ROD THOMSON: Florida Grand Jury's Covid findings are infuriating, but just the beginning

The Florida Grand Jury’s initial report on its Covid findings is more than a week old, contains incriminating findings on a range of Covid responses and has been utterly ignored by the mainstream media outside of Florida — which makes sense in that the media is an unstated culpable character in its devastating findings.

The report puts an official exclamation point on much that has been reported in the intervening years since March 2020, largely in alternative media. Because in those years there has also been zero accountability for any of the institutions that made the ruinous decisions that cost lives, destroyed thousands of small businesses, created enormous emotional distress — including depression and suicidal tendencies — and stunted child development on a mass scale.

But the Grand Jury’s interim findings may mark the beginning of accountability. The Grand Jury says in the report that it has more work it is doing and has the power to hand down criminal indictments if it finds Florida law has been broken. Indictments would be the closest to justice we could get. But the report also can lay the basis for lawmakers to develop new legislation to stop such destructive actions in the future.

The report found what many have come to suspect over the years of disastrous government policy: Lockdowns and mask mandates not only did not work, they caused excess collateral damage; Covid hospitalizations and deaths were inflated; Covid was almost harmless to children and closing schools created excess collateral damage; bureaucrats and public health “experts” ignored decades of research and knowledge in how to handle an airborne contagion.

In a panel convened after the report by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Stanford Professor of Medicine Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, said: “CDC and other bodies ignored basic science, used their power to silence scientists that didn’t agree with them, and subverted high-quality evidence to make decisions.”

The results were catastrophic.

The Florida Grand Jury has the power to do two things: Issue indictments for criminal prosecution of Florida law and issue presentments, which are findings of fact. What the jury issued in early February was a presentment, but it also said that its investigation is “nowhere near complete” and is continuing to gather facts on the safety and efficacy of the Covid shots. In no small complication, federal agencies, such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Army refused to cooperate with the jury, which has no power to compel federal agencies to testify.

This leads us to the first finding. The government/medical/media complex memory holed all science preceding March 2020 on lockdowns, masking, school closures and so on. The jury found that there was not a lack of scientific data on what to do, but the decision to ignore the data mountains that existed and around which there was consensus, instead making draconian interventions into private lives while suppressing the use of all nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs).

“...scientific research into NPIs and their consequences did not begin with the outbreak of COVID 19. A wealth of contemporaneous scientific information already existed in major publications that could have informed a much more robust and meaningful response with respect to NPIs, but much of it was ignored or even attacked by mainstream public health and media entities…”

It needs to be remembered that the report does not delve into motives, it is just laying out facts.

Next, the lockdowns at best only served to delay the spread for the period of the lockdown, at the expense of all of society. The costs to businesses were staggering. But what the jury also found was the collateral damage beyond the economic, monetary and dream-crushing of small business owners.

The jury identified depression, suicidal behavior, anxiety and attention deficits as direct results of what it termed “heavy-handed” lockdown policies. And most disastrous, the jury reported that jurisdictions that implemented lockdowns had higher overall excess mortality rates. The damage done by lockdowns is hard to calculate, but adding salt to the wound is to remember the first point above: science and research had already known that lockdowns would be futile to net negatives.

“With respect to lockdowns, there does exist a pattern in the data showing a short-term stabilization of case growth that persists until the lockdown is lifted, followed by months or even years of excess mortality that can partially be attributed to collateral consequences concentrated in the groups at lowest risk from COVID-19 disease.”

Mask mandates were also net counterproductive and their value even when looking only at Covid infections is dubious.

The Cochrane Library in the U.K. collects and synthesizes scientific research data to inform health care decisions using meta-analyses on large numbers of scientific studies. Cochrane is highly respected for its careful analysis. After examining available studies from around the world, including several all-important RCTs (randomized controlled trials) regarding the effectiveness of masks, Cochrane’s researchers concluded in January 2023:

“The pooled results of RCTs did not show a clear reduction in respiratory viral infection with the use of medical/surgical masks. There were no clear differences between the use of medical/surgical masks compared with N95/P2 respirators in healthcare workers when used in routine care to reduce respiratory viral infection.”

