The Osterholm/Slavitt Axis of Evil

By August 3, 2020 Commentary

Earlier in the week it was Andy Slavitt, today it is Mike Osterholm, both proposing preposterous and unnecessary complete shutdowns of social and economic life in the country.  Mr. Slavitt’s proposals included the absurd notion of banning interstate travel.  Mr. Slavitt was a former UnitedHealth Group executive who got very rich and has nothing to worry about.  He was acting directing of the Medicare and Medicaid Agency in the Obama Administration.  If you read his twitter stream you know exactly what he is–primarily a political shill whose remarks relating to the epidemic are designed to harm the current administration and put the other party back in power, because he would probably like to be HHS secretary.  I have said repeatedly that it is completely offensive and inappropriate for rich people to advocate lockdowns which mean nothing to them but destroy the lives of low-income and minority Americans.

Mr. Osterholm may have been a pre-eminent infectious disease epidemiologist at one time, but he must be washed up and over the hill now.  He hasn’t been right about much during the epidemic other than the likely futility of mask mandates.  He was a primary advisor on the multi-million dollar Minnesota model which has estimated 4 million cases, just off by 80 times, and 20,000 deaths, just off by over 12 times, in Minnesota at this point.  He needs to re-read his beginning epidemiology textbooks, because he apparently completely forgot to consider variation in susceptibility and infectiousness as a potential factor in the epidemic and keeps saying population immunity won’t be achieved until 70% or more of the population is infected, despite increasing research evidence that this isn’t the case.  He too was promoting a renewed round of lockdowns, again, despite evidence that the lockdowns did little to slow cases.

What is wrong with these people–have they zero ability to look at and understand data and research?  The case surges in certain states are basically over, and like every other state that has endured a case surge, we will now see the long decline in hospitalizations and deaths.  In the latest wave, those serious outcomes were far lower than in the states suffering in April and May.  And have we learned nothing about balancing the health harms of the lockdowns with the supposed benefits in regard to coronavirus illness?  Do they not read report after report finding missed health care leading to deaths, worsening of illness and other issues?  Can they not see that the constant terrorization of the population, which they aid and abet, is responsible for mass anxiety, depression, worsening drug and alcohol abuse and suicides?  In the US, and even more so around the world, the lockdowns will kill multiples of people compared to coronavirus.  Tens of millions may die of starvation alone.  But these moral morons assign no value to those lives.  At some point, I hope some group will call them all to account for the insane amount of damage they have done to the people of this country by advocating for policies that destroy lives, while making little, if any, difference in the course of the epidemic.

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