The Process by which an Epidemic becomes Endemic in a Social Sense
October 2, 2022 1:13 AM   Subscribe

How to Hide a Plague: How Elite Capture and Individualism Made Covid Normal How large right wing business interests co-opted science to hamstring public health response and pull the classic capitalism move of individualizing risks, while convincing the public it was their idea.

Lecture at UTMB Institute for Bioethics & Health Humanities on Sept. 22, 2022.

The US has experienced among the highest cumulative mortality rates from Covid-19 in the Global North. This lecture will argue that the failures of the US pandemic response were mainly driven by economic elites who used their influence to undermine public health protections. The initial phase of the Covid response was collective, including a massive temporary expansion of the welfare state, but this approach threatened the power of the capitalist class. In response, there was an abandonment of economic interventions followed by a wholesale reframing of the virus as an issue of personal responsibility and individual choice. This lecture will explore how the exertion of elite influence went far beyond lobbying politicians, extending to government bureaucracies and civil society institutions such as news media and schools of public health. This process of constructing a new, deadlier normal holds lessons that can be transferred to climate change and other collective crises of the 21st century.
posted by Bottlecap (44 comments total) 102 users marked this as a favorite
 
This looks like the lecture I've been waiting for. Thank you thank you thank you for posting.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:08 AM on October 2, 2022 [6 favorites]


Excellent talk; I’m mildly surprised it was given at a state school in Texas. I did a little googling on the speaker, Justin Feldman, and found this related piece by on Medium: The “herd immunity strategy” isn’t part of a scientific debate about COVID-19. It’s a well-funded political campaign. Well worth a read.
posted by TedW at 3:56 AM on October 2, 2022 [13 favorites]


A big long rambly twitter thread about McKinsey's role in pushing the business agenda over a real pandemic response.
posted by srboisvert at 4:40 AM on October 2, 2022 [11 favorites]


As a small business owner I find this both unsurpising and depressing. We held out until a couple of weeks ago still requiring customers to mask in the store, but we feared losing business during our all-important fall and holiday seasons. So we got a bunch of HEPA filters (which are quiet individually but when you have 4 running...) and we still wear our N95s. Because we've cultivated a culture of safety about half of our customers are still masking, a far greater percentage than I see at the grocery store, for instance.

The point is, we feel like we have to make decisions based on the economics rather than the science. We have to act in ways that are suboptimal for safety in order to make enough sales to stay open, simply because there are customers who will abandon us if we are "too safe." That really sucks. We're still requiring proof of vaccination and masking for classes, and I enjoy telling unvaccinated people that we won't teach them. Fuck those people.
posted by rikschell at 5:57 AM on October 2, 2022 [90 favorites]


One question I have is whether this group was responsible for reactions outside the US. Sweden, for example, was quite explicit about trying for a herd immunity strategy, and they don't usually seem like a country that would be following the dictates of the Hoover Institute.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:03 AM on October 2, 2022 [11 favorites]


At 21 minutes, he mentions how masking, lock-downs, and quarantines were considered "midaeval" health measures and were opposed by trade and commerce. Could it be that "the new normal" of bubbles, little travel, and few public spaces is a return to a previous way of human life? Perhaps the 20th century will be remembered not as a technological boom but a momentary disease recession.
posted by rebent at 7:20 AM on October 2, 2022 [3 favorites]


Excellent talk; I’m mildly surprised it was given at a state school in Texas.

Given your career and location, I'm mildly surprised you would think that. That would seem the same kind of shade someone from outside of Georgia would throw if any research came from one of your medical universities.

A couple of points to note: As of 2017, Texas is still roughly evenly split between Ds and Rs. Like most of the US, Ds tend to congregate to the urban areas and maybe not vote as much, so don't have the equal representation.

Galveston (where UTMB is located) is also incredibly blue for it's population.

UTMB does receive funding from the state. UTMB receives funding from multiple sources. The research area of UTMB is almost completely funded by sources outside of state funding. Honestly, the only "funding" from the state is some admin work as well as using the name of the hospital to help receive the grants for research. (Check out GNL some time. It's a pretty neat research thing going on at the main campus of UTMB. )

In addition to the money for this almost certainly coming from outside of the state of Texas... UTMB almost always sends money back to the lege every fiscal year. UTMB has a ton of revenue coming in via clinics and hospitals. So, the Rs in the lege are happy to fund UTMB as they get money back every single year. Even when Hurricane Harvey sat over south Texas for weeks and kept some clinics closed for over a month, UTMB still turned a profit. Or, returned a profit to the state, I should say.

