October 31, 2022 from Vinay Prasad's Observations and Thoughts

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many bad policies being implemented. We need accountability so that we never institute these policies again. Let me enumerate some structural solutions

  1. The person who heads the National Institutes of Health funding (or any of the Institutes) should not be setting federal policy. Either decide who gets funded, or set policy, you can't do both. It's a problematic dual role. Nobody will want to criticize you because they'll fear retribution with funding.

  2. With novel scientific problems, and unprecedented responses, you need to have a series of public debates. I didn't sign the Great Barrington declaration, but I can read it today and know that no one was closer to the truth about schools than the authors. At the same time they were demonized by Fauci and Collins, who called them Fringe epidemiologists. This was inappropriate. In times of crisis, we need to have big debates in academic institutions. We should not silence or censor people. We need to foster disagreement, not stifle it.

  3. The Federal government, and anyone who works for it, should never be telling social media companies who they should throw off the platform. This is absolutely unacceptable.

  4. Social media platforms should never try to regulate discussion around scientific issues. They do not have the expertise in-house to decide what is truth or fiction. Censorship is a fool's errand.

  5. If you institute sweeping policies in response to a threat, those policies should be time limited. If you don't generate evidence within a certain period of time, those policies will end.

  6. If you want to subject children to restrictions, you need to show in cluster randomized fashion that those restrictions improve outcomes for children and beyond, otherwise, you need to lose your powers.

  7. In rare circumstances, we can approve drugs or vaccine products based on preliminary evidence. But before we institute perennial booster campaigns, we need robust evidence of net clinical benefit.

  8. The US Food and Drug Administration needs to be run by impartial experts, and not puppet-ted by the White House. Peter Marks should resign.

  9. If you work for the FDA, CDC, or as the White House COVID czar, you should be banned from working in the private sector for a period of time of 5 years. We cannot have revolving door politics.

  10. Mandating vaccines or other medical products is a bold move, and should never happen if those products cannot halt transmission. If there is no benefit to third parties, mandates are unjust. Even if there are benefits, one should be careful about such policies.

  11. Vaccine makers should not be shielded from litigation for vaccine adverse events. People who mandate vaccines should also be subject to litigation. In America, the only retribution is litigation. If you mandate a booster in a 26-year-old man and he has myocarditis, he should be able to sue the s*** out of you.

  12. The CDC needs to separate itself into two groups of people. People who do data collection, who collect real accurate data and real time and make them publicly available in real time, and people who devise policy. The two groups should not be the same. The second group should not be running MMWR. That should be a neutral journal run by third parties.

  13. In times of crisis, academics who participate in public dialogue on response should be given emergency tenure. We need to encourage people to make bold arguments and not discourage them. We did not reward the courageous, we encouraged cowardice. This is unacceptable.

  14. Any worker fired for not taking a covid-19 vaccine should be rehired, and back pay instituted. This was unethical and wrong.

  15. News companies should not pick experts from Twitter. This is a recipe to put idiots on your television. The White House should then not pick experts from television, who were put on television because of Twitter.

  16. There needs to be an independent commission to investigate the origins of the virus.

  17. If you're the editor of a major scientific journal, you can't be writing openly partisan op-eds and/or tweeting openly partisan content.

  18. Anyone who read the literature knew that cloth masks were not recommended for community use because data were weak. And anyone who said otherwise was lying. Particularly those people who overemphasize the gains. If they work in positions of power, they should be terminated for those lies to the American people.

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