I appreciate Doug Call (His View, April 21) responding to one of my previous columns. I also appreciate the Daily News for allowing me to voice what I’m convinced will be the vindicated position in the long run. Because the media megaphone is controlled by the architects of the lockdown policies, they have complete control of the narrative.
Science is a dialectical process and cannot function in an environment of censorship and recrimination. Call’s thesis is that lockdowns work. I take the antithesis, that lockdowns don’t work and that coronavirus spreads regionally and seasonally. Call is a scientist and knows there are empirical outcomes if he is right. Is Florida, which has been open for some time, doing much worse than lockdown states?
Call criticizes me for trumpeting the success of Gov. DeSantis’ anti-lockdown policies in Florida. One year ago, DeSantis lifted COVID-19 restrictions. He ordered schools to reopen for live instructions in the fall. In September, he fully opened Florida and banned cities and counties from enforcing mask mandates. I grew up in Florida and have family and friends still there. Life is essentially back to normal.
Conveniently, Call ignored the fact that Florida has the second highest 65-plus population in the U.S. (those most in danger from the coronavirus) while California has the 46th highest. Because of that, the establishment media predicted massive deaths in Florida this time last year. Yet the death rates between the two states are nearly indistinguishable: Florida is 28th, while California is 31st in the nation. Furthermore, the highest death rates are in the Democratic, locked down states of New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Why? Because lockdowns do not work.
DeSantis held a forum last September with two of the writers of the Great Barrington Declaration, Dr. Jayanta Bhattacharya (professor at Stanford University Medical School and epidemiologist) and Dr. Martin Kulldorff (professor of medicine at Harvard University, biostatistician and epidemiologist), discussing how lockdowns are overall detrimental to public health.
DeSantis held another public roundtable discussion with Bhattacharya and Kulldorff in March which was covered by news channels and posted to YouTube. But Google pulled the videos from YouTube, saying they included “content that contradicts the consensus of local and global health authorities regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” It’s truly Orwellian when distinguished professors of epidemiology and immunology are censored for speech that doesn’t agree with the lockdown narrative, and the establishment media winks at their doing so.
Bhattacharya discussed a December report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association consisting of 54 studies with 77,758 participants, examining household transmission of COVID-19 under lockdown.
They found that transmission at home by symptomatic carriers was 18 percent (180 in 1,000) compared to asymptomatic carriers of 0.7 percent (7 in 1,000).
Bhattacharya noted that the disease survival rate is 95 percent for people 70-plus and 99.95 percent for those younger than 70. As I argued in my April 29 column, we knew the survival rate more than a year ago, but mathematical models greatly overestimated the actual numbers and politicians ignored the lockdown’s harm to those younger than 70.
Furthermore, outdoor transmission is essentially impossible because the wind has a diluting effect. Germany’s Association for Aerosol Research writes: “The transmission of SARS-CoV-2 viruses takes place indoors almost without exception. Transmission outdoors is extremely rare and never leads to cluster infections as can be observed indoors.”
Yet government tactics have led to the institutionalization of hypochondria. I see people wearing a mask while driving alone in a car, riding a bike alone or walking outdoors alone.
There is more to living life than merely avoiding death. Living life is about making tradeoff decisions. Knowing those excellent odds last April, I decided to enjoy each day, and my quality of life has been grand. I spent the lockdown year with like-minded family and friends, playing daily with my grandchildren, worshipping weekly with 1,400 others, attending weddings, funerals, concerts and conferences.
Everyone should take a page out of Florida’s book and continue to live happily, assessing risks and determining our own paths just as we have always done.
If you do, you might just be surprised to find that you prefer freedom.
Courtney served 20 years in nuclear engineering aboard submarines and 15 years as a graduate school instructor. He now spends his spare time chasing his grandchildren around the Palouse.