Performative Pandemic Panic

Officials’ cynical manipulation of the public damaged their own credibility as well as the world at large.


It's bad enough when government officials impose draconian policies out of sincere, if misguided, intentions to protect the public from harm. It's worse when those draconian policies are imposed for performative reasons, in order to elicit a reaction and frighten people. But, over a year after the beginning of the pandemic, it looks like much of the damaging and divisive policy we suffered was just that: not efforts to preserve health, but instead schemes to prod the population into compliance.

"Masks are really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, wrote in February 2020 in one of thousands of emails obtained by BuzzFeed News. "The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through the material. It might, however, provide some slight benefit in keep[ing] out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you. I do not recommend that you wear a mask, particularly since you are going to a very low risk location."

Fauci voiced his skepticism towards masks to Sylvia Burwell, apparently the same one who served as President Barack Obama's second-term secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. But, despite his doubts, he spent the following months pushing mask-wearing to the public, even touting double-masking as recently as February 2021, a year after he advised Burwell against the practice. During the intervening months, masks became yet another point of conflict between police and the public during a year of protests against law enforcement misbehavior.

"One man took his mask off to answer his phone. Another walked alone on a quiet street with a bare face. The third kept his mask nearby outside a Lincoln Road restaurant while he examined its menu," the Miami Herald reported last August of people slapped with fines by cops for leaving faces uncovered.

Face masks became yet another political flashpoint in a politically polarized country.

"Wearing a mask is for smug liberals," Politico noted in May 2020. "Refusing to is for reckless Republicans."

Now, even with widespread vaccination, mask-wearing remains politically divisive. Some Team Blue partisans retain the coverings just to demonstrate that they aren't Republicans even after Fauci admitted that the chance of vaccinated people getting infected is extremely low, making masks unnecessary.

The situation may have been even worse in the U.K., where public officials deliberately tried to scare the hell out of the public in order to make people more malleable.

"Scientists on a committee that encouraged the use of fear to control people's behaviour during the Covid pandemic have admitted its work was 'unethical' and 'totalitarian'," The Telegraph reported last month about the tactics adopted by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour (SPI-B). "SPI-B warned in March last year that ministers needed to increase 'the perceived level of personal threat' from Covid-19 because 'a substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened'."

The story drew on A State of Fear by Laura Dodsworth, a recently published book that charges the British government with weaponizing fear in its pandemic response in order to manipulate the public into accepting lockdowns and other coercive policies.

Manipulative negativity played a powerful role in the U.S., too, with Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warning of "impending doom" in March, even as millions of Americans flocked to get vaccinated and return to normal life. President Joe Biden simultaneously threatened renewed lockdowns as he warned of new infections in a population steadily gaining protection against anything of the sort. That gloom seeped into and dominated media coverage, which bombarded the public with panic porn even when there was encouraging news to report.

"Ninety one percent of stories by U.S. major media outlets are negative in tone versus fifty four percent for non-U.S. major sources and sixty five percent for scientific journals," found Dartmouth economics professor Bruce Sacredote and two co-authors in "Why Is All COVID-19 News Bad News?" Published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. "The negativity of the U.S. major media is notable even in areas with positive scientific developments including school re-openings and vaccine trials. Media negativity is unresponsive to changing trends in new COVID-19 cases or the political leanings of the audience."

Unsurprisingly, when officials and the media tell people that the sky is falling, a fair number will take them seriously—at least until they discover that they've been misled. When asked what percentage of COVID-19 patients require hospitalization, "Less than one in five U.S. adults (18%) give a correct answer of between 1 and 5%," the Brookings Institution's Jonathan Rothwell and Franklin Templeton's Sonal Desai reported of polling data. "Many adults (35%) say that at least half of infected people need hospitalization. If that were true, the millions of resulting patients would have overwhelmed hospitals throughout the pandemic."

Along the way, the potential risks of the virus became yet another partisan issue. While the need for hospitalization is hyped across the political spectrum, in general "Republicans consistently underestimate risks, while Democrats consistently overestimate them," Rothwell and Desai add.

Maybe it's only fair that Americans are politically partisan in their response to politicians attempting to manipulate them.

