Here are some things to think about over the coming months. The computer models that have predicted the COVID patterns very well, show us some ominous predictions for the coming three months. But it doesn’t have to be. First, it is very true that the omicron variant is slightly less powerful than the delta version, it is far more contagious. It is not the common cold. So, while a lower percentage of people will die from the infection, because so many more will be infection, the death rate will be higher than delta.
So, in the next three months in American, approximately 63,000 dear souls will suffer horrible deaths. Some of them small children. Some teenagers. Some in their twenties through fifties and many older. However, I will compare how our behavior could alter that outcome.
If we followed narrative 1 (see below, follow the science) the following is how we can change the future:
- If we all wore good masks, fitted well (covering the nose), at the appropriate times (indoors with people we don’t live with), the number of deaths could be reduced by half. It could be reduced even more, even near 100%, if wore good masks perfectly like our medical providers do who work in COVID wards every day, in very close proximity to actively infected patients and have never picked up the infection.
- If everyone was fully vaccinated, meaning complete vaccine initial doses and at least one booster, we could reduce the number of deaths to about 3,000 rather 63,000 people. This is why we still promote vaccines, because they are by far the safest and most effective way to fight this pandemic.
- If (only one) monoclonal antibody, sotrovimab is used early, it could reduce deaths to about 3-10,000. However, it is in very short supply.
- The new antiviral pills show much promise, but are in short supply and the actually reduction in deaths is not clear yet but possible could reduce deaths to 25,000.
If we followed narrative 2 (see below, conspiracy theories) this is how our near future would change:
- If we took all the vitamins and “natural treatments” that have been claimed to prevent COVID, the number of deaths in three months might drop to 60,000. There is a little evidence that people with low Vit D, especially dark-skinned people, might do a little better if they took Vitamin D supplements. Do it, it won’t hurt unless you overdose.
- If we used the treatments promoted by narrative 2 to treat the COVID infections, hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, the death rate in three months would still be 63,000 because the research is clear, so far, that these drugs have no benefit.
Discussion: I have made several posts in the past on COVID and finally gave it a rest. But as we are all getting tired of this pandemic, and the computer models show that it could last several more years in various forms (we hope for the lessor) I thought it was time I spoke up again. The treatments will continue to get better.
After having countless discussions about COVID with COVID conspiracy theorists, I hung up my gloves (a boxing term). While some of my friends who have been fighting this same battle, gave up with the notion that if people want to believe lies, and they die from those lies, then so be it. That is not my position. I do know people who believed the conspiracy theories and have died. I don’t want people dying, especially from a pandemic of lies. It breaks my heart to see suffering when it can be so easily prevented.
First, I must be clear. In the realm of science, there is no debate about the safety and effectiveness (efficacy) of the vaccines. They are promoted most because they are far, far, far, more effective and safe than the other choices.
It is beyond the scope of this rambling to discuss why the lies persist. I have observed that virtually every evangelical I know has chosen to believe the Narrative 2, as well as most people who are conservative, politically. Someone smarter than me will figure out the social reasons for this. But COVID is not a political entity. Scientists who work are this are not blue or red scientists, Christian or atheists. They have a sincere desire to know the truth and to reduce suffering. Why the conspiracy theorists do their evil work is anyone’s guess. But I will borrow a statement I saw on a sign at the recent “Anti-COVID-vaccine” rally in Washington D.C., “Follow The Money.” So, let’s do that.
Follow The Money
Donald Trump = Net Worth, 1 Billion (self-proclaimed), started promoting COVID conspiracy theories when he, rightly, was concerned that the COVID pandemic could threaten his re-election. College drop out. No training in science of any kind.
Joe Rogan = Net worth, 100 Million Dollars, much from promoting COVID conspiracy theories. High school only. No training in virology or vaccines.
Robert Kennedy Jr = Net worth, 50 million dollars, most from promoting anti-vaccine and COVID conspiracy theories (Full time profession for years). Law degree, no medical training. No training in virology or vaccines.
Tucker Carlson = Net worth, 30 million, salary from “Fox News,” 8 million dollars/year. No training in virology or vaccines.
Antony Fauci – net worth, 10 Million Dollars, $868,000 / year salary and benefits none tied to promoting vaccines. Fifty years in viral and epidemiology research.
