The war on Covid is over, and Covid has won.
Not in the sense that we’re all dead (obviously), but in the sense that we ever had a chance to “beat this virus.” I’ll admit that I even bought into that idea, at least in a sense. I’ve never really believed that the government could “beat the virus,” but I did believe that eventually we’d hit herd immunity and the virus would disappear.
But that’s not going to happen. This is probably due to the vaccines, which have caused the mutations we’re now seeing and which will probably cause even more mutations in the future. The mutations are getting milder and milder, of course, but the mutations will probably result in Covid being a virus that resembles the seasonal flu, and that never truly goes away.
This article from the Brownstone Institute by Jeffrey Tucker, entitled “Slouching Toward Endemicity,” does a great job of summing-up where we are as a nation in regard to Covid:
Is that the sound of normalcy I’m hearing out there? Ever more authors and sources admitting that the virus is a medical problem that cannot be addressed or solved through politicized “mitigation measures.” This is what I’m reading between the lines of such news stories as this one:
“Early in the pandemic, many people seized on the hope that Covid-19 could be stopped in its tracks and buried for good once vaccines rolled out. But hope for a zero-Covid country fizzled for most scientists long ago.“
This pull quote is from an NBC News article published 2 days ago entitled “Covid is here for good, scientists say. The rest remains unpredictable.”
It feels like the tide is beginning to turn, not immediately toward sanity, but toward the idea that our efforts at “beating Covid” are futile, which will, hopefully, eventually lead to sanity prevailing.
That amounts to a gigantic change in outlook and a terrifying illustration of egregious failure. It’s a sign of exhaustion and the realization of the futility of the battle. In this US in any case (if not in many other countries). But it had to come eventually.
Consider that Covid cases in both New York and Florida have reached record levels, and at some point increases in deaths are likely to follow, though not as bad as prior seasons. With both states dealing with similar trends, there is no point in the exhausting game of finger pointing that’s been going on for so long.
Tucker shows some charts of daily new Covid cases: Florida, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland and then Australia. All are seeing record numbers of Covid cases.
The charts themselves are a picture of astonishing policy failure: not the failure to stop the virus but rather the belief and policy that imagined that doing so was possible at all. The virus is still here and still on a seasonal march, perhaps causing less damage than in the past but it really does raise the burning question: what precisely was accomplished by almost two years of massive compulsory upheaval?
Exactly. Many of us have been saying, some since the very beginning but at least for the past year, that “viruses are gonna virus.”
What do we have to show for the past 2 years of lockdowns?
In the last several months, we’ve seen the hysterics and rhetoric dialed back a bit. It’s been a long time since I’ve read any published millenarian fantasies of beating this virus into submission or oblivion. We’ve come a long way since March 2020, when Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx talked Trump into announcingtwo weeks to flatten the curve. Trump actually went further that day and expressed his view that he would “defeat the virus,” “taking a tough stance” to “get rid of the virus.”
Trump is partly culpable for the past 2 years of idiocy. He could and should have resisted the hyperbolic and hysterical media/”Science™” consensus that emerged early in 2020 that Covid was Going To Kill Us All and that we needed to lock down. He could’ve followed Sweden’s example. Sweden didn’t freak out over Covid. They didn’t follow the groupthink on Covid early on. Trump didn’t have to, but he did.
I’m sure Trump felt that “taking bold action” in response to Covid was the best thing for him to do politically, as it was during an election year. He and his top adviser Jared Kushner probably figured that if they did nothing about Covid–no lockdowns, no hysteria–then the media would have destroyed him and pinned every single death on him. “If the President would have Done Something, all these people wouldn’t have died!”
But he Took Action, and the media destroyed him anyway. He should have known that would happen.
Probably now, in hindsight, Trump’s most unforgivable sin of his entire presidency was not firing Anthony Fauci early into the pandemic. His response to being told by an evil little elf from New Yawk to lock the whole country down indefinitely should have been, “You’re fired.”
But it wasn’t all Trump’s fault. Biden also said that he would “shut down the virus“–in fact it was basically his main campaign promise last year.
This is the hidden meaning behind the White House’s new line that “This is not March 2020.” What precisely makes it different? A major part of the difference is the growing realization that the attempt to use state measures to “get rid of” the virus or control its seasonality was completely delusional.