Americans are not only further divided by the performative policies of cynical officials, they're made poorer by them. Lockdowns imposed by officials who often ignored their own rules crippled businesses, economists point out. And the government "stimulus" spending sold as a replacement for normal economic activity threatens to hobble Americans for years to come.

Perhaps the only saving grace is that, with contradictory and manipulative dictates to the public, officialdom shed its credibility in wholesale lots. Public figures tailored policies and messages with seemingly less regard for the evidence than for herding the population into desired behavior. It's unlikely they'll command sufficient good will to pull such stunts again anytime soon.

NEXT: Now Everybody—

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  1. At some point (and maybe we’re there now) the townspeople will stop running when the Blue Checks cry wolf.

    1. These people have nothing else on their lives. It’s why they ran the first time, it’s why they’ll run next time.

      This is what happens when your society is too rich.

      1. Yes. It seems the natural evolution or progression of a society tends to end with decadence, which creates weak and lazy people, corruption, followed by decline.

        The poor are morbidly obese, and each one of them has access to more technology / knowledge by owning a cell phone than any generation ever has. We have a lazy entitled society, we cant be surprised that they act like baby children.

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    2. “There’s a sucker born every minute”

      – PT Barnum (maybe)

      1. ..also destroying the Medias cred…if they had any to begin with after being caught lying about ” Russia, Russia, Russia.”

        I say ” let them ruin themselves”

        Id rather watch the Internet.

    3. A disturbing trend is that Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) are disproportionately contracting coronavirus, as well as dying from COVID-19………..MORE DETAIL.

      1. Considering masks do not protect from being infected do you think all those protests and riots with thousands of predominantly Black folks marching and chanting in the streets every day for months may be responsible for an increase in Black folks being infected? I am not sure about every city but there certainly were a lot of block parties in Black communities during the pandemic. One partier put it in simple terms. They shut down all the clubs so what did they expect us to do?

  2. “Perhaps the only saving grace is that, with contradictory and manipulative dictates to the public, officialdom shed its credibility in wholesale lots. Public figures tailored policies and messages with seemingly less regard for the evidence than for herding the population into desired behavior.”

    Using the coercive power of government to force people to make sacrifices for the greater good is what being progressive is all about, but the greater good doesn’t need to be measured in objectively quantifiable outcomes for the people making the sacrifices. Rather forcing people to accept forced sacrifice is a positive outcome in itself in the minds of progressives. Expecting to benefit from your own sacrifices, on the other hand, is evil and described in terms of white privilege, selfishness, unwokeness, xenophobia, etc.

    This religious like devotion progressives exhibit towards forced sacrifice isn’t just about the pandemic. It’s at the heart of every progressive issue. For example, being forced to sacrifice your standard of living to benefit people in the third world, the environment, and future generations is at the heart of what progressives want to do about global warming. If you ask how the government forcing us to sacrifice our standard of living will benefit us, you’re missing the real point. Being forced to sacrifice isn’t meant to benefit you, you selfish sinner.

    I keep reading stories about how a monetary policy that is adverse to inflation is inherently racist because unemployed people of African ancestry benefit disproportionately in an overheated economy with high inflation–at the expense of white people. The Fed fighting inflation might as well be considered another example of white privilege, and how dare you ask how being forced to sacrifice your life savings for the benefit of others is supposed to benefit you in that context, you racist?

    I am sure that forcing people to make sacrifices for the benefit of others will turn off some people and make them vote Republican, but forced sacrifice has its own appeal to an awful lot of people. It scratches a lot of the same itches as religion, making certain people feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves and giving their lives some purpose and meaning. Our neocortex is hardwired for religious thinking, after all, even the brains of progressives who have turned their backs on organized religion.

    Progressivism certainly isn’t furthered by libertarian capitalism, which teaches that caring about yourself, your family, your own qualitative preferences, and your standard of living is a good thing. This is why we should all be free to make choices for ourselves–to represent and pursue our own interests. Some people may take great pleasure in making willing sacrifices for the benefit of others, but no one should be forced by the government to make sacrifices for others against our will.