Greater than 90% of the world’s medical providers, researchers believe that vaccines at the safest and most effective tool in fighting COVID, virtually none of them have a financial interest in promoting vaccines. Of the epidemiologists and virologists, those who know the most about viruses and vaccines, more than 99% believe, based on the research, that vaccines are the safest and most effective tool to fight COVID. Very few of them work in an industry where they are rewarded financially for promoting vaccines. Does it really make sense that all these smart and devoted people have been brain washed or that they are intentionally harming you and your family in order to make money?
When you do not know a lot about topic, and you are competing against those who do, your biggest weapon is make up false conspiracy theories, where you promote a narrative that the other side, those who know the most, are corrupt and are hiding information that would endanger your lives just so they could make money. Therefore, your baseless information has a fair chance of winning the hearts of people.
Narrative 1: (Follow what science is showing us)
A COVID-19 viral infection, while is mild for many, it is deadly for some and has long-haul symptoms for many. It has nothing to do with politics or religion. It is worst than the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. The only reason it is not as bad as the Black Death (plague) is that our medical treatments are so much more advanced today than in the Middle Ages. If there was no treatments, millions in America would be dead, not just one million, from COVID.
COVID vaccines are extremally effective and the most effective way of preventing serious illness. Because so many people have refused to get the vaccine, and in many parts of the world they don’t have access, there is still a heavy load of virus in circulation. Because of this, the virus is constantly mutating, requiring a stronger dose or booster of the vaccine. Almost two billons doses have been given world wide and very close data is collected about outcomes. It does not cause infertility. Bad side effects are extremely uncommon. Death from COVID very common.
Anti viral medications and other treatments have great hope in reducing deaths, but are in short supply. Prevention is always easier than treatment.
Narrative 2: (Made up conspiracy theories, completely baseless)
COVID is overstated by the liberals. It is no worse than the common cold.
The vaccines are dangerous and the injury and deaths from them are being hidden. (Robert Kennedy Jr. Uses profoundly distorted data in his propaganda)
Hospitals are being paid to falsify deaths from COVID (a profoundly ridiculous statement, makes good movies and books but detached from reality).
It is better to get the virus, which is natural, than a vaccine which is not. (Cancer is “natural” I will tell you first hand that it sucks! Those who say a vaccine is a drug and is not natural has no clue what they are talking about. Nothing is more natural than a vaccine which simply prepares our natural immune system to work most effectively against the virus.)
The reason that hospitals are struggling right now is because they have fired so many people for not getting a COVID vaccine. Insanely ridiculous. Most hospitals have had to let go 2-5% of their staff due to vaccine non-compliance. The increase caused by dying COVID conspiracy believers, has taken 50-90% of hospital beds.
Footnote: I have read volumes of data from both sides of this story (no debate). If you have some “data’ that disputes anything I’ve said, and from a reliable source than from some loud-mouth high school drop out, I would be happy to read that. Send it to me under comments. But do know the spirt I write here is my concern for you and for the people of the world. COVID has touched my friends and family and I want nothing more than your good health, not just to win an arguement.
25 responses to “Ramblings: COVID Revisited”
Thank you, sir.
Have you seen this article in The Atlantic? Truly heart breaking
Great article. I was appalled when, simultaneously, several “Pro-life’” evangelical friends sent me video clips of a evangelical, pro-Trump doctor saying basically that we should sacrifice our elders and ill to COVID for the sake of Trump’s good economy. I keep hearing echoes of the same today. Damn the “economy” it just money. Money is highly over-rated. I don’t care if it makes Trump or Biden look bad. People are created in God’s image and deserve more respect than that. But, you can have it both ways. A good economy and taking care of our people and planet.
My daughter has not believed in vaccines for a long time. I don’t believe that she will ever be open to change but I will ask her if she will read your post and perhaps send a reply to you. Unfortunately she has gotten caught up in some conspiracy stuff but her beliefs are not based on political or religious arguments.
On the “follow the money” theme, perhaps it would be good to consider the richest vaccine proponent in the world, Bill Gates, (net worth 138 Billion), or the huge profits earned in the shutdowns by Jeff Bezos, or perhaps the owners of Pfizer and Moderna, who will reap tens of billions in profit on their new vaccines.
