I have spent much of the past year and a half wondering where all the hate against a difference of opinion comes from. I’ve commented on the belligerence of what social media call conversations now, especially in relation to vaccinations.
Huge arguments have developed around what COVID treatments work, around how scientific research is fact and therefore the “truth” and everything else is simply opinion or worse, misinformation. All against a background of the fantasy that if a scientific study is peer reviewed and claimed to be solidly constructed, it’s “fact” and everything else is fiction.
Fact is Only as Good as Its Basis in Consistent Data
There’s an old saw in the computer biz: garbage in, garbage out. I’m not calling peer reviewed research garbage. I’m simply trying to bring to the surface a fundamental “fact” if you will. Research is only as good as consistent data. In this horrendously stressful pandemic, consistent data for anything, including research studies, is nonexistent. Among mainstream media, only The Washington Post has been willing to consider this. They report, according to Gallad,:
There is no way nationally in this giant country to connect who’s been vaccinated and what their outcomes are, and that’s the underlying problem.
The Washington Post didn’t join the campaign train for mandated vaccinations:
Multiple factors underlie this data deficit. First and foremost: The United States does not have a national health system such as Israel’s or Britain’s, and in a pandemic, U.S. authorities must rely on a vast and decentralized public health infrastructure that is notoriously underfunded and full of holes. As a result, there is no simple way to track infections or outcomes across the population.
Yes, researchers try very hard to be sure their data is consistent, but they cannot be sure the reality behind the paper reports they collect data from for analysis are consistent. Did the patient on the death certificate die from COVID or from pneumonia or a heart attack. There was a time every death, no matter the cause, was supposed to be listed as caused by COVID if the person tested positive for COVID. Have car accident deaths been reported to be caused by COVID if the driver had COVID? Take a guess.
Julian Jaynes and the Fear Factor
I have considered the uproar over vaxxers and antivaxxers before. But this current anger over avoiding COVID-19 shots has reminded me of Julian Jaynes, a psychologist interested in the origin of consciousness long before the development of artificial intelligence and the internet. He had studied the Old Testament to observe how the thinking of people in older stories in the Bible arising primarily from small tribal groups changed in later Bible stories when cities had developed and people lived in larger groups.
In his The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1977), Jaynes observed that in the Bible stories he studies, the key difference between the governance of small tribal units and the larger groups of people dwelling in cities was how they handled decision making. In the tribal units, people relied upon inner guidance, intuition, whatever you care to call it, to make decisions. As cities developed and people lived in larger groups, decisions were made by doing what the ruling class told them to do. Jaynes argues that the clear difference between these two ways of governing action was based upon FEAR. Once members of a tribe abandon their reliance upon inner guidance and looks to the outside for decision making, the only way for a leader to force the masses to act together is to play upon fear. Threaten the masses with death and destruction if they don’t obey.
Perhaps oversimplified, but you get the picture.
If there’s one thing clear about the horrendous hatred being bandied about over the pandemic, it is obviously fear-based. In this country we have no national health care system as other developed countries do. The nearest thing we have to a national health care system is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC defines public health as follows:
Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. This work is achieved by promoting healthy lifestyles, researching disease and injury prevention, and detecting, preventing and responding to infectious diseases. Overall, public health is concerned with protecting the health of entire populations.
Once the CDC decides to mandate COVID vaccinations, it has stepped far beyond the purview of its own definition of public health. As Michel Accad notes:
By coercing vaccination on one group to “protect” another group from the virus, state mandates treat some people as human shields for the benefit of others.
This sets the perfect stage for any notion which might cast some reservation upon COVID vaccinations to be labeled misinformation and the person an anti-vaxxer. If a physician finds a way of successfully treating COVID which doesn’t fit the mass vaccination program, the physician is said to be spreading misinformation. The anger has become so extreme over differences of opinion that some organizations are proposing the physicians who raise concerns about vaccinations should lose their licenses. In fact, it’s a travesty for the Federation of Medical Boards to promote removing the licenses of physicians who dare to say there are other ways besides vaccination to treat COVID. The real misinformation is coming from the Federation of Medical Boards. If they were interested in truth, they would acknowledge that physicians have varying opinions about vaccinations, legitimate varying opinions. If you acknowledge the right for physicians to have varying opinions, you have no business trying to revoke licenses over mandated vaccinations.
Note the “protecting and improving” doesn’t mean one size fits all. Nor does it mean Public Health should mandate everyone get vaccinated. The vaccination mandates are supposedly done in the interest of “public health,” but the railroading of the herd toward single issue solutions doesn’t serve the public well, much less public health. Once that line is crossed, it’s no longer Public Health.
