Tuesday, January 4, 2022

College, University Lockdowns Can't be Justified by the Science

Dr. Marty Makary, at Bari Weiss's Substack, "Universities' Covid Policies Defy Science and Reason":

Universities are supposed to be bastions of critical thinking, reason and logic. But the Covid policies they have adopted—policies that have derailed two years of students’ education and threaten to upend the upcoming spring semester—have exposed them as nonsensical, anti-scientific and often downright cruel.

Some of America’s most prestigious universities are leading the charge.

At Georgetown University, fully vaccinated students are randomly tested for Covid every week. Using a PCR test, which can detect tiny amounts of dead virus, asymptomatic students who test positive are ordered to a room in a designated building where they spend 10 days in confinement. Food is dropped off once a day at the door.

I spoke to several students who were holed up. One of them told me she would sometimes call a friend to come and wave at her through the window, just to see a human face. Another told me that the experience in quarantine “totally changed” her feelings about the school. “Everyone’s just fed up at this point,” she said. “People walk around the library and yell at you if you drink a sip of water. And it was during finals.” She told me she is thinking about “transferring to an SEC school just to have an in-person experience.”

Given the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently changed the official quarantine period from 10 days to five, I reached out to Georgetown’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Ranit Mishori. She told me that Georgetown is still using a 10-day quarantine.

Students are the lowest risk population on planet Earth. Over the last six months, the risk of a person in the broader age group (15-24) dying of Covid or dying with Covid (the CDC does not clearly distinguish), was 0.001%. All or nearly all of those deaths were in a very specific subgroup: unvaccinated people with a medical comorbidity. But despite Georgetown’s strict vaccination, masking, testing, and quarantine requirements, the university announced late last month that “all University events, including meetings with visitors, will need to be held virtually or outdoors,” among many other restrictions.

At Princeton University, fully vaccinated students are not allowed to leave the county unless they are on a sports team. They’re also testing all students twice a week, usurping the scarce testing supply from vulnerable communities so that low-risk, young people can use them.

At Cornell, masks are still the rule—and even recommended outdoors. “Masks must be worn indoors at all times, unless in a private, non-shared space (e.g., dorm room or office); we strongly recommend masking outdoors when physical distancing is not possible,” the school announced in mid-December.

At Amherst, students must double mask if they don’t use a KN95. In nearby Boston, at Emerson College, students are tested twice a week and have stay-in-room orders. The college instructs students to “only leave their residence halls or place of residence for testing, meals, medical appointments, necessary employment, or to get mail.” Seriously.

At these institutions of higher learning and thousands more, science is supposedly held in the highest esteem. So where is the scientific support for masking outdoors? Where is the scientific support for constantly testing fully vaccinated young people? Where is the support for the confinement of asymptomatic, young people who test positive for a virus to which they are already immune on a campus of other immune people? The data simply do not justify any of it...