Anyway, thank you bottlecap for sharing! Can't wait to watch! UTMB has been doing a ton of Covid work and it's awesome to see them get some recognition.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 7:27 AM on October 2, 2022 [33 favorites]


Speaker's home page
posted by BWA at 7:31 AM on October 2, 2022 [3 favorites]


Could it be that "the new normal" of bubbles, little travel, and few public spaces is a return to a previous way of human life?

What "new normal"? As far as I can tell everyone's gone screaming back to the way things were before the pandemic.
posted by chrominance at 8:44 AM on October 2, 2022 [37 favorites]


Speaker's home page

thanks for linking that, enjoyed reading more about his areas of research. some amazing work getting done there, sheeeeeeesh.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:45 AM on October 2, 2022 [2 favorites]


Thank you for posting this Bottlecap! Great post!
posted by bleep at 9:44 AM on October 2, 2022 [3 favorites]


What "new normal"?

the future is infamously unevenly distributed
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:20 PM on October 2, 2022 [10 favorites]


As far as I can tell everyone's gone screaming back to the way things were before the pandemic.

Not everyone. Some people have the circumstances that allow that. Some don't.
posted by bleep at 12:33 PM on October 2, 2022 [12 favorites]


Also, check your sampling model: will it undercount people who are still avoiding transmission opportunities?
posted by clew at 1:14 PM on October 2, 2022 [17 favorites]


I dunno. The football stadiums look pretty full to me. So does my gym.
posted by eagles123 at 1:40 PM on October 2, 2022


So, yes, then.
posted by clew at 1:52 PM on October 2, 2022 [10 favorites]


The pandemic has repeatedly proven that humans suck at risk analysis. Just look at those people who refuse basic community health ideas like vaccination and masking. The selfishness of individualism is the goal of divide and conquer strategies and ruefully easy to trigger in the US with suggestions of “the economy,” which should be a collective response with long-term vision, but is, in reality, a quarterly measurement of rich peoples’ yachts.

Poor people are a drain on rich peoples’ yachting expenses and the deaths of more poor people is a boon to “the economy” through the ever-rising profits of so-called inflation. The sycophantic response of bowing towards death in order to create more wealth that the dead will never see is a direct result of the propaganda and agenda benefitting those who need no benefitting.
posted by Revvy at 1:53 PM on October 2, 2022 [7 favorites]


Regarding Sweden: their public health agency was reorganized and lost (evicted?) many of its scientists several years ago. The public health agency was doing significant cutbacks in the public health system before the pandemic. There's a detailed analysis of what led to its COVID non-response here. The words "evasive accountability structure" feature highly. It is a really depressing read.
posted by rednikki at 1:57 PM on October 2, 2022 [21 favorites]


It's really interesting how COVID just is not a left/right issue in the UK. Like, it's not an issue at all, politically or culturally, except way over in the fringes. While over the pond we see you guys getting really anguished over masks in mainstream discourse.

Either (1) it's like one of those "imagine you are an alien come to Earth" scenarios where you try to get someone to explain the situation to someone without any existing cultural knowledge or (2) only Lefty Metafilter and Twitter people care.
posted by one more day at 2:09 PM on October 2, 2022 [4 favorites]


@rikschell, I’m one of “those people,”

I think you might not be, if your profile location is accurate. This looks like a US-oriented covid post. In the US, vaccines are (as far as I understand it) widely available and have been for a long time.

Personally I really hope everyone from other parts of the world will continue sharing their context, though.
posted by aniola at 2:16 PM on October 2, 2022 [2 favorites]


Mod note: One deleted. Don't tell other users "fuck you."
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 2:18 PM on October 2, 2022 [20 favorites]


Like, it's not an issue at all, politically or culturally, except way over in the fringes.

??? Did you not just have a prolonged eviction of a prime minister based on part on his failure to follow COVID precautions? Didn't the Tories fight major COVID restrictions in Parliament?

Unsurprisingly, different countries have different politics and issues therefore play out differently, but I don't understand what you mean here at all.
posted by praemunire at 3:06 PM on October 2, 2022 [10 favorites]


Poor people are a drain on rich peoples’ yachting expenses and the deaths of more poor people is a boon to “the economy” through the ever-rising profits of so-called inflation. The sycophantic response of bowing towards death in order to create more wealth that the dead will never see is a direct result of the propaganda and agenda benefitting those who need no benefitting.

