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Saturday, September 24, 2022

Time to move on in post-pandemic world

Guest Writer

During the Christmas Holidays, I tested positive for Covid. Yes, I had been vaccinated and

boosted. My symptoms involved 3 days of extreme fatigue, followed by another day or two of recovery. As I improved, my opinion of how the country and world should deal with the Coronavirus solidified around the premise that it is time to move on. Specifically, no more mask mandates in schools; no more mask mandates outdoors or indoors except perhaps on planes, trains and public transportation; no more vaccine mandates to enter a restaurant, bar, or other indoor or outdoor establishment; no more vaccine mandate for US citizens to enter the country; and no more virtue-signaling politicians and elitists lecturing the citizenry on their own version of science. If a person feels more protected by wearing a mask, then others should respect that individual’s right to mask up. But Covid is no longer a clear and present danger to public health.

According to an analysis by the Associated Press (AP), between the 80 million Americans who have been infected by the variant, and the 92 million Americans that have received a booster shot, an estimated 73 percent of people now have some immunity to the Omicron variant. Continuing to mandate that everyone don a mask is an unnecessary infringement in a post pandemic world in which individual freedom and economic vibrance must now be prioritized.

There has never been any substantive evidence that children are in danger of dying from Covid – and certainly not from the milder Omicron variation. The evidence overwhelmingly concludes that Covid is of little risk to children and young people. Volumes of research also demonstrate that remote learning is bad for parents and bad for kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Children’s Hospital Association have declared a “national emergency” or “crisis” in child and adolescent mental health in the U.S. According to the Center for Disease Control, emergency room visits for suicide attempts among adolescent girls rose by 51 percent during the pandemic. Academic performance has suffered, particularly among minority students who were less likely to be learning in person.

Dr. Nicole Saphier, a radiologist and director of breast imaging at Sloan Kettering Monmouth and regular contributor on MSNBC, Fox News, and Fox Business summarizes the case against masks in schools, “Where is the benefit? If you want to say decreased transmission of the virus, we have already demonstrated repeatedly that the classroom is one of the safest places for children. We know there are consequences to children wearing masks in schools…Facial recognition has always been a vital component of education and development.” If a parent determines that their child should wear a mask, then all should respect and appreciate the decision. But school administrators and the political class should butt out from mandating all other students to do so.

Vaccine mandates are yet another pandemic era policy implemented in primarily deep blue cities which should be relegated to the “ash heap of history.” As this virus is no longer a public health emergency, government has no right to issue dictates to private businesses mandating that their patrons show a vaccine certificate to enter the establishment. My hometown, New Orleans, still has a vaccine mandate. It is intrusive, unnecessary, and a governmental overreach.  My wife and I are planning a trip to Portugal soon. I just learned that not only will we be required to show a vaccine certificate to enter certain locations, but also must show a booster certificate! And of course, we will have to get swabbed overseas just to reenter our own country, despite both already having been vaccinated, boosted, and built-up natural immunity.

Where does this charade end?

There is also data from a limited CDC study recently conducted demonstrating that natural immunity acts as a strong defense against the virus, and in some cases may be a stronger defense than the vaccine. This is not to diminish the encouraging of everyone to get vaccinated. But there are complexities such as natural immunity which should be fully assessed and reported. GOP Senators Mike Braun of Indiana and James Lankford of Oklahoma have introduced the “Natural Immunity Transparency Act” in the Senate and Rep. Chip Roy of Texas is sponsoring the companion bill in the House to require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide data to Congress on the efficacy of natural immunity from COVID-19. This data would help to better understand the impact of natural immunity.

This brings me to the issue of Lockdowns.

According to a John Hopkins University meta-analysis of several studies, lockdowns during the first COVID-19 wave in the spring of 2020 only reduced COVId-19 mortality by .2% in the U.S. and Europe. “While this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted, the researchers stated. “In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.” The study was almost solely reported by Fox News as CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC, CBS, nor NBC failed to even mention the study throughout the entire week following its release. Clearly, anyone looking at this sees the media’s manipulation and bias. Yes, vigilance in protecting the most at-risk populations, as well as prudence during outbreaks is critical. But locking down an entire society and revoking personal and economic freedoms is a precarious path with perilous unintended consequences. Increased drug overdoses, suicide and domestic violence incidents coupled with student learning forfeiture, unemployment hikes, and overall mental health setbacks are all factors too frequently ignored by many in the political class, national media, and frankly, scientific community.

Finally, it is always amusing to note political hypocrisy. Rising star of the far left and candidate (again) for Governor of Georgia, Stacy Abrams, chose a photo op in which she would be surrounded by kids chatting and reading to the youngsters. But Abrams apparently forgot her mask at home while surrounded by a large gathering of dutifully mask-wearing children. There have been countless examples of the political class abiding by the aphorism, “Do what I say, not what I do.”

Covid is a human tragedy. It has been a horrific pandemic. But it is time to move on and live life. Human progress has been remarkable during the last 100 years, certainly we can move forward responsibly and respectfully.


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