The Dangers of Political Science

 

The December issue of The American Journal of Medicine includes an editorial titled, “Public Health Strategies Contain and Mitigate COVID-19: A Tale of Two Democracies.” Wow, what a majestic title for a medical journal article. It begins with this paragraph:

On January 19, 2020, the first cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were introduced by travelers from Wuhan, China, the initial epicenter, into both South Korea and the United States. In this commentary, we compare the responses of both democratic republics and demonstrate that the immediate and nationally coordinated public health strategies employed by South Korea effectively contained and mitigated their epidemic. In contrast, the US government mounted a delayed and fragmented response, becoming and remaining the worldwide epicenter of the pandemic.

This might strike you as an odd comparison. South Korea has about 50 million people, and The United States has around 330 million. The population density of South Korea is nearly 15 times greater than The United States – about 515 people per km2 in South Korea vs. about 36 people per km2 in the USA. South Korea’s population is much less diverse, more urban, and has a very different cultural background than America’s. America’s landmass is enormous and highly variable in terms of climate, landscape, and population density, while South Korea is much smaller and more densely populated.  The United States is, well, a group of states – each of which is very different from the others, and each of which has its own locally elected governors and legislatures. It makes no sense for Wyoming to take the same approach as New Jersey on various matters, so they often don’t. One might expect the US response to be more “fragmented” than a smaller, more homogeneous country like South Korea.  And that fragmented response might make a lot of sense in such a large, diverse group of states.

So why would someone choose to compare those two countries? They would seem to be apples and oranges. Keep that question in mind as we move forward…

In an effort to contrast South Korea to the US, the authors begin the second paragraph with the following sentence, which include the words “promptly” and “efficiently”:

Upon report of the country’s first case, South Korea promptly and efficiently instituted nationally coordinated strategies of containment and mitigation.

A bit later in the article, the authors criticize some American politicians and citizens for questioning the benefit of masks:

Masking in the United States has been politicized despite clear scientific evidence of effectiveness.

Well, ok, that’s true – there is clear evidence that masks help. But there is also clear evidence that they don’t help. (The Mount Sinai study and the Danish study, for example. Not to mention the society-wide data on masks is unclear at best.) This is a common problem in medicine. There are often some studies that show clear evidence of one thing, other studies that show clear evidence of something else, and doctors are left to judge which results are most applicable in various situations based on various criteria.

There is clear evidence of many things, so it can be hard to say which “clear evidence” is correct. The phrase “clear evidence of effectiveness” would be very difficult to defend with data. The data would begin a discussion. But no one really knows for sure.

Much of what I learned in medical school (based on “clear evidence” of the time) is malpractice now. No one really knows for sure.

Now, this journal article is an editorial, so they are simply giving their opinions. They are not beholden to data when writing an editorial. But they are physicians, writing in a medical journal, so one might expect the authors to be a bit more careful with sweeping statements like that.

But hey, these physicians who work in academic settings are under a lot of pressure from a lot of angles, so I can overlook much of the grandstanding that I describe above. Fine. Whatever.

But then I get to the last paragraph, which begins thusly:

We strongly concur with all responsible health professionals that there is an urgent need for a unified national approach to implementation of effective public health mitigation strategies such as social distancing, masking, avoidance of crowds, and frequent hand and face washing. These simple measures are likely to be at least as effective as any safe vaccine that may be developed and approved for widespread use by the general public.

Ok. That crosses a line, in my view. Actually, it crosses a few lines:

We strongly concur with all responsible health professionals…” So all who agree with them are responsible, and those who take a different view are not responsible.  Right.  Ok, so if I study this complex problem and reach different conclusions than these esteemed authors, then there is no reason for us to discuss the matter and try to learn from one another. No, I’m simply not a ‘responsible health professional‘ in that case, and can be ignored and treated with disdain.

How many scientific blunders throughout history occurred because people wouldn’t listen to dissenting views?

“…there is an urgent need for a unified national approach to implementation of effective public health mitigation strategies…” Yikes.

When someone combines a casual disregard for scientific uncertainty with a call “…for a unified national approach…” as agreed upon by “…all responsible health professionals…” – geez, that makes my skin crawl. We are sailing into some very dangerous waters, here.

Some of what they’re recommending is probably reasonable.  But their adolescent certainty of their own insight and virtue makes my skin crawl.

