Public Health Experts Have Undermined Their Own Case for the COVID-19 Lockdowns

Police violence is a metaphorical disease. Coronavirus is a literal disease.


In theory, the mass protests following the alleged murder of George Floyd put public health officials who have ceaselessly inveighed against mass gatherings in a difficult position. They have called for a moratorium on most types of public activities, but particularly gathering in large crowds where increased aerosolization from loud talking and yelling could spread the COVID-19 virus to massive groups.

But when it comes to the protests against police brutality, many medical experts think there should be an exemption to the COVID-19 lockdown logic.

More than a thousand public health experts signed an open letter specifically stating that "we do not condemn these gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in the United States."

The letter conceded that mass protests carried the risk of spreading coronavirus, and offered some good—if naive—advice for people who are going out anyway: wear masks, stay home if sick, attempt to maintain six feet of distance from other protesters. Many protesters are wearing masks, but others are not. And while we can blame the police for forcefully corralling people into close quarters, it's a bit rich for public health experts to endorse protesting under conditions that they know are impossible for protesters to meet.

Indeed, for the purposes of offering health care advice, the only thing that should matter to doctors is whether their harm-reduction recommendations are being followed: how big is the event, is it outdoors, are masks being worn, etc. However, the letter distinguishes police violence protesters from "white protesters resisting stay-home orders," as if the virus could distinguish between the two types of events. While I am not a doctor, my understanding is that it cannot.

The letter led a Slate writer to claim that "Public Health Experts Say the Pandemic Is Exactly Why Protests Must Continue." The argument here is that coronavirus is more deadly for black people because of systemic racism and that protesting systemic racism is a sort of medical intervention.

"White supremacy is a lethal public health issue that predates and contributes to COVID-19," the letter continues.

There is much truth to this! Black people in America do have worse health outcomes, but so do low-income people of every race and ethnicity. Is it medically acceptable for a poor person to protest against lockdown-induced economic insecurity? For people who live paycheck to paycheck to protest looming evictions and foreclosures? What about people experiencing loneliness, depression, and bereavement? Again, my understanding is that the virus does not think and thus does not choose to infect us based on what we're protesting.

Many people all over the country were prevented from properly mourning lost loved ones because policymakers and health officials limited public funerals to just 10 people. For months, public health officials urged people to stay inside and avoid gathering in large groups; at their behest, governments closed American businesses, discouraged non-essential travel, and demanded that we resist the basic human instinct to seek out companionship, all because COVID-19 could hurt us even if we were being careful, even if we were going to a funeral rather than a nightclub. All of us were asked to suffer a great deal of second-order misery for the greater good, and many of us complied with these orders because we were told that failing to slow the spread of COVID-19 would be far worse than whatever economic impact we would suffer as a result of bringing life to a complete standstill.

People who failed to follow social distancing orders have faced harsh criticism and even formal sanction for violating these public health guidelines. To take just one extreme example, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened to use law enforcement to break up a Jewish funeral.

After saying no to so many things, a significant number of public health experts have determined that massive protests of police brutality are an exception to the rules of COVID-19 mitigation. Yes, these protests are outdoors, and yes, these experts have encouraged protesters to wear masks and observe six feet of social distance. But if you watch actual footage of protests—even the ones where cops are behaving badly themselves—you will see crowds that are larger and more densely packed than the public beaches and parks that many mayors and governors have heavily restricted. Every signatory to the letter above may not have called for those restrictions, but they also didn't take to a public forum to declare them relatively safe under certain conditions.

"For many public health experts who have spent weeks advising policymakers and the public on how to reduce their risk of getting or inadvertently spreading the coronavirus, the mass demonstrations have forced a shift in perspective," The New York Times tells us.

But they could have easily kept the same perspective: Going out is dangerous, here's how to best protect yourself. The added well, this cause is important, though, makes the previous guidance look rather suspect. It also makes it seem like the righteousness of the cause is somehow a mitigating factor for spreading the disease.

Examples of this new framing abound. The Times interviewed Tiffany Rodriguez, an epidemiologist "who has rarely left her home since mid-March," but felt compelled to attend a protest in Boston because "police brutality is a public health epidemic." NPR joined in with a headline warning readers not to consider the two crises—racism and coronavirus—separately. Another recent New York Times article began: "They are parallel plagues ravaging America: The coronavirus. And police killings of black men and women."

Police violence, white supremacy, and systemic racism are very serious problems. They produce disparate harms for marginalized communities: politically, economically, and also from a medical standpoint. They exacerbate health inequities. But they are not epidemics in the same way that the coronavirus is an epidemic, and it's an abuse of the English language to pretend otherwise. Police violence is a metaphorical plague. COVID-19 is a literal plague.

These differences matter. You cannot contract racism if someone coughs on you. You cannot unknowingly spread racism to a grandparent or roommate with an underlying health condition, threatening their very lives. Protesting is not a prescription for combatting police violence in the same way that penicillin is a prescription for a bacterial infection. Doctors know what sorts of treatments cure various sicknesses. They don't know what sorts of protests, policy responses, or social phenomena will necessarily produce a less racist society, and they shouldn't leverage their expertise in a manner that suggests they know the answers.

It's clear that we've come to the point where people can no longer be expected to stay at home no matter what. Individuals should feel empowered to make choices about which activities are important enough to incur some exposure to COVID-19 and possibly spreading it to someone else, whether that activity is reopening a business, going back to work, socializing with friends, or joining a protest against police brutality. Health experts can help inform these choices. But they can't declare there's just one activity that's worth the risk.

NEXT: Support, Don't 'Dominate,' Protesters Seeking 'Equal Justice Under the Law,' Writes Former Defense Secretary Mattis

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  2. “For many public health experts who have spent weeks advising policymakers and the public on how to reduce their risk of getting or inadvertently spreading the coronavirus, the mass demonstrations have forced a shift in perspective,”

    Mel Brooks nails it.

