A Study Of The Obvious

On Monday, The Conservative Review posted an article about a Covid-related study in Scotland.

The article reports:

While it’s obvious to anyone with a modicum of common sense, it’s nice to see a Scottish government-sanctioned inquiry raise concerns about the way nursing home patients were treated during the pandemic. A new 143-page report published by Edinburgh Napier University on behalf of the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry found that the severe lockdown of senior care home residents “caused great distress and is likely to have contributed in a number of cases to cognitive and emotional decline and even death.”

“The rights of those in care home and their visitors should not have been disproportionately impacted during the pandemic,” observes the inquiry regarding the violation of human rights and the lack of proportionality in attempting to shield seniors in care from the virus. “Any restriction of visiting rights must therefore have been kept under constant review throughout, assessed on an individual basis and in light of the prevailing situation regarding the pandemic in Scotland with clear and updated guidance being provided.”

The article notes:

Given the high rate of senior care COVID deaths, there really is no evidence that any of these measures worked. But the inquiry does note that the extreme isolation likely hastened the deaths of many people. “There is substantial evidence of the harm and distress caused to residents and their families by the restrictions imposed in care homes. This includes concerns that, particularly for people with dementia, being unable to maintain contact with their family exacerbated cognitive and emotional decline, potentially hastening their death.”

The report cites the heartbreaking examples detailed by a petition to the Scottish parliament by families of senior care residents:

    • Daughters were forced to watch from a distance as carers held a dying mother’s hand.
    • Elderly husbands peered through windows to see their distressed wives reaching out for a familiar touch.
    • Children and young adults were left distraught and with no comprehension as to why they were “abandoned” by their family.
    • The use of prison-style screens and intercom communication was cold, unfeeling, and gave no comfort.
    • iPads and online communication were impossible for the many residents with no understanding of Zoom calls or Facetime.

At the same time these draconian measures were put in place regarding visitors and family members, a number of states were sending Covid-positive patients from hospitals to nursing homes when they were still contagious. We need a study of not only the impact of the isolation of the elderly in nursing homeso, but also of the introduction of Covid-positive patients into nursing homes.

The Real Statistics On School Shootings

What happened in Texas this week is horrific. There were a number of mistakes made that allowed the incident to occur, but that will be sorted out later. It was a horrible event, and everyone’s heart goes out to the parents, grandparents and other family members impacted by the incident. The immediate calls for gun control are simply political grandstanding. Until we deal with mental illness among teenagers, we will not have a solution to gun violence.

On Wednesday, John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article that provides some historical context to what happened this week.

The article posted a list of school shootings where four or more people are killed since 2000. Here is the list:

2022: 1
2021: 1
2020: 0
2019: 0
2018: 2
2017: 1
2016: 0
2015: 1
2014: 1
2013: 1
2012: 2
2011: 0
2010: 0
2009: 0
2008: 1
2007: 1
2006: 1
2005: 1
2004: 0
2003: 0
2002: 0
2001: 0
2000: 0

A school shooting is a serious thing, but it doesn’t look as if it is a common occurrence.

The article continues:

So mass school shootings are rare, a total of 14 incidents in more than 22 years. In a nation of 320 million, many more people die from bee stings, lighting strikes, and so on; yet, for understandable reasons, school shootings command national attention. But their very rarity makes it hard to know what to do about them, especially since most school shooters expect to die, which makes them more or less impossible to deter. How do you prevent something that happens, in crude terms, once every 480 million man-years?

The “solutions” proposed by Democrats are laughable, obviously intended for political gain rather than practical benefit. Banning “assault rifles,” while likely unconstitutional, would do zero good. In close quarters, handguns are better than rifles, even short-barreled rifles like AR-15s. In the worst school shooting rampage so far, at Virginia Tech, the murderer used handguns. And when the ill-fated ban on “assault weapons” expired in 2004, the homicide rate went down, not up.

But there are things we can do. Would-be mass murderers may be crazy, but they aren’t stupid. They nearly always strike in gun-free zones, including schools, because they want to be sure they are the only one with a firearm. Gun-free zones are an idiotic concept and should be abolished. And if every public school in America fired a diversity consultant and hired an armed guard, they would be vastly safer. Who stands in the way of such practical reform? Mostly the teachers’ unions, which bitterly resist improvements in school security, thus selling out, as they consistently do, the interests of American children.

After noting that the number of school shootings increased after the Covid shutdowns, the article notes:

The only plausible explanation for this increase is that covid-related shutdowns of schools and businesses exacerbated mental health issues in vulnerable young people. There is a great deal of data confirming such an effect, and in the extreme case, shutdowns evidently have have led to a dramatic increase in “active shooters.” Let’s not make that foolish mistake again.

Those solutions aren’t perfect, but they are practical and would reduce the already microscopically-low incidence of mass school shootings.

This certainly represents a more rational approach than taking guns away from law-abiding citizens.

Common Sense Arrives In New York

On Monday, The New York Post reported that Nassau County (NY) Executive-elect Bruce Blakeman will not be enforcing Governor Kathy Hochul’s new statewide mask-or-vaccine mandate when he takes office on January 1.

The article reports:

“Come January 1st, my administration will move Nassau forward with a common sense approach that acknowledges the facts, science and progress made by our residents while also protecting businesses and jobs from any further damage created by government mandates,” Blakeman, a Republican, said in a statement on Monday.

“Nassau County is not in crisis, and should not be painted with the same broad brush as the rest of the state. Ninety-seven percent of adults in Nassau County have received at least their first dose of the vaccine and Nassau hospitals have adequate capacity to handle existing demand.”

A spokesperson for outgoing Democratic County Executive Laura Curran said the county will “continue responding to complaints” until she’s out of office on Dec. 31.

On Monday, WND posted an article about the effectiveness of the measures that countries and states have taken against the Covid virus.

The article at WND states:

A former adviser to the World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has compiled a list of more than 400 studies showing that COVID-19 lockdowns, shelter-in-place policies, school closures, masks and mask mandates have failed to curb virus transmission or reduce deaths.

“These restrictive policies were ineffective and devastating failures, causing immense harm especially to the poorer and vulnerable within societies,” wrote Dr. Paul Alexander for the Brownstone Institute in an article in which he lists the studies.

Alexander said that while nearly all governments have attempted compulsory measures to control the virus, the research shows that no government can claim they have had a “discernible impact” on “virus trajectories.”

A study published in January 2021, for example, reported “in the framework of this analysis, there is no evidence that more restrictive nonpharmaceutical interventions (‘lockdowns’) contributed substantially to bending the curve of new cases in England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, or the United States in early 2020.”

“We’ve known this for a very long time now,” Alexander said, “but governments continue to double down, causing misery upon people with ramifications that will likely take decades or more to repair.”

Obviously, the measures being pushed in New York, California, and some other states are not based on the current information. It is good to see some of our elected officials reacting to the science rather than using the virus as an opportunity to grab more governmental power.