What if there was a plan written by world class experts outlining how communities should respond to a pandemic and it was sitting on the shelf ready to be used prior to COVID-19? The good news is that plan exists. It was co-authored by DA Henderson. He led the international team that eradicated smallpox and served as the director of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. The bad news is our state and many local officials ignored that plan. Instead their response was based on an inaccurate summary document authored by a water researcher who focused his graduate research on permafrost.
Mass lockdowns, school closures, and community wide mask mandates are not science. They are precisely what the science says not to do. These studies and guidelines have been around for decades. It was known, settled, data driven practice. When COVID arrived a few horrendously wrong models received far too much publicity and we panicked. Many elected officials and bureaucrats did the exact opposite of what we should have done. It was a breathtaking about face and was based on no new evidence at all. Instead, it was based on flawed models built on dubious sampling which produced tragically flawed results. These defective models continue to produce incorrect conclusions which vary dramatically from historical guidance and currently observed evidence.
To continue to use flawed models and scare tactics is a real shame. For example, in Singapore a study observed only 6.4% of secondary cases resulted from pre-symptomatic transmission. Other empirical studies found pre-symptomatic transmission rates as low as 0.1%. Why do we continue to reference models that infer pre-symptomatic transmission rates of 44% when real world experience shows they are drastically out of step with actual observed outcomes?
The signs around campus encouraging students to wear a mask “even outside” are another example of unscientific fear mongering. There is absolutely no scientific basis to make that type of a request. In fact, it is contra-indicated in the current medical guidance.
Many of the recently implemented policies have far reaching negative consequences. Let’s stop making bad policy decisions. As DH Henderson said, “Experience has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety with the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted.” That is a goal we should hold all our elected officials and community leaders to.
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