Good Friday and Easter Church Raid Attempts by Police Over Covid Intensify Conservative Christian Vaccine Hesitancy

Yves here. We didn’t expect to return to a heated topic so soon, that of conservative Christian resistance to Covid 19 vaccines, which we discussed late last week. As the post described, they have two grounds for concerns. One is the use of fetal stem cell lines. The connection to the vaccines may seem pretty strained to those not sensitive to this issue, but it isn’t fabricated.1

The second is that the proposed vaccine passports sound like the Mark of the Beast. Lambert found the relevant section in Revelation 13:

11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon….

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

In the last three days, as the post explains below, two heavy handed police actions against Catholic churches, both outside the US, have heightened vaccine concerns in some conservative parts of America. While the plural of anecdote is not data, IM Doc said they were major topics in his part of flyover…when vaccinations had already fallen off sharply.

Biden as a Catholic could speak to his fellow believers and Catholic leaders to try to repair the damage. But is he too far removed from ordinary people in the heartland to have the foggiest idea what is happening?

I am not able to ascertain how prevalent these attitudes are. I don’t see it in Birmingham, but this is a small city where the medical industry is the dominant employer, and Baptists are the largest religious group, followed by Methodists and Catholics. 5% are Pentecostals and we have roughly as many Mormons as Jews, both under 1%. That is a long winded way of saying that evangelicals are not a significant force here, although I imagine that varies widely in cities across the South. Since we are near the dead bottom on vaccination rates (they’ve only recently opened up vaccinations to everyone 55 or over, and distribution outside mass vaccination centers is still pretty limited), I doubt we’ve hit saturation of those keen to get a shot.

More generally, we are in the midst of a collision of religions: traditional sects versus the cult of experts. Economist and Biden supporter Paul Romer warned of the dangers of elite authoritarianism last October, and Lambert thought it important enough to devote an entire post to it. The Covid topic then was contact tracing but the same general principles apply:

By IM Doc, an internal medicine doctor working in a rural hospital in the heartlands

My worst nightmare concerns are starting to come true and the media will not be able to hide this for much longer. Today, I am not concerned about the SCIENCE of medicine – I am concerned about the ART of medicine.

The ART can best be summarized as encouraging patients to do the right thing for THEM. With regard to COVID 19, that would be to meet the patient at whatever level they are and find ways to encourage social distancing rules, masking and to correctly guide them on vaccine choice. It would also include encouraging them to be engaged in the healthiest behaviors possible during this time of crisis. Eat well, exercise, sleep and de-stress.

The ART is often much more important to a physician’s medical outcomes than the SCIENCE – something our society and our medical establishment has long ago forgotten. ART requires as a foundation explicit trust and honesty between a patient and the physician. There is no other way.

Yves, I appreciated your post the other day on the Christian Nationalism aspect of COVID 19. I made a comment on the post about this not just being an Evangelical problem. I even suggested in the comment that there could be issues brewing among Roman Catholics, based on what I had been hearing as a physician.

As of Easter Sunday, there are now multiple videos being widely circulated and they all speak to the issue better than I could ever type out in a comment. I have been seeing this problem slowly brewing for weeks and it has largely been completely ignored by our mainstream media.

These videos have both gone viral on our social media in the past 24 hours:

This video is from a Polish Catholic church somewhere in London. To say that it reminded me of a Dalek invasion straight out of Dr. Who is an understatement. Also – it appears that Big Brother has now arrived in our Good Friday mass.

Oh but this one is even better – This is from Calgary Alberta Canada. And in my rural parish this Easter morning, this was the main event being talked about by everyone.

At the time I put this tweet here – there were 1.2 million views – and I am certain many of them were at our Easter Mass this AM. There is a phrase used here to express the people’s reaction that is so apropos – “whomper-jawed”.

I will state for the record officially today – the public health authorities have lost the narrative. They apparently have also lost their minds. If they think this type of behavior on the most Holy Days of the Church is not going to go unnoticed – they have rocks for brains. This kind of thuggishness is not going to help their cause in any way; rather, it will make these people dig in more. And trust me – as of this Easter Sunday AM – they are digging in. Bunker-style. A clarion call has gone out and it could not be more clear. And I am talking about Roman Catholics – not my Evangelical family – they went off the reservation long ago. Now even my Orthodox friends have taken notice.

As I have been stating over the past few days – the authorities have repeatedly allowed discredited, hypocritical and lying Hoohahs to be their voice in the national media. Outside of our big blue cities and states – NO ONE AMONG MY PATIENTS COULD GIVE A RAT’S ASS WHAT THESE PEOPLE HAVE TO SAY ANYMORE ABOUT THIS PANDEMIC. I hear this refrain constantly every day. The lying, dissembling, crying, misstatements, backtracking and hypocrisy have taken their final toll. If they are not careful, they will soon be public enemy #1.

We have made many errors as a society in the past 12 months, but probably the most important mistake is hardly ever mentioned. One which our forbears in public health, like my father, worked to eradicate for decades. It is very simple – national “one-size-fits-all” narratives and plans in public health do not now nor have they ever worked. Never have. Never will.

There is a very good reason we have local health departments with trusted and elected figures to run things and to communicate. These people have their ears to the ground in their communities. They are trusted neighbors, often elected. That means there is accountability.

