Lockdown hysteria did more harm than COVID-19

They misled the public about the origins of the virus and the true risk it posed. Ignoring their own carefully prepared plans for a pandemic, they claimed unprecedented powers to impose untested strategies, with terrible collateral damage. We still have no convincing evidence that the lockdowns saved lives, but lots of evidence that they have already cost lives and will prove deadlier in the long run than the virus itself. A few scientists and public-health experts objected, noting that an extended lockdown was a novel strategy of unknown effectiveness.

In April 2020, John ­Ioannidis, Jay Bhattacharya and other colleagues reported that the fatality rate among the ­infected was considerably lower than the assumptions used to justify lockdowns. Merely by reporting data that didn’t fit the official panic narrative, they became targets of unfair online attacks by other scientists and the press. Stefan Baral, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins with 350 publications to his name, submitted a critique of lockdowns to more than 10 journals and finally gave up. Martin Kulldorff, an epidemiologist at Harvard, had a similar experience with his article, early in the pandemic, arguing that resources should be focused on protecting the elderly.

Kulldorff joined with Bhattacharya and Sunetra Gupta of Oxford to issue a plea for «focused protection,» called the Great Barrington Declaration. The elite panic was due to two preexisting pathologies. The first is what I have called the Crisis Crisis, the incessant state of alarm fomented by journalists and politicians. Just as the progressives a century ago yearned for a nation directed by «expert social engineers,» today’s progressives want sweeping new powers for politicians and bureaucrats who «believe in science,» meaning that they use the left’s version of science to justify their edicts.

Don’t count on mainstream journalists and their favorite doomsayers to put risks in perspective. Don’t expect those who follow «the science» to know what they’re talking about. Science provides a description of the world, not a prescription for public policy, and specialists in one discipline don’t have the knowledge or perspective to guide society.

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Source: John Tierney | New York Post 

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