A Nobel Prize-winning chemist and Stanford professor has been cancelled for wrongthink on coronavirus.
Professor Michael Levitt, who won the Nobel prize for Chemistry in 2013, was due to be the keynote speaker in December at a virtual conference on his areas of special expertise – computational biology and biodesign.
But the First International Biodesign Research Conference withdrew his invitation – according to Levitt because they had received ‘too many calls’ from other speakers ‘threatening to quit’ because of his views on Chinese coronavirus. He has long maintained that the threat is overblown and that ‘we’re going to be fine.’
My keynote uninvited from https://t.co/KhepqykXW8
“… too many calls by other speakers threatening to quit if you were there. They all complained about your COVID claims”.
Computational biology & biodesign are based on my work. Time to cancel them & me.
New Dark Age Cometh.
— Michael Levitt (@MLevitt_NP2013) October 18, 2020
Professor Levitt – Professor of Structural Biology at the Stanford School of Medicine – was one of the earliest critics of what he sees as the worldwide overreaction to Chinese coronavirus. He describes the extreme measures taken by many governments to control it as ‘another foul-up on the part of the baby boomers.’
He told the Unherd podcast:
I am a real baby boomer – I was born in 1947, I am almost 73 years old – but I think we’ve really screwed up…We’ve left your generation with a real mess in order to save a relatively small number of very old people.
Though his position has earned him many enemies within the scientific establishment, his predictions of the disease’s trajectory have proved a lot more accurate than the scaremongering models of alarmists like Neil Ferguson.
According to a March report in the LA Times:
He predicted that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in China would end up around 80,000, with about 3,250 deaths.
This forecast turned out to be remarkably accurate: As of March 16, China had counted a total of 80,298 cases and 3,245 deaths — in a nation of nearly 1.4 billion people where roughly 10 million die every year.
Levitt’s position throughout has been that Chinese coronavirus will follow the same course as other flu-like pandemics:
His observation is a simple one: that in outbreak after outbreak of this disease, a similar mathematical pattern is observable regardless of government interventions. After around a two week exponential growth of cases (and, subsequently, deaths) some kind of break kicks in, and growth starts slowing down. The curve quickly becomes “sub-exponential”.
This may seem like a technical distinction, but its implications are profound. The ‘unmitigated’ scenarios modelled by (among others) Imperial College, and which tilted governments across the world into drastic action, relied on a presumption of continued exponential growth — that with a consistent R number of significantly above 1 and a consistent death rate, very quickly the majority of the population would be infected and huge numbers of deaths would be recorded. But Professor Levitt’s point is that that hasn’t actually happened anywhere, even in countries that have been relatively lax in their responses.
But being right is apparently no defence: certainly not in a debate so polarised and politicised as the one on COVID-19.
Levitt is one of several prominent Covid sceptics to have been censored for his views.
Scott Atlas, a member of the White House team battling coronavirus, was suspended on Twitter – and forced to delete his tweets – for questioning the efficacy of masks and for praising President Trump’s coronavirus policies.
According to the Federalist:
Atlas, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institute, not only had his tweets removed, he was banned from tweeting until he deleted the tweets that Twitter for unclear reasons objects to. Here are the tweets in question:
In an email to The Federalist, Atlas outlined the evidence behind his tweet.
In the deleted tweet, I cited the following evidence against general population masks:
1) Cases exploded even with mandates: Los Angeles County, Miami-Dade County, Hawaii, Alabama, the Philippines, Japan, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Israel.
2) Dr. Carl Heneghan, University of Oxford, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine and editor in chief of British Medical Journal Evidence-Based Medicine: ‘It would appear that despite two decades of pandemic preparedness, there is considerable uncertainty as to the value of wearing masks.’
3) The WHO: ‘The widespread use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not yet supported by high quality or direct scientific evidence and there are potential benefits and harms to consider’ (http://bitly.ws/afUm)
4) The CDC: ‘Our systematic review found no significant effect of face masks on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.’ (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article).
I also cited an article giving detailed explanation of the reasons why masks might not prevent spread: https://t.co/1hRFHsxe59
Notwithstanding this evidence regarding arguably the most important and contentious debate raging in American society — the constant mandate of masks — it appears some 20-something with his pronouns in his Twitter bio just pushed a button and erased scientifically accurate information. For some reason, which hopefully Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey can explain when he is dragged before the Senate, Atlas was silenced by the tech giant.
But perhaps the most egregious example of the leftist Establishment’s war on coronavirus scepticism is the smearing of the Great Barrington Declaration.
The Great Barrington Declaration is a petition calling for a more rational global response to the COVID-19 crisis.
It was initiated by three highly respected figures in the field of epidemiology — Harvard Professor Dr Martin Kulldorff, Oxford Professor Dr Sunetra Gupta, and Stanford Professor Dr Jay Bhattacharya — and so far has been signed by more than 538,000 concerned citizens, nearly 10,700 medical and public health scientists, and nearly 30,000 medical practitioners.
This isn’t true. In fact it’s almost the definition of fake news. But increasingly commentary on coronavirus – as in so many other areas of politics – is being censored by the left wing media and tech Establishment, not on the basis of whether it’s true or untrue, but as to whether or not it accords with the favoured leftist narrative.