Trump was hardly alone in believing this – and he eventually came around to a different view – but it locked nearly the whole country into a pattern of control to suppress. It kept not working. The result was not humility and apology but more control. Then various nostrums swept the country from plexiglass to distancing to masking to a generalized pathogenic paranoia that disabled the capacity of markets and society to work. Astonishingly, once this command-and-control method had taken hold, there seemed to be no way out, not just in the US but all over the world.
From the beginning, the opponents of lockdowns – hundreds of thousands and even millions of scientists and doctors and lay people – had a different view. They said the way to approach a new virus is with critical intelligence. Discover the demographic impact (we knew this since February 2020 if not earlier), urge protection for those who could face severe outcomes, and otherwise allow people to go about their lives. The goal is not suppression of this highly transmissible virus (that has never happened) but living with it. We should confront this with science, not political bludgeons. In other words, the best approach was traditional public health as we saw used in 1968-69 and 1957-58.
Or like we did with Swine Flu in 2009.
Who was right? It seems overwhelmingly obvious. The ambition to wipe out the virus in two weeks or permanently “slow the spread” only prolonged the pain. Older people had to be isolated much longer. Younger people who never should have faced lockdowns at all were denied normal lives, including two years of educational losses. The ensuing public health calamity will vex us for decades hence.
But Big Pharma made billions. And if they get their way, they will be boosting us for years to come–and the Covid shots will be mandatory, unlike the yearly flu shots.
Already in February 2021, a survey of scientists had admitted that Covid would be endemic; that is, something we live with forever and manage the best we can. In other words, the same way we deal with other respiratory viruses. If it is not fundamentally threatening you, you sleep it off, take your vitamins, tea and soup, give it a few days, and then you bounce back. If it is worse, you go to the doctor, who can take it from there, hopefully with therapeutics. Health and disease are individual matters, not something dealt with by draconian government impositions, lockdowns, closures, restrictions, and so on.
Yes, but Big Pharma can’t make billions of dollars off of this policy. The government couldn’t have aggrandized more and more power with this approach. And the Democrats would have had a much harder time beating Trump in last year’s election without the virus to hang around his neck.
But obviously, yes, all else being equal, we should have dealt with Covid realistically and sanely, not insanely and unrealistically.
This is precisely what competent epidemiologists were saying all along. It would take the well-known and well-studied course, same as with previous panics. We should learn from the successes of the past. Treat the sick. Confront the virus with wisdom and prudence. Older people should follow the traditional advice during flu season and avoid large crowds, waiting for it to pass. With a new virus such as this, vulnerable people should wait for the arrival of herd immunity which comes in time.
Something went very haywire in March 2020. The response was without precedent. Over the course of these two years, we have heard so many reasons. There was some objective, some goal. Actually there were many, most of them contradictory. For example, I just reread my view of lockdown architect Jeremy Farrar’s book. It’s not an easy book to review simply because it doesn’t have a thesis other than the author is always correct. He says lockdowns are necessary but says that they don’t achieve final virus suppression. What exactly are they supposed to achieve? He is never clear, beyond invoking various metaphors like “circuit breakers” and so on.
And the architects of these failed policies will always resort to, “But it would have been way worse if we didn’t!” Because we don’t have a crystal ball or a time machine, we can never prove them wrong.
Of course, there is the claim that it was all to preserve hospital capacity. I cannot speak to the UK case here but in the US, every governor took over hospital management and basically locked them down for Covid-only patients. It was extremely presumptuous, as if the government knows for sure how many people are going to show up and knows better how to ration resources. We know what happened. Hospitals all over the country were largely empty waiting for Covid to arrive. It eventually did arrive but not on the politicians’ timelines.
Think of the damage this caused: the number of cancer screenings that were missed, etc. How many people did this policy hurt, or kill?
There is also the great excuse that the purpose of the lockdowns was to wait for the vaccine, a claim made to me by Rajeev Venkayya, who was instrumental in pushing lockdowns during the presidency of George W. Bush. I kept asking him what happens to the virus. He said that the vaccine will wipe it out.
