The evidence continues to accrue that the dominant policies sold to mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak were catastrophically wrong, yet those who pointed this out early on continue to be reputationally crucified by media and Democrat elites. A premiere case in point is White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Scott Atlas, who has been making science-based arguments against locking down healthy people since the earliest months of the pandemic.
Because he has courageously presented evidence that gums up the media’s goal of ending Trump’s presidency by using coronavirus to punish Americans, the knives have been out for the views Atlas represents since the beginning.
Atlas is not at all alone in professional skepticism about the value of extended lockdowns, cloth masks, and obsessing about case counts as opposed to hospitalizations and deaths. So far, more than 12,000 medical and public health scientists and more than 35,000 medical professionals from around the world have signed the Great Barrington Declaration that summarizes this advocacy of “focused protection.”
Atlas is just a prominent face for this view that the power-hungry elites need to crush to avoid responsibility for their horrifically bad leadership during the COVID outbreak, as well as to get Trump. So they seek to destroy him because he and the scientific coalition he represents makes it clear that these public health emperors may have plenty of masks, but no clothes.
Thus YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook have repeatedly banned or slapped warnings on Atlas’s statements and all scientific evidence that might support the Great Barrington view. This week a former Obama official called for Atlas’s medical license to be revoked for the crime of practicing science.
Things like this are not only anti-science, they are anti-public health. Yanking Atlas’s license because he participated in the scientific process by challenging interpretations of evidence with more evidence will not only end scientific advancement, it will legitimize the growing anti-vaccine movement by providing a legitimate martyr to rally around instead of a fake one.
Anyone who cares about public health should not be giving people more reasons to distrust the people who stamp their foreheads with “public health expert.” That is what all this suppression of research and of discourse does. It is also what all the personal attacks on people like Atlas do. Refusing to engage with the evidence he cites and instead attacking his professional background — “he’s only a radiologist, not an epidemiologist”– or smearing him — “he’s a grandma killer” — makes the people doing this look like the real hacks.
The only way to legitimately destroy Atlas’s credibility would be to engage with him on the science, to point out where his arguments are wrong or weak or what they are missing. This is called the scientific process, and it is essential to the advancement of knowledge. Since very little of that has been forthcoming, the thinking public is left to assume his coalition’s stance is legitimate and the people who use dirty tactics are attempting to avoid facing that their policies have devastated the world while possibly causing additional deaths.
Evidence Mounts that Focused Protection Is Right
Indeed, the evidence continues to mount that those who advocate for focused protection have been right about their interpretation of the science for months. Like other public health experts including the World Health Organization and Dr. Anthony Fauci before he reversed himself, Atlas has long pointed out that the preponderance of better-quality evidence about masks shows mandates for the general public to wear them accomplish no significant public health value.
Just this week a large-scale Danish study was finally released. This randomized controlled trial, the highest-quality scientific study available, found that those who wore masks were not statistically less likely to contract COVID-19 than those who did not wear masks.
As The Spectator UK pointed out, “The results of the Danmask-19 trial mirror other reviews into influenza-like illnesses. Nine other trials looking at the efficacy of masks (two looking at healthcare workers and seven at community transmission) have found that masks make little or no difference to whether you get influenza or not.”
Those who say these results are because “my mask protects you, and your mask protects me” need to take a long and hard look at the fact that countries, states, and cities with near-universal mask-wearing have the same patterns of COVID spread. “No matter how strictly mask laws are enforced nor the level of mask compliance the population follows, cases all fall and rise around the same time,” notes a recent Federalist roundup of such examples. This is likely why Fauci, who criticizes Atlas’s statements publicly, doesn’t wear masks when the cameras aren’t on.
Atlas Was Right About Immune Response
Atlas has consistently stood against depictions of data that encouraged a hysterical response to COVID. In a widely publicized exchange in September, for example, Atlas pointed out that Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the Centers for Disease Control, exaggerated how many Americans were still threatened by the Wuhan virus.
