How the organized Left got Covid wrong, learned to love lockdowns and lost its mind: an autopsy

By Christian Parenti, The Grayzone, March 31, 2022

It is hard to destroy your own cause and feel righteous while doing so, yet the American left has done it. After more than two centuries at the vanguard of the struggle for freedom, the American left, broadly defined, executed a volte face and embraced anti-working-class policies marketed as purely technical public health measures.

For two years the left has championed policies of surveillance and exclusion in the form of: punitive vaccine mandates, invasive vaccine passports, socially destructive lockdowns, and radically unaccountable censorship by large media and technology corporations. For the entire pandemic, leftists and liberals – call them the Lockdown Left – cheered on unprecedented levels of repression aimed primarily at the working class – those who could not afford private schools and could not comfortably telecommute from second homes. 

Almost the entire left intelligentsia has remained psychically stuck in March 2020. Its members have applauded the new biosecurity repression and calumniated as liars, grifters, and fascists any and all who dissented. Typically, they did so without even engaging evidence and while shirking public debate. Among the most visible in this has been Noam Chomsky, the self-described anarcho-syndicalist who called for the unvaccinated to “remove themselves from society,” and suggested that they should be allowed to go hungry if they refuse to submit. [1]

In Jacobin, a magazine claiming to support the working class in all its struggles, Branko Marcetic demanded the unvaccinated be barred from public transportation: “one obvious course of action is for Biden to make vaccines a requirement for mass transport.” [2] Journalist Doug Henwood has scolded the unvaccinated with: “Get over your own bloated sense of self-importance.” [3] But Henwood has championed shutting down all of society in the name of safety, while refusing to engage counter-arguments – a combination that suggests a bloated sense of self-importance of his own.

Other left intellectuals, like Benjamin Bratton, author of a Verso book on the pandemic called Return of the Real, are notable for hiding amidst academic blather: “the book’s argument is on behalf [of] a ‘positive biopolitics’ that may form the basis of viable social self-organization, but this is less a statement on behalf of ‘the political’ in some metaphysical sense than on behalf of a governmentality through which an inevitably planetary society can deliberately compose itself.” [4] This is, as the late Alex Cockburn once said, “what dumb people think smart people sound like.”

Even the American Civil Liberties Union – long a bastion of objective thinking and civil liberties absolutism – has supported the mandates, lockdowns, and censorship. David Cole, the group’s legal director, debased himself in the New York Times with a tortured op-ed explaining how everything the ACLU stood for over the last 100 years suddenly did not apply during the season of freakout and overreach. [5] 

When activist left influencers did stray from the official line, it was to occasionally harumph about how school closure would be ok if we just had “free childcare for all.” That argument is so flimsy one wants to respond with: “Yes, and let’s call these new socialist childcare centers: public schools!”  

All of this unmasks the Lockdown Left’s blue-city provincialism. Its adherents drink high-quality coffee and enjoy bike lanes, but have revealed themselves to be as narrow-minded, clannish, mean-spirited and faith-based as any group of small-town “deplorables” might be. If you don’t agree with the consensus in Cambridge, Brooklyn, Bethesda, or Berkeley, then you are very obviously insane. End of story.  For this set, Covid vaccines have become a fetish, a talisman to wave against the specter of “contagion”; while lockdowns and censorship are treated as purely technical, apolitical interventions. Prominent left intellectuals have embraced the weaponization of solidarity and made it into a lifestyle via their obsessive masking, scolding, and hiding. They pretend to care for society while actually applauding deeply anti-social and scientifically ungrounded policies like the indefinite shuttering of schools. 

All of this is contingent upon the status of Lockdown Leftists as relatively privileged laptop workers who can operate from the comfort of home, dependent on anonymous “frontline workers” ferrying food and Amazon packages to their doorstep. Prior to the pandemic quarantines, many left intellectuals already lived as if they were on lockdown. I know this because I am part of that class. 

Never mind that we are in the tightest labor market in 40 years and should be encouraging workers to unite and fight the bosses for better conditions. Instead, most of the left – including some trade unions – has supported measures that divide, distract, and intimidate the working class. It is a tragic and disturbing spectacle.

The socialist left, which wants to use state power to discipline capital has instead accepted the negative image of its goal: state power used to bully, harass, and discipline workers. The left’s embrace of Covid hysteria makes a mockery of the left’s goals of planning, industrial policy, economic redistribution, worker empowerment, and environmental sustainability. This leftwing self-harm will have deleterious consequences for years to come. Indeed, the situation is worse than a mere political fumble. The left is now actively helping its own enemies. In its unwavering support for mandates, passports, punitive lockdowns, and censorship, the organized left has sided with technocratic elites, the one percent, and the repressive state apparatus everywhere. 

Even as politicians climb down from two years of pandemic overreach, the left continues to demand more covid repression and does nothing to oppose punitive vaccine mandates that have driven many thousands of workers out of their jobs – almost 3,000 public workers in NYC alone. For example, my union – the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) representing faculty and staff at the City University of New York (CUNY) and run by a self-consciously “left” clique – continues to demand that all CUNY workers submit to vaccination even as the administration had long ago settled into a workable “vax or test” system.

Worse yet, the PSC seems not to realize that its crusade may invite lawsuits that could fatally undermine the ironclad protections of academic tenure. If the union were to prevail against dissident members in court, their victory would, in effect, reduce tenure to merely another form of routinely breakable contract.  University administrators across the country, eager to degrade and casualize academic labor, know this and will be watching with anticipation.  

At John Jay College, where I work, the PSC demands vaccination policies – take the jab or be fired – even as a staggering 44% of the non-teaching staff remained unvaccinated as of late February 2022. [6] And the union remains obtusely fixated on vaccines despite the fact that not even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains that vaccines stop or reduce Covid transmission. Director Rochelle Walensky volunteered this fact during an August 5, 2021 interview with Wolf Blitzer. [7] These days, the Lockdown Left still clings to the vaccine myth.

Covid repression portrays itself as apolitical and purely “scientific.” Sadly, most leftists accept this canard. But class war from above is always masked as “merely technical.” Proponents of the War on Drugs never described their open-ended campaign of domestic repression and surveillance as a war on workers and the poor. Likewise, proponents of the War on Terror never described their campaign of forever wars as a permanent assault on the Global South and a war to maintain American hegemony. The left saw through those concoctions. We opposed drug testing not because we were in favor of sharing the road with stoned truck drivers, but rather because we saw the political utility and inherent value in workers having autonomy from coercion by bosses.  Alas, the War on Covid, has (at least temporarily) erased our side’s analytic capacities. For large parts of the left it is still March 2020. 

Arguing reason against Covid hysteria is like attempting to put out a magnesium fire using water. But I will try anyway. 

Theory of the crime

Here is my theory of the crime: a reckless smash and grab operation by Big Pharma, assisted by our totally captured public health agencies, has been allowed to run unchecked, like a cytokine storm of bad policy, because of the unique political dynamics of the 2020 presidential election in which mass Trump Derangement Syndrome short-circuited the critical faculties of almost the entire journalistic class and Democratic Party ecosystem, including the so-called movement left – that milieu of nonprofits, trade unions, pressure groups, and alternative media personalities.

Dating back to the Swine Flu fiasco of 1976, a corrupt symbiosis between industry and the regulators has fueled a dynamic of pandemic-hyping moral panic. [8] In the pre-Trump era these would-be moral panics had limited traction because the critical capacities of journalists and politicians were intact enough to thwart the worst excesses of the pharmaceutical-public health “pandemic industrial complex.” [9] But the fear created by Trump destroyed that capacity for correction. 

While it is the mainstream media and the Democratic Party that drive Covid hysteria and the ensuing biosecurity state of emergency, the activist left bears responsibility for not opposing the repression, and even for cheering it on. It is also worth noting that Republican opposition to the Covid lockdowns was relatively ineffective because a dysfunctional Trump administration was incapable of controlling its own Covid Taskforce, and thus enabled technocratic administrators like Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx to hijack White House policy. [10]

Below, I address: agency capture, disease severity, vaccine efficacy, the damage of lockdowns in the Global North and South, freedom as a political goal, and finally how Trump Derangement Syndrome allowed the pandemic industrial complex to run out of control. 

Captured Agencies

Large segments of the left are afflicted with an astounding case of political amnesia. The central fact forgotten is that Big Pharma has thoroughly captured our public health agencies.  

All US Government public health agency budgets are heavily dependent on fee-for-service research work contracted directly by the pharmaceutical industry in exchange for “user fees.” The FDA website, as if mimicking the satirical film Idiocracy (in which the FDA is purchased by a sports drink “Brawndo – the thirst mutilator”) states that, “About 54 percent, or $3.3 billion, of FDA’s budget is provided by federal budget authorization. The remaining 46 percent, or $2.8 billion, is paid for by industry user fees.”11 Meanwhile, the FDA’s drug approval testing program has 75 percent of its budget paid for directly by pharmaceutical companies. [12]  

In addition, government scientists are allowed to own patents derived from the research they do for private corporations. Government scientists can receive royalties of up to $150,000 per patent on top of their salaries. [13] For example, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Chief Medical Advisor to the President, co-owns six HIV related patents. [14] This sort of direct financial entanglement constitutes a very dangerous conflict of interest. 

Before Covid, the left led the critique of captured agencies, but now even the likes of Chomsky take the official pronouncements at face value; even as those pronouncements change to the point of self-contradiction, as in: Do not wear masks, do wear masks. The vaccines stop the disease, no the vaccines merely blunt its lethal edge. Asked by Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman why people should trust large pharmaceutical companies like Moderna and Pfizer, Chomsky waved away the issue with, “If the information came from Pfizer and Moderna, there would be no reason to trust it.” [15] But of course much of the most important information does come directly from these companies. More on that later on.

Severity of the disease

The basic error of mainstream media hype is to conflate the “case fatality rate” (CFR) with the “death rate.” The number of known Covid “cases” is a function of testing; more testing means more cases are found. Thus, the denominator in the CFR depends on political, scientific, and economic choices. Up to 40 percent of Covid cases are totally asymptomatic[16] and another 30 percent have only mild symptoms that can be confused with the common cold.17 Many of these asymptomatic and mild cases do not get recognized as Covid. 

Thus, the real measure of lethality is not the CFR but the “infection fatality rate” or IFR. That ratio must be estimated from large scale, statistically controlled, randomized testing. We now know that the IFR for Covid is basically low for anyone under 70, but it is rather high for those over 70. A total of 75 percent of Covid deaths have occurred among people over age 65; and 51 percent of the deaths occurred among people over age 75. [18] In early 2021, The Bulletin of the World Health Organization published a Stanford-based epidemiologist’s overview study of 64 studies that used randomized serology sampling for antibodies; it found an infection fatality rate ranging from 0.00% to 1.54%. This study, found that, “In people younger than 70 years, infection fatality rates ranged from 0.00% to 0.31%…” 

Among those over age 85, (the average US life expectancy is about 78 years) the infection fatality rate was very high. [19] One study considered by the author found an IFR of 15% among over 85-year-olds, but most of the studies found much lower rates and thus the mean average was lower. [20] Translation: the young have very little to fear from this disease, while the very old face very real risks. Policy should have reflected these facts, but it has not.