Over the past generation, we have largely decided that this is a system that we could no longer afford. So instead we have installed a national “one size fits all” bureaucratic octopus – and this fiasco is what has been wrought. And obviously not just in the USA. Combatting a pandemic in urban blue America is very difficult to do as we have all seen this year. But combatting a pandemic in the Rockies, or in the South is not even closely the same.

As just one example of many, who in rural America could forget our hospitals standing empty for a good 6 weeks last Spring with zero patients in many places while NYC was in a crisis? It was just a sign of mass disorganization which likely would never have happened a generation ago. Trust me – I could go on and on with examples for an entire novel-length discussion. The centralized bureaucracy “model” has been a complete bomb. I am not suggesting there should not be a CDC or an NIH. I am however suggesting that my people in my county should be much more attuned to their local authorities rather than Rachel Maddow or Dr. Fauci.

The tenor of what I am hearing from the MSNBC types, the UMC, the professionals, has become deeply disturbing. To wit, just call these stragglers names – yeah – then they’ll take the shot and willingly comply with orders. They’re just stupid after all. Or better yet, just let the dullards die. “Science” is telling us to take the vaccines – and only morons don’t get it. I have absolutely had to remove dailykos.com from my toolbar because it is obvious those people really do not have a clue. The partisans in our country have completely lost the gift of empathy for the other side. Those of us in the middle are left to just shake our heads and “fan ourselves” as my grandma used to say.

One of the founding tenets of public health is that shaming and name-calling have no place, certainly not in an emergency. I hope we are all beginning to understand this simple concept. I had the opportunity to speak with someone from the CDC this week. He asked me about vaccine hesitancy and loss of stringency in social distancing and masking that is becoming apparent in my area. I told him – and I will tell you all – the strategy must change and do so now if there is any hope of salvaging this situation. The MSNBC crowd have largely been the ones lining up to get vaccines. Most of them have now gotten their shots. Our agencies must immediately yank the HooHahs off the air – and get someone else to reach the rest of this country without all the backtracking and theatrics. I just do not know who that would be, nor do I know if the damage is already permanent. In my opinion, a big move like firing Dr. Fauci would likely do wonders. At this point – who cares what the MSNBC crowd thinks?

A few data points to consider out here in flyover country.

My wife has decided to take the J&J vaccine. I have too. We are going to take them on separate weekends so someone will always be well to take care of the kids. The J&J vaccines are available in our county. My wife called the pharmacy early thinking there would be a wait for an appointment. Not at all, just show up anytime. And we were there yesterday AM. The pharmacist informed us that this was only the 10th COVID vaccine of any brand administered the whole week. They have boxes of vaccines – and no one is taking them. The rush about a month ago is long over.

During the homily this AM, the guest Roman Catholic priest, an emigre, showed the above videos on the monitors and informed the crowd to be prepared to “fight for the faith”. He never thought he would see behavior like this in the West – behavior that was very common when he was a young priest in his home country.

He also suggested to think twice before taking the vaccines – they had all been tainted with fetal abortion cells. I know this is true of the J&J vaccine.1 I am also aware the Catholic Bishops have said it is OK to take the vaccine. In the minds of the majority of Catholics out here in the netherlands these days – they also remember that the Catholic Bishops vehemently said that raping boys by priests was supremely uncommon and when found would be taken care of with an iron fist. We all know how that worked out.

In brief – I am finding it ever more fascinating to live in a culture where everyone is trying their best to do the right thing – but the level of trust in our institutions is now approaching ZERO. That includes political, health, medical, media/entertainment and now sports – just about everything. I never thought I would be living in these days in America – but here we are. Our elites have been working diligently on this banquet for decades – now, the feast of consequences is being served.

____

1 On J&J and the Catholic Church, see Catholic Church has moral concerns over Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from WXYZ:

Catholic leaders in Michigan released a letter calling the Johnson and Johnson vaccine — as well as AstraZeneca (which is not yet approved in the US) — “morally problematic.” At issue: the use of fetal stem cells….

The letter contends that while Pfizer and Moderna used the fetal lines in their “confirmatory testing” Johnson & Johnson used it in their “design, production, development, and confirmatory testing” making it more morally “problematic.”

“This connection to the abortion is very remote,” the letter says of the Pfizer and Moderna use of the cells, adding: “however, and it is important to keep in mind that there are varying levels of responsibility.”

Still despite the warning, the leaders explained that if individuals have only the Johnson and Johnson option they should take it.

On whether Pfizer and Moderna used fetal stem cells. From KSDK:

So we wanted to verify: Is it true COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna contain aborted fetal cells?

Our source is Dr. William Moss, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Moss says understanding the involvement of fetal stem cells starts with a history lesson.

He says fetal cells were taken from two aborted fetuses in 1973 and 1985. A researcher in the Netherlands obtained these cells. Dr. Moss does not know the circumstances as far as the mothers and the abortions.

But over decades, those original cells have multiplied millions of times into new cells, in laboratories around the world, creating what are called fetal cell lines.

“Although their origin was in an aborted fetus, they’re really just this independent cell that’s been grown in a laboratory for decades,” said Moss….

The two COVID-19 vaccines currently being distributed in the United States come from Moderna and Pfizer. Moss says both companies used a fetal cell line in the very early stages to test the vaccines, not to create them….

He adds that beyond that testing stage, fetal cell lines were not used, meaning there are no fetal cells in the vaccine and they were not used to produce the vaccine.