    Progressives can’t fully pull the rug out from under libertarian capitalism and its associated ideas without training people to love forced sacrifice as an end in itself–without any quantifiable benefits to the people being forced to make the sacrifice–apart from the good feelings and sense of community they get from sacrificing for others. Make no mistake. Some people find that very appealing. The difference between Pat Tillman willingly putting himself in danger and others being forced to be sacrificial heroes are subtle to a lot of people, and if you don’t want to be hero, in their progressive minds, then the problem is you and your freedom.

    1. “Progressives can’t fully pull the rug out from under libertarian capitalism and its associated ideas without training people to love forced sacrifice as an end in itself”

      Liberalism is a virus, a religion that requires destruction because that is how their god, the government, gains more power. Look around at all the fat, useless, uninformed goblins that walk among us, and tell me democracy is working and worth fighting for.

      Let it burn. I’m ready for what’s next. This shits so boring.

      1. If you want a sample of what comes next simply visit one of the 160 countries people are illegally crossing our border to get away from. Not the tourist areas but the real country. Live and survive there for a year or so and you won’t be bored. You may even come to appreciate being bored here if you live long enough to return.

    2. Submit, sacrifice, and suffer.

      Religious progressivism is the western world’s answer to Islam.

    3. Well said, Ken. Better said than most LP candidates do on the campaign trail. Draft Ken as the 2024 LP Presidential nominee.

      1. If you don’t want him to win, then of course draft him for the LP. But even Ken is better than Trump, Hillary, Biden, or Harris. But then again, that’s a really low bar.

        1. Strange you include Trump with career politicians. Doesn’t he have to become wealthy by working for the government for a few decades first? Trump is more like the wealthy elite those politicians work for then like them.

          1. “Strange you include Trump with career politicians…”

            Nope. B is a TDS-addled asshole.

      2. Except Ken is solidly in the Republican camp. He has stated many times that he considers it a waste to vote Libertarian because it’s a two-party system.

    4. “Some people may take great pleasure in making willing sacrifices for the benefit of others…”

      I don’t think this is true. What they take pleasure in is having others know that they are making willing sacrifices for the benefit of others. It’s a distinction with a difference.

      1. I think it’s true of some people. But the situation you describe is almost certainly much more common.

    5. “Using the coercive power of government to force people to make sacrifices for the greater good is what being progressive is all about…”

      I’m not a progressive, but I know many. They would not say that the sacrifice is the essence of what they want. They would say that it’s essentially about making sure nobody is oppressed or mistreated, and nobody has special privileges. The sacrifice they call for from those they perceive as privileged follows from that, but it is secondary, not the first principle.

      1. It’s all bullshit. They get pleasure seeing others suffer.

      2. what they want is sacrifice by others.

        control. Sociopaths.

      3. “I’m not a progressive…”

    6. none of this did any Public good.

      Destroying economic activity doesnt help pay for medicine!

      It is lock step with the UNs admitted Agenda 21 to de industrialise the US.

      1. Destroying small businesses certainly helps businesses of the size that are in the market for favors from politicians, though.

        That’s probably just an unanticipated externality. /sarc

  3. “Public figures tailored policies and messages with seemingly less regard for the evidence than for herding the population into desired behavior. It’s unlikely they’ll command sufficient good will to pull such stunts again anytime soon.”

    Depends on your definition of “stunt”. Does it include hate crime bills? Gun control? Minimum wage increases? Corporate taxes? Stimulus spending? Banning abortions? Banning drugs?

    Herding the population into desired behavior is what government does.

    1. Also, memories are short, especially in politics.

  4. “Many adults (35%) say that at least half of infected people need hospitalization. If that were true, the millions of resulting patients would have overwhelmed hospitals throughout the pandemic.”

    And many of that percentage vote.

    1. CDC data Jan 1 21

      5% hospitalized.

      This is a failure of OBAMA CARE.

      Socialised medicines the cure?


      And THAT is why its a crisis, not people getting sick!

  5. Imagine Emote Magazine’s response if Trump were in charge. The establishment made a virus, let it leak, lied about it, lied about masks being effective, lied about transmission outside, lied about death rates. The list goes on and on. I don’t see any shrieking like they did at Trump for even the most mundane things. The government destroyed our future and none of them even have the courage to piss off the establishment.