And then there’s the physicians who won’t treat patients who are not vaccinated. If you’re not going to treat unvaccinated patients, you will be unable to collect useful data about vaccination for research studies. Why? Because no physician refusing to treat an unvaccinated patient knows whether the patient dies for lack of treatment or simply recovers. A long way from the Hippocratic Oath. Informed consent is the foundation of a physician/patient relationship. A patient has the final say in whether to accept risk of proposed treatments or not. Recommendations, yes. Mandates, no.
A War or a Natural Disaster?
As Dr. Michel Accad has so well described, what we have in not a pandemic but rather a civil war .
A pandemic is not a war. It’s a natural disaster. (Granted, SARS-CoV-2 may not be so “natural” but still, the virus is not an “enemy” waging a war on us.)
A natural disaster doesn’t intend to subjugate cities and countryside, take natural resources and wealth, rape women, or enslave men. The virus doesn’t intend any of this. It has no intentions whatsoever.
This is a disease which has killed many people, but it is not a war. Accad suggests part of the reason it is hard to get everyone behind vaccinations is because there is no real external enemy as there is in war.
Lesley Wexler takes a look at how medical treatment is handled in war and finds the discrimination against the unvaccinated something not found even in war.
And yet, the laws of war dictate that opposing forces must respect, protect, care for and treat the sick and wounded humanely. These requirements are understood to mean that medical care must be provided without distinguishing based on nationality, race, political opinions, wealth, status, or any other similar criteria.
There’s a limited acknowledgment amongst CDC mandate supporters that reactions to the COVID vaccine are known, but the reactions are not recorded with any consistency. Mandates try to bury the confounding data outside the box.
What are some of the anomalies outside the box?
Early Confusion about Many Aspects of COVID Never Rectified
In the beginning, there was a lot of confusion about how to treat COVID patients. There was then and still is a lot of “yes it’s effective, no it isn’t effective” research studies done, all the while people are dying. Some physicians have reported having good success treating patients early on with combinations of vitamins, antibiotics, and infusions of antibodies (Regeneron). For a year and a half very few physicians have informed persons with COVID that if they had a Regeneron infusion as soon as they developed fever and flu-like symptoms, they were likely to be able to go home and recover. The “fact” police let people die rather than letting the public know some physicians were having success with Regeneron. Only now, a year and a half later, are the fact police admitting Regeneron works and works well as long as the patient is treated early in the disease.
What Data can Reveal and Conceal
Adam Kucharski, an Associate Professor and Sir Henry Dale Fellow at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, works on mathematical analysis of infectious disease oubreaks:
When I teach students outbreak analysis, many are surprised to discover the ambiguities and assumptions behind oft-quoted “facts” about novel pathogens.
Studies were often flawed, as they often are, even though duly blessed by the peer review committees. When early research studies of these successful Regeneron recovery protocols were done, the studies singled out one item in the treatment protocol. Vitamin D. Studied in isolation, without the use of the other supplements, Vitamin D was found to have no effect on COVID. No one seem to question why the whole regimen wasn’t studied.
One physician claimed that a physician with 15 COVID patients which all responded well to his early treatment protocol could hardly be given much credence because the numbers were too few and there was no study showing this physician’s protocol was effective. The real study would have been following the various physicians who saw their patients as soon as they developed a fever, and if they tested positive for COVID, treated them with Regeneron and sent them home to recuperate. Guess what? If you identify COVID early enough, at fever onset and treat it, the lung problems requiring hospitalization and intubation can in many cases be avoided.
Hiding Research Results from the Public
One of my biggest complaints about peer-reviewed scientific studies is that that Wolters Kluwer and a few other organizations own the rights to copies of studies in a great many medical journals. Reporters are sent free copies of the studies to spread in the media, but the public cannot get access to the studies to verify what’s said in the press without paying exorbitant fees for a copy. I have seen a reporter broadcast loudly the conclusion of a study without any mention of the limitations of a study. Furthermore, even if the limitations of the study are in the concluding statements of the study, the headline still barks the positive result.
I have, however, seen reports of successfully treating COVID with some protocols criticized for the small number of subjects. In statistics biz, this is called anecdotal results. Yet I have seen peer reviewed studies reported by the media with only 15 subjects. I saw in the concluding paragraph that the subject pool was only 15, and further study was needed. Did the reporter mention this? Of course not. So in effect, the reporters ballyhooing these studies are spreading misinformation.
