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Misinformation about COVID misinformation

In brief
  • The New York Post acknowledges many studies now convincingly show much of the government narrative was wrong.
  • Despite claims to the contrary from the highest levels in NZ, it was eminently reasonable to question the safe and effective mantra for young people.
  • MoH was way out of date by Feb/2022, when the Omicron variant took over, and continues to be so with the latest booster.

Debunking myths

Over the past several years mainstream media and governments spent an enormous amount of time “debunking myths” about “COVID conspiracies”. Millions of dollars in grants were allocated in NZ.  Funds were spent on tracking down alternative narratives and opinions. Anything that didn’t fit with the official government narrative was labeled as false information or conspiracy. Now, as things are calming down and grants running out, we are seeing that many of the ideas the “experts” propagated via mainstream media and government officials were actually misinformation.

A recent article by the New York Post highlights 10 such ideas. The Post breaks down these cases, and shows that often so-called experts were using poorly designed studies, or evidence that never even existed to back up an official narrative designed to maintain control. It caused fear in many and some think that was the objective.

Three takeaways

Misinformation about COVID misinformation - Centrist
A lot of government “information” on COVID was, in fact, misinformation.

We are presenting three main takeaways from these now debunked mainstream “conspiracy theories”. 

Masks and school closures didn’t slow the spread of anything. The analysis included 78 studies from around the world, which our Ministry of Health continues to ignore. 

The media has often claimed that 1 in 5 people get long COVID. A UK study shows only 3% of COVID patients showed symptoms 12 weeks after testing positive. Fatigue is actually common after any illness. The Post appropriately points out that diagnosing these symptoms as long COVID has the unintended consequence of medicalising normal recovery, pushing people to potentially seek treatments that may have their own shortcomings.

Finally, the vaccine. In this instance, many officials used non-existent data to claim vaccines greatly reduced transmission before the real world clearly showed that was wrong. And the supposed 20m lives saved by the vaccines that is often quoted is just one group’s calculation, also known as a partisan guess.

Somehow the COVID death numbers in many low vaccination countries do not show the high deaths that might give the 20m number more credence. Other groups scoff at the 20m number and some suggest many people would have been better off without the vaccine. The Post article points to solid studies confirming substantial myocarditis risk in young people was much higher from the vaccine than from COVID.

The truth is hard to discern and it doesn’t become true just because it is said more often in more places, especially when the repetition is paid for and the dissent is silenced.

The pulpit of truth was maybe not so reliable after all

With these 10 debunked mainstream “conspiracies” now out in the open, we are reminded there is no single source of truth in the practice of science, especially when it is evolving so fast. Maybe a nimble approach, more concerned with keeping up with the science and less with saving face and simple messaging would have gained more respect.

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