To be clear, public health officials were not wrong for making recommendations based on what was known at the time.
That’s understandable. You go with the data you have.
No, they were wrong because they refused to change their directives in the face of new evidence.
When a study did not support their policies, they dismissed it and censored opposing opinions.
Misinformation #1: Natural immunity offers little protection compared to vaccinated immunity
A Lancet study looked at 65 major studies in 19 countries on natural immunity. The researchers concluded that natural immunity was at least as effective as the primary COVID vaccine series.
Misinformation #2: Masks prevent COVID transmission
Cochran Reviews are considered the most authoritative and independent assessment of the evidence in medicine.
And one published last month by a highly respected Oxford research team found that masks had no significant impact on COVID transmission.
Misinformation #3: School closures reduce COVID transmission
The CDC ignored the European experience of keeping schools open, most without mask mandates.
Transmission rates were no different, evidenced by studies conducted in Spain and Sweden.
Misinformation #4: Myocarditis from the vaccine is less common than from the infection
Public health officials downplayed concerns about vaccine-induced myocarditis — or inflammation of the heart muscle.
They cited poorly designed studies that under-captured complication rates.
A flurry of well-designed studies said the opposite.
We now know that myocarditis is six to 28 times more common after the COVID vaccine than after the infection among 16- to 24-year-old males.
Misinformation #5: Young people benefit from a vaccine booster
Boosters reduced hospitalizations in older, high-risk Americans.
But the evidence was never there that they lower COVID mortality in young, healthy people.
That’s probably why the CDC chose not to publish its data on hospitalization rates among boosted Americans under 50, when it published the same rates for those over 50.
Ultimately, White House pressure to recommend boosters for all was so intense that the FDA’s two top vaccine experts left the agency in protest, writing scathing articles on how the data did not support boosters for young people.
Misinformation #6: Vaccine mandates increased vaccination rates
President Biden and other officials demanded that unvaccinated workers, regardless of their risk or natural immunity, be fired.
They demanded that soldiers be dishonorably discharged and nurses be laid off in the middle of a staffing crisis.
The mandate was based on the theory that vaccination reduced transmission rates — a notion later proven to be false.
Misinformation #7: COVID originating from the Wuhan lab is a conspiracy theory
Google admitted to suppressing searches of “lab leak” during the pandemic.
Dr. Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes of Health, claimed (and still does) he didn’t believe the virus came from a lab.
Ultimately, overwhelming circumstantial evidence points to a lab leak origin — the same origin suggested to Dr. Anthony Fauci by two very prominent virologists in a January 2020 meeting he assembled at the beginning of the pandemic.
Misinformation #8: It was important to get the second vaccine dose three or four weeks after the first dose
Data were clear in the spring of 2021, just months after the vaccine rollout, that spacing the vaccine out by three months reduces complication rates and increases immunity.
Misinformation #9: Data on the bivalent vaccine is ‘crystal clear’
Dr. Ashish Jha famously said this, despite the bivalent vaccine being approved using data from eight mice.
To date, there has never been a randomized controlled trial of the bivalent vaccine.
Misinformation #10: One in five people get long COVID
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that 20% of COVID infections can result in long COVID.
But a UK study found that only 3% of COVID patients had residual symptoms lasting 12 weeks. What explains the disparity?
It’s often normal to experience mild fatigue or weakness for weeks after being sick and inactive and not eating well.
Calling these cases long COVID is the medicalization of ordinary life.