All that I can say is there is no grand conspiracy, which I’ve seen promoted, that Bill Gates is trying to ruin everyone’s life and cause infertility by funding vaccinations because he wants more money. He made his money from Microsoft and investments and as far as I know, has wanted to use some of that money (thanks to Melinda’s influence) in doing the most good for humanity and they realize that vaccines for a variety of illness (malaria is a big one) is the best way to do that. Show me if you can how he is behind this to make money? Bezos of course made his billions in Amazon. I don’t know of any way he is profiting from vaccines please share that objective information if you have it. The people I’ve mention have directly profited (most by money, Trump by hoping for votes ) by claiming conspiracy theories.
I don’t think Gates or Bezos are trying to ruin everyone’s life. Its just that, if you really want to “follow the money” you should certainly recognize those who gained the most during the pandemic. That would be people like these two and the vaccine manufacturers.
As I ask everyone who promotes a conspiracy theory against vaccines, please send me the objective data to support that claim. I will read it. But don’t send me Robert Kennedy Jr’s false “data,” which is not clinical data at all but I will not get into that here.
That vaccines don’t work and they have killed thousands of people or caused infertility, or that hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin works. That’s what I keep hearing from the conspiracy theorists. You didn’t say that, but these talk show host do. Show me the data.
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I’m not making those claims.
https://www.google.com/finance/quote/MRNA:NASDAQ?window=5Y Moderna stock price, from $20 share pre-pandemic to $160. a share now. Pfizer stock price, about $30, pre pandemic to a high of about $60.00. Indeed, follow the money.
Making money does not imply wrong doing or much of America would be criminals. However, having worked in research, I know the process and the process of double-blinding, peer review, is the closest we can get to keeping people honest. The studies have been well-done and meet those high standards whether or not they made money. But people can’t come into it with a bias. Most of the anti-vaxers were so before they ever saw a study (and most didn’t even bother looking at the studies). So me convincing evidence that the vaccines don’t work or cause harm from good studies and I will change my mind.
i’m not trying to argue the mRNA vaccines don’t work. But they have obviously not been as effective as they were once promised to be. We were told, if we take the vaccine, we won’t need to worry about getting Covid. Surely you will now admit that isn’t always the case. Now we are into the third shot and Fauci hints that more are coming. So I got the double jab, and 4 months later was sick with the virus. Perhaps, (but how can I know) my illness was less severe than it might have been. But if you can still get the disease, how is it “working.” We have always expected, if I get a measles vaccine, I won’t get measles. If I get polio vaccine, I won’t get polio. But now, with this vaccine, that’s not to be expected. It “might” prevent the disease, or it “might” lessen severity. That this vaccine is so different, and not living up to its promise, is one reason, I think, many are suspicious of the prevailing approach from our government agencies.
The virus is a novel virus was bound to make fools of us all. For their original intent, and the studies done, the vaccines were highly effective and safe. The problem is, and this was not known by anybody, the virus has continued to mutate at a rapid rate. The failure of the experts was in predicting that American would be 90% fully vaccinated. The failure was also not to see the vast ocean of humanity in the developing world without vaccines. So, as the saying goes in virology, if a virus is left to replicate, it has more of a chance to mutate. It is trying to hit a moving target. Did the vaccines disappoint? To some extent. But look at the hard data. The vaccines, boosted, profoundly reduces your odds of being seriously sick and dying. Look at hospital admissions of the 40 % unvaccinated, they make up 90% + of ICU admissions. So, with that said, vaccines are the best we have right now. I never remember hearing anyone in the pro-vaccine world of researchers saying that it would prevent all infections. They will get better. New therapeutics are on the way. I wish snake oil worked. I take handful of vitamins and supplements every day. But for COVID, if you look at the data, nothing comes close to the vaccine. Nothing. Polio is a very different kind of virus without the rapid mutating property. Think of COVID as more like the annual Flu shot, that has to be designed each year. But a much more dangerous flu.
Think about the following analogy:
You are getting ready to go outside for a walk. The weather report indicates rain and wind of varying intensity throughout the day, with a chance for local flooding.
