Reflecting (already) on COVID, Omicron, etc.
The long piece I wrote on this criticizing the right-wing anti-vax movement couldn’t get placed in any of the conservative media to which I submitted it. That didn’t surprise me.
Way back in early 2020, as we were locking down, I wrote something ‘on the other side’ of this, based—as this one was—in my honest effort to grapple with the facts as I understood them. I criticized the catastrophizing that was then dominating the media, saying that the evidence was not yet in and we should be more circumspect.
It turned out that I was right. A Nicholas Kristoff NY Times piece quoted some epidemiologist who was predicting several million dead in the US at worst. We are still under 1 million, which I grant is more than I would have bet we’d see in early 2020. But I’d still stand by that piece, which maybe I’ll stick up here in its entirety. (I published a very abbreviated version on the NAS page here: https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/the-failure-of-the-new-class-under-the-test-of-covid-19-11
Things have gotten too tribal on this, and too many people are refusing to listen to any evidence that doesn’t fit well with whatever preconceived narrative they want to believe.
I’ve found Peter Attia’s podcast of some utility here. He’s done a reasonable job sifting through facts and minimizing spin. I do note that on a recent show he and guests were talking about Omicron, and they expressed the view that more information to the public is the cure for our present dilemma. I don’t agree with that. Not that I don’t want more information more publicly available. Just that I don’t trust the majority of the public to do anything more intelligent with more information than they are presently doing with the information they have.
We are just not as bright a species as some want to believe. I sometimes want to believe it too. Then I catch myself and remember the million examples I’ve seen in my life of just what we are capable of…