Contrarian Doctors: The Pandemic is Over, Again

On November 19, 2021, I published an article titled “Contrarian Doctors: The Pandemic is Over, Again” in which I reviewed the overly optimistic predictions of several doctors, including myself. I noted that declarations that the pandemic is over have often turned out to be reliable indicators of when cases would start soaring again, and I made a few additional predictions. Namely, I predicted that the continued message of contrarian doctors would likely be “the pandemic is over, again” and that if COVID faded away, “some of these contrarians will then say ‘I told you so’“.

Enough time has passed to see how well my predictions aged.

Dr. Marty Makary

Dr. Marty Makary, who predicted herd immunity in April 2021 and then declared he was right in May 2021, has since sounded like a PR agent for the virus. He said the Omicron variant was “nature’s vaccine“, and that “We can recognize that there is an end in sight to this particular variant as Omicron sweeps across many countries.”

 

 

As Omicron loomed, Dr. Makary laughed at people who wanted a booster and called it “omi-cold” saying,

We’re seeing this massive new wave of fear that is fueling our second pandemic after COVID-19, which is a pandemic of lunacy, which is omicron. Now I call it omi-cold.

 

In reality, more children were hospitalized and died during the Omicron wave than ever before, and according to an article in the New York Times titled “During the Omicron Wave, Death Rates Soared for Older People“,

Almost as many Americans 65 and older died in four months of the Omicron surge as did in six months of the Delta wave, even though the Delta variant, for any one person, tended to cause more severe illness.

Even though he said on June 8, 2021 that everyone else needs to “move on at some point”, Dr. Makary talks about no topic other than COVID, often to fear monger about the pediatric vaccine.

Dr. Monica Gandhi

Dr. Monica Gandhi renewed her annual tradition of minimizing the virus on Dr. Zubin Damania’s (AKA ZDogg) podcast. In 2020 they recorded “How to Stop Living in Fear of COVID” in which Dr. Damania said “the fear that’s driving this pandemic has been heartbreaking to see.” In 2021 they recorded “The End of the Pandemic” where listeners heard that “A UCSF infectious disease doctor is convinced this pandemic is ending, and sooner than you think.” Drs. Gandhi and Damania shared a belly laugh then, mocking variants by saying “variants shmariants“. Their 2022 installment was titled “Living with COVID“.

This most recent podcast declared, “We now have all the necessary tools to end the COVID ’emergency’ phase.” Dr. Gandhi has said this many times before. To pick one example, in her essay “It’s Time to Contemplate the End of the Crisis“, which was published on November 3, 2021, she wrote,

Americans should be asking ourselves what else needs to happen before we can declare an end to the crisis phase of the pandemic. Although the coronavirus’s course remains unpredictable—and bad surprises are still possible—the Delta-variant surge that started in early July ushered in what may have been the final major wave of disease in the United States.

The essay concluded that,

The U.S. still has more progress to make, but the reality is that the coronavirus is encountering fewer and fewer Americans who are defenseless against it.

Drs. Gandhi and Damania have both been saying this for most of the pandemic, and Dr. Monica Gandhi Day was celebrated on June 15, 2021 with declarations that “population immunity protects unvax”.

 

I appreciate journalist Medhi Hasan who confronted Dr. Gandhi with her poor predictions. During this interview, she said “I will try not to make any more predictions“. Dr. Gandhi continues to talk about COVID frequently, but also discusses other infectious diseases.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya

On March 20, 2022 Dr. Jay Bhattacharya wrote an article titled “Two Years Later, Be Honest About What Worked and What Didn’t”. This article didn’t mention false declarations the pandemic was over as something that “didn’t work.” He instead declared the pandemic over again, saying,

The pandemic, however, is drawing to a close as government after government has accepted the fact that the virus is here to stay forever, joining the 200 or so other pathogens that cause diseases in humans and the other circulating human coronaviruses.

He copied that from something he wrote on September 4, 2021, just before the Omicron wave hit. He said at that time,

The emergency phase of the disease is over. Now, we need to work very hard to undo the sense of emergency. We should be treating covid as one of 200 diseases that affect people.

Several months before this, on July 21, 2021, just before the Delta wave hit, he said,

The disease has been defanged. We actually should be declaring victory.

Though he justified lockdowns, Dr. Bhattacharya never really acknowledged the virus was a threat in the first place, writing on March 24, 2020,

If it’s true that the novel coronavirus would kill millions without shelter-in-place orders and quarantines, then the extraordinary measures being carried out in cities and states around the country are surely justified. But there’s little evidence to confirm that premise—and projections of the death toll could plausibly be orders of magnitude too high.

