How I Stopped Fearing Corona

And Came to Criticize & Protest the Corona Strategy!

I am not a “Corona denier,” not an anti-vaxxer, and not a conspiracy theorist. I believe Corona is a dangerous virus especially for the elderly and for those with serious illnesses. I am happy there is an mRNA treatment for whoever chooses to receive it. As the title says, I plan to outline below the gradual evolution of my views on Corona and the management strategies employed around the world. This is not a research paper with complete references but I will provide a few and can provide many more to any serious readers who would like them.

When Corona started a year ago, like everyone I was very concerned and as is my nature followed developments closely. I am a news junkie who consumes both traditional and new media news sources and as an engineer with reasonable knowledge of science have no qualms about reading scientific papers in fields outside my training. I was the first one in my community to research and find a supplier for N-95 masks back in March and ordered a very expensive package of them, both to have just-in-case and also for a flight I would never be able to take to my niece’s never-to-happen bat mitzvah.

The only narrative I questioned at the outset was the Chinese narrative. I had already researched COVID-19’s connections to Wuhan and read about disturbing coronavirus research that linked the Wuhan Institute of Virology and, to my dismay, the University of North Carolina who in 2015 co-published a paper[1] announcing their “success” in engineering a coronavirus from a bat that can infect human airway cells[2]. But I never doubted that international and US federal bodies like the WHO, CDC, FDA or that governments like that of the USA or Israel might be mismanaging the Corona crisis. I gave everyone the benefit of the doubt as we tried to understand and respond to a developing international crisis.

When the well-made Czech video about the effectiveness of masks came out I made sure to send it to my neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family. “I protect you, you protect me.” I followed all national guidelines — wearing masks and keeping my distance — and was so proud of Israel having successfully “lowered the curve.” We had Pesach seder by ourselves, and understood it was the right thing to do to protect ourselves and for the greater good. I was truly disappointed and concerned after the holidays when it seemed like nearly everyone started ignoring the rules because there was a euphoric feeling of success as if we had beaten Corona. I spoke to my bosses three levels up to complain that the rules were not being followed.

Around April 2020, another narrative I began to question surrounded that of malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and Dr. Zelenko’s protocol[3] for treating COVID-19 with HCQ, Zinc, and the antibiotic Azithromycin. It became clear to me that the minute Trump endorsed the treatment it was doomed to be rejected based on political issues, rather than science or medicine. I followed as the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine came out with studies which tested dangerously high levels of HCQ in already critically ill patients — without following the Zelenko protocol — to show that HCQ was dangerous and should not be used. Unlike many others and most of the establishment, I also followed as both of those articles were proven to be fraudulent and were retracted by the journals[4]. But the damage was done and the FDA removed its Emergency Use Approval for HCQ against COVID-19. Many other studies around the world were cancelled and it was burned into every mainstream politician, scientist, and doctor’s minds that HCQ was not the right approach. However I continued to follow as other doctors and scientists, many with impressive credentials, broke with the consensus and did perform studies that showed that Dr. Zelenko’s protocol when followed — in terms of dosage and timing for early treatment — was very successful at saving lives and preventing worsening conditions, hospitalization, and death.

That being said, my wife, my five kids, and I continued with all of the restrictions as recommended through August, when I was the first family member to get sent to “bidud” — two weeks isolation — for being in a room with an open door, with a mask, and three meters away from a co-worker who tested positive, but for more than fifteen minutes. My family barely saw me for the entire two weeks. I stayed in our guest room with attached bath and was so isolated that I started to write a book (Divine Providence and Aliyah — True Personal Stories[5]). When my 15-year-old daughter had to be isolated in September (the first of two times for her) due to a boy in her grade, she followed my example and was very strict about it.

It was only in September when I started to really question the mainstream narrative about how Corona should be managed. The more I learned, the more I started to wonder in shock and dismay what was motivating the leaders and organizations that we all trust our lives with to seemingly ignore scientific data and expert opinions that anyone with a little bit of effort can access and understand. I got a message from a friend and fellow parent, “I’ve started a group for sharing information outside of the mainstream narrative. My vetting question is: Are you open to the possibility that masks, vaccines, etc… may not be supportive for your health? If this interests you, let me know.” This was my “red-pill” moment. As an avid reader and autodidact on many subjects of interest, I am open-minded and not afraid to be exposed to non-consensus ideas. I believe that Hashem gave each of us critical thinking faculties and the ability to research, learn, and discern the truth to the best of each of our abilities.

Over time, I became exposed to dissenting opinions about what we know about COVID-19 and how it should be best managed. The paper “Corona: Something Isn’t Right” has a very good well-sourced summary, here is a general list[6]:

Sadly, I have come to understand that any debate is no longer based on data and science but rather based on fear and emotions. What should be purely rational scientific and medical discussions between experts with different understandings and opinions has become a playing field for political and economic interests to hold sway over the debate.

And so, when I saw Reut Shlomi Ressler’s call for a Parents & Children protest against the pain and suffering of the existing Corona policies in Israel I told my family to forget about Zoom-school for that day, I have a much more important lesson to teach them. On Tuesday January 12th I joined about 15 other families (approximately 40 people) for a march in Jerusalem through Sacher Park until the entrance to the Knesset and to the Jerusalem Rose Garden directly facing the Knesset. I was going to teach my children about democracy, freedom of speech, and the right to protest misguided and immoral policies that have caused countless unnecessary pain, suffering and deaths to millions of people over the last year. Families with children came with cardboard, markers, and the will to make their voices heard and we made signs and we protested and we pledged to continue the fight until the policies change.[9]

Reut — a Ministry of Health certified therapist and lecturer — invited me to be a co-organizer and together with another seven mothers and fathers we planned the next protest at Habima Square in Tel Aviv with a march down Rothschild Boulevard for Friday January 22. Working together we were interviewed by Channel 13 News, written about by Arutz-7 Israel National News[10], and talked about on Israel National Radio[11]. One of our parents is an out-of-work professional events planner and she arranged for a stage, loudspeakers, a band, parents and children to speak, and even bubbles for the kids. The location was perfect as was the weather — our stage and speakers facing hundreds of families enjoying the grass and fountain pool of Habima square. Many of them supporting our cause. Similarly as we marched down Rothschild Boulevard with our signs chanting:

Many people chanted with us, gave us thumbs up, filmed and live-broadcast our march — some of them even joining us.[12]

We understood that in order to beat the fear and the lies, we need to focus on positive emotional messages — to focus on the children and their suffering. Upon our return to Habima Square and forming a protest circle we were addressed by a speaker from the Common Sense Model begging the throngs of people to wake up from their slumber and cry out against the unnecessary abuse and harm we were all suffering from[13]. Wanting to end the event on a positive and uplifting note, I asked my co-organizers if I can sing a song. And that’s how I found myself singing into a megaphone[14] the words of Rabbi Nachman:

“כל העולם כולו גשר צר מאוד והעיקר לא לפחד כלל.”

“The whole entire world is a very narrow bridge and the main thing is to have no fear at all”

Hopefully the light of our message and of our children’s faces and our love for life, liberty, and truth spread to others and all together we can dispel the horrible plague of darkness — a lack of truth and freedom — which has descended upon the earth. Join us, the Parent’s & Children protest, to fight for what is true and right.

See highlights video of the protest.


Ezra Gilbert 26.01.2021 Response Articles

״Ezra Gilbert, co-organizer of the Parent’s & Children Protest against closure of the school system and expressing the agony of families suffering from Corona lockdowns. A married father of 5 kids aged 5 through 15 and a software engineer.”