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COVID-19

COVID Is Over — But Did We Learn Anything From It?

Published

7 minute read

From the Daily Caller News Foundation

By PETER ROFF

 

The lockdowns instituted during the COVID pandemic were only supposed to last a few days. Remember “14 days to flatten the curve” was all that was needed to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed by patients infected with the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus.

Two weeks turned into three, then months. Schools were closedBusinesses were shut down. Commercial activity in the world’s most powerful nation ground almost to a halt, but the virus kept killing, mutating and spreading.

States like California and Kentucky enforced the lockdowns with ruthless efficiency. The free exercise of worship and assembly was crushed on the altar of public health and safety.

Was it worth it? The Committee to Unleash Prosperity’s report, “COVID Lessons Learned: A Retrospective After Four Years,” says no. Its authors, who include the Hoover Institution’s Dr. Scott Atlas (who served as an adviser to the White House Coronavirus Task Force), Johns Hopkins University economist Steve Hanke and the University of Chicago’s Casey Mulligan conclude, by using publicly available data and peer-reviewed studies, that the lockdowns cost more lives than they saved.

Atlas, Hanke, Mulligan and Phil Kerpen, president of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity (CTUP) and the fourth and final co-author, conclude: “The ordered shutdown of our schools, churches, and businesses brought little health benefits while imposing multi-trillions of dollars of long-term societal costs.”

“We did not focus on theories or models. We looked at cold, hard facts,” Kerpen says. “The evidence is overwhelming. Lockdowns, school closures, and societal panic/disruption resulted in a staggering number of excess non-COVID deaths in the United States versus zero in non-lockdown Sweden.”

Kerpen estimates that the policies implemented during the lockdowns saved approximately 16,000 lives while causing about 400,000 extra deaths and imposing staggering economic costs, including the loss of 49 million jobs.

Other adverse consequences stemming from the lockdowns cited in the report include a $6 trillion increase in government debt, hundreds of thousands of business bankruptcies and hundreds of thousands of excess deaths from loneliness, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse and delayed hospital care in part due to the forced social isolation.

In the U.S., catastrophes like COVID are usually followed by the appointment of bi-partisan, blue-ribbon commissions to study everything and issue recommendations we’re told will prevent something similar from happening again.

That hasn’t been done this time, which reinforces the suspicion in some minds that COVID-era policymakers who are still in a position to influence the conversation are hiding something. Having made a hash of things, they just as soon allow it all to slide down the memory hole.

Even in China, where popular opinion doesn’t matter, the investigation into the origins of the virus hit a stonewall thanks to what news reports have called “bureaucratic infighting.”

Too many people think the lockdowns worked. They’re ignoring the data. The CTUP report shows them to be wrong. It’s a call for a further probe that searches for the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it might be. Without it, how can we be sure the public’s health and safety will be protected the next time, not to mention our civil liberties?

The CTUP report offers a few “lessons learned” that should inform policymakers’ decision-making in the next crisis. One is that “Leaders should calm public fears, not stoke them.”

“Conventional wisdom pre-COVID was that communities respond best to pandemics when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted,” the authors conclude. During the pandemic, responsible officials in the public eye “intentionally stoked and amplified fear, which overlaid enormous economic, social, educational, and health harms on top of the harms of the virus itself.”

As hard as it is to argue against that, it’s easy to suggest the crisis was used as a political club. What of it? Suppose public health officials, the media, and other policymakers deliberately ignored sound science and proven pandemic countermeasures to inflict political damage on a president they wished to see booted from office. Does that matter? The answer is yes, it does.

There’s more to be learned because there’s more to be studied. None of the nations that used lockdowns to prevent COVID from spreading can report that they worked as intended.

“The best-performing major country in the world was Sweden,” Kerpen says, “which did not employ mandatory lockdowns. Yet, to the extent that official and unofficial commissions in many countries have issued reports, they say the principal lesson to be learned from the pandemic is to lockdown harder and faster. The evidence doesn’t support that. It tells us that the lockdown policies must never be imposed again.”

If Kerpen is correct, and the evidence suggests he is, then policymakers are drawing the wrong conclusions. Lockdowns were a failure, not a success.

Other ways must be found to prevent a future outbreak from turning into a pandemic, hopefully, before the next crisis presents itself.

A former U.S. News & World Report columnist and United Press International senior political writer, Peter Roff is an acknowledged expert on U.S. politics and the policy process. His take on politics and policy appears frequently in print and on U.S. and international broadcasting outlets. Email him at RoffColumns AT gmail.com. Follow him on social media AT TheRoffDraft.

COVID-19

Ontario gov’t drops over 100 fines from COVID era for compliance violations

Published on

From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Charges were withdrawn for violations of the Quarantine Act ‘due to a lack of reasonable prospect of conviction, delay, non-appearance of the government’s witness at trial, or a decision taken by the Crown not to proceed.’

Canadian legal advocacy group The Democracy Fund (TDF) says that because of generous donor support it secured the staying or withdrawal of 109 COVID-era tickets given to multiple people in Ontario.

The TDF said in a press update sent to LifeSiteNews that most often the charges were withdrawn or stayed “due to a lack of reasonable prospect of conviction, delay, non-appearance of the government’s witness at trial, or a decision taken by the Crown not to proceed.”

“It’s gratifying to see our hard work pay off, and a relief to our clients who have endured years of legal uncertainty,” TDF paralegal Jenna Little said.

“But the government is still doggedly pursuing many clients for charges that should not have been brought in the first place and consume scarce judicial resources.”

