Europe's COVID second wave spike shows the futility of lockdowns and mask mandates, as well as the phoniness of the Dems' criticism of Trump
I take no schadenfreude joy in the resurgence of the coronavirus in the European countries that have imposed drastic lockdowns and mask mandates. The enormous costs — economic, medical and psychological — of locking up the populace have not purchased any benefit. Vijeta Uniyal reports at Legal Insurrection:
Europe is experiencing the full fury of Wuhan coronavirus with the death toll surpassing that of the United States. "Across Europe, the number of infections since the start of the pandemic is now above 8.2 million and more than 258,000 people have died from COVID-19," French TV network EuroNews confirmed on Saturday.
Germany is among the worst hit, with the number of deaths due to the Chinese virus crossing 10,000 on Saturday. "The rise in infections has spurred a number of local measures to be implemented across the country, and officials have warned of a national lockdown," public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
Rather than admit that viruses will spread virally, and lockdowns only delay this, Europe's leaders, except in Sweden, are doubling down, "stuck on stupid," in the immortal word of General Russel Honoré.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday issued [a] fresh warning, telling people to stay home. "Please stay at home, wherever possible, whenever possible," she warned. "The pandemic is spreading rapidly again, even faster than at the start of it more than half a year ago."
The global left has embraced the fantasy that a virus can be stopped from spreading if governments force people to live in isolation, ignoring the reality that this only delays the spread and ultimately increases mortality. A rational policy protects the most vulnerable — the elderly and those with serious comorbidities — with practical measures like home delivery of groceries that enable them to remain fairly isolated, but focuses most energy on early detection and treatment of those who become infected. As President Trump's experience demonstrates, quick treatment can minimize the impact of the virus, leading to survival rates of well over 99% and, in many cases, few serious consequences for the overwhelming majority.
Bonchie at RedState offers a good example of the mindless approach embraced by our media and Democrats.
Jake Tapper apparently has no idea how contagious diseases work.
Tapper still doesn't understand that containment is impossible after 1% prevalence? Where has he been??? Some lock-heads are incorrigible. https://t.co/UWQWB69VZv— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) October 25, 2020
"Why not get control of the pandemic" he cries as if that's as simple as deploying a few bureaucrats and snapping one's fingers. As Europe is learning right now, you can have all the lock downs you want, and you can get all the plaudits in the world, but the virus cannot ultimately be contained precisely because it's so contagious. Even perpetual lock downs have been shown to be largely ineffective, with countries like Germany, France, and the United Kingdom now seeing massive spikes even amid strong mitigation measures, including heavy mask usage.
Here's the thing though. Tapper is smart enough to know all this and that his question assumes an impossibility. With the virus exploding in Europe and places in South America, the talking point that the United States had some unique failure no longer exists. You can lock down and delay the inevitable for a short period, but spread is going to happen. It's also simply irresponsible to keep a country in perpetual lock down because of all the ancillary harm and death that causes.
Every possible outpatient treatment from HCQ to inhaled corticosteroids have been suppressed or ignored by the NIH and FDA and Dr. Fauci specifically. This dismissal of early outpatient treatment is unconscionable as is the suppression and silencing of clinicians who have observational data to share from caring for actual patients.
According to Dr. Harvey Risch, professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health based on clinical studies of outpatients with COVID-19:
Many or most of the 220,000 deaths in the United States to date could have been prevented by widespread HCQ use that the FDA blocked. It is the FDA that is responsible for these deaths, not the president. It is sheer corrupt hypocrisy, and completely shameful, for past FDA commissioners and for a New England Journal of Medicine editor with ties to the FDA to accuse the president of what the FDA itself has done.
David Archibald demonstrated the dramatic cost of suppression of hydroxychloroquine:
On May 22, 2020, the U.K. medical journal The Lancet joyously published a paper stating that hydroxychloroquine doesn't work. Medical authorities around the world reacted by withdrawing hydroxychloroquine from treatment of the Wuhan virus. Death rates spiked up dramatically about two weeks later. This is illustrated by the experience in Switzerland, as shown by the following graphic from France Soir:
The gray-shaded area is the period of increased deaths in Switzerland due to the study in The Lancet. The death rate jumped 13 days after the administration of hydroxychloroquine was withdrawn, and then it dropped 13 days after the resumption of dispensing hydroxychloroquine. That was just Switzerland. The Lancet retracted the paper on June 4, more over the damage it was doing to its reputation than embarrassment at the number of deaths it caused.
Sweden, normally the American left's favorite country in Europe, has avoided lockdowns and is doing far better than countries that imposed the vast costs, as herd immunity is developing at a quick pace. Summit.news reports:
Despite Sweden mirroring other countries on the continent with rising coronavirus infections, the government has held firm in refusing to lockdown its population, weighing the untold misery and health impacts of isolation against the threat of COVID-19.
"The elderly, they said, have suffered enough," writes Fraser Nelson. "They have spent months being advised to avoid public transport, shopping malls and other parts of everyday life. And the result? Loneliness. Misery. This is more than unpleasant: it quickly translates into depression, mental health issues and mortality. "We cannot only think about infection control," said Lena Hallengren, Sweden's health minister, "we also need to think about public health." An important distinction: focus on Covid to the exclusion of other conditions and you risk lives."
Hallengren's 21 page report also uncovered a "decline in mental health" that was "likely to worsen the longer the recommendations remain in place," leading officials to lift lockdown restrictions that previously applied to over-70s.
Sweden, which attracted international notoriety for being one of the only countries to refuse a nationwide lockdown, has seen its death rate overtaken by other nations in Europe as the number of cases and deaths decline in the country, though its death rate still remains one of the highest in Europe.
The Scandinavian nation was fiercely criticized in the early stages of the pandemic for refusing to implement a lockdown, with the country's death rate in mid-April at more than 100 a day. But in the months since this has dropped and Belgium, the U.K., Spain and Italy, countries which all imposed lockdowns, now have a higher death rate.
The grown-up approach to this or any other pandemic is to recognize that there will be a death toll. The ads for Biden that blame President Trump for every pandemic death are infantile, as if a virus can be stopped by any government. A responsible adult would seek to minimize the total social cost, weighing the economic destruction, social isolation, and denial of medical care of a lockdown against the possible benefits of slowing the spread. Europe now demonstrates that the benefits are not as great as predicted, while the costs have been enormous.
Now that Joe Biden is proposing an unconstitutional national mask mandate, it is worthwhile noting that relying on masks themselves carries dangers, as Anders Tegnell, chief epidemiologist at Sweden's Public Health Agency, explains:
"It is very dangerous to believe face masks would change the game when it comes to COVID-19," said Tengell, who is considered the country's equivalent of Dr. Anthony Fauci from the White House COVID-19 task force.
He noted that countries with widespread mask compliance, such as Belgium and Spain, were still seeing rising virus rates.
"Face masks can be a complement to other things when other things are safely in place," he said. "But to start with having face masks and then think you can crowd your buses or your shopping malls — that's definitely a mistake."
Face masks do carry some risk on their own, by allowing exhaled carbon dioxide to be re-inhaled, and allowing bacteria and other pathogens to be inhaled, particularly if masks are frequently touched, as, for instance, California's Governor Newsom recommends, telling diners to take off a mask when taking a bite of food and then replacing it as they chew, when dining with others.
There is no conceivable benefit to wearing a mask when jogging, bicycling, walking, or driving alone, yet I see people doing this all the time and have experienced harassment while walking alone in uncrowded areas avoiding proximity to others while breathing freely without a mask. It is obvious to me that many people treat masks as a talisman, magically conferring health.