The author of that study, John Ioannidis, MD, MPH, Physician and Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Stanford University, has been attacked and censored simply for doing antibody research that suggested an IFR lower than that assumed in most headlines.  As Politico explained: “YouTube has been especially aggressive about pulling down speech that questions various coronavirus prevention measures. For instance, the company took down a March 2020 interview with John Ioannidis — a Stanford physician long known for skewering bad science — in which he questioned the quality of the data about COVID-19 death rates and called for more targeted responses to the pandemic.” [21]

The real IFR demonstrated by Ioannidis suggest that the approach called “focused protection” put forward in the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) – a statement drafted by several prominent epidemiologists that promoted an alternative strategy which sought to protect the most vulnerable, for example the elderly with pre-existing health problems, while minimizing the social harm of overly broad lockdowns – would have been the most effective public health strategy. But the left, like the liberal mainstream, immediately attacked “focused protection” not on the merits of the argument but with guilt by association – because the GBD was associated with a libertarian think tank. [22] 

The real IFR was becoming apparent by March of 2020 and it offered an opportunity for a policy course correction. [23] But the pandemic was already hostage to the party politics of an extraordinarily weird election struggle.

Inflated Death Count?

The Western left justifies its embrace of mandates, lockdowns, and censorship by invoking the dead. The US has the highest reported death rate per hundred thousand of any developed economy. [24] As a friend protested “but, the deaths are real!” Indeed, but how many are actually due to Covid? 

The CDC reports that less than 6 percent of Covid deaths had COVID-19 as “the only cause mentioned on the death certificate.” The other 94 percent of deaths occurred “with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19” and, on average, had “4.0 additional conditions or causes per death.”[25] The death of 84-year-old Colin Powell, who was afflicted with multiple myeloma and Parkinson’s, but whose death was reported as “from” Covid, comes to mind. 

It is worth noting that the Covid death count in the US is the highest in the developed world. As the New York Times put it, the “American death toll has set the country apart — and by wider margins than has been broadly recognized.” In fact, the US death toll from the coronavirus “is at least 63 percent higher than in any… other large, wealthy nations.” [26]

In other words, many of these US deaths were people who died with Covid, not of Covid. Any inflation of Covid severity helped stoke the public’s fear. Exactly what portion of the nominal Covid dead are misclassified? I would not venture to say. But during the Omicron wave of 2022 even Rochelle Walensky and a reluctant Anthony Fauci acknowledged that many people who were in hospital and Covid positive were not in the hospital for Covid but with Covid. [27]

Despite the definitive nature of death (you’re either dead or you’re not) its causes are not always so clear. The pathways to mortality from disease are often multiple, overlapping, vague, and open to interpretation. As one coroner told me: “In many deaths from diseases, where you have multiple comorbidities, ten different coroners or physicians could possibly give you 10 different versions of the ‘immediate’ and ‘due to’ causes of death.” [28]

There is a sizable academic literature on the difficulties of determining cause of mortality and the problem of death certificate accuracy. For over a century the problem has remained the same: physicians do not always agree on the cause of death. Papers exploring this topic often attempt to, you might say, “fact check” death certificates. Typically, the methodology involves a panel of physicians reviewing autopsy findings and sometimes the medical charts of deceased patients and from that determining a cause of death. The panel’s findings are then compared to the already existing death certificates. The rate of agreement between the two interpretations is viewed as a measure of accuracy or inaccuracy of the initial determination of cause of death. Very often agreement is as low as 50 percent.[29]  

One study from 2016 published in the Journal of Epidemiology found “the concordance rate was relatively high for cancer (81%) but low for heart disease (55%) and pneumonia (9%). The overall concordance rate was 48%.” [30] In other words, determining cause of death is as yet still an interpretive art as much as it is a cut-and-dry empirical science. [31]

A chaotic jumble of interacting but uncoordinated government policy and messaging – coming from the White House, federal agencies, Congress, and state governors – have driven an over-classification of deaths as being Covid caused. Directives from the public health establishment compelled state governors to halt elective medical procedures, this created a financial crisis for hospitals. [32] Then, Congress responding to that crisis offered an economic lifeline to healthcare providers in the form of generous economic subsidies and bonus payments for any case that could be classified as Covid.  

The timeline runs as follows: 

On March 1, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an “Interim Guidance for Healthcare Facilities: Preparing for Community Transmission of COVID-19 in the United States,” which recommended that “inpatient facilities reschedule elective surgeries as necessary and shift elective urgent inpatient diagnostic and surgical procedures to outpatient settings.” [33] With this guidance, governors using their state level emergency powers began ordering the suspension of elective procedures.

Then, on March 18, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced “that all elective surgeries, non-essential medical, surgical, and dental procedures be delayed during the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.” Furthermore, CMS recommended that “healthcare providers should encourage patients to remain home, unless there is an emergency.” [34] During early March, almost every governor declared a state of emergency. This meant closing schools, daycares, parks and beaches; mandatory masking; restrictions on out of state travel; restrictions on private gatherings; mandatory 14-day quarantines; full or partial closure of restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues; stay at home or shelter in place orders, and suspension of all elective medical procedures. [35] Thus screening for breast, colorectal, and cervical cancers dropped by 80 percent to 90 percent during March and April of 2020 compared to the same months in 2019.[ 36] According to one industry analyst, the average hospital lost 40 to 45 percent of their normal operating income. [37]  

By the end of April 2020, as a result of these policies, a staggering 1.4 million American healthcare workers had lost their jobs. [38]   

The economic crisis ravaging the healthcare system would have been much worse if not for passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, 2020. Among other things, CARES set aside $100 billion for the Provider Relief Fund (PRF), a program designed to support ailing healthcare providers. [39] Money from other bills brought the PRF’s total funding to $178 billion. [40] 

Very importantly, the PRF pays 120 percent of costs for any Medicare, Medicaid, or uninsured patients classified as COVID-19 cases. [41] Given the disproportionately older age of those most at risk from Covid, this top-up subsidy covered a large proportion of the cases treated. [42] 

At first, this federal Covid money was awarded only for cases confirmed by laboratory-analyzed tests.  But CDC guidelines published April 1, 2020, explained that “‘confirmation’ does not require documentation of the type of test performed; the provider’s documentation that the individual has COVID-19 is sufficient.” [43] 

The Provider Relief Fund’s FAQ page explains how the money is available “for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19. HHS broadly views every patient as a possible case of COVID-19.” And 35 pages later the same document explains that: “A presumptive case of COVID-19 is a case where a patient’s medical record documentation supports a diagnosis of COVID-19, even if the patient does not have a positive in vitro diagnostic test result in his or her medical record.” [44] As then-Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar explained: “Our goal… is to get the money from the Provider Relief Fund out the door as quickly as possible… We will continue using every regulatory and payment flexibility we have to help providers continue doing their vital work.” [45]

On April 13, 2020, the CDC updated its website to say explicitly that “cases where the infection was not confirmed by a test may now be counted.” [46] The CDC page from April 14, 2020, explained that its death counts “include both confirmed and presumptive positive cases…” [47] As the Washington Post reported, “when New York City authorities began reporting the deaths of people who were suspected of having covid-19 but never tested…” the city’s “tally soared past 10,000 as the change added more than 3,700 fatalities.” [48]

Thus, by April CDC guidance and the Provider Relief Fund’s rules allowed financial coverage for cases that were not tested but were merely diagnosed or even “presumed” to be Covid.

FEMA even offers financial assistance for Covid-related funeral arrangements. To qualify the death certificate must “attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19” or “be accompanied by a signed statement from the original certifier of the death certificate or the local medical examiner or coroner from the jurisdiction in which the death occurred listing COVID-19 as a cause or contributing cause of death.” For deaths occurring “on or after May 17, 2020, the death certificate must attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19.” The FAQ section of the same webpage says “you may receive at a maximum of $9,000 per deceased individual.” [49]

In other words, the government forced an economic crisis upon the healthcare system with one hand, while simultaneously offering an economic lifeline, in the form of Covid specific reimbursement, with the other. [50] 

I am not charging conspiracy or mass fraud, although there have been a number of indictments. [51] Rather, I am suggesting that the policies described above – arrived at in an uncoordinated and ad hoc fashion by different branches of government during a confusing moment of emergency – created significant economic and bureaucratic incentives for medical examiners and coroners to be expansive in their interpretation of which deaths qualify as Covid deaths. 

Lockdowns Also Kill

Death, or “all-cause mortality” increased during the pandemic but not all of it was caused by Covid. This fact is often overlooked. A study out of the UK published in January 2022, found that non-Covid deaths due to delayed medical care quadrupled during the Covid pandemic. [52] This sort of dangerous unintended consequence from lockdown was predicted during the pandemic’s first year. A study published in late 2020 estimated that over-zealous Covid restrictions would lead to 18,000 extra cancer deaths in the UK that year. [53] 

Most left intellectuals however, following in lockstep with the Democrats, refused to acknowledge that lockdowns also kill. They could not do so for a very simple reason: Trump had done it first, when he called for the economy to reopen. “Permanent lockdown is not a viable path forward…Ultimately [it would] inflict more harm than it would prevent,” Trump said during an April 3, 2020 White House briefing. “Lockdowns do not prevent infection in the future. They just don’t. It comes back many times, it comes back,” Trump said. [54] 

Trump’s concerns about the risks of lockdown were immediately excoriated and mocked in the press. But we now know he was right – lockdowns also kill. The pandemic has seen record surges in fatal drug overdoses and homicide. The CDC found a 28 percent increase in drug overdose deaths from April 2020 to April 2021. [55] While the homicide rate increased by 30 percent. [56] Bizarrely, traffic deaths went up by 7 percent in 2020, even as the total number of miles driven declined by 13 percent. [57]

Early on, the New York Times briefly acknowledged the health risks from lockdowns. An op-ed by two physicians turned healthcare executives noted that: “The toll from deaths caused by lockdown related impacts may have killed as many as the disease.” As the authors explained: “Government orders to shelter in place and health care leaders’ decisions to defer nonessential care successfully prevented the spread of the virus. But these policies — complicated by the loss of employer-provided health insurance as people lost their jobs — have had the unintended effect of delaying care for some of our sickest patients.” [58] The authors reported, “sizable decreases in new cancer diagnoses (45 percent) and reports of heart attacks (38 percent) and strokes (30 percent). Visits to hospital emergency departments are down by as much as 40 percent, but measures of how sick emergency department patients are have risen by 20 percent, according to a Mayo Clinic study, suggesting how harmful the delay [in receiving healthcare] can be.

