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There is an ongoing, competitive process of writing the history of the pandemic.

In a prior article about a cancelled talk of mine, I’ve Been Silenced, Censored, and Cancelled. The Reason Why Matters, a commentator named Squirrelelite said the following:

To step back just a bit in perspective, I think there is an unspoken narrative here. Something along the lines of, “why is Doctor Howard still writing all these articles about these same people? Isn’t that old news now?”

And I think the first is that there is an ongoing, competitive process of writing the history of the pandemic. What happened? How did it go? What did we do right? What went wrong? What should we do the next time? Some of this is happening in the usual scientific channels, where researchers continue to study the virus, how it affects the body and the vaccines and drugs we developed to prevent or treat it. But much of it is now happening in non-traditional channels, like substack articles, YouTube videos, Congressional hearings and even this blog.

And the many of the same people whom Dr Howard wrote about in his book are major participants in that process. So it’s important to look at what are they saying now? Does it make sense? How does it mesh with what they said previously?

The second element is the aspect of self-assessment that should happen when things get really messed up. Did I make any mistakes? Was there something I overlooked in my thinking or choices? What should I change to do better next time?… But these articles show that practically everyone on his list is doubling down on their positions, or at best trying to ignore them, while continuing to argue against public health measures.

That’s one of the most insightful comments I’ve received. There’s a lot to unpack there. Every word of it is right. There is an ongoing, competitive process of writing the history of the pandemic.

Though it is both recent and well-documented, many of my articles explicitly discuss attempts to blatantly rewrite the history of the pandemic:

The core premise of pandemic revisionism is that mitigation measures were an avoidable decision, even though no country in the world, including Sweden, avoided them. Advocates of herd immunity through mass infection claim that “vulnerable” populations could have been totally shielded from the virus and that schools and businesses could have functioned largely without interruption if only politicians and public health leaders had made better choices. These doctors insist that everything would have been just fine in 2020 had we let 230 million unvaccinated, “not vulnerable” Americans contract COVID simultaneously, though they won’t say this outright like they did in 2020. They blame lockdowns that ended long ago for nearly every bad thing that’s happened in the world since, while they portray they virus a harmless cold for everyone but grandma.

However, while pro-infection doctors insist they were right about everything, their 2024 rhetoric is very different from their 2020 rhetoric. They knew that mitigation measures prevented infections, and so their opposition to them has been consistent. That hasn’t changed. But they no longer talk about natural immunity as the surefire path to herd immunity. Instead, they claim that from the day COVID arrived, their only concern was the well-being of children and poor people.

Let me refresh everyone’s memory about what they actually said.

NEJM Posts A Perspective Saying Stanford Should Have Corrected Scott Atlas: Why? To Look Foolish? B/C Atlas Was Correct & His Critics Were Wrong.

But first, let’s discuss why your memory might need to be refreshed in the first place.

Though we should remember those nightmarish scenes from 2020, everyone wants to forget them and some doctors are eager to ease that process along. There is a movement to encourage collective amnesia about what the virus did when it was allowed to spread out of control. Some prolific pandemic pontificators never mention what happened when the virus washed over us 2020, and then again in 2021, and then again in 2022. They want us to believe we drastically overreacted at every point, and for that reason, they never mention headlines that implicate the virus, such as Shocking Video Shows The Bodies Of NYC Coronavirus Victims Being Forklifted Into A Refrigerated Truck Used As A Temporary Morgue or School Closures Reported In Five Florida Counties; Districts ‘Drowning’ In COVID. Similarly, these doctors want us to forget what they actually said in 2020, and they lob juvenille insults at anyone who reminds them.

However, I think it’s important to remember what actually happened and what doctors actually said. COVID will not be the last pandemic, and we should not let its history be so easily erased by doctors who spread misinformation about it.

