This has been a year of astonishing policy failure. We are surrounded by devastation conceived and cheered by intellectuals and their political handmaidens. The errors number in the thousands, so please consider the following little more than a first draft, a mere guide to what will surely be unearthed in the coming months and years. We trusted these people with our lives and liberties and here is what they did with that trust.
- Anthony Fauci says lockdowns are not possible in the United States (January 24):
When asked about the mass quarantine containment efforts underway in Wuhan, China back in January, Fauci dismissed the prospect of lockdowns ever coming to the United States:
“That’s something that I don’t think we could possibly do in the United States, I can’t imagine shutting down New York or Los Angeles, but the judgement on the part of the Chinese health authorities is that given the fact that it’s spreading throughout the provinces… it’s their judgement that this is something that in fact is going to help in containing it. Whether or not it does or does not is really open to question because historically when you shut things down it doesn’t have a major effect.”
Less than two months later, 43 of 50 US states were under lockdown – a policy advocated by Fauci himself.
- US government and WHO officials advise against mask use (February and March)
When mask sales spiked due to widespread individual adoption in the early weeks of the pandemic, numerous US government and WHO officials took to the airwaves to describe masks as ineffective and discourage their use.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted against masks on February 29. Anthony Fauci publicly discouraged mask use in a nationally broadcast 60 Minutes interview on March 7. At a March 30 World Health Organization briefing its Director-General supported mask use in medical settings but dissuaded the same in the general public.
By mid-summer, all had reversed course and encouraged mask-wearing in the general public as an essential tool for halting the pandemic. Fauci essentially conceded that he lied to the public in order to prevent a shortage on masks, whereas other health officials did an about-face on the scientific claims around masking.
While mainstream epidemiology literature stressed the ambiguous nature of evidence surrounding masks as recently as 2019, these scientists were suddenly certain that masks were something of a magic bullet for Covid. It turns out that both positions are likely wrong. Masks appear to have marginal effects at diminishing spread, especially in highly infectious settings and around the vulnerable. But their effectiveness at combating Covid has also been grossly exaggerated, as illustrated by the fact that mask adoption reached near-universal levels in the US by the summer with little discernible effect on the course of the pandemic.