McKinsey estimated a $22 Billion savings due to "demographic changes" from the pandemic. That is essentially that killing off a million people will result in those people not needing treatment for other health related ailments down the road. Who accrues those savings? Probably mostly local governments while much of the costs for covid health care was federalized. It kind of makes you wonder about the dangerous incentive structures.

It's one of things I've been concerned with about Chicago's pandemic response. The city has huge pension and pension related health care costs looming over its future like a Damoclean Sword. The demographics most hit by the pandemic also match up pretty well with the demographics of the city's blue collar union workers. Now the city's leaders didn't have McKinsey's whisperers come in and coach them as far I know. It was instead Boston Consulting who were "helping them with their spreadsheets" as it was so innocuously put. Plus the city council has been a case study in regulatory capture by the restaurant lobby who were obviously the biggest opposition to covid mandates (and coincidentally minimum wage increases - bad people are going to be bad is a decent prediction). Chicago probably had one of the weakest pandemic responses of a Blue-through-and-through city in America. Some big early talk by the Mayor on Insta (with a round of adoring national press) and then almost complete non-enforcement of mandates, massive test center fraud throughout the city, a corrupt vaccine rollout, a thoroughly delinquent police force and as few accommodations as possible (very close to none). Trader Joe's did more for my wellbeing than the city I pay taxes to which supposedly has an entire public health department. The pandemic relief funds when they arrived were channeled into debt relief for the city's previously existing ailing financial state (a big gift to property owners essentially forestalling the pending property tax increases for another year or two maybe) and to the police who took their 50%+ cut of the pie.

7 million cases, ~50K hospitalizations, ~7800 deaths.

Zippo, zero, nada accountability.

Things that make you go "Hmmmm".
posted by srboisvert at 3:56 PM on October 2, 2022 [20 favorites]


Not everyone. Some people have the circumstances that allow that. Some don't.

Sorry, yeah, I should've been more clear. Many people still can't do a lot of things they could before 2020. But it certainly feels like a lot of governments and societies have decided they're moving on, regardless of whether everyone can go back to "the usual" or not. So "the new normal," at least where I am, just seem to be the old normal but with thousands more deaths a year that we don't really talk about except in vague terms. We don't even have reliable statistics anymore on how many deaths that's likely to be every year, what caseloads are, or what my risk is of contracting various forms of COVID-related illnesses like long COVID. The powers that be don't seem interested in collecting them; indeed they're trying to get rid of those statistics as fast as possible.
posted by chrominance at 5:00 PM on October 2, 2022 [8 favorites]


As one of the people who's being written off as unprofitable, I have to warn you that it won't end with the immunocompromised, the sick, and the old. Now that corporate America has learned that you can convince people that killing millions of human beings for profit is okay, now that they know how to spin millions of casualties so that it's no longer a moral issue but a political one, they can eliminate anyone they choose.

We have become merciless.
posted by MrVisible at 5:06 PM on October 2, 2022 [23 favorites]



Justin Feldman has consistently done fantastic work on elucidating the failed US response to COVID from a leftist perspective. His tweets over the years have helped protect my sanity against the constant gaslighting done by the compromised higher-ups of American academic public health. It's sad and telling that he was unable to find a tenure-track job that worked for him. I've gotten in trouble just for liking/retweeting certain tweets; it's no surprise universities didn't want to hire him.

To contextualize some of his comments about elite capture regarding schools of public health, we public health academics are strongly disincentivized to even publicly talk about this sort of thing. Everything in academic public health revolves around research funding: most of us rely nearly entirely on grants to keep our careers going (as opposed to other fields that are more funded by "hard money", i.e., teaching), and so we are at the mercy of funding agencies to do our work. This remains true even after tenure, so any "academic freedom" a public health professor may exercise is typically done through unfunded work on their own time. For me, that's the work I care most about, but I still have to consider how anything I do or say could harm my funding opportunities down the road.

All funding comes from the top, whether it's the federal government (NIH, NSF) or private foundations (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Gates, etc.), who are all then subject to elite capture. Critiquing the system or advocating for structural change is not likely to get you NIH funding. Openly criticizing [billionaire funder] will likely end your career in public health. So what happens then is that young, idealistic academics join the system, try to do impactful work in their unfunded free time while balancing the necessary evils of doing grant work, but then also compete with the careerist sociopaths who only care about winning grants. You're left with a field where most senior academics are alcoholics, cowards, and/or sociopaths, where the latter group is totally happy with taking money from right-wing think tanks and advancing the mass death agenda.

