The Virus of Mass Destruction
On September 24, 2002, a document was published by the British government, entitled "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Assessment of the British Government."
The dossier contained a slew of serious allegations, claiming that Iraq possessed so-called WMDs, including chemical weapons and biological weapons, and had even restarted its nuclear weapons program.
A month later, U.S. President George W. Bush would publicly state that Saddam Hussein had a "massive stockpile" of biological weapons, while his administration would imply on various occasions that Iraq may have a nuclear weapon.
Under this narrative, and with the backdrop of a broader yet ambiguous “war on terror,” the U.S. was coaxed, largely by fear, into invading a country halfway across the globe.
U.S. citizens, of course, would soon discover that they had been greatly misled by policymakers and government-designated experts about the prevalence of WMDs in Iraq. In April of 2003, an overwhelming majority (80%) of Americans believed that war with Iraq was justified. By July of 2004, support would drop to a minority of just 45%.
Fast forward to today and the assertion that the war in Iraq was based on faulty intelligence (or at least a faulty interpretation of it) is generally undisputed one. Some people, of course, will maintain that we needed to get Saddam out of power anyway, but that’s an entirely different debate.
No matter which way you cut it, the fact is that our fear was leveraged at this time to justify an enormously consequential decision that we may have otherwise not have supported. This left a stain on U.S. history that many Americans cared to forget and we did forget it...
The “Virus of Mass Destruction”
Today, we may be facing an eerily similar boondoggle, but one of even greater consequence than the WMD fiasco.
In mid-March of 2020, the Imperial College London shared an epidemiological model predicting as many as 2.2 million U.S. coronavirus deaths would occur if no action was taken. Even if mitigation efforts were made, it was said that 1.1 million U.S. citizens would still die.
The only way to save us, according to this report, was with an aggressive suppression strategy. We would need to completely lock down the country for up to 18 months (with some brief periods of respite in between), while we crossed our fingers for a safe and effective vaccine.
Fair to say, this paved the way for the media and politicians to paint COVID-19 as a virus of mass destruction that needed to be taken down by all means necessary. After all, the projected potential U.S. death toll equated to 20 bombings of Hiroshima.
Not too surprisingly, the narrative that soon emerged from this was that we were “at war” with the virus, or as Trump called it, an “invisible enemy.”
Under this logic, the White House would leverage the Defense Production Act of 1950, effectively taking control over whatever private industries or property it deemed necessary.
But the power grab, of course, did not stop there. Anyone who didn’t do an about-face at the declaration of war against COVID-19 would be framed as dangerous, an enemy of the people.
Mothers letting their children on playgrounds would be arrested...
Men without masks on public transit would be assaulted by the police.
Free movement between private properties would be restricted...
The U.S. Department of Justice would ask Congress to allow judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies.
Religious gatherings would be ordered to be shut down...
Legislators would arbitrarily determine what is and isn't essential work.
Big tech companies would track our movements through our phones and share that information with various governments...
Drone makers would partner with law enforcement to build temperature scanning drones.
White House advisors would float the idea of giving citizens “Immunity Certificates,” or papers to verify whether or not they could have their freedoms back…
I could go on for a while longer but you get the idea; fear surrounding COVID-19 has been leveraged to make enormously consequential decisions and to bolster the power of both local and centralized governments in some truly absurd ways.
The masses have been convinced that this erosion of our rights and liberties is only temporary and that it’s all necessary to save lives. Anyone who questions constitutional overreach or the prevailing doomsday narrative simply “wants grandma and grandpa to die.”
Right now this absurdly binary line of thinking is prevalent, but it is most certainly abating. As the economic pressures of these policies grow in weight, and with tens of millions of U.S. citizens now out of work, people are waking up to the reality that we simply cannot maintain this for much longer.
People are waking up, though, not just to the cost of widespread lockdown measures, but also to the reality that the early headlining doomsday epidemiological models that catapulted us to this point were off by an enormous degree, even when already accounting for social distancing.
To be fair to the modelers, they could only work with the information they had at the time, but the problem is that we took (and continue to take) polluted data and faulty assumptions at face value.
