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Hysteria is Far More Deadly Than Covid
Long, but worth the read.
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One of the worst things about the Western world, in my opinion, is how inundated we are with information and stimuli. The never-ending scroll is a very real phenomenon that erodes memory with scary efficiency, which in turn allows deceptive actors to get away with a lot more than they would otherwise. We tend to shrug off contradictions, letting the media decide for us what is and isn't worth caring about, and as one day passes into the next, the bombardment of information coagulates into an amorphous blob destined to dissipate into oblivion.
It's therefore understandable if recalling early pandemic coverage proves difficult, just as it’s understandable if culling the truth from the pandemic phantasmagoria has been a challenge.
But there are many inflection points along the covid timeline that I feel have been memory-holed far too quickly. And frankly, I've read way, way too much about the pandemic not to highlight certain things before they're quietly pushed aside and turned into footnotes in the sort of books printed by university presses.
In early 2020, before a highly irresponsible mainstream media conglomerate desirous of clicks and views realized that the virus could be used for political purposes against its bête noire in the White House, and before the center-left rallied to the colors and convinced themselves that the power of the state could eradicate a highly contagious airborne respiratory virus, and before the pandemic was hijacked by elites who'd spent the previous four years consumed by the same marrow-level dread that Trump would somehow become president again and continue to occupy a good 75% of their headspace for another four years and were willing to do just about anything to thwart that nightmare scenario—before the shit show started, things were going okay, largely because the powers that be were doing the right thing by 1) being honest and 2) advocating for calm and rationale.
This same wisdom by temperance in the face of uncertainty was behind the do-no-harm approach to the polio epidemic of 1949-1952, the Asian flu of 1957-58, and the Hong Kong flu of 1968-69. And at least to begin with here in the U.S., it was tacitly understood to make the most sense in responding to the coronavirus, which is why overwrought messaging and rash decision-making took a backseat to urging the normal functioning of society.
In February, according to The Atlantic, we were all “likely to get the Coronavirus.”
Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch said, “I think it’s going to be a new virus that we have to deal with. That won’t be because the United States government has failed to contain it, it will mean that this is an uncontainable virus.”
Our Lord and Savior Tony Fauci was quoted in a Washington Post interview as saying that once a virus was in multiple countries with sustained transmission, “you could only mitigate it”; and in an interview with USA Today, he emphasized that the risk posed by covid was “miniscule.”
But then of course it was only a few weeks later that the rational playbook was thrown out the window and pseudoscience and magical thinking were widely adopted to justify shutting down society and quarantining even the healthy.
“This is just mind-boggling: This is the mother of all quarantines,” University of Michigan medical historian Howard Markel was quoted as saying in the Washington Post. “I could never have imagined it.”
“The first and golden rule of public health is you have to gain the trust of the population, and this is likely to drive the epidemic underground,” said Lawrence O. Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University. “The truth is [these] kinds of lockdowns are very rare and never effective.”
“Where does one draw the line?” asked CNN’s Leana Wen, who would ultimately become a key leader within the Covid Cult, pushing for the unvaccinated to be locked in their homes. “Many people work in the city and live in neighboring counties, and vice versa. Would people be separated from their families? How would every road be blocked? How would supplies reach residents? We worked on numerous contingency plans to respond to outbreaks and other public-health crises,” she added. “To my knowledge, our health department had not considered a citywide quarantine.”
Correct, Leana. That's because it's long been known even to plebeian non-doctor types likes your truly that a fundamental public health principle is that health is multidimensional, which means an OCD-like fixation on a single infectious disease is never synonymous with health. What’s more, per Molecular and Cell Biology for Dummies, there are two ways — and only two ways — to defeat a virus: natural immunity and vaccines. Neither of those involves destroying the economy.
One would imagine that, given the extreme nature of shutting down society and defenestrating centuries-old traditions of liberty and law and forcing everyone to hide inside their homes like a bunch of agoraphobic recluses, the unprecedented decision to impose lockdowns would be based on a causal relationship between lockdowns and the trajectory of the virus.
But not so. Turns out the notion that lockdowns would suppress the virus was based entirely upon let’s-just-wing-it-and-see-what-happens speculation that itself was based on a hubristic presumption of the awesome power and intelligence of our expert class being able to essentially unilaterally decide to flip a switch and dial up state policies capable of controlling a novel coronavirus.
Perhaps the most damning example of our noble overlords' incredible stupidity involved an epidemiological model that might as well have been a primal fear-of-disease trap—little more than eschatological hot garbage that even your most basic thinking man would've treated with a healthy dose of skepticism.