Meanwhile, non-Covid-19 out-of-hospital deaths have increased, while in-hospital mortality has declined…. In the case of cancer alone, our calculations show we can expect a quarter of a million additional preventable deaths annually if normal care does not resume. Outcomes will be similar for those who forgo treatment for heart attacks and strokes.” [59] Unfortunately, this argument seemed to have no impact on policymakers when it counted, nor on the organized left today, which still ignores copious evidence that lockdowns had wreaked massive destruction on the most vulnerable. [60]

Vaccine efficacy and adverse effects

The organized left still endorses a vaccine centric policy with religious fervor. Some of its members do so still assuming that vaccines prevent Covid transmission and can thus end the pandemic. They thus follow the discredited pronouncements of Anthony Fauci, who explained in the early months of the vaccine roll out, for those vaccinated “the risk is extremely low of getting infected, of getting sick, or of transmitting it to anybody else, full stop.” [61] This was about when progressives started purchasing votive candles bearing Fauci’s likeness.

In reality, these are very “leaky” “non-sterilizing” vaccines; they do not block transmission. [62] Furthermore, as CDC Director Rochelle Walensky admitted in an August 6th 2021 interview with Wolf Blitzer the vaccines do not stop or reduce transmission. [63] Thus, we cannot vaccinate our way out of this crisis. 

The vaccines do however lower the probability of hospitalization and death from COVID-19, but if overused, they might not even do that. And it should be noted that, as of this publication, the CDC still refuses to release – as a February 20th 2022 New York Times headline put it – “Large Portions of the Covid Data It Collects” on hospitalization rate by vaccination status for fear the data could be misinterpreted. Leaving that aside, because the vaccines do not function perfectly and are not without risks, the logic of their use differs according to one’s demographic profile. Thus, when my mother who is in her mid-80s got the vaccine, I felt a sense of relief. But when younger women in my extended family did not want the vaccine because its effects on the menstrual cycle had not been studied, that also made perfect sense. [64] In the eyes of the panicked and stampeding herd that is the left-wing consensus, this would make me an anti-vaxxer. Amidst this pandemic it has become clear that the left is not only incapable of intellectual nuance, it is openly hostile to it and rallies vigilante-style to stamp it out.

After pitching the mRNA vaccine as capable of stopping the Covid-19 virus in its tracks, by November 2020 pundits had already started talking up the need for boosters.[65] Most studies indicate that vaccine efficacy against Covid, as measured by antibody levels in the blood, drops by about 50% within six months. The Lancet found “vaccine effectiveness against infections of the delta variant… declined to 53%… after 4 months.” [66] An Israeli study from July 2021 found that the Pfizer vaccine dropped to a mere 39% efficacy within six months. [67] Now Israel is demanding boosters at three months;[68] and exploring a fourth booster even as some government science advisors warn “that the plan could backfire, because too many shots might cause a sort of immune system fatigue, compromising the body’s ability to fight the coronavirus.” [69] European Union regulators have also warned that “frequent Covid-19 booster shots could adversely affect the immune response.” [70]

The left, however, has categorically dismissed skepticism about vaccine safety and in so doing alienated people who held valid concerns, or who experienced real and debilitating injuries as a result of the Covid shot. That includes large elements of the working class – that class the left purports to champion. Even if the vaccines do not cause injuries or adverse effects most cases, they – like almost any medical intervention, even aspirin [71] – can also involve some risk. Thus, four Scandinavian countries have prohibited use of the Moderna shot for men under the age of 25 because the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis is higher from the vaccine than from the disease. [72] The growing list of warnings about blood clots, menstrual disruption, heart problems, that accompany the vaccines show that even when helpful, the vaccines can involve risks. [73]

For most of the vaccination campaign these vaccines had not undergone the typical process of review before hitting the market. Instead, they have had “emergency use authorization” under authority of the 2005 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREPA). This law gives the manufacturers total legal protection against liability for any harm their vaccines might cause. [74] 

Though you would never learn it from most press outlets, one of the main stumbling blocks to providing the Global South with vaccines is that pharmaceutical companies have insisted on total protection from vaccine related lawsuits. As The Financial Times explained: “Before deals could be agreed, Pfizer demanded countries change national laws to protect vaccine makers from lawsuits, which many western jurisdictions already had. From Lebanon to the Philippines, national governments changed laws to guarantee their supply of vaccines.” In South Africa Pfizer insisted “on indemnity against civil claims and required the government to provide finance for an indemnity fund.” [75]  

Why have left-wing pundits not noted this? Because it suggests that there is a genuine cost-benefit analysis involved in the use of vaccines. It suggests that vaccines involve risks even as they provide benefits. Alas, that sort of intellectual nuance is beyond the capacity of progressive Pfizer fetishists. 

Until 2022, only Pfizer’s “legally distinct” and rarely available Comirnaty vaccine was not covered by PREPA invoked Emergency Use Authorization indemnification. In February Moderna’s Spikevax was also approved, and it is also “legally distinct” from Moderna’s more available, legally indemnified, EUA vaccine.   

Comirnaty went through a secrecy-shrouded, expedited approval process in which a test group of 22,000 people got the vaccine and 22,000 people in the control group received a placebo. Pfizer refuses to release the raw data from the study, though the company did publish a 90-page report on it, while the FDA published a few other tables and comments. 

Unable to access the approval data, a group of more than 30 professors and scientists “from universities including Yale, Harvard, UCLA and Brown” sued the federal government to force it to share its licensing data for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. In response, the FDA requested a delay of 55 years. [76] The Plaintiffs suggested 108-days to process the document release— the amount of time it took the FDA to review the same documents “for the far more intricate task of licensing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.” [77] When a Judge ordered the FDA to accelerate its release of the documents, Pfizer entered the lawsuit arguing that it wanted to help the FDA avoid releasing “confidential business and trade secret information of Pfizer, such as its proprietary manufacturing processes.” [78] 

Professor Peter Doshi, a senior editor at the BMJ (formally known as the British Medical Journal) and an associate professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland, has analyzed all available data from the Pfizer approval study. Doshi concludes that “on preventing death from Covid-19, there are too few data to draw conclusions— a total of three Covid-19 related deaths (one on vaccine, two on placebo). There were 29 total deaths during blinded follow-up (15 in the vaccine arm; 14 in placebo).” [79] Note that the trial group had a slightly higher overall mortality rate than the placebo group.

These very small numbers become more concerning when we learn of, as Doshi put it, “an unexplained detail found in a table of FDA’s review of Pfizer’s vaccine: 371 individuals excluded from the efficacy analysis for ‘important protocol deviations on or prior to 7 days after Dose 2.’ What is concerning is the imbalance between randomized groups in the number of these excluded individuals: 311 from the vaccine group vs 60 on placebo.” [80]

Most outrageous of all, Doshi found that in gross violation of normal protocol after about two months, Pfizer unblinded its study. “Pfizer allowed all trial participants to be formally unblinded, and placebo recipients to get vaccinated.” [81] The trial started on July 27, 2020, and by November 13, 2020 the vast majority of the placebo arm of the study had received the experimental vaccine. [82] It would seem that the real blinded trial lasted at most about two months. 

Pfizer still refuses to release the raw data. In the meantime, the US government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) – a global surveillance system mandated by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, a law that also indemnifies pharmaceutical companies against all legal liability for the children’s vaccines they produce – captures only a tiny fraction of documented adverse events from vaccination, yet it has reported over 20,000 deaths from COVID-19 vaccinations. [83] Keep in mind, some 5 billion vaccine shots have been administered globally.

To be fair, these are just reports, only a fraction of them have been investigated, and the population with the highest rate of vaccine uptake skews towards older people. So discount the VAERS data as you see fit. But a 2010 government-commissioned study on the effectiveness of VAERS at capturing adverse events found the following: 

“Adverse events from drugs and vaccines are common, but underreported. Although 25% of ambulatory patients experience an adverse drug event, less than 0.3% of all adverse drug events and 1-13% of serious events are reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Likewise, fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported.” [84] 

The point is that VAERS, despite its limits, sends signals that are deserving of further investigation rather than immediate and pejorative dismissal.

If the idea of a viral infection being hyped and exaggerated by profiteering pharmaceutical corporations and captured government agencies seems far-fetched, consider the story of the 1976 Swine Flu. Fully 20 percent of the US public including President Ford had been vaccinated before it became clear that the Swine Flu was actually not very dangerous. 

In fact, as Mike Wallace reported in a devastating 60 Minutes report, the Swine Flu virus (H1NI) might not have killed anyone at all. [85] Midway through the vaccination campaign it became clear that the vaccine was causing the paralyzing autoimmune disease Guillain-Barre Syndrome. An estimated 300 may have died from it, about 450 others were confirmed as having acquired Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and about 4,000 people sued the government for swine flu vaccine related injury. The vaccination campaign was stopped and the vaccine was pulled from the market. [86] Similarly, in 2015, the first dengue vaccine was deployed in the Philippines and pulled about two years later when it was found to be dangerous and ineffective.[87]

As for the common lefty concern about long term effects from Covid, it does seem to happen. The first time I had Covid, the fatigue and brain fog lasted for months. That said, any speculation about the long-term effects of the disease can also be leveled against the vaccines. The truth is: we know very little about the long-term effects of either the disease or the vaccines.

The Liberty Issue

The left has turned its back on liberty. Worse yet, the left now campaigns against freedom. ACLU luminaries editorialize for de facto forced vaccination and vaccine passports. This has devastating social, political, and economic consequences; and the left’s failure to acknowledge and understand this will haunt it for years after the pandemic.

The left invokes “the greater good” to justify support for vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, lockdowns, and censorship; in so doing the left supports undemocratic rule by unaccountable bureaucrats. During the Covid crisis, there have been no lockdown and mandate related periods of public comment, no environmental impact reports, thus there has been no public scientific debate about disease severity, vaccine efficacy, and the unintended consequences of mandates and lockdowns.

Left forces, broadly defined, have for our national history fought for personal liberties while elites have opposed such freedoms. The Bill of Rights itself is a concession to the people. The only way the framers could compel the states to ratify the new US Constitution was to agree that ten amendments protecting personal liberty and autonomy (the Bill of Rights) would be passed into law upon ratification. [89]  

Recall all the struggles: Abolitionists vs. slavery, the Slave Power, and the gag rule. The Industrial Workers of the World’s multi-year, nationwide campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience in defense of free speech. The now pathetically debased, pro-mandate and pro-lockdown ACLU was born of resistance to the Espionage Act of 1917 and Sedition Act of 1918. 

