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The Epidemic Is Winding Down, or Is It?

By January 30, 2021Commentary

I can tell people just want this to be over.  The new administration and its co-conspirators among the state governments have every incentive to minimize the epidemic and be able to claim victory, so death counters are gone and the level of hysteria has been amped down to Defcon -46.  The virus, however, doesn’t care, and as viruses will, it is going to do its best to achieve its life mission–replicate.  And we are doing things that make that mission a little easier.  Trying so hard to suppress CV-19 gives an advantage to mutations that can evade the suppression attempts.  Isolating people lessens their normal exposure to pathogens and lessens their general immune defenses.  This is a particular problem with younger children, whose immune systems are just developing and who need regular contact with bacteria and viruses to help build adaptive and innate immunity to protect against all kinds of diseases.  One unintended consequence of the suppression campaign could be to make children more vulnerable both to other strains of coronavirus and to pathogens of all kinds.  Nice work, public health experts.  Thought you were supposed to be concerned with overall public health?

All those suppression efforts make vaccines’ task much harder as well.  We have to hope that sufficient segments were targeted to prompt development of a range of antibody and T cell defenses so that mutations can’t easily evade the adaptive immune response created by vaccination.  And no matter what, we are not going to eliminate CV-19, its cousins or its successors.  So my biggest concern is a failure to accept that basic fact and get on with life while dealing with the threat in the same manner that we handle many other health concerns–don’t panic, do the best we can, but be cognizant of all the consequences of actions.  But the new administration has already signaled that it is going to create a variety of “crises” that will justify ever-growing government dictates about how we live.  And some governors, including ours here in Minnesota, definitely have fallen in love with their “emergency” powers and plan to use those as long as they can.

At what point are people finally going to rise up and say “enough”?  Especially when they can look at states like Florida and see that we don’t need to engage in extreme restrictions to reach the same outcomes, without the incredible damage we are doing to children in particular.  One thing I have learned from the epidemic and the response to it is that we have large numbers of young people in particular who just swallow government and media bullshit wholesale and say “ummm, that tastes good”.  No ability to question what they are hearing, no willingness to actually go get data and analyze it themselves, no openness to alternative perspectives that might actually be more accurate, and most importantly, no ability to assess risk and do a comprehensive balancing of harms and benefits.  Just, “whatever you say, sir”, happy to do it and stomp on anyone who disagrees.  Doesn’t bode well for the future, because a government and a media establishment that isn’t regularly challenged, creates and lives by lies, suppressing the truth, but reality is truth and always wins in the end.  A government of lies means misery for everyone, because you never triangulate on or spiral upward to the best policies to improve peoples’ lives, on the contrary, you spiral everyone downward, downward, downward.  But at least we all live equally miserable lives, so there is some “equity” for you.

The reality of the epidemic, notwithstanding Dr. Osterholm, is that cases and mortality have begun winding down almost everywhere.  Enough people have been infected, been vaccinated, or have pre-existing immune defenses so that transmission is slowed.  And, whatever the niche of the right environmental conditions for CV-19 spread is, it appears to be ending in most places in the US.  I would anticipate that we won’t see large future waves as we have in the past year.  But cases are not going to zero, especially not if we keep doing ridiculous testing in low prevalence environments.  Doing so just creates very large numbers of false and low positives.

Minnesota has between 5,000 and 10,000 active cases now, at most, even if you believe we are not detecting all cases.  That is a miniscule prevalence, around one-tenth of a percent.  If you were doing general testing in the population or a sub-population, with no reason to test the people being tested, i.e., no symptoms, no close contacts with infected persons, you are going to have at least a 50% false positive rate, potentially higher.  So we can keep scaring ourselves by doing stupid testing or we can return to a rationale testing policy of only people with symptoms or who have had contact with an infectious person, and we can use a threshold for a positive PCR test that actually is associated with infectiousness, 30 cycles or less.

It is our choice, force governments to allow a full return to normality, whatever that was, or continue to be governed as though we live in China, Russia, Iran, Nazi Germany or other epitomes of authoritarian dictatorship.