In mid March, experts like Our Lord and Savior Tony Fauci began pointing toward a prediction model now infamously referred to as “Report 9.” Created by a dude named Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist from Imperial College London whom Elon Musk once described (accurately) as an “utter tool who does absurdly fake science,” it was “the most influential scientific paper” in memory, according to Johan Giesecke, the former chief scientist for the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It was also, Giesecke added, “one of the most wrong.”
To say that Ferguson’s Imperial College model has been proven inaccurate would be a woeful, woeful understatement in light of the fact that its wildly alarmist predictions — the impact of which simply cannot be stressed enough — led powerful ignoramuses to believe the apocalypse was nigh unless something was done—fast.
What makes this inflection point in the pandemic so outrageous is that this guy has long had a reputation for producing models that are almost comically wrong. Seriously. In fact, this dude has been so wrong, so often, that his peers refer to him as “The Master of Disaster.”
In 2001, Ferguson was behind the disputed research that sparked the mass culling of eleven million sheep and cattle during the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.
In 2002, Ferguson predicted that up to 50,000 people would likely die from exposure to BSE (mad cow disease) in beef. In the U.K., there were only 177 deaths from BSE.
In 2005, Ferguson predicted that up to 150 million people could be killed from bird flu. In the end, only 282 people died worldwide from the disease between 2003 and 2009.
In 2009, a government estimate, based on Ferguson’s advice, said a “reasonable worst-case scenario” was that the swine flu would lead to 65,000 British deaths. In the end, swine flu killed 457 people in the U.K.
Ferguson would later admit that his Imperial College model, which led people to believe there'd be a 3.4% covid case fatality rate and upwards of 160 million deaths, was based on undocumented, 13-year-old computer code intended for an influenza pandemic—which Ferguson declined to release so other scientists could check his results.
Despite his track record, Our Lord and Savior Tony Fauci used1 Ferguson's coronavirus model to convince Trump to lock down the country. Why Ferguson was given any credence at all remains a mystery on a par with who shot JFK. (Your writer has four words that routinely come to mind: “It's the economy, stupid.” Make of this what you will.)
Though not unprecedented, agent-based modelers were new to the world of epidemiology and there was little reason to grant immediate, inviolable credibility, and certainly no reason for experts across all fields to bow before their end-is-nigh computer-based projections of mass death. But that's exactly what happened.
Not long before “Two weeks to flatten the curve!” (always an utter fool’s errand that widened the damage) began #trending, an unsuspecting public was suddenly overwhelmed by a hysteria machine turned on by the powers that be, and the round-the-clock systematic gaslighting of the masses by government officials, corporate and state media, health authorities, Big Tech, and the entire global-capitalist power apparatus was normalized in much the same way one falls asleep: slowly at first, and then all at once without even realizing it's happened.
Months ago, I wrote a post titled “dietrologia,” which is an Italian word meaning “a hidden motivation or explanation behind something.” The pandemic is littered with examples, and for more than a few of these it seems a bit of a stretch to attribute them solely to incompetence.
I'm not saying it's about power and money. But I'm saying it's about power and money.
Not incidentally, The Science™ has never been about actual science. It's a clarion call invoked by the irrationally paranoid and authoritarian to silence those who cause the discomfort of cognitive dissonance that results from desperately trying to believe the absurdities of the official narrative. As but one example, I submit that there's something deeply ridiculous about today’s Democratic Party — ostensibly the party of the working class — bending the knee before the arbitrary, constantly shape-shifting rules of a government they'd long declared incompetent.
'Tis no matter, apparently.
It can be exhilarating to feel like you're part of something bigger than yourself, even if that bigger something happens to be a fucking mob; surrendering the burden of personal autonomy and individual responsibility, reveling in righteous indignation, trading in relentless propaganda pumped out by corporate media and public officials, and joining ranks with shrieking spazzes on social media to condemn “The Unvaccinated” as the new official “Untermenschen,” an underclass of subhuman “others” that the docile, unthinking masses must be conditioned to hate—these things tickle the amygdala.
It feels good to feel right, even when you know it's wrong to dehumanize those who've declined conversion to your cult, to clap in approval as they’re segregated, stripped of their jobs, banned from attending schools, denied medical treatment, and otherwise persecuted. But just as the normal rules of society were indefinitely suspended for “survival’s sake,” so too were the rules of civility. Civility was a luxury we could no longer afford, it would seem.
