Written by Angelo Codevilla
Panicked by fears manufactured by the ruling class, the American people assented to being put essentially under house arrest until further notice, effectively suspending the habits, preferences, and liberties that had defined our way of life. Most Americans have suffered economic damage. Many who do not enjoy protected status have had careers ended and been reduced to penury. Social strains and suicides multiplied. Forcibly deferring all manner of medical care is sure to impose needless suffering and death. In sum, the lockdowns’ medical and economic dysfunctions make for multiples of the deaths and miseries of the COVID-19 virus itself.
Bad judgments and usurpations—the scam, not the germs—define this disaster’s dimensions. The COVID-19’s devastating effect on the PUS body politic is analogous to what diseases do to persons whom age (senectus ipsa est morbus) and various debilities and corruptions had already placed on death’s slippery slope.
Outside of the few who have gained (and are still gaining) power and wealth from the panic, Americans are asking what it will take to end this outrage—not to modify it with any “new normal” decided by who knows whom, on who knows what authority. Since no one in authority is leading those who want to end it, Americans also wonder who may lead that cause. What follows suggests answers.
What history will record as the great COVID scam of 2020 is based on 1) a set of untruths and baseless assertions—often outright lies—about the novel coronavirus and its effects; 2) the production and maintenance of physical fear through a near-monopoly of communications to forestall challenges to the US. ruling class, led by the Democratic Party, 3) defaulted opposition on the part of most Republicans, thus confirming their status as the ruling class’s junior partner. No default has been greater than that of America’s Christian churches—supposedly society’s guardians of truth.
Since obfuscation, pretense, and lies concerning the COVID-19 are the effective agents of the panic and of the seizure of arbitrary power, truth and clarity about it are the foundational requirements for escaping its effects. Here is a dose.
From early March 2020 on, the best-known authorities on epidemics—the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control—presented the COVID-19 respiratory disease to the Western world as a danger equivalent to the plague. But China’s experience, which its government obfuscated, had already shown that the COVID-19 virus is much less like the plague and more like the flu. All that has happened since followed from falsifying this basic truth.
Our “best and brightest,” at first having minimized fears of person-to-person contagion during January and February, during which the disease spread from China to the West, then declared that the virus is unusually contagious, and posited—on zero factual basis—that it would kill up to one in twenty persons it infected—5% infection/fatality rate (IFR). Based on that imagined fatality rate, they adopted mathematical models from Britain and the University of Washington that predicted that up to two million Americans would die of it.
The US Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) modeled the authoritative predictions on which the US lockdowns were based. Its model also predicted COVID deaths for un-locked-down Sweden. On May 3 it wrote that, as of May 14, Sweden would suffer up to 2800 daily deaths. The actual number was below 40. Whether magnifying this falsehood was reckless or willful, it amounted to shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater. What justifies listening to, and paying, people who do that kind of science?
Establishing any infectious disease’s true lethality is characteristically straightforward: test a large sample of the population proportionately representative of location, age, sex, race, socioeconomic categories. Follow up with the subjects a month later to add up the rate of infections and learn the results thereof. Period. Today, we still lack this definitive, direct knowledge of COVID’s true lethality because bureaucrats have prevented widespread testing for the purpose of firmly establishing the one figure that matters most. That is because that figure’s absence allows them to continue fearmongering.
In May the Centers for Disease Control, by then discredited professionally (though not, alas, in the mass media), was forced to conclude that the lethality rate, far from being circa 5% was 0.26%. Double a typical flu. The CDC was able to keep the estimate that high only by factoring in an unrealistically low figure for asymptomatic infections—never mind inflated figures for deaths. But the US government, instead of amending its recommendations in the face of reality, tried to hide reality by playing a shell game with the definition and number of COVID “cases.”
During March and April, the authorities had defined as “cases” people sick enough to be hospitalized, who also tested positive. Whoever divided the number of reported deaths (a number inflated by a CDC directive to count deaths due to other causes as being due to COVID) by the number of cases thus defined, was predictably scared and willing to heed “the best advice”—namely societal lockdowns—on how to stay safe. That turned out to be ruinous in and of itself. At the time, they defined the number of these “cases” as the “curve” which we were supposed to sacrifice so much to “flatten,” lest the wave of hospitalizations overwhelm our health care system. Because their premises were wrong, that wave never came.