    Preach it, Robby!

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  3. So all we have to do in order to worship of mourn our dead is steal something on the way to church?
    Maybe wear a ‘cloth face covering’ imprinted “I am protesting”?
    A reasonable person would come to think the politicians are a lying bunch of fascists.

    1. Spray graffiti on the coffin, knock over some tombstones….this is not as difficult as you are making it sound.

    2. Hmmm…my father in law is not doing so well, and I have my eye on a convertible for summer.

      I think I have an old Dead Kennedy’s t-shirt from college that’s still kind of black (grayish), and seems to send the right message.

      Is it bad if I test drive the car before I steal it in protest?

      1. Scott, that is called “being responsible. And woke”

  4. I’m beginning to suspect that virtue signaling can inadvertently expose the appearance of hypocrisy. But for that to truly be the case, the lockdown scolds (including those with enforcement power) would have been doing their thing not for the good of mankind but as a performative exercise.

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  5. Doctors … don’t know what sorts of protests, policy responses, or social phenomena will necessarily produce a less racist society, and they shouldn’t leverage their expertise in a manner that suggests they know the answers.

    And if they do, they should (at least) lose their licenses, right? RIGHT?!

  6. Protesting for black bodies provides an impermeable defense against the coof. It is known.

    1. an’ I gots me a chikkin can fly to the moon and back in a week, all by herself!!!! And she’s for sale, pretty cheap.

  7. >>>”we do not condemn these gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in the United States.”

    jeebus fucking chris these people are total frauds.

    1. *And* Grandma killers.

      1. And most likely baby killers – – – – – – – –

        1. those Ferraris don’t pay for themselves …

    2. Why are we lumping them all together in one homogeneous group. Oh yes, the fear of groups that we aren’t part of. Lets set up a straw man argument and then hate them for making it. I blame Donald Trump for the inability for anyone to have a civil discussion or even argument on the best course of action….

      O.K. We don’t know if social distancing of 6ft is a certain percentage better than 5ft. Its just a number that someone studied how far a cough can spray stuff and took a SWAG at it. That’s all this is. The lockdown, the masks, the distancing etc. Its just an attempt to slow the chain reaction of how fast COVID-19 can spread. Just slowing down the chain reaction… like a nuclear reactor dropping control rods (except nuclear reactions are well understood). Will the world come to an end if we social distance at 5ft? How about 4ft? We don’t know.
      I assume the ultimate goal is that we limit how fast the extreme cases of COVID-19 are arriving so that it doesn’t overwhelm our health care system. To that end, I would suggest gradual easing of all the social distancing/lock-down, with lots of testing so we can be alerted to evolving hot spots.
      Of course, we could just point fingers at each other and call each other stupid and have a percentage of us ignore all the suggestions. That’s the Trump way! 🙂

      1. I blame you for your actions.
        Thats how cause and effect works.
        And I suggest you keep hiding in your room until you feel safe enough to come out.
        But fuck you trying to impose on other people the conditions of your neurosis

      2. This stuff all came out about three months ago, you need some new material.

      3. 1) Remember when everything bad was Bush’s fault? Now it’s Trump fault.

        2) Also, don’t forget that anybody who disagrees with you is a racist.

        With these core principles firmly in hand you can go forth and be a well-programmed Democrat.

        1. Please always remember and don’t ever forget:


          Kinda covers it all in lefty grievance speak. Haha.

    3. Oh, I gotta get that list, see if anybody at our local University hospital signed it. Gonna give ’em some shit, because a doctor who places virtue signalling above doctoring, is no doctor.

    4. Right. Protests against an action that nobody agrees with and for which the culpable people are already charged with a crime are necessary for the national public health, but avoiding 20% unemployment, three trillion in added national debt, loss of thousands of small businesses, and massive numbers of suicides are, somehow, not necessary for the national public health.

      Coroners in the Bay Area of California are reporting more deaths from suicide than COVID, and that they are seeing a year’s worth of suicide attempts in only four weeks (a thirteen-fold increase). This was completely predictable from the start! There is a well-known correlation between stress and suicide, and another between temporary job loss and suicide, even if you don’t take into account that the same thing causing the stress and the loss of jobs is also closing therapist’s offices, religious establishments, taverns, pool halls, bowling alleys, parks, fraternal lodges, golf courses, and anywhere else that a person might go to blow off a little steam. They’ve even taken away the ability for people to just go to a friend’s house. In the hardest hit areas (talking about the worst lockdowns here), you can’t even catch up on the “honey do” list to occupy your time at home, ’cause all of the non food related aisles at Wal-Mart are taped off to keep you from buying paint or spackle.

      If you didn’t see coming the increase in death from all of *that*, you’re too dumb to be making decisions in the first place. That was then, though; the deaths caused by the lockdownists are not a hypothetical anymore, and they weren’t when the inane statement about the protests being necessary for public health were made. Turns out that all of the freedom we’re supposed to have is necessary for public health, including the protests against the lockdowns themselves, which really are not all that different from the ones against police brutality. Both are signs of dangerously excessive amounts of government.

      Killing more people than you “save” (in reality, they’re only “saved” until they end up getting COVID later on rather than now) is okay for public health. Gotcha.

      Lockdowns for COVID have proven to be about as useful for public health as using thermonuclear weapons to deal with the urban rat problem. Not only is the cure worse than the disease, it’s orders of magnitude worse than the disease.

      Of course, we know this was never really about the public health. Tyrants love a good crisis, and they’re not letting this one go to waste! Governments will do what governments will do, which is to amass as much power as possible, and to use that power in as vulgar a way as possible, as many times as possible, while claiming that the people that are harmed in that process are better off for it.