You grab an umbrella and head out the door as it begins to sprinkle. As a young child you developed the understanding that rain fell down out of the sky. Therefore, the umbrella should be all you need to stay dry. Unfortunately, the wind picks up a little bit and the rain is blown at an angle instead of coming straight down. While your head remains dry, your clothes and shoes get wet. Frustrated, you go home to change into dry clothes, warm up, and try again.
This is your second attempt. Again you head out the door with an umbrella. This time you also have a long raincoat and rain boots on as well. It is still sprinkling and the wind remains elevated but not too terribly bad, in fact it’s identical to the last time you were out. You smile knowing you will remain completely dry this time.
As you stroll down the street, both the rain and wind intensify. Surely you’ll stay completely dry with the umbrella and the additional raincoat and boots. For over a mile you feel not a drop of rain. As you mosey along, it begins to pour. Raindrops begin to sting your face as the wind whips the rain in every direction. Perhaps it’s time to head home. As your pace quickens, you notice your feet are getting wet. The drops rapidly slamming into your raincoat are now rolling into the tops of your rain boots. While your raincoat protected you completely at the start of your walk, you also notice that the rain is seeping in around your neck as well as down the sleeve of the arm holding the umbrella.
Finally walk into the safety of your house, you are soaking wet – just like the first time.
What conclusions could be made? Is it safe to say that umbrellas and rain gear are worthless at keeping you dry from the rain?
Compare the above example to Covid-19. Wearing a mask around others is only effective to a point. This is particularly true if a person is not wearing a fit-tested N95, is in close proximity to others not wearing properly fitted, high quality masks, are interfering with the seal of the mask, and if those around them are highly contagious. A mask is like an umbrella. It might make a difference if it’s sprinkling, but it may not keep you safe if the rain picks up.
The vaccines were developed and tested before the Delta variant emerged. While Covid-19 has always been contagious, both the Delta and Omicron variants are much more so. The vaccine trials were EXTREMELY promising. I think most of us who are optimists thought a significantly larger percentage of the population would get the vaccine as soon as they could. I also am sure that not enough thought and planning went into getting the vaccine into the arms of those in poorer countries. Had those two things happened quickly enough, I don’t think we would be dealing with Omicron or the concern of more variants.
Yes, it was hoped that the above would happen. If so, we very well might have been able to resume a “normal” life once vaccinated. Thus far, I am unaware of ANYONE promising 100% protection from becoming infected with Covid. The vaccines that have been developed thus far were created to reduce the risks (care in the ICU and/or deaths) caused by a completely new virus. There is now overwhelming data to support the effectiveness of the vaccines to do just that. The hospitalization and death rates of those who are unvaccinated are incredibly higher than those who are fully vaccinated. This is especially true with the addition of the booster.
Again, look at the story provided in the beginning. The umbrella/mask didn’t keep you dry enough/from becoming infected. Surely, adding the rain gear/2 vaccines should have. One problem is that being fully vaccinated doesn’t mean you can run around in heavily populated areas without taking any precautions. When you are around a bunch of infected people and few if any have no mask, it’s like assuming you’ll stay dry with an umbrella and rain gear in the middle of a rain storm. Now with the Omicron variant, the level of virus circulating is just too high for vaccines to protect you as well as they have in the past. I don’t think there is much if anything you can realistically wear during a walk in a hurricane that would keep you even partially dry.
There was absolutely no way for anyone to know that the vaccine would become less effective over time or against further variants. But even though the current vaccines are less effective, that doesn’t mean they don’t protect most people from serious disease or death.
Counties around the world have been working to get vaccines out. Just because some of the more successful vaccine manufacturers are making a profit now, doesn’t mean they all are becoming excessively wealthy. If Pfizer and Moderna faked their trials and people were actually experiencing severe side effects and/or death after the inoculations, the direction of their wealth would be opposite of what it is currently.
Side note: the measles vaccine doesn’t protect a person from getting the measles. It reduces the chance of a serious outcome. As fewer people become vaccinated against measles in the U.S., we are experiencing outbreaks every so often.
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Very well said.
I’m also wondering how you categorize people like Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying. PhD evolutionary biologists. Are they evangelical conspiracy theorists?