We’re being told that science is right and to have concerns about the COVID vaccines is a rejection of science. Science has been turned into a religion which labels itself the keeper of truth in the form of peer-reviewed studies.
Stop Blaming the Unvaccinated
I resent the attempt to mix all people, including physicians who may have some reservations about getting vaccinated for COVID with the extreme anti-vaxxers who also do spread genuine misinformation based upon their illusions, usually with something to do with government control. There’s a difference between radicals against vaccination for civil rights reasons and those who have chosen not to get vaccinated because of reservations about the vaccines.
Diane M. Goodman has said this very well:
Blame did not help the situation then, nor does it help us move forward now. As nurses, we seek to work within a framework of understanding. As we tire of caring for thousands of COVID patients, we do not stop to ask if they “deserve” care or if they have taken precautions and lived reasonably prior to seeking assistance for disease.
Punishing physicians for disagreeing with mass vaccination simply pushes the truth underground. A large number of physicians do not speak up for fear of losing their licenses. Or they choose not to speak up on social media and be subject to abusive replies or have their posts removed entirely. If the government didn’t try to keep reasonable reservations out of the public eye, the public might find out how widespread the reservations against COVID vaccination really are:
A group of 57 scientists, doctors, and policy experts has released a report calling in to question the safety and efficacy of the current Covid-19 vaccines and are now calling for an immediate end to all vaccine programs.
As soon as the news media and internet conversations begin to ban “misinformation” and ban and remove all anti-vaccination information and posts, they are simply attempting to document the pervasiveness of the view that we all need to be vaccinated for COVID. As mentioned above, the basis of all physician/patient relationship is informed consent. The physician discusses all possible risks and options for treatment, and the patient decides what path to follow. Increasingly, as physician decisions have been removed from their purview, taken over by insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and corporate healthcare decisions, patients don’t understand the insidiousness of the effort to force vaccinations on everyone.
Patients don’t understand that the reason they can’t get in to see a doctor for two weeks or two months has nothing to do with the doctor, but rather non-medical decisions involving making as much money as possible. I wrote about this 30 years ago in Modern Medicine: What You’re Dying to Know. When faced with a rampant virus like COVID, chaos results from patients being unable to see a doctor as soon as they develop a fever and associated symptoms of COVID until they can no longer breathe.
Thought experiments have been around a long time, but David Chalmers has made them more or less famous outside the philosophy arena. I’d like to propose a thought experiment which might offer some insight into how backwards our approach to mandatory vaccination can be.
We get reports that hospitals are so full of COVID patients that there is no room for patients who need surgery, hospitals are out of beds and are having to send their COVID patients to other hospitals. Indeed, according to many news sites, one man died of COVID when 257 hospitals refused to take him for lack of a bed.
At the same time, I see tents set up in parking lots offering free COVID vaccinations.
At the same time, we know people with fevers and signs of the flu cannot get into see their doctors.
We know that treatment for COVID can be very successful with recuperation at home if patients are seen early, given IV Regeneron, and sent home with an antibiotic, and told to take zinc and large doses of vitamins A, D, and C.
Consider that instead of the vaccine being offered in these tents, the tents were instead set up to offer COVD testing to anyone experiencing a fever over 100 and flu-like symptoms? If a visitor does test positive for COVID, arrange to provide known effective treatment for early onset COVID and send them home to recover. Hospitals would then not be so full of COVID patients.
The mandate for vaccination is based upon a treatment model that fails. The government should stop the train rolling down the track towards derailment. Put the train back on a track that has been shown to be effective and keep COVID patients out of the hospitals.
Stop the Merry-Go-Round, I Want to Get Off
Hindsight is always better than foresight. The whole vaccine scenario has been badly managed from the start. It’s time to stop demanding everyone get vaccinated in an effort to prove that the mismanagement was the right thing. We need to start identifying patients with COVID as soon as the flu-like symptoms show up, provide them the medications and supplements they need, and allow them to return home to recover. Dr. Geert Vanden Bossche, a prominent virologist, understands the success of treating the COVID infection early:
…Covid-19 can be successfully treated if early multidrug treatment is used at an early stage of the disease, i.e., at the appearance of the first signs and symptoms. This not only prevents people from contracting severe disease but also provides them with broad and long-lived immunity in a way that is much safer, reliable and durable than getting the vaccine and also contributes to building herd immunity.
I strongly suspect our government will not admit its mistake of the vaccination mandate, a position that continues to leave our hospitals without the rooms or resources available to care for COVID patients. More tragically, a position that allows many thousands more to die for lack of appropriate early onset care. That is the real pandemic tragedy.