The only foresight anxiety offers us is disaster. Nothing more. Certainly not hope, optimism, or even forbearance. Given that we live in what can increasingly be considered an age of anxiety, no wonder sagacity and critical thinking are at a premium in the current COVID-19 pandemic. It’s abundantly clear by most measures that anxiety is now at the helm given the continued insistence on lockdown policies all across America, even as the pandemic curve finally flattens.
The media has fed these anxious fires from the outset of the pandemic by continuing to gaslight the American public. Progressives have sought to galvanize their base with exhortations of panic over pending doom alongside Machiavellian levels of misinformation to create opposition to the federal response to COVID-19.
Perhaps what’s most insufferable is the exceedingly dogmatic and uncritical claims to “trust the science” behind the increasingly draconian measures put in place. Of course, that notion comes at the heels of the constant fallacious appeals to authority toward the likes of Dr. Anthony Fauci. Whatever he says is apparently the gospel truth even when it shifts, changes, or, in some cases, contradicts itself. That’s not to say that Fauci should be disregarded or dismissed, it means that it’s our civic duty to critically assess what we’re being told.
As for the science, there are a growing number of esteemed scientists and epidemiologists who insist that our current lockdown measures are not only excessive, they may be counterproductive and are inviting unmitigated socioeconomic disaster. Unfortunately, they are being met with only pitchforks for their efforts.
The findings of Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention, are different in kind from the prevailing narrative concerning the pandemic and are, at the very least, a compelling counterpoint to the information out there. Far from offering fearful prognostications in the absence of data, Ioannidis offers a more reasonable outlook amid this crisis:
We are falling into a trap of sensationalism. Can you imagine…what would have happened if the 60 million deaths that happen every year…[if] we had a meter counting them one by one and having stories written for each one of them? It would be horrible. There is a very high chance we are exaggerating. Many of the features of this pandemic are serious…but the estimates are exaggerated.
Instead of considering his vast, erudite knowledge of epidemiology and public health, he is simply mocked, derided, and vilified by the media and his peers. Once hailed as a maverick in the scientific community for his critical assessments, Ioannidis is now increasingly a pariah of sorts according to a recent piece in Wired:
Ioannidis’ legacy in medical science seemed unassailable. Today, not so much. I saw it on the faces of those medical students. To them Ioannidis may always be the fringe scientist who pumped up a bad study that supported a crazy right-wing conspiracy theory in the middle of a massive health crisis.
At least STAT has enough academic rigor and decency to publish a recent piece that offered the following statement on Ioannidis:
We have followed the dialogue about his article from fellow academics on social media, and been concerned with personal attacks and general disparaging comments. While neither of us shares all of Ioannidis’ views on Covid-19, we both believe his voice — and those of other legitimate scientists — is important to consider, even when we ultimately disagree with some of his specific analyses or predictions.
Dr. David Katz, the founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, offers similar insights regarding the current lockdown as Ioannidis. Again, to no avail. Rather than being lauded for offering their critical assessments on the pandemic from a scientific vantage point, they’re being dismissed out of hand for not toeing the line.
Most everyone in the media and on the Left would rather cede to blindly dogmatic overtures even in the face of contradictory or inherently speculative information, including the now-famous Imperial College study by Neil Ferguson. Beneath the mountains of hubris, many of the forecasts and dire predictions turned out to have as much merit as scrying pools and crystal balls.
No one is arguing that some preventative measures were imperative to curb the pandemic and to flatten the curve. Those measures have been successful. The curve has flattened. The problem is that now the narrative has shifted from flattening the curve to squashing it according to Time:
While the country as a whole has successfully flattened the curve, it has yet to show the extended period of decline necessary to declare ourselves out of the woods — a “squashing” of the curve.
And so the initial preventative measures mutate into draconian ones as the pandemic narrative devolves. We are drawn precariously closer to socioeconomic chaos amid this dystopian dance. Aside from record unemployment, domestic violence and suicide are now seeing potential upticks as lockdowns drag on around the world.
The current COVID-1984 meme making the rounds is fast becoming a reality to many of us. What began as necessary measures to limit a pandemic and to protect the infirm and elderly is fast devolving into authoritarian strictures diametrically opposed to the fundamental tenets our country was founded upon.
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