Uber-Liberal Nate Silver Rips ‘Crazy’ COVID Lockdowns That Closed Churches, Kept Museums, Stores Open

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Nate Silver, the numbers wizard and former New York Times staffer, is about as liberal as they come. And even HE thinks the COVID lockdowns were crazy (well, he does now; better late than never).

Silver’s new take came in response to a substack piece by David Zweig headlined, “When a Renegade Church and a Zealous County Health Department Collide.” The lengthy article details the battles one defiant church went through to try to keep its flock together.

“It’s kind of crazy (and tells you a lot about who was writing the restrictions) that churches in some jurisdictions were subject to more restrictions than museums!” Silver wrote on Twitter. “Not even attempting to follow any sort of epidemiological principles.”

In his piece, Zweig notes that Santa Clara County, California, imposed some of the harshest COVID restrictions in America after the pandemic rolled in. But San Jose’s Calvary Chapel, led by its pastor, Mike McClure, defied the Draconian orders.

“In September [2020], Santa Clara churches were still prohibited from any indoor gatherings, yet, by contrast, shopping malls could operate at fifty-percent capacity. By October 14, when county churches were then allowed the lesser of 100 people or twenty-five percent capacity, museums could run at fifty percent, and stores had no capacity limits placed on them at all,” Zweig wrote.

“Much of Santa Clara’s restrictions early on were tied to state requirements, which were harsher on churches than stores. But Santa Clara expanded the chasm between houses of worship and retail establishments beyond what the state prescribed,” he wrote.

“The seeming illogic and unfairness aside, the county was determined to steadfastly enforce its orders on Calvary and impose financial penalties with terms that would shame a loanshark. To achieve these goals the Compliance Unit sought to document — with exceeding care, and through multiple forms of surveillance — the infractions of the outlaw chapel,” Zweig wrote.

Eventually, the church filed suit against the county, claiming that the health department “went to extraordinary, and potentially unlawful, lengths to enforce its decrees.” By then, the church had incurred more than $2 million in fines.


Zweig saw Silver’s post and replied, “Equally important is that the ban on gathering in houses of worship lasted for seven months. Many of these people were suffering from addiction issues, isolation, depression, and rely on the church for support. These are also public health concerns.”

Silver then replied: “Yeah. It’s … hard to *prove*, but I think most of the evidence suggests that extended lockdowns and closures were bad from a utilitarian/consequentialist standpoint. But they were *also* bad from a civil liberties standpoint, especially when we’re talking about religious worship.”

Earlier this month, researchers examined the efficacy of local COVID vaccine mandates implemented across the United States in 2021 and found they didn’t work.

“These mandates imposed severe restrictions on the lives of many citizens and business owners,” the researchers said in a study conducted by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. “Yet, we find no evidence that the mandates were effective in their intended goals of reducing COVID-19 cases and deaths.”

The researchers evaluated New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

“We find no evidence that the announcement or implementation of indoor vaccine mandates in the cities listed had any significant effect on vaccine uptake, COVID-19 cases, or COVID-19 deaths, and this is largely consistent for all US cities that implemented the mandate,” the researchers wrote.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Uber-Liberal Nate Silver Rips ‘Crazy’ COVID Lockdowns That Closed Churches, Kept Museums, Stores Open