It's like non-profit work in that you stick around despite an obviously broken system in hopes that you can still do some good. My understanding is that working at government public health agencies is a pretty similar experience.
posted by bongerino at 5:21 PM on October 2, 2022 [22 favorites]


Sorry, yeah, I should've been more clear. Many people still can't do a lot of things they could before 2020. But it certainly feels like a lot of governments and societies have decided they're moving on, regardless of whether everyone can go back to "the usual" or not. So "the new normal," at least where I am, just seem to be the old normal but with thousands more deaths a year that we don't really talk about except in vague terms. We don't even have reliable statistics anymore on how many deaths that's likely to be every year, what caseloads are, or what my risk is of contracting various forms of COVID-related illnesses like long COVID. The powers that be don't seem interested in collecting them; indeed they're trying to get rid of those statistics as fast as possible.

As it turns out, this is exactly what the talk linked in the post is about.
posted by eviemath at 5:22 PM on October 2, 2022 [4 favorites]


Related:

Abled-Bodied Leftists Cannot Abandon Disabled Solidarity to “Move On” From COVID
The powers that be also badly want us to forget that there was a moment — a long, two-year moment — when people felt that everything could be different, that revolutionary change was possible. Many disabled people noted that the pandemic made for a “cripping of the world” — where for perhaps the first time in a while, the world, gripped by a global pandemic, dwelled in disabled reality. Remember how, for a minute, so many forms of access disabled people had long fought for were here because abled people needed them? Remember virtual work, pandemic pay for frontline workers, online school, online events with captioning and ASL, teaching people how to freaking wash their hands and stay home when they were sick, the ability to reschedule an appointment or a plane ticket when you got sick and not get yelled at or charged a fee, and immunocompromised shopping hours? These waves of access, mixed with mass resistance in the streets and at home against anti-Black, white supremacist violence, made for a powerful-ass two years. If that kind of mass access, resistance and mutual aid could happen, revolutionary change could happen too. The state wants us to forget that.

The thing is, though, it’s not just the state. It’s been wild watching people who are ostensibly leftist say, We’re following the CDC guidelines, and drop masking, rapid testing and other safety requirements. Two years or more of rioting in the streets and suddenly, we’re doing what the government says we should do? One minute, we were masking; the next minute, you do you. One minute some abled people are experimenting with “WE keep US safe,” the next minute, every club in 2022 was like, “Masks encouraged but not required. You do you!”

By wild, I mean painful. By painful, I mean heartbreaking. By heartbreaking, I mean every disabled person I know is in a state of grief and shock since April, when many mask mandates in airlines, public transport and public life were abruptly dropped by federal and state governments in the U.S., as everyone else abandons solidarity to “move on.” One minute, a lot of people were masking during Omicron; the next minute, everyone was back to breathing on each other on the bus — and we weren’t safe anymore. We increasingly feel pushed out of public life, as events and spaces from urgent cares to ERs to conferences say, “Oh, we’re not doing virtual anymore.” We’re talking about it, but it feels like no one else is. And many of us feel incredibly alone in our grief, and in the disorientation of feeling like we’re the only ones stubbornly remembering.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:55 AM on October 3, 2022 [41 favorites]


And many of us feel incredibly alone in our grief, and in the disorientation of feeling like we’re the only ones stubbornly remembering.


AMEN
posted by bleep at 4:18 AM on October 3, 2022 [8 favorites]


A non mouse, a cow heard, I don’t want to derail this thread, but I would like to respond to your comment. I probably should have used the phrase “Pleasantly surprised” rather than “mildly surprised” in my comment. But I am familiar with Texas; I graduated from UT and have relatives scattered throughout the state. I have been to UTMB several times; it is a great institution. Texas may be purple in terms of population, as is Georgia, but the Republicans have captured control of the state government in both places through a variety of mechanisms that have been well-documented. And make no mistake, for all of their whining about “cancel culture” the Republicans running state governments are enemies of academic freedom. Florida may be leading the way, but other states aren’t far behind. When it comes to academic politics much is often left unsaid, but the idea that if you invite a speaker that will say things that the people in power and controlling the purse strings dislike, it will not help your career, is real. And your assertion that UTMB is shielded from political concerns because it is profitable is belied by the numerous times Republicans have put profit behind idealogical purity. For example, rejecting Medicaid expansion, which would improve the bottom line of every hospital in the state. So while I agree with the idea that there is good research coming out of both Georgia and Texas, I have to say that in both states (and others) there is political pressure (often subtle and unseen) to direct research and other academic activity in a direction that will not threaten the current political structure.
posted by TedW at 12:42 PM on October 3, 2022 [6 favorites]


On the small business front, my mind goes to JWZ's declaration of surrender on behalf of the DNA Lounge:
We deeply regret to inform you that we are no longer requiring proof of vaccination to enter DNA Lounge.