      1. Great comment thank you

      2. Brilliant analysis it’s like you translated my thoughts!

  8. Next to the Media, no group has undermined their credibility during this pandemic more than the medical establishment. What a bunch of clowns.

    The irony is that these protests have the potential to become the real “super spreader” events that the public health professionals whined about when drunk college students had their Spring Break bacchanal in March.

    1. To be fair, politicians and the media had no credibility left to undermine.

    2. I regret that you are largely correct. In all fairness, you are hearing from the physician groups that have been largely taken over by SJW types.
      It is why I resigned in protest (with a big f you) from the AMA a decade ago.
      The meetings where these things are talked about are just ridiculous. I just couldn’t take the bullshit anymore. It is like arguing at an HOA meeting.

      1. Dammit, it’s a HOA. Rhymes with boa.

    3. The medical community doesn’t understand chain reaction modeling. They are doctors not physicist. Don’t go swimming 30 minutes after you’ve eaten…. What if you go in 29 minutes after your last chew?….

      1. The modelers don’t understand it either, apparently.

  9. Open wider, clingers.

    That means you, too, Robby. Your faux libertarian drag isn’t fooling anyone.

    1. You’re really going to comment on someone else’s libertarian credentials? Chill bud, going full retard doesn’t look as good as you think it does.

      1. Buttplug V. Kirkland

        The deathmatch that everybody wins!

        1. No. The match I win, asslord.

          1. But you’re still a loser.

    2. No little old ladies from whom to scam pennies from on the calendar today? Instead of bouncing from here to the Washington Post, just bounce down an open elevator shaft.

      1. Open wider, MK Ultra.

        You will comply with the preferences of your betters.

        You get to whine all you want, though.

        1. Bitch, I lived on 14th Street in an apartment with bars on the windows, back when the hip “U Street Corridor” was still run by Rayful. The whores out on the sidewalk did more for the community than you ever have or will.

        2. Unfortunately, it’s now obvious those “betters” you refer to are authoritarians straight out of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four. You think your “side” won, but it was just a bait and switch. The power elite won, as per usual.

  10. Individuals should feel empowered to make choices about which activities are important enough to incur some exposure to COVID-19 and possibly spreading it to someone else, whether that activity is reopening a business, going back to work, socializing with friends, or joining a protest against police brutality. Health experts can help inform these choices. But they can’t declare there’s just one activity that’s worth the risk.

    Surely you’re not implying that people are capable of weighing risks and making choices on their own? That’s just crazy talk. People are sheeple and need a “strong leader” to follow. /sarc

  11. “While I am not a doctor, my understanding is that it cannot.”
    I am so tired of non experts challenging their betters, putting their feelz ahead of hard science.

    1. “betters”??

      They’ve been wrong more often than right, at huge cost to health and humanity. And if a doctor puts virtue signalling ahead of actual medical practice, fuck ’em. That ain’t my “better”, and they ain’t using anything like “hard science”.

      1. They’re only wrong more often than they’re right if you are of the belief that reality is a thing that exists independently of the perceiver. You’re supposed to think that these things are just too complicated to understand and consider that if the elites say something that is objectively false, it must be reality that’s wrong. We’ve always been at war. Ignorance is strength. Slavery is freedom!

  12. “Public” “health” “experts”.

    1. X is from the Greek for unknown, and spurt is a little drip under pressure.

    2. “Top men”

  13. What the hell are any of us supposed to believe anymore? Covid is deadly. Let’s flatten the curve. Wait, no, let’s stay in lockdown until the virus is defeated. Or maybe there’s a vaccine. Actually, you can open as long as people stay six feet away from each other. Masks are useless. Masks are essential. Masks are mandated. Covid has a high death rate. Actually a low death rate. Actually it’s all nursing homes. Wait, no, standing five feet away from someone in Target kills grandma. Malaria drugs might work. No they won’t… or will they? Regardless, let’s shut down the country for months. To be on the safe side. So Cuomo can save his “just one life.”

    Unless, of course, a police officer murders a black man. Then we must protest. Masks are optional. Police brutality is a public health emergency, too!! So go out and stand inches away from others in a huge crowd, maybe wearing a mask under your nose, touch others, shout, and all of that is totally FINE.

    But you still can’t go to a bookstore. Because Covid. So stay home unless you want to kill grandma. Unless you’re protesting, in which case you should wear a mask. Actually, masks may not be that helpful… in fact, the lockdowns probably weren’t necessary. But we’re still going to enforce them.

    THE WORLD NO LONGER MAKES ANY SENSE. It’s all too easy to start feeling like nothing matters, nobody knows shit, but they’re going to take away your civil liberties just in case, unless you are protesting the right kinds of civil liberties. Then go for it.

    And, don’t forget, there are plenty of jobs about to open up as contact tracers!!

    The beatings will continue until morale improves.

    1. You can’t see me, but I’m giving you a standing ovation.

      I feel like Soave is an inch away from just admitting that this was never about safety, it was always about proving dominance. Come on Robby, you’re sooooo close. Say it.

      1. Robby: All right. I’ll say it. ‘Cause American governors were too much of pussy wimps to let the American people make their own decisions and blow out that Commie virus.

      2. “You can’t see me”
        … because we are all now complying with new CDC guidance that everyone must wear eye masks now as well so that none of us can see what’s going on

      3. Ovation here too. Well said Lady.

      4. ” it was always about proving dominance”

        Well, the culture war is settled, and the good guys have won.

        The clingers still get to whine and mutter inconsequentially, though.

        1. you’re a clinger?

        2. “Well, the culture war is settled, and the good guys have won.”