More than anything else, our pandemic response was rooted in opportunistic exaggeration and hysteria, much of which can be traced to the astonishingly moronic way that zero-covid zealots operated under a principle of “erring on the side of caution” to such a uniformly rigid degree that they massively distorted perception of covid's actual harm and made no attempt to self-correct when this became indisputably clear.
The end result has been the defining feature of the pandemic—what I refer to as “epistemic hubris,” a self-certainty so inflexible that it compounds the consequences of ignorance. Ordinary Americans were misled by powerful people who had nothing to lose and everything to gain by capitalizing on hysteria, schizo paranoia, and rote obedience.
I tire of those who try to emotionally manipulate people into conforming to their new religion by pointing to the covid death count.
Listen. If daily cancer diagnoses and deaths had been aggregated and trumpeted from every media organ for months on end, the numbers would be just as awesome to behold. Moreover, the number of Americans who've died of heart disease during the pandemic far exceeds covid deaths—and this is particularly true with added context below. So why haven't you ever reacted to heart disease like you've reacted to covid? Why have you supported radically altering the fabric of society to protect people from a virus that causes mild to moderate flu-like symptoms?
George Washington’s troops scraped off the scabs of the smallpox dead to inoculate themselves. Why did Americans cower in their homes in fear and obedience for a virus that’s 99.5% non-fatal and, according to the American Institute for Economic Research, is fatal mostly for people who’ve lived two to four years longer than the average life span.
And yes, I said flu-like symptoms. Am I not allowed to point out that an extremely age-stratified respiratory virus that poses an infinitesimal risk to everyone sans comorbidities has led otherwise sane, rational people to lose their minds? American democracy quite literally turned into a pathologized-totalitarian science experiment with no off-ramp. A scary number of once-normal citizens lost the ability to operate with first-order principles in mind—reasoning that would've cut right through the dogma and blinders if it weren't for their prefrontal cortexes spangling with feel-good lies.
Besides, I'm just repeating what our betters were saying before it became taboo:
These examples are from early in the pandemic. The official propaganda started in March and reached full intensity in early April, when the threat of “infection” was used to justify increasingly insane and authoritarian edicts, compulsory demonstration-of-fealty rituals, and eventually the elimination of all forms of dissent.
1 Million Americans Have NOT Died From Covid
Let's talk about the supposed 1,000,000 covid deaths in America, which is some premium grass-fed bull. Collosal exaggerations like this are only possible when the majority of the population is happy to be told what to think instead of taking agency and doing the thinking for oneself.
Back on May 12, 2022, Biden announced that all American flags at federal buildings were to be flown at half-staff to commemorate one million deaths “from Covid-19.” Well, one million Americans haven't died from covid; the vast majority have died WITH covid.
The distinction matters. A lot.
I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that this one million figure is a thinly-veiled lie specially packaged from the “experts” at the CDC. For simplicity's sake, let's go back to May 12 and look at the CDC’s provisional mortality data, which can be seen in the table below, and which just so happens to come with a footnote explaining that “all deaths involving” means “with confirmed or presumed covid-19.” Not “from.”
If you dig into the CDC’s death certificate reporting guidelines, something I did months ago in this newsletter, you'll find there's no requirement at all that covid be causally responsible to be listed on a death certificate.
Think about that.
Beginning in March 2020, the CDC issued guidance instructing physicians to add covid to death certificates if it was merely assumed to have contributed to the death:
“It is important to emphasize that Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19 should be reported on the death certificate for all decedents where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death.” — The National Vital Statistics System
This guidance led public health officials to so broadly define what constitutes a “covid death” that it almost beggars belief. Here, for example, is Illinois’s director of public health talking to reporters in early May 2020:
“I just want to be clear in terms of the definition of ‘people dying of Covid.’ The case definition is very simplistic. It means, at the time of death, it was a Covid positive diagnosis. That means, that if you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live, and then you also were found to have Covid, that would be counted as a Covid death.” — Dr. Ngozi Ezeke
And here’s the rule stipulated by the Oregon Health Authority:
“Deaths in which a patient hospitalized for any reason within 14 days of a positive COVID-19 test result dies in the hospital or within the 60 days following discharge.”
In an interview with KGW news about this definition, Oregon Health Authority spokesman Fred Modie was asked a hypothetical: If someone were to die from a motorcycle crash and also had covid, would that be counted as a covid death?
The glossed-over distinction between covid killing someone and someone dying with covid — or even just assumed to have died with covid — should bother you, and all the more so because it follows guidance handed down by the CDC, our nation’s medical luminaries—experts all, to be sure.