I don’t much about them although they are from my state. Their background is not in virology, epidemiology, or vaccinations but have advanced degrees in biology. I don’t know why they have taken the stances they have. They are not the only scientists who have taken anti-vaccine stances and that’s why I didn’t say 100% of scientist support the COVID vaccine, just mere 90%+. There is something sexy about feeling gnostic truth, that small group has secret truth that the majority is in error about. That’s why these conspiracy theorists are so successful in recruiting followers. But lies kill. I believe God is a God of truth, real objective truth. I’ve reviewed lots of the “data” sent to me by these people and they are misleading and often bold faced lies. If they are on to something, why do they keep lying? I don’t say that because I believe in vaccines. I believe in vaccines because I’ve also review all the studies that were done, those that sought truth by using a placebo controlled, double-blinded set up to eliminate any bias. It is a crazy concept to think that a vaccine maker would falsify data around the entire world to make money and think they could get by with it. The Purdue family tried that with OxyContin are getting burned. That’s why peer-review publication is so important to keeping them honest. Loud mouths on talk shows or pod cast have no research backing them, just their money-making eyebrow-raising opinions. Lying is their profession. One million dead from COVID in the US alone, much more than that with long-haul symptoms. Are our hospitals full of people with vaccine side effects rather than tens of thousands of COVID sufferers? Why am I so motivated? I’ve had friends die from this because they believed the lies and family members suffer. My grandson has COVID right now. My wife worked in a COVID ward during the worst of the pandemic. I volunteered to give 1000 vaccines, putting myself at great risks because of my cancer and stem-cell transplant, because I hate to see people needlessly suffering because they have been fed lies. Lies destroy and kill.
You yourself admit that one doesn’t have to be a virologist or epidemiologist to read scientific journals, apply logic, and reach conclusions. So that Weinstein and Heying are not specialists is those fields is irrelevant, isn’t it. And then we have the head of the NIH, Francis Collins, who also is not a virologist or epidemiologist, opining that Bhattacharya, Gupta and Kulldorff, epidemiologists from Stanford, Oxford, and Harvard are “fringe” and must be sidelined from the conversation.
Thank you and Denise for your service and sacrifice. The Purdue Pharma and FDA collusion is a great example of why we can’t trust the research of Pfizer, et al. In 2009 Pfizer was punished with the largest criminal fraud case in history, up to that time. I doubt the ethics and culture of Pfizer and other pharma companies has improved since then.
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/emails-reveal-how-fauci-head-of-nih-colluded-to-try-to-smear-experts/ar-AARX837 Collins and Fauci emails showing collusion to stifle scientific discussion of alternate approaches to the pandemic. Is it good science to try to discredit other scientists who have differing opinions? Isn’t a free discussion necessary for scientific advance?
First, having read that article I can say that such a debate has great merits. Their concern was about the role of “lock downs” on society and that really is a debatable topic. Which does the greatest good for the long haul? Now, with that said, I have great respect for Collins and Fauci alike for their record over the years. I would have to do more research into this, were those e-mails real? Suppose they were, what was the evidence that Collins and Fauci had for their positions? I don’t know. I’m not saying they are perfect but I won’t say more until I know more about this exchange. But, it is a long leap (not you are making but the anti-COVID conspiracy theorists I’ve spoken to) to go from a debate with merits about the extend of government lock downs to saying that the vaccines are dangerous and killing people and that information is being hidden by big Pharma (even though it’s killing thousands of people and leaving the others sterile — their words not mine), just so Pharma can make big bucks. That COVID is overstated and the deaths are falsified and there all these natural or “Trump-treatments” that are cures and the government is stopping you from using them in some big plot to, as one evangelical told me, to “kill all the Christians.” This is where it becomes delusional and conspiratorial and starts to boarder on mental illness. But were Collins and Fauci wrong in those e-mails? Maybe. I don’t know as I have to know more about the context. If I get the chance to read more about that and have an opinion, I will comment then. Thanks for your interest in this topic. I know that you are a well-read and smart guy and I respect your opinions.
Thanks. Yes the emails are real, and Collins spoke publicly on the record about the “fringe” epidemiologists. This is helpful. https://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2021/12/21/francis-collins-confronted-about-calling-great-barrington-declaration-authors-fringe-epidemiologists-n2600873
What a great read Mike!!!!! I agree 100+ percent. Thank you !!!!
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