          Ah, so the mass rioting was really just exuberant celebration

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        3. You think that they’ll let you in to their little club just because you were willing to be Pelosi’s personal fluffer? That’s adorable. Useful idiots like you with absolutely zero ability to be self sufficient are usually the first casualties when you get your dream of a nannie totalitarian state my Menshevik friend.

      5. Too late. The dude said “ALLEGED murder of George Floyd……..” right at the top of the column.

        You likely won’t be hearing from Robby any more.

    2. Believe your Grandma;
      Stay home if you are sick.
      In the company of others, cover your coughs and sneezes with your handkerchief.
      Wash your hands.

      All the rest of the things in your post are just changing political bullshit by fascists who want to rule every aspect of your life.


      meh. fuck everyone else they’re idiots. everything will be fine.

    4. What the hell are any of us supposed to believe anymore?

      George Carlin knows.

    5. Also, y’all remember when the biggest fear was that because this virus came from China, people were calling it the Chinese virus and that was racist? That was phase one of the Covid catastrophe. That was the media’s and the politicians’ biggest fear – racism.

      1. Just another step in the cultural revolution

    6. Well said.

      That’s in pat because low IQ people are actually and literally in power.

      That idiot in class you would never envision yourself doing business with who was a perennial D student? The system made sure he could graduate with a college degree and then go into politics.


      No truly enlightened mind or great leader goes into politics to deal with a cesspool of corrupted low IQ degenerates. No wonder medical bureaucrats hold so much sway over these clowns. It’s almost too easy and irresistible.


    7. All those oddball relatives who have spent the past three months telling us that the coronavirus and subsequent Lockdown were political hoaxes are suddenly a little more credible today than they were a week ago.

    8. The comments are even better than usual today!

    They killed tens of thousands of seniors in nursing homes. They won’t let us go out of our own homes for months. They’ve destroyed the economy. And now if you don’t do what they’ve been telling us not to do all this time – to gather with other people – we’re irredeemable racists.

    1. Bethany is rich, white, and Jewish. According the the proggie rule book, she’s an irredeemable racist no matter what she does.

  15. So, what they are saying is that although there are risks, there are likely to be collective benefits that outweigh the risks.

    Kind of like letting normal economic activity resume and stave off collapse?

  16. Sounds like Robbie has a bad case of RACISM-20

    1. word. hilarious.

      1. Very nice. Especially since I am getting emails from every company I’ve ever interacted with online (including Madison Reed hair color – WTF) with heartfelt messages supporting the protests. It’s good to see the virus step up in solidarity.

        1. sent it to my mom she goes “fuck I guess I’m still at risk.”

  17. Police violence is a metaphorical disease. Coronavirus is a literal disease.

    And progressivism is a mental disease.

  18. Top 10 most highly cited retracted papers

    Ever curious which retracted papers have been most cited by other scientists? Below, we present the list of the 10 most highly cited retractions as of May 2019. Readers will see some familiar entries, such as the infamous Lancet paper by Andrew Wakefield that originally suggested a link between autism and childhood vaccines. You’ll note that many papers — including the #2 most cited paper — received more citations after they were retracted, which research has shown is an ongoing problem.

    1. Are there corresponding loss of tenure and or funding for the PI’s? We all make mistakes, but peer review really is supposed to screen out the clunkers.

      1. Somebody hasn’t seen the work of those three academics who invent and get SJW gibberish peer reviewed and published.

  19. Don’t wear a mask.
    Wear a mask!
    Don’t gather in large groups.
    Gather in large groups to protect public health!

  20. Robby Soave continues auditioning for the Fox talk shows as Concern-Troll in residence. Unclear to me why anyone enjoys being irrelevant, but hey, everyone has a dream, I guess.

    1. For a young clinger, what is there to look forward to?

      A lifetime of getting progress shoved down your throat?

      A lifetime of watching American progress against your wishes?

      A lifetime on the wrong side of history.

      In each case, followed by replacement . . . by your betters.

      Poor Robby.

      1. In each case, followed by replacement . . . by your betters.

        Just like what happened to Obama.

        1. TKO!

      2. “For a young clinger, what is there to look forward to?”

        As an old bigoted asshole, all you look forward to is shoving your head farther up your ass.

  21. Semi O/T – China has been criticizing the police response to the protests since they started, but have been strangely silent today.

    It’s almost as if something happened in on this date in China at some time in the past, when no Chinese protesters were massacred by their own military, at an event that never occurred…

    1. Yep. Conspicuous by absence.

  22. Once again, science is about knowledge, not application, and certainly not about how to run a society. It can provide some input, but there are intangibles such as “liberty” that also have to be considered.

    FWIW, as of yesterday, there is still no post-memorial day bump in Covid cases in the hardest hit, high density states. And there was some degree of (unsanctioned) relaxation of the lockdown based on what I personally saw in the peoples republic of taxachusetts. Maybe masks are enough to start to have a “herd protection” effect? Or maybe outside activities really are simply safer (due to dilution of virus particles)? Stay tuned!

  23. did anyone call jfree to make sure his head didn’t explode?

  24. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say this didn’t become political till about two weeks in. But after that it was never in good faith. It’s was used as cudgel to beat their idealogical opponent the middle class and viewed as an opurtunity to wreck the economy, so they could better foment racial division and charge up their bases. At this point there’s no honest person who can say otherwise.

  25. Only a few people have died of rioting. Flu kills many more thousands per year. Therefor, we should ignore rioting.

    1. It’s peaceful-protest-disease I’m concerned about.

    2. “Only a few people have died of rioting. Flu kills many more thousands per year. Therefor, we should ignore rioting.”

      Stunningly stupid, even for your level of stoooopid.
      Or did someone steal your handle to post sarc?