Need I point out that the skewed stats propping up the “1,000,000 deaths” claim have also concomitantly distorted the actual risk this virus poses? Take a look at this MMWR:
The Head of the Health Emergencies Program at the WHO basically (and accidentally, it would appear) confirmed an infection fatality rate of 0.14%, which is comparable to the flu.
This is usually the point where folks averse to cognitive dissonance pull out their secret weapon: anecdotal evidence. But predicating an argument on anecdotal evidence vis-à-vis covid is like the rhetorical equivalent of trying to balance on a big blue exercise ball while juggling cats. You can try.
Look, nation. I'm not making light of covid deaths. What I'm saying is that it's completely within the realm of possibility that, while you may indeed be able to point to individuals you personally knew who died from covid, it doesn't mean covid is anywhere remotely as dangerous as the public's been led to believe, or that it's untrue that whichever way you want to philosophically break it down, the costs, both short-term and not, of conflating the danger of a novel coronavirus to such an egregious degree that the most idiotic, authoritarian public health response ever was imposed on society at the expense of everything else were unwarranted.
You can't even play the “Well, it was only later on that we realized. . .”
No. It was known in March 2020 that, per a major controlled study2 conducted in France, there was no excess mortality — zero — from this coronavirus compared to other flus. In fact, a comparable Chinese study conducted in February 2020 confirmed the same thing: SARS and MERS were both much more lethal and did not occasion the destruction of the economy, to say nothing of the extremely regressive padlocking of schools and what really sorta maybe kinda seemed a lot like the government consolidating wealth and power in some good old fashioned highway robbery at the expense of, well, everyone outside the elite class. Moreover, in August 2020, the CDC itself announced that in only 6% of deaths attributed to covid was the virus listed as the sole cause.3
It gets worse, of course, with regard to the numbers used to justify lockdowns. The sloppy definition of a covid “case,” combined with how wildly inaccurate our covid tests are, has led policy expert Tam Hunt to refer to the past 2.5 years as a “casedemic.” I’m inclined to agree. Consider, for example:
In November of 2020, the FDA warned that up to 96% of all covid antigen test positives could be false positives in screening programs at a low 0.1% active disease prevalence. Which you'd think would matter quite a bit, given that we've been at or near that level of active disease prevalence for most of the pandemic.
After antigen tests were rolled out widely for weekly or even biweekly screening in the UK, government officials warned in internal email discussions that up to 98% of the antigen test positive results could be false positives because of low active disease prevalence.
In an August 2020 New York Times article, a number of virologists warned that the much ballyhooed PCR tests, supposedly the gold standard for covid testing, were being used in such a way that up to 90% of the positives tests were effectively false positives.
Tam Hunt does a great job of breaking it down. All of this and more was ignored. And as if that weren't bad enough, in an unprecedented move, the CDC defined a “confirmed case” of covid as a positive lab test result only. A “probable case” is even more loosely defined, with not even a test required.
No consideration of symptoms is required for a confirmed or probable case.
In an essay in the San Francisco Chronicle, Dr. Monica Gandhi summed it up nicely:
“In the history of epidemiology, experts have never counted individuals without symptoms into these definitions. A ‘case’ was previously defined as a symptomatic person who displayed signs of illness stemming from a pathogen.”
In practice, what's happened is the complete reliance on positive test results — regardless of symptoms — for cases tallied in public databases.
Uniform case definitions for a number of diseases were first established by CDC and CSTE in 1990. For obvious reasons. The last time the general criteria were modified was in 1997. The 1997 report states:
“These case definitions are to be used for identifying and classifying cases, both of which are often done retrospectively, for national reporting purposes. They should not be used as criteria for public health action.”
And so but of course the CDC didn’t follow its own guidance. Natch. When the coronavirus came around in 2020, they inexplicably deviated from their own policy. Definitions during the SARS outbreak in 2003 and H1N1 in 2008 required clinical symptoms and laboratory confirmation for a case to be “confirmed.” Even the case definition for the flu requires both clinical and lab evidence for a confirmed case.
But for covid? Nah. A confirmed case requires only “confirmatory laboratory evidence.”
Keep in mind all the 24/7 coverage CNN and Friends churned out about the spread of covid, their big scary numbers ticking ever-upwards and practically glued to the side of your television screen—and always utterly devoid of contextualization. Your fear is the point. Your rapt attention leads to higher ratings; higher ratings leads to more dollar signs.
