Three public health professionals assess America's response to the crisis—and how we should prepare for the next one.
Thank you for posting this interview, to the staff at Persuasion for even being willing to ask these questions, and thanks to the medical professionals for their honesty and going on record. I hope none of you will be censored or punished in anyway for this in the future, given how much censorship of inconvenient truth is now par for the course. Too many people made decisions in the past 18 months based on personal vindictiveness in politics, frankly, or just on pure emotion, rather than looking for the best solutions for their situation. The consequences of this approach have ruined lives and communities, perhaps forever. People died who should not have died as a result of fear, not Covid. I'm talking about suicides, and people who should have gone to hospital for care but stayed away out of fear of catching the virus and died of treatable illness. I can never get these loved ones back, and I am furious about that. My children , here in our very wealthy blue city in a blue state which boasts of education, got NOTHING out of remote schooling. The teachers were phoning it in and focusing on politics instead of academics (I know because I heard everything from my living room). So those three million kids who had no remote access are not any worse than my kids in this wealthy, leftist, but totally inept community in which I currently live. My spouse and I had our eyes opened, and wonder how the extreme tax rate we pay is justified given the minimally educated, embarrassingly unprofessional teachers hired by our school district and put in charge of teaching our children. To me, the biggest loss is trust, in government, in science, in education, in media (mainstream and social), and especially in politicians. Trust is the one thing that cannot be put back together once it is broken. I appreciate your candor on this article. Unfortunately, it is rare.
I am extremely grateful to Persuation, namely Emily Yoffe, for publishing this interview. Living in the Federal Republic of Germany, where the executive, by means of an Infection Protection Act, issues decree after decree that have severely restricted the fundamental rights of citizens, where any opposition to the drastic measures of the government is, quasi a priori, defamed as extreme right-wing and incriminated as anti-constitutional, and where, finally, a social climate has arisen that has divided society, voices of reason are rarely heard.
I just made this article required reading for my biomedical ethics class. One of the tragedies of Covid is we unnecessarily put our children at risk for the sake of our elderly, then we put our elderly at risk for the sake of vaccinating everyone rather than systematically vaccinating every one over 60. All of this was done in the name of beneficent paternalism and it led to the pervasive mistrust of the CDC and the dominant media outlets. Here is a conundrum for us to consider:
More children between 0-5, died of flu than COVID this year, and those very few who did die of COVID had serious underlying conditions. The total mortality of children 0-17 who died of flu this year was about 200 (.0003% of 75 million American children) and of COVID 300 (.0004% of 75 million American Children). In both cases those are very low odds medically. For example VASTLY more children died of simple accidents. On the other hand, many many children will suffer some minor illness and quite a few boys ages 15-19 will suffer non fatal heart problems from the COVID vax somewhere between 1 in 3000 and 1 in 6000 young men, according to Israeli studies. Still very very low odds of any serious side effects from the COVID vax overall for children.
HOWEVER! To achieve herd immunity for all of us (particularly those adults who refuse to vaccinate and nonetheless are at risk of serious effects of COVID) all children must be vaccinated. The question then is should parents vaccinate their children primarily for the benefit of elderly people who refuse to vaccinate and those few, who for medical reasons, cannot be vaccinated? Must you vaccinate your children for the sake of others?
What was wrong in the beginning was not to encourage the use of masks. At one hospital even doctors were forbidden to use masks. I presume this was done so as not to create a run on masks and save the masks for those who most needed them. In the long run not recommending masks at the beginning was a mistake and confusing when the "advice" changed.
I really appreciate this article, but it’s hard to swallow as one of two people in a household who currently have Covid after two vaccinations. It sucks. I think this delta variant is breaking through more than people realize in the stats now, though I’m sure the later studies will catch it. I don’t think we can be so sanguine about vaccines fixing everything. Vaccines help a lot right now, and we’ll know in a few months whether we need to keep masking / distancing or not. But I’m living the whole “it’s too soon to tell” experience
Emily, please write/speak on what's-going-on-with-Slate? Mike Pesca was "indefinitely" (?) suspended. You are gone. John McWhorter's podcast on Slate is leaving.
Is Slate being pressured to do an ideological purge?
This is such an intelligent interview it almost pains me, because you just don't see anything this smart on either side of our new divisive media landscape. The thoughts from Mr. Prasad starting with the sentence, "I think the social media environment was an abject failure" are just brilliant and yet somehow not the least bit mainstream. Thank you for publishing this.
Why does the audio version of this discussion keep appearing for a moment and then disappearing from the Spotify channel? Perhaps I am the only person whose encountered this over the past few days? Is there anywhere the audio or the zoom capture may be accessed? Many sincere thanks.