“I want to make it very clear that the the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine. These two messenger-RNA vaccines do not use these fetal cell lines in their development. They do not use the fetal cell lines in their manufacturing. There were no fetal cells included in the vaccine,” Moss added.

And in case you wondered about the videos, Newsweek has reported on both incidents.

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172 comments

  1. PlutoniumKun

    Unfortunately this is very true. The messaging ‘from above’ has been terrible, compounded by an awful failure of public health elites to show any kind of humility over their past mistakes. Do they really think people have forgotten the errors over masks and international travel?

    As for catholicism – there are many different brands of catholicism. I remember my devout mothers comment after going to an English catholic mass for the first time. ‘They aren’t real catholics are they? They take it all so seriously’. My Irish American catholic relatives take orthodox catholicism vastly more seriously than the most religious Irish catholics I know. And the Poles – well, the catholic church was the only institution that provided opposition to government authoritarianism for decades – even atheist Poles acknowledge this. Here in Ireland, where the catholic church is a much diminished force, but still with some power, there hasn’t been a squeak about the J&J vaccine, or masses in general (it helps that there is a tradition of outdoor masses in Ireland, which has allowed the devout to have relatively safe events over Easter).

    I would add though a comment a religious friend of mine said to me a few weeks ago – he said that he noticed far more people than usual in churches – not during masses, just going in to pray. He thinks that empty churches have proven attractive to lonely people seeking some sort of respite from sitting at home alone.

    As so often with these things, we can take a leaf from what has worked in Asia. In South Korea, there was a huge issue with the evangelical churches – which have long been associated with the ultra conservative right – acting as super spreaders in the early outbreaks. It has helped that they’ve been a much diminished force over the past few years, but a mix of cautious but firm guidelines has allowed the government there to crack down on the mass events which have proven so dangerous. It has helped of course that the governments in South Korea and Taiwan (which also has an active evangelical movement), have proven to the population, religious or otherwise, that they know what they are doing.

    As IM Doc says, public health authorities need to listen to medical workers on the ground, and what they are advising. They need to talk to religious leaders, not lecture them. And most usefully of all, they need to stop acting as spokespeople for Big Pharm, be open and honest about the issues with each of the vaccines (yes really, even people without degrees are capable of understanding most of the complexities), and most of all give people a choice of which vaccine to take. In the long run, it will be much better to have a comprehensive vaccine roll-out than a ‘fast’ rollout which grinds to a halt in the face of religious/political objections.

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      The position of catholics is very much the same in Spain. Nobody is talking about fetal origin cells. I don’t buy on Romer’s tweets blaming ‘experts’. The breach here is clearly an administrative one: sending the police to force whatever with vaccines is a big mistake (even with masks in environments that are not risky, applying the law here blindly would also be stupid). I don’t believe there are ‘frustrated experts’ sending police corps here and there, my guess is that the responsibility lies in police officials and administrative chiefs. To my knowledge expressing publicly an opinion in favour of vaccination is well within the limits of free speech. I feel very wary of those stupid certification of vaccination schemes that if anything will introduce more noise and solve nothing and possibly push the more reluctant to dig their trenches deeper and offer more an more resistance.

      Covid times are showing how extended is stupidity in human behaviour.

      Vaccination should always be voluntary and not forced by any legal mean, IMO.

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      1. David

        Ditto in France, where there has been virtual silence from the Catholic Church, and where the Church tends to tread carefully anyway on political issues. Equally interesting is the silence from Muslim leaders. There’s plenty of opposition to vaccination, at least at the rhetorical level, but it’s not organised or directed from above. It’s partly historical bolshiness (“whatever you want the answer’s no”), partly the standard CT theories, but partly also the chaotic nature of the government’s handling of the crisis, and the endless changes of message.

        My impression, without being an expert, is that arguments from the Book of Revelations tend to come very much from fundamentalists (usually Protestant) so I suspect that inherited religious culture will have a lot to do with whether they get any traction or not. And it’s interesting that the two videos relate to Polish churches. Whilst the Church in that country was certainly a mechanism for resistance to Communism, it was also one of the most viciously reactionary in the world, and I’m not sure how much has changed. Does anyone know?

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        1. DJG, Reality Czar

          David: Undoubtedly the current fracas in Poland over the laws that pretty much abolished abortion under any circumstances stem from the influence of the Polish Catholic church. Plus ça change…

          Reply
        2. vlade

          Nothing has changed re Polish church, if anything, it got worse. For all terms and purposes it took over the fanaticism of the Irish church.

          That said, the current Catholic church behaviour in Poland is alienating many young/middle aged Poles, although there’s also the usual urban-rural split. But the rural is losing people fast, especially the young/middle aged (again).

          Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I wonder if part of what IM Doc is telling us here is that years of highly untrustworthy behavior by the health-elites, reaching a crescendo with their current covid-management behavior, has turned “middle” America into a low-trust culture. If that is what he is telling us, and that is what the ” Lords of Covid” have achieved, then “middle” America will remain a low-trust culture for some decades to come.

          If so, then the only way to change that would be several decades of high-trustworthiness from the various authorities which haven’t shown any lately.

          Reply
    2. DJG, Reality Czar

      PlutoniumKun: Indeed. While the Catholic church in Poland does go on and on how it has saved Poles throughout history, let’s also recall that the Polish Catholic Church is also quite retro in its views–and wildly puritanical. Puritanism runs through Polish culture, accordingly, so much so that when “real Poles” see my surname, they say that it isn’t really Polish. (Historical revenge: Okay, message received. The family name isn’t augustly Polish.)