Despite telling everyone else to treat COVID as merely one of 200 disease, Dr. Bhattacharya only discusses COVID.

Dr. John Ioanniddis

On March 28, 2022, Dr. John Ioanniddis published a pieced called “The End of the COVID-19 Pandemic“. In this article, he recognized that “‘normal’ may still correspond to higher death count”, but he felt these deaths should not interfere with anything. He said that these deaths “should not be mistaken as a continued pandemic phase.” He said attempts to control the virus “should not disrupt life” and that,

Public health authorities should call the end of the pandemic. This does not mean that the problem is inappropriately minimized or forgotten, but that our communities move on with life.

Dr. Ioannidis’s has said exactly this the entire pandemic. He started minimizing the virus as early as March 19th, 2020, when he wrote about “exaggerated pandemic estimates”, “exaggerated case fatality rate”, and “exaggerated exponential community spread.” He said a claim that 20%-60% of adults would be infected, was “substantially exaggerated.” He said that, “Even if COVID-19 is not a 1918-recap in infection-related deaths, some coronavirus may match the 1918 pandemic in future seasons. Thus, we should learn and be better prepared.” He wrote that,

 If only part of resources mobilized to implement extreme measures for COVID-19 had been invested towards enhancing influenza vaccination uptake, tens of thousands of influenza deaths might have been averted.

He started to declare the end of the pandemic as early as April 2020 when he said,

Acknowledging for the fact that the epidemic is still evolving, and we cannot be sure whether we will hit even higher peaks in the future, although this doesn’t seem to be the case, at least for the European countries, and it seems to be that even in the US, in most states we’re very close to the peak, if not past the peak, the risk is something that should be manageable as opposed to the panic and horror stories that are circulating about.

Dr. Ioannidis predicted on April 9th 2020 that “COVID-19 will result in fewer than 40,000 deaths this season in the USA,” and in an ironically titled article called “Forecasting for COVID-19 has Failed“, which was published on August 25, 2020, he wrote

However, very few hospitals were eventually stressed and only for a couple of weeks. Most hospitals maintained largely empty wards, expecting tsunamis that never came… Tragically, many health systems faced major adverse consequences, not by COVID-19 cases overload, but for very different reasons.

Of course, the tsunamis would come in several in waves after this.

Despite this track record, when asked this summer about his “original intuition” that measures to control the virus would cause more harm than the virus itself, Dr. Ioannidis responded,

I wish I had been wrong on this point. Unfortunately, I am afraid I might have been correct.

Dr. John Mandrola

Meanwhile, though he said that “I no longer think publicly re vaccines or COVID NPIs”, Dr. John Mandrola recently commented on doctors’ observations that incidental COVID infections are common in hospitalized patients and said “See…I told you“. “We now have a diff disease,” he said.

This echoes what he’s said the entire pandemic. He said on May 1, 2020 that “no US hospital is now unprepared. It’s May, not March 9”. On March 10, 2021 he said,

The pandemic is essentially done. Human life has to be more than avoiding one pathogen. Millions have natural immunity. The pandemic (of bad disease) is nearly over. Ky has vaccinated about 1 in 3 older people. CT has done even better. The vaccine squelches severe cases Millions have natural immunity. Young have almost no risk The pandemic (of bad disease) is nearly over. And this is a really worthy cause of celebration!!!!!!

He said on June 11, 2021, “It appears to me that we have crushed COVID by simply vaccinating susceptible adults”, and on July 29, 2021 said,

If you were vaccinated and had mild to moderate URI symptoms, why on earth would you get a COVID test? Have the vaccines not transformed SARSCOV2 into just another regular respiratory virus?

Dr. Mandrola repeatedly said those who warned of the virus in 2020 and 2021 were “fear-mongering“, and implied they were doing so for social media clout. While Dr. Mandrola has admirably expressed regret for some of these sentiments, if I had such a track record, I hope I’d lack the temerity to say “See…I told you” when repeating these sentiments.

Another prediction

And I am again prepared to make another prediction. The continued message of contrarian doctors will likely be, “the pandemic is over, again“, and whether or not COVID fades away, they will say “I told you so“. A year from now, I predict I will be able to write as essay titled “Contrarian Doctors, The Pandemic is Over Again, Again, Again”.

 

 

Author

  • Dr. Jonathan Howard is a neurologist and psychiatrist based in New York City who has been interested in vaccines since long before COVID-19.

Posted by Jonathan Howard

Dr. Jonathan Howard is a neurologist and psychiatrist based in New York City who has been interested in vaccines since long before COVID-19.