The TDF observed that its clients were charged under the Quarantine Act s.15 (failure to provide information to screening officer), s.58 (failure to complete ArriveCan, failure to arrange for quarantine), or s.66 (obstruct an officer).

It noted that the fine for each charge was around $5,000, with “with potential total fines for conviction on all charges reaching $681,250.”

“Though many of these cases have been successfully resolved, many remain,” the TDF said.

Some of the charges were issued under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, such as s.7.0.11 (obstruct an officer), which can carry a one-year jail sentence and a $10,000 fine.

The TDF stated that in “rare cases” some clients were also charged under “s.10 of the Reopening Act (gather or fail to close premises).”

The TDF noted that despite the recent court wins, there are still “hundreds” of clients who are facing “potential fines and jail time for peacefully protesting or objecting to government overreach during COVID lockdowns.”

The TDF said that during COVID the government used the opportunity to enact “rights-infringing, overbroad laws.”

“Legislators and bureaucrats zealously enforced these laws against Canadians in an effort to secure compliance and suppress peaceful protest. Fortunately, The Democracy Fund (TDF) and its team of lawyers and paralegals, with the support of generous donors, fought back,” it said.

The TDF, founded in 2021, bills itself as a Canadian charity “dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty,” by promoting constitutional rights “through litigation and public education.”

In early July, LifeSiteNews reported that TDF lawyers helped get criminal charges against a Canadian man who participated in the pro-family 1 Million March 4 Children protest over radical LGBT ideology being taught in public schools dropped by the Crown.

Over the last couple of years, the TDF has been active in helping Canadians persecuted under COVID mandates and rules fight back. Notable people it has helped include Dr. Kulvinder Kaur Gill, an Ontario pediatrician who has been embroiled in a legal battle with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) for her anti-COVID views. She has also had the help of Elon Musk.

COVID vaccine mandates, which came from provincial governments with the support of the federal government, split Canadian society. The mRNA shots have been linked to a multitude of negative and often severe side effects in children.

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COVID-19

Court decision allows Trudeau gov’t to avoid accountability on COVID travel app, top legal group says

Published on

From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Four Canadians who refused to comply with the government’s border surveillance program had charges against them withdrawn, but no determination was made on the constitutionality of forcing the unvaccinated to quarantine.

A constitutional legal group says a recent court decision to withdraw charges leveled against four men who refused to go along with a COVID border surveillance program means the federal government “escaped accountability” for rules that targeted jab-free Canadians.

“This outcome is bittersweet for each of our clients,” said Chris Fleury, an attorney for the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), in a recent press release sent to LifeSiteNews.

“It is positive for each of them personally. On the other hand, they were deeply interested in seeking a determination of the constitutionality of the irrational and unscientific decision forcing unvaccinated Canadians to quarantine.”

Fleury noted that the court ruling means the federal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has “again escaped accountability for Covid policy decisions that breached Canadians’ Charter rights.”

The JCCF said the City of Mississauga withdrew “five charges against four Canadians who refused to comply with ArriveCAN requirements at the Toronto Pearson International Airport.”

The federal government’s $59.5 million scandal-ridden ArriveCAN travel app was introduced in April 2020 and mandated in November 2020. The app was used to track the COVID jab status of those entering the country and to enforce quarantines when deemed necessary.

When the app was mandated, all travelers entering Canada had to use it to submit their travel and contact information as well as any COVID vaccination details before crossing the border or boarding a flight.

In February, LifeSiteNews reported that Conservative Party MPs accused the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) of lying to Parliament over sweetheart contracting approvals concerning ArriveCAN.

Man revealed COVID jab status after breaking down under ‘pressure,’ then hit will $5,000 fine

“After arriving in Toronto from the Netherlands, Mr. Sly-Hooten felt that his personal medical information should remain private and chose not to disclose his vaccination status via ArriveCAN. In response, Peel Regional Police and Public Health Agency of Canada personnel detained him,” the JCCF said.

The JCCF added that “under pressure” and without any “counsel,” Sly-Hooten “broke down and revealed his vaccination status.”

“He received a $5,000 ticket for violating the Quarantine Act and was ordered to quarantine in his home for 14 days,” the JCCF explained.

The JCCF noted that it was able to help Sly-Hooten launch a constitutional challenge “against ArriveCAN, citing his right to liberty, his right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure, his right to be free from arbitrary arrest and detention, and his right to counsel after arrest and detention – all protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Other withdrawn tickets include those issued to Mark Spence, Aaron Grubb, and Evan Kraayenbrink.

The JCCF noted that, like Sly-Hooten, “each were charged for choosing not to provide information via ArriveCAN and were ordered to quarantine for 14 days.”

“Prosecutors have withdrawn the charges because they believe it is not in the public interest to expend further resources on a trial,” the JCCF said. “This outcome follows a similar pattern of ArriveCAN-related charges being dropped before their trials in what appears to be an attempt to shield the controversial program from constitutional scrutiny. In other words, charges are being dropped before the merits of constitutional challenges to ArriveCAN can be heard by the courts.”

Canadians were told ArriveCAN was supposed to have cost $80,000, but the number quickly ballooned to $54 million, with the latest number showing it cost $59.5 million.

The app itself was riddled with tech glitches along with privacy concerns from users.

Canadian Auditor General Karen Hogan announced an investigation of ArriveCAN in November 2022 after the House of Commons voted 173-149 for a full audit of the controversial app.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates (OGGO) is investigating how various companies such as Dalian, Coaradix, and GC Strategies received millions in taxpayer dollars to develop the contentious quarantine-tracking program.

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