The Times Looks Back on Covid

The New York Times looks back on covid, four years down the road, and says “Here’s what we’ve learned.” I would say we have learned some things that the Times doesn’t touch, like the idiocy of shutting down stores, businesses, churches and, especially, schools.

But admitting that would be a bridge too far for the Times. Even on the lessons the Times acknowledges, you sometimes have to read between the lines:

When the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic in March 2020, nearly everything about the novel coronavirus was an open question: How was it spreading so quickly? How sick would it make people? Would a single bout buy you protection from future cases?

I think we knew quite about covid, early, based in part on cruise ship experiences. It was known that many people who tested positive for covid didn’t even notice it, that for most it was a mild respiratory infection, and that serious consequences were relatively rare and centered on those who were elderly and in bad health.

By now, most Americans have had COVID-19 at least once. While the majority of those infected have been hit with flulike symptoms, some have been hospitalized with serious respiratory issues, and others have had no symptoms at all.

See above. It didn’t take four years to figure that out. And the fact that most–I would say, nearly all–Americans have now had covid makes a mockery of the “Black Death” predictions that liberals were making four years ago.

Part of this can be explained by the amount of virus we are exposed to, but our bodies also play a big role. People who are older or have existing health problems tend to have more severe symptoms because their immune systems are already weakened.

This was blindingly obvious from the beginning, and applies to most diseases.

In some cases, the body can fight off the virus before it replicates enough to cause symptoms, or clear it so quickly that a person never tests positive.

Again, this was known from the start and is typical of many or most viruses.

There’s also strong evidence that vaccination makes illness less severe.

I’m not sure how strong that evidence is. I’m willing to assume that on average, vaccinations reduced the severity of covid symptoms. But the Times delicately refrains from mentioning that this isn’t how the vaccines were promoted. Health “experts” including, as I recall, Joe Biden, told us that if we got vaccinated we wouldn’t catch covid. They claimed we had a moral duty to be vaccinated because then we wouldn’t spread the disease to others. And on that basis, they fired people, and imposed other sanctions on people, who declined to be vaccinated.

This turned out to be a vicious exercise in fascistic control. Getting vaccinated didn’t prevent you from catching, or spreading, covid. The people around you caught covid (or didn’t) regardless of whether you were vaccinated. Maybe vaccination tended to reduce the severity of symptoms, and if so, you could benefit from it. But the idea that you had a duty to others to be vaccinated–the foundation of liberal covid totalitarianism–turned out to be a fraud.

Generally speaking, an infection or vaccination protects you for several months, said Akiko Iwasaki, a virologist and immunologist at Yale University.

Remember when liberals denied that having had covid gave you at least as good immunity as being vaccinated? That claim never made any sense, since the purpose of vaccination is to cause the body to mimic the effect of actually having a disease. But it was the basis for firing people who had had covid but had not been vaccinated, and for other liberal totalitarianism. Now no one claims the liberals were right about this, but the Times delicately refrains from pointing out that what we have now “learned,” while obvious all along, is the opposite of what liberals tried to impose on us.

The Times actually admits this:

T cells provide a different form of protection — reducing the severity of symptoms rather than blocking infection — and research now suggests that this immunity may last a year or longer.

Better than vaccination, in other words. I believe Glenn Reynolds has been writing about the importance of T cells for several years. But I wouldn’t make too much of that. No one imagines that New York Times reporters or health bureaucrats are as smart as Glenn.

Early in the pandemic, people feared that children, as notorious germ spreaders, would catch and spread the virus easily. They also worried that children would fall particularly ill, because they tend to experience some of the most severe outcomes with influenza and RSV.

This was the excuse for shutting down schools, a catastrophically bad policy whose consequences we will live with for decades.

But with COVID, children seem to have largely been spared from severe illness. Only a small number are hospitalized or develop life-threatening conditions such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C.

We now have a clearer idea why that’s the case: Children’s immune systems may be better primed against COVID because they are frequently exposed to the benign coronaviruses that cause common colds, said Dr. Alpana Waghmare, an infectious-disease specialist at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

I think this is the only time when the Times admits that, while covid was novel in some respects, it is a coronavirus–a category with which we have a great deal of experience, since the common cold is a complex of coronaviruses. And, while the Times would never admit it, by now covid is basically the common cold.

The Times article concludes with this:

Al-Aly said that while many of COVID’s mysteries have been solved, he fears that the public has grown weary of the virus — when in reality, he said, it’s “not in our rearview mirror yet.”

I am pretty sure that the public has, indeed, “grown weary” of endless blather about covid. If covid isn’t in our rear view mirror, it should be. Like all diseases, it is a bad thing that can do harm. But the idea that we should disrupt our entire society; damage our children, perhaps irreparably; cause many billions if not trillions of dollars in economic loss; bankrupt hundreds of thousands of small businesses; and separate many millions of people from their families, on account of covid, is far worse than the disease itself. As many of us could have told you four years ago, and as the Times now does not dare to deny.

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