Fearmongering Has Done More Damage Than the Virus

Now that we’re more than a year into the pandemic, it’s crystal clear that the panic that ensued was unnecessary and the draconian measures put into place for public health were unwarranted and harmful. John Tierney, a contributing science columnist for The New York Times, looked back over the pandemic, providing a timeline of the media-induced viral panic that led to censorship and suppression of scientific research on an unprecedented scale. In his article for City Journal, he explained that the “moral panic that swept the nation’s guiding institutions” during the pandemic was far more catastrophic than the viral pandemic itself.1 Media-Induced Panic Set Off in March 2020 The panic was started by journalists beginning in March 2020, when the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team released “Report 9” on the impact of nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPSs) to reduce deaths and health care demand from COVID-19.2 The report’s computer model projected that intensive care units in the U.S. would be overrun, with 30 COVID-19 patients for every available bed, and 2.2 million dead by summer.3 They concluded that “epidemic suppression is the only viable strategy at the current time,”4 which led to lockdowns, business and school closures and population-wide social distancing. But as Tierney noted:5 “What had originally been a limited lockdown — ‘15 days to slow the spread’ — became long-term policy across much of the United States and the world. A few scientists and public-health experts objected, noting that an extended lockdown was a novel strategy of unknown effectiveness that had been rejected in previous plans for a pandemic. It was a dangerous experiment being conducted without knowing the answer to the most basic question: Just how lethal is this virus?” John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at Stanford, was an early critic of the response, who argued that long-term lockdowns could cause more harm than good.6 Ioannidis came under intense fire after he and colleagues revealed that the COVID-19 fatality rate for those under the age of 45 is “almost zero,” and between the ages of 45 and 70, it’s somewhere between 0.05% and 0.3%.7 In Santa Clara County, in particular, he and colleagues estimated that in late March 2020, the local COVID infection fatality rate was just 0.17%.8 “But merely by reporting data that didn’t fit the official panic narrative, they became targets,” Tierney explained. “… Mainstream journalists piled on with hit pieces quoting critics and accusing the researchers of endangering lives by questioning lockdowns.”9 Journals Refused to Publish Solid, Anti-Narrative Research The discrediting and censorship of researchers who spoke out against the official narrative — even if they included supportive data — became a common and alarming theme over the last year, one that extended to virtually every aspect of pandemic-related policy, including masks. The “Danmask-19 Trial,” published November 18, 2020, in the Annals of Internal Medicine,10 found that among mask wearers 1.8% (42 participants) ended up testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, compared to 2.1% (53) among controls. When they removed the people who reported not adhering to the recommendations for use, the results remained the same — 1.8% (40 people), which suggests adherence makes no significant difference. Initially, numerous research journals refused to publish the results, which called widespread mask mandates into question. Tierney said:11 “When Thomas Benfield, one of the researchers in Denmark conducting the first large randomized controlled trial of mask efficacy against Covid, was asked why they were taking so long to publish the much-anticipated findings, he promised them as ‘as soon as a journal is brave enough to accept the paper.’ After being rejected by The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, and JAMA, the study finally appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and the reason for the editors’ reluctance became clear: the study showed that a mask did not protect the wearer, which contradicted claims by the Centers for Disease Control and other health authorities.” A similar experience was had by Dr. Stefan Baral, a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist with 350 publications, who wanted to publish a critique of lockdowns. It became the “first time in my career that I could not get a piece placed anywhere,” he told Tierney. Harvard epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff also wrote a paper against lockdowns and couldn’t get it published, noting that most other scientists he spoke to were also against them but were afraid to speak up. Kulldorff and colleagues soon banded together to write the Great Barrington Declaration, which calls for “focused protection” of the elderly and those in nursing homes and hospitals, while allowing businesses and schools to remain open. Soon after, they too were attacked:12 “They managed to attract attention but not the kind they hoped fo

Fearmongering Has Done More Damage Than the Virus

Now that we’re more than a year into the pandemic, it’s crystal clear that the panic that ensued was unnecessary and the draconian measures put into place for public health were unwarranted and harmful.

John Tierney, a contributing science columnist for The New York Times, looked back over the pandemic, providing a timeline of the media-induced viral panic that led to censorship and suppression of scientific research on an unprecedented scale.

In his article for City Journal, he explained that the “moral panic that swept the nation’s guiding institutions” during the pandemic was far more catastrophic than the viral pandemic itself.1

Media-Induced Panic Set Off in March 2020

The panic was started by journalists beginning in March 2020, when the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team released “Report 9” on the impact of nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPSs) to reduce deaths and health care demand from COVID-19.2

The report’s computer model projected that intensive care units in the U.S. would be overrun, with 30 COVID-19 patients for every available bed, and 2.2 million dead by summer.3 They concluded that “epidemic suppression is the only viable strategy at the current time,”4 which led to lockdowns, business and school closures and population-wide social distancing. But as Tierney noted:5

“What had originally been a limited lockdown — ‘15 days to slow the spread’ — became long-term policy across much of the United States and the world.

