Give The New York Times some credit here. On the one hand, its big, graphics-rich feature marking the grim news that about a million Americans have been killed by the CCP Virus has pinpointed a highly specific group of culprits for this towering toll, and an equally specific group of measures that could have held it way down (although it’s never indicated by how much).
Among the worst: “elected officials who played down the threat posed by the coronavirus and resisted safety measures” and “lower vaccination and booster rates than other rich countries, partly the result of widespread mistrust and resistance fanned by right-wing media and politicians.”
So clearly, the authors insist, mask-wearing and lockdowns and social distancing should have been imposed much faster and more widely (without stating for how long), and more vaccinations required.
On the other hand, the reader is presented with abundant evidence that the benefits of such measures might have been limited – which is especially striking since not even a hint is provided that such steps might have inflicted considerable damage in their own right – including from other threats to public health that have been neglected.
Most strikingly, consistent with its observation that “The virus did not claim lives evenly, or randomly.” the piece reminds that in fact, the worst damage was remarkably concentrated in a single group. Specifically, “Three quarters of those who have died of Covid have been 65 or older.” Moreover, of that cohort, a third were 85 and over.
And then there was the related nursing homes disaster. According to the Times piece, a fifth of the roughly million CCP Virus-induced deaths in America occurred among residents and staff of these facilities.
Why longer and more sweeping lockdowns and the like would have reduced the virus’ damage to the nation as a whole, considering all the economic, educational, and health harm they produced for the vast majority of Americans who were far less vulnerable, is never explained.
The article’s case for vaccine mandates is similarly muddled. It repeats the widespread claims that most of those who died from the virus after vaccines became widely available were unvaxxed, and that “vaccinated people have had a much lower death rate — unvaccinated people have been at least nine times as likely to die since April 2021 [when the eligibility for the doses became universally available].”
At the same time, readers learn that:
>“at least 50,000 vaccinated people, many of them older or without booster shots, were among the deaths reported since late April 2021….”; and that
>”People 80 and older who had gotten shots were almost twice as likely to die at the height of the Omicron wave as those in their 50s or early 60s who had not, according to C.D.C. [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] data.”
Further, the article makes clear that, even forgetting about the decisive role played by age, claims about vaccine effectiveness are substantially exaggerated. Despite presenting the common contention that “unvaccinated people have been at least nine times as likely to die since April 2021,” the chart presented to support this point shows that this ratio has held for only part of the period duing which vaccines have become widely available. The chart also that the gap has almost disappeared today.
In addition, the piece reports that “The C.D.C. has received data on deaths by vaccination status from only about half of the states….” As the authors explain, this data shortage makes it “impossible to know exactly how many vaccinated people are among the million who have died.”
Conversely, this data shortage – along with thoroughgoing ignorance about how many Americans have enjoyed natural immunity from the virus and therefore passed up the jabs, and how many who caught Covid asymptomatically and made similar decisions – also prevents figuring out what share of unvaccinated Americans died of the virus.
But because both numbers are doubtless both enormous, this percentage is doubtless much smaller than commonly supposed. The Times authors (and their editors, who it should always be remembered greenlight every article’s journalistic methodology) might have adjusted their judgements, and recognized that alternative pandemic mitigation approaches — including those that took into account the difficult tradeoffs that needed to be made — have long been recommended, had they bothered to consult any of the impressively credentialed specialists who have been making these points.
Yet they seemed as determined to ignore or marginalize their views as the official U.S. medical establishment has been. As long as both America’s healthcare leaders and its Mainstream Media so doggedly oppose full debate on the real lessons taught by the pandemic, it’s hard to imagine that the nation will be prepared for the (inevitable) arrival of the next deadly pathogen.