[...]

To the many of you who have thanked us for our policies, who have told us that DNA Lounge was the only venue in which you felt safe -- because we were the only ones who seemed to be taking this pandemic seriously -- thank you for your support. And I'm sorry. We are no longer able to provide you with that island of safety.

A while back someone on Twitter said something like, "I'll be wearing a mask at all shows until DNA Lounge says you don't need them at theirs." That was a very nice thing to hear, a vote of confidence in our science-based policies.

To be clear, that is not what we are saying.

What we are saying is, you should absolutely still wear a mask, and you should only congregate with others who are all masked and boosted. But DNA Lounge can no longer mandate that, because Capitalism Says No.

We are welcoming back with open arms the unvaccinated, the unboosted, the unmasked. We intend to pack them in, shoulder to sweaty shoulder, spittle flying everywhere. We are doing this because we can't afford not to. Much like our mayor, and the CDC, we are not following the science, we are following the money.

If that sounds horrible to you, that's because it is.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:49 PM on October 3, 2022 [21 favorites]


Not the first to present this perspective. I remember reading many months ago someone put up an article online that read something like "How Koch Brothers Hijacked the COVID Response". I can't find the original source now, because there are a dozen sound-alike citings and I can't remember which one. TheNation had one in 2021 titled "How Profiteers Hijacked the COVID response" but it's not quite the same.

One factor that can't be understated is having Trump as the president has seriously hampered our COVID response. It basically hamstrung the CDC and Fauci, esp. when the architect of this whole thing, Scott Atlas, actually had a book out that accused CDC, Fauci, Birx, Redfield,, and a couple others of hijacking the COVID response, while making himself out to be the hero.

It's clear that Atlas was the one that introduced the GBD folks to Trump and setup the Whitehouse meeting. The photo itself explained a lot: NONE of the folks in the picture (Atlas, Ladapo, Jay, and Martin, and Trump) are epidemiologists. Atlas and Ladapo are regular MDs, IIRC. Jay was more of an ecnomics / medicine co-study, and Martin is a "biostatistitcian". They don't give a **** about the epidemic, but they speak "business" and economics and that's what Trump wanted to hear. They were planning an ECONOMIC response to COVID, not an epidemiological response. THAT is why so many died.... It was always about the $$$$, not the people.
posted by kschang at 1:49 PM on October 3, 2022 [3 favorites]


The DNA Lounge story reminds me of a local venue, one where I've seen various bands play over a thirty-year period. Their response to COVID went from "closed due to pandemic" to "proof of vaccination and mask required" to "no restrictions" over time, as responses appear to be wont to do, though I'll credit them with hanging onto restrictions longer than many of their peers did.

A band that I've seen repeatedly has an upcoming gig there, and I have to admit that I was tempted; most band members are pushing 60, the lead singer resembles Ed Asner more every day, and it's hard to say how many tours they'll have in them. But I saw "no vaccine or mask restrictions" and just... noped out.

An acquaintance kind of mocked me for that. No one else is still masking, he laughed. No one else is still taking the pandemic seriously. And he's not wrong; masking around me in stores is down to maybe 10-20%, and next to nothing upstate. My wife and I are drawing more stares than approval for our N95s these days.

But all I could think was, well, I hope that stance works out for you, friend. I recognize why many have decided that if COVID is inevitable, it's not worth avoiding any more. And my brain still shrieks out, what the hell is wrong with those people?
posted by delfin at 3:04 PM on October 3, 2022 [10 favorites]


This looks great! Thank you so much for posting.
posted by Mr. Papagiorgio at 3:25 PM on October 3, 2022


Just to follow-up my own comment earlier... It's especially ironic that Atlas himself actually brought up the fact that none of the three he accused (Fauci, Birx, and Redfield) are epidemiologists so according to Atlas they really had no authority speaking for COVID response. Well, at least they are INFORMED by epidemiologists who works for the CDC.