This was because Covid was an aerosolized virus, spreading and lingering in the air in microscopic drops, all but impossible to block. The jury went on:

“The word ‘aerosol’ and its attendant properties should have become part of the zeitgeist. People should have been told that masks, like any protective device, have limitations. Surgical and cloth masks have limited utility against aerosol particles. Well-fitted N95 masks will protect only the wearer, not anyone else, and only for as long as the filter remains viable and the mask remains dry. It would have underscored the minimal utility of the ubiquitous plastic shielding that persists in the retail and food service sector today.”

So to be clear, cloth masks that were required on children, who were not a risk as we will see below, were of no value in stopping the spread of Covid and even the highly rated healthcare N95/P2 respirators were of limited, short-term value, and then only for the wearer. Social distancing was similarly worthless. Filtration systems and good ventilation would have been the most important priorities, ironically or tragically making outdoors and planes some of the safest places to be.

Both the hospitalization rates and the death rates were inflated at least in part by financial incentives to both hospitals and family members to check the box for Covid. There regularly was no distinction between patients admitted to hospitals or dying from Covid or with Covid.

“...roughly 1.17 million Americans have died from COVID-19 disease. Like the number of total hospitalizations, however, this figure is very likely inflated to some extent with people who died “with” rather than “of” COVID-19 disease in order to financially benefit whatever hospital the person died in. The CARES Act also provides for a “death benefit” of up to $9,000 to the families of those who died from COVID-19 disease.”

This policy, long known, begs the question: Why is a family more worthy of an extra $9,000 in taxpayer money if their family member died of Covid than if their family member died of heart disease or cancer or a car accident? The feds who cooked up this scheme have never explained it, leaving Americans with Occam’s Razor — the simplest and most obvious reason is likely the case: federal officials wanted inflated numbers.

Perhaps the most important data point for determining the uninflated lethality of Covid is the IFR, or Infection Fatality Rate. Once again, this would have been easier and possibly more accurate if the federal government cooperated in any way. But we’ll apply Occam again for why it did not.

“The risk of death is the most salient and obvious risk presented by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. From an epidemiological perspective, it can also be one of the easier risks to compute, provided one starts with the proper inputs.”

The jury used expert testimony and data available to determine as accurate an IFR as possible, and had the data to stratify it by age. This is immensely important because it makes a mockery of the public policies of one size fits all, closing schools, forcing shots on young people and so on.

“...some of the best combined estimates of IFR from 2020 published in scientific journals ranged from 0.00% to 1.63% with a median of 0.27%, or around 2.7 people per 1000.”

“These numbers make it clear that, depending heavily on age, a person’s IFR could be dramatically under or dramatically over the median of 0.27%. Through the lens of these numbers, COVID-19 is statistically almost harmless to children and most adults, with catastrophic IFRs in populations above the age of 65.”

Actually, the age of the person infected with Covid was by far the biggest driver of fatalities, dwarfing comorbidities. For children under 16, the IFR was 0.006 percent, or 6 out of every 100,000 infections. Under 35, it was still only 0.105 percent. But by age 65, the curve bends sharply upward to 1.7 percent and by 85 it is 13 percent.

“Through the lens of these numbers, COVID-19 is statistically almost harmless to children and most adults, with catastrophic IFRs in populations above the age of 65.”

The Florida Grand Jury found that nearly every public health policy foisted on Americans by the government/healthcare/media complex ranged from worthless to extremely damaging. And this is before getting to the shots portion of the Grand Jury's work. It almost feels as though if absolutely no public health steps had been taken at any point, everyone just living as normal, the pandemic would have had better results.

Let’s hope the Florida Grand Jury does not stop its work until it has reported on everything and indicted those it can under Florida law.

Rod Thomson is a former daily newspaper reporter and columnist, Salem radio host and ABC TV commentator, and current Founder of The Thomson Group, a Florida-based political consulting firm. He has eight children and seven grandchildren and a rapacious hunger to fight for America for them. Follow him on Twitter at @Rod_Thomson. Email him at rod@thomsonpr.com.
 

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