Pavlich: The betrayal of health 'experts'

Pavlich: The betrayal of health 'experts'
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For months law-abiding and rule-following Americans listened to health “experts” and government officials about shutting down their businesses and staying home. They were told the coronavirus was extremely deadly, contagious and that congregating in groups, even small ones, could cause super spreader events that would lead to mass fatalities. Young people were warned to stay home for fear of bringing the disease home to their parents or grandparents who, because of age, are more vulnerable to serious cases of the disease.

This came at a high price for many. Forty million Americans lost their jobs. Family businesses, in healthy operation for generations, were forced to permanently close. Due to guidelines about canceling “elective surgeries” and other health visits, for months cancers went undetected, some untreated and many were forced to put off crucial surgeries — resulting in a lifetime of irreversible injury and pain. And finally, the United States Treasury spent $6 trillion practically overnight, a steep price that will ultimately be paid by future generations.

All of these examples show why 1,000 health experts, doctors and officials signing an open letter advocating for widespread protest last week, including in the hardest hit areas of New York City, was completely baffling.

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“Staying at home, social distancing, and public masking are effective at minimizing the spread of COVID-19. To the extent possible, we support the application of these public health best practices during demonstrations that call attention to the pervasive lethal force of white supremacy. However, as public health advocates, we do not condemn these gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in the United States. We can show that support by facilitating safest protesting practices without detracting from demonstrators’ ability to gather and demand change,” they wrote. “Protests against systemic racism, which fosters the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on Black communities and also perpetuates police violence, must be supported.”

Their argument, essentially, is that some causes are worth the risk to someone’s health. While protesters may contract the coronavirus and spread it to others, it’s worth the potential cost. They believe their cause is important, just and is a crucial exercise of the First Amendment. Individuals making a decision for themselves and concluding the benefits of protest outweigh the potential for devastating disease suddenly became acceptable.

Fair enough, but why the double standard?

When Shelley Luther dared to open her Dallas salon ahead of the official government mandated opening date, she was arrested. In court, she was berated by a judge who demanded she apologize.

“Your actions were selfish, putting your own interests ahead of the community in which you live,” District Judge Eric Moye said in a condescending tone.

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“I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I’m selfish because feeding my kids is not selfish. I have hairstylists that are going hungry because they would rather feed their kids. So, sir, if you think the law is more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision but I am not going to shut the salon,” she responded.

Without an apology, she was sentenced to seven days in jail.

When Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced he was going to start opening his state, ahead of White House phased guidelines, he was berated by the media and preemptively held accountable for future coronavirus deaths. The same media figures are praising protesters marching by the thousands in close proximity with one another.

Tens of millions of people lost their livelihoods in order to obey the rules. They did this based on trust from health “experts” and believed they were telling them the truth about the seriousness of the disease. Instead, they’ve been betrayed and have lost everything in the process. Work, dreams, the ability to retire or put a child through college are gone. Suicide rates have spiked and hotlines are overrun.

If social justice matters more than stopping the spread of coronavirus, then so do the jobs, businesses and livelihoods of millions of Americans.

Pavlich is the editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.