      John Paul II, the instant saint, was also notable for his rabid anti-communism, so much so that he wrecked Latin American churches that flirted with Liberation Theology. So he is one of the holy fathers of the disaster of Brazil. (I tend to doubt he would have been a fan of Lula.)

      Other forms of Catholicism have adapted to the crisis.

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      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        I noted that today’s NYTimes has a headline that Pope Francis called for worldwide vaccination and distribution to poor countries. We’ll see if the oh-so-pure in the Polish Church go along with such dangerous ideas.

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    3. vlade

      The Polish Catholic church was really an important cultural instution for many Poles, more so than religious (although there is a massive urban/rural split), where many Poles saw themselves as the last bastion of the Western culture (which is closely tied to Christianity). But at the same time, Polish history is full of pragmatism, and also a conflict with German orders, which again was a cultural one, althought the underlying claim was religious with the German orders claiming to be the one and only ‘proper’ Christians that had a duty to rule over the pagan Poles and bring them the Christinity by sword and fire.

      For example, Polish kings in the 15th century were very careful with Hussites (the Bohemian ‘heretics’), because they saw them as an important, if indirect, ally against German influences, both in Silesia as well as well the militant orders in Prussia. Hussites even openly offered Bohemia’s crown to the Polish king Wladyslaw Jagiello, who refused, but politely so. Then the crown was offered to his cousin, Vytautas Grand Duke of Lithuenia (remember, Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth later on?), and Sigsimund Korybut (nephew of Wladyslaw II) was accepted by Hussites as Vytauta’s regent and even fought on their side IIRC for a few years. As a result, most of the Hussite raiding went to Siliesia/Germany, not Poland.

      In other words, the situation is actually much more complex than saying Poles are strongly Catholic – they are, but there are important cultural subtleties which aren’t immediately obvious.

      Reply
    4. Lambert Strether

      > Unfortunately this is very true. The messaging ‘from above’ has been terrible, compounded by an awful failure of public health elites to show any kind of humility over their past mistakes. Do they really think people have forgotten the errors over masks and international travel?

      Not to mention moving the goalposts on herd immunity.

      I understand that science is dynamic. But in general, messaging emphasized authority, not science. And when authority can’t seem to make up its mind, what then?

      Reply
      1. Krombopulous Michael

        Agreed. People have noticed that we’re a year into a two week quarantine, and all other manner of mixed messages.
        Did police break up any Seders last week? Ramadan is coming up as well. You think the po-po will bust those up? If the Catholics had held up signs in protest [with sjw acceptable topics], would the police have done anything?
        As an aside, the Chassidic communities seem to have let the virus blow thru their communities and seem to continue on as much as normal. You can look up Peter Santenello videos on youtube about his time in NY Chassidic areas. Drug addicts shooting up on the streets in liberal areas are “making life choices”, but people getting together for religious purposes are a public menace?
        One more thing– this morning my boss went on a rant in zoom about “idiots” getting together to watch college basketball, even if they were all vaccinated. “Vaccinated or not, it doesn’t mean you aren’t spreading the virus! My wife [20 yrs immune compromised] will have to stay in doors for 2 more years because of these assholes.” Mercifully he was cut off from any further spewing, but I scarcely knew where to begin. So…the vaccine does nothing, but you have to take it. Even if you take it, you still can’t engage in human contact. Nothing can ever go back to normal.
        Needless to say, I can understand why some people don’t want to go along with that line of reasoning (this is excluding any questions of long-term safety and efficacy of this EUA drug).

        Reply
        1. occasional anonymous

          Everything he was ‘spewing’ was true. You can still carry and transmit a disease you’ve been vaccinated against. This isn’t new knowledge. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2015/02/02/702199/10118172/en/Studies-Show-that-Vaccinated-Individuals-Spread-Disease.html

          I’ll also add that you can have and transmit a disease without ever showing symptoms, and that that knowledge also most definitely isn’t new. I have been downright shocked to see idiots over the last year claiming it’s an absurd idea that doctors are just making up. Holy hell, it’s not like Typhoid Mary has been common folk lore for almost a century or anything.

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      2. PlutoniumKun

        On this subject, I’ve been reading up a little on office ventilation measurements, as its become an issue in my organization as they plot a return to the office. What is striking is that the official bodies – including WHO, EU, and national bodies have been slowly adjusting to the aerosol model without clearly stating that previous advice is out of date – the result of which is, I think, a lot of confusion, even among professionals who are being tasked with implementing guidelines.

        In the Nature article linked last week here WHO even took the ‘hey, we always said you should check your ventilation’ line rather than admit that they were wrong previously (it is true that they advised this, but it was clearly secondary to recommendations to focus on fomites and social distancing). This strikes me as a sign of personal defensiveness and organizational entropy, rather than having the interests of scientific accuracy or public communication at the core of their messaging.

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        1. vlade

          NZ had a confirmation(the only in world I know of ) of aerosol transmisson in a controlled environment (quarantine hotel under CCTV)

          “This case study of COVID-19 transmission demonstrates a multibranched chain of transmission involving numerous settings, supported by closed-circuit television observations, genomic sequence analyses, and epidemiologic investigations. Major aspects included a probable case of transmission without direct person-to-person contact by aerosol within MIQ; transmission in-flight, as well as within households; and use of genomic sequence analysis to confirm probable direction of transmission between cases. ”

          The study still says “probable”, but there are pretty much no other vectors that could be considered.