This change in case definition and the eschewal of symptomatic considerations have obviously led to inflated numbers, but the tests themselves are also egregiously inaccurate to the point where the numbers are so skewed they mean nothing. Again, I want to emphasize that this has long been known but never addressed; stats were allowed to balloon far, far beyond anything resembling the truth.
The false positive paradox is why the “casedemic” misnomer is no more a misnomer than “pandemic” is. When you adopt “surveillance testing” — the widespread testing of people who aren't showing any symptoms — this practice is proven to result in high numbers of false positives even if the tests you're using are accurate. But covid tests are NOT accurate, and it’s led to what Tam Hunt calls “the false positive catastrophe.” The fallibility impacts not just case numbers, which, as mentioned above, are determined simply by tallying positive test results, but also hospitalization and mortality figures since these categories also require nothing more than positive test results.
Someone was killed by a bullet to the head? Welp, we're gonna check to see if he tests positive for covid anyway. Ope, we got a positive! Make sure that's noted by the physician so the CDC can update its tallies. Wouldn't want the public to know that the risk covid poses has been grossly overstated and the economy needlessly destroyed.
All of this is compounded even more because, as mentioned in the second bullet point above, when disease prevalence is low — that is, the number of active infections — the vast majority of positives from mass surveillance testing are in fact false. And various studies have made it abundantly clear that disease prevalence has been low throughout the entire pandemic.
None of this is new, either. Indeed, it’s been known since very early in the pandemic, and it's even been mentioned — though very seldomly — by the mainstream media. As Tam Hunt first noted, Harvard epidemiologist Westyn Branch-Elliman wrote about this phenomenon in an article published by U.S. News and World Report, wherein she and her coauthors described how “at the 0.1% or so Covid-19 active infection rate we’re seeing in schools this summer and fall, and a 95% accurate test, we’re likely to see literally 71 out of 72 test positives be false positives.”
71 out of 72.
A September 2021 analysis by a trio of researchers found that because of the CDC’s overly-inclusive definitions for “case,” “covid hospitalization,” and “covid death,” all of the covid numbers fed to the public should be discounted by a whopping 90%. In other words, key pandemic stats have been exaggerated by about 10-fold.
In sum, the overly-inclusive definitions and death counts used by our esteemed experts (the ones who weren't censored or ostracized), along with sloppy standards and lax criteria, turned the pandemic into a self-perpetuating shit show the likes of which will go down in the annals of history as easily the most catastrophic public health response ever. It’s through the distance that only time can give that we’ll come to understand its true magnitude.
Policymakers, public officials, and zero-covid zealots are beginning to intuit this; they know in their heart of hearts that their refusal to admit uncertainty, mistakes, the limits of information to make informed decisions, and the ways they’ve eroded trust in key institutions when that trust was of dire importance—all of this, they know, played a role in upending people’s lives (and worse), and in all likelihood they’re desperately hoping that when it comes time to write the history of the pandemic, the Covid Cult will get little more than a footnote or two.
For now, the fact that those who were wrong knew they were wrong but lacked the humility to admit as much and change course, should be enough for Congress to require key public health officials to testify under oath, beginning with Our Lord and Savior Tony Fauci. But I highly doubt it’ll happen until there’s a changing of the guard. The party that championed covid hysteria currently controls the House and the Senate and the White House.
The authors of the Imperial College Model shared their findings with the White House Coronavirus task force in early March 2020. Fauci and Birx then met with Trump privately and urged him to shut down the country based on this model.
Per CNN: “Summoned to the Oval Office last weekend to state their case for keeping the country closed, Fauci and Birx arrived armed with tangled multicolored lines, stippled mountains of various heights and one ominous inky blue bell curve showing American deaths from coronavirus rising to 2.2 million if social distancing efforts were abandoned.”
As detailed by the Discovery Institute's Geoffrey Gilder, in an open letter to German Prime Minister Angela Merkel, epidemiologist Sucharit Bhakti concluded that with the French study, corroborated by findings from a Stanford antibody seroprevalence study in Santa Clara County, “the case for extreme measures collapses like a house of cards.” Bhakti said that since the virus had already spread widely in the general population, efforts to stop further spread were both futile and destructive.
It's funny that quite a few truth-arbiters said this was false but didn't seem to understand that they in effect confirmed what they were trying to disprove. Example:
MYTH: Only 6% of those listed as coronavirus deaths in the United States actually died from the virus
FACT: Over 200,000 people in the US have died from health complications due to COVID.