The federal government was the primary source of misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to several scholars and scientists who provided responses to the U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy.
The surgeon general asked for remarks from the public how COVID-19 misinformation “in the digital information environment” had affected health outcomes, trust in the healthcare system and “likelihood to vaccinate,” among other issues.
Just the News reported that, according to healthcare and vaccine policy experts who joined with Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, the misinformation came from within the government itself:
They filed a comment in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proceeding, accusing the CDC and other health organizations of promoting falsehoods and shoddy research that “shattered the public’s trust in science and public health,” which will “take decades to repair.”
Rokita and epidemiologists Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford School of Medicine and Martin Kulldorff, formerly of Harvard Medical School, also took aim at official government figures for COVID deaths that are repeatedly cited in the media.
“The government spent close to $5 trillion fighting COVID-19, but still can’t provide Hoosiers with an accurate number of deaths or hospitalizations from COVID-19,” Rokita said in a press release.
Though the comment does not mention Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser and the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the press release does call him out by name for “misleading messages” regarding the abilities of vaccines, masks, and asymptomatic testing to suppress the spread of COVID.
Rotita’s office told the news outlet not to assume that the critical remarks are going to be included when the Department of Health and Human Services posts them on the docket page, which currently lists 463 comments that were received by the May 2 deadline. The statement highlighted a FAQ page that says “not every comment is made publicly available to read.”
Indiana’s top law enforcer, who is currently leading coalitions of GOP attorneys general against various Biden administration policies, is one of just a handful of elected officials who have publicly questioned official COVID illness and death figures.
Just the News adds:
Oregon state Sens. Kim Thatcher and Dennis Lincecum previously asked U.S. Attorney Scott Asphaug to convene a grand jury to investigate how the pandemic was being measured, especially an early CDC directive to emphasize COVID as a “cause” in deaths with preexisting conditions.
Rokita, Bhattacharya and Kulldorff echoed those concerns, flatly calling CDC figures “inaccurate” for failing to distinguish COVID as the primary or contributing cause of death, if not “incidental.”
Audits of death certificates in California’s Santa Clara and Alameda counties found about 25% wrongly listed COVID as the primary cause, in line with pressure on physicians to blame COVID “even when the medical facts suggest otherwise.” Unprecedented mass asymptomatic testing and the CDC’s refusal to conduct “national surveys of medical charts” also make the numbers unreliable, they said.
The trio also said that health officials misrepresented randomized controlled trials that were set up to test the efficacy of COVID vaccines against asymptomatic infection, claiming that they showed the vaccines shunted transmission of the virus, as well as implementing public health messaging that “blunted” the 1,000-fold COVID risk difference between young and old Americans.
The result was the implementation of several needless policies including vaccine passports, long-term school closures, and other harmful lockdowns, without employing any empirical basis, they said. The trio also cited Sweden’s positive results from keeping their schools open “without masks, social distancing, or testing,” and its “near-zero overall excess death” even though the country rejected locking down.
There were other red flags that the scholars and scientists saw.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education warned Murthy not to “prevent the medical community from properly scrutinizing” the assumptions behind public health actions in an emergency by chilling their research. And they cited former National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins for invoking the “fire in a crowded theater” analogy to advocate for censorship.
“The very concept of misinformation is anathema to any scientific approach to serious health issues like the COVID-19 pandemic,” the National Association of Scholars wrote. “Federal authorities, even expert authorities, should never engage in defining or adjudicating what are properly scientific questions.”
NAS called the federal government “the major purveyor of misinformation” by pushing “policy recommendations that are inconsistent, only loosely based on scientific recommendations, and actively deleterious to the communities they are pledged to protect.”