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Thomas Gallatin / Jun. 9, 2020

The Silly Science of COVID-19 'Experts'

Appealing to the authority of "science" has arguably never been more political.

Like journalism before it, science experts are quickly losing their credibility as they have become more beholden to promoting biased narratives over the unvarnished truth. The COVID-19 pandemic is serving to expose this sad reality.

“From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” stated Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit. She further explained, “We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing. They’re following asymptomatic cases. They’re following contacts. And they’re not finding secondary transmission onward. It’s very rare.”

The implications of this claim could be significant given the fact that one of the primary arguments for the mass lockdowns was predicated on the notion that COVID-19 was being widely spread by asymptomatic carriers. If this latest claim is accurate, then it calls into question the extremity of the shutdowns, social distancing, and mask-wearing protocols government leaders have implemented. Still, note the source — the WHO’s track record with the China Virus should give everyone pause before accepting any of its conclusions.

In fact, Kerkhove later clarified that “asymptomatic” did not include those individuals who were “pre-symptomatic.” If that’s the case, Kerkhove’s claim doesn’t actually negate the apparent high rate of virus spread by people prior to becoming sick. This important distinction may explain the findings from a recently published study in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluding that 40% to 45% of infected individuals spread the virus without realizing they were sick.

Further adding to the “science” confusion is the fact that states reopening early — like Florida, Georgia, and Texas — have not experienced the so-called experts’ widely predicted massive spike of infections or significant rise in hospitalizations. While the numbers of infections did indeed increase, they have not come anywhere near overwhelming these states’ healthcare systems. Remember when “flattening the curve” was the original goal for the shutdowns?

Given the results from these reopening states, one would think others would follow suit. However, politics clearly determines the “science” of these “experts,” as notably most Democrat-run states have still doggedly maintained their shutdown measures … except, of course, for anyone joining the Black Lives Matter protests. This nonsense was typified by a letter signed by more than 1,000 health “professionals” who literally argue, “As public health advocates, we do not condemn these [BLM] gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in the United States. We can show that support by facilitating safest protesting practices without detracting from demonstrators’ ability to gather and demand change. This should not be confused with a permissive stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders.” So, according to these “health experts,” COVID-19 is only a problem for those who express the “wrong” political opinions.

This isn’t science; it’s pure propaganda. As City Journal’s John Tierney astutely observers, “However scientific they try to be, they’re swayed by some of the same irrational biases and perverse incentives that afflict politicians and journalists. In creating their models and presenting their data, they’re rewarded for skewing negative, because scary predictions will bring them more attention, more funding, and more power. Their worst-case scenario may be utterly implausible, but it’s newsworthy, and it guarantees that no one will blame them for not anticipating every possible death from the virus.”


Update 6/9: Naturally, after we went to press, there’s more argument and backtracking on the science. The WHO walked back the claim on asymptomatic transmission, saying it probably accounts for somewhere between 16% and 40% of cases. This is, of course, a political walk back, especially in light of the German study just released. It makes WHO look very bad, so just walk it back.

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