Captain Ahab in Charge

The people on the margins are being sacrificed at an alarming rate today. Small businesses, the mentally ill, drug abusers; they have been deemed expendable in order to save face for the present day Captain Ahabs of society.

Who is expendable? Federal surveys show that 40% of Americans are grappling with mental health or drug-related problems. With young adults that figure is 75%. The CDC asked young adults if they had considered suicide in the last thirty days and 25% said yes. These numbers are way higher than previous years.

What we’ve been seeing in the last year or so is a callous attitude toward collateral damage in the war on the coronavirus. A story in the Washington Post details a family’s loss of their 16-year old son who had problems before the virus that were being managed through relationships with friends, until Covid.

The Post story blamed the pandemic and decried the lack of funding in suicide prevention programs. Yep, and my tire dealer throws nails out on the road.

When we question the draconian measures of the Covid response the answer is often shot back, “Look at the science.” So yeah, let’s look at the science.

  • To quote a peer reviewed study of ten different countries on social distancing from Stanford University, “In summary, we fail to find strong evidence supporting a role for more restrictive NPIs (non pharmaceutical interventions, social distancing and masks) in the control of Covid in early 2020.”
  • Way back in July, CDC Director Robert Redfield said, “We’re seeing, sadly, far greater suicides now than we are deaths from Covid. We’re seeing far greater deaths from drug overdose, that are above excess, than we had as background, than we are seeing deaths from Covid.”
  • Multiple studies on the CDC’s website have concluded, “We did not find evidence that surgical-type masks are effective in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza transmission, either when worn by infected persons or by persons in the general community to reduce their susceptibility.” This was before there were federal incentives in place to label any doubtful death “Covid related.” Flu molecules infect the same way as supposed coronavirus ones.
  • Japan has been derided for their resistance to lockdowns and cautionary approach to vaccines. Western media was harshly critical of Japan’s failure to lockdown and predicted mass deaths. The result of Japan’s excess freedom: Japan’s deaths per million (DPM) is 27. Severely locked down countries of Europe have a DPM of between 1,080 and 1,674.
  • World Health Organization envoy, David Nabarro said back in October, “Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer.” And, “It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition.”

Have you heard of the Great Barrington Declaration? Epidemiologists from Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford Universities met in Barrington, Massachusetts after pondering the costs and benefits of government policies supposedly used to stem the pandemic. Between October 2 and October 4, 2020 they penned the declaration. It urges loosening restrictions on economic activity and a focus on protecting vulnerable people instead. The declaration has been signed by 13,290 medical & public health scientists, 40,199 medical practitioners, and 727,141 concerned everyday citizens.

Once again bureaucratic guesses have proven wrong, with dire consequences. The real tragedy in this story is that all the damage done in this war on Covid has accomplished little or nothing. It was not thought through well and trusting souls went along with it, like the doomed crew of the Pequot.

We recently watched Moby Dick, the 1956 version of the Herman Melville book. The second mate read the contract binding Captain Ahab to preserving the ship and hunting whales for oil. The crew had an obligation to overthrow the captain if the ship’s owners weren’t being served by him. The crew trusted the captain and went along with his foolish quest for revenge against the white whale that had severely injured him in years past.

(Note: In a past column I stated that deaths from all causes were lower in 2020 than in previous years. A reader questioned my source. I wrote to him and he said his numbers were based on averages, and we need to wait for final figures.)

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