I was reminded of pandemic revisionism by observing the reaction to a recent editorial in the the NEJM titled Academic Freedom in America — In Support of Institutional Voices. which discussed Stanford’s response to Dr. Scott Atlas, an anti-vaccine neuroradiologist who advised President Trump and promoted “a policy of allowing the virus to spread to generate natural herd immunity.” Though 98 faculty members published a public letter that said Dr. Atlas spread “falsehoods and misrepresentations of science”, Stanford’s president at the time, Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, explained his decision to practice self-censorship by saying:

The university must provide a place where faculty can engage in unconstrained, even heated debate. It is central to what we do, and the reason for our policy on academic freedom. That function of the university would be seriously eroded if we were to publicly take sides either to disavow or to support the specific positions of a faculty member engaged in such a debate. What we do support is the right of faculty members to express their views.

According to Dr. Atlas and his defenders, however, Stanford had no right to correct Dr. Atlas because he was right about everything. Dr. Martin Kulldorff, said, “Public health policy expert @ScottAtlas_IT was correct about the pandemic while the 98 @Stanford faculty and@EricTopol were wrong.” Dr. Tracy Hoeg similarly wrote, “I’m left wondering what exactly @ScottAtlas_IT got wrong.”

Dr. Vinay Prasad, an anti-vaccine, pro-infection doctor, even authored a rebuttal titled NEJM Posts A Perspective Saying Stanford Should Have Corrected Scott Atlas: Why? To Look Foolish? B/C Atlas Was Correct & His Critics Were Wrong. It began by saying:

During the COVID19 pandemic, Scott Atlas made many controversial statements. Community cloth masking doesn’t slow the spread of COVID19. Kids should be in school. Lockdowns have no evidence of efficacy. In other words, Atlas was pretty smart. Randomized data would later show conclusively cloth masking doesn’t work. School closure is now regarded as a catastrophic error, and even Anthony Fauci regrets how long they lasted…According to them Stanford should have issued statements saying that Atlas was wrong.  Really? Why? To look foolish later? The idea in the commentary is laughable.

In Dr. Prasad’s telling of events, Dr. Atlas was a wise, kindhearted spirit who cared deeply about scientific evidence and education. According to Dr. Prasad, time has vindicated Dr. Atlas. Unsurprising, Dr. Atlas agreed. He said that he was “100% correct” about everything and that he was only concerned about the fate of the “children & the poor.”

Notably, Dr. Prasad refused to directly quote Dr. Atlas. I am not so timid.

Really? Let’s see.

We like the fact that there’s a lot of cases in low- risk populations, because that’s exactly how we’re going to get herd immunity.

Given that Dr. Atlas and his defenders claim he was right, it’s important to remember exactly what they think he was right about.

According to the House Report, The Atlas Dogma:

Dr. Atlas reached out to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma on March 21, 2020, arguing that the federal government’s pandemic response was “a massive overreaction” that was “inciting irrational fear” in Americans. Dr. Atlas estimated that the coronavirus “would cause about 10,000 deaths”—a number he claimed “would be unnoticed” in a normal flu season—and said, “The panic needs to be stopped.”

Dr. Atlas and his defenders claim this was correct. Stanford said nothing.

Dr. Atlas’s first article this pandemic, Rentry After The Panic: Paying The Health Price Of Extreme Isolation, was published on April 13th, 2020. In it, Dr. Atlas wrote:

With a world-wide sense of relief, progress continues in containing the COVID-19 pandemic. Projections have been revised downward for virtually every major negative consequence of the disease. Few doubt that the unprecedented isolation policies and near-total economic lockdowns adopted by most countries had a significant impact on reducing deaths from the virus. And aside from New York, where almost half of the entire country’s deaths and cases have occurred, the vast majority of American hospitals were not overwhelmed beyond capacity. All of this is terrific news….