          Reply
  2. James P.

    First this from the author:
    “The partisans in our country have completely lost the gift of empathy for the other side.”

    Followed by:
    “At this point – who cares what the MSNBC crowd thinks?”

    Ironic. Clearly the author has taken a side. The new popular approach: pick a tribe but decry tribalism.

    Reply
    1. IM Doc

      I am most definitely not on any side. I find both sides grotesque. What I meant there and what is clearly stated in a clumsy fashion is that one group has largely complied. If this is as critically important as we are being told we should be concentrated on the other side which has up until now by anyone viewing this with a fair lens been given short shrift by our media and leaders.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        In other words, now that the MSNBC crowd has been reached and vaccinated, messages designed to reach them are no longer necessary? Because they have already been reached and vaccinated?

        And to reach the “middle” American community, a “middle” American message-form will be needed?
        And that will require genuine “middle” Americans to design the messages and offer the messages without regard to what the MSNBC Americans think of those messages if the MSNBC Americans happen to be eavesdropping on the “middle” American messengers to the “middle” Americans?

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        1. James P.

          And you think this genuine middle American message isn’t already getting out there? You must not be paying attention to talk radio and social media. There is a genuine middle American message and it is definitely getting to middle America. That message is “the virus is a hoax, the vaccine is a government plot to implant computer chips in all of us, and mandates like mask wearing and social distancing are efforts by the ungodly to destroy our religious freedoms.” The message is being received loud and clear.

          Reply
          1. tegnost

            https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/08/27/more-americans-say-they-are-regularly-wearing-masks-in-stores-and-other-businesses/

            most people wear masks, and that number includes a lot of people who don’t want to, but do because it’s required. As to computer chips, they don’t need them because “everyone” has a cell phone. Are you going to try and say no one gets their phone tracked? One nation, under surveillance by the same effers that basically lie about everything. Turn some of your angst towards why anyone should trust our “bettors” (no, i didn’t mispel that) Also i think it’s disingenuous to use masking when the article is about vaccines. Seems like you want to fight the battle on the mask ground instead of the vax ground, likely because masks is simple and vaccine is complex.I reiterate, There is no reason for anyone to blindly trust that the PTB have our best interests at heart. We all know that between marginal peoples lives and the economy, the economy wins without a fight.

            Reply
          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            That is not the message which IM Doc has in mind and for which IM Doc hopes and writes about here. ( If I am wrong about that, I suppose he may well correct me).

            Reply
  3. John A

    Here in Britain, distrust is growing about the AZ vaccine, due to a small number of cases of blood clotting, including deaths that would appear to be causally related. Most EU countries seem to have suspended its use for under 65s, while here the government first pretty much denied there was such an issue, and then very reluctantly, and now basically saying the risk is miniscule. Not a good look. I had my first AZ in February, no side effects whatsoever, and 2nd due later this month. But I am male well past middle age. One of my daughters, a teacher in her 20s, had the AZ one without any problems. However, young women appear to be at greater risk of the blood clotting problem.

    Reply
  4. Henry Moon Pie

    I believe Baptists, especially those part of the Southern Baptist Convention, are considered Evangelicals. All Baptists, once called Anabaptists because they required those baptized as Catholics or Lutherans as infants to be re-baptized to become members, fall under the “born again” category.

    Side note: most Lutheran churches call themselves “evangelical” because they emphasize the preaching of the Gospel, the euangellion/evangel, i.e. the “good news.” In the United States, however, “evangelical” is usually applied to Christian denominations that require baptism after some rather flexible and variable age of consent.

    Also, Evangelicals should not be confused with Pentecostals or charismatic Christians who emphasize the gifts of the Spirit, especially speaking in tongues.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Sorry, having seen them at close range, they are not even remotely like what most Americans consider to be evangelicals. Church is social and the religiosity for many is fairly superficial, although they do pray a lot. That may differ in Texas, BTW, there could well be significant variations across the South.

      Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          This does not begin to substantiate your claim. It DEFINES Southern Baptists as Evangelicals. This is circular.

          Gotta tell you, here they might as well be Episcopals. Tons of country club members and bank president as followers, but without the incense and robes and a lot more obligation to show up for services and more belief in prayer.

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          1. Henry Moon Pie

            Isn’t the definition of “evangelical” what’s in contention here?

            The definition of “evangelical” is quite fluid. There’s the theological/historical definition that I laid out above. Then there’s the old way pollsters used to define it according to the respondent’s answer to “Are you ‘born again?'” Then there’s Pew’s definition which ignores most of theology and history and lumps together disparate denominations based more or less on their political views, but which really reflects one theological aspect: hermeneutics. The three denominations they mentioned don’t agree on much other than biblical authority. They even argue over whether the Bible is “infallible” or “inerrant.” But they do share opposition to abortion and gay marriage, and until fairly recently, none had women pastors.

            But I’m still not quite sure what your definition of “evangelical” is.

            Reply
  5. cocomaan

    The MSNBC crowd have largely been the ones lining up to get vaccines. Most of them have now gotten their shots.

    This is what I’ve observed as well. Upper class and upper middle class people who want it have gotten it.

    Overlap between people who hate trump and people who have gotten the vaccine is high.

    Many of them have elbowed into line, which has disgusted a lot of people who were hesitant on the vaccine.

