The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, June 02, 2022

COVID Residue

I'm proud to say that I condemned the panic that resulted in COVID-related schools closures in the early spring of 2020 (e.g., here, here and here), suggesting that the closures and lockdowns were completely unnecessary (given the scientific data that already existed) and would do significant harm to school age children. Those who felt like I did were condemned as "uncaring," but in reality, the COVID catastrophists allowed their fear and authoritarian tendencies to guide very, very bad policy. 

This resulted in severe learning deficits (particularly in basic skills like reading writing and math), significant mental health problems among children, and declining test scores.

The likes of Anthony Fauci, MD, the bureaucrats at the CDC, blue state governors and local officials, teachers' union leaders, the vast majority of the main stream and social media outlets, and some red state officials who refused to stand up to them, should be held accountable for the damage they did to our children. They won't be.

However, the data are now in, and the results for our children are bad, very bad. Ironically, they are particularly bad for inner city children who are supposedly the top concern for blue state leaders. In fact, it could be argued, using the warped logic of the Left, that COVID policies adopted by blue states and cities were "racist."

Alex Gutentag writes:

The available numbers tell a worrying story of educational slippage that is likely to keep large numbers of kids from acquiring the basic skills, both intellectual and social, that they will need to hold decent jobs. Recent test scores have dramatically declined, with one report finding that in districts offering distance learning, the decline in passing rates for math was 10.1 percentage points greater than in districts that offered in-person instruction. In Maryland, 85% of students now are not proficient in math, and in Baltimore the figure is 93%. Michigan, Washington, and other states have found dramatic declines in their test scores. In Los Angeles, the decline has been worse for younger students, with 60% of third and fourth graders not meeting English standards compared to 40% of 11th graders. Overall, the youngest children were most profoundly impacted by lockdowns and school disruptions, and some of them now lack basic life skills.

As the severity of these repercussions comes to light, some outlets—notably those that most aggressively advocated for lockdowns and masking—have been eager to suggest that we are now aware of the overwhelmingly negative consequences of these policies thanks to “new research” that has only just become available to fair-minded people, who can therefore be forgiven for having adopted the course they did. But to many doctors and scientists, the damage to kids caused by COVID-19 panic was neither inevitable nor surprising. Rather, it was the result of the public health establishment’s conscious choice to eschew rational cost-benefit analysis in favor of pet cultural theories and political gamesmanship. For those who applied the scientific method to the available evidence, the consequences were already clear just a few weeks into the pandemic. “It was not at all true that people in healthcare and public health were unaware of what was going on with children,” Dr. Noble told me. “They were not ignorant.”

What happened to the United States’ kids was not the result of an innocent mistake. It was the product of a concerted campaign of censorship and demonization of dissenting voices in support of premises that turned out to be wildly harmful to children. Scientists, doctors, and parents who urged schools to reopen based on available evidence were systematically ignored and silenced by politicians, public health bureaucrats, and legions of dedicated online COVID-19 activists, while the most vulnerable children in U.S. society suffered the consequences.

And yet, COVID bitter-enders still demand masking, still suggest that lockdowns are warranted, still refuse to admit that the likelihood of a child dying from COVID-19 is far lower than their likelihood of being killed by a lightening strike. 

We have normalized insanity. The damage will be on-going for years to come.


This comment from Matthew Stafford looks at the COVID response and by implication, school shutdown demands at a meta-level:

In 2020, a fearful public acquiesced to an extraordinary extension of expert jurisdiction over every domain of life, and a corresponding transfer of sovereignty from representative bodies to unelected agencies located in the executive branch of government. Notoriously, polling indicated that perception of the risks of Covid outstripped the reality by one to two orders of magnitude, [bold is mine] but with a sharp demarcation: the hundredfold distortion was among self-identified liberal Democrats, that is, those whose yard signs exhorted us to “believe in science”.
"The science" never provided any indication that children were at severe risk; never indicated that transmission from children to 'at risk' adults was high, and never suggested that closing schools was a good idea.