We have had nearly eight months of life and liberty stolen from us by politicians and their hysteria-promoting accomplices in media. How much more will we accept?
announced Donald and Melania Trump “tested positive” for covid-19. Another
claims nineteen thousand Amazon workers “got” covid-19 on the job. Both of
these pseudostories are sure to ignite another absurd media frenzy.
As always, the story keeps
changing: Remember ventilators, flatten the curve, the next two weeks are
crucial, etc.? Remember Nancy Pelosi in Chinatown back in February, urging
everyone to visit? Remember Fauci dismissing masks as useless? Why should we
believe anything the political/media complex tells us now?
So what do these headlines
really mean? What exactly is a covid “case”?
the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, most US media outlets have been
exceedingly credulous and complicit in their reporting. Journalists almost
uniformly promote what we can call the “prolockdown” narrative, which is to
wildly exaggerate the risks from covid-19 to serve a political agenda. They may
be motivated to hurt Trump politically, to promote a more socialist “new
normal,” or simply to drive more clicks and views. Bad news sells. But the bias
is clear and undeniable.
This explains why media
outlets use the terms “case” and “infection” so loosely, to the point of
actively misinforming the public. All of the endless talk about testing,
testing, testing served to obscure two important facts. First, the tests
themselves are almost laughably unreliable in producing both false
positives and negatives. And what is the point? Are we going to test people
again and again, every time they go out to the grocery or bump into a neighbor?
Second, detecting virus particles or droplets in a human’s respiratory tract
tells us very little. It certainly does not tell us they are sick, or
transmitting sickness to anyone.
a perfectly healthy person with no particular symptoms and swab the inside of
their nose. If the culture shows the presence of
. Only a very small percentage of those
exposed to the virus itself—SARS-CoV-2—show any kind of acute respiratory
symptoms, or what we can call “coronavirus disease.”
only meaningful statistics show the incidence of serious illness,
hospitalizations, and deaths. The single most important statistic among these
is the infection fatality rate (IFR). Data collected through July shows that the IFR for those under age
forty-five is actually than that
of the common flu. The covid-19 IFR rises for those over fifty, but it is
hardly a death sentence. And the data does not segregate those with preexisting
health issues caused by obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. If we could
see data only for reasonably healthy people under fifty, the numbers would be
even more reassuring.
Mild or asymptomatic
covid cases are effectively meaningless. The world is full of bacteria and
viruses, and sometimes they make us a bit sick for a few days. There are
millions of them in the world all around us, on our skin, in our
nose and respiratory tract, in our organs. We are meant to live with them,
which is why we all have immune systems designed to help us coexist and adapt
to ever-changing organisms. We develop antibodies naturally, or we attempt to
stimulate them through vaccines, but ultimately our own immune
systems have to deal with covid-19. The virus will always be out there
waiting, on the other side of any lockdown or mask—so we might as well get on
day one the focus should have been on boosting immunity through exercise, fresh
air, sunlight, proper dietary supplementation, and the promotion of general
well-being. Instead our politicians, bureaucrats, and media insisted on
business lockdowns, school closures, distancing, isolation, masks, and the
mirage of a fast, effective vaccine. As with almost everything in life, state
intervention made the situation worse. We can only hope many governors are
removed from office, either by impeachment or at the next election. Several,
including Andrew Cuomo in New York and Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, should
face criminal charges for their lawless edicts. There is no due process
exception for “public health.”
were never justified, either in terms of the covid-19 risk or the
staggering economic tradeoffs, which will be felt for decades. They
certainly are not justified now, given seven months of additional
data showing that the transmission and lethality of covid-19 are not
particularly worse than previous SARS, swine flu, or Ebola pandemics. We
still don’t know how many of the reported two hundred thousand US covid-19
deaths were by
the SARS-CoV-2 respiratory disease, or simply reflect people who
died of other causes after exposure to covid-19. We do know that the harms
caused by the lockdowns far outweigh the harms posed by the covid-19 virus.
We have had nearly eight
months of life and liberty stolen from us by politicians and their
hysteria-promoting accomplices in media. How much more will we accept?
views expressed on Mises.org are
not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
Jeff Deist [send him mail] is president of the Mises
Institute, a tax attorney, and a former staffer for Ron Paul.