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    1. Yoghurt

      In Massachusetts, they still have not opened up vaccine eligibility for everyone. I have to wait for April 18 to roll around. You are right, a lot of people have jumped ahead for various reasons some legit, some with strained rationales.

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    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      Alleged “elbowing into line” by coastal, Democrat, PMC types is used as an excuse by those who despise them to posture about their own superiority. People who never intend to get this vaccine do not much actually care about the actions of those who take it….. except as yet another a stick to beat their social enemies with. For the most part my family and acquaintances who will not take the COVID vaccine are convinced it’s pointless and are little more than amused by alleged jockeying to get it faster. They also express disgust, yes, but they would have expressed that amount of disgust towards “liberals” anyway over some other transitory issue. Disdain for and opposition to the COVID vaccines is just one of their latest vehicles for self-flattery.

      It is too late to convince those who are ideologically opposed to it to get it. They may come around over the course of years, as it become as unremarkable as a flu vaccine, but they are not going to take it while it is an emblem of political liberalism. My guess is over the next ten years a few versions will become commonly available as fully vetted annual vaccines. As COVID vaccines becomes common, fully tested, and when the right wing media stops covering it, vaccination coverage will slowly increase a bit. Until then we will probably fail to reach 70% coverage in the U.S. and will see slightly higher death and illness rates than we would otherwise. If mutated variants become significantly more lethal things may change. Otherwise no.

      Reply
      1. TMR

        I’d highly recommend taking a look in the mirror, because the unrestrained disdain toward the “people who never intend to get this vaccine” just ensures this is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

        Reply
          1. Starry Gordon

            Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it? People are not going to take your advice or imitate your example if they think you hate them. So if the current theory of the plague held by the elites is valid, then the profanum vulgus will act as a reservoir of contagion for a long, long time. See what good that does anybody.

            Reply
            1. occasional anonymous

              1. I do hate them, because they aggressively don’t care about me or others 2. It’s clear that they aren’t going to take it regardless. We’re at the point where some significant number of ‘adults’ refuse to do something as simple as wear masks in public. Trying to be nice has had exactly zero effect.

              I’m tired of the blame being put on anything and everything other than the idiot ‘adults’ themselves acting like children.

              Reply
            2. Kurt Sperry

              Are dissenting opinions actually welcome here or is this another bubble? I guess we’ll soon find out.

              The anti-vaxxers (and I am deliberately avoiding misleadingly anodyne euphemisms like vaccine-skeptical or vaccine hesitant) are going to pay no more attention to what I or anyone outside their hermetic ideological bubble think than frankly I will to their batty opinions. This is intrinsically a tribal binary divide with very little middle or shared ground to work in. Either you believe in and take the vaccine or you refuse it; pick a side, there’s no equivocating this time.

              Anyone who’ll voluntarily get into a car to drive across town to do something unnecessary and not tremble in fear at the danger yet will at the same time pause before the unambiguously far lesser danger of getting a vaccine quite likely not only to save their life but to protect those of their family, friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens is manifestly incapable of assessing relative risks in a rational manner. And this is leaving out the pure selfishness of thinking and acting this way.

              Reply
              1. Yves Smith Post author

                You clearly did not read the post, or at least not with care. These are religious objections, and they go beyond assembling.

                We mentioned at the top The Mark of the Beast concern. The vaccine passport threat is now being bandied about as a compliance measure. That’s despite the fact that many of its promoters have not checked on its legal status (you cannot require people to take a vaccine approved only under an EUA under Federal law, so not in any Federal or governmental context, as well as in employment).

                Some commentators claim that private businesses can still impose them under the “no shirt, no service” standard. But that fails because this isn’t a status you can ascertain based on public/visible information. It runs afoul of civil rights and privacy statutes in many state and even cities (no way is this legal in Denver, for instance).

                So we have a lame-assed idea that at most could be imposed only in certain states in a pretty narrow context. Yet this is being bandied about in the US as something imminent, when it triggers evangelicals who otherwise might be persuadable (they don’t have issues with fetal stem cells).

                Reply
                1. Kurt Sperry

                  “Mark of the beast concerns” are for me as an agnostic on a par with “invisible unicorn concerns”, “disembodied voice in my head concerns”, or “alien lizard people concerns”.

                  I have no opinion on the legality of “vaccine passports”, a subject I never broached in my post, but I’m hoping they are found legal as I think they might likely help nudge some fencesitters over to the vaccinated side if they allow access to events, travel, and recreational opportunities that cannot otherwise be responsibly held. Plus I’ll feel a lot more confident having the freedom to choose attending events and traveling knowing I’m not sharing enclosed spaces for hours with anti-vaxxers, as even after I’m fully vaccine-protected some small contagion risk will inevitably remain.

                  Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, the anti-vaxxers, if sufficient in numbers, will unnecessarily keep the pandemic ongoing far past the time it should and as a direct result cause a lot of completely needless and gratuitous death, life-long disability, and massive economic harms that will inevitably disproportionately effect the poorest and most vulnerable among us.

                  Reply
              2. IM Doc

                I will tell you that anti Vaxxers do not bother to talk to me about this. The people I see all the time are folks who have dutifully taken vaccines for years and this one has them concerned.

                I would urge everyone not to conflate these two groups. Completely different

                Reply
                1. Basil Pesto

                  mightn’t it be more useful to think of it as more like a Venn diagram, with ‘anti-vaxxers’ and ‘normies’ in two circles and a bit of overlap in the middle corresponding to ‘Covid vax hesitant’?

