posted: December 26, 2021
tl;dr: A history of everything that went wrong during the COVID-19 endemic, and the few things that went right...
“Experience has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted.”
Those wise words came from Dr. Donald A. Henderson (1928 - 2016), who helped lead one of humanity’s rare success stories in eradicating a virus from the world, the one that causes smallpox (except for two known labs, and possibly unknown labs - hopefully there won’t be any more lab leaks). As Alex Berenson writes in Pandemia: How Coronavirus Hysteria Took Over Our Government, Rights, and Lives, after providing that quote: “to say the least, we have not taken Dr. Henderson’s advice”.
No, we haven’t. COVID-19 paranoia and hysteria are everywhere: in the media, in our politics, and especially among a good portion of the populace. Just this week I’ve seen people on Twitter with children younger than the current U.S. (but not worldwide) cutoff age of 5 years old for vaccine eligibility, who are incredibly upset and frustrated with U.S. healthcare regulators for not approving vaccines for younger children: they think their 4-year-olds are now facing a possible death sentence. Politicians such as Bill DeBlasio, soon to be ex-Mayor of New York City, heighten these fears by mandating that 5-year-olds get vaccinated. These are educated people who should be able to understand probabilities, but we’re far beyond the point of being able to have rational discussions about this and other topics regarding our country’s response to what is now the COVID-19 endemic. Emotions trump reason.
If you are one of these people, do not read this book. Do not even think of opening the cover. Hopefully, the efforts that Twitter and others in the mainstream media have taken to silence the voice of Alex Berenson will succeed, and you won’t even learn of the existence of this book. Stop reading this review, and go find some other content to give you the comfort that you seek. If, however, you have some questions and concerns about how our nation has responded to COVID-19, and are open to considering scientific evidence that is not widely publicized (Berenson provides many links to articles and reports from reputable sources), then you should find Pandemia to be an excellent chronological review and critique of our experience with the COVID-19 endemic to date.
As someone who is very much against the U.S. government leaning on companies to censor Internet content, I was glad Berenson described how the Twitter ban process unfolded for him. Although Berenson has been kicked off Twitter, he is far from a crackpot. He does not, for example, state that the COVID-19 vaccines are part of a plot by the Deep State to insert microchips into the entire U.S. population so that people can be mind-controlled via 5G cellular networks. He is one of the last of a nearly extinct breed of journalist: a “just the facts, ma’am”, hard-boiled, cynical reporter who distrusts anyone and everyone in power. I believe him when he says he is not a member of either Team Blue or Team Red, like so many other reporters obviously are, even though he comes with Team Blue bonafides: a Yale graduate who wrote for the New York Times and lives in New York City. He follows the facts where he believes they lead, which in Pandemia are to positions that are anathema to both sides of our country’s political divide, albeit more so to Team Blue.
I thoroughly enjoyed Pandemia. It gave me peace of mind by providing me with a lot of facts and evidence to back up many of my own thoughts about the endemic and how the U.S. responded to it. I would have been very happy to take my chances and ride out the pandemic in Sweden, which pretty much took the approach I described back in June of 2020 in my Living with the virus post (boy, was I too optimistic).
The aspect of our country’s response that has bothered me and Berenson the most has been what we’ve done to our children, as I described in my Kids in cages post. Berenson makes the damning observation that “the rise in deaths of despair [drug overdoses, alcohol, homicides, suicides] in people under fifty - not the total number, but the increase from 2019 to 2020 - was larger than the total of seventeen thousand Covid deaths in people in the same age range in 2020 [emphasis in original]”. In other words, looking only at lives lost, for people in the U.S. under the age of 50, the country’s response to COVID-19 has been more deadly than COVID-19. Then when you factor in the loss of quality of life, poor schooling outcomes, damage to the economy, and the rise in mental illness and anxiety, you see what a disaster our country’s response has been for the younger portion of our population.
So, if you are not on Team Zero Covid, Team Lockdown, Team Fauci Forever, Team Blue, or even Team Red, there’s a good chance that you may enjoy Pandemia as much as I did. Kudos for Berenson for having the guts to write it, and to Regnery for publishing it.
Now, let’s see if Twitter bans me for tweeting out a link to this review.
Related post: Book review: Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19, by Alina Chan and Matt Ridley