    Hope those Koch checks are worth your souls.

    1. At least half the things you just listed did happen while Trump was in charge.

    2. They knew all that when Trump was in charge and didn’t say much about it.

      1. Trump at least tried to inform the sheep but the bleating was too loud for them to hear. Over and over we hear once again Trump was right and he wasn’t lying. It was the fact checkers that were lying.

  6. So the alternative was what? Just let the virus go on unchecked? The herd immunity theory? I’m sorry J.D., but you are just being contrarian for contrarian sake. This pandemic was vexing. Did people underreact and overreact? Sure. We still don’t have a handle on this virus. It’s not inconsistent for Fauci to say masks provide little help and still advocate and demonstrate their use. If a superspreader wore a mask perhaps it would have stopped its spread. Perhaps you are asymptomatic and wearing a mask would prevent you from being a spreader. Maybe. But isn’t maybe enough to try? The alternative is that we let it go on unchecked and hundreds of thousands die.

    We all know the real thoughts here on the right and so let’s just have it out. You all don’t care because a bunch of old people in nursing homes are dying. That’s it. This is death panel stuff on steroids. Perhaps the trade-off is okay. We allow them to die for the sake of keeping the economy and our lifestyle going harder. Just admit it. Own it.

    The reason government officials were performative is that if they were not FOX would be running their Gore-rode-in-an-airplane-to-an-environmental conference stories nonstop. This is the stupid consequence of the gotcha, hypocrisy-shaming media environment.

    1. Put a dry cleaner’s bag over your head and be extra safe. For the children.

    2. So the alternative was what?
      Well, for a start, not lying to people and exaggerating the dangers. There is a whole lot of space between doing nothing at all and going full authoritarian.
      You all don’t care because a bunch of old people in nursing homes are dying.

      Fuck you. I am so sick of this shit. I care about this exactly because I care about people. It sucks that a lot of old and sick people have died somewhat sooner than they would have otherwise. No one likes that. But the responses have been incredibly harmful, especially to young people who have almost nothing to fear from the virus. And there isn’t a whole lot of reason to believe that any of it was particularly effective at preventing deaths from (and with) covid.

    3. Admit it, you just want to ruin the lives of an entire generation of children. Who cares if they aren’t learning in school, gaining invaluable social skills if it just gives grandpa an extra 3 months of life.

    4. “You all don’t care because a bunch of old people in nursing homes are dying.”

      Cuomo is a Democrat; and since he was unable to hide the data forever, he seems to have killed more than anyone.

      You are essentially Tony with a bit more erudition. Just a small bit. If you do not like the comparison then stop enveloping your love for Blue authority in a cloak of compassion. I do not live in your fucking village and do not adhere to your useless fucking rules.

    5. Old people in nursing homes die, regardless of COVID.
      Tell me how shutting down a small business helps? Or wearing face diapers.

    6. “So the alternative was what? Just let the virus go on unchecked?”

      That wasn’t “the alternative”; that’s what happened.
      Fuck off and die, slaver.

    7. I never thought of Cuomo as being on the right. You do realize the only one that threw the elderly under the bus was Cuomo and he did it for political reasons? In states such as Florida they protected the elderly while Cuomo killed Nana. You voted for Biden didn’t you? The only thing dumber then Biden is a Biden voter. Now you are reading that Fox was right all along and the left’s ally the fake news MSM that tells you what to think was lying to you and you still can’t accept it.

    8. As regards your second paragraph, as an oldie w/ health issues that put me squarely into the “vulnerable” category, I early on said “Fuck these lockdowns, I’ll take care of my own safety. Don’t ruin the economy and my descendants’ lives on my account you fucks.”

      I know a lot of oldies who felt the same. How eager do you think sick, physically-limited 85 year olds ARE to reach 90?? It’s more of a day-to-day thing. They ask if you want to be alive tomorrow, you say “yes.” out of habit. But as Biden might say “If you think a 5-year-olds life is the same value as a 90-year-olds, you ain’t an oldie!”