A few scientists and public-health experts objected, noting that an extended lockdown was a novel strategy of unknown effectiveness that had been rejected in previous plans for a pandemic. It was a dangerous experiment being conducted without knowing the answer to the most basic question: Just how lethal is this virus?”

John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at Stanford, was an early critic of the response, who argued that long-term lockdowns could cause more harm than good.6 Ioannidis came under intense fire after he and colleagues revealed that the COVID-19 fatality rate for those under the age of 45 is “almost zero,” and between the ages of 45 and 70, it’s somewhere between 0.05% and 0.3%.7

In Santa Clara County, in particular, he and colleagues estimated that in late March 2020, the local COVID infection fatality rate was just 0.17%.8 “But merely by reporting data that didn’t fit the official panic narrative, they became targets,” Tierney explained. “… Mainstream journalists piled on with hit pieces quoting critics and accusing the researchers of endangering lives by questioning lockdowns.”9

Journals Refused to Publish Solid, Anti-Narrative Research

The discrediting and censorship of researchers who spoke out against the official narrative — even if they included supportive data — became a common and alarming theme over the last year, one that extended to virtually every aspect of pandemic-related policy, including masks.

The “Danmask-19 Trial,” published November 18, 2020, in the Annals of Internal Medicine,10 found that among mask wearers 1.8% (42 participants) ended up testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, compared to 2.1% (53) among controls. When they removed the people who reported not adhering to the recommendations for use, the results remained the same — 1.8% (40 people), which suggests adherence makes no significant difference.

Initially, numerous research journals refused to publish the results, which called widespread mask mandates into question. Tierney said:11

“When Thomas Benfield, one of the researchers in Denmark conducting the first large randomized controlled trial of mask efficacy against Covid, was asked why they were taking so long to publish the much-anticipated findings, he promised them as ‘as soon as a journal is brave enough to accept the paper.’

After being rejected by The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, and JAMA, the study finally appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and the reason for the editors’ reluctance became clear: the study showed that a mask did not protect the wearer, which contradicted claims by the Centers for Disease Control and other health authorities.”

A similar experience was had by Dr. Stefan Baral, a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist with 350 publications, who wanted to publish a critique of lockdowns. It became the “first time in my career that I could not get a piece placed anywhere,” he told Tierney. Harvard epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff also wrote a paper against lockdowns and couldn’t get it published, noting that most other scientists he spoke to were also against them but were afraid to speak up.

Kulldorff and colleagues soon banded together to write the Great Barrington Declaration, which calls for “focused protection” of the elderly and those in nursing homes and hospitals, while allowing businesses and schools to remain open. Soon after, they too were attacked:12

“They managed to attract attention but not the kind they hoped for. Though tens of thousands of other scientists and doctors went on to sign the declaration, the press caricatured it as a deadly ‘let it rip’ strategy and an ‘ethical nightmare’ from ‘Covid deniers’ and ‘agents of misinformation.’”

Physicians Targeted, Labeled Heretics

Dr. Scott Atlas of Stanford’s Hoover Institution was another common target, as he also suggested that protections should be focused on nursing homes and lockdowns would take more lives than COVID-19. According to Tierney:13

“When he joined the White House coronavirus task force, Bill Gates derided him as ‘this Stanford guy with no background’ promoting ‘crackpot theories.’ Nearly 100 members of Stanford’s faculty signed a letter denouncing his ‘falsehoods and misrepresentations of science,’ and an editorial in the Stanford Daily urged the university to sever its ties to Hoover.

The Stanford faculty senate overwhelmingly voted to condemn Atlas’s actions as ‘anathema to our community, our values and our belief that we should use knowledge for good.’

Similarly, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO), which regulates the practice of medicine in Ontario, issued a statement in May 2021 prohibiting physicians from making comments or providing advice that goes against the official narrative.

Actor Clifton Duncan shared the Orwellian message on Twitter, urging his followers to “Read this. Now. And then share it as much as you can.”14 Because, equally as disturbing as the notion of publicly dictating to physicians what they’re allowed to say, is the fact that, as Duncan said, the statement has a glaring omission, “The health and well-being of the patient.”15

Florida’s Mortality Rate From COVID Lower Than Average

Certain states have stood out for their refusal to buy into the draconian public health measures that were adopted throughout much of the U.S. Florida is chief among them. After a spring 2020 lockdown, Florida business, schools and restaurants reopened, while mask mandates were rejected.