But a bigger price might now be paid from choosing extreme isolation. In the absence of immunization, society needs circulation of the virus, assuming high-risk people can be isolated. Infection itself allows people to generate an immune response — natural antibodies. Given the estimated contagiousness of COVID-19, about 60 percent of people in the community need to have antibodies to stop the spread by “herd immunity”…But the near-total isolation of everyone and the lockdown on most health care unrelated to COVID-19 must end, because it is harmful to eradicating the disease…

Dr. Atlas and his defenders claim this was correct. Stanford said nothing.

Dr. Atlas also wrote another article in April 2020 titled The Data Is In — Stop The Panic And End The Total Isolation in which he said:

The tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be entering the containment phase… We know from decades of medical science that infection itself allows people to generate an immune response — antibodies — so that the infection is controlled throughout the population by “herd immunity”… Infected people without severe illness are the immediately available vehicle for establishing widespread immunity. By transmitting the virus to others in the low-risk group who then generate antibodies, they block the network of pathways toward the most vulnerable people, ultimately ending the threat. Extending whole-population isolation would directly prevent that widespread immunity from developing.

Dr. Atlas and his defenders claim this was correct. Stanford said nothing.

During an interview from April 2020, Dr. Atlas said:

We can allow a lot of people to get infected. Those who are not at risk to die or have a serious hospital-requiring illness, we should be fine with letting them get infected, generating immunity on their own, and the more immunity in the community, the better we can eradicate the threat of the virus, including the threat to people who are vulnerable. That’s what herd immunity is. That’s a basic principle.

Dr. Atlas and his defenders claim this was correct. Stanford said nothing.

Dr. Scott Atlas proposes mass infection of unvaccinated youth to reach herd immunity, April 2020. Full video is here:

During an interview from June 2020, Dr. Atlas said:

We expected more cases with more social mingling… But the fact is the overwhelming majority of these cases are in younger healthier people. These people do not have a significant problem. They do not have the serious complications. They do not die. And so it’s fantastic news that we have a lot of cases, but we don’t see deaths going up, and what that means is A: we’re are doing a better job of protecting the vulnerable, B: We’re in good shape here.

We like the fact that there’s a lot of cases in low- risk populations, because that’s exactly how we’re going to get herd immunity, population immunity, when low-risk people, with no significant problem handling this virus, which is basically 99% of people get this, they become immune and they block the pathway of connectivity of contagiousness for older sicker people…Children have virtually zero risk of getting a serious complication, virtually a zero risk of dying…Children only rarely if ever transmit the disease.

Dr. Atlas and his defenders claim this was correct. Stanford said nothing.

Dr. Atlas celebrates the mass infection of unvaccinated youth. Full video is here.

During an interview from July 2020, Dr. Atlas said:

When younger, healthier people get the disease, they don’t have a problem with the disease. I’m not sure why that’s so difficult for everyone to acknowledge. These people getting the infection is not really a problem, and in fact, as we said months ago, when you isolate everyone, including all the healthy people, you’re prolonging the problem because you’re preventing population immunity. Low-risk groups getting the infection is not a problem.

Dr. Atlas and his defenders claim this was correct. Stanford said nothing.

During an interview from July 2020, Dr. Atlas said:

It doesn’t matter if younger, healthier people get infected. I don’t know how often that has to be said. They have nearly zero risk of a problem from this. When younger, healthier people get infected, that’s a good thing because that’s exactly the way that population immunity develops.

Dr. Atlas and his defenders claim this was correct. Stanford said nothing.

During Congressional testimony in September 2020, Dr. Atlas said:

Immunity to the infection is not solely determined by the percent of people who have antibodies. If you look at the research — and there’s been about 24 papers at least on the immunity from T-cells — that’s a different type of immunity than antibodies. And without being boring, the reality is that — according to the papers from Sweden, Singapore and elsewhere — there is cross-immunity, highly likely from other infections, and there is also T-cell immunity. And the combination of those makes the antibodies a small fraction of the people that have immunity. So the answer is no, it is not 90% of people that are susceptible to the infection.

Dr. Atlas and his defenders claim this was correct. Stanford said nothing.