  7. The type personality of the US is now somewhere between young teen girl and thirty-something mom. We really like feeling scared, whether by invented hazards or inflated risks. And then we really like institutional responses to mitigate or assuage those fears. But we still prefer to operate as irrational, emotional primates and are unsure how to deal with authority.

  8. >”Wearing a mask is for smug liberals,” Politico noted in May 2020. “Refusing to is for reckless Republicans.”

    And that’s the problem. It’s not only become a partisan issue, it’s now a signal of which extremist tribe one belongs to. The middle is sensible but the middle is hated equally by both Tribe Red and Tribe Blue.

    Tribe One: Double masking while jogging at night in sunglasses.

    Tribe Two: COVID is no more dangerous than the flu, even though COVID causes 600,000 deaths versus a bad flu season of only 15,000 deaths.

    The middle path: No need for masks outdoors when you’re alone, no need for them while driving, no need while jogging, or playing tennis, etc. But you should wear them indoors at work, in a grocery store, etc. And Wal-Mart if they ask you do. Having a conniption fit and peeing on the floor of Wal-Mart is not now one stands up for ‘Murican Values. Jeepers cripes, lady, you’re embarrassing our species. Double masks are stupid. Triple masks are beyond stupid. The whole idea is that you need two layers, so if you had an El Cheepo mask you should double mask. But no need if you have a two-ply mask, as 95% of non-homemade masks are.

    I have a friend who also wears a face shield. He is literally the only non-healthcare worker I know who wears one. He’s not even a liberal. I don’t get it.

    The masks aren’t there to protect you, they’re there to stop your spit droplets from leaving your facial vicinity. Don’t pretend you don’t have them, you do. The masks are for other people. People who refuse to wear masks while around other people during a pandemic that has a higher death rate (despite a century of medical advances) than the Spanish Flu, well they’re just assholes.

    1. “The middle is sensible but the middle is hated equally by both Tribe Red and Tribe Blue.”

      Sadly, that seems to be so. Do candidates even bother to race to the middle after winning their primaries anymore?

      1. Can’t. The instant they do that they lose all of their dark money support because dark money demands 100% my way or the highway.

        1. That gets them money, but ultimately they need votes. In the old days, to get enough votes a candidate had to appeal to the middle at some point. Is the country is so polarized now they don’t need to do that anymore?

          1. Yes

      2. no they race to their Donors with knee pads on.

    2. I think you might want to check the stats on the Spanish Flu. It was much worse.

      The Spanish Flu killed 0.64% of the whole population. COVID-19 killed 0.6% of those infected.

      1. Isn’t 0.64% only 7% worse than 0.6%? Is that “much worse”?

        1. 0.64% is of the entire living population. 100% of the population didn’t catch the Spanish Flu, or COVID-19. If 20% had COVID-19, the 1918 flu was 5 times deadlier. That would be 400% worse.

          And in reality it is worse than that. The century of medical advances created a population that is older, and living longer with chronic conditions, which made us more vulnerable to a bad coronavirus.

          1. Ah. Thanks. I had missed that you labeled one number with “of the whole population” and the other number with “of those infected”.

            1. Idiot

              1. Nah, honest mistake.

                On the rare occasion Internet discourse yields a humble admission of error, we need to be gracious.

      2. YOU might want to check…death rate in US 0.0097% by CDC data, 1/5/2021

        I notice you contradicted but didnt post a source. Typical Lying Troll tactic.

    3. “Tribe Two: COVID is no more dangerous than the flu, even though COVID causes 600,000 deaths versus a bad flu season of only 15,000 deaths.”

      Bull shit.
      US Influenza Deaths

      The average for seasonal flu deaths is closer to 30K. A bad year for seasonal flu is more like 100K deaths.

      1. And the covid count now covers two complete flu seasons. So divide that number by two if you are comparing to flu deaths in a single season.

      2. More Troll BS with no sources.

        CDC. 2018 flu

        800,000 hospitalized. 10 to 18000 deaths.
        approx. figures

        Sure are a lot of liars and hysteria mongerers who are too lazy or dishonest to even use google to search for data on here!