Redfield said “more than 90 percent” of Americans were still susceptible. Atlas pointed out that much of the data underlying this claim was old, taken from early in the outbreak, and that “about 24 papers at least” had shown that people who haven’t contracted SARS-CoV-2 can have an immune response to it, presumably from having fought off other coronaviruses. This meant that many more Americans than the 9 percent Redfield claimed would have some level of protection against COVID if they chanced to encounter it.
At the time, the NBC reporter questioning Atlas was incredulous, and the exchange set off another round of media and bureaucrat attacks on Atlas, calling his promotion of herd immunity — a goal of any basic public health response to infectious diseases! — “unethical” and “unachievable.” Now that Joe Biden is presumed to soon be president, however, The New York Times saw fit to finally report on the research reinforcing Atlas’s explanation of T-cell, antibody, and other immune responses and protections against COVID.
“How long might immunity to the coronavirus last? Years, maybe even decades, according to a new study … Eight months after infection, most people who have recovered still have enough immune cells to fend off the virus and prevent illness, the new data show. A slow rate of decline in the short term suggests, happily, that these cells may persist in the body for a very, very long time to come,” the Nov. 17 Times article says.
It goes on to cite research on other coronaviruses showing similarly long-lasting protection for many people from the frightful hospital stays corporate media has hyped for eight months. It even cites the exact same study Atlas did on SARS, showing that the protective T-cell immune response lasted at least 17 years. He was attacked for it, and claims like this are flagged by “fact-checkers” for social media like Facebook. Not The New York Times, though, when it says exactly the same thing.
Yes, the Research Supports Keeping Schools Open
Leftist writers like Nicholas Kristof at The New York Times are also now trying to retcon the fact that it was Democrats and their media allies who demanded school shutdowns, due not only to their political need for coronavirus hysteria but also their ties to teachers unions. Biden’s own national school closures plan mimicked the New York City one with arbitrary targets based on conjecture.
Leftist media and politicians brutalized Atlas and others for pointing out early in the outbreak that children are the lowest-risk group for coronavirus contraction and complications. Yet highly influential dual-income parents in blue places like New York City are now in uproar about rolling blackouts and brownouts of their children’s education based on nonsensical metrics like a 3 percent infection rate (if the infection has mild consequences for nearly all children and most teachers, who are also comparatively young, why shut down schools even if there are infections?).
“Trump has been demanding for months that schools reopen, and on that he seems to have been largely right,” Kristof wrote on Nov. 18. “Schools, especially elementary schools, do not appear to have been major sources of coronavirus transmission, and remote learning is proving to be a catastrophe for many low-income children.”
Some of us pointed this out in April, back when much of this damage could have been prevented. We were throttled on Facebook and Twitter, and our children held hostage to these lies for nearly an entire school year now. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was heckled and cast as a would-be child murderer on grounds a single child might get COVID if kids went back to school. American children’s safety and futures has been sacrificed because too many adults have been cowards more concerned with protecting their egos than acting courageously and prudently.
Herd Immunity Is Not Controversial to Scientists
Let’s all repeat the scientific facts: Most of us are going to get COVID, either through a natural infection or a stimulated immune response from a vaccine. There is no way to prevent that. There are only ways to mitigate it. Lockdowns are one way, but they have extremely high costs concentrated on the poor. Children and other young people — those under age 60 — are the most likely to not only survive a COVID infection, but also the most likely to experience a relatively mild case when they do get it. All this is scientifically indisputable.
The conclusion the Great Barrington types derive from these facts and others is that those under 60 and without comorbidities should thus live normally. Those who are least likely to be harmed by a COVID case should accrue herd immunity as quickly as prudently possible on behalf of the vulnerable.
In response to this charitable view based on scientific evidence and arguments, the left, often using Fauci, Deborah Birx, and Redfield, have crucified the characters and careers of those, like Atlas, who have dared to espouse it. As a consequence, hundreds of millions of Americans are being needlessly forced to suffer with no end in sight. We are caught in the crossfire of a giant ego war between people of cowardly, self-serving, intellectually narrow, and deceitful character.
Those who tell us the truth about all this are publicly shamed while those who lie to us are feted. Societies that punish the good and reward the evil sow the wind.