Unlike the buck of GBD hacks he brought in. Are any of them epidemiologists? Nope.

Pot calling the kettle black, at best. self-serving propaganda with worthless digs at people who are actually DOING things to save lives would be a far more accurate description.
posted by kschang at 4:03 PM on October 3, 2022 [2 favorites]


Just this week I had an online exchange where I was told that a positive rapid test was something one could safely ignore, with CDC cited as a source. And that masks don't do anything.

We really have gone back to the dark ages.
posted by Dashy at 5:56 PM on October 3, 2022 [5 favorites]


Misinformation is often attributed to the CDC to make it sound legit, usually by antivaxxers.

CDC's website certainly does NOT say so for either item. Whoever told you never bothered to check CDC.gov, and is quite gullible to antivax propaganda.
posted by kschang at 7:19 PM on October 3, 2022 [8 favorites]


“Capitalism” also solved the pandemic- by making vaccines, therepeutics, masks, all the items needed in hospitals … My belief is that the relatively poor US showing in the pandemic is due to our pre-existing gaps in health care, not any failure of mask policies. social distancing, etc. The *politicization* of the pandemic (in the form of anti-vax on one side, extended school closures on the other side) is what really f’ed us up, and what is really uniquely American.
posted by haptic_avenger at 4:48 AM on October 4, 2022 [2 favorites]


Can I put a plug in for folks engaging with the actual link in the FPP? There are already other active threads focusing on people’s general opinions on the pandemic.
posted by eviemath at 6:00 AM on October 4, 2022 [3 favorites]


A non mouse, a cow heard, I don’t want to derail this thread, but I would like to respond to your comment. I probably should have used the phrase “Pleasantly surprised” rather than “mildly surprised” in my comment.

That completely changes my reading of your comment. I apologize that I jumped to conclusions.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 6:19 AM on October 4, 2022 [3 favorites]


No need for apologies! The gap between what goes on in my head and what ends up in my comments can be quite large sometimes.
posted by TedW at 8:09 AM on October 4, 2022 [4 favorites]


HARD
SAME
posted by lazaruslong at 8:12 AM on October 4, 2022 [3 favorites]


My belief is that the relatively poor US showing in the pandemic is due to our pre-existing gaps in health care, not any failure of mask policies. social distancing, etc. The *politicization* of the pandemic

Completely agree with this. Solutions that would make public health better *in general* but also improve COVID outcomes like setting up additional clinics in low-income neighborhoods (if you think food deserts are bad, look at medical deserts), hiring up nursing and (at least temporarily) easing caps on MDs, and pushing for increased medical care would have done far more than emphasizing masks or social distancing.

Also, the pandemic came in pre-politicized, as US housing/business/life emphasizes the individual vs the collective, and COVID-preparedness leaned into (instead of away from) the trappings of US individual society, like drive-thrus, car-focused medical testing, big box stores lacking meaningful restrictions while small business closed, the aged generally separated from normal society [who died at far higher rates], and take-out food and shopping. Who is doing all that food prep and gathering? Who is watching their kids?

Also: crappy online school - the kids of today had to forgo an entire year of education...what are the effects of that going to be?

Also, the author kind of assumes that the COVID medical cabal was drummed up for COVID, but they always existed and were floating in the background of spurious medical treatments, cleanses, vitamins, and non-FDA approved meds.

He also hits on the wishy-washyness of the CDC and public health institutions, which is still true to this day. That has nothing to do with 'capitalism' or individual actions, which led to really unpopular gov't policy decisions, like Zoom funerals, no-one allowed into the rooms of sick relatives, etc. He didn't even offer any reasons why beyond vague illusions to elites, but these people are making public policy decisions worth billions and working for the Govt. They are members of the elite!

If you add in the protests (which were not counted as 'gatherings' somehow and a-ok) about police brutality, but then need an apparatus to enforce mandates - well there is no straight line there that is going to please everyone, or even make logical sense...

IMO he also leans way hard on lazily worded opinion polls in support of stronger public health outcomes around 40minutes in and unscientific, borderline useless measurements of 'high vs moderate vs low transmission' rates that are still being used today.

IDK, I don't really find it very convincing...
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:48 AM on October 4, 2022 [1 favorite]


He also hits on the wishy-washyness of the CDC and public health institutions, which is still true to this day.

In the Q/A session he even mentions that the CDC was publicizing bad data about vaccine efficacy! The elites didn't need to undermine them - they were doing it to themselves.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:54 AM on October 4, 2022


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