“If Florida had simply done no worse than the rest of the country during the pandemic, that would have been enough to discredit the lockdown strategy,” Tierney said, noting that the state acted as the control group in a natural experiment. The results speak for themselves:16

“Florida’s mortality rate from Covid is lower than the national average among those over 65 and also among younger people, so that the state’s age-adjusted Covid mortality rate is lower than that of all but ten other states. And by the most important measure, the overall rate of ‘excess mortality’ (the number of deaths above normal), Florida has also done better than the national average.

Its rate of excess mortality is significantly lower than that of the most restrictive state, California, particularly among younger adults, many of whom died not from Covid but from causes related to the lockdowns: cancer screenings and treatments were delayed, and there were sharp increases in deaths from drug overdoses and from heart attacks not treated promptly.”

The Crisis Crisis

It defies reason how so many government, academic and policy leaders could support rampant censorship and suppress scientific debate for so long, all while propagating panic. One of Tierney’s explanations is what he calls “the crisis crisis,” or the “incessant state of alarm fomented by journalists and politicians”:17

“It’s a longstanding problem — humanity was supposedly doomed in the last century by the ‘population crisis’ and the ‘energy crisis’ — that has dramatically worsened with the cable and digital competition for ratings, clicks, and retweets.

To keep audiences frightened around the clock, journalists seek out Cassandras with their own incentives for fearmongering: politicians, bureaucrats, activists, academics, and assorted experts who gain publicity, prestige, funding, and power during a crisis.

Unlike many proclaimed crises, an epidemic is a genuine threat, but the crisis industry can’t resist exaggerating the danger, and doomsaying is rarely penalized. Journalists kept highlighting the most alarming warnings, presented without context. They needed to keep their audience scared, and they succeeded.”

The politicization of research is another major issue that contributes to groupthink and the suppression of scientific debate in order to support one agenda. Meanwhile, while the media advertised that we’re all in this pandemic together, some were clearly more affected than others — namely the poor and less educated, who lost jobs while professionals were mostly able to keep working from the “safety” of their homes.

Children from disadvantaged families also suffered the most from year-long school closures. “The brunt was borne by the most vulnerable in America and the poorest countries of the world,” Tierney wrote,18 while many of the elite got richer. The reality is, lockdowns have caused a great deal of harm, from delays in medical treatment and disrupted education to joblessness and drug overdoses, and for little, if any, benefit.

Data compiled by Pandemics ~ Data & Analytics (PANDA) also found no relationship between lockdowns and COVID-19 deaths per million people. The disease followed a trajectory of linear decline regardless of whether or not lockdowns were imposed. Yet, this is the type of information that has been censored from the beginning. As Tierney put it:19

“This experience should be a lesson in what not to do, and whom not to trust. Do not assume that the media’s version of a crisis resembles reality. Do not count on mainstream journalists and their favorite doomsayers to put risks in perspective. Do not expect those who follow ‘the science’ to know what they’re talking about.”

Source : Mercola More   

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Simone Biles and Why We All Get the ‘Twisties’ (Even If We Can’t Fly)

When your emotional gyroscope is off

Simone Biles and Why We All Get the ‘Twisties’ (Even If We Can’t Fly)
It’s Not Just You newsletter. Sign up to get a new edition every Saturday.

The supernova that is gymnast Simone Biles has been explaining a phenomenon called “the twisties” for we who are more earthbound creatures. It’s “not having your mind and body in sync,” she says. Not great for most people, but if you’re upsidedown and six or eight feet above the ground, that disconnection can be deadly.

On July 30th, days after upending a truckload of other people’s expectations by pulling out of her the American team’s all-around final at the Tokyo Olympics in order to focus on her mental health, she posted videos on Instagram revealing that she still can’t shake the twisties and she “literally can not tell up from down.”
[time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

That’s when the twisties started to sound familiar to me. Because the insidious thing about that loss of control and perspective is that once it happens, you can’t forget it. So fearing a recurrence of the twisties can perpetuate the problem. As others have put it .

When Biles spoke about righting her emotional gyroscope as well as her corporeal gyroscope, it hit deep for so many of us. Sure, we’re not a young woman trying to fly while carrying the immeasurable weight of a million kinds of hope on her young shoulders. Some of us are just writing emails, showing up the best we can for the people that matter, and hoping to somehow hang on to our jobs and our sanity. But there’s something universally resonant about her struggle to regain her balance.

Subscribe here to get an inspiring essay every Saturday

This week, Biles, a four-time gold medalist recognized as the best there ever was, shared videos of inept landings on the soft foam of a practice mat and talked about losing the joy she once had practicing this craft, how she didn’t want to keep doing these herculean feats for other people. “We have to protect our mind and our body rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do,” she told reporters in Tokyo.

