The Great Barrington Declaration and closed schools;
Lockdowns failed to serve the collective good

Thomas Fazi and Toby Green:

All of which has meant that, until the Observer’s interview with Mark Woolhouse, there has been painfully little critical analysis from the mainstream Left as to whether the raft of restrictive Covid measures we have seen over the past two years have indeed served the collective good — or saved lives for that matter. By definition, for something to be considered in the collective interest of a society, it has to be in the interest of at least a significant majority of its members. However, it’s hard to see how lockdowns (and other subsequent measures) meet this criterion.

Their psychological, social and economic impact mighthave been justified from a collective-interest and life-saving standpoint if Covid represented an equal threat to all citizens. Yet soon into the pandemic, it became clear that Covid-19 was almost exclusively a threat to the elderly (60+): in the last quarter of 2020, the mean age of those dying both with and of Covid-19 in the UK was 82.4, while by early 2020 the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) — the risk of actually dying if you catch Covid — in people under 60 was already known to be exceptionally low: 0.5 per cent or less. A paper written late in 2020 for the WHO by professor John Ioannidis of Stanford University, one of the world’s foremost epidemiologists, then estimated that the IFR for those under 70 was even lower: 0.05%. As Woolhouse points out in his interview “people over 75 are an astonishing 10,000 times more at risk than those who are under 15”.

Moreover, given the impacts on other aspects of medical care, the preservation (or prolonging) of life of the elderly was certainly being achieved at the expense of the life expectancies of younger sectors of the population — to say nothing of the catastrophic impacts in the Global South. This has indeed been confirmed by evidence which shows that excess deaths in younger age groups rose sharply in 2021, with very little of this attributable to Covid mortality.

If anything, Covid restrictions should have been framed in terms of solidarity: as measures which implied the overwhelming majority of the collective, which risked little or nothing from Covid, paying a price, and a heavy one at that, in order to protect, in theory at least, a minority (in Western countries people aged 60 or older represent on average around 25% of the population). Acknowledging this from the start would have avoided much loss of trust in public institutions down the road, and would have allowed for a rational discussion around important questions of intergenerational equity, proportionality and the balancing of rights and interests.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

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