As the nation awakes from its turkey-induced tryptophan coma, Americans remain a thankful and forgiving people. The mood and the time are right to forgive those bad decisions – but on the latest episode of the Drill Down Peter and Eric reflect on what went wrong in America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as the first step to granting forgiveness.
Take Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), for example. In February of 2020, early in the outbreak, he first urged people not to mask unless they had symptoms. Two months later, he reversed himself and issued general masking orders regardless of any symptoms. Why?
At the time, Fauci and Centers for Disease Control director Dr. Robert Redfield vaguely cited “studies” showing masks were effective against airborne spread of the disease, but in a court deposition this past week Fauci was asked, under oath, to name one such study that backed that up. He could not. As the Epoch Times noted in its coverage of that court testimony, “many studies on masks don’t support their usage, including a CDC study widely cited by top officials, researchers have found.
Fauci sat for an interview with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg in mid-2020 and told him that his initial order not to mask was because there was an early worry that there were not enough masks in the US for health care workers who were treating the outbreak but, he added, it later became clear “…we had enough of the equipment, so there was no shortage.” Fauci also said it was clear that even homemade face coverings would work and that “anywhere from 20 to 45 percent of people who were infected didn’t have any symptoms.”
We know better now – that scientific studies have not shown masks were effective – and can see Fauci’s orders at a distance of more than two years as the kind of unscientific public health response that gets made during a crisis, when citizens are looking to their government to “do something.” Ordering up a general masking regime probably seemed like a harmless idea that might possibly do some good, or at least allay the fears of a scared nation.
Forgiveness starts with understanding what went wrong, and why. Yet Fauci, during his deposition, made a court reporter who was sniffling from what she said was allergies put on a face mask while he testified under oath that he could cite no studies, at all, that supported the idea that masking prevents the spread of COVID-19. So, has he really learned anything?
And what can we say about China, the country where the COVID-19 pandemic emerged? As the US and most other countries are removing the last scraps of COVID restrictions, the Communist Chinese government is still enforcing “zero COVID” policies, including forced lockdowns of entire cities. Eric notes that China just reported a record 30,000 new cases in a single day. As the disease has become less dangerous and treated like a bad flu in freer corners of the world, China is reporting a dramatic upsurge in cases and making the same mistakes again. So far though, as Eric notes, without the robot dogs.
After rare protests this weekend in Chinese cities, the government of Beijing city relented somewhat, announcing Monday it would stop blocking access to apartment compounds in which people have tested positive for Covid-19. That adjustment comes after an apartment fire in Urumqi, the capital of the far western region of Xinjiang, killed ten people and injured nine late last week. The incident triggered public outrage, as it was believed that mobility restrictions either trapped the residents or slowed the dispatch of emergency services.
The truth is that China’s own vaccines against COVID are not nearly as effective as the vaccines developed in the West, and, rather than admitting that, the government is imposing lockdowns. China’s vaccines – CoronaVac and Sinopharm – are not as reliable.
Apparently, China has not learned anything, either.