You could hear a little of that tone in TIME’s about the push to get employers to treat employees with empathy, and to recognize and accommodate the effects of this brutal year on our mental and physical health. Most of us have the blessing to wrangle our grief and insecurity out of the public eye, unlike Biles who’s dealt with it all in front of us while staying airborne. Nonetheless, she’s had the courage to not only speak up for herself but also for other gymnasts, particularly Black teammates. But it had to take a toll. , “numb is becoming a normal feeling,” following revelations that USA Gymnastics had concealed former team doctor horrific generations-long abuse of young gymnasts, including Biles herself.

And it’s true that we can’t imagine what it’s like to have her staggering skills, and her mind and body strength, but we felt what Biles meant when she tweeted that she doubts her worth beyond her accomplishments, writing: “The outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.”

At first, we wondered how could that be? How could someone with so many unmatched talents, fans and friends as well as a profoundly generous spirit feel that way? But looking inside ourselves we know exactly how it could be. It is a very American affliction to so entwine your identity with your work that a stumble in the former feels like an earthquake for the other. And so perhaps her greatest gift to us is a reminder that the most important part of us is who we care about and who cares for us, not what we do, what we win, or how much we accrue.

Subscribe here to get an inspiring essay every Saturday


GALLERY ????

A few images of the week that was. Follow me on Instagram for more photos.

Photograph by Susanna Schrobsdorff

An otherworldly morning at Gooch’s Beach, Maine.

Gooch's Beach, Kennebunkport, ME
Photograph by Susanna Schrobsdorff

This looks like an aerial shot of giant coastal outcroppings, but it’s a tiny world at your feet.

newsletter and get a fresh edition every Saturday.

THE ROUND-UP ???? (New!)

????️”You are literally judged on how close to perfection you come. Your identity comes to be built around it. But what happens when an athlete realizes they are human? That they are inherently imperfect?” a former UCLA gymnast on Simone Biles’ decision to pull out of the Olympics gymnastics team final.

????️ Interdependence vs. Independence: Freakonomics examines “

the Delta virus variant’s dominance.

????️The Great Return: With the Delta variant ascendant, we’re not sure when everyone will be ffice or which we might have to reschedule. Meanwhile, some Black women who were relieved to work from home, free from microaggressions,

???? Beyond Bridgerton: Retelling whitewashed stories of and , Trinidadian author Lawrence Scott’s new novel about a real-life 18th-century figure,.

???? : “Gather friends and feed them, laugh in the face of calamity, and cut out all the things––people, jobs, body parts––that no longer serve you,” from a new memoir by Deborah Copaken.

???? A Most Perfect Distraction: Nancy Mitford’s scandal-laden has been adapted for TV and is now streaming near you.

???? Here are the 11 new books you should read in August.

EVIDENCE OF HUMAN KINDNESS❤️

Here’s a reminder that creating a community of generosity elevates us all.

In partnership with the and other organizations which help exonerate wrongfully imprisoned individuals, Pandemic of Love recently connected with, a Mississippi man who endured nearly 23 years behind bars, six trials, four death sentences, and subsequently, months of house arrest for murders he’s always maintained he didn’t commit.

Curtis’ story got national attention in 2018 after an investigation by APM Reports’ podcast revealed deep flaws in the evidence against him. His first three convictions for this crime were overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court for prosecutorial misconduct, two trials ended in hung juries, and in June of 2019, the final conviction was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. He was released in December of 2019 while awaiting an unprecedented seventh trial for which charges have since been dismissed.

To help Curtis get back on his feet and purchase the tools he needs to generate an income as a carpenter and handyman, more than 100 generous Pandemic of Love donors contributed over $4,000 to his rent fund and so he could purchase a pressure washer, generator, and paint sprayer among other essentials.

Curtis, who’s also a was floored by the outpouring of love and goodwill. “I’ve been struggling out here, trying to make a life for myself and my family,” he wrote to the volunteers at POL. Adding:

“It warms my heart to know that there’s so many good people out there that care about what I’m going through and thank you all. I love you all.”

Story and images courtesy of , founder of that matches volunteers, donors, and those in need.

COMFORT CREATURES ????

Our regular acknowledgment of the animals that help us make it through the storm.

Meet the pack: Three rescued beagles (left to right: Luna, Fred, Hammy) and in the foreground, Oshie who is a mixed breed rescue. Image submitted by Jenn who notes that the joyful human member of this family pack is her daughter Ava.

Send your images to me at Susanna@Time.com, and visit me on Instagram @susannaSchrobs for more.

And, if someone forwarded this edition of It’s Not You, consider subscribing here.

Source : Time More   

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