The left was always at the vanguard in the struggle for civil liberties. When First Amendment rights were finally affirmed as applying to the states in Gitlow v. People of New York, (1925) the hero was Benjamin Gitlow, convicted of “criminal anarchy” for distributing his “Leftwing Manifesto.” In 1931, when the Supreme Court finally extended speech rights to nonverbal symbols like flags, the hero of Stromberg v. California was a nineteen-year-old communist named Yetta Stromberg who had violated California’s “red flag law” which banned display of the red flag for being “an emblem of opposition to the United States Government.” [90]  

Roe v Wade is part of this history. Even if the woman at the heart of that case became a conservative, her right to bodily autonomy and privacy were championed by the left. Today the left mostly seeks to strip away those same rights as broadly applied to those who oppose vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, lockdowns, and censorship. 

During the coordinated attack on Joe Rogan, for example, Spotify announced that it had removed more than 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. [91] And the left mostly applauded or stayed silent. Its justification of this sort of top-down intellectual control involved all manner of ugly semantic backflips. Roxane Gay, the New York Times’ resident liberal culture warrior, described Spotify’s censorship of Covid content as mere “curation.” [92]  

Numerous radical friends of mine have sought to disabuse me of what they see as my excessive concern for free speech. They explain to me how censoring Joe Rogan is not really censorship. Rather, it is “an interesting case” because, as the typical dissembling goes, it was not the government doing the censoring.  

To such nonsense I protest, regardless what word or phrase you use to describe a major corporation undemocratically limiting the population’s access to information, the action itself is still wrong.  

You can call corporate censorship “content polishing” or “informational cleansing” or “message smoothing” or “ideological right-sizing” or “happiness making curation for social harmony,” but the PR-style language will not alter the reality. The action still constitutes oppressive, top-down, ideological control. When corporations limit people’s ability to communicate with each other about political issues – as is performed routinely by social media companies when they remove and prevent the sharing of content [93] – capital is repressing labor, capital is ruling undemocratically, capital is dominating the intellectual battleground, and you as a worker and citizen are getting shafted. 

As for the left’s embrace of Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the 1905 case that upheld the authority of states to enforce compulsory vaccination, they forget that ruling was precedent for other terrible laws that followed. Most notoriously the legalization of forced sterilization in Buck v Bell 1927 in which Justice Holmes wrote: “The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S. 11. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”  

As regards the specific vaccine-related punitive elements of Jacobson, that 1905 law is actually mild compared to current Covid mandates. Under it, those who declined the vaccine were fined $5 (about $150 in current prices). They were not forced out of their jobs, removed from school, or banned from public accommodations like baseball diamonds and museums. [94]

Consider what Covid hysteria has done to the left: The years 2018 and 2019 saw working-class protest reach recent heights. Across the globe workers, students, and the poor took to the streets in opposition to policies of austerity and repression that impacted both the realm of production and reproduction. With good reason, 2019 called “the year of the protest.” [95]

Even in the US, after decades of decline, we were seeing an uptick in class struggle. The wildcat teachers’ strikes of 2018 seemed to herald the return of grassroots labor radicalism. In 2019 there were “25 major work stoppages involving 425,500 workers, the highest number since 2001.” [96]

But Covid lockdowns stopped most of that. Now some unions – a minority of them it should be said – are even collaborating with bosses to force workers to get vaccines or be fired. [97] 

It is the same across most OECD states. [98] For the autumn of 2021 and early winter of 2022, Austria put the unvaccinated under a form of soft house arrest: they were allowed out of their homes only to work and shop. In Australia, by late 2021, about 3,000 people –many of whom tested negative for Covid – had been forced into quarantine camps for two weeks at a time if they were in contact with a person who tested positive. 

The largest of these detention centers, with a capacity of 2,000, is at Howard Springs outside Darwin. When three aboriginal teens, all Covid negative, jumped the fence in late November 2021, the police manhunt that followed involved checkpoints, traffic stops, vehicle searches, and aerial surveillance. [99]

For a sickening interview with a different, Covid negative, former prisoner of the Howard Springs Camp follow the link at this footnote: [100] 

Covid Repression in the Global South

In the Global South the biosecurity justified lockdowns were far more socially crippling than those imposed in Europe or the US. As Amnesty International’s Report 2020/21 explains, “many governments imposed blanket bans on demonstrations or used unlawful force, particularly in Africa and the Americas.” [101] 

The poorest of the poor were hurt the most. “Lockdowns and curfews led to particularly high numbers of workers in the informal economy losing their incomes without recourse to adequate social protection.” Women and girls, who are over represented in that sector, “were disproportionately affected.” [102]

The Report’s Africa regional overview explains that: “Governments used excessive force to enforce COVID-19 regulations and to break up protests…. Governments took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to intensify restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. In almost every country monitored, states of emergency were imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19. However, these measures were frequently used to violate human rights, including by security forces using excessive force.” [103]

One of the most draconian lockdowns in the Americas took place in the Dominican Republic, where police detained an estimated 85,000 people between March 20 and June 30 of 2020, “for alleged non-compliance with the evening curfew imposed in response to the pandemic.” Guatemala’s lockdown was also brutal, “more than 40,000 people” were jailed for lockdown and quarantine violations, “including people working in the informal economy.”[104]

Across Latin America authorities detained “tens of thousands of people in state-run quarantine centers,” which Amnesty notes “often fell well short of minimum sanitary and physical distancing standards.” In El Salvador, more than 2,000 people were detained in quarantine camps and “some were held for up to 40 days.” In Paraguay, 8,000 people were still in mandatory quarantine sites as of late June 2021.[105] 

Amnesty’s Asia roundup reveals more of the same. “To prevent the further spread of COVID-19, various degrees of lockdown and other limitations on movement were put in place by governments. Public assemblies were often not allowed, greatly restricting protests demanding political reforms… Many governments also further responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by adopting or weaponizing repressive national security or counter-terrorism laws.” [106]

In the Middle East it was similar: “Protest movements in Algeria, Iraq and Lebanon continued to organize in the first few months of the year until the spread of COVID-19 led to their suspension. Peaceful protesters faced arrest, beatings and, at times, prosecution for participating in demonstrations. In Iraq, federal security forces arrested thousands of protesters in the first few months of the year.”[107]

In Jordan, organized labor took the brunt of the Covid justified assault: “a protracted dispute between the government and the teachers’ union was exacerbated by the government’s decision to freeze public sector pay until the end of 2020 due to COVID-19.” When this was met by renewed protest, “Jordanian police raided 13 union branches, arrested dozens of union and board members and a court ordered the union’s dissolution.” [108] The Lockdown Left, busy decrying the unvaxxed, paid very little attention to the Covid overreaction in the Global South. 

Economic Whiplash in the Global South

More deadly than local Global South lockdowns have been the indirect economic impact of Global North lockdowns upon Global South economies. And this crime has also been ignored by most of the Western left. The long history of global capitalism with its history of imperialism means that the world economy is divided into a “core” of wealthy economies and a “periphery” of poor economies that are largely dependent on cheaply exported raw materials, and some low-value added manufactured goods. When the wealthy core economies imposed lockdowns and quarantine measures, international trade contracted and developing economies suffered economic whiplash as their earnings from exports and tourism suddenly collapsed. 

After a decade of a moderately improved debt situation during which developing economies received more in aid and loans then they paid to creditors, 2020 saw a sudden reversal; developing countries paid Northern creditors a net transfer of $194 billion in 2020. [109] In at least 62 countries, during 2020, external public debt servicing consumed a higher proportion of public spending than did healthcare. “Furthermore, external public debt service was larger than education expenditure in at least 36 countries in 2020.” [110]

In 2020, a study in the Lancet estimated that the economic contraction caused by Covid lockdowns would force an additional 140 million people into extreme poverty (less than $1·90 per day); and that “acute food insecurity” would “nearly double to 265 million by the end of 2020.” The Lancet study estimated that this economic suffering would kill, by way of hunger, an additional 128,605 children under the age of five just in the year 2020. [111]

And where was the Northern left, the purported champions of “the most vulnerable among us” during all this?  Usually found applauding unscientific and oppressive lockdowns, mandates, passports, and censorship, and every manner of pointless sanitation theater. When The Grayzone dared offer a bit of critical coverage on the economic crisis that the Global North overreaction to Covid-19 was causing in the Global South, many professional leftists among the online blabber-sphere melted down into an incandescent rage. 

Covid as Trump Derangement Syndrome

The pharmaceutical industry and its friends at the CDC, National Institute of Health (NIH), and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have, since the Swine Flu fiasco of 1976, tried to hype every potential pandemic. This one was sucked up into the political tornado of a very unusual presidential election of 2020, and quickly spun out of control. In the process, the US Left lost its mind.

The Democrats embraced Covid as a political strategy to beat Trump, and it worked. But then they could not let go. Towed along in this overreaction was the Lockdown Left, with each new wave of infection outdoing its own previous levels of vehemence and militancy against alleged anti-vaxxers and official “misinformation.” 

When in Spring of 2020 evidence emerged showing that Covid was not as severe as first assumed, the mainstream press was too united against Trump to allow a rethink based on new facts. New York City had erected five field hospitals, New York State had spent $1.1 billion on ventilators and other Covid gear [112] and the badgering Governor Cuomo had compelled the Trump administration to send the one-thousand-bed military hospital ship, Comfort, to New York Harbor. [113] But this was not the moment for a recalibration based on new evidence. Trump was finally on the ropes.  

The timeline is worth recounting: On January 31, 2020 – one day after the WHO declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, a month before New York City recorded its first case, a week before the US saw its earliest known death from the virus – President Donald Trump announced travel restrictions from China to the US and soon added several other countries to the list. 

The immediate reaction from the mainstream and liberal press was total hostility. The New York Times called the travel bans racist. [114] The Guardian, in an article that was actually full of qualified endorsements of the travel restrictions, framed the question of lockdown with worries that the move “could be an overreaction that causes unnecessary fear and weakens the global response” and “waste limited resources on potentially ineffective tactics, needlessly limit civil liberties and even cause more harm than good.” [115]

On March 1, 2020, New York City recorded its first Covid -19 case. Nine days later, Mayor Bill DeBlasio was still downplaying the risk, telling MSNBC: “If you’re under 50 and you’re healthy, which is most New Yorkers, there’s very little threat here. This disease, even if you were to get it, basically acts like a common cold or flu. And transmission is not that easy.” [116]  

But five days later, as Covid cases soared and governor Cuomo leaned into the fear, DeBlasio, scrambling to catch up, closed the city’s public schools. Soon thereafter the virus was rampaging out of control; so too was the damage of lockdown as the largest public school system in the country shut its doors. 

By late March 2020, the US was logging more than 20,000 new confirmed cases every day. New York was the epicenter due to its density, connections to Europe, and bad management by Cuomo who sent sick people back to nursing homes.  Newspapers were filled with heartbreaking stories of patients dying in medical isolation. 

