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Report: Whistleblower Health Officials Say COVID Guidance Based on Dubious Data, Dissent Stifled

AP Photo/David Goldman, File

Writing on Bari Weiss' platform, Johns Hopkins doctor Marty Makary and epidemiologist Tracy Beth Høeg blow the whistle on enforced COVID alarmism and effective gag orders that some public officials say are stifling their ability to convey accurate information to the American people. These are credible and respected professionals who are hearing disturbing things, and are performing a public service by pushing these allegations out into the open. 

All of this deserves serious scrutiny and debate: 

The calls and text messages are relentless. On the other end are doctors and scientists at the top levels of the NIH, FDA and CDC. They are variously frustrated, exasperated and alarmed about the direction of the agencies to which they have devoted their careers. “It's like a horror movie I'm being forced to watch and I can't close my eyes,” one senior FDA official lamented. “People are getting bad advice and we can’t say anything.” That particular FDA doctor was referring to two recent developments inside the agency. First, how, with no solid clinical data, the agency authorized Covid vaccines for infants and toddlers, including those who already had Covid. And second, the fact that just months before, the FDA bypassed their external experts to authorize booster shots for young children. That doctor is hardly alone.

The authors write that some of these doctors and experts say they've become "embarrassed" of their organizations' work. Why? 

Why are they embarrassed? In short, bad science.  The longer answer: that the heads of their agencies are using weak or flawed data to make critically important public health decisions. That such decisions are being driven by what’s politically palatable to people in Washington or to the Biden administration. And that they have a myopic focus on one virus instead of overall health. Nowhere has this problem been clearer—or the stakes higher—than on official public health policy regarding children and Covid...An official at the FDA put it this way: “I can’t tell you how many people at the FDA have told me, ‘I don't like any of this, but I just need to make it to my retirement.’” ...“It seems criminal that we put out the recommendation to give mRNA Covid vaccines to babies without good data. We really don’t know what the risks are yet. So why push it so hard?” a CDC physician added. A high-level FDA official felt the same way: “The public has no idea how bad this data really is. It would not pass muster for any other authorization.”

...“It felt like we were a political tool” a CDC scientist told us about the issue [of recommending boosters for young people]. That insider went on to explain that he got vaccinated early but chose not to get boosted based on the data. Ironically, that person was unable to go on a trip with a group of parents because proof of being boosted was required. “I asked for someone to show me the data. They said the policy was based on the CDC recommendation.” As one NIH scientist told us: “There’s a silence, an unwillingness for agency scientists to say anything. Even though they know that some of what’s being said out of the agency is absurd.” That was a theme we heard over and over again—people felt like they couldn’t speak freely, even internally within their agencies. “You get labeled based on what you say. If you talk about it you will suffer, I’m convinced,” an FDA staffer told us. Another person at that agency added: “If you speak honestly, you get treated differently.”  And so they remain quiet, speaking to each other in private or in text groups on Signal.

"The fact that there is no public dissent or debate can only be explained by the fact that they are—or at least feel that they are—being muzzled," Makary and Hoeg write. They conclude: "The leaders of the CDC, the FDA and the NIH should welcome internal discussion—even dissension—based on the evidence. Silencing physicians is not 'following the science.' Less absolutism and more humility by the men and women running our public health agencies would go a long way in rebuilding public trust." Byron York is right in this instinct, and if the GOP wins back the House of Representatives as expected this fall, there should be a public accounting on all of this: 

If science is getting politicized, and public health officials feel stymied in their ability to say so – and huge decisions are being made with scant or weak data – that's a major scandal. Put people under oath. The Democrats won't do it. Newly-empowered Republicans could.  Meanwhile, amid a large COVID wave underway, some jurisdictions are reportedly "on the verge" of reimposing mandates. Allahpundit recently wrote about the surge and "mitigation" discussions in Los Angeles County, for instance. Mask mandates don't work, but that won't stop some people with power to return to the same old failed ideas. Even if they did work, which they don't, does the current wave justify the imposition of liberty-depriving requirements on citizens? Are hospitalizations due to COVID (not incidental positives) spiking in a dangerous way? AP's take from a few days ago, based on California data: 

There is good news for L.A. even amid the current surge, though. Hospitalizations may be climbing but deaths are about on par with early April, which suggests that many people landing in ERs post-Omicron are doing so “with” COVID but not “for” COVID...Another clue that BA.5 hospitalizations are more of a “with” phenomenon than a “for” phenomenon is California’s state hospitalization data. In previous waves, bumps in the number of people who landed in the ICU for COVID would track with bumps in overall hospitalizations. Not anymore.

This is good news. Only a small percentage of "COVID hospitalizations" are actually caused by COVID, and infections are less scary and severe than they have been in the past: 

I'll leave you with this


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