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 How bureaucracy killed hundreds of thousands

13.1.20. The Chinese flu has certainly shown us how bureaucracy works.
The government hires someone who couldn’t survive in the private sector and before long they become head of a department or specialist group. Then something happens and the Government goes to that person for advice. How good that advice is fluctuates between what might be OK to bloody terrible.
Regardless of what the advice is, the Government acts and the advisor get airtime on TV and radio to explain their advice. This gives them a high degree of acceptance to enforce their advice no matter how bad. Once this happens the political leadership dare not take their advice. This happens here and in the US as Ben Shapiro explains:
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the media have spilled barrels of ink over mistakes by the federal government. We’ve heard endlessly about the failure to quickly ramp up testing, the confusion over mask-wearing and the debates over proper lockdown policy. But when the history of this time is written, the fundamental mistake made by the United States government won’t be rhetorical excesses by the president or conflicting public health advice. It will be the same mistake the government always makes: trusting the bureaucracy.
We now know that the miraculous Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 had been designed by Jan. 13, 2020. That was just two days after the sequencing of the virus had been made public. As David Wallace-Wells writes for New York magazine, “the Moderna vaccine design took all of one weekend. … By the time the first American death was announced a month later, the vaccine had already been manufactured and shipped to the National Institutes of Health for the beginning of its Phase I clinical trial.” Meanwhile, for six weeks, Dr. Anthony Fauci assured Americans that there was little to worry about with COVID-19.
Fast-forward to the end of 2020. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died. Tens of thousands of Americans continue to die every week. The Food and Drug Administration has still not cleared the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which costs a fraction of the other vaccines (about $4 per dose, as opposed to $15 to $25 per dose for Moderna’s vaccine or $20 per dose for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine). The FDA approval process cost us critical months, with thousands of Americans dying each day. As Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins University told me this week, “Safety is their eternal excuse. They are entirely a broken federal bureaucracy…Why did we not have a combined Phase I-Phase II clinical trial for these vaccines?”
This is an excellent question, of course. Phase I trials involve small numbers of participants, who are then monitored. Phase II trials involve larger numbers. Huge numbers of Americans would have volunteered for a combined Phase I-Phase II trial. And even after we knew the vaccines were effective, the FDA delayed. Data was collected by late October that suggested Phase II/III trials had been successful. The FDA quickly requested more results, which it did not receive until November. It then took until Dec. 11 for the FDA to issue emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna vaccine wasn’t cleared until Dec. 18, nearly a year after it had first been produced.
The disgrace continues. The government continues to hold back secondary doses of the vaccine, despite the fact that the first doses provide a significant effect. As Makary says, “We’re in a war. The first dose gives immunity that may be as high as 80 to 90 percent protection, and we can probably give half the dose, as Dr. Moncef Slaoui suggested … We can quadruple our supply overnight.”
Meanwhile, states continue to be confused by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on how to tranche out the vaccines. It took until nine days after the FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine for the CDC to release its recommendations. Those recommendations were still complex and confusing and often rife with self-defeating standards — even though it was perfectly obvious from the start that the solution ought to be based on age.
Americans have relied on the government — a government supposedly comprised of well-meaning experts — to get us through a pandemic. The government not only failed with conflicting information and incoherent lockdown policy but also actively obstructed the chief mechanism for ending the pandemic thanks to bureaucratic bloat. If Americans’ takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic is that centralized government is the all-purpose solution, they’re taking precisely the lesson most likely to end in mass death in the future.
{ 5 comments… add one }
  • i 13/01/2021, 7:24 am

    Governments have form for hiring bureaucrats who couldn’t swim in the commercial world. But to listen to them and follow their directions. You have to be kidding.

    Just last week Queenslanders were told to wear a mask in their own car while driving. What FW thought that was a good idea?

    Mask wearing, with gaps around the edges big enough to get your little finger into to stop a virus that can’t be seen without an electron microscope. Again, what FW thought that would be a good idea?

    Lock downs can work but only if you do not permit ANY travel outside of your house for the duration of the incubation period. That means NO ONE travels. Not the health workers, no one. They either stay at work or they don’t go. To allow some travel keeps the virus on the move. To allow those that are exposed through workplaces to use the same supermarket as the general public is NOT a lockdown. It’s a slow march to infection. No wonder it took months to see a controlled outcome. It was luck.

    If you want lock down then tell everyone to go shopping today. Buy what you need for two weeks, there will be no restocking during that time. Make a call, will you be at home or at work. You cannot be at both. Then lock the door and stay there.

    No government is going to do that, they prefer to stretch this out for as long as they get popularity votes. Whilst the rest of us suffer their fools and slowly go broke watching our economy tank again.

    And to think that we’ll be doing this again and again everytime someone sneezes. What FW thought that was a good idea?

    • Aktosplatz 13/01/2021, 12:42 pm

      That’s a good realistic post. I fully agree.

  • luk1955 13/01/2021, 9:48 am

    It is flu season in the northern hemisphere. Winter deaths always spike in the northern hemisphere. The cold conditions substantially weaken the immune system which is why respiratory illnesses predominate over every other cause of death. And the CDC says only 6% of the deaths are due to conjob19.

    • Aktosplatz 13/01/2021, 12:45 pm

      That’s true Luk. I attended Uni in Manchester and then Edinburgh, admittedly I was young then but the weather is totally miserable, cold, and wet.

      So in winter, the older folk were advised to keep warm and stay indoors. Nowadays old folk can no longer afford to ‘keep warm’ as coal has been phased out and so-called green energy is too expensive; they can’t afford it.

  • JG 13/01/2021, 8:15 pm

    Swamp people, big pay packets and conditions but no accountability. Un-elected swill tell us what to do. Government pass legislation but the swill decide what it means which is nothing like the intent or time frame.

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