Scott Tibbs

Enough with the COVID-19 panic porn

By Scott Tibbs, March 22, 2022

When I saw the following headline on the "Today's Paper" section of the Washington Post on Thursday, I knew it was nonsense: "Omicron hospitalized young children at 5 times the rate of delta, CDC says." Every bit of data from the beginning of the Omicron wave indicated the new version of COVID-19 was more transmissible but less dangerous than previous variants. We also know that children are less vulnerable to COVID-19 than adults. So how is it possible that the hospitalization rate for children increased?

Hint: It didn't. The Post finally admits the facts after four paragraphs:
But (Omicron) did not cause more severe infections than previous variants — the proportion of hospitalized children who ended up in the intensive care unit was smaller during the omicron wave than it was during the delta wave that began last summer and continued through fall and winter.
Headlines matter. We live in a time when many people read headlines or maybe the first paragraph of a story and move on, so this kind of anti-factual headline is deeply irresponsible and unethical. Plus, anything that harms children is going to get a lot of attention and will cause anxiety for millions of families.

From the very beginning, our public health establishment and our elected officials (cheered on by the news media) have covered up the fact that the risk of severe COVID-19 is heavily influenced by age and other complicating health problems. Children were by far the least vulnerable group to the novel coronavirus, and even the Washington Post itself admits that children in schools with the least restrictive pandemic mitigation protocols did better academically than their peers. Even then, we had people on the Left claiming that those who were pushing to re-open schools were sacrificing the lives of children.

But the reasonable policy goal of protecting the most vulnerable while disrupting the lives of young and healthy people as little as possible was thwarted by the fantasy that everyone was equally vulnerable to COVID-19. People who advocated a more measured approach were accused of murder. This created distrust and division, which ultimately harmed pandemic mitigation efforts.

We have seen nearly one million people killed by COVID-19 over the previous two years. This is something that we as a nation took seriously, and rightly so. But reckless fearmongering from the mainstream media, the public health establishment, and elected officials has eviscerated trust for tens of millions of Americans. We will eventually have another pandemic, and the damage our Establishment has done to their own credibility with their dishonesty, hypocrisy and reckless fearmongering will cause people to die unnecessarily when that inevitable pandemic strikes. The lack of foresight here is truly appalling.

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