These simple measures are likely to be at least as effective as any safe vaccine…” Ok, that’s an absolutely incredible assertion. When you look at COVID data from counties, states, and countries that took various different approaches, it’s difficult to find a pattern – did their “national approach to implementation of effective public health mitigation strategies” actually help? Probably, some. Perhaps. Hard to say, in some cases. But hey, these things are complicated, right?

The vaccines we have now claim a 90% reduction in COVID cases. Can any “national approach to implementation of effective public health mitigation strategies” that we’ve seen so far get anywhere close to a 90% reduction in COVID cases?  Of course not.

The cynic in me suspects that when they say, “These simple measures are likely to be at least as effective as any safe vaccine…” that all they’re really trying to say is that when COVID starts to improve, whenever that is, it will be thanks to whatever President Biden is about to do, and not thanks to President Trump’s vaccine. That’s a tricky assertion to substantiate, so they make no effort to do so. At least, no serious effort to do so. They simply assert. They do not substantiate. And again, in an editorial, that is not an unusual approach.

But these are physicians, writing in the American Journal of Medicine. I might expect more.

Or rather, I wish I expected more. The long slow march through the institutions has now conquered academia and research. Which is a tragic loss for us all, as we are now learning. American universities and scientific research are a big part of what made this country great.

We politicize such important institutions at our peril.

So a group of academics wants to pre-emptively rob a Republican president of credit for fighting COVID by helping develop a vaccine. Fine. It’s your name on the article, not mine.  Go ahead.

But then they write an editorial with some things that are probably true (handwashing helps), and some things that might be true (masks help), with some things that are obviously not true (These simple measures are likely to be at least as effective as any safe vaccine…).  They casually summarize complex and conflicted data with a wave of the hand, and then authoritatively declare that anyone who disagrees with their “urgent need for a unified national approach to implementation of effective public health mitigation strategies” is not a responsible health professional.

So they mix good data with bad, find in that complex data a consistent pattern that does not exist, and demand that we all follow a plan of centralized control, much of which isn’t clear to have benefit.

They then pre-emptively declare that any who are foolish enough to question them are dangerous radicals.  So those who want to control society based on questionable data are just being reasonable.  But those who stop and think about all this are radicals.

Right.

When our doctors and scientists say things that are so clearly politically biased, they discredit everything else they say (including the stuff that’s probably true).  Some of what they say is important and merits our careful attention.  But why listen to them now?  They’re just playing politics.

These are dangerous waters…

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    It’s The American Journal of Medicine, not the The American Journal of Medicine & Pseudoscientific Bloviation. 

    They should fix that. Or cut it out.

    • #1
  2. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Percival (View Comment):

    It’s The American Journal of Medicine, not the The American Journal of Medicine & Pseudoscientific Bloviation.

    They should fix that. Or cut it out.

    I’ll send that suggestion in a letter to the editor…

    • #2
  3. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy) Coolidge
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy)
    @GumbyMark

    Just read the linked article.  I always find it irritating when authors accuse someone of “politicization” when their own article is a prime example of “politicization”.  They have to twist and turn their tale in order to condemn America but somehow absolve their fellow public health experts.

    You noted many things wrong with it, and I noticed a few more.

    Here’s one – they celebrate as models for responding several countries including Germany, Greece, and Argentina, all of whom, either currently or within the past two months, have had multiple daily per capita death tolls exceeding the worst day in the United States.

    And, of course, they talk about mask wearing as though it is commonsense but never engage with the public health advice of the first 2 months that mask wearers were stupid because it was useless.

    • #3
  4. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    You know, I’ve never liked the term “Political Science” for a major.  There is nothing scientific about politics.  If you want truth in advertising, “Political Science” should be renamed “Studies in Power” . . .

    • #4
  5. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    When people advocate HCQ on the basis of a couple of anecdotal examples, that’s bad. You need enough data samples so you can calculate means, standard deviations, and do statistical tests of differences.  And you need to control for other factors.

    When people advocate totalitarianism on the basis of a couple of anecdotal examples, that’s good. No need for replications, or even a graph showing the degree of national coordination on the X axis and the results on the Y access. No need to control for other factors. 

    • #5
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):
    Here’s one – they celebrate as models for responding several countries including Germany, Greece, and Argentina, all of whom, either currently or within the past two months, have had multiple daily per capita death tolls exceeding the worst day in the United States.

