The recent massive surge of COVID cases here in America and around much of the world has been both shocking and edifying. Clearly, people like me who have promoted the theory on "low-threshold herd immunity" were probably wrong in our overly-optimistic analysis (though it should at least be noted that Sweden's current death rate is WAY below what would be expected based on their sudden dramatic increase in cases, and already rapidly declining).
However, based on this new information, the other "side" of this debate also has a lot of explaining to do, but because the news media is deeply invested in the very same narrative as the "experts" and the lockdown governors, there is zero pressure forcing this to actually happen. This is further validating my prediction that the COVID storyline was uniquely designed for the news media to only allow one perspective to be fully/fairly explored, thus ensuring that the radical remaking of America, which effectively happened in just a few days in March, can never be credibly questioned.
Here are just some of the many important questions which the vast majority of the news media has systematically ignored, seemingly because they don't fit their preferred version of reality.
What does the recent surge in cases say about the effectiveness of lockdowns?:
As devastating as the November/December outbreak has been for the "herd immunity" argument, it has been arguably worse for the "lockdowns work" presumption. There has been, at best, no correlation between heavy lockdowns and areas that have done better/worse during this third wave.
For instance, heavy-lockdown states California and Illinois have fared horribly, even worse than freer large states like Florida and Texas. And yet the news media is remarkably uncurious about how this could possibly be the case if government lockdowns actually work, and they never even contemplate the increasingly obvious possibility that we simply have very little control over a virus which currently has no vaccine.
What is the collateral damage of lockdowns?:
Even the World Health Organization admitted that the collateral damage of long-term lockdowns outweigh whatever benefits they might provide. Tellingly, the news media muted this pronouncement, and, as is their normal M.O. in these situations, did their best to claim that the statement was somehow being taken out of context.
The reality is that, even if you discount the huge economic ramifications of long-term lockdowns (which obviously also has a health component to it), the purely medical damage being done in the areas of suicide, drug abuse, child abuse, lack of normal care, and mental health problems has been extraordinary.
The most infuriating/telling tactic which the news media routinely uses to defuse this issue (when they are not completely ignoring it) is that they blame these impacts, especially those in the economic realm as being "caused by the pandemic." However, it is very clear the LOCKDOWNS which are the origin, not COVID itself.
Why do masks not seem to positively impact the data?:
There is no aspect of COVID governmental restrictions in which the news media is more deeply invested than mask mandates. Faith in the power of masks to stop people from spreading a virus has now reached the level of religious belief (which may be why president-elect Joe Biden has chosen the very "sciency" round number of 100 days of mask-wearing as "penance" for the Trump presidency).
The general conservative view of mask mandates has always been that the evidence that they actually work does not come close to the threshold which should exist for the government to force them on a public in a country that was formerly based on freedom and liberty. The fact that there is no legitimate explanation, nor even any media introspection as to why, based on the data, the pro-mask states/countries have recently done no better—and sometimes worse—than the places with no mask mandate, does nothing to dissuade many people from concluding that mask mandates are based much more in religion than in real science.
If COVID was around way before March, what does that really mean?:
As a resident of California, it never made any sense to me that our state was not hit by COVID before mid-March. As the evidence began to mount that my suspicions of a much earlier timeframe were correct, I wrote that, in a rational world, this new information would radically alter our view of our response to the virus.
Since then, it has become obvious that most of the west coast was exposed to COVID at the end of 2019, and yet normal life went on, especially in extremely busy California, without anyone even noticing, and without the state suffering a major explosion of cases once the official counting began. The news media should at least make a cursory effort to get to the bottom of this very key issue (unless, of course, they are frightened of what they might be forced to conclude).
What is the real evidence of significant asymptomatic spread?:
The foundational premise of the vast majority of COVID restrictions is the presumption that asymptomatic spread is a very substantial factor in why the virus is not under control. But the news media has blindly accepted this basis as gospel, despite there being some legitimate reasons for skepticism.
The WHO stated that asymptomatic spread was "very rare." This was a statement so politically incorrect, and the media cries of "Blasphemy!" were so strong, that they were forced to do an immediate walk-back, with the news media once again bending over backward to rationalize that this was just a misstatement.