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • N.S. Palmer says:

    In fairness to the gullible, we should remember that governments have been manipulating people for millennia. In the last 100 years, they’ve got it down to a science. They’ve studied the flaws and weaknesses in the human mind, and they know exactly how to exploit them.

    Among the techniques used are to create fear that impairs people’s ability to think clearly, and to fill the environment with lies and contradictions so that it’s hard for people to be sure of anything. When you control almost all of the news media, communications platforms, and government, it not hard to mount a terror campaign like we’ve seen with Covid-19.

    Abraham Lincoln famously observed that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. The modern version is, “You can fool enough of the people enough of the time.”

  • Mike M. says:

    “One thing I have learned from the epidemic and the response to it is that we have large numbers of young people in particular who just swallow government and media bullshit wholesale and say “ummm, that tastes good”. ”

    It is not just young people. Lots of such people of all ages. I fear we might be watching the end of America as we have known it.

  • The Dark Lord says:

    France just initiated a lockdown that says no French citizen is allowed to leave France … they have imprisoned and entire country and the public reaction is “not enough lockdowns sir” … The French people wake up in the morning and first thing they do is look to the Government for guidance on how to live their lives … The are like the Borg …

  • Peggy A Lewis says:

    Good Morning Kevin…

    I have been sitting here for nearly 10 months, creating scenarios in my mind where I could just stop complying. Perhaps show others that its fine and if you don’t like it, tough bounce, live your life, I’ll live mine! But the problem is many of us have a boss who has a boss who calls all the shots who presumably is far less impacted by the pandemic response.

    In my situation and many service industry situations, I have a license. The license I hold, is governed by a Board who WAY back in March, decided to do whatever the Governor told them to do without ONE singular hiccup. And so now, for myself and everyone like me, our autonomous right to conduct our business’ the way we see fit, is completely gone. Prior to the emergency power grab, the Examiners board was trying very hard to be relevant. They got their wish when the pandemic rolled into town.

  • Darin Kragenbring says:

    Thank you, as always, Mr. Roche, for the forum to hear and exchange ideas with people who are thinking and trying to do their own research. After a year, sometimes the clutter of information and issues seems unbearable, yet I try to distill down to the essence of what brought us here. The recent PCR data out of Rhode Island does it for me. Most disturbing to me is why citizens need to file a Freedom of Information Act to get basic, critical data about the nature of the tests that are taking away our basic freedoms?

    I just finished The Great Influenza by John M. Barry — blessedly written pre-Covid-19. In the afterward, the author asks what society has learned from past pandemics. One of his conclusions is that people need the truth. During the Spanish Flu, President Wilson’s approach was to suppress any information about the disease because it might hurt the war morale. In the absence of information, many people panicked. This time around, we are inundated with hysterical information that creates the same level of panic. The common denominator is fear. N.S. Palmer rightly points out the way authorities (could be any authority) use fear to control people.

    Ironically to me, no matter what “side” of the current debate one is on, most of us feel we aren’t getting the “truth.” What’s the truth for me? Covid-19 is a highly transmissible respiratory virus and there is very little society can do to appreciably alter the ultimate course of the pandemic. Democracy (or a representative democracy) is a difficult form of government requiring civic exertion of its citizenry. The American “experiment” has been challenged before and I hope it can overcome the current challenges. I remind myself frequently that the continuation of our society as we know it is not preordained. I’m trying to do my small part to assure my children enjoy this country as I have.

  • SteveD says:

    Is the virus running out of victims or are the testers simply running out of people to test?
    According to Worldometer, the US has performed over 312 million tests.

  • Rondo says:

    “There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution”

    ― Aldous Huxley

  • Ellen says:

    The hysteria must continue in order to maintain a needed “state of emergency.” Since the vaccines need to be sold and distributed, and since they are not really vaccines, the manufacturers are not exempt from liability per the 1986 law; however, if it is a “state of emergency” they can proceed without liability. We’re having one of the best flu seasons ever!!!

  • free says:

    I read an article last week that stated that the CDC has changed the guidelines on covid. They have reduced the cycles and are using different criteria for determining deaths. Unfortunately, I can not find that article now, after days of searching for it.
    Has anyone else seen that article and do you have a link to it?

  • free says:

    Rondo, in the USA, we have already been living there for over 20 years now.

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