In April 2022, the US Surgeon General called for an end to Covid misinformation. He further urged people to submit information about Covid misinformation circulating in the public domain.
“Health misinformation is a serious public health threat,” he said. “It can create confusion, inspire distrust, harm people’s health and undermine public health efforts.” His office has issued a detailed recommendation calling for action by tech companies, social media, governments and individuals.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has responded with a detailed account of Covid misinformation. To assist in the preparation of this report, he sought assistance from Professors Jayanta Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff. The full report was released on May 2, 2022 and submitted to the Surgeon General’s office.
These are the nine main points of the report. The full report follows.
#1 Surplus COVID-19: Official CDC numbers for COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations are inaccurate.
#2 Challenge natural immunity: After recovering from COVID-19, natural immunity has been consistently questioned and denied.
#3 COVID-19 vaccines prevent transmission: The CDC director and other health officials falsely claimed that the COVID-19 vaccine prevents transmission of COVID-19 to others.
#4 School closures were effective and free: In the United States, most schools have been closed to face-to-face classes for some time, and many schools have been closed for over a year. This decision was based on false claims that it would protect children, teachers and the community at large.
#5 Everyone is equally at risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 infection: Although health news has softened this fact, there is a more than a thousand-fold difference in risk of hospitalization and death for the old compared to the young.
#6 There was no sensible political alternative to lockdowns: Since the beginning of the pandemic, the sharp age gradient in risk of serious illness from COVID-19 infection has offered an alternative to many US states’ lockdown-based measures – targeted protection of the elderly and otherwise vulnerable.
#7 Mask requirements are effective in reducing the spread of viral infectious diseases: Contrary to claims by some public health officials, mask requirements have not effectively protected most populations from the risk of COVID-19.
#8 Mass testing of asymptomatic people and contact tracing of positive cases is effective in reducing disease spread: Mass testing of asymptomatic people with contact tracing and quarantine of those who tested positive did not significantly slow the progress of the epidemic and imposed heavy costs on people who were quarantined even though they posed no risk of infecting others.
#9 Eradication of COVID-19 is an achievable goal: Throughout the pandemic, from “two weeks to the curve flattening” and beyond, suppressing the spread of COVID-19 has been an explicit policy goal. Implicitly, public health leaders have made suppressing the spread of COVID-19 to near-zero levels the endpoint of the pandemic. However, SARS-CoV-2 has none of the characteristics of a disease that can be eradicated.
The full report with citations is below
Indiana Attorney General COVID Misinformation Submission