America's media darling Dr. Anthony Fauci said, empathically, at the start of this year, that asymptomatic spread is "never" the driver of viral outbreaks. The news media, much like they did with his similar early pronouncement that masks are ineffective against viruses, has memory-holed the video and blocked for Fauci on yet another "misstatement," while also, bizarrely, still treating him as if he is somehow infallible.
What is the average age of "COVID Death"?:
In a rational world, the second most important fact (after how many deaths it has directly caused) about the coronavirus would be what the average age of death is for people who die because of it. However, in the world in which we actually reside, this information is only known by a very small percentage of the population, it is virtually impossible to even theoretically calculate on a national level.
In fact, when you Google "what is the average age of COVID death in the United States?" the website which can immediately answer even the most mundane question suspiciously has no reply. Instead, it highlights a link for the CDC where, at best, you can surmise that the "median" age of death is 79-80.
Several states and many countries which do provide this specific critical information have that number at over 80. We do know that about 60% of USA deaths are 75 or older and that 80% are at least 65.
Considering that the USA life expectancy is just over 78 years, these facts should be widely known and have a dramatic impact on the public perception of how best to handle the situation. Instead, the topic is hardly ever directly discussed, and even then it is in the context of unfairly condemning anyone who dares to imply that the lives lost to COVID are not as costly as those who are killed in a war, or a terrorist attack.
What happened to the flu?
You wouldn't know it from the news media, but while the United States is suffering from record numbers of COVID cases, we are also experiencing the lightest flu season in modern history. Shouldn't we at least be considering the possibility that these horrible COVID numbers are not nearly as catastrophic as they first appear because what is really happening is that we are, to at least some significant degree, simply renaming the flu and that this surge has been provoked primarily by a change in seasons?
At the very least, this reality blows a huge hole in the only argument that lockdown proponents have offered for their ineffectiveness (that people all over the world have suddenly stopped paying attention to their orders at exactly the same time). After all, if the flu has been eliminated because of all the masks and social distancing, you cannot also say that we are not really using enough masks and social distancing.
Whatever happened to fearing absolute executive power?:
The topic on which liberals have been most disappointing and obviously hypocritical is that of the overt crackdown on the most basic of civil liberties which has been led by tyrannical Democratic governors. This not only goes against the fundamental principles of liberalism but is particularly outrageous since the Democratic Party impeached President Trump earlier this year for actions they understandably believed would eventually lead to dictatorial rule.
Under the guise of endless "emergency powers" (which were clearly never intended for a situation like this) these governors have claimed unlimited authority with not a shred of resistance from a liberal establishment which used to pretend to be against fascism above all else. Even court rulings theoretically curtailing the out-of-control Democratic Governors of California, Pennsylvania, and Michigan have been mostly ignored by the news media because they are inconvenient to their narrative.
Why should we trust politicians who have been catastrophically wrong and hypocritical?:
Of all the many outrageous elements of our Governor Gavin Newsom's autocratic response to the pandemic, there are two which stand out above the others.
The first is that this all began with him justifying an unprecedented action by telling a MASSIVE and obvious lie: that California was about to have over 25 million COVID cases in the next eight weeks. The fact that it took nine MONTHS for California to reach ONE million positive tests (while never having our healthcare system come very close to being "overwhelmed") is now never even brought up, even though it should have instantly shattered his credibility on this topic for all-time.
The second is that he can have the gall, and the news media's backing, to give orders shutting down restaurants that are barely surviving just after being caught in a scandal where he attended a party at a fancy indoor eatery where there was no social distancing or wearing of masks.
What are the ramifications of the precedents being set?:
This is an area where there has been almost no major media coverage despite it being perhaps the biggest issue facing our country going forward. Even with multiple effective vaccines on the horizon, it seems all too clear that a very small number of people, many of whom are unelected, have set up new rules for our society where it may very well be impossible for us to return to the pre-COVID era.
For instance, using these new very low standards for dramatic governmental action, why would we not shut down every winter for flu season? And surely whenever a new virus is discovered (which happens fairly regularly) we will have to do the same until we are sure it is "safe." And if the government can regulate our lives for a year like they have over something that, at worst, is still in the ballpark of a bad flu, then haven't we just telegraphed how easy it is for us to be controlled forever?