Ezekiel Emanuel Wants Respiratory-Illness Technocracy Without End

Sooner or later COVID will wane and probably become endemic — that is, part of life, like the flu. And with that, the newfound power of public-health technocrats would wane.

They know this, and it does not make them happy. So, advocacy has commenced to establish a “new normal” — gosh, I hate that term — that would not restore society simply to a state of accepting respiratory illness as a part of life, but rather, keep us continually obsessed with the presence and prevention of illness.

Toward this end, bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel and two co-authors wrote three advocacy columns in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Space does not permit a full recounting. But they are free, so all readers can access them by hitting the links provided.

First, they accept that the current policy of “no COVID” cannot be accomplished. True.

Then, they argue that our response to COVID becoming endemic should be to treat all respiratory ailments as one thing by aggregating statistics. From, “A National Strategy for the ‘New Normal” of Life with Covid” (my emphasis):

The “new normal” requires recognizing that SARS-CoV-2 is but one of several circulating respiratory viruses that include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and more. COVID-19 must now be considered among the risks posed by all respiratory viral illnesses combined. Many of the measures to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (eg, ventilation) will also reduce transmission of other respiratory viruses. Thus, policy makers should retire previous public health categorizations, including deaths from pneumonia and influenza or pneumonia, influenza, and COVID-19, and focus on a new category: the aggregate risk of all respiratory virus infections.

The point of that, obviously, would be to keep society terrified. Because if public health officials continually announce aggregate respiratory disease statistics that combine all “cases” of flu, pneumonia, and other respiratory diseases — along with the hospitalizations and deaths they cause — our media hysterics would keep us in a state of constant fear toward empowering our public health technocrats to impose repeated “emergency” measures to “keep us safe.”

And just think what the teachers’ unions would do with that! Our poor children.

Do you think I am being paranoid? The authors admit the purpose:

Even though seasonal influenza, RSV, and other respiratory viruses circulating before SARS-CoV-2 were harmful, the US has not considered them a sufficient threat to impose emergency measures in over a century. People have lived normally with the threats of these viruses, even though more could have been done to reduce their risks.

We can’t have that!

The authors want a “peak week threshhold” established — based on statistics prior to COVID which would be lower than now — that would permit public health officials to swing into gear:

This peak week risk threshold serves at least 2 fundamental functions. This risk threshold triggers policy recommendations for emergency implementation of mitigation and other measures. In addition, health systems could rely on this threshold for planning on the bed and workforce capacity they need normally, and when to institute surge measures.