The trouble here should be more than obvious: with this sort of virus, the benefits of a vaccine are likely limited only to forestalling severe outcomes, not stopping infection or spread. That realization was devastating to so many people simply because everyone from the president to the CDC director and everyone down the chain of command all said that the vaccines would stop the pandemic. It did not.
And we can never let them forget it.
The promised the vaccine would wipe out Covid. It did not.
Now that undeniable fact is used as justification for booster shots. Or, worse, justification for vaccine mandates: “The vaccine isn’t working because not enough people have gotten it!”
The common denominator is a complete and utter refusal by the governing class to admit any failure whatsoever.
After two years of this exhausting disaster, it does finally seem as if the light is appearing through the dark fog. We are slouching our way to endemicity. Over time, too, the wisdom and reasonableness of the Great Barrington Declaration will be widely granted. Not yet but in time.
It’s too bad that we aren’t hearing apologies. We aren’t hearing people admit that they were wrong. We are seeing none of these experts who said they would give us a Covid-free world if we just let them control our lives and take our liberties. I do think such apologies right now would take the country and the world a long way down the path to healing.
Don’t hold your breath. Have these assholes ever apologized for anything? Have they ever once shown even the slightest capacity for self-reflection? Have they ever been held accountable for anything, ever?
They didn’t apologize for the WMDs in Iraq claim. They didn’t apologize for the Financial Crisis of 2008. They didn’t apologize for Libya, Iraq or Afghanistan. They didn’t apologize for Russiagate. They haven’t apologized for anything, ever, and they never will. They are completely and totally unaccountable, and I don’t see that changing.
And the reason is because none of this stuff was accidental. “Never let a good crisis go to waste” is the ruling class’s mantra.
What we have instead is a traumatized people who wonder what the heck hit them for the last two years. It’s bad enough to deal with a nasty virus. It’s far worse to deal with the sudden end of the stream of life as we know it and then have nothing to show for it.
N O T H I N G to show for it.
Trust is gone and will stay that way for a very long time. The longer the experts who did this to the world refuse to acknowledge and admit their failure, the longer the healing will take.
They’ll never admit their failure. They are so arrogant, unaccountable and out of touch that they are wholly incapable of doing so.
But the people are keeping score. The masses are well aware that this is merely the latest in a long line of spectacular failures by our ruling class.
Each one has eroded the public’s trust in them a little bit more, and now it’s pretty clear that that trust is almost completely gone. And there may be nothing the ruling class can do to regain the public’s trust, either.
Which is why I think they’re just going to ride this thing until the wheels fall off–milk it for all its worth, plunder the nation until there’s nothing left, bleed it dry. Then, get out of dodge when the whole thing implodes.
They know they won’t be around to deal with the aftermath.
I mean, think about it: they’re all old as shit.
- Biden is 79
- Trump is 75
- Pelosi is 81
- Mitch McConnell is 79
- Fauci is 81
- Steny Hoyer, House Majority Leader, is 82
- Jim Clybourn, House Majority Whip, is 81
- Chuck Schumer is 71 (a real spring chicken)
We are ruled by old people who have no real skin in the game. Most of them it seems like they’re just trying to get as rich as possible before they die so they can pass on their money and power to their kids. Pelosi’s daughter is already rumored to be the favorite to replace her once she retires from Congress.
Our failed Covid policy, ultimately, has its roots in this now pervasive belief that the government is all-powerful and that everything is the government’s business. It has been a long time coming–probably it began with the New Deal, and the mentality has its roots even further back than that, with the rise of Progressivism around the late 1800s/early 1900s.
A new virus is detected, and our instinct is to turn to the government: “What should we do?! Save us!”
Generally, though, the government does more harm than good whenever it tries to solve a problem. Not always, but the record is not in the government’s favor.
Maybe Covid will start to disabuse people of the notion that the government is all-powerful and has the answer to everything.
Never before in history has the government been able to stop a spreading flu virus dead in its tracks. Flu viruses always have to run their course–we are powerless to stop them.
In our hubris, we looked back at the example of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic and thought, “We’re much more advanced than they were back then. We will be able to handle this way better than they did.”
And instead, we’ve ended up looking just like they did 100 years ago with our masks:
The only thing we have now is our mRNA vaccines that don’t even work.