    And one of the complaints about Germany that I was hearing from a German epidemiologist who was being interviewed on the “This week in virology” YouTube channel was that Germany didn’t have a coordinated program. Each German state has its own health regulations. 

    • #6
  7. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Stad (View Comment):

    You know, I’ve never liked the term “Political Science” for a major. There is nothing scientific about politics. If you want truth in advertising, “Political Science” should be renamed “Studies in Power” . . .

    Ever since the internet was born I’ve been saying there is no such thing as political science.

    • #7
  8. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy) Coolidge
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy)
    @GumbyMark

    The more I read that article the more ticked off I get.  The authors are writing a polemic – they are not writing as “public health experts” or “scientists”.  Another example is their citation to what they call a disproportionate number of cases and deaths in the U.S.  A scientist might ask questions about the accuracy of these metrics for comparison purposes, but the authors do not.

    As to cases, the U.S. has done more covid testing per capita (often by multiples) than any other country in the world except the UK, Israel and the UAE, which has a huge impact on the number of cases.  In fact, if you look at the #2 (India) and #3 (Brazil) countries in number of cases you’ll see the U.S. has done about 6X the per capita testing.  A very conservative analysis would lead to the conclusion that India is the #1 country in cases and Brazil might also exceed the U.S. if it had conducted the same level of testing.  Globally there are tens of millions of missing cases if one were using the same gauge for measurement.

    As to deaths, the first question is how is each country counting?  A casual inquiry reveals there is a huge difference which means it is very difficult to make accurate comparisons.  The U.S. is probably on the more liberal side of counting covid deaths (though Belgium seems to be leading the pack in counting) along with a number of other countries.  In addition, a number of countries have had credible accusations of deliberate under counting, particularly early in the epidemic, including China, Iran, South Africa and Mexico.  And, as to Russia, about which suspicion has been rampant, Russian health officials announced today that instead of 55,000 covid deaths that country actually had between 2 and 3 times as many (two officials made conflicting statements about how big the undercount is). 

    But the authors had no interest in exploring facts that might have undermined the story they wanted to tell.

     

    • #8
  9. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy) Coolidge
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy)
    @GumbyMark

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):
    Here’s one – they celebrate as models for responding several countries including Germany, Greece, and Argentina, all of whom, either currently or within the past two months, have had multiple daily per capita death tolls exceeding the worst day in the United States.

    And one of the complaints about Germany that I was hearing from a German epidemiologist who was being interviewed on the “This week in virology” YouTube channel was that Germany didn’t have a coordinated program. Each German state has its own health regulations.

    That’s true.  Germany is a true federal republic where the states have authority for health.  Germany doesn’t even have the equivalent of a CDC to make recommendations. Maybe that’s a good thing. 

    • #9
  10. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Dr. Bastiat:

    So they mix good data with bad, find in that complex data a consistent pattern which does not exist, and demand that we all follow a plan of centralized control, much of which isn’t clear to have benefit.

    They then pre-emptively declare that any who are foolish enough to question them are dangerous radicals. So those who want to control society based on questionable data are just being reasonable. But those who stop and think about all this are radicals.

    They also apparently consider “medical” effects to be the only effects that matter. I’m too lazy to read the article, but I doubt they gave consideration to social or cultural effects of the courses of action they think should be national policy? [You noted that they apparently failed to consider that South Korea and the United States have very different cultural histories.] Did they even consider “collateral” medical issues such as mental health, detection and prevention of other diseases, including immunization? A problem with the Progressive plan to have rule by experts is deciding which experts. 

    I stopped listening to “public health officials” and “medical experts” some time ago. So, as you note, if they do happen to pronounce information that might be useful for me to know, I will probably miss it. 

    • #10
  11. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy) Coolidge
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy)
    @GumbyMark

    As to the comparison with South Korea, it begs the question by jumping straight to containment measures.  If you look at what has happened so far globally, the only areas of the world relatively unaffected, with the exception of some island nations, are sub-saharan Africa (with the exception of South Africa) and East and Southeast Asia.  Further, if you look at Asia, you will see a wide range of responses (and no countries that locked down like the U.S. and Europe) ranging from not much (Japan and Vietnam) to South Korea’s actions, yet all have been relatively unscathed. 