Then on March 24, 2020, as infection rates of the first wave were peaking and lockdowns had shuttered much of the economy, Trump, who had started the lockdowns with his “China travel ban,” announced that he now wanted the economy to “open by Easter.” [117] 

As Trump put it: “I don’t want the cure to be worse than the problem itself — the problem being, obviously, the problem.  And you know, you can destroy a country this way, by closing it down…  And then we’re supposed to pay people not to go to work.  We never had that.” [118]

The media erupted in expectorations of total disbelief and outrage.

The White House Covid-19 Task Force headed by Anthony Fauci and Ambassador Debora Birx set the tone by stoking fear. According to Dr. Scott Atlas who was part of the task force during spring 2020, the team around Trump, particularly Jared Kushner, got spooked by the press coverage and could not bring themselves to disband or restructure the Covid Task Force. All Trump could manage was some of his own counter messaging about the need to end lockdowns. [119] But the lockdowns were all being imposed by state governors, and they were listening to Fauci, Brix, and the media.

Two weeks after Trump’s call to re-open the economy, protests echoing his message began. The first were on Thursday April 9, in Casper, Wyoming, and Columbus, Ohio. On April 14 anti-lockdown protesters gathered in Raleigh, North Carolina. On April 15, a much larger armed protest – organized by the Devos family financed Michigan Freedom Fund and the Michigan Conservative Coalition – mobbed the Michigan Capitol and targeted Governor Gretchen Whitmer in particularly disgusting and alarming ways.  Two days later, Trump urged his Twitter followers to “LIBERATE” three states led by Democratic governors, including Michigan. That afternoon, Washington Governor Jay Inslee tweeted back, accusing Trump of “fomenting domestic rebellion and spreading lies.” [120]  

At the exact same time, New York State was closing its five field hospitals because they had been almost totally unused. This rather remarkable fact was largely ignored by the media for fear that discussing the large-scale public policy miscalculation of a star Democratic Governor and potentially presidential candidate, would have played into Trump’s hands. [121]

On April 30, a smaller but more heavily armed protest, organized by Michigan United for Liberty, went to the Michigan Capitol building again.  This time, many protesters carried automatic rifles. Their chants and signs compared Governor Whitmer to Adolf Hitler. Rep Rashida Talib tweeted out shock and disgust. A day later Trump tweeted: “The governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire.” Adding that, “These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.” [122] 

According to one overview, at least 32 states saw anti-lockdown rallies during the spring of 2020. [123]  

Thus, by late April, the Republicans and their right-wing base were aggressively “owning” the idea of re-opening while alarmed Democrats and the left were, without having publicly vetted the policy or even clearly decided on the political direction, defensively “owning” the lockdowns.  The story of the virus was now totally and hopelessly politicized – never mind that many Republican governors were running robust lockdowns. 

California, Virginia, and the political course correction

Indeed, as political medicine the Covid crisis worked: Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic helped get him out of office. But then the Democrats and liberal journalists got stuck in an ever more hysterical overreaction to Covid.  There seemed to be no off switch. Even when overly aggressive lockdowns in California triggered a recall election, Governor Gavin Newsom’s victory caused the politicians, pundits, and consultants to double down on Covid hysteria. Asked what his win meant for Democrats nationally, Newsom said, “We need to stiffen our spines and lean in to keeping people safe and healthy. That we shouldn’t be timid in trying to protect people’s lives and mitigate the spread and transmission of this disease. That it’s the right thing to do, but it’s also a motivating factor in this election.” [124]  

Then came the November 2021 debacle of the Virginia governor’s race, where a heavily-funded corporate Democrat was defeated by a Republican in a blue-trending state. The same almost happened in solid blue New Jersey. Mainstream press tended to describe the 20-point swing to Republicans in Virginia as the result of racist whites afraid of critical race theory in the schools. Indeed, education was a top issue, [125] but the Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin’s closing argument, an opinion essay for Fox News, revealed one of the most salient education issues: “Virginia’s excessive and extended school closures ravaged student advancement and well-being.” [126]  

Across the country, the autumn of 2021 saw a rising, right-wing supported, grassroots movement against school boards; 215 school board members across the country faced recall elections – 400 percent more than in a typical year. In many, if not most, of these recall races Covid restrictions were the main issue. [127]

By New Year’s 2022 it seemed that the Biden administration had realized the political danger of the left-liberal Covid fixation. Rochelle Walensky of the CDC suggested cutting quarantine times in half and publicly noted that deaths and hospitalizations were low relative to the increase in case numbers. Biden also told the world that there was “no federal solution” to the Covid crisis. But some key teachers’ union locals were still pushing for school closures. [128] 

During his State of the Union address Biden signaled it was time to unmask. Yet repressive mandates that were responsible for firing of tens of thousands of people – almost 3,000 public workers in New York City alone – remain in place as does left support for these repressive measures. Covid will never end, the disease is endemic and the repressive reaction to it can be turned on again when needed. But the left needs to abandon its embrace of repression in the name of Covid.

The public health response to Covid and the left’s inability to offer a critique of it have been catastrophic. Left refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of the populist critique of mandates, passports, lockdowns, and censorship is alienating large swathes of the working class. Vaccination rates are not the same as approval rates for mandates. Many people get the shots only because their jobs and thus physical wellbeing are threatened. 

The Lockdown Left, being mostly members of the Professional Managerial Class generally has no idea about such things. Its members enjoyed the lockdown – telecommuting from their second homes, spending more time with the kids, getting into homemade meals. One friend praised lockdown’s new “life-work balance” and described convivial socially-distanced outdoor cocktail hours with neighbors on their sundrenched side street in Berkeley. Lost in its own foggy war against the deplorables, Lockdown Leftists are confused. They think that because they trust Fauci, most everyone else does too.  

Many working-class people have taken vaccines under duress, carry their vaccine papers because they must, and deeply resent the lockdowns, mandates, and high-handed directives from unaccountable bureaucrats like Fauci. Many people feel that their society is being destroyed. One working-class former student at my university, described being forced to take the vaccine (thanks to the union’s bullying) as feeling akin to rape. And many people in similar situations see the Democrats and The Left as responsible.

Where I live in rural New England, I know many level headed people who voted for Bernie Sanders but are now so outraged by the Covid lockdowns that they are prepared to vote Republican just to send a message. This sort of trend is not studied by pollsters but it will contribute to massive defeats at the midterm election of 2022. Signs of the coming wipeout are seen in the many Democrat politicians who are resigning rather than face re-election struggles. Even previously safe seats are being given up.[129] 

The presidential election in 2024 also looks ominous for the Democrats.  There is a real risk that reaction to Covid hysteria will help usher in a long period of ironclad minority rule by the GOP.  It is now not entirely impossible that the GOP achieves trifectas in two-thirds of the states and passes constitutional amendments to abolish the income tax; privatize Social Security, the Post Office, and public schools; gut environmental regulations; make it almost illegal to organize a union, and so on. If this comes to pass, all the social democratic left’s desideratum – protecting the environment, reducing inequality, empowering workers, ending prejudice, and increasing access to healthcare and education – will drift even further from our reach. And Covid repression, overreach, and fanaticism will be partly to blame.

Just as disturbing is the fact that populations around the globe have been conditioned to accept new and unprecedented levels of repression if it comes wrapped in bio-medical justifications. From now on, political elites and pharmaceutical profiteers will be eager to re-engage rule by pandemic.

# # #

[1] “’How can we get food to them?’ asks Chomsky. ‘Well, that’s actually their problem’,” National Post 

October 27, 2021. Found (January 31, 2022) at:  https://nationalpost.com/news/world/noam-chomsky-says-the-unvaccinated-should-just-remove-themselves-from-society

[2] Branko Marcetic, “We Need a Nationwide Vaccine Mandate,” Jacobin, August 11, 2021. Found (January 31, 2022) at: https://jacobinmag.com/2021/08/nationwide-vaccine-mandate-covid-19-delta-variant-new-york-health

[3] Doug Henwood on Twitter Apr 7, 2021. Found (February 22, 2022) at: https://twitter.com/doughenwood/status/1379858727222845456

[4]  Benjamin Bratton, The Revenge of the Real:Politics for a Post-Pandemic World, (Verso, 2021), p,11, 77.

[5] David Cole and Daniel Mach, “We Work at the A.C.L.U. Here’s What We Think About Vaccine Mandates,” New York Times, September 2, 2021. Found (February 22) at: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/02/opinion/covid-vaccine-mandates-civil-liberties.html

[6] Official email correspondence “TO: John Jay College Faculty and Staff, FROM: Mark Flower, Interim Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, DATE: February 23, 2022, RE: COVID-19 Update”

[7] Rochelle Walensky interview with Wolf Blitzer, CNN, August 6, 2021. Found (on February 23, 2022) at: https://rumble.com/vkte8s-cdc-director-admits-to-cnn-that-covid-vaccines-dont-prevent-transmission-of.html

[8] Kat Eschner, “The Long Shadow of the 1976 Swine Flu Vaccine ‘Fiasco’,” Smithsonian, February 6, 2017.

Found (Jan 3, 2022) at: 

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/long-shadow-1976-swine-flu-vaccine-fiasco-180961994/

Also worth watching this old 60 Minutes report on the fraudulent Swine Flu of 1976.

Found (Jan 3 2022) at: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4bOHYZhL0WQ

[9] For example, when Anthony Fauci sidelined ambulatory treatment for AIDS because of his quixotic quest for an HIV vaccine, activists wrote vitriolic, profanity laced, invectives and such letters were published in mainstream newspapers! Larry Kramer, “An Open Letter to Dr. Anthony Fauci,” The Village Voice, May 31, 1988. 

Found (January 18 2022) at: https://www.villagevoice.com/2020/05/28/an-open-letter-to-dr-anthony-fauci/

[10] Dr. Scott Atlas was a member of that task force and his account of its workings is study of dysfunction. An ardent Trump supporter, Atlas will not to criticize the former president, yet he paints a picture of an administration in disarray and hostage to the fear-mongering headlines being created by the unscientific messaging of its own Coronavirus Task Force. Jared Kushner, in particular, seems to have been immobilized by the headlines. Scott Atlas, A Plague Upon Our House: My Fight at the Trump White House to Stop COVID from Destroying America, (New York: Bombardier Books, 2021). 

