Posted by Curt on 10 December, 2020 at 1:42 pm. 5 comments already!


by Jeffrey A. Tucker

In a wide-ranging interview in the New York Times, Melinda Gates made the following remarkable statement:

“What did surprise us is we hadn’t really thought through the economic impacts.”

A cynic might observe that one is disinclined to think much about matters than do not affect one personally.

It’s a maddening statement, to be sure, as if “economics” is somehow a peripheral concern to the rest of human life and public health. The larger context of the interview reveals the statement to be even more confused. She is somehow under the impression that it is the pandemic and not the lockdowns that are the cause of the economic devastation that includes perhaps 30% of restaurants going under, among many other terrible effects.

She doesn’t say that outright but, like many articles in the mainstream press over this year, she very carefully crafts her words to avoid the crucial subject of lockdowns as the primary cause of economic disaster. It’s possible that she actually believes this virus is what tanked the world economy on its own but that is a completely unsustainable proposition.

Further, her comments provide a perfect illustration of the core problem all along: most of the people who have been advocating lockdowns in fact have no actual experience in managing pandemics. To many of these, Covid-19 became their new playground to try out an unprecedented experiment in social and economic management: shutting down travel, businesses, schools, churches, and issuing stay-at-home orders that smack of totalitarian impositions. 

Here is what she says:

You can project out and think about what a pandemic might be like or look like, but until you live through it, it’s pretty hard to know what the reality will be like. So I think we predicted quite well that, depending on what the disease was, it could spread very, very, very quickly. The spread did not surprise us.

What did surprise us is we hadn’t really thought through the economic impacts. What happens when you have a pandemic that’s running rampant in populations all over the world? The fact that we would all be home, and working from home if we were lucky enough to do that. That was a piece that I think we hadn’t really prepared for.

There are plenty of specialists who have lived through pandemics in the past and managed them by maintaining essential social and economic functioning. A major case in point is Donald A. Henderson, who as head of the World Health Organization is given primary credit for the eradication of smallpox. He wrote as follows in 2006:

Experience has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted. Strong political and public health leadership to provide reassurance and to ensure that needed medical care services are provided are critical elements. If either is seen to be less than optimal, a manageable epidemic could move toward catastrophe.

Melinda together with her husband Bill have been the major funding source for pro-lockdown efforts around the world, giving $500M since the pandemic began, but also funding a huge range of academic departments, labs, and media venues for many years, during which time they have both sounded the alarm in every possible interview about the coming pathogen. Their favored policy has been lockdown, as if to confuse a biological virus with a computer virus that merely needs to be blocked from hitting the hard drive.

We can look at how this disease traveled around the world and see that the countries who locked down first, they’re doing better. Many African countries saw it coming and locked it down early. Their replication rate just never got as high as many other countries. And that is a good thing.

While it is true that Africa is an odd outlier, the claim that this is due entirely to early lockdowns has no support. Those who have looked at the anomaly in Africa point to the very young population (just 3% are over 65), cross immunities with other coronaviruses as the main reason for the low death rate, and stronger overall immunities. Indeed, the demographics alone could account for nearly the whole of the mortality difference with Europe and the U.S. In addition, Melinda says here what Bill has said for years: the only solution to a virus is to suppress it and develop a vaccine – the previously untested experiment that has brought poverty, death, and despair to the entire world. Africa in particular was devastated by lockdowns.

It’s still a good thing that she is opening up to the New York Times so that we can gain better perspective on her outlook. There will be a reckoning in the coming year concerning why and how all this happened to us. There will be no chance of suppressing the reality of what has happened. Indeed the center-left press is already starting to admit what AIER has been saying since March 2020.

Consider this roundup from just the last several days:

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