Governor Ron DeSantis reconvened his health care experts virtually today to discuss the recent censorship of the video of their March roundtable discussion on the pandemic.
Google and YouTube say the video contained “dangerous” and “misleading information” about COVID-19. (See The Capitolist’s coverage of the roundtable discussion here.)
But for a media outlet filled with various conspiracy theories from what really happened on 9-11 to how 5G technology may contribute to the spread of COVID, that explanation seems a little thin to the governor. He thinks its because his panelists did not agree with the “elitist narrative.”
He said Google and YouTube was “pouring with misinformation.”
“But to single out a roundtable that was data focused, to answer some questions that have been nagging the world and the country for the last year — to not even allow that as part of the debate should give everyone some pause for concern.”
To his panelists, it’s downright frightening.
They said the censorship of their panel discussion was “Orwellian” and “absolutely terrible for science” and makes it more difficult to respond to the epidemic in a meaningful way.
Dr. Martin Kulldorff, PhD, biostatistician, epidemiologist, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School said, “I worry about science. This is the end of 300 years of enlightenment.”
They said that it is healthy for a free society to debate varying opinions, especially when it comes to something as important as a worldwide pandemic. They welcomed that debate.
But instead of debate, critics like to hold one particular panelist up for ridicule, Dr. Scott W. Atlas.
Florida House Representative Evan Jenne (D-District 99) is one example. Jenne was asked about the YouTube controversy. He pointed to Atlas saying he was just a radiologist.
He said, “Having a radiologist determining how your epidemiology is going to work is like having a podiatrist fix your teeth. Its probably not your best bet. That’s why (the video) was pulled off, because they were giving bad and potentially dangerous advice.”
This dismissive attitude, however, ignores other facts, like that Atlas was just one of four healthcare experts and that two of the other three were epidemiologists, Kulldorff and Dr. Sunetra Gupta from Oxford University.
It also ignores that Atlas is not just a radiologist. He is a health policy expert from the Hoover Institution, a world-renown think tank. As a heath policy expert Atlas identifies key issues, then designs, conducts and disseminates research projects and analyses aimed at understanding and developing policies that will lead to improved health care. He was a Senior Advisor for Health Care to several presidential candidates and has advised several members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives and testified to Congress on health care reform.
Atlas talked about his expertise during DeSantis’ roundtable today. “I’m a health policy expert. My role is to interpret the data and generate public health policy. As a health policy expert, the task, the ethical underpinning of public health, is to consider the total impact on public health of the disease and the public health policy that’s being constructed. That’s why you cannot, as a nation, afford to have a virologist or an epidemiologist dictate public health policy. You have to have someone who understands public health policy. That’s the role here and that’s what people like me are doing.”
Public health policy is beyond just what stops the spread of the virus. Its what the impact of trying to stop the virus will have on society. Lockdowns for example, do they really stop the spread? What are the other affects? Economic collapse? Increased mental health issues? Health complications and increased deaths due to people avoiding health screenings?
The inability of people to hear those considerations is what has DeSantis’ panel concerned.
By Big Tech censoring the March roundtable discussion, they blocked expert discussion of other health ramifications of the actions taken to reduce the spread of the pandemic — actions the panelists believe resulted in more deaths and long-term consequences than would have happened without the severe lockdowns.
DeSantis said today, “Google and YouTube have not been, throughout this pandemic, repositories of truth in scientific inquiry but instead have acted as enforcers of a narrative — Big Tech council of censors in service of the ruling elite.
“When they took down the videos posted by local news outlets in the state of Florida they were really continuing what they have been doing for the last year – stifling debate, short-circuiting scientific inquiry and making sure the narrative is not questioned.
“Big Tech was the leaders in censoring criticism of lockdowns in March of 2020. I believe lockdowns have caused a lot of deaths across the United States and the world. Perhaps if we had a freer exchange of ideas during those critical months perhaps we could have avoided some of the terrible policies that took such terrible tolls in parts of the World and parts of the country of the United States.”
During today’s roundtable, Atlas pointed to recent research that showed severe lockdowns were not effective and may have made the spread of the pandemic worse.
“This is really fact,” Atlas said, “I don’t know why this can’t be stated and looked at. This is termed (by YouTube and others) ‘misinformation.’ It is inexplicable to me to see what’s going on with censoring the actual facts. Policies have to be based on facts.”
DeSantis asked, “Do we really have our discourse limited by a handful of massive, very wealthy Silicon Valley companies and is the discourse going to be filtered by the whims of their ideology? Because that’s what we’ve seen.”