  26. Every public health notice I have seen about the protests and said they are a risk from a public health standpoint. However, the right wing protesters that took guns to the state capital to protest not being able to get a hair cut, failed to social distance and did not wear masks. Many protesters of police violence are wearing masks and trying to social distance as much as they can during a protest. To a degree there is a question is the cause worth the risk? Eating at TGI Friday’s might not be worth the risk. Protesting the death of innocent people at the hand of the police might be worth it. However, I believe most protesters know they are taking a risk. Most protesters are black. Most protesters know that they have a greater chance of dying if they get it. They are knowingly taking a risk for a greater cause. The Atlantic did a good job of pointing out the many health officials and journalists that do point to the risk of COVID-19 and participating in protests.

    1. Protesting the death of innocent people at the hand of the police might be worth it. However, I believe most protesters know they are taking a risk. Most protesters are black. Most protesters know that they have a greater chance of dying if they get it. They are knowingly taking a risk for a greater cause.

      Swing and a miss. The bill of goods we were sold on distancing was that you are putting *others* at risk by going out, because you may not only pick up the disease but then transmit it to everyone else you come in contact with.

      It’s “rules and compliance for thee, but not for me” all the way down.

      1. If I was sick, I would stay at home. I’m not, so I’m not.

        The science the authoritarian left claims to own shows that the asymptomatic spreader of COVID is mostly a myth.

        It’s well known that the viral shedding of an infected individual is directly related to his own viral load, and the level of perceived illness is correlated strongly to that viral load. Those people who have no symptoms have low viral load and low viral shedding. That’s just basic knowledge of how viruses work, which we had long before COVID was a thing.

        There was a study published recently in Respiratory Medicine that examined 455 individuals who had regular close contact with an individual (or individuals) who was asymptomatic but who tested positive for active COVID. The median contact time with the asymptomatic COVID carrier was four days.

        By the end of the study period, none of the 455 had contracted COVID. Not one. These were not just momentary encounters like passing someone at the grocery store, the kind of thing that they want us all in face diapers to prevent.

        If you haven’t got enough of the virus to be sick from it, then you don’t have enough of the virus to make other people sick from it. The way a virus works is by destroying your cells to become little factories for making more of the virus. If you’re making a lot of the virus particles, you’re having a lot of cells destroyed, and that is going to make you sick.

        The CDC people, I am sure, know this. They know that masks outside of a clinical setting have little to no protective effect, as backed up by another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which is why the CDC initially said not to. The WHO still advises not to wear a mask if you’re not sick and not taking care of someone who is. Certainly, the effectiveness of some mask you made yourself or bought on Etsy isn’t something that’s been studied.

        Did we ever hear them state the obvious, that there’s “no evidence” that masks prevent or limit COVID transmission? No, but they did say, repeatedly, that there is no evidence that getting COVID and recovering offered any protection, which was misleading at best. People have tested positive for COVID, then gotten over it and tested negative. That means the immune system got rid of it. The way the immune system works is based on antibodies being manufactured to attach to the pathogen and mark it for destruction by white blood cells. If the virus is no longer there, this must have happened. That means the antibodies work, just as they do for all kinds of other diseases.

        I think the CDC people knew that most regular people will hear “no evidence that [x] happens” and interpret that as “[x] does not happen,” which is far from being the same thing. There’s no evidence that if I knock this Coke can off my desk, it will then fall to the floor… I mean, I’ve never knocked it down before, right? I’ve knocked other things down before, maybe even other Coke cans, but not THIS Coke can. So, no evidence that it will fall… but wanna take a guess what will happen if I knock it down?

        The CDC’s cynical ploy seems to have worked. When I’ve mentioned herd immunity, I’ve heard people on numerous occasions say that “the CDC said there’s no immunity from having COVID,” which (of course) they didn’t. The CDC wanted people to think that, I think, to get people to give up on the idea of getting herd immunity the natural way and to go hide at home until a vaccine is created… which, of course, would never happen if getting over COVID didn’t provide immunity, because all a vaccine does is trick your body into thinking it already had COVID. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.

        They counted on people not getting that, and the ones I talked to didn’t.

        1. Sorry, but no. While it might have been overhyped, the fact that COVID has breached essentially every single quarantine bears witness to the asymptomatic carrier.

          Nursing homes have been in essential isolation since the beginning, but they still get infected despite every precaution. Because it is unquestionable that you can and do spread the disease without seeing the symptoms, which makes the temperature screening worse than useless.

    2. Thats damn fine parody

    3. The spinning and pretzel logic on display here is epic.

      1. >>pretzel logic

        best Steely Dan?

        1. Take your pick.

          Since Asia is in the news. Aja is on my mind lately. Legend has it that it was recorded in one take. The work with Wayne Shorter on sax and drummer Steve Gadd is just amazing.

    4. this is amazing.

    5. Why do those health officials get to decide that protesting is worth the risk but keeping the business that feeds your family afloat isn’t?

      They can tell us the risks. But in an ostensibly free society, the value judgments should be made by individuals or, at the very least, by elected officials that can get voted out if they fails to represent the people’s values.

  27. The idiocy, er academic discipline, known as modern public health was started by 60s campus radicals who couldn’t get into medical school because they were too busy going to protests instead of studying.

    1. The public health officials I’ve seen – and quite frankly one too many now – have been less than impressive to the point of shocking to be frank.

  28. There’s a whole lot wrong, both with the current situation, and with Brown’s article.

    Let’s start with ‘systemic racism’. I’m not actually sure this exists. Every attempt I’ve seen to specifically document the mechanics of systemic racism ends up uncovering personal racism and very little that is ‘systemic’ about it, outside of that racist person embedding their preferences into the system. Racism isn’t accidental, it’s intentional, definitionally intentional, yet ‘systemic racism’ seems to argue that we just accidentally happen into racist structures which manifest intent through some sort of nebulous process. This kind of magical thinking never stands up to scrutiny – all ‘systems’ which are racist are *racist by design*, because the people who designed them *were personally and intentionally racist*. That’s just personal racism, and the intention and process by which that intention was instituted can be reconstructed with suitably patient analysis. And this distinction is important – because if you never get farther than ‘systemic racism’, you’re just tilting at windmills rather than identifying actual underlying problems. And you can’t come up with systems which are not racist if you can’t figure out the mechanical processes by which relevant current systems were intentionally made racist. Only by realizing all racism is personal, and by focusing on the mechanics of how those personal preferences were embedded in system design, can actual racism be identified, reduced, or eliminated.

