From the Right: AB 2098: COVID and combating ‘misinformation’

From the Right

By Don Schmitz

AB2098 is now California law, and state medical boards can punish physicians spreading “misinformation” regarding COVID-19 treatments. Misinformation is defined as “false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care.”

What/where is this scientific consensus? There is no Supreme Court of scientists that is the final word on topics, and in fact, the scientific method calls for constant re-examination and study of hypotheses with new data. Only foolish politicians with an agenda can envision a static scientific conclusion immune from contravening opinions and punish medical professionals for disagreeing with their public policies. 

Nobel laureates have questioned the efficacy of lockdowns, increasingly asserting mortality figures were inflated as was vax efficacy, and minimization of adverse effects. The “Corona Truth Wars” are raging, but with the control of information, you may be unaware. The Great Barrington Declaration, spearheaded by epidemiologists at Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford, argued against universal lockdowns. Facebook deleted them, Google altered its search algorithm and YouTube took down their videos. Twitter censored highly cited epidemiologist Prof. Kulldorff for stating not everyone needs the vaccination, and LinkedIn suspended internationally recognized virologist Dr. Robert Malone. These are renowned mainstream scientists and doctors, leading experts, editors of medical journals, and authors of cited studies. The pressure is immense. Last month Leana Wen M.D., a health commentator, cancelled her presentation to the American Public Health Association due to death threats for her support to loosen COVID restrictions.

Censorship by big tech is promoted by government agents defending their policies. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called on tech companies to report “health misinformation” to the federal government and to step up their efforts to remove it. China simply censored their leading health information platform — fascists governments can just do that. California has now passed a law effectively doing the same. Social media, big tech, and political activists have suppressed dissenting views and attacked any who dared to publicly contravene the heterodoxy on treatment and lockdowns. Now, lawmakers have made M.D.’s dissent professional misconduct. Troubling under normal circumstances, alarming since so much asserted as scientific truth during the pandemic has been revised or even reversed. 

The CDC and FDA policies have swung wildly. Masks didn’t help, then everyone had to wear them. The lockdowns were going to last only two weeks to “flatten the curve” but lasted endless months. Vaccines were going to 100 percent keep us from getting sick, but now “lessen the effects.” Now, evidence is mounting of vaccine injuries. Litigation documents have revealed 783,000 sought medical care after COVID vaccinations. Federal agencies like the CDC provide guidance, but they’re not omnipotent. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky gave a public apology for their pandemic missteps and initiated an overhaul of the agency. They had berated scientists and doctors who disagreed with their recommendations for social distancing, closing businesses, and schools, and universal vaccination requirements. Now California has codified that destructive hubris into law, and California doctors have filed for a preliminary injunction to stop them and restore free and open debate (Hoeg v. Newsom). 

Curious how this pandemic precipitated vigorous political debates and deepened divides between the left and right, perhaps because government reacted atypically this time. We quarantined the healthy with the sick as never before. People were ordered to stay in their homes and not leave, weddings and funerals banned. Government coercion shut off the economy, creating the longest period of declining real income since World War II. Government spent $6 trillion above normal in pandemic “stimulus,” running the national debt up to 121 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (it was 31 percent in 1981), resulting in the highest inflation rate in 40 years. Economic consequences are devastating, but liberals argue a moral people accept these costs to save lives. Disgraced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo shut down New York, stating “if everything we do saves one life, I’ll be happy.” Conservatives argue there are always tradeoffs, and the shutdowns also have destructive social consequences with skyrocketing suicides, overdoses, emotional problems, and crashing school competency scores. Add in the controversy over civil liberties, vaccine mandates, closing churches and political gatherings, and it’s hyperpolitical. 

We still have a lot to figure out, scientifically and socially. Sweden did not require face masks, lockdowns, or close their primary schools, but their total excess deaths during the two years of pandemic were among the lowest in Europe. Acute COVID in their children is low, and they didn’t suffer the learning losses we did, nor the ill effects of social isolation. These and others are debatable topics, and they should be debated, not squelched. Stop shaming dissenting opinions and stay out of my doctor’s health care advice. To be clear, I’m not anti-vax, and in fact got the jab, but the last thing I want are doctors to be reticent about their opinion on our health care.

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