                  Reply
                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    No, you are acting as if vax hesitancy FOR COVID VACCINES APPROVED ONLY UNDER AN EUA is a subset of anti vax. This is a total category error. I know many many many people who have taken and continue to take established vaccines without reluctance who do not at all like the rushed process and hype, particularly since the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines deploy a technology never use on humans save in VERY small trials AND their makers have liability waivers!!! Being concerned about this package is rational.

                    Reply
                    1. Keith Newman

                      @Yves. April 6, 2:01 am
                      Your description describes me to a tee. I am waiting as long as I reasonably can before choosing the vaccine I want to take. At present my Covid risk is very low. If I worked in the health sector or with the public or had children in school or anything else high risk I would get vaccinated (preference J&J at present).
                      In addition to the problems listed by Yves, Big Pharma also has a long record of innumerable legal violations, often involving the safety of patients.

      2. tegnost

        used as an excuse by those who despise them to posture about their own superiority.

        well you sure seem to be sitting up straight in your chair…

        Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Which is strange, given that the existence of most of these vaccine types is a direct legacy of Trump’s own Operation Warp Speed.

      Indeed, Trump himself might be a trusted messenger to many . . . . ” These are MY vaccines, people” . . .

      Reply
  6. ambrit

    This issue seems to be inculcating in Americans something that my Dad used to say was a basic aspect of growing up in London; having a “healthy disrespect for the Law.”
    These “experts” have made so many ‘own goals’ that it really does look like the public has determined to ignore them in future, on any subject.
    We are still waiting for a killed virus vaccine to become available near us.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I am also waiting for a single-shot, free or inexpensive shot using killed virus, that is readily available stable at room or ordinary icebox temperatures and tested at least as well as the mRNA and J&J vaccines. I have no need to leave my rooms until I can trust something reported about the Corona flu.

      Reply
      1. Cuibono

        seems like you will waiting a long time. i dont see a US one anywhere near testing. did i miss something?

        Reply
  7. voteforno6

    I understand the need to find a way to reach these people, but I’m not sure if the Catholic church is in any position to label anything as morally problematic. For that matter, the same can be said for a lot of conservative Christians.

    Reply
    1. cocomaan

      In public health you can’t get into ideological battles with all the fringe groups you don’t like, though. It has to operate in the realities of the communities you work in.

      For instance, the Five Percent Nation, Nation of Islam, and other ultra conservative groups operate in black communities. Jewish Orthodox communities have already resisted covid restrictions. The Amish in my area have virtually ignored Covid and gone about their way. These are groups incredibly wary of government dictat and who are only going to double down under criticism.

      But now is not the time to get into arguments over ideology. Public health interventions have to find a way to succeed or, as someone said, “A good vaccine rollout can kill a disease, a bad vaccine rollout can kill vaccines.”

      Reply
      1. Jason

        The Five Percent Nation, Nation of Islam, and other ultra conservative groups operate in black communities. Jewish Orthodox communities have already resisted covid restrictions. The Amish in my area have virtually ignored Covid and gone about their way.

        These are excellent control groups. How does covid operate within communities that don’t vax?

        These communities aren’t on the verge of being wiped out by the latest plague because they don’t indulge in mass vaccination programs among their group; in fact, there’s absolutely no evidence that they’ve been hit harder than the outside masses in relation to covid sickness and mortality. The opposite appears to be true. Why?

        Reply
          1. vlade

            I talked to Israeli last November, and he was very unhappy with Orthodox Jews (and orthodox muslim Palestinians), who ignored any restrictions.

            Based on what he was saying (third hand evidence of course), his feeling were quite widespread

            Reply
            1. occasional anonymous

              The religious, of all stripes, West and East, have been absolutely shameful throughout this entire pandemic. Religious gatherings were major early vectors of spread in both India and South Korea in particular.

              Reply
        1. marym

          Below are links to a media report on Amish and Mennonite communities, a CDC report on one community in 05-06/2020, and a media report on orthodox Jewish communities in 03/2020 and 10/2020. The first two include commentary on challenges to getting more precise data.

          However well a mostly self-contained community in a rural setting can protect itself to its own standard of what’s acceptable, in more densely populated places the number of such groups and the degree of impact on people they’re in contact with outside the group matters too. I don’t know if that’s being studied.

          https://apnews.com/article/public-health-lancaster-amish-health-mennonite-5a9fa92873c6a6607d69cbf3a6443a46
          https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6945a2.htm?s_cid=mm6945a2_w
          https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/when-covid-19-rules-are-flouted-ultra-orthodox-jews-it-ncna1243590

          Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          These would also be “control” groups to study for the next few decades for rates of ” long-tail covid” and also post-recovery legacy organ damage leading to otherwise non-lethal conditions becoming lethal when attacking organs which were stealth-compromised by covid’s sneaky passage through those organ systems.

          Reply
    2. scott s.

      The problem with this thinking is that “these people” may not share your disdain for the authority of the Catholic Church on matters of morality. You might also consider that “these people” do not necessarily respect any word that comes from the mouth of a cleric (and this includes Popes) until they test it against what they consider to be the authoritative magisterium of the church.

