Follow the Science, for a Change
Follow the Science, for a Change
Congressman Tom McClintock
House Chamber, Washington, D.C.
May 27, 2019
Just a few months ago, America enjoyed the most promising economic expansion in our lifetimes, lifting millions of Americans out of poverty, boosting wages for American workers and producing the lowest unemployment rates in fifty years. Today, the American economy lies in rubble, with tens of millions of Americans thrown into unemployment, poverty and despair.
That damage was not done by a virus. It was done by ordering entire populations into indefinite home detention, shuttering countless businesses and desecrating the most fundamental human rights that our Constitution commands our government to protect.
We are told to follow the science and the data. That would be nice, for a change.
What does the science tell us about the severity of COVID-19? We know that about 80 percent of those who get it either have no symptoms at all, or experience it as a mild respiratory infection. In New York, 74 percent of those who died were over age 65 and just six one-hundredths of one percent were under age 18. Three quarters of those who died had underlying medical conditions.
So how does it “follow the science” to close schools – where it poses the least danger – while packing infected patients into nursing homes – where it poses the greatest danger?
Once epidemiologists began surveying general populations, they discovered the disease isn’t nearly as severe as the claims that set off the global panic. Researchers at Stanford University surveyed the population of Santa Clara, California and estimated a fatality rate of 17/100ths of one percent. New York serology tests revealed a fatality rate of one half of one percent.
Simply stated, if you get the flu, your chance of survival is 99.9 percent and, according to these studies, if you get COVID-19, your chance of survival is better than 99.5 percent. How does this science justify throwing nearly 40 million Americans into unemployment?
Does the science support population-wide lockdowns? In 2006, based on an Albuquerque teenager’s science paper, the Bush administration proposed mass lockdowns in the event of a severe flu pandemic. Leading epidemiologists warned at the time that – quote - “The negative consequences of large-scale quarantine are so extreme that this mitigation measure should be eliminated from serious consideration.” It wasn’t.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has now admitted that 84 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York are people either already “sheltering at home” or at nursing homes.
Statistical analysts, including Stanford University’s Nobel laureate Michael Levitt, Tel Aviv University’s Isaac Ben-Israel, Kentucky State University’s Wilfred Reilly and Cypress Semi-conductor’s T.J. Rodgers, are finding no significant statistical difference in the infection curves between those jurisdictions that have destroyed their economies and those that haven’t. A study by JP Morgan has found an inverse relationship as economies open back up.
A study of 318 outbreaks involving 1,245 cases in China found just one outbreak that occurred outdoors, involving just two cases. Eighty percent of the outbreaks occurred in people’s homes. So how does it follow the science to close outdoor venues and order people indoors?
Mr. Speaker, it is high time we considered how many Americans will die because of the COVID-19 lockdowns. The Well Being Trust predicts up to 75,000 “deaths of despair” due to suicide and drug and alcohol abuse because of the lockdown. In March alone, the Epic Health Research Network warns of a 94% decline in breast, colon and cervical cancer screenings and the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network reports a 22 percent increase in children calling for help. A 2011 Columbia University study funded by the National Institutes of Health estimated that 4.5 percent of all deaths in the United States are related to poverty. How does it follow the science to destroy the livelihoods of millions of Americans, cut them off from their support networks, force them into isolation and plunge them into poverty?
I don’t blame our public health officials. They have the luxury of ignoring the effect of their policies beyond their area of expertise. The responsibility rests, rather, with the public officials who failed to consider the catastrophic collateral damage they have caused – who became so drunk with power and so besotted with self-righteousness that they lost any reference to common sense or any concern for the damage they have done.
House floor remarks delivered by Congressman Tom McClintock, May 27, 2020.