    Isn’t the right scientific question to ask – what are the potential factors that led to this difference in outcomes?  That would include inquiries into demographic and genetic factors; did prior exposures to Asia originated coronaviruses play a factor?, etc, along with control measures to determine the relative contribution to the outcome.  Isn’t the analysis of the article authors simplistic?

    And finally, we don’t know what the final outcome of the pandemic will be.  In December, both Japan and S Korea have seen their highest daily death tolls since the pandemic began.  Too many people have wanted to declare victory too early.  People thought the Europeans had this under control by the summer.  The northeast states declared victory during the summer and mocked the southern states for their surge (with Grandma Killer Cuomo doing his macabre victory dance on a mound of 30,000 bodies) only to see the resurgence in their states.  And when the Northeast, Detroit and New Orleans went through their ordeal in March/April many in the rest of America thought we’d dodged a bullet and the warmer weather would certainly save us.

    A little more humbleness is in order for everyone.

    • #11
  12. DonG (Biden is compromised) Coolidge
    DonG (Biden is compromised)
    @DonG

    Dr. Bastiat: both South Korea and the United States

    South Korea is unique.  They had a lot of experience with SARS-Cov-1.  They population is ready to react and many may have some immunity.  It is a compliant and homogeneous population “island”.  There may be other cultural differences in the way they house their elderly and talk quietly–I dunno.

    • #12
  13. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    As normal Doc well written intelligent post. Thanks.

    • #13
  14. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    I think that this is one of the most important articles produced by Ricochet this year.

    • #14
  15. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy) Coolidge
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy)
    @GumbyMark

    Hey @drbastiat, I’m puzzled by the editorial practice of the journal.  This is the December issue but the specific article is dated August 15.  The article was bad enough based on what we knew in August but it is downright embarrassing given what has happened since then.  Didn’t anyone there have a lick of sense about publishing it?

    • #15
  16. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Record number of Wuhan Virus deaths here in Korea yesterday. 

    • #16
  17. Theodoric of Freiberg Member
    Theodoric of Freiberg
    @TheodoricofFreiberg

    Stad (View Comment):

    You know, I’ve never liked the term “Political Science” for a major. There is nothing scientific about politics. If you want truth in advertising, “Political Science” should be renamed “Studies in Power” . . .

    Exactly. Political Science isn’t science. Any major that has “Science” in its name is assuredly not science. Political Science, Social Science, Computer Science, etc. are all misnomers. As worthless as the “Studies” majors are, at least they don’t use the word “Science.” Frankly, I’m surprised they don’t. I’d rather see Political Studies, Social Studies and Computer Studies. Although the latter should be Hardware or Software Engineering or Computer Engineering for those studying both fields.

    • #17
  18. David March Reagan
    David March
    @ToryWarWriter

    Stad (View Comment):

    You know, I’ve never liked the term “Political Science” for a major. There is nothing scientific about politics. If you want truth in advertising, “Political Science” should be renamed “Studies in Power” . . .

    My Father who taught it for 25 years, preferred ‘Ars Politica’

     

    • #18
  19. David March Reagan
    David March
    @ToryWarWriter

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):
    Here’s one – they celebrate as models for responding several countries including Germany, Greece, and Argentina, all of whom, either currently or within the past two months, have had multiple daily per capita death tolls exceeding the worst day in the United States.

    And one of the complaints about Germany that I was hearing from a German epidemiologist who was being interviewed on the “This week in virology” YouTube channel was that Germany didn’t have a coordinated program. Each German state has its own health regulations.

    That’s true. Germany is a true federal republic where the states have authority for health. Germany doesn’t even have the equivalent of a CDC to make recommendations. Maybe that’s a good thing.

    Canada is similar.  The provinces are free to do whatever they want.  The Federal government just had to pay for unlimited EI benefits.

    • #19
  20. David March Reagan
    David March
    @ToryWarWriter

    At the very beginning of the Event, a high school friend, went on FB and described life in South Korea and their approach to medical practices.  I am sure if these Doctors in the journal actually read how South Korea does medicine, it would shock them and make them take the sign of the cross.

    • #20
  21. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy) Coolidge
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy)
    @GumbyMark

    David March (View Comment):

    At the very beginning of the Event, a high school friend, went on FB and described life in South Korea and their approach to medical practices. I am sure if these Doctors in the journal actually read how South Korea does medicine, it would shock them and make them take the sign of the cross.

