The case of Covid-19 is the first case in the history of pandemics characterized by the confinement of healthy populations. If the ancients did not understand the mechanisms of infectious diseases – they knew nothing about viruses and bacteria – they still came up with many ways to mitigate the spread of epidemics. These proven measures ranged from quarantining symptomatic patients to mobilizing people with immunity after recovery from the disease so that they could care for the sick.
From the lepers mentioned in the Old Testament, to the Justinian plague in ancient Rome, to the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, blockades have never been part of public health measures. The concept of containment arises in part from the administrative apparatus of public health that has begun to be exploited in the last two decades. Today we commonly hear of “countermeasures”, even if doctors and nurses never use this word which is rather a military and espionage term.
In 1968, when the H3N2 flu pandemic killed between 1 and 4 million people, businesses and schools remained open and major events were never canceled. We had never confined entire populations until 2020, because this strategy doesn’t work. In 2020, we had no empirical evidence that blocks would save lives, only flawed mathematical models whose predictions were not only slightly wrong, but vastly exaggerated.
Take the example of the United States. In February 2020, when Doctors Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, who led the coronavirus task force, decided the lockdown offered a solution, the New York Times was responsible for explaining this approach to the population. On February 27, 2020, this newspaper published a podcast in which science journalist Donald McNeil explained that civil rights had to be suspended if the spread of Covid was to be stopped. The next day the New York Times published Mr. McNeil’s article entitled To deal with the coronavirus, go medieval about it (To challenge the coronavirus you have to do as in the Middle Ages).
The article did not recognize the merit of medieval society, which sometimes closed the gates of fortified cities or borders during epidemics, but never ordered people to stay at home, never prevented them from practicing the profession, and never isolated asymptomatics. by other members of the Community.
No, Mr. McNeil, blocks are not a medieval throwback, but a thoroughly modern invention. In March 2020, pandemic blockades were a completely new experiment, not tested on humans.
While these measures were unprecedented, there was virtually no public exchange or debate on containment policies. However, a wise solution to thorny political questions always implies a careful approach and evaluation that no single epidemiological model can provide.
Our politicians have abdicated their responsibilities by hiding behind the well-marketed terms of “Science” and “Experts”. Still, they would have to take into account the various complex risks and harms associated with decisions such as imprisonment or wearing a mask.
The term “imprisonment” comes from the penal system. Prisons are confined to restore order when prisoners rebel. When the most tightly controlled and guarded structures on the planet are engulfed in chaos, order is restored through the enforced imposition of firm and complete control over the entire prison population. Only strictly controlled containment can guarantee the control of this dangerous and undisciplined population. Prisoners cannot rebel; prisoners cannot establish control over a penitentiary.
In February-March 2020, our society believed that chaos was coming and we embraced the idea that imprisonment, this criminal measure, was the right, if not the only reasonable answer. The blocks encountered greatly reduced resistance when initially implemented. Being confined for a short enough time seemed reasonable to most people. Quickly, one after another, the governors ordered us to stay home.
We obeyed without hesitation. To refuse, we are told, was to defy death recklessly. Small pockets of resistance were quickly stigmatized. As one reporter described, “The use of science has been exploited to impose conformity”while the media slapped protesters against the blockade with all sorts of labels and presented them as the ones who “He wanted to endanger the entire population”. Who then wanted to be classified as belonging to this field?
The reports on Covid had already hypnotized the whole world in the months leading up to the imprisonment. We were glued to the screens, following the number of cases and deaths attributed to the coronavirus in several countries. While we still didn’t see the numbers for our country, we relied on mathematical models to guide us.
Since we were ready to panic, the model chosen was not one of the many sober statistical prediction models, but one containing terrifying numbers published by Neil Ferguson’s group at Imperial College London. He predicted 40 million deaths in 2020 alone. We ignored Mr. Ferguson’s grim toll who vastly overstated the predictions for previous outbreaks. And we ignored critics of his model: famed Stanford University biostatistician John Ioannidis, among others, warned us that Imperial College’s model was based on seriously flawed assumptions.
In fact, Mr. Ferguson’s model turned out to be even more wrong than all the other models on offer. The Imperial College model predicted that Sweden would already have 80,000 deaths by the end of June 2020 if it didn’t shut down.
However, Sweden remained one of the few countries not to block and only recorded around 20,000 deaths towards the end of June 2022, despite using counting methods that lead to overcounting. Although Ferguson’s model was well testable and clearly proved wrong, it didn’t change much at the time.
It is difficult to overestimate the insanity of what happened around the world in March 2020. What fell upon us was not just a new virus, but a new mode of social control: the beginning of the formation of a new state. of biomedical safety that I describe in my book You New Abnormal (The new abnormal).
A chapter from the author’s book reprinted by News week and reproduced by the Brownstone Institute.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.
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