    ‘White supremacy’, while a real thing, is a minority belief system. It’s not a real tangible threat to most non-white people, because very few people are actually white supremacists. And most white supremacists have no actual power to inflict their wishes. (They’re still terrible people, but free people are allowed to believe terrible things).

    In fact, bias in the population has been decreasing for decades. It’ll certainly continue to decrease in the future.

    And if the left was truly worried about racism embedded in ‘systems’ (which necessarily means government, as nothing else can compel compliance to structured behavior, and nothing else is as immune to shifts in population values), they should be arguing to dismantle more and more government in which such racism can hide.

    Further, I’ve seen no evidence as yet to suggest the murder of Floyd was racist. Police brutality? Sure. And that’s also a real problem. But the perpetrator being white and the victim being black is insufficient to conclude racism – in a world without racism, there would still be incidents where inter-racial violence occurred, solely by chance. Now, I’m not saying such evidence doesn’t exist, but it certainly hasn’t been widely publicized, and this rush to judgement about motivation in the complete absence of evidence is as much an indictment of the media establishment as Floyd’s murder is an indictment of police practices and unions. (Still waiting to hear Democrats demand police union reforms or abolition, for that matter, despite unions being an obvious and documented contributing factor to police violence).

    But I won’t belabor the hypocrisy regarding covid-19 and the protests. Brown gets that much right.

    1. Racism still exists – the difference is that open white racists are marginalized, so they either conceal their views or congregate on Web sites where they thump their chests over how censored they are. On the other hand, (say) open black racists don’t seem to get a whole lot of marginalization from the respectable crowd. Which is not the same, please note, as saying black people are racist and white people aren’t, it’s just the differing responses to those who *are* racist, depending which race you are.

    2. >>Let’s start with ‘systemic racism’. I’m not actually sure this exists.

      it can’t. we’re not borg.

    3. Systemic racism exists; some of what it consists of are systems that were racist by design, but now march on like self-perpetuating zombies without anyone racist controlling them.
      One example is intergenerational poverty that disproportionately affects non-whites. A significant portion of intergenerational wealth transfer comes in the form of home value. After WWII, the GI Bill helped everybody buy homes – so far, so good. But the value of one’s long-term, low-interest loan was dependent on the value of the home one bought. And the racist-by-design redlining that kept blacks out of white neighborhoods and in ones with low home values didn’t just reduce the value of the homes that would then be able to be passed on to peoples’ children. The value of one’s home and the mortgage on it also affects ones’ credit, both in the rates one pays and the amount available for things like parent loans for students, home improvement loans, etc. Not to mention that poorer neighborhoods and minority neighborhoods often wind up with worse schools. They tend to have higher crime rates, which means more police patrols and more police contact (even for people who aren’t committing crimes). And in areas with few African Americans (Maine, Vermont, South Dakota, for example) that results in white people whose only experience with African Americans is from television, getting skewed perceptions like “they’re all just criminals in the cities”, which will influence their decisions without them realizing it.
      Having read this, I’m sure if you think about it, you can come up with other examples yourself.

  29. You know, I had previously hesitated to embrace the views of the most cynical among the commenters about the virus response…but events seem to be confirming all that cynicism.

    Here’s as far as I could stand to get into the “open letter”:

    “On April 30, heavily armed and predominantly white protesters entered the State Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan, protesting stay-home orders and calls for widespread public masking to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Infectious disease physicians and public health officials publicly condemned these actions and privately mourned the widening rift between leaders in science and a subset of the communities that they serve. As of May 30, we are witnessing continuing demonstrations in response to ongoing, pervasive, and lethal institutional racism set off by the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among many other Black lives taken by police. A public health response to these demonstrations is also warranted, but this message must be wholly different from the response to white protesters resisting stay-home orders. Infectious disease and public health narratives adjacent to demonstrations against racism must be consciously anti-racist, and infectious disease experts must be clear and consistent in prioritizing an anti-racist message.”

    Take your racist, politically biased BS and put it where the sun doesn’t shine. What possible moral relevance to the race and political views of a group of demonstrators have to the response of public-health professionals?

    I notice how they say they “support” these racial demonstrations while adding a recommendation of social distancing even though they know quite well the demonstrators aren’t observing those recommendations. Either denounce them for ignoring social distancing, or praise them – you cannot do both. Or does your scientific expertise include a way to repeal the law of non-contradiction?

    1. Notice how they’ve started capitalizing the word Black. A telltale sign of religious worship.

  30. What we’ve got here is the horrifying realization that we’re in the grip of what in Jesse Walker’s classification is a conspiracy from above, of people who are not exactly sadists, but willing to inflict any amount of suffering on others to produce the slightest amount of pleasure for themselves. They’re deliberately making life worse for the masses just to get some little personal political gain. Like they’d slaughter millions of children to produce some really zippy flavor extract for their coffee. They’re not sadists, because it’s not the suffering itself that gives them pleasure, it’s just a cost to the world that is worth it for their pleasure.

  31. Police violence is a metaphorical disease? Get your head out of your fucking ass. You sound like a simpleton….. seriously.

    1. He’s criticizing people who, in their writing, are making it out like a disease, which of course it’s not. He’s being generous by saying it could be a disease in metaphor.