    Any details?

    • #21
  22. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    DonG (Biden is compromised) (View Comment):
    There may be other cultural differences in the way they house their elderly and talk quietly–I dunno.

    Koreans do not talk quietly. 

    • #22
  23. David March Reagan
    David March
    @ToryWarWriter

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    David March (View Comment):

    At the very beginning of the Event, a high school friend, went on FB and described life in South Korea and their approach to medical practices. I am sure if these Doctors in the journal actually read how South Korea does medicine, it would shock them and make them take the sign of the cross.

    Any details?

    I posted them at the time, but vaccines after Sars/Mers were not an angle they would pursue anymore.  Something about Doctors walking into a middle of one of her classes (she teaches English) and experimenting on Students during SARS led to a big backlash against Vaccines and corporations.

    Here is her video talking about it.

    https://www.facebook.com/jcgirl1979/videos/10163144450580297

    • #23
  24. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Aside from the obvious silly allegiance to elite sensibilities, the article reflects no depth, no scientific curiosity, no attempt to get beyond the perspective of a political rather than an empirical consensus.

    South Korea benefits from being close to China. I would argue that the longer a people have been connected to China by trade routes etc, the more likely they are genetically predisposed to resist whatever Corona virus variants have emerged from Chinese bat caves over the centuries. Take a look at Vietnam, Thailand and Laos — almost entirely unaffected by COVID-19. Please don’t try to tell me the difference is all due to masks, hand washing and Biden-Harris bumper stickers.

    South Korea has 60X fewer cases per capita as the USA but the curve is similar to some US states (but with smaller numbers).  COVID-19 is doing its thing but with fewer suitable carriers to work with. There is no disruption, no flattening. Just like here, the interventions accomplished little or nothing.

    The rise of mediocrity is highly correlated to increased demands for deference to credentials in lieu of substance.

    • #24
  25. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    There are many Boston connections between the article authors and editor of the journal. I picked up on the language and connections from just the first paragraph alone. Then I looked them up, and I found that I am right about the connections. The inspiration for this strategy has been a past president of Dartmouth Jim Yong Kim, who is a friend (Kim Yong is a cofounder of Partners in Health, a nonprofit that works on healthcare issues in developing countries) of Charlie Baker and who wrote this piece last winter for the New Yorker.

    I understand what Jim Yong Kim is driving at and what Baker has been trying to accomplish. But Jim Yong Kim‘s great success in his pre-president-of-Dartmouth life was more with blood-borne diseases–Ebola and HIV. When I read the article in the New Yorker last spring, although I admired his “We can do this!” spirit, I did not think the methods he described would help very much in controlling a cough-borne disease. And I still don’t.

    As far South Korea is concerned, which is where Kim Yong is from and of which he is, of course, justifiably proud, it is very likely they had a milder or attenuated strain than the one that New York and Lombardy had. And as you’ve stated, the two countries are simply not comparable.

    I believe that Jim Yong Kim means well, but I have felt throughout the past six months that it’s not a viable strategy for any of the states in this country. Upper respiratory viruses are different and less amenable to any kind of control. That has always been true. It’s why hospital administrators fear and hate them so much.

    Sadly, we in the United States created something with a wish and prayer: the Centers for Disease Control, the operative word being “Control.” And we keep trying to use its means and methods that have been successful for some health problems for upper respiratory illnesses. Instead, for those particular health issues, we should have pursued treatment instead of prevention.

    In my humble opinion, the CDC has never gotten a good handle on upper respiratory diseases. And as proof of that, I offer a cursory look at the last twenty years of the top ten causes of death in the United States. Two of those slots are occupied with “chronic lower respiratory diseases” and “influenza and pneumonia.” I have thought for a long time now that we human beings will never produce enough vaccines to keep up with the upper respiratory bacteria and viruses. There are so many out there any given moment.

    Okay, I will read the rest of your post. But I had to stop because I know exactly where this line of reasoning is coming from.

    • #25
  26. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    No mention of the Great Barrington Dclaration? I’m shocked, shocked!!  But then that Declaration, written by three of the pre-eminent epidemiologists in the world, is being shadow banned by Google so these opinion writers may not have heard of it. I would suggest that anyone who wants some reliable insight into sensible policy recommendations for coping with COVID read that instead of the fatuous nonsense emanating from the AMA.