A Twitter account compiled several videos of Dr. Atlas making (and later denying) many similar statements. In one clip, Dr. Atlas said:

There’s a positive to having low-risk groups get infection.  What’s the positive? This is how you develop population based immunity.  When I said this months ago, as did others, if we isolate every human being from social interaction, we are prolonging the problem, we are preventing population immunity from developing.  But we isolated, and this is what we called for, isolating and protecting the high-risk groups, once we do that successfully, we don’t care if younger, healthier people get the infection.

Dr. Atlas and his defenders claim this was correct. Stanford said nothing.

There’s a gross exaggeration of hospitalizations and deaths for COVID

Squirrelelite was right- there is an ongoing, competitive process of writing the history of the pandemic– and if we don’t remember exactly what pro-infection doctors said, they definitely won’t remind us.

Dr. Atlas was one of several Stanford doctors (Dr. John Ioannidis, Drs. Eran Bendavid and Jay Bhattacharya) who predicted that COVID’s 2020 death toll would be 10,000-40,000 people and that the mass infection of unvaccinated youth would lead to herd immunity. Like Dr. Atlas, these doctors- none of whom treated COVID patients- now insist they were basically right about everything. Imagine predicting that the flu was going to be worse than COVID, and 1.1 million COVID deaths later, having the audacity to claim that the passage of time has validated your initial pandemic pronouncements. In fact, advocates of mass infection are aggrieved. Although they became pandemic celebrities, they claim to have been silenced, and they feel they are owed an apology. Since they can’t admit error, they claim there’s a conspiracy to hide the truth- COVID wasn’t that bad after all. In March 2022, for example, Dr. Atlas said, “there’s a gross exaggeration of hospitalizations and deaths for COVID.” Not even the deceased are spared pandemic revisionism.

Yet, despite claiming to have been vindicated, pro-infection doctors sound very different in 2024 compared to 2020. They no longer say “We like the fact that there’s a lot of cases in low- risk populations, because that’s exactly how we’re going to get herd immunity“. Why not? What changed? Though these sentiments dominated much of the discussion in 2020, they vanished soon after that- poof!

Proponents of mass infection now seek to erase their words from history and replace them with a fictional narrative where they were benevolent souls who were only concerned about children and poor people. They berate doctors who refuse to go along with their revisionism by accurately quoting them. My talk wasn’t cancelled because it was “political”, but rather because it remembered things that powerful people want us to forget.

As Squirrelelite recognized, this isn’t just about the past. It’s possible that pro-infection doctors will once again wield significant influence if political fortune swings their way. Thanks to their rhetoric, we are almost certainly less prepared to respond to a pandemic than we were in 2019. When COVID-29 emerges, there will be an existing infrastructure ready to oppose all measures to contain it, and much of the public will have been conditioned to loathe and distrust anyone who tries. Doctors who likened public health to Nazism and made videos titled Stop Trusting The Public Health Establishment have laid the groundwork for the future failure.

As such, it’s vital to both remember exactly what these doctors said, and to understand why they desperately want us to forget it. That’s why I keep writing “all these articles about these same people.” It’s not like Stanford is up to the task.

And in the future, if anyone actually wants to defend Dr. Atlas, they should to have the integrity to accurately quote Dr. Atlas. We all know that will never happen. Even Dr. Atlas is afraid to quote Dr. Atlas, and that should tell you something.

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  • Dr. Jonathan Howard is a neurologist and psychiatrist who has been interested in vaccines since long before COVID-19. He is the author of "We Want Them Infected: How the failed quest for herd immunity led doctors to embrace the anti-vaccine movement and blinded Americans to the threat of COVID."

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Posted by Jonathan Howard

Dr. Jonathan Howard is a neurologist and psychiatrist who has been interested in vaccines since long before COVID-19. He is the author of "We Want Them Infected: How the failed quest for herd immunity led doctors to embrace the anti-vaccine movement and blinded Americans to the threat of COVID."