On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and three medical experts took a blowtorch to Google for banning from YouTube a video of them discussing COVID-19 science.
“They say it’s misinformation even though Google and YouTube routinely host conspiracy theory videos ranging from the cause of the 9/11 attacks to the role that 5G networks play in causing COVID-19,” DeSantis said in a press conference. “You can pretty much find any misinformation under the sun on Google/YouTube.” He blasted them for acting as a “big tech council of censors in service of the ruling elite.”
Last week, Google pulled a video of DeSantis on March 18 discussing COVID-19 with medical scientists Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, Dr. Martin Kulldorff, and Dr. Scott Atlas, who all hail from elite institutions — Stanford University, Harvard University, and Oxford University. All but Gupta, who is based in the United Kingdom, also joined DeSantis’s April 12 press conference to respond to Google’s ban.
“For science to work, you have to have an open exchange of ideas,” Bhattacharya said Monday. “If you’re going to make an argument that something is misinformation, you should provide an actual argument. You can’t just take it down and say, ‘Oh, it’s misinformation’ without actually giving a reason. And saying, ‘Look it disagrees with the CDC’ is not enough of a reason. Let’s hear the argument, let’s see the evidence that YouTube used to decide it was misinformation. Let’s have a debate. Science works best when we have an open debate.”
“I’m very worried about the future of science because science is dependent on free exchange of ideas and it has been for 300 years now. So if this continues, this kind of attitude, the censoring of scientific views, then I think we have reached the end of 200 years of Enlightenment,” Kulldorff said Monday.
Preventing Open Inquiry Kills People
In taking down videos of the March 18 panel, YouTube was “really continuing what they’ve been doing for the past year: stifle debate, short-circuit scientific inquiry, make sure that the narrative is not questioned,” DeSantis said. “And I think we’ve seen already that that has had catastrophic consequences for our society.”
DeSantis noted that big tech took the lead in “censoring criticism of lockdowns,” while a good deal of scientific evidence clearly shows lockdowns have caused countless deaths and worsened millions of diseases worldwide, including in the United States. “Perhaps if we had had a freer exchange of ideas during those critical months, perhaps we would have been able to avoid” some of these terrible consequences, he said.
The doctors on the panel argued that overall it’s clear scientifically that lockdowns make a pandemic much worse. That’s because in the long run, lockdowns do not reduce COVID-19 infections, they said, while imposing massive, lifelong penalties on especially the poorest people. Estimates say lockdowns will eventually cause tens of millions of additional deaths worldwide by worsening poverty, tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, starvation, cancer, heart attacks, suicide, and much more.
“The lockdowns are the single biggest public health mistake in history,” Bhattacharya said on the banned March 18 panel. He said lockdowns are psychologically compelling to rich societies terrified of death, but are not only ineffective at stopping disease and death, they also make both worse. He noted a few minutes later:
The international evidence and the American evidence is clear: The lockdowns have not stopped the spread of the disease in any measurable way. The disease spreads on aerosol by droplets, it’s a respiratory disease. It’s very difficult to stop. The idea of the lockdown is incredibly beguiling… but humans are not like that. What’s happened instead, we’ve exposed working class, we’ve exposed poor people at higher rates. We’ve created this illusion that we can control disease spread when in fact we cannot.
Atlas noted that when comparing excess mortality rates across states and countries, locales with severe lockdowns have fared no better and often much worse than locales with lighter or nonexistent lockdowns.