    I have been practicing medicine for over 40 years, and about 30 years ago realized that the AMA was corrupt, and it has gotten only increasingly corrupt over the years. About a decade ago the AMA hired a retired Air Force Surgeon General with impeccable integrity to be the executive officer to try to restore the AMA’s reputation; he quit the job after about 6 months saying that there was no possibility of reforming the organization. There is a reason the AMA is based in Chicago.

    Further, JAMA opinion pieces have been blatantly left wing for as long as I can remember. And as far as pertinent and high quality medical research? You just don’t find that in JAMA. Other major medical journals, such as The New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet have followed the same  sad course.

    • #26
  27. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Dr. Bastiat:

    When our doctors and scientists say things that are so clearly politically biased, they discredit everything else they say (including the stuff that’s probably true). Some of what they say is important and merits our careful attention. But why listen to them now? They’re just playing politics.

    These are dangerous waters…

    Yup. And they played a big role in discrediting Donald Trump during the last election. I really wish more people would read the Democratic Party Platform.

    • #27
  28. Dr. Craniotomy Coolidge
    Dr. Craniotomy
    @Craniotomy

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):

    No mention of the Great Barrington Dclaration? I’m shocked, shocked!! But then that Declaration, written by three of the pre-eminent epidemiologists in the world, is being shadow banned by Google so these opinion writers may not have heard of it. I would suggest that anyone who wants some reliable insight into sensible policy recommendations for coping with COVID read that instead of the fatuous nonsense emanating from the AMA.

    I have been practicing medicine for over 40 years, and about 30 years ago realized that the AMA was corrupt, and it has gotten only increasingly corrupt over the years. About a decade ago the AMA hired a retired Air Force Surgeon General with impeccable integrity to be the executive officer to try to restore the AMA’s reputation; he quit the job after about 6 months saying that there was no possibility of reforming the organization. There is a reason the AMA is based in Chicago.

    Further, JAMA opinion pieces have been blatantly left wing for as long as I can remember. And as far as pertinent and high quality medical research? You just don’t find that in JAMA. Other major medical journals, such as The New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet have followed the same sad course.

    This wasn’t even published in JAMA.  It’s just the knockoff American Journal of Medicine, impact factor of 4.  Although I absolutely agree with you that JAMA, NEJM & Lancet are mostly socialist wastelands now.

    • #28
  29. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Dr. Craniotomy (View Comment):

    Nanocelt TheContrarian (View Comment):

    No mention of the Great Barrington Dclaration? I’m shocked, shocked!! But then that Declaration, written by three of the pre-eminent epidemiologists in the world, is being shadow banned by Google so these opinion writers may not have heard of it. I would suggest that anyone who wants some reliable insight into sensible policy recommendations for coping with COVID read that instead of the fatuous nonsense emanating from the AMA.

    I have been practicing medicine for over 40 years, and about 30 years ago realized that the AMA was corrupt, and it has gotten only increasingly corrupt over the years. About a decade ago the AMA hired a retired Air Force Surgeon General with impeccable integrity to be the executive officer to try to restore the AMA’s reputation; he quit the job after about 6 months saying that there was no possibility of reforming the organization. There is a reason the AMA is based in Chicago.

    Further, JAMA opinion pieces have been blatantly left wing for as long as I can remember. And as far as pertinent and high quality medical research? You just don’t find that in JAMA. Other major medical journals, such as The New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet have followed the same sad course.

    This wasn’t even published in JAMA. It’s just the knockoff American Journal of Medicine, impact factor of 4. Although I absolutely agree with you that JAMA, NEJM & Lancet are mostly socialist wastelands now.

    Why are the scientists, who should be basing everything on evidence, attracted to this claptrap?

    • #29
  30. Tedley Member
    Tedley
    @Tedley

    South Korea is also different from the US by officially being in a state of war with its neighboring country, since the Korean War ended with an armistice.  I don’t know whether any of the national security laws that would be used if North Korea tried to invade again were used during this pandemic.  These laws allow for expedited mobilization of personnel to support logistics, transportation and evacuation requirements, which could come in handy in the early phase of the response to a pandemic.  It’s another possible factor in why South Korea got through the early part of the pandemic mostly unscathed. 

    • #30
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