Friday, December 25, 2020

Covid-19 Narrative

 ABC News provides us with reasons why the vaccine will not end shutdowns and the need to wear masks. Which leads me to wonder why we had all the hype about the vaccine, and to ask why anyone should accept the risks of taking a relatively untested vaccine if it isn’t going to change our lives for the better.

It's another step in an insane progression. The shutdown was initially to be for five weeks in order to “flatten the curve,” and then lasted for more than ten months “until a vaccine is developed.” Now that the vaccine is developed they have moved the goalposts yet again.

1. “Vaccination does not provide instant immunity.” Okay, that’s fair enough, but they do not say that you need to wear your mask and “observe precautions” for two weeks, or four weeks. They say you need to just keep doing it until they tell you to stop, which we know will never happen.

2. “Vaccination trials did not track whether participants wore masks.” There’s a long explanation about this, but it boils down to the vaccine not being adequately tested and that we don’t know whether or not it works. So why are we distributing it with so much hyperbole about it, and why should anyone be willing to take it?

3. “The real world does not mimic a controlled clinical trial.” Another long nonsensical explanation follows, which boils down to “we don’t know if the vaccine works.” See my questions at reason number two.

4. “The herd immunity threshold for COVID-19 is unknown.” This is just unadulterated babble. If the vaccine is worth the time and effort to distribute it, that is if it makes individuals immune, then “herd immunity” is irrelevant. If an individual is immune and can neither catch or spread the disease, then that individual wearing a mask and “taking precautions” has nothing whatever to do with “herd immunity.”

5. “The duration of vaccine immunity is unknown.” Another argument that boils down to “we haven’t adequately tested the vaccine and we don’t know if it works.” So one more time with a sensible question of, why are we distributing it with so much hyperbole about it, and why should anyone be willing to take it?

6. “It is unclear whether vaccines prevent transmission of COVID-19.” This one is simply stunning in its level of stupidity. It means the vaccine was actually not tested at all for the primary purpose of a vaccine, which is to prevent the spread of a disease. Here we are rolling out a vaccine with great fanfare, breaking our collective arm patting ourselves on the back for our “success” and hailing the producers as heroes on the level of those who walked on the Moon, and we don’t even claim to know whether or not it serves the primary purpose of a vaccine, which is to prevent the spread of the disease.

And this garbage was written by an internist, a “Doctor of Internal Medicine” who is, to boot, an instructor at  the University of Illinois School of Public Health and is a physician in private practice. The dishonesty and stupidity of the narrative surrounding this virus is simply astounding.


  1. Mr Bill, glad to have you back and in fine form. I was starting to worry about you.

    1) it does not say to wear masks etc 'forever' I suppose you assumed that since it left a end point out.

    2) they do know it works from the trial data. No they don't know about masking as a part of that since that wasn't to point of that part of the trial. They do admit more testing is needed, esp long term.

    3) Of course real life is different, that's one reason it's call a 'controlled' trial. Also see #2

    4) There is no "herd immunity" for this particular disease. The whole point of herd immunity is to make it so you can't get it or spread it. No one is at that point, that's why it's irrelevant.

    5) again, long term testing and results are not available, only effectiveness was tested. This is a very rapid testing situation, and since it does appear to work, do you want to delay it or get it out there? There is a sizeable segment of the population that will benefit from it, here and now, and testing and evaluation will continue. There are also a number of naysayers and anti vaxxers who won't take it, and that is their choice of course.

    6) it's other purpose is to prevent sickness in the person getting the damn vaccine, not just transmitting it. That's why you have masks and social distaning and whatnot. And hopefully vaccines that will do that as well. I got a measles shot as a kid so I didn't get the effing measles, not just so I didn't pass it around kindergarten.

    Also see testing points above... since this a global pandemic and vaccines needed, some long term results were abbreviated, yes. If this is anything like the flu, for example, you may need a Covid shot every year. And that doesn't mean you can't spread or trasnmit the flu to anyone, just that you're mitigated against it.

    Since this is a disease that continues to spread, often by asymptomatic transmission other public heath measures should be practiced. And we will all see if these vaccines do in fact mitigate transmission. We don't know yet. Yeah it sucks, but there is too much hyperbole and misinformation about it both good and bad.

    And you sir, are contributing to that by
    your commentary " breaking our collective arm patting ourselves on the back for our “success” and hailing the producers as heroes on the level of those who walked on the Moon..." when the author really don't say anything approaching that level. Yes, he does say its a milestone and unprecedented, but since the normal process is very long, yes it was an accomplishment. I read the article, and I thought it was a pretty well written one, with salient points and caveats as to what was still needed to do by scientists and the public.

    Oh and Happy New year. Glad to have you back.

  2. How refreshing. An oasis of civil discourse in a sea of disharmony. Happy New Year to you and yours as well.

  3. 1) My point was the moving goalposts. We were told we would "return to normal" after five weeks, once danger of overloading the hospitals was past. Then we were told we would do so once a vaccine was developed. Now that the vaccine is here, we are told that is not a signal for return to normal, and that now there is no goalpost at all. Dismal message.

    2) Animal trials tell how it works, because animals can be deliberately exposed to the virus. Those results have not been published. Human trial only tell us whether or not the vaccine harms humans, and four months is too short to ascertain that. Think Thalidomide.

    3) Again, "controlled trial." Not tested on people over 70 or under 14. Not tested on people with allergies. But vaccine is given to those people, on whom it has not been tested. Bad medical practice.

    4) There is herd immunity, we just haven't reached it yet. Vaccine may take us there, if it works, but by the writer's own statement we don't know if it prevents spread of disease. I didn't say that, he did.

    5) Long term testing not available is my point. Again, think Thalidomide. The first Polio vaccine, released after short term testing, was a disaster and had to be pulled. Your grandmother got polio from the vaccine. The second, tested longer was successful.

    6) Getting and spreading are the same thing. You can't spread a disease that you didn't catch, and you will spread a contagious virus if you have it.

    Corona is not anything like the flu. There are four entirely different flu viruses and different ones, along with mutations of different ones circulate each year.