    4. Didn’t Fauci say droplets weren’t really the major concern since it’s an aerosol?

    5. If masks are effective in stopping the spread of a virus, then why has every state that eliminated its mask mandate done better since then? And why is there no difference between adjacent states that had and didn’t have mask mandates? There has never been any credible evidence in favor of masks. The folks at Rational Ground have done a good job charting the data.

      Some people are still irrationally scared. This morning I saw a woman wearing a mask while mowing her lawn.

    6. Indeed. And on top of it Team Red is now claiming they were right all along about the lab leak theory, even though for most of the past year they dumped that theory in favor of “it’s just the flu” (who cares if it leaked from a lab if it isn’t even a threat?). And Team Blue reacted to MAGA know-nothing-ism with the equally absurd “believe the science” as if science isn’t a process in which free discussion of controversial ideas is essential for progress.

    7. We know masks really do work. That is why when the government scared the population into complying to over 80% it coincided with the winter surge and most cases daily during the pandemic. At the same time the people began to reach pandemic exhaustion we began to decline. The vaccine had nothing to do with the start of the decline. We hit a peak in early January with the most people complying with masks and as some gave up wearing them in the middle of January the cases began a rapid decline. If you think a mask that may stop the spit droplets from flying but allows the bioaerosols to easily pass when talking or breathing which is actually how it is spread will stop infections I have some beach front property you may like in Arizona. If you could catch Covid from spit in your mouth they could have easily tested with mouth swabs. You can breath aerosols into your lungs which is how you become infected. A drop of spit on your lip would be as chancy as getting it from touching something an infected person had touched which was proven to be the least likely way to become infected.
      There are no real statistics on the rate of deaths from Covid-19 or any flu. They can only estimate and guess. There were more asymptomatic and mild cases of Covid-19 then there were confirmed cases and many deaths were assumed not confirmed. They calculate the rate by using confirmed cases.
      it was less deadly to young people then the flu. The worst thing about it was it had never been encountered before and it was immediately made political.

  9. “Masks are really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection,”

    I thought everyone knew this all along.

    The masks did little more than give people a false sense of security. The only thing that really worked to slow the spread was avoiding other people.

    1. Agreed and stop treating folks who aren’t sick as sick criminals out to kill you.

    2. That was the initial narrative. Then it seemed to morph into, “duh, they help the wearer too, because science of something.”

    3. Masks are pretty much so you don’t forget to cover your mouth when you cough. Or say words starting with P.

  10. >>Now, even with widespread vaccination, mask-wearing remains politically divisive.

    only among the stupid and purposefully obtuse.

  11. “You all don’t care because a bunch of old people in nursing homes are dying.”

    Cuomo is a Democrat; and since he was unable to hide the data forever, he seems to have killed more than anyone.

    You are essentially Tony with a bit more erudition. Just a small bit. If you do not like the comparison then stop enveloping your love for Blue authority in a cloak of compassion. I do not live in your fucking village and do not adhere to your useless fucking rules.

    1. Well this posted in the wrong place.

    2. Slightly more erudition but considerably less “asshole”.
      Which is indeed the proverbial low bar, but still…

  12. The author left out all kinds of context. The Fauci email that has him all bothered and shouting “alarmism” and “hypocrisy” was from Feb. 5, 2020, a month before COVID was declared a global pandemic and mere weeks since the first cases in the U.S. were reported. The virus was still being studied, and Fauci was recommending masks for people by April of 2020, as the information about the transmission of the virus was changing. This is actually a strength of science and scientists. They will usually change their mind when new and better information comes in. Of course, people are still people, even when they are trained in science, so there can be inertia and resistance. In this article from last month, the belief that coronaviruses wouldn’t be airborne stems from decades-old misconceptions about pathogen-carrying aerosol particles that never got questioned.

    The libertarian/conservative mindset here has been part of the problem of the COVID response in the U.S. “You can’t make me wear a face diaper!” was always a really dumb way to react. Closing or restricting businesses is a very big deal, but wearing a mask is not. The effects of the restrictions to the economy and thus to people’s income and ability to eat and pay rent do require that we think long and hard about what was effective, what wasn’t, and the costs versus benefits so that we can act better if this ever happens again. The ability of government to pay for mitigating these economic disruptions is a major policy debate to be had as well.

