Bill Maher Urges COVID Commission, Criticizes Authorities' Denial of Missteps

Bill Maher delves into pandemic responses and public health.

by Nouman Rasool
Bill Maher Urges COVID Commission, Criticizes Authorities' Denial of Missteps
© Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Most recently, in an installment of "Real Time," host Bill Maher fulminated at the top of his lungs for something of a "COVID Commission," i.e., a full-throated investigation into America's handling of the pandemic. Looking back at the first confusion and then blunders that were made in those days of COVID-19, Maher vented at the never-ending story of 'everything is murky' used to excuse such mistakes.

He asserted that in all truth and honesty, there were some predictions better than others while preparing for the uncertainties. However, there were some hesitations among the people who had botched the judgment regarding acknowledgment of where they had erred.

Maher, who's long been on the record as an advocate for vaccination, criticized some of the response to the pandemic as "overly cautious," or even counterproductive, such as the closure of schools, prolonged, in his estimation, to many months, since studies have shown that such measures brought "more secondary harm to children than benefits.

He also pointed out his personal experience at being a target of mainstream media criticism, especially for The Daily Beast, who lambasted him for entertaining the lab-leak theory as possibly true regarding the origin of the virus.

Such a theory was dismissed from the beginning, but these days, that hypothesis is plausible for many, including the Biden administration.

Pandemic Overreactions Highlighted

In this context, the conversation continued toward what Maher was considering overreactions throughout the pandemic—i.e., excesses in sanitation measures and underestimation of the importance of natural immunity over vaccination.

"We may as well just stay inside, never go outside for some sun and fresh air—it's very good for the health, especially at a time like this with a virus going around," he joked. Maher decried the "supermaization of minority voices" and the "ridicule of minority voices" during the pandemic, "many of whom history has shown were right.

He asked whether there is a formal commission, similar to the one appointed by history, to investigate the response to the pandemic, maybe similar to what others have done by carrying out other historical commissions investigating national crises and controversies.

"Why is this the case," he wanted to know, "with lessons that may have been missed, for example, the critical need for improved air ventilation in public buildings, a measure seemingly overlooked in the aftermath of the pandemic? He also touched on the continuity of controversial gain-of-function research, besides the reforms being too weak in animal agriculture to stop further zoonotic diseases, and the economical fallout that would include massive fraud from the pandemic relief efforts playing a role in rising inflation. Maher closed his commentary with a barbed criticism of the political response to the pandemic.