Economy

New report blasts government’s COVID response, warns of repeating same mistakes

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A new report has sharply criticized the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, writing that lockdowns, school closures and vaccine mandates were ‘catastrophic errors’ resulting in many Americans losing faith in public health institutions. 

The report, published this week by the non-profit Committee to Unleash Prosperity (CTUP), paints a damning indictment of the government’s role in the crisis and offers ten lessons that must be learned, to avoid the same mistakes from being repeated.

Some of the guidance includes halting all binding agreements or pledges to the World Health Organization (WHO), term limits for all senior health agency positions as well as limiting the powers of health agencies to make sure they are strictly advisory and do not have the power to set laws or mandates.

The paper, titled ‘COVID Lessons Learned A Retrospective After Four Years,’ states that granting unprecedented powers to public health agencies, many of which imposed strict limits on basic civil liberties, had little positive benefit and instead helped stoke fear among the public. 

‘Conventional wisdom pre-COVID was that communities respond best to pandemics when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted,’ the authors wrote. ‘During COVID, the public health establishment followed the opposite principle: they intentionally stoked and amplified fear, which overlaid enormous economic, social, educational and health harms on top of the harms of the virus itself.’

The report was written by Scott Atlas, M.D., a senior fellow in health policy at the Hoover Institution and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Steve Hanke, Ph.D., a professor of applied economics at the Johns Hopkins University, Philip Kerpen, the president of the Committee to Unleash and Casey B. Mulligan, Ph.D., a professor in economics at the University of Chicago. It draws on various reports and research papers that studied the pandemic. 

‘SARS-CoV2 was a dangerous virus, but a calm, proportionate response would have applied the lessons from past influenza pandemics and used existing pandemic response plans. Instead, from the moment the virus was detected in America, the public health community and politicians spread an outsized message of fear and doom,’ the paper reads.

The group wrote that lockdowns did not work to substantially reduce deaths or stop viral circulation, and although they were timed to claim credit for declining waves of the virus, they ‘rarely had any discernable casual impact.’ 

In reality, one of the results was that people’s health was negatively impacted as medical procedures were canceled, stoking fear, they wrote.

For instance, from April 2020 through the end of 2021, there were 171,000 non-COVID excess deaths, whereas there were none in Sweden, a country that did not lock down despite being heavily pressured to do so.

‘A much wiser strategy than issuing lockdown orders would have been to tell the American people the truth, stick to the facts, educate citizens about the balance of risks, and let individuals make their own decisions about whether to keep their businesses open, whether to socially isolate, attend church, send their children to school, and so on,’ the authors wrote.

School shutdowns caused dramatic and irrefutable damage to children, they wrote, with reports of poor learning, school dropouts, social isolation, mental illness, drug abuse, suicidal ideation and 300,000 cases of child abuse unreported in the spring of 2020.

Masks also had little or no value and were possibly harmful, they wrote, ‘amplifying fears by creating the irrational belief that an unmasked face presented a threat, causing conflict and division among citizens, and giving high-risk people the mistaken impression that masks were protective, potentially resulting in some people risking exposure who otherwise may not have.’

They blasted the CDC for continuing to advise mask wearing ‘contrary to evidence . . . [and] undermining its credibility.’

On an economic level, the lockdowns put over 49 million Americans out of work, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey data. Unemployment benefits approved by Congress prolonged unemployment and associated economic underperformance, too.

The report also criticized the media, Big Tech, the academic science and public health community for stifling debate.

‘Anthony Fauci, the head of the largest federal grantmaking entity, created an environment in which it was very difficult for most medical experts to break with the dominant narratives on lockdowns, masks, or overwhelmed hospitals,’ the report states. 

‘The National Institutes of Health (NIH) became the principal advocate of lockdown policies, but failed to run high-quality trials of repurposed drugs and non-pharmaceutical interventions.’

Elsewhere, the report praised the Project Warp Speed for getting effective monoclonal antibody treatments and vaccines in record time, but it failed to assess their safety. The authors wrote that the mandates and associated pressure campaign were wrong and undermined informed consent.

The authors recommend that Congress and the states define by law ‘public health emergency’ with strict limitations on powers conferred to the executives and time limits that require legislation to be extended. 

‘Crises are when checks and balances and well-functioning institutions are most needed – not when they should be discarded and decision-making outsourced to alleged experts like Francis Collins, who casually confessed to a completely incorrect decision calculus years later,’ they wrote.

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