[11] See “program funding” at FDA Fact Sheet: https://www.fda.gov/about-fda/fda-basics/fact-sheet-fda-glance

[12] “The FDA’s growing emphasis on speed has come at the urging of both patient advocacy groups and industry, which began in 1992 to contribute to the salaries of the agency’s drug reviewers in exchange for time limits on reviews. In 2017, pharma paid 75 percent — or $905 million — of the agency’s scientific review budgets for branded and generic drugs, compared to 27 percent in 1993.” Caroline Chen, “FDA Repays Industry by Rushing Risky Drugs to Market,” ProPublica, June 26, 2018. Found (Jan 3, 2022) at: https://www.propublica.org/article/fda-repays-industry-by-rushing-risky-drugs-to-market

[13] Cornell Law School, Legal Information Institute, 15 U.S. Code § 3710c— Distribution of royalties received by Federal agencies, Found (Jan, 3 2022) at: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/3710c

[14] Profile page “Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director, NIAID” found (Jan 17, 2022) at: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/research/anthony-s-fauci-md

[15] “Noam Chomsky: Corporate Patents & Rising Anti-Science Rhetoric Will Prolong Pandemic,” democracy now December 30, 2021. Found (February 22, 2022) at: https://www.democracynow.org/2021/12/30/noam_chomsky_corporate_patents_rising_anti

[16] “…pooled percentage of asymptomatic infections was… 40.50% among the confirmed population Ma Q, Liu J, Liu Q, et al. Global Percentage of Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections Among the Tested Population and Individuals With Confirmed COVID-19 Diagnosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(12):e2137257. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.37257                                                                 
Found at: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2787098

[17]  Vivian Wang, “Most Coronavirus Cases Are Mild. That’s Good and Bad News,” New York Times, February, 27, 2020. Found (Jan 3, 2022) at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/world/asia/coronavirus-treament-recovery.html

[18] Numbers calculated from the CDC’s “Weekly Updates by Select Demographic and Geographic Characteristics,” see Table 1.

Found (Jan 3, 2022) at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm#AgeAndSex

[19] John Ioannidis, “Infection fatality rate of COVID-19 inferred from seroprevalence data,” Bull World Health Organ. 2021 Jan 1; 99 (1):19-33F. doi: 10.2471/BLT.20.265892. Epub 2020 Oct 14. PMID: 33716331; PMCID: PMC7947934. Found (Jan 3, 2022) at:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33716331/

[20] Cathrine Axfors, John P A Ioannidis, “Infection fatality rate of COVID-19 in community-dwelling populations with emphasis on the elderly: An overview,” MedriXiv, December 23, 2021. Found (January 27, 2022) at: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.07.08.21260210v2

[21] Sarah Wheaton, “How the coronavirs split science in two: With so many lives on the line, some ideas have been too dangerous to discuss,”Politico, December 8, 2021.

Found (Jan 3 2022) at: https://www.politico.eu/article/coronavirus-split-science-in-two-pandemic/

[22] For a stark example of left hysteria vs. reason cast as right-wing evil see, “Herd Immunity: Is It a More Compassionate Approach or Will It Lead to Death or Illness for Millions?” Democracy Now, October 15, 2020. Found (Jan 3, 2022) at: https://www.democracynow.org/2020/10/15/herd_immunity_debate

[23] Daniel F. Gudbjartsson, et al.,“Humoral Immune Response to SARS-CoV-2 in Iceland,” New England Journal of Medicine, September 1, 2020. Found (Jan 3, 2022) at: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa2026116 ; “As for the more accurate Covid-19 PCR tests — which use real-time polymerase chain reaction technology and generally take hours to produce results — Walensky said they were not included in the new CDC guidance because they can show positive results up to 12 weeks after initial infection.” Quint Forgey, “This was the moment’: CDC defends altered guidance amid Omicron surge,” Politico, December 29, 2021. Found (Jan 3, 2022) at:

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/12/29/cdc-defends-new-covid-guidelines-526234 ; Melanie Mason, “Hundreds of thousands in L.A. County may have been infected with coronavirus, study finds,” Los Angeles Times, April 20, 2020. Found (Jan 3, 2022) at: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-04-20/coronavirus-serology-testing-la-county ; Debbie Koenig, “Evidence Mounts for Greater COVID Prevalence,” (Medically Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD) WebMed April 24, 20200. Found (Jan 15, 2022) at: https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200424/more-data-bolsters-higher-covid-prevalence

By early May 2020, four US states had tested their entire prison populations. These studies found high rates of infection but most of the cases – over 90 percent – were asymptomatic or mild. See, Linda So, Grant Smith, “In four U.S. state prisons, nearly 3,300 inmates test positive for coronavirus — 96% without symptoms,” Reuters, RSPECIAL REPORTS APRIL 25, 2020.

[24] See “Reported cases, deaths and vaccinations by country” select for all time and organize by deaths per 100,000. “Coronavirus World Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak,” New York Times (online) Updated Jan. 19, 2022. Found (Jan 19, 2022) at

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/world/covid-cases.html

[25] See subsection “Comorbidities and other conditions” at Centers for Control and Prevention, Weekly Updates by Select Demographic and Geographic Characteristics, Found (Jan 15, 2022) at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm#Comorbidities

[26] Benjamin Mueller and Eleanor Lutz, “U.S. Has Far Higher Covid Death Rate Than Other Wealthy Countries,”

New York Times, February 1, 2022. Found (February 2, 2022) at: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/02/01/science/covid-deaths-united-states.html?referringSource=articleShare

[27] Jackie Salo, “CDC chief corrects Sotomayor’s pediatric COVID hospitalization claim,” The New York Post,

January 9, 2022. Found (Jan 15, 2022) at: https://nypost.com/2022/01/09/cdcs-walensky-corrects-justice-sonia-sotomayors-covid-19-claim/

Also see: Aaron Blake, “Rochelle Walensky is not good at this,” Washington Post, January 10, 2022. Found (January 17, 2022) at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/10/rochelle-walensky-is-not-good-this/

[28] Telephone interview December 31, 2021 and email exchange January 15, 2022, with Carlos B. Coyle, Kentucky Deputy Coroner Madison County Kentucky.

[29] Nielsen, G.P., Björnsson, J. & Jonasson, J.G. “The accuracy of death certificates.” Vichows Archiv A Pathol Anat 419, 143–146 (1991). Found (January 19, 2022) at: https://doi-org.ezproxy.cul.columbia.edu/10.1007/BF01600228; Also see,  Jacqueline Messite, Steven D. Stellman, “Accuracy of death certificate completion: the need for formalized physician training,” JAMA, March 13, 1996; 275, 10; PA Research II Periodicals, p. 794. Found (January 19, 2022) at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8250343_Death_certificate_completion_How_well_are_physicians_trained_and_are_cardiovascular_causes_overstated; Also see, Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, et. al., “Accuracy of Death Certificates for Coding Coronary Heart Disease as the Cause of Death,” Annals of Internal Medicine, 15 December 1998. Found (January 19, 2022) at: https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/abs/10.7326/0003-4819-129-12-199812150-00005.

[30] N. M. Makiko, et.al., “Accuracy of death certificates and assessment of factors for misclassification of underlying cause of death,” Journal of Epidemiology, (2016) 26(4), 191-198. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2188/jea.JE20150010

[31] U. S. H. Gamage, et al. “The impact of errors in medical certification on the accuracy of the underlying cause of death,” PLoS ONE, vol. 16, no. 11, 8 Nov. 2021. Gale Academic OneFile, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A681629218/AONE?u=columbiau&sid=summon&xid=c8b09751. Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

[32] For an overview of state level executive orders see, “State Governors’ ‘Stay-at-Home’ and Prohibition on Elective Procedures Orders,” website of law firm McGuire Woods, October 13, 2020. Found (December 17, 2021) at: https://www.mcguirewoods.com/client-resources/Alerts/2020/10/state-governors-stay-at-home-prohibition-elective-procedures-orders

[33] Original CDC guidance has since been removed. However, a timeline of how that guidance was followed by other institutions is provided here: Karen S. Sealander, et. al, “How to handle elective surgeries and procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic,” March 22, 2020, published on the website of the corporate law firm McDermott, Will, and Emery. Found at:

https://www.mwe.com/insights/how-to-handle-elective-surgeries-and-procedures-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

[34] Press release, subject safety, “CMS Releases Recommendations on Adult Elective Surgeries, Non-Essential Medical, Surgical, and Dental Procedures During COVID-19 Response,” Mar 18, 2020.  Found (January 19, 2022) at: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-releases-recommendations-adult-elective-surgeries-non-essential-medical-surgical-and-dental

[35] Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, “45 U.S. States Shut Down And Counting: State-By-State Travel Restrictions,” Forbes, Mar 28, 2020. Found (January 19, 2022) at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/suzannerowankelleher/2020/03/28/23-states-shut-down-and-counting-state-by-state-travel-restrictions/?sh=c365b3658f4c

Also see: Sarah Mervosh, Denise Lu and Vanessa Swales, “See Which States and Cities Have Told Residents to Stay at Home,” New York Times, April 20, 2020. Found (January 19, 2022) at:  https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-stay-at-home-order.html

[36] Rebecca Robbins, “Routine cancer screenings have plummeted during the pandemic, medical records data show,” STAT, May 4, 2020. https://www.statnews.com/2020/05/04/cancer-screenings-drop-coronavirus-pandemic-epic/

[37]https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2020-05-06/layoffs-and-losses-covid-19-leaves-us-hospitals-in-financial-crisis

[38] Margot Sanger-Katz, “Why 1.4 Million Health Jobs Have Been Lost During a Huge Health Crisis,”

New York Times, May 8, 2020.  Found (January 19, 2022) at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/08/upshot/health-jobs-plummeting-virus.html

also see: Kelly Gooch, “1.4 Million Healthcare Jobs Lost in April,” Becker’s Hospital Review, May 8, 2020. Found (December 20, 2020) at: https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/workforce/1-4-million-healthcare-jobs-lost-in-april.html;

“As Hospitals Lose Revenue, More Than A Million Health Care Workers Lose Jobs,” NPR/Morning Edition, May 8, 2020. Found (December 20, 2020) at: https://www.npr.org/2020/05/08/852435761/as-hospitals-lose-revenue-thousands-of-health-care-workers-face-furloughs-layoff

Alia Paavola, “266 hospitals furloughing workers in response to COVID-19,” Becker’s CFO Hospital Report, August 31, 2020.  Found (December 20, 2020) at: https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/49-hospitals-furloughing-workers-in-response-to-covid-19.html

“Michigan Medicine to furlough 1,400 employees, delay construction on new hospital,” M-Live.com, May 5, 2020. Found (December 20, 2020) at: https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2020/05/michigan-medicine-to-furlough-1400-employees-delays-construction-on-new-hospital.html

Ayla Ellison, “University of Rochester Medical Center furloughs 3,400 workers,” Becker’s CFO Hospital Report

May 11, 2020. Found (December 19, 2020) at: https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/university-of-rochester-medical-center-furloughs-3-400-workers.html

[39] “HHS Announces Additional Allocations of CARES Act Provider Relief Fund,” press release, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, April 22, 2020. 

Found at: https://public3.pagefreezer.com/browse/HHS%20–%C2%A0About%20News/20-01-2021T12:29/https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/04/22/hhs-announces-additional-allocations-of-cares-act-provider-relief-fund.html

[40] Another $75 billion went to the Provider Relief Fund from the Paycheck Protection Program, Health Care Enhancement Act, and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. In December 2020, Congress appropriated an additional $3 billion to the PRF through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (2021 Appropriations Act), for a total of $178 billion. https://public3.pagefreezer.com/browse/HHS%20–%C2%A0About%20News/20-01-2021T12:29/https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/04/22/hhs-announces-additional-allocations-of-cares-act-provider-relief-fund.html

[41] “Special Bulletin: Senate Passes the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act,” American Hospital Association, March 26, 2020. See section labeled “DRG Add-on” where it is reported that, “During the emergency period, the legislation provides a 20% add-on to the DRG rate for patients with COVID-19. This add-on will apply to patients treated at rural and urban inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) hospitals.”

