BY KARL DIERENBACH
On Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gathered medical experts to address the response to COVID and how we should proceed. The group included Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of Medicine at Stanford University, Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a professor at Harvard University Medical School, and Dr. Michael Levitt, Professor, Structural Biology, Stanford University and Nobel Laureate.
The immediate result was that on Friday, Governor DeSantis moved Florida from Phase 2 of restrictions to Phase 3. Phase 3 allows restaurants to operate at any capacity and includes measures to prevent local jurisdictions from imposing excessive restrictions, such as limiting restaurants to less than 50% capacity.
The roundtable provided the scientific foundation to support the easing of restrictions in Florida. The discussion was stunning, both in its breadth and the participants’ willingness to attack the current narrative in detail.
As to breadth, the conversation spanned the globe from draconian (overused, but no other way to describe it) Australia, to Spain, Italy, Japan, Iceland, a small town in Idaho, and, of course, Sweden. With respect to Sweden, the discussion directly countered the narrative that Sweden isn’t germane to the lockdown discussion proffered by Dr. Fauci in Wednesday’s Senate hearing.
As to detail, the panel discussed lockdowns, schools, masks, and testing at length. All of the discussions pushed against the prevailing restriction-based narratives: Lockdowns do more harm than good. Schools, including universities, should be opened with little or no restrictions, though in a lighter moment, Dr. Kulldorff recommended that grandmothers should stay away from college parties. Mask mandates are not based on data and cause harm to the social fabric. Much of today’s testing is way too sensitive, such that a large percentage of positive results are not indicative of a contagious individual.
There was even discussion about the current state of academia and the pressure therein to not go against the prevailing fear-driven story line. The panelists pushed back, saying science should be used to find truth, not as a mechanism for controlling people.
Throughout the discussion, Governor DeSantis showed himself to be knowledgeable about the intricacies of the COVID response, both scientifically and as it relates to policy.
If you want a deep understanding of the science and its interaction with policy, from what we thought in February to the latest findings, the video will not disappoint. The discussion is a masterful review of what we’ve done right, what we’ve done wrong, and where we should go from here.
The roundtable was a foundational event that provided Governor DeSantis the scientific justification for opening up Florida. Once the rest of the country sees Florida’s success, other states will be forced to follow. The meeting may literally be the beginning of the end of COVID hysteria in the U.S.