  32. Massive First Amendment issue. Mayors and public health officials endorse public assembly for speech and expression based on content they approve, and make unlawful public assembly for speech and expression for based on content they don’t approve. As clear as the mask on most of our faces.

  33. The hypocrisy of the left knows no bounds. When it came to social distancing, lock downs, self-quarantining, and disrupting our economy, we had to listen to the scientists – or else! Now that guidance conflicts with their anti-white, anti-Trump, pro-chaos social agenda and their response is – never mind. What a bunch of morons. What is their response to the thousands of black lives taken at the hands of other blacks? Silence. Black lives apparently only matter when they are taken by a cop.

  34. Health experts, long forgotten and ignored, now feel powerful and important. Keep that in mind as they give you contradictory, chaotic and self defeating rules and regulations.

  35. Robby Soave has departed from reality. “Police violence, white supremacy, and systemic racism are very serious problems.” White supremacy is a major problem? What “supremacy” is he talking about? Systemic racism – what is he talking about? People are racists, not systems.
    Police violence has been and always will be a serious problem, it comes with the badge and a gun and the power to enforce “the law.” As bad as police violence is, very few people – black, white or any other color – are killed by cops. Most killings are “private,” and most of those involve killer and victim of the same “race.”

    1. Systems can perpetuate the racism of people, long after the racist people are long gone.
      See my response to Squirrelloid above for an example.
      Regarding killings, sure – police killings are rare. But police violence is more than killings, and differential policing results in differential outcomes for arrests and incarceration rates. If white kids were arrested for their petty crimes as frequently as blacks are arrested for theirs, how do you think that would affect the rates of incarceration (keep in mind that arrests for petty crimes have follow-on effects for the rest of the arrestee’s life)? But there’s nothing systemic about that, right?

      1. The only thing systemic I see is humanity’s innate need to believe and innate need to follow – of which most of these commenters harbor traits of admirably.

        Are there racists – sure. Does racism get handed down, infecting everyone it comes in contact with? Fuck you. Although humans are lemmings, they still have independent thought and motivations. Anyone born in the last 50 years is subject to much more anti-racism propaganda and shunning of racists than any racist policy or person could possibly infect others with.

        This police killing is because of out of control militarization of our police and wanton disregard for the public writ large in the courts. Quit handing out tanks to PD’s and quit training cops to be soldiers. Start holding judges and cops responsible for their actions. Get rid of immunity and civil asset forfeiture.

        What is it – 72% of those killed by cops are NOT black? This ain’t about race you dumb fucks – although it’s now been co-opted to appear as such.

    2. There’s no such thing as ‘systemic’ anything.

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  36. makes it seem like the righteousness of the cause is somehow a mitigating factor for spreading the disease.
    Proof positive that these medical poohbahs are little more than a bunch of swelled-headed godlets that just wanna flex their little “I know and YOU dont”” muscles and boss everyone about. if their heads swell just a little bit more they will surely explode. I wanna be around to watch that one!!!

  37. Let the leftists reap what they sow.

  38. Agree about the police violence. However, COVID-19 is just a strong flu that is dying out. This country reacted to it with the logic of a panicked 4 year old!

    1. “This country reacted to it with the logic of a panicked 4 year old!”
      You’ve met Gavin Newsom.

  39. Sweden – No lock down, deaths per 100,000 – 45
    Finland – Lock down, deaths per 100,000 – 5.8
    Norway – Lock down, deaths per 100,000 – 4.4
    Yep, no good reason for lock downs, Sweden has been amazingly effective at preventing covid19 deaths.

    1. Now do France, the UK, Italy, Spain, NY, NJ, CT, MA.

      We’ll wait.

      1. There are many variables that effect mortality rates, thus comparing countries with similarities, such as climate, genetics, and culture, is more appropriate if you are trying to isolate a variable.

    2. rltybites – retarded

      Wait, let me get a pencil.

    3. It’s not supposed to prevent deaths from the virus, just get them over with sooner while only minimally disrupting society. Nobody’s come up with an effective way to prevent the deaths, only delay them at great cost.

      1. Too many people have forgotten (or never understood in the first place) that the only deaths flattening the curve is supposed to prevent is excess deaths from an overloaded medical system. Flattening the curve isn’t intended or expected to reduce the area under the curve (i.e. deaths) beyond that, except insofar as the small possibility that a vaccine is developed before we reach the tail end of the curve.

        1. You would think but the ‘second wave’ and ‘yeh but no vaccine’ excuses are still in play.

    4. Quebec has worse rates than Sweden. We locked down.

      You suck at this. You can’t even cherry-pick right.

    5. Belgium has the most deaths per million and they locked down in March 18th.

      The way I see it – Sweden, Spain, Brazil and Italy will all be over this flu before anyone else because they won’t have any old af 80 year olds with preexisting conditions left to be killed from it.

      This whole lockdown and worry over a flu is most likely a global psyop. Fuck humanity.

  40. I understand that much of the protesting, rioting and looting has been occurring in area that have been heavily affected by Covid-19. Assuming this if true in 7 more days we will have a much better idea if the lockdowns and even social distancing makes a difference. In Minneapolis we have had crowds in numbers that simulate sporting events or concerts. While lots of protestors, rioters and looters have been wearing masks, none of them have been social distancing.

    If the numbers do not dramatically increase, then Governor Walz will have zero standing to delay moving to the next phase in opening un our economy. My fear is that Governor Walz will find yet another excuse and delay the next phase of reopening out economy.

    Politicians sit in their ivory towers and don’t need to experience what they inflict on the population. The poorer populations (including the district where George Floyd died) should be extremely mad at the Minneapolis Mayor Frey and Governor Walz as they are impacted more than the wealthier populations.

