Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Scott Atlas Slams COVID-19 Reporting Distortions and Wonders If Freedoms Will Survive in America

Scott Atlas

Former adviser to President Trump and a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, Scott Atlas, has a new op-ed in The Wall Street JournalA Pandemic of Misinformation.

Here are key snippets:

[N]early all states used the same draconian policies that people now insist on hardening, even though the number of positive cases increased while people’s movements were constrained, business activities were strictly limited, and schools were closed.

Mobility tracking verifies that people restricted their movement. Gallup and YouGov data show that 80% to 90% of Americans have been wearing masks since early August. Lockdown policies had baleful effects on local economies, families and children, and the virus spread anyway. If one advocates more lockdowns because of bad outcomes so far, why don’t the results of those lockdowns matter?


 In this season when respiratory virus illnesses become more common and people move indoors to keep warm, many states are turning to more severe restrictions on businesses and outdoor activities. Yet empirical data from the U.S., Europe and Japan show that lockdowns don’t eliminate the virus and don’t stop the virus from spreading. They do, however, create extremely harmful health and social problems beyond a dramatic drop in learning, including a tripling of reported depression, skyrocketing suicidal ideation, unreported child abuse, skipped visits for cancer and other medical care.

It adds up to a future health disaster. “For younger people, the lockdowns are so harmful, so deadly, there’s really no good justification,” says Stanford’s Jay Bhattacharya, especially when considering their extremely low risk from Covid-19.


 The decline of objectivity in journalism has been evident for years. Now we see that even respected scientific journals, which are supposed to vet and publish the best objective research, have been contaminated by politics. Social media has become the arbiter of allowable discussion, while universities intimidate and suppress the free exchange of ideas necessary to uncover scientific truths.

It is not at all clear that American society with its cherished freedoms will survive, regardless of our success in defeating the pandemic threat.


1 comment:

  1. While much of Atlas' editorial was objective and sound, the middle part betrays an unfortunate bias toward government subsidized science and health services. This is quite disappointing since he criticizes state governments for implementing forced shut-down policies that effectively subsidized “essential” operations over “non-essential” operations and have demonstrated no effectiveness in preventing the transmission of the virus. Yet they are once again implementing these failed policies.
    Atlas is apparently blind to the weakness of the same type of subsidization at the federal level. In particular his comment suggesting the government’s protection of the pharmaceutical companies from “nearly all risk” was a good thing, shows a total lack of understanding regarding moral hazard. Offering huge financial rewards while protecting pharmaceutical companies from the costs of potential harmful results to the recipients incentivizes them to take risks they would normally avoid. Action that could result in significant harm to the recipients. A danger that should have been clear to him if he had a basic understanding of economics and the importance of cost/benefit analysis in a free market. The government's impact on the science and health care fields is profound and destructive.