Former NYT Reporter Alex Berenson: Only ‘Marginal Evidence that Lockdowns Work’

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MARCH 24: A sign on the M8 motorway advises motorists to avoid travel where possible on March 24, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon along with British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced strict lockdown measures last night urging people to stay at home …
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson told Breitbart News’s Washington editor Matt Boyle on Saturday the mainstream media has pushed false narratives about the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19, and in his view, “there is marginal evidence that lockdowns work.”

“Once you realize that the average of death worldwide for this is somewhere between 80 and 82, and that more people over 100 have died than people under 30, and that children are more likely to die from any number of things other than coronavirus, and I mean rare things, then you start to question what it is we have done to our society.  And from the very beginning the media has done two things,” Berenson, the author of Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part Onetold host Boyle on Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Saturday.

“The first one is they say everyone is at risk. OK, theoretically everyone is at risk. So that statement is not untrue. But everyone is at risk from getting hit from lightning too when they’re outside. It doesn’t mean we should run around and never go outside because we are at risk of getting hit by lightning,” Berenson noted.

“The fact that one 22-year-old died somewhere from this, or a handful of 22-year-olds, does not mean that 22-year olds and 88-year-olds are at the same risk. The risk to the 88 year old, and I’m not exaggerating, is probably 10,000 times or more of the risk to the 22 year old, and the media has never been honest about that,” Berenson added.

“The second thing they mislead people about is about cases,” Berenson continued, adding:

They say the number of cases of young people is more than than the number of cases of old people.

They are defining a case as any positive test result. So theoretically if I went to the doctor for a different coronavirus, like one that causes the common cold, and a came back with a positive test result for that coronavirus,  they’ld call that a case of coronavirus.

To me, that’s technically correct to call that a case, but it’s very misleading to people. When people hear case, they think that person wound up in the hospital, and it’s not true.

“Even though everybody gets the coronavirus, not everyone gets sick the same way and they don’t tell the truth about that,” Berenson said of the mainstream media’s reporting on COVID-19 and the pandemic.

Boyle asked Berenson if the media has approached the coronavirus pandemic with objectivity about the claims made by state and national officials to justify the shutdowns.

“The media is supposed to approach when the government does sweeping types of things . . .with a healthy dose of skepticism. We’re supposed to ask tough questions. . . There hasn’t been a skepticism from the media,” Boyle said.

“It’s much worse than that. The media has led the way in this. Do you think Donald Trump wanted to this back in March? He totally got stampeded into this,” Berenson responded.

“The media stampeded this,” he continued.

“They took the worst case scenarios. They promoted them without question. And what’s worse is, By about March 30, March 31,really that early, it was clear that things were not following the worst epidemiological projections. They did nothing but mislead about that,” Berenson said, adding:

This new thing is with the cases in the Sunbelt States. There are a lot of factors that may be driving that some of which are real and problematic and some of which might be related to more testing. We need to pay attention.

Why do you think you’re not hearing about deaths any more? Why do you think all your hearing about is “case counts” in Texas and Arizona?

Because deaths have been going down in the United States for more than a month now.

The United States has followed the same pattern as everywhere else, except we’re a big country, and this thing has rolled a little bit through regions.

“There’s no evidence this thing lasts forever or is going to decimate the population. The reverse is true. The evidence is much stronger now…that in terms of case fatality and infection ratio… that this is much much closer to the flu than we originally thought,” Berenson added.

Boyle then focused on what has been learned since the pandemic began.

“One of the things I asked a lot of politicians on this. . . what do you know now that you didn’t know then meaning back in March at the beginning of this whole thing? What do you know now that you didn’t know then?” Boyle asked.

“We know the routes of transmission much better,” Berenson responded.

“We know that this is not transmitted outside. It doesn’t really seem to be transmitted much by a fomite route, which is touching. It’s more aerosol close contact transmission. Which means, if we’re thinking about this reasonably, that we should not worry about people being outside,” he added.

“What else do we know? We know that there are real treatments for this. Dexamethasone, which is a very cheap steroid, appears to work . . . The Gilead drug [Remdesivir]  appears to work. . . So there are treatments,” Berenson continued.

“Proning people–having them literally lie down on their stomachs– appears to help with mortality. Not using ventilators unless you really have to appears to help with mortality,” he continued.

“It is a respiratory virus that is primarily dangerous to the extremely elderly and extremely sick and we have treatments for it,” Berenson said.

“I would say we know social distancing can reduce the transmissibility of this in meaningful ways. It’s not clear taking the next step to hard lockdown helps. We know that without hard lockdowns we can reduce transmissibility,” Berenson noted.

“One thing we don’t know by the way is whether masks work at all. . . I say to them prove it to me. The overall picture of this is much less worrisome than it was three months ago.”

“The question is do lockdowns work?” Boyle asked, pointing to the devastating effects those lockdowns have had on the economy.

“At best, there is marginal evidence that lockdowns work,” Berenson responded.

“You can’t just look at the U.S.. The U.S. is just one country. It’s impossible to get around the fact. If you look at countries that didn’t lock down at all — Japan, Sweden, and Bellarus — you really can’t distinguish the course of the epidemic from countries that locked down and countries that didn’t,” he continued.

“Given the damage they do, the case is far too weak to push lockdowns,” Berenson added.

Boyle closed the interview by focusing on the attacks made on Berenson by the mainstream media.

“Because you’re raising these very reasonable questions, making these points that question the herd mentality . . . you’ve received a lot of hate…. They really don’t like you. The establishment’s been coming after you like crazy. . . .Do you care?” Boyle asked.

“It doesn’t get to me at all, I don’t care,” Berenson responded.

“I know that I’m going to make the best case that I can. I know if I make a mistake on something I’m going to announce it publicly correct it as quickly as I can. And now that Amazon is not censoring me and I can sell Unreported Truths, I know there’s an audience, because that book will have sold more than 100,000 copies in two weeks They can’t shut me up, They can’t shut me down, they can’t cancel me,” he added.

“I know there are people who want the truth, and I’m going to do my best to give it to them,” Berenson concluded.



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.