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Credibility is the most important weapon we have against disease
When the public health establishment beclowns itself, they make fighting epidemics and pandemics much more difficult.
The New York Times thinks it has a great argument for lockdowns in the wake of a slow response to an Ebola outbreak in Uganda, but they actually make an argument for a more measured response to COVID-19. The real lesson is not that a lockdown would have saved lives, but that the public health establishment needs to maintain credibility in order to save lives. The last three years has been a disaster for the medical establishment.
Uganda's hyper-aggressive lockdowns for a disease that has a survival rate of 99.98% for healthy adults under 50 and 99.997% for anyone under 18 damaged their ability to fight a much worse disease. Ebola has a survival rate of 50% with good medical care, but the survival rate can drop as low as 10%. Not all diseases are the same.
While temporary "stay at home" orders in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic were wise, it was never a good idea to keep healthy adults locked down for years on end. We needed to protect vulnerable populations (such as the elderly) while allowing everyone else to resume normal life. Not following this policy and inflating the danger of COVID-19 damaged trust so badly that when the wolf actually came, no one believed the boy's cries.
The unnecessary fearmongering over COVID-19 produced a culture of fear in much of the public, leading to people demanding total compliance. A year ago, I was told in the comments for one of my letters to the editor to run along and get my COVID-19 booster in order to prove I "believed in science." Note this was not to protect my health or the health of others, but to prove that I believed in The Science. I had to prove my loyalty with a booster, even though I had already been fully vaccinated. I needed a baptism by needle. This is not how public health works. This is how a cult operates.
We should also not forget some of the really absurd "medical advice" from 2020, such as wearing a face mask during sexual intercourse to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Every single person who knows anything about how respiratory viruses spread knows that this is complete and utter nonsense, and this gaslighting by "public health" officials obliterated their credibility.
This is not to say we should not have taken COVID-19 seriously. Of course we needed to take it seriously. We still do. But that is why we needed a sober-minded approach, not fearmongering and paranoia, shaming and defaming anyone who questioned The Narrative about the novel coronavirus. The more the "public health" leaders and elected officials lied about the risks of the disease, the more they created fertile ground for rebellion and conspiracy theories.
Keep in mind that I am not someone who is just interested in being belligerent against public health authorities. I have repeatedly defended temporary lockdowns and mask mandates. I want the public health establishment to maintain credibility because I want people to trust them and obey their instructions when a much more severe epidemic or pandemic arrives. The more severely the medical establishment overreacts to a less severe virus, the worse the death toll will be when something worse happens.
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