. 

In addition, the problem was localized whereas the shutdown was countrywide. This led to a bizarre situation in which hospitals all over the country were empty of the usual stream of patients. People missed diagnostics. They missed elective surgeries. At least 300 hospitals furloughed nurses because they had nothing to do except practice dance routines and put the results on TikTok. All of this transpired at a time when Fauci and Trump were going on about mass waves of death. 

Indeed, in this exact period, healthcare spending actually declined by 8.6 percent. On the urging of intellectuals and officials from February, hospitals all over the country closed their services at the very time when they were likely needed most. Gone was any serious discussion about how to treat Covid other than to invoke ventilation and Remdesivir (which was a disaster). Early treatment was dogmatically rejected as nothing but a quack cure. All efforts, even from the earliest days, were focused on the vaccine as the only way to get out of the pandemic. 

Regardless of the excuse, the public-relations team that defends the lockdowns never mention Sweden because this case demonstrates that panicked rights violations are generally not a good path for boosting public health in the case of a new virus that newly appears in the awareness of powerful people. 

To this day, no one can give a clear official reason how or why this happened or what was achieved by it all relative to the cost. Even so, they will not admit that their entire lockdown paradigm was wrong from the very beginning. They should but they will not.

It wasn’t just implemented poorly and inefficiently. It never should have happened at all. And it should never happen again. 

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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  • Jeffrey A. Tucker

    Jeffrey Tucker is Founder, Author, and President at Brownstone Institute. He is also Senior Economics Columnist for Epoch Times, author of 10 books, including Life After Lockdown, and many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

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