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Covid Redux

Life is hard if you do not learn from your mistakes. With Covid, political leaders and public health authorities engaged in a series of missteps, miscalculations, and manias that amounted to an extreme overreaction to the disease.

First, statistical models overstated the risk of the disease by an order of magnitude. Then, even after these miscalculations became apparent, other extreme measures like lockdowns, mandatory masking, coercive vaccine mandates, and a million other indignities ensued. In the end, almost everyone got Covid, almost everyone survived, and, while the economic countermeasures increased our national debt by 30%, the economy soon recovered too.

After these events, educated people and decisionmakers should have a better sense of the risks of Covid, as well as a better sense of the utility (or not) of countermeasures. True “evidence-based medicine” is not supposed to be a static set of conclusions justified by glorified speculation and wishful thinking. By definition, it adapts and changes recommended “best practices” based on new evidence.

For example, we now know that lockdowns, masks, school closures, and even vaccines basically did nothing to stop the spread or severity of Covid. The former two ended up imposing significant countervailing costs that were even bigger than the risks being addressed. The vaccines, by being given to all and sundry, ended up creating more health problems among young recipients and possibly contributed to “antigenic original sin” making vaccine recipients more vulnerable to infection from future Covid variants.

When vaccines were being pushed hard on college students, young workers, and members of the military, the young target populations faced a de minimis risk from Covid, and the intervention did not even prevent transmission. Amazingly, the Pfizer head said this after the incessant push for vaccination had claimed for months that getting the vaccine was chiefly a form of service to others. This was a significant lie by omission.

I have recently noticed the reemergence of Covid fanatics on Twitter. For whatever reason, the algorithm keeps putting these idiots in front of me. And I am alarmed that I am starting to see the proliferation of masks again in public.

The fanatics proceed as if masks work, that you can identify when and from whom you were infected with Covid, that younger people are at serious risk of the disease, or that Covid somehow has gotten worse.

There is zero evidence of this. Other diseases were also once novel and more virulent when they first appeared. Almost all of the flu viruses around are derived from the infamous Spanish Flu of 1918. Now Covid exists alongside other pathogens as another endemic disease. Trying to stop people from ever getting sick with Covid is a fool’s errand.

In similar fashion to the millions who have died of viral and bacteriological pneumonia over the years, Covid can still lead to the death of vulnerable, elderly people. But, otherwise, it is not a big risk, and it never really was for people under 65.

Good health is not a mystery, and health is not primarily the result of medical care. Health comes from good habits like getting sunshine, eating a balanced diet, exercising, good sleep, maintaining relationships, and generally taking care of oneself. This is the reason why, even though our country spends a fortune on health care and new drugs are always on the scene, life expectancy is not increasing. As a country, we are stressed out, drugged out, tired, and fat. The best medicine for these things cannot be found in the healthcare system.

Staying healthy does not chiefly come from avoiding pathogens, particularly unavoidable respiratory viruses, but rather by building up one’s overall health and reducing immune system stress. But the fanatics treat every other social and health good as a luxury and apparently believe we would all be better off if we lived like the “boy in the bubble.”

The moralistic language surrounding Covid is presumptuous and out of kilter with the rest of science and medicine, as if diseases simply disappear if we all just show them sufficient respect and “did the right things.” Is this true of any other disease, respiratory or otherwise? Do these people know that animals incubate covid? Are we going to make dogs and cats and deer and squirrels wear masks too?

I don’t have a sense that this recent uptick in Covid hypochondria is persuading a lot of people. It appears more performative, a way of showing one is part of the faithful elect and also perhaps a test ballon to see if the Democrats can destroy the country a second time and rig another election.

From my conversations with others, Covid is not on most people’s minds, unless they are extremely neurotic. People have formed their own, mostly reasonable and moderate conclusions based on personal experience and the experience of people in their circle. The vast majority of people got an illness that they recovered from and either credit the vaccine or good luck with their recovery. They know, either way, it is not a reason to freak out.

But the rise of public masking and the persistence of Covid fanatics on social media is disconcerting. At least this time, the public is less gullible and trusting.  If the authorities try to reimpose costly and draconian interventions to address the modest risks of Covid, the skeptics, vaccine regrettors, freedom lovers, and real Americans will go absolutely ape. We won’t be fooled again.

Christopher Roach is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and an attorney in private practice based in Florida. He is a double graduate of the University of Chicago and has previously been published by The Federalist, Takimag, Chronicles, the Washington Legal Foundation, the Marine Corps Gazette, and the Orlando Sentinel. The views presented are solely his own.

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About Christopher Roach

Christopher Roach is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and an attorney in private practice based in Florida. He is a double graduate of the University of Chicago and has previously been published by The Federalist, Takimag, Chronicles, the Washington Legal Foundation, the Marine Corps Gazette, and the Orlando Sentinel. The views presented are solely his own.

Photo: Los Angeles, CA - August 31:Michael Nason, 29, left, and Donna Nason, 25, right, both of Bakersfield are wearing a face mask in Union Station on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, in Los Angeles, CA. COVID-19 making a comeback in California. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)