    I teach at a public school, and so I worked indoors, wearing a mask all day along with the students coming to school from last August until school ended just recently. I won’t say that it didn’t bother me, but it was tolerable. And I accepted it because even a small chance that it would prevent catching it myself or spreading it to others if I did get infected made it worthwhile. I took the same attitude when I got vaccinated. I accepted the discomfort, soreness in my arm, and aches for a day or so after the 2nd shot as a reasonable price to pay to help protect myself and others from a ~1% chance of dying if we catch COVID. I’d have thought the same way if it was a 0.1% risk of death, even, which is why I get the flu shot every year.

    1. Sorry, but being asked to wear a mask for long periods each day for a year is not “no big deal”. There are serious health and psychological consequences for many people. Up until last year some time, an employer could be cited by OSHA for making employees wear masks without proper health assessments and determining that no other measures would be adequate to protect them.

      1. “There are serious health and psychological consequences for many people.”

        I believe there are serious health and psychological issues from being forced to stay home, not socialize, etc. but from having to wear a mask? It’s annoying, fogs up your glasses, but serious health and psychological issues?

        1. Fuck you. None of your business.

    2. I think you make a fair point that if Fauci was counseling against masks privately at the same time he was doing so publicly, it probably reflected his genuine belief about their efficacy at that time. If he had written something like that in May, by which time he was publicly in favor of universal mask wearing, that would be something else.

      Still, he did admit that he publicly lied about mask efficacy in order to conserve supply for medical workers. Perhaps a noble lie but still casts doubt on his other public pronouncements.

  13. Masks have been worn for hundreds of years during pandemics. It’s not “gold star” like the Jews wore. You are the people being hysterical. You are the people inciting panic over nothing. You are the people being ridiculous.

    We all lived through the same pandemic. We all had our lives disrupted and had to wear masks in public. The ONLY difference is some of us dealt with it like mature adults and others of you dealt with it like the most fragile little titty babies.

    Yeah you’ll do real well in a rugged individualist society. What pussies.

    1. You people weren’t sheepish enough! This proves you aren’t rugged individuals.

      I love these types of arguments. It’s how we get names like the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea.

      1. Are you 12 years old?

        “Mom! Leave me alone!!” is not a political philosophy. You do owe some responsibilities to other humans, like not getting them killed.

        1. But the question is, who put you in charge?

          1. Even I in all my judiciousness am not immune to the corruptions of power, and should be checked. Philosopher kings die eventually, and that’s the fundamental problem with that otherwise ideal situation.

            Donald Trump is not a philosopher king. He’s a severely mentally ill incompetent. Glad we agree on that at least.

      2. And people labeling themselves Liberals and Progressives when they’re the complete opposite.

        1. Labels are only so useful, but I suspect you have some sort of nonsensical conspiracy theory in mind when you characterize liberals and progressives.

          We have our problems. The far left is too precious for words, concerned with, by all appearances, making sure they have as little political power as possible, lest they be thought of as uncool.

          But we’re all pacifists. We’re not going to do anything to you. Our politicians can barely legislate their way out of their own assholes.

          The threats you are facing are climate change and the Republican party. You should ally with us, imperfect as we may be, unless you a) have no conscience and b) are absolutely certain you’re not going to be one of the undesirables the Republicans will toss into a camp.

          1. “We’re not going to do anything to you.”

            You forgot the last part of that statement…

            Unless of course you publicly state a viewpoint that is different than ours, in which case we will do our best to “cancel you” and make sure you can’t ever work or make a living going forward. Hey, at least we are not throwing you into a camp.

            1. I”m wondering if it will be a “Trump concentration camp with cages” or a nice “Obama vacation stay in an open air wire apartment with free food and view”.

          2. According to Democrat Senator Joe Manchin the power Democrats have now are corrupting them and if they do away with the filibuster it will give them absolute power which will also cause absolute corruption. He also stated the For the People Act is a power grab to give partisan advantage to Democrats. He is not the only Democrat Senator taking a stand and putting country before party but is only one of the very few. If Democrat Senators are admitting that maybe you should reconsider what you support. Allowing Joe Biden to become a dictator would not be good for the country. A man most considered a joke and never considered him as the future leader of the party could do a lot of damage. After all he has the abysmal record of being on the wrong side of most issues for nearly 50 years in Congress.