Found (Jan 31, 2021) at:

https://www.aha.org/special-bulletin/2020-03-26-senate-passes-coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-cares-act

Also see: Angelo Fichera, “Hospital Payments and the COVID-19 Death Count,” FACTCHECK.org, April 21, 2020.

[42] Karyn Schwartz and Anthony Damico, “Distribution of CARES Act Funding Among Hospitals,”

KFF, May 13, 2020. Found (Jan 4, 2022) at: https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/distribution-of-cares-act-funding-among-hospitals/

[43] ICD-10-CM Official Coding and Reporting Guidelines April 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020.

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/icd/COVID-19-guidelines-final.pdf

[44] Provider Relief Programs: Provider Relief Fund and ARP Rural Payments Frequently Asked Questions, p., 14, 39.

https://www.hrsa.gov/sites/default/files/hrsa/provider-relief/provider-relief-fund-faq-complete.pdf

[45] HHS Announces Additional Allocations of CARES Act Provider Relief Fund HHS Press Office, April 22, 2020.   

[46] Emma Brown, Beth Reinhard and Reis Thebault, “Which deaths count toward the covid-19 death toll? It depends on the state,” Washington Post, April 16, 2020.

[47] “Cases in U.S.” CDC, April 14, 2020.

https://web.archive.org/web/20200414010816/https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html

[48] Emma Brown, Beth Reinhard and Reis Thebault, “Which deaths count toward the covid-19 death toll? It depends on the state.” Washington Post, April 16, 2020.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/which-deaths-count-toward-the-covid-19-death-toll-it-depends-on-the-state/2020/04/16/bca84ae0-7991-11ea-a130-df573469f094_story.html

[49] “COVID-19 Funeral Assistance,” FEMA.gov, last updated December 22, 2021. Found (Jan 4, 2022) at: https://www.fema.gov/disaster/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance

[50] The list of who can get the money includes: Medicare fee-for-service providers, Medicaid providers, Medicaid managed care plans, dentists, assisted living facilities, behavioral health providers, rural providers, skilled nursing facilities, tribal hospitals and clinics, urban health centers, safety net hospitals, and hospitals that have a high number of confirmed COVID-19 inpatient admissions. Health Resources & Servs. Admin., CARES Act Provider Relief Fund, Frequently Asked Questions, updated 9/27/2021: Found (Jan 4, 2022) at: https://www.hrsa.gov/sites/default/files/hrsa/provider-relief/provider-relief-fund-faq-complete.pdf, p. 27. 

[51] Covid-billing related fraud is common enough that the DOJ has set up a special unit to deal with it, the Health Care Fraud Unit’s COVID-19 Interagency Working Group. “National Health Care Fraud Enforcement Action Results in Charges of Over $308 Million in Intended Loss Against 52 Defendants in the Southern District of Florida,” press release, Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Florida, September 17, 2021. Found (December 31, 2021) at: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl/pr/national-health-care-fraud-enforcement-action-results-charges-over-308-million-intended

[52] Robert Pell, et al., “Coronial postmortem reports and indirect COVID-19 pandemic-related mortality,” (BMJ Journals) Journal of Clinical Pathology, 17 January 2022. Found (January 31, 2022) at: https://jcp.bmj.com/content/early/2022/01/16/jclinpath-2021-208003

[53] Lai AG, Pasea L, Banerjee A, et al., “Estimated impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer services and excess 1-year mortality in people with cancer and multimorbidity: near real-time data on cancer care, cancer deaths and a population-based cohort study,” BMJ Open, November 17, 2020. Found (January 31, 2022) at: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/10/11/e043828

[54] Berkeley Lovelace Jr. and Noah Higgins-Dunn, “Trump says nationwide lockdown would ‘ultimately inflict more harm than it would prevent’,”CNBC, August, 3 20206. Found (February 3, 2022) at:   https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/03/trump-says-nationwide-lockdown-would-ultimately-inflict-more-harm-than-it-would-prevent.html

[55] “Drug Overdose Deaths in the U.S. Top 100,000 Annually,” CDC press release, November 17, 2021. Found (January 31, 2022) at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/nchs_press_releases/2021/20211117.htm

[56] “The Record Increase in Homicide During 2020,” CDC National Center for Health Statistics, October 8, 2021. Found (January 31, 2022) at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/podcasts/2021/20211008/20211008.htm

[57] “2020 Fatality Data Show Increased Traffic Fatalities During Pandemic,” The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, June 3, 2021: Found (Febuary 2, 2022) a: https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/2020-fatality-data-show-increased-traffic-fatalities-during-pandemic

[58] Tomislav Mihaljevic and Gianrico Farrugia, “How Many More Will Die From Fear of the Coronavirus?” New York Times, June 9, 2020. Found (January 31, 2022) at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/09/opinion/coronavirus-hospitals-deaths.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

[59] Ibid.

[60] Jonas Herby, Lars Jonung, and Steve H. Hanke, “A Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Lockdowns on COVID-19 Mortality,” Studies in applied economics number 200, John Hopkins university January 2022. Found (February 2, 2022) at: https://sites.krieger.jhu.edu/iae/files/2022/01/A-Literature-Review-and-Meta-Analysis-of-the-Effects-of-Lockdowns-on-COVID-19-Mortality.pdf

[61] Masks off? Fauci confirms ‘extremely low’ risk of transmission, infection for vaccinated

May 17, 202.1 Found (Feb 22, 2022) at: https://www.yahoo.com/now/masks-off-fauci-confirms-extremely-004504894.html?format=embed&region=US&lang=en-US&site=now&player_autoplay=1&expName=y20

[62] Jennifer Frazer, “The Risk of Vaccinated COVID Transmission Is Not Low,” Scientific America

December 16, 2021. This article contains links to most of the relevant studies.

[63] https://rumble.com/vkte8s-cdc-director-admits-to-cnn-that-covid-vaccines-dont-prevent-transmission-of.html

[64] Marcie Smith Parenti, “Why won’t the US medical establishment “believe women”? Covid-19 vaccines do not warn about menstrual disruption,” The Grey Zone, August 13 2021. Found (February 20, 2022) at:

https://thegrayzone.com/2021/08/13/cdc-fda-women-covid-19-vaccines-menstrual-disruption/

[65] Aylin Woodward, “We’re likely to need coronavirus booster shots after the initial vaccine,” Business Insider,

November 22, 2020. Found (Jan 2, 2022) at: https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-booster-shots-after-initial-vaccination-2020-11

[66] Sara Y Tartof, et al., “Effectiveness of mRNA BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine up to 6 months in a large integrated health system in the USA: a retrospective cohort study,” Lancet, October 4, 2021. Found (January 15, 2022) at: https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S0140-6736%2821%2902183-8

[67] Berkeley Lovelace Jr., “Israel says Pfizer Covid vaccine is just 39% effective as delta spreads, but still prevents severe illness,” CNBC.com, July 23, 2021.

Found (Jan, 1 2022) at: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/23/delta-variant-pfizer-covid-vaccine-39percent-effective-in-israel-prevents-severe-illness.html

[68] “Israel to offer COVID boosters 3 months after second vaccine dose,” Times of Israel, December 27, 2021. 

https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-to-offer-covid-boosters-3-months-after-second-vaccine-dose/

[69] Isabel Kershner, “Israel Considers 4th Vaccine Dose, but Some Experts Say It’s Premature,” New York Times,

 December 23, 2021. Found (January 22, 2022) at: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/23/world/middleeast/israel-vaccine-4th-dose.html

[70] “Frequent Boosters Spur Warning on Immune Response,” Frequent Boosters Spur Warning on Immune Response” Bloomberg Law, Jan. 12, 2022. Found (January 31, 2022) at: https://news.bloomberglaw.com/coronavirus/repeat-booster-shots-spur-europe-warning-on-immune-system-risks

[71] “Aspirin Use to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease Task Force Issues Draft Recommendation Statement on

Aspirin Use to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease,” US Preventive Services Task Force Bulletin October 12, 2021. Found (February 22, 2022) at: https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/sites/default/files/file/supporting_documents/aspirin-cvd-prevention-final-rec-bulletin.pdf  

[72] Essi Lehto, “Finland joins Sweden and Denmark in limiting Moderna COVID-19 vaccine,” Reuters,

October 7, 2021. Found (January 22, 2022) at: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/finland-pauses-use-moderna-covid-19-vaccine-young-men-2021-10-07/

[73] Amir Abbas Shiravi, Ali Ardekani, Erfan Sheikhbahaei, and Kiyan Heshmat-Ghahdarijani, “Cardiovascular Complications of SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines: An Overview,” Cardiology and Therapy, November 29, 2021, (advance publication online). Found (January 18, 2022) at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8629102/#CR25

[74] “PREP Act Immunity from Liability for COVID-19 Vaccinators” Found (January 18, 2022) at:

https://www.phe.gov/emergency/events/COVID19/COVIDvaccinators/Pages/PREP-Act-Immunity-from-Liability-for-COVID-19-Vaccinators.aspx

[75] Hannah Kuchler, Donato Paolo Mancini and David Pilling “The inside story of the Pfizer vaccine: ‘a once-in-an-epoch windfall’ The American company now dominates the market for Covid jabs. But does that give it too much power?” The Financial Times, November 29 2021. Found (February 22, 2022) at:

[76] Jenna Greene, “Wait what? FDA wants 55 years to process FOIA request over vaccine data,” Reuters, November 18, 2021. Found (Jan 3, 20220 at: https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/wait-what-fda-wants-55-years-process-foia-request-over-vaccine-data-2021-11-18/

[77] Ibid.

[78] “Memorandum of points and authorities in support of Pfizer Inc.’s motion for leave to intervene for a limited purpose,” Case 4:21-cv-01058-P Document 41 Filed January 21, 2022. Found (February 3, 2022) at: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/legaldocs/akpezebkavr/PHMPT%20v%20FDA%20-%20Memo%20ISO%20Motion.pdf

[79] Peter Doshi, “Does the FDA think these data justify the first full approval of a covid-19 vaccine?” BMJ Blog,

August 23, 2021.

Found (Jan, 1 2022) at:  https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/08/23/does-the-fda-think-these-data-justify-the-first-full-approval-of-a-covid-19-vaccine/

[80] Peter Doshi, “Pfizer and Moderna’s ‘95% effective’ vaccines—we need more details and the raw data,”

BMJ Blog, January 4, 2021. 

