Conspiracy theorists get a bad rap these days. But when the news flows like this, it’s hard not to be one.
On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, America’s co-king of lockdowns along with California Gov. Gavin Newsom, posted on Twitter, “We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass.”
“The cost is too high,” the Democrat added. “We will have nothing left to open. We must reopen the economy, but we must do it smartly and safely.”
That prompted some raise eyebrows. “Did Donald Trump write this?” replied conservative activist Jack Posobiec.
Perhaps Cuomo sensed a judge was about to smack him around for a color-coded system to indoor dining. A Buffalo judge sided with 91 restaurant owners in saying there was no “rational basis” for Cuomo’s methodology.
But then on Thursday Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that she wanted “to get our restaurants and bars reopened as quickly as possible.”
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker disagreed, saying the timing is still not right. But Lightfoot told the media she would push the case for reopening with the governor.
“They’ve gone above and beyond to put in mitigation controls inside of the restaurants,” said Lightfoot. “I feel very strongly that we are very close to a point when we should be talking about opening up our bars and restaurants.”
Yet also on Thursday, Newsweek broke a story about a study published earlier this month in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation.
The study analyzed coronavirus responses in 10 countries: America, England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, South Korea and Sweden. As Newsweek put it, researchers looked at the first eight, which all “implemented mandatory lockdown orders and business closures” to South Korea and Sweden, “which instituted less severe, voluntary responses.”
The critical finding: there was “no clear, significant beneficial effect of [more restrictive measures] on (virus) case growth in any country.”
The researchers, from Stanford University, allowed that “cross-country comparisons are difficult.” That’s because nations differ on rules, cultures, and relationships between the government and its citizens. Also the reported data was not entirely uniform.
Still, researchers reported, “We do not question the role of all public health interventions, or of coordinated communications about the epidemic, but we fail to find an additional benefit of stay-at-home orders and business closures.”
Researchers did not say lockdowns were worthless or pointless. But, the added, “even if they exist, these benefits may not match the numerous harms of these aggressive measures. More targeted public health interventions that more effectively reduce transmission may be important for future epidemic control without the harms of highly restrictive measures.”
Those “harms” included increased “hunger, opioid-related overdoses, missed vaccinations, increase in non-COVID diseases from missed health services, domestic abuse, mental health and suicidality, as well as a host of economic consequences with health implications.”
Overall, they concluded, “there is no evidence that more restrictive non-pharmaceutical interventions (‘lockdowns’) contributed substantially to bending the curve of new cases.”
Amid all this, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report that showed schools could be reopened because they were not major transmitters of the virus.
As CNN reported, Covid-19 cases in the general population of counties with in-person learning were actually lower than those that had kept schools locked down, with 401 cases per 100,000 people compared to 418 per 100,000.
Moreover, the study revealed that almost 60 percent of the roughly 3 million infections contracted by people ages 0 to 24 between March 1 and mid-December were by those over 18.
The CDC noted, “Schools provide a structured environment that can support adherence to critical mitigation measures to help prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19.”
Meanwhile, the media is pushing to get Joe Biden a win even before he takes office.
The Twitter user PoliMath noted that a month ago, as the Trump administration began rolling out the vaccines, Biden announced he wanted to distribute 100 million doses by his 100th day in office, which would be April 29.
We will easily make that goal, PoliMath tweeted on Friday. “We’ve been doing about 1 million vaccines distributed per day since we started sending vaccines out.’
But there was a subtle shift in Biden’s language. On Friday, the president-elect said he wanted “100 million shots in arms” by that 100th day.
“If we continue at our *current* trajectory, we will be right on the edge of 100 million shot in arms at the 100 day mark,” PoliMath observed. “Despite that truth, the media is calling the current rollout ‘disastrous’ and ‘slow’ and Biden’s plan ‘ambitious.’”
“Either Joe Biden’s vaccination goal is slow, disastrous, and inadequate or our current rollout is ambitious and successful. Those are the options. There are no other options.”
Whatever the outcome of the Biden plan, it’s clear that the tin-foil-hat club could be in a tizzy right now, considering we’ve seen the confluence of two prominent anti-Trump Democrats calling for reopening, reports that say lockdowns are useless and schools are not a problem, and that with vaccines, Biden’s target is meshing with Trump’s progress.