Instead, in May, as various non-official surveys were published showing that the majority of those who tested positive for COVID either barely knew that they had been infected or had not known at all, these very authorities doubled down their dishonesty. They began labeling mere infections as “cases.” They divorced reporting of these “cases” from reporting of the number of deaths, and warned the inattentive public about “spiking COVID cases” as if infection carried a serious risk. They also promoted widespread testing of wholly asymptomatic persons for current and past infections, the results of which tests were sure to produce a surging number of new “cases” thus defined.
And they toyed with reporting deaths by attributing to COVID any that “involved” or looked as if they might have involved it. They then included pneumonia, influenza, and COVID into the category PIC. That is how the death figure came to exceed 100,000. But if the CDC had used the same criterion that it did with the SARS virus, namely “severe acute respiratory distress syndrome,” the figure by the end of June would have been some 16,000.
Such naked ploys could succeed only because the media colluded in them. The New York Times’ May 27 lead story ominously blared: “California is the fourth state with more than 100,000 known cases.” Meanwhile, the number of deaths attributed to COVID continued dropping from ever-lower bases. By the July 1, even using the CDC’s inflated figures for COVID-responsible deaths, COVID-19’s Infection Fatality Rate for people under 70 was 0.04%. But rather than ask how clarion calls of danger comport with decreasing reports of deaths that may somehow be associated with it, the ruling class agitated to reverse returning to normal life. Be afraid, be very afraid. Heads the House wins, tails you lose.
Irrefutable if indirect indication that COVID is no plague also comes from comparison between the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 during any given period with the number of deaths due to all causes for the same period—despite official inflation in the number of deaths attributed to the virus.
The Imperial College, London’s tally for Great Britain, broken down by age of death, shows that the chances of dying from COVID-19 infection roughly track the chances of death from all causes at any given age, except for the very young. For men, the chances of death co-incident with the virus don’t exceed 1%, or the average death rate, until age 70. For women, they don’t exceed the average death rate until close to age 90. In Spain, the death rate for infected persons over 90 years old was 10%.
The measure of “excess deaths” tells a similar story. During the six-week peak of the COVID event in 2020, deaths in the US exceeded deaths during the same period in the previous year by 82,000. Considering that, concurrently, the 2020 flu season was one of the worst on record (typically the flu is responsible for some 50,000 deaths during the season) and given the CDC-mandated conflation of COVID numbers with others, the COVID-19 pandemic in and of itself did not amount to much—except in New York City, for reasons only partly known. By June 20, 2020 the CDC reported ZERO excess deaths—meaning that the figure for weekly deaths was within the long-term normal curve for that time of the year.
Not incidentally, in 1957 some 116,000 Americans (out of a population two thirds of today’s size) died of the flu. Ten years later, the toll was 100,000 and in 2019 it was 61,000. By June 2020 the (inflated) toll from COVID-19 stood at 100,000.
In short, COVID-19 is not America’s plague. It did not shake America. The ruling class shook it. They have not done it ignorantly or by mistake. They have done it to extort the general public’s compliance with their agendas. Their claim to speak on behalf of “science” is an attempt to avoid being held accountable for the enormous harm they are doing. They continue doing it because they want to hang on to the power the panic has brought them.
BTW: Whenever you hear someone claiming to speak on science’s behalf, referring to authorities rather than to facts and logic, you may be sure that person is a fraud.
Falsehood extorted shutdowns, which caused deaths and ruined lives.
“Lockdowns” of the general population had to be based on the premise that everyone is, if not equally vulnerable, then equally responsible, and hence that everyone must stay cooped up to contribute to everyone else’s safety. But because every word of that is contrary to reality, false, a lie, applying the lockdowns’ force to society has caused needless deaths and suffering.
Prefatory to considering the lockdowns’ specific effects, we must be clear about what separation of infected or possibly infected persons from presumably un-infected ones can and cannot do. This has been known to whomever wished to know it since the Middle Ages, and repeated even in the humble 1956 study guide for the Boy Scout Public Health merit badge: “protecting the un-infected from infection by limiting their contact with those who may be infected depends on knowing that the people to be protected really are un-infected.”
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