At the outset of the pandemic in 2020, I wrote a series of columns warning that government ordered lockdowns of citizens and shutdowns of businesses were the wrong things to do.
Two and a half years later, that argument has been vindicated.
The draconian mandates violated basic rights and constituted an historic assault on individual liberties that should never again be repeated. People’s lives and livelihoods were shattered when the ranks of the unemployed swelled to 22 million. Businesses everywhere shuttered, some of them never to return. The economy was devastated and is still struggling to recover today amid Joe Biden’s reckless spending that triggered record inflation.
For many, the social-ills and psychological trauma of pandemic lockdowns will last a lifetime. The educational progress of children was horribly damaged. Government ordered isolation led to widespread depression, alcoholism, substance abuse, domestic violence, hunger, and suicides as personal freedoms were extinguished.
And for what? The population at risk was a small identifiable demographic. Targeted care for this group would have been the correct approach. Yes, isolation helped slow the spread, but at what cost? The collateral damage was severe. Government intervention as a cure was worse than the disease. This was entirely foreseeable.
An exhaustive study by Johns Hopkins University determined that lockdowns accomplished almost nothing. COVID-19 deaths were reduced by a scant 0.2 percent. The researchers concluded, “We find no evidence that lockdowns, school closures, border closures, and limited gatherings have had a noticeable effect on COVID-19 mortality.” They added that such actions by the government were “ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.” A Canadian assessment and other cost-benefit studies found the same thing.
There was never any science behind Dr. Anthony Fauci’s dictates. But they were followed mindlessly by Democratic governors and mayors who were all too anxious to assert control. The egomaniacal medical adviser predicted catastrophic casualties if we didn’t do as he demanded. It turns out that Fauci’s epidemiological models were not just flawed, they were a joke. His judgment was folly.
All the while, he covered up his own complicity in creating and/or spreading the virus by falsely denying that his unit at the National Institutes of Health helped finance the dangerous experiments inside the Chinese lab from which the virus likely escaped. No single person has ever done as much damage to America as Anthony Fauci.
New York and California, run by Democrats, were epic failures with their stringent lockdown policies. They had, by far, the worst outcomes. They did not achieve lower death rates than those states that remained largely open.
Florida was among the best performing states, thanks to the sensible policies of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis who eliminated restrictions early on. He never bought into the Fauci hysteria. “We needed to choose freedom over “Fauci-ism,” he quipped recently. Florida became a “refuge of sanity in a world gone mad,” he added.
The citizens of his state were the beneficiaries of his strength and wisdom. Which is one of the reasons why so many people across the U.S. have since flocked to the Sunshine State.
It wasn’t that long ago that Gov. Ron DeSantis was the favorite villain of the left. Remember when liberal states were widely hailed for their drastic pandemic restrictions while conservative states were roundly reviled? History would soon prove that popular sentiment was wrong.
I find it, therefore, amazing that DeSantis is still battling federal government pinheads who want to keep masking low-income toddlers in schools and child care centers, even though the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says it’s a bad idea. Naturally, Joe Biden and his Health and Human Services Department (HHS) think they know better. For Joe it’s all about power and control over people’s lives. It’s the socialist mindset he adopted the moment he was sworn in.
When it comes to masks, most adults burned them in disgust after the CDC found they made no statistical difference. But Biden won’t relent when it comes to 2 year olds. On federal orders, Head Start preschools and child care centers must mask up and staff members are required to get vaccinated. Florida and Texas got injunctions to stop the idiocy. But kids in 25 states are still forced to cover their faces.
DeSantis has long argued against masks in schools as harmful to child development and education. He sent kids back to school after a brief pause early in the pandemic. His actions were later shown to be correct, although the chronically destructive teachers’ unions would never admit it. They don’t care about kids; they never have.
The unions, you’ll recall, fought like foaming mad dogs to lock children out of schools even though they knew that virtual learning was woefully inadequate. The results were predictably calamitous. New national test scores reveal that two decades of progress in math and reading has been erased. Lower income and minority students suffered the most. Ho-hum, says Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. Nothing to see here. Let’s move on.
More than anyone else, Weingarten is to blame for the enormous damage done to education in America. By the summer of 2020, it was abundantly clear that children were at exceedingly low risk of COVID. Experts were warning that their learning loss was at high risk if they didn’t return to in-person schooling. Neither Weingarten nor Biden gave a hoot.
Don’t misunderstand —most teachers care about kids, but their unions do not. They kept telling parents that their children would die if they set foot in school. It was a deliberate lie. Statistical scientific evidence proved it. But Weingarten and her union kept peddling the big lie. Why?
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board put it succinctly, “Unions used the pandemic to extort money from Congress…and received some $190 billion in COVID relief to safely reopen and address learning losses, but schools stayed closed and much of the money still hasn’t been spent.” So, there you have it. Greed is what drove Weingarten and the unions. Concern about safety was merely their pretext.
Throughout all of this, DeSantis has been a voice of reason in the wilderness of lunacy and stupidity. In a speech last weekend he said: “Not only were they wrong about schools, the elites were wrong about lockdowns, epidemiological and hospitalization models, forced masking, and the efficacy of natural immunity. In almost every significant issue, the elites were wrong.”
The trouble with elites —be they bureaucrats, unions, or power-hungry politicians— is that they lack both competence and commons sense. Fortunately for Floridians, their governor has both.
Joining me now to talk about it is the Attorney General for Florida…Ashley Moody who previously served as a judge on the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida.