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Political Editors / August 25, 2021

In Brief: Keeping Fear Alive

Reluctant to set the public free, policymakers and the public-health bureaucracy set unachievable and unnecessary goals.

“Throughout the pandemic,” says City Journal contributing editor John Tierney, “American political and public-health leaders have been following Rahm Emanuel’s classic dictum for power-seeking officials: ‘You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.’ Now they’ve adopted a corollary: you never want a crisis to end.”

He explains:

So they are prolonging the national misery instead of easing it, which could be done with a few simple strategies. Explain to the public that the virus will never disappear but is no longer a mortal threat to the vast majority of Americans. Encourage the minority still at risk to get vaccinated by honestly discussing who is in jeopardy and what scientists have learned about infections. Promote treatments proven to prevent infection and speed recovery while avoiding unproven treatments and mandates that cause collateral damage and generate mistrust. Above all, make it clear to Americans that we finally have reason to celebrate: what once seemed an unprecedented danger is now just one of many pathogens that we know how to live with.

Unfortunately, that’s not what the authoritarians have in mind:

But the nation’s crisismongers aren’t about to relinquish their hold over the public, so they’ve set new goals that are as unachievable as they are unnecessary and harmful. Making vaccines available to every American adult is no longer sufficient; now the crisis cannot end until the entire population has been vaccinated. Instead of focusing efforts on vaccinating the vulnerable, officials obsess on compelling universal obedience, even if that means squandering vaccines on people who already have acquired natural immunity or are at minimal risk of serious illness.

The Follow the Science™ crowd doesn’t always, well, follow the science. For example:

Children are being sentenced to another round of unnecessary mask mandates and probably more school closures based on evidence-free warnings from Anthony Fauci and others that the Delta variant will be more deadly to them than the original virus. While the variant is more infectious, the evidence does not show it to be any more lethal. In fact, the current mortality rate among American children with Covid is lower than it was last year—and last year many more children died of the flu than of Covid.

That goes for masks in general:

The CDC continues to undermine its credibility by claiming strong evidence for the efficacy of lockdowns and mask mandates. Dozens of studies have found that lockdowns are ineffective, and one recent analysis of trends in the United States and other countries found that lockdown policies are associated with an increase in excess deaths. The evidence offered by the CDC for mask mandates is weak, as Jeffrey H. Anderson has documented, and the most rigorous research — from more than a dozen randomized clinical trials — suggests that masks are ineffective (and possibly counterproductive) at stopping viral spread. One recent study, which tracked Covid case growth across the United States, concluded that “mask mandates and use are not associated with slower state-level Covid-19 spread during Covid-19 growth surges.”

Tierney gives the final word to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who said: “Politicians want to force you to cover your face as a way for them to cover their own asses.”

It’s well worth reading the whole thing here.

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