The Greatest Policy Blunder Ever


by Jim Rickards, Daily Reckoning:

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the “respectable” media has pushed the theory that the virus came from a wet market in Wuhan, China.

Any talk that it might have come from a bioweapons lab in Wuhan was dismissed as a conspiracy theory.

But the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, not exactly a fringe organization, published a paper recently acknowledging the possibility that the virus escaped from a lab.

It didn’t say definitively that the virus escaped from a lab, but it maintained that it’s a legitimate possibility, not just some baseless conspiracy theory.


The origins of the virus are still being debated, but here’s what we do know:

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic began in November 2019 in Wuhan, China. From there, it spread west to Milan, Italy and east to Seattle, Washington.

The virus mutated in Italy, then spread to New York, where it hit the tri-state area (NY, NJ, CT) viciously in March-April 2020. Eventually, it spread to the entire world with severe outbreaks in Melbourne, Madrid, London and Lima.

Over 3.2 million around the world have died from COVID. Even now, the virus is out of control in Brazil and India.

Although lower caseloads and much lower fatality rates are emerging in the U.S. and elsewhere, the pandemic is far from over.

The progress is due to both herd immunity from infected survivors with antibodies and the impact of experimental gene modification treatments from Moderna, Pfizer, Astra-Zeneca, and others.

The end is in sight, if not quite here. What have we learned?

Lockdowns Didn’t Work

Obviously, public health authorities around the world were completely unprepared for a health emergency of this magnitude. There were severe shortages of personal protective gear, masks, oxygen, testing kits and trained staff.

China was grossly negligent to the point of criminality in covering up the outbreak, not allowing foreign experts to research the outbreak or possible cures on-site, and blaming others for their negligence. Still, the list of government blunders doesn’t stop there.

The lockdown response used by the U.S. and other countries did no good medically and was immensely destructive from an economic perspective.

Scientific evidence that lockdowns don’t work to contain a virus was available in 2006. The anti-lockdown view was widely shared long before that.

Evidence from the 50 states in the U.S. (which had varied lockdown policies) and 30 countries around the world shows that there is no correlation between lockdown policies and virus spread. Orders for extreme, moderate, or no lockdowns all resulted in similar caseloads and fatalities.

Lockdowns had no material impact on the course of the disease.

But, lockdowns did destroy businesses and jobs. Large parts of the economy were simply destroyed and will never recover – they’re gone. Lockdowns also increased suicides, drug and alcohol abuse as well as domestic abuse.

The CDC, White House, state governors and other officials adopted lockdown policies without knowing if they worked (they don’t) and without considering the costs, which resulted in trillions of dollars of lost wealth and output.

Junk Science

But governments were not the only culprits in giving bad advice and implementing ruinous policies during the pandemic. Scientists were just as negligent. In fact, governments used “the science,” however flawed the science turned out to be, to justify their draconian policies.

Often, government and scientists worked hand-in-hand, with science offering flawed projections and governments taking the bad advice and using it to force destructive policies on the public.

There are many examples of this. Perhaps none are worse than the Imperial College-London (ICL) models.

Any model is only as good as the assumptions behind it. Real scientists know that no model is perfect. Good scientists continually update assumptions to compensate for output that deviates from observations.

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