Originally, that polluted data came from China, but today it is coming straight from the U.S. As many of us have been indicating, loose U.S. reporting standards are resulting in a substantial overcount of COVID-19 caused deaths.
In case you have any doubt of this, here’s the word-for-word explanation of how COVID-19 deaths are recorded, from Illinois Department of Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike:
If you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live, and then you also were found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death. It means technically even if you died of a clear alternate cause, but you had COVID at the same time, it's still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone who's listed as a COVID death doesn't mean that that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of the death.
Add in the fact that, as indicated by data from New York City, 36% of COVID-19 deaths are not confirmed with lab tests and it becomes obvious that the death numbers we are seeing in the headlines are not reflective of the actual COVID-19 death toll.
Now, some will argue that this is a relatively easy problem to fix: All we need to do is count non-violent excess deaths in 2020 (compared to previous years) and that will make the COVID-19 deaths easy to determine.
The problem with this logic is that it relies on the assumption that the virus itself, and not our dysfunctional response to it, is entirely responsible for the increase. This is an assumption that clearly falls apart when we account for what a growing number of concerned doctors are now calling a “silent sub-epidemic,” one many say is more dangerous than the virus itself.
No Greater Danger Than Fear Itself
This sub-epidemic stems from the fact that we have experienced a stark decline in non-coronavirus patients and emergency room visits. In short, people who otherwise need critical care are not getting it for one reason or another.
The most obvious reason is that people are scared out of their wits of contracting the virus, so they are avoiding the physical medical system. Patients have also been told not to go to the hospital unless their symptoms are severe.
As Dr. David Cron of Massachusetts General Hospital explains:
Collateral damage of [COVID-19]: nearly everything I’ve operated on this week was gangrenous. Limbs, gallbladders, appendix, bowel. Delay in ED presentations for surgical problems...
...Someone who is, for example, bent over with crippling abdominal pain at home would probably typically come into the emergency department right away or within a day. And we have patients waiting three or four days to come in. When you’re dealing with appendicitis, cholecystitis, hernias, bad infections in your bone or soft tissues, the longer you wait, the worse it gets.
Another reason could be because diagnostic protocols have been disrupted. Hospitals are viewing virtually every patient right now through the lens of COVID-19, which means that when you go to the hospital, the first thing they’re going to do is attempt to diagnose you and put you in a cohort.
While this makes sense from a containment standpoint, it is an undeniable disruption of normal medical protocol. The time it takes to move through the COVID-19 funnel could very well mean the difference between life and death. Along with being treated as a COVID-19 patient when really you have another serious condition.
The point is, attributing any excess deaths directly to COVID-19 requires us to ignore this collateral damage, or at least pretend like it was completely unavoidable. In reality, this “silent sub-epidemic” is largely a product of our response — a self-fulfilling doomsday narrative, if you will.
None of this, by the way, even touches on the additional collateral damage of our panicked response: Job loss mortality, domestic violence, suicides, and people who are literally poisoning themselves in an attempt to fight the virus.
There is no doubt that COVID-19 is a serious disease requiring precaution. But the idea that we needed to destroy the economy, completely disrupt the medical system, and sacrifice our constitutional rights to protect society looks to have been more and more misguided by the day.
This headline from CNBC earlier this week says it all:
Sweden resisted a lockdown, and its capital Stockholm is expected to reach ‘herd immunity’ in weeks.
Just be sure to remember who was saying this all from the very start.
Until next time,
Jason Stutman is Wealth Daily's senior technology analyst and editor of investment advisory newsletters Technology and Opportunity and Topline Trader. His strategy for building winning portfolios is simple: Buy the disruptor, sell the disrupted.
Covering the broad sector of technology and occasionally dabbling in the political sphere, Jason has written hundreds of articles spanning topics from consumer electronics and development stage biotechnology to political forecasting and social commentary.
Outside the office Jason is a lover of science fiction and the outdoors. He writes through the lens of a futurist, free market advocate, and fiscal conservative. Jason currently hails from Baltimore, Maryland, with roots in the great state of New York.
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