Medical experts urge Congress to investigate 'collateral damage' of pandemic policies
By: Alec Schemmel | The National Desk
February 15, 2023 (WASHINGTON): A small group of renowned infectious disease experts known as The Norfolk Group published a white paper this week intended to be a "blueprint" for a potential bipartisan congressional commission investigating the "collateral damage" that occurred as a result of the government's response to COVID-19.
A small group of eight infectious disease experts helped write The Norfolk Group's white paper. The initiative, which began in May 2022, was led by Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Dr. Martin Kulldorff, both of whom spearheaded another white paper in 2020 known as The Great Barrington Declaration.
"The dust has settled and a lot of what was written in the Great Barrington Declaration has come to fruition," Dr. Margery Smelkinson, one of the authors of The Norfolk Group's white paper, told The National Desk (TND).
Smelkinson insisted the government's response to COVID failed to take into account the "collateral damage" caused by its decisions. Therefore, The Norfolk Group is pushing for Congress to set up a bipartisan commission investigating what went right and what went wrong regarding the government's public health interventions initiated during COVID.
She told TND the government's response to COVID should not have been "based on fear and panic," but rather, the government needed to follow the available data. Smelkinson added that Congress needs to take a "deep dive" into who was making the decisions regarding COVID mitigation measures, such as vaccine mandates, mask mandates and school closures, and why they were made.
Smelkinson believes the government's response severely impacted public school systems and the students they serve, particularly low-income ones.
"This has just been completely exacerbated and it was not data driven at all," Smelkinson insisted.
A study published Thursday by The Associated Press, Stanford University’s Big Local News project and Stanford education professor Thomas Dee indicated that the absence of 240,000 students in 21 states across the country "could not be accounted for." These students didn't move out of state, and they didn't sign up for private or home schooling, according to publicly available data, The Associated Press reported.
"We need an honest assessment in a bipartisan fashion of how the pandemic was handled. What we've written up is not really an inquiry but more of a blueprint for Congress to take up if they form a bipartisan commission," Smelkinson said.
"We really feel like this is the only way to restore trust in our public health agencies," Smelkinson added. "It's at a historical low, and our health agencies have failed us very badly by oversold interventions, they have ignored data, they haven't done proper risk-benefit analysis and they've also silenced dissenting opinions. The Great Barrington Declaration was one of those things that they silenced."
Source: ABC News & The Washington Examiner