UVa in the Age of Covidiocy

by Walter Smith

In late February of 2020 my oldest son traveled to Kansas City to meet with a group of Californians. Upon his return, he felt beat. Attributing his fatigue to work and travel, he soon felt better and came to our house a number of times. Our youngest began to feel poorly. After a couple of days, she visited a “doc in a box” where Flu A and Flu B tests were negative and she was told stay home, rest, and take aspirin and liquids. She missed school Monday and started attending again Tuesday until her world, and everyone’s, turned topsy turvy on March 11, 2020.

In the morass of data collected by the CDC, my daughter’s case is probably classified as ILI – Influenza Like Illness. I am convinced she and my son had COVID and that my wife and I, who have never been affected by seasonal flus, “had” it asymptomatically.

Colored by my personal experience, I don’t put much stock in official COVID statistics. I have been unimpressed by the performance of the “experts” in their management of the epidemic from the federal government on down. The nation has succumbed to what I call Covidiocy, where epidemiology meets the madness of crowds. In particular, I have been disappointed with the response of my alma mater, the University of Virginia, which, as a center of medical science, could have been a voice of reason but was not.

I early decided that the lockdowns were disastrous and the costs being imposed far exceeded the benefits. I also doubted the “science” of masking and the six- foot social distancing rule. As we discovered more about this virus, it became apparent early on that the young were at minimal risk. Deaths occur among the old and those with co-morbidities. The lockdowns imposed massive damage to society at large.

I’m far from the only person with doubts about COVID policy and costs. The Great Barrington Declaration is perhaps the best known dissent from the dominant narrative. Recently, a study of studies suggests that masks and mask mandates are actually counter-productive. (This was common sense – virus particles are many times smaller than the openings in the most secure of masks, and masks meant to be worn once and disposed, not touched over and over and pulled out of your pocket). MIT just concluded that staying indoors with masks was not effective.

While UVa, which mandated the wearing of masks, says it will try to return to normal for the 2021-22 year, Provost Liz Magill sent out an email on April 22, 2021, suggesting that vaccination mandates may come next:

We also recognize that many in our community are wondering whether we will take the step that other institutions have and require members of our community to be fully vaccinated before the start of the fall term. We are working with medical experts and legal advisers on that important question and will make an announcement at a future date, as soon as that process is complete.

Requiring student vaccinations when the virus is less lethal to them than the seasonal flu is simply totalitarian.

Where are the civil libertarians? Oh, that’s right, they are at the law school chasing right-wing agitator Jason Kessler out of the law school library.

The university sends out dozens of communications — press releases, statements to media, articles in its house organ UVA Today. How many messages at this supposedly top public university, founded by perhaps the world’s greatest proponent of free speech, have questioned COVID orthodoxy? I don’t recall seeing anything from a single medical doctor. Or medical researcher. Or epidemiologist. Or economist. Or historian. Or civil libertarian. Or educator.

How could this be? Are there no UVa employees with differing opinions?

That would seem statistically impossible. Perhaps such people exist, but they are terrified to speak. Judging by how the administration has “handled” the few conservative students who have been savaged and threatened by Leftist students, that seems plausible.

UVa suffers from academic ILI — or Incessant Leftist Indoctrination. President Jim Ryan, his administration, all the deans of all the schools and the Board of Visitors need to address this potentially lethal failing with alacrity. The “patient” is very sick, and the “family” is thinking about pulling the plug.

Walter Smith is an attorney living in Henrico County.