    The slow opening of the state and the bungling of Long Term Care Centers where they set Covid-19 positive patients to Long Term Care Centers where vulnerable populations live. I have not heard much in the national press detailing the massive blunder with LTC centers in Minnesota.

    1. I think weather will also be a strong factor here. It’s likely the warm summer weather will help in reducing infection rates and major complications for those infected. The cold spring in the northeast contributed to its deadliness. Beyond that, it has been destructive due to its novelty and policies that exposed the most vulnerable

  41. Police shot less than 20 unarmed black men last year. Hate crimes typically claim a handful of deaths annually.

    Greed, jealousy, non racial rage, and passion – these likely drive people to murder more than hate. Men will kill the their mothers who gave them life more than they will kill a total random stranger because he’s not his race.

    Hate thrives on chaos and mob sentiments. Pogroms started because a bunch of angry people thought Jews were poisoning wells. These cretins, who would loot a store because it’s stationed in white / healthy neighborhoods and wail on police officers as they identify them as the enemy, would trigger race wars in most places outside of the US.

    1. There is another bit of insanity. I find racism as distasteful as anyone, but to act like we are in some especially racist time and place is ridiculous. I really think that the contemporary US is close to the least racist culture there has ever been (outside of cultures so insulated from outsiders that it’s not an issue). That’s not to say that racism doesn’t exist or is never a problem. But to focus solely on racism as the cause of all racial disparities is useless. Yes, it is true as a historical fact. But it does not help to solve the problems that exist. If people are unwilling to talk about uncomfortable subjects like problems in black culture or the perverse incentives caused by welfare programs, or the destruction of black communities by “urban renewal” and generations of welfare dependence, these problems and disparities will never be rectified.

      1. Thank you for actually using your head to figure out this con. The racism angle can now proceed being refuted by the non-herd intellectuals.

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  43. “The argument here is that coronavirus is more deadly for black people because of systemic racism and that protesting systemic racism is a sort of medical intervention.”

    Then if I decide to protest systemic racism this weekend by hosting a keg party in my backyard this Saturday night and inviting more than 25 people, I will be engaging in a medical intervention against a parallel plague, right?

  44. Not an epidemiologist here but this article does point out some glaring inconsistencies. From the start people on the left have played the part of Corona scolds in an amazingly un-self-aware fashion. They ignored the fact that shutting down the economy would devastate poor communities. They ignored heir past claims that poverty breeds bad health outcomes and malnutrition. They claimed that people protesting the lock-downs were privileged and didn’t think actual unemployed people might want to work. They just assumed that the government would provide, even though we have deficits like never before. It was naive optimism at best.

    Now they throw it all out the window because these protests are righteous? They are worthwhile, however, where is the mea culpa for being scolds for the past two months? This will create another backlash that will keep Trump in the presidency. When will they figure out that their shaming tactics create more problems than they solutions? It’s frustrating to watch.

    1. Shaming works. See Drew Brees.

      1. It works if you’re famous.

  45. It’s kind of sad that everyone was meekly sitting at home when everyone’s rights were being trampled and livelihoods ruined, and those of us who would not comply were scolded and shamed by mainstream culture, and now everyone seems to have decided that none of that matters anymore.
    That’s not to say that I don’t think police violence is worth protesting either. But it seems to me that the fact that our supposed political leaders thought that the insane and tyrannical actions they took in response to the virus were both legal and reasonable is something we should be much more worried about. I was pissed off about police violence before it was cool, but honestly, that all pales in comparison to the absolute tyranny and authoritarianism we have just witnessed in most US states and around the world.
    It’s fucking insane. I have never been more disappointed in my fellow humans.

    1. Yup. This.

  46. All that means is that there are 1288 so-called public health officials who are more about politics then about public health. Personally I thought there would be more.

    1. It seems to me the silence of the “other side”, of those health officials who say this is not good policy, indicates it’s much more than 1,288.
      Granted, I’m sure many of those officials who disagree are afraid to openly oppose this. Peer pressure, shaming, mobocracy.
      This really is distressing. We all recognized that this leftwing ideology had taken over the humanities. John McWhorter calls anti-racism a religious movement. But now it’s overtaking the “hard sciences.” And out smug media that tells us they are our watchdogs over such abuses of government – these are public officials – are largely silent.

  47. Robert, I appreciate the article, but please take a careful look at who signed the list – the “public health experts” are majority students, and you wouldn’t call medical students “medical experts” or MBA students “finance experts” either. Public health is a very broad group, with many differing opinions, and so I disagree that “public health” as an entire field has undermined any argument with these signatures. I do agree that we will see more Covid-19 due to the proximity of protesters in many of the videos we have seen, which is very sad given the importance of exercising the right to protest in this situation.

  48. Covid-19 and the George Floyd riots have shown that what conservatives and Trump say is true: There is a left-wing bias at MSNBC and the major networks that shows up especially when it comes to talking about race in America. Black irresponsible young people in America can do no wrong, especially when it comes to fighting with the police. Those not white kids can even go out and mass gather in the middle of a pandemic where the liberal media just finished swearing everyone must stay inside or we faced extinction. MSNBC and the major networks have proven Trump was right. We need to reopen….NOW.

  49. The media’s hypocrisy on racism is the main thing being exposed here, with the medical community being second.

    1. And you are more than welcome to ignore both of them.

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  51. There are roughly 950,000 practicing physicians with the title of MD or DO in the United States. These professionals are largely the ones we turn to for control of infectious disease, which doesn’t even include other health care professionals with such a focus like those with an MPH or PhD. To say the 1,300 politically driven morons that signed their names to this document comprise an imperceptible percentage of the “experts” on the topic would be an overstatement.

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  52. Protesting is not a prescription for combatting police violence in the same way that penicillin is a prescription for a bacterial infection. camarillo electrician

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