            1. The filibuster is an accident of history. Isn’t the senate undemocratic enough as designed without adding more undemocratic roadblocks?

              Apart from that, Republicans are now a cult of personality and a fascist party intent on what will become genocide. Fuck their feelings.

    2. Masks have been worn for hundreds of years during pandemics.
      And people burned witches for hundreds of years when mysterious diseases emerged. Maybe we should have tried that too?

      1. Maybe you should try not being such a whiny little bitch.

        Do what science says. It may not be right, but it’s more likely to be right than any of the entrails or FOX News personalities you may consult.

        1. Science says “No mask, outdoors, driving, alone, distanced.”

          People who may be scientist-ish but whose current appointments depend on the favor of the Democratic Party: “Masks may be necessary for years, even if vaccination gets to 99%.”

          Science is usually NOT either/or you tit.

  14. This COVID stuff was the biggest crock of shit since the Red scare. We used to laugh at the people who were building bomb shelters. Their behavior seems rational compared to what we have witnessed since March 2020.

    1. About a million dead Americans?

      You guys had a massive stroke over 4 dead people in Benghazi.

      1. Careful… Sullum has debunked the theory that anyone was ever mislead by Fauci.

        1. You people are like zoo animals. Your big problem today is Fauci. Tomorrow it will be Mr. Potato Head.

          You haven’t spent a single moment of the last decade concerned about a real problem happening in this actual universe.

          It would be anthropologically fascinating if you would simply offer not to ever vote again or operate heavy machinery.

          1. And which tribe, in Tony World, actually operates the heavy machinery, builds it, maintains it, eh?

            No one here ever said “Well, my last tweet about that monster Trump for today. Gotta dig out a foundation/trench cut for drainage pipeline/slab placement for roadbed…etc.,, etc.”

            But all signs indicate Tony World is a very different place.

    2. Follow the money. At the end of each piece of Fauci advice is a newly minted BILLIONAIRE.

      9 newly minted billionaires from vax? How many billions in mask sales?

      Preaching masks, not hand washing or the old timers practuce of carrying a cloth handkerchief.

      Must buy Chinese made disposable masks!

      And must BUY plastic dividers and printed signs…

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  16. Their ship is sinking. Toss them some anchors!

    Esp. since its bleedin obvious that Fakkeys in denial to cover for China! And the US media as well.

  17. Notice how supposed World Class Experts like Fakey NEVER discuss these topics in detail.

    Seen Fauci wuth CDC and NIH research papers in his hand explaining the science?

    No, bc both CDC and NIH published research contradict him.

    Google “CDC NIH porosity of N95 masks”
    Then Google “Why masks dont work.”

    Credible, published scientific studies say they dont work.

    Major Media would certainly give him an hour to do a Fireside Lecture…why havent they?

  18. Progressives don’t want everyone to sacrifice for the common good. They want everyone else to sacrifice for the common good.

  19. “There was a conspiracy between the five authors of the Nature paper and the heads of the NIH, NIAID and Wellcome Trust to cover up the lab origin of COVID.
    There was a conspiracy involving Daszac, Fauci and others to push the natural origin theory. (See other emails in the recent drop.)
    There was a conspiracy involving Daszac to write the Lancet letter and hide its provenance, to push the natural origin theory and paint any other ideas as conspiracy theory. Collin’s blog post is another piece of this story.

    Farrar was intimately involved in both large hydroxychloroquine overdose trials, in which about 500 subjects total died.

    Farrar, Fauci and Collins withheld research funds that could have supported quality trials of the use of chloroquine drugs and ivermectin and other repurposed drugs that might have turned around the pandemic.
    Are the four individuals named here — Fauci, Daszak, Collins and Farrar — intimately involved in the creation of the pandemic, as well as the prolongation and improper treatments used during the pandemic?“

    1. I’m guessing the cite is missing on purpose, right, Nazi?

      1. Google any of it you lazy feeble minded retard.

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