"Normal" is Likely Coming Sooner than Anticipated | Citizens Against Government Waste

"Normal" is Likely Coming Sooner than Anticipated

The WasteWatcher

On Tuesday, March 2, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) announced that he would be reopening his state 100 percent, revoking all mask mandates and allowing all businesses to open at full capacity on Monday, March 8.  He made the announcement on Texas Independence Day, citing that hospitalizations are down, and that Texans will be managing their own safety based on what they have learned about the novel coronavirus this past year.  This means if citizens want to wear masks or not, the choice is up to them.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (R) soon followed and signed Executive Order 1549 that all county mask mandates were lifted and that businesses can operate at full capacity.  This order will remain in effect until March 31, 2021.  The governor still encourages people to wear masks, but it is not required.  At his announcement, the governor said he hopes this will be his last executive order.  As expected, there was a lot of push back from health officials and other leaders. 

President Joe Biden said it was a “big mistake” and “Neanderthal thinking.”  California Governor Gavin Newsom (D), who is facing a recall petition because of his duplicity in following his own mask mandate, telling Californians they should stay home while he ate at a posh restaurant and prolonging business shutdowns and school closings, called it “absolutely reckless.”

But these expressions of a desire to move on after a year into the pandemic are quite reasonable.  On February 18, 2021, Martin Makary, M.D., a surgeon and professor at Johns Hopkins Medical School, as well as a frequent expert guest on television, stirred up the COVID-19 public health pot when he penned his Wall Street Journal op-ed, "We'll Have Herd Immunity by April."

Dr. Makary argued that, “Cases are down 77% over the past six weeks.  If a medication slashed cases by 77%, we’d call it a miracle pill.  Why is the number of cases plummeting much faster than experts predicted?”  He wrote that this has happened because natural immunity from prior infections is far more common than has been tested for within the population during the pandemic.  He stated, “Applying a time-weighted case capture average of 1 in 6.5 to the cumulative 28 million confirmed cases would mean about 55% of Americans have natural immunity.”  Combining the people that were infected with COVID-19 and showed little to no symptoms and now have natural immunity with those that are receiving the vaccine, he predicts the U.S. will have herd immunity by the end of April.

He also discussed T-cells, which are a type of lymphocyte (white blood cell) and play a huge role in the immune system.  He wrote that, “Antibody studies almost certainly underestimate natural immunity.  Antibody testing doesn’t capture antigen-specific T-cells, which develop ‘memory’ once they are activated by the virus.  Survivors of the 1918 Spanish flu were found in 2008 – 90 years later – to have memory cells still able to produce neutralizing antibodies.”

He noted that researchers have discovered evidence that T-cell response to COVID-19 is high.  For example, researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute found the percentage of people that had a T-cell response after having a mild or asymptomatic case of COVID-19 was greater than the percentage of people with detectible antibodies.  T-cells were also found in family members that were exposed to the disease from another member but never got sick.  He said that some U.K. researchers pointed out in September 2020 that the medical community is under-estimating the value and presence of immunity to COVID-19 because of activated T-cells.

Dr. Makary stated that in the U.S. about 1 in 600 Americans have died from COVID-19, a fatality of about 0.15 percent.  However, the COVID-19 infection fatality rate is about 0.23 percent.  He believes this shows that approximately two-thirds of the population has had COVID-19 and would suggest much broader immunity than recognized.  While most COVID-19 infections in the U.S. are asymptomatic, the virus still activates natural immunity in individuals.

He said, “In my own conversations with medical experts, I have noticed that they too often dismiss natural immunity, arguing that we don’t have data.  The data certainly doesn’t fit the classic randomized-controlled-trial model of the old-guard medical establishment.  There’s no control group.  But the observational data is compelling.”

Three days later, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director and Chief Medical Adviser to the President Anthony Fauci said, it is “possible” that Americans will be wearing masks until next year even though the nation may be approaching a degree of normality.  Likely there was a collective groan throughout the nation to that statement, so much so that HBO talk show host Bill Maher said of Dr. Fauci, “he is always a downer” and added, “Can we be a little happy about where we are COVID-wise as opposed to ... it’s just like they really don't want you.  I think it's counterproductive.  I really do. The constant gloom and doom, and it's always a new strain from Satan that’s coming.”  He made it clear he does not want to wear masks forever and praised Dr. Makary for his viewpoint on natural immunity, expressing the feelings of millions of other Americans.

American Institute for Economic Research Donald Boudreaux took a look at the COVID-19 numbers in his February 23, 2021 article, “Why I Believe that Covid Derangement Syndrome Is Real.”  He said he respect peoples different risk preferences and perceptions of reality.  He analyzed the information put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  He wrote, “Covid-19 is disproportionately lethal to the very old and ill, and heavily so.  In the United States as of February 17th, 2021, nearly a third (31.8%) of “All Deaths Involving Covid-19” … were of persons 85 years and older.  Nearly 60 percent (59.6%) of these deaths were of persons 75 years of age and older.  More than 81 percent (81.3%) were of people 65 years of age and older.  Despite media-trumpeted exceptions, serious suffering from Covid-19 is largely an experience for very old people.”

He also noted that since, “the Spring of 2020, hospitals in the U.S. have had the financial incentive to inflate their Covid numbers.  As reported on April 24, 2020, by USA Today, ‘The coronavirus relief legislation created a 20% premium, or add-on, for COVID-19 Medicare patients.’ Covid inflation occurred outside of the U.S. as well.  In Toronto, for example, officials admit that they are inflating the Covid death count: Here’s Toronto Public Health: ‘Individuals who have died with COVID-19, but not as a result of COVID-19 are included in the case counts for COVID-19 deaths in Toronto.’”  Boudreaux encouraged people to read the entire Twitter thread.

And he reminded everyone that, “lockdowns themselves have negative health consequences,” like “personal and social consequences.  Avoiding contact with family and friends, even during holidays.  Inability to fraternize at your favorite gym, coffee shop, bar, or restaurant.  Restrictions on travel.  Even if you believe that these costs are worth paying, you cannot deny that these costs are serious.”  And that, “Lockdowns have a severe negative impact on economic activity.  How could they not, given that people are prevented from going to work and from engaging in much ordinary commercial activity?  There’s debate about how much of the decline in economic activity is caused by voluntary action and how much is caused by the forcible lockdowns.  Even in light of the likelihood that people’s fear of Covid is further stoked by the very fact that governments’ resort to the dramatic action of locking us down, evidence exists that a great deal of economic damage was caused by the lockdowns themselves.”  He was also critical of the media, stating that it often provides “out-of-context and biased reporting” that gives the public “a terribly distorted and outsized impression of Covid’s dangers – an impression that is then reinforced by people communicating with each other.”

It is clear there is a growing frustration by Americans with government lockdowns, especially since the statistics continue to show who are the most vulnerable citizens to COVID-19 and that they can be protected.  There is growing anger that children are unable to attend public schools while members of teachers’ unions send their children to private schools, and millions of small businesses are struggling to survive with millions of people out of work while there is growing evidence that states with hard lockdowns do not fare better in the end than states that were less restrictive.  There is no doubt tens of millions of Americans hope that Dr. Makary’s thesis about herd immunity is correct.

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