Found (Jan, 1 2022) at:  https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/01/04/peter-doshi-pfizer-and-modernas-95-effective-vaccines-we-need-more-details-and-the-raw-data/

[81] Peter Doshi, “Does the FDA think these data justify the first full approval of a covid-19 vaccine?” BMJ, August 23, 2021

Found (Jan 1, 2021) at: https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/08/23/does-the-fda-think-these-data-justify-the-first-full-approval-of-a-covid-19-vaccine/

[82] “Pfizer and BioNTech Conclude Phase 3 Study of COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate, Meeting All Primary Efficacy Endpoints,” Pfizer press release, Wednesday, November 18, 2020.

Found (Jn 2, 20220 at: https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/pfizer-and-biontech-conclude-phase-3-study-covid-19-vaccine

[83] “From the 12/24/2021 release of VAERS data: Found 21,002 cases where Vaccine is COVID19 and Patient Died,” Medalert.org

Found (Jan, 1 2022) at:

https://www.medalerts.org/vaersdb/findfield.php?TABLE=ON&GROUP1=AGE&EVENTS=ON&VAX=COVID19&DIED=Yes

[84] Ross Lazarus, “Electronic Support for Public Health–Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (ESP:VAERS)” Grant Final Report (Grant ID: R18 HS 017045) submitted to The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010.

Found (Jan, 1 2022) at:

https://digital.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/docs/publication/r18hs017045-lazarus-final-report-2011.pdf

[85] Also worth watching this old 60 Minutes report on the fraudulent Swine Flu of 1976.

Found (Jan 3 2022) at:
https://youtu.be/4bOHYZhL0WQ

[86] Kat Eschner, “The Long Shadow of the 1976 Swine Flu Vaccine ‘Fiasco’,” Smithsonian February 6, 2017.

Found (Jan 3 2022) at:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/long-shadow-1976-swine-flu-vaccine-fiasco-180961994/

[87]  Denise Grady and Katie Thomas, “Drug Company Under Fire After Revealing Dengue Vaccine May Harm Some,” New York Times, December 17, 2017. Found (Jan 4, 2022) at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/17/health/sanofi-dengue-vaccine-philippines.html

[88] David Cole and Daniel Mach, “We Work at the A.C.L.U. Here’s What We Think About Vaccine Mandates,” New York Times, September 2, 2021. Found (January 18, 2022) at: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/02/opinion/covid-vaccine-mandates-civil-liberties.html

[89] And for a left rereading of the American Revolution, the US Constitution, and the early republic see my book Radical Hamilton: Economic Lessons from a Misunderstood Founder, (Verso, 2020).

[90] Walker Bragman and Alex Kotch, “How The Koch Network Hijacked The War On COVID,” The Daily Poster, December 22, 2021. Found (Jan 3, 2022) at: https://www.dailyposter.com/how-the-koch-network-hijacked-the-war-on-covid/

[91] Sophie Reardon, “Spotify says it will add advisory to podcasts that discuss COVID-19 amid Joe Rogan controversy,” CBS News, January 31, 2022. Found (February, 3, 2022) at: / https://www.cbsnews.com/news/spotify-joe-rogan-podcasts-covid-19-misinformation-advisory/

[92] Roxane Gay, “Why I’ve Decided to Take My Podcast Off Spotify,” February 3, 2022. Found (February 3, 2022) at: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/03/opinion/culture/joe-rogan-spotify-roxane-gay.html

[93] Conor Skelding, “New Twitter CEO has brought wave of high-profile bans in short tenure,” New York Post, January 8, 2022. Found (January 17, 2022) at: https://nypost.com/2022/01/08/twitter-ceo-parag-agrawal-has-brought-wave-of-high-profile-bans/

[94] Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200 (1927). Found (Jan 3, 2022) at: https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/274/200/ ; also see: Josh Blackman, “The Irrepressible Myth of Jacobson v. Massachusetts,” Buffalo Law Review, Vol 70 No., 1 Article 3, February 25, 2022. Found (January 9, 2022) at: https://digitalcommons.law.buffalo.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4934&context=buffalolawreview .

[95] Alex Gutentag, “Revolt of the Essential Workers,” Tablet Magazine, October 25, 2021.

[96] Ibid.

[97] Clint Rainey, “Unions can’t agree on vaccine mandates. Here’s where nurses, pilots, teachers, and others stand,” Fast Company, October 13, 2021. Found (Jan 25, 2022) at: https://www.fastcompany.com/90685563/unions-cant-agree-on-vaccine-mandates-heres-where-nurses-pilots-teachers-and-others-stand

[98] Freddie Sayers, “Inside the Austrian lockdown: We explore the world’s first lockdown for the unvaccinated,” UnHerd, December 31, 2021. Found (January 17, 2022) at: https://unherd.com/2021/12/inside-the-austrian-lockdown-2/

[99] Maroosha Muzaffar, “Three arrested after scaling fence of Australian Covid quarantine compound in middle of night,” The Independent (UK), December 1, 2021.

[100] “Inside Australia’s Covid internment camp,” UnHerd with Freddy Sayer, UnHerd News, December 2, 2021

Found (Jan 3, 2022) at: https://unherd.com/thepost/inside-australias-covid-internment-camp/

[101] Ibid., p. 17.

[102] Amnesty International Report 2020/21(Amnesty International Ltd.: London, 2021), p. 14. 

[103] Ibid., p.18-19.

[104] Ibid., p. 29.

[105] Ibid. p. 30.

[106] Ibid. p. 34.

[107] Ibid. p. 51.

[108] Ibid. p. 55.

[109] Daniel Munevar, “A Debt Pandemic: Dynamics and implications of the debt crisis of 2020,” Briefing Paper, European Network on Debt and Development, March 2021., p. 2 and figure 14 p. 11.

Found (Jan 8, 2022) at: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/eurodad/pages/2112/attachments/original/1622627378/debt-pandemic-FINAL.pdf?1622627378

[110] Ibid.

[111] Derek Headey, et al., “Impacts of COVID-19 on childhood malnutrition and nutrition-related mortality,” The Lancet, Vol 396 August 22, 2020. Published Online July 27, 2020. Found (Jan 8, 2022) at: https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(20)31647-0.pdf .

[112] Michael Rothfeld and J. David Goodman, “New York Spent $1 Billion on Virus Supplies. Now It Wants Money Back.” New York Times, Dec. 17, 2020. Found (January 24, 2022) at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/17/nyregion/new-york-ppe-refunds.html

[113] Michael Schwirtz, “The 1,000-Bed Comfort Was Supposed to Aid New York. It Has 20 Patients.” New York Times, April 2, 2020. Found (January 24, 2022) at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/02/nyregion/ny-coronavirus-usns-comfort.html

[114] Jamelle Bouie, “The Racism at the Heart of Trump’s ‘Travel Ban’,” New York Times, February, 4, 2020.

Found (Dec 20, 2021) at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/04/opinion/trump-travel-ban-nigeria.html

[115] Sam Levin, “Coronavirus: could the US government’s quarantine and travel ban backfire?,” The Guardian

February 2, 2020. Found (Dec 20, 2021) at:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/feb/04/coronavirus-us-quarantine-travel-ban-response

[116] “How Government Screwed Up Coronavirus Response From masks to tests, suppression to stimulus,” Reason,

March 30, 2020. Found (December 20, 2021) at: 

https://reason.com/podcast/how-government-screwed-up-coronavirus-response/

[117] “Trump says would love to see businesses re-open by Easter” Reuters March 24, 2020. Found (December 20, 2021) at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-trump-easter/trump-says-would-love-to-see-businesses-re-open-by-easter-idUSKBN21B2XW

[118] Annie Karni and Donald G. McNeil Jr., “Trump Wants U.S. ‘Opened Up’ by Easter, Despite Health Officials’ Warnings,” New York Times,March 24, 2020. Found (Dec 20, 2021) at:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/us/politics/trump-coronavirus-easter.html

[119] Scott Atlas, A Plague Upon Our House: My Fight at the Trump White House to Stop COVID from Destroying America, (New York: Bombardier Books, 2021).

[120] “Trump accused of ‘fomenting rebellion’ after ‘LIBERATE’ tweets,” aljazeera.com April 18, 2020. Found (Jan 15, 2022) at: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/trump-accused-fomenting-rebellion-liberate-tweets-200417223606672.html

[121] Bobby Cuza, “As Crisis Abates, Planned Field Hospitals Vanish Before Admitting a Single Patient,”

NY1 April 23, 2020.

Found (Jan 3, 2022) at: https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2020/04/23/coronavirus-field-hospitals-that-weren-t

[122] “Trump calls Michigan protesters, some armed, ‘very good people’” Aljazeera.com, May 1, 2020. Found (Jan 15, 2022) at: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/5/1/trump-calls-michigan-protesters-some-armed-very-good-people

[123] Craig Timberg, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Moriah Balingit, “Protests spread, fueled by economic woes and Internet subcultures,” Washington Post, May 1, 2020. Found (January 15, 2022) at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/05/01/anti-stay-home-protests/

[124] Quint Forgey, “Newsom: Recall win shows Dems should ‘stiffen our spines’ on Covid action,” Politico, September 16, 2021. Found (Jan 17, 2022) at: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/09/16/newsom-recall-win-covid-restrictions-512132

[125] “Oct. 20-26, 2021, Washington Post-Schar School Virginia poll,” Washington Post.com, Oct 29, 2021. Found (Jan 17, 2022) at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/context/oct-20-26-2021-washington-post-schar-school-virginia-poll/1ad60e58-0bc2-404d-80e6-0f8ff5fba246/?itid=lk_inline_manual_2

Also see: Domenico Montanaro, “A bad omen for Democrats and 4 other election night takeaways,” NPR.org, November 3, 2021. Found (Jan 17, 2022) at:

https://www.npr.org/2021/11/03/1051713890/election-analysis-virginia-new-jersey-democrats

[126] Glenn Youngkin, “Parents matter in education – Virginia election will decide fate of students, schools

The most basic obligation of any Virginia school is to provide all children a high-quality education,” Fox.com, November 1, 2021. Found (Nov 2, 2021) at: 

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/virginia-parents-student-schools-youngkin-glenn

[127] Anya Kamanetz, “Why education was a top voter priority this election,” NPR.org, November 4, 2021.

Found (January 17, 2022) at: https://www.npr.org/2021/11/04/1052101647/education-parents-election-virginia-republicans

[128] Dana Goldstein and Noam Scheiber “As More Teachers’ Unions Push for Remote Schooling, Parents Worry. So Do Democrats.” New York Times, January 8, 2022. Found (January 8, 2022) at: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/08/us/teachers-unions-covid-schools.html

[129] Aaron Navarro, “Why many House Democrats are retiring or moving on before the next election,” CBS News, January 4, 2022. Found (January 22, 2022) at: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-house-democrats-are-retiring-or-moving-on-before-the-next-election/

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