Former Bay Area Lockdown Guru: "OK Everybody Please Stop Locking Down Now"
"It's time to start living again," says Zero Covid thinkfluencer Tomas Pueyo
Erstwhile Zero Covidian Tomas Pueyo, whose viral Medium essays drove lockdown policies across the world, wants everyone to stop locking down now.
This is because “Between Omicron, vaccines, and treatments, the risk of COVID is down by 10x to 1000x.” We should still be “cautious” over the course of the next wave, but now “The biggest risk” is that nobody “internalize[s]” Pueyo’s all-clear and our governments continue to restrict social and economic life.
Pueyo thinks that the Omicron death rate is down 90% compared to Delta, and 75% compared to the wild-type, “making Omicron just about 2x as virulent as normal flu.” For proof of this we go to the bizarrely wrong Footnote 2:
Alpha was ~60% more virulent than the original variant, and Delta was yet again ~60% more virulent than Alpha. A reduction of virulence of ~90% of Omicron vs. Delta broadly puts it at ~75% less virulent than the original variant, which is huge. It would go from an average fatality rate of ~1% in mature economies to ~0.25%, just about twice the virulence of a normal flu.
Clownworld is when the random Medium writer and Stars Wars narratologist who condemned you to two years of house arrest, social isolation, and movement restrictions, decides on the strength of some casual envelope math that it’s fine to go outside again. It’s just amazing, after all this time, that there are still Corona pundits – even in Zero Covidistan – who assign SARS-2 a 1% fatality rate.
Anyway, because Omicron is milder and the vaccines have saved us, everybody needs to start relaxing now. Also too, Pueyo explains, “shutdowns” have accomplished all the goals set out for them:
In Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now, I sounded the alarm on COVID.
In Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance, I explained what we had to do about it.
Today, in Coronavirus: Game Over, I’d like to explain why this means the end of the pandemic phase, and the beginning of the end(emic) phase.
On the 10th of March 2020, the world had not realized what was coming. It was important to share how what had happened to Italy and Iran was going to happen everywhere else if they didn’t shut down their countries. That proved to be true.
One week later, when I published The Hammer and the Dance, I explained why we needed to apply shutdowns: to buy ourselves time, so we could
Prepare the healthcare system
Learn to do testing and tracing
Produce masks we needed at scale (and other things, like ventilators)
Understand the virus
Understand the cost-benefits of tackling it
Check, check, check, check, check, check, check.
Thank you, Pueyo, for those shutdowns, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to “get vaccines” and we wouldn’t “understand the virus” and we wouldn’t have “learn[ed] to do testing and tracing.”
Not everybody can relax just yet, though. Pueyo decrees that “Healthcare workers, emerging economies, immunocompromised people, and kids” must stay tense. Healthcare workers have to healthcare away the Omicron wave before they can relax, emerging economies (or rather, the people in them) are undervaccinated but they got hit hard by Delta so who knows, and if you’re immunocompromised, “COVID might get you.” As for children, well, “Most kids are not vaccinated yet,” so they must continue to hide from this virus, even though it is less dangerous to them than seasonal influenza, which never inspired any special precautions for children.
What about the unvaccinated? Should they relax?
At this point, they’re either in emerging economies, kids, or anti-vaxxers. Once all those who can get a vaccine are vaccinated, it’s anti-vaxxers’ prerogative to die from COVID if they want to.
Maybe social healthcare systems shouldn’t treat their COVID or their Long COVID though.
Also, there’s an interesting case about the function of vaccinating kids for epidemiological purposes. As the government, I wouldn’t do it, but… why would kids, who can not make decisions, be at the mercy of their parents’ decisions on their life and death? I find the parallels with the abortion debate ethically interesting.
A charming guy, this Pueyo.
He also thinks governments should “build trust” by voluntarily abandoning all the powers they have acquired, which is something that will totally happen, and for which there is abundant historical precedent.
Most governments were reluctant to use hammers (lockdowns) early on, until they were overwhelmed with cases. Over the months, they learned very slowly to dance (intelligent measures to stop the impact of the virus while not hurting the economy), but they remained pretty hammer-happy. They want to keep dancing even if the party is over. They wield measures against COVID like a favorite toy. But now it’s time to give it away.
Governments were reluctant to use these drastic measures early on because they thought people wouldn’t respect them, and they wouldn’t respect them because they don’t trust the government.
In fact, one of the most powerful tools against COVID (test-trace-isolate) was not used by most Western countries because they didn’t want to encroach on privacy (all the while they were jeopardizing economies, liberty, and lives). They didn’t want to encroach on privacy because they feared citizens would not want them to do it. Citizens are wary of the government because in the past it hasn’t built trust in handling their rights properly.
Unlike Pueyo’s earlier efforts, this one will not be translated into all major world languages, and will not proceed to dictate public health policies in multiple countries. Mass hysteria is easy to start, but very hard to stop, and nobody is any longer listening to our viral Medium essayist.
Last week, Pueyo announced that he was “taking on Amazon” and that he had “just moved to Europe to become the chief product officer of Ankorstore,” a company that does something or other to help local retail outlets compete against e-commerce. It’s heartening to know that Pueyo, whose viral lockdown manifestos helped destroy small businesses across the world, will now be paid to help these local shops compete against the massive online behemoths that have profited from his policy prescriptions. I wonder if Omicron and the vaccines were really the only factors that convinced him “It’s time to start living again.”