by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor | John Locke Foundation
“The West should envy Japan’s COVID-19 response” is the title of this article in Japan Times. The author is Ramesh Thakur, who is an emeritus professor at the Crawford School of Public Policy of the Australian National University and was Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Senior Vice Rector of the United Nations University.
Thakur lets the West have it, and by extension the demonstrably failed virus mitigation orders enforced and reinforced by Gov. Roy Cooper.
The contrasts between Cooper’s heavy-handed, deeply authoritarian, and woefully ineffective policies and Japan’s less restrictive, more sensible virus mitigation policies are striking. So, too, are the similarities between Japan’s policies and what we at John Locke have urged for North Carolina.
My research brief earlier this week demonstrates. Here is a sample:
Japan attracted world notice for neither imposing a lockdown nor obsessively testing asymptomatic people. As Tomoya Saito put it in these pages, “Encouraging people with mild or no symptoms to take PCR tests would have revealed nothing but resulted in isolating false-positive cases.”
Note: Cooper deliberately flouted state emergency management law to impose his lockdowns and other business and personal restrictions. It was and is a dangerous usurpation of power, but the pushback against it has been alarmingly anemic.
See “Pandemic or not, the governor can’t issue orders unilaterally,” “Statewide lockdowns unnecessarily divide, divert us from task at hand,” and “‘Following the science’? In a free society, Cooper’s severe restrictions require strong justification” (among others) for more details.
Also, North Carolina uses an extremely high cycle threshold for PCR tests (37 to 38 cycles), well beyond the research consensus of 30 cycles or fewer. The more cycles used, the less likely that whatever viral RNA is found was ever viable (i.e., the less likely there’s an actual infection). An investigation by The New York Times into three state’s PCR testing found that up to 90% of “cases” could be false positives.
See “How many COVID-19 cases in N.C. were actually even cases?” for more details.