      Reply
  8. Samuel Conner

    It’s not much help in the present crisis, but I hope in that future history-oriented readings — that see the book as addressed to persecuted churches of the 1st century (the letters to the seven churches of Asia), and the imagery as relating to contemporary events (for example, 666 is the number of the name of an identifiable historical figure: “Neron Caesar”) — of Revelation will be more widespread. An early such reading is James Stewart Russell’s “The Parousia”.

    NT Wright and Andrew Perriman are current day examples of history-oriented interpreters, and I’m sure that there are others I haven’t heard of.

    It’s not much help in the present crisis, of course.

    Reply
    1. occasional anonymous

      Revelation is either a. an elaborate poetic metaphor for historical events under Nero (this is the reading of a significant number of Biblical historians), or b. the drug fueled ramblings of an idiot madman,

      Either way, no literal reading of Revelation has any place in the teachings of anyone claiming to be a follower of Christ. ‘Endless, pure, eternal love’ is incompatible with ‘ETERNAL LAKE OF FIRE!’. Always has been, always will be.

      Reply
    2. Arakawa

      It won’t help in the present crisis because many Christians don’t read the Antichrist, Mark of The Beast etc. as necessarily a specific prophecy about the 21st century, they read it as a general warning about an anti-spiritual type top-down-control society of which social credit, ultra-bureaucracy, and now vaccine passports (the “vax in exchange for freedom” bargain as crudely presented by MSM) may be considered an example.

      Reply
  9. Haydar Khan

    Good points. Credibilty in U.S. public officials period has been long decaying ( Iraq war anyone?). I personally don’t care about Christian fundamentalism but the U.S. is stuck with it. I think the smartest thing to do is appeal to the true God of America: money. Pay people to take the shot.

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Heh. “…… appeal to the true God of America: money. Pay people to take the shot.

      Good an idea as any, but they’d have to pay in cash and before the jab, since the “promise” of a $2000 “payment” later for a dem vote today didn’t work out too well last time.

      Reply
    2. Tom Stone

      Make that Vietnam for us older folks.
      I wonder how many remember Con Son Island?
      Or the Pike and Church Commission reports?

      Reply
    3. Carla

      “Pay people to take the shot.”

      Now, let’s see. Amazon can deny their employees bathroom breaks. But nursing homes, home health care agencies and hospitals cannot require employees caring for the sickest and most vulnerable people in our society to be vaccinated during a global pandemic. What is wrong with this picture?

      Reply
      1. Arakawa

        Well, I suppose if hospitals were as cruel and ruthless to their employees as Amazon is, they would have less trouble making them get vaccines.

        Reply
    4. upstater

      It goes deeper than cynicism towards and mistrust and credibility of public officials… all well-earned as you and other commenters note…

      When we also look at “trusted institutions”, the US military consistently comes out on top, for decades now, in spite of not winning definitively any recent war and consuming gluttonous portions of the federal budget. Culturally, entities like the NFL, NBA or MLB also seem to have also fared well with public opinion.

      When it comes to “trust” note that the military or professional sports enjoy a very friendly MSM environment. Why not, they all make very solid contributions to the bottom line of any MSM entity regardless of its slant and also serve the needs of the ownership of MSM. There are huge constituencies for military (e.g., active duty, reserves, veterans, contractors, employees of large and small defense corporation, etc) or sports (fans).

      Note also that the military or professional sports have highly developed media and PR campaigns designed and staffed by experts in messaging. All sorts of ads, interviews, think tankers, media appearances, etc, etc. And how do tech algorithms present military or sports to the public? Do they ever turn out negative?

      Once we get away for these two examples, the partisan or regional divides crop up and becomes FOX and Newsmax vs. NYT, WaPo, MSNBC, CNN. There are no existing “natural” national constituencies supported by MSM and legions media/PR experts for things like public health. Indeed, the whole notion of “public health” can be conflated with control and social welfare (i.e., giving something “free” to “them”). The hot house of tech algos engage their consumers with their defined biases and amplify those biases. Attaching “warning labels” or censoring content validates conspiracy theorists.

      One has to shudder to think about the wildly successful public health campaigns for vaccinations against measles, small pox or polio would probably fail in the current environment.

      The cynicism and skepticism towards officialdom is well-earned. I frankly do not see how trust can be established for public health given the totally dysfunctional nature of state and federal governments.

      Reply
  10. flora

    Thanks for this post. The two tweet vids of police shutting down Good Friday services in UK and Canada… no words. Our “elite govt experts” seem to have gone full authoritarian power grabbing, which makes me wonder if their interest is more in public health or in demanding obedience to their “expert” pronouncements, (while they silence even medical experts teaching at Harvard and Yale who have a more nuanced outlook.) Unbelievable.

    It looks like 70-80% of the US public want the vaccination. Between that voluntary uptake and the people recovered already from C19 we should have good US immunity by summer, even if a small percentage of people do not take the vax. That’s my understanding.

    Reply
  11. Tom Stone

    When you are dealing with the morally and intellectually inferior firmness is a necessity.
    And so is the occasional “Noble lie” for the common good.
    The deplorables can either get in line or get hurt, it’s traditional.

    Reply
    1. IM Doc

      For 30 years in my professional career, I walked among those with credentialed education and Ivy League paticulars. Our PMC has decided that that intelligence and wisdom only flow from those with such a background. Yet another almost daily mistake I see being made by our media figures.

      I believe, and I may be wrong, that it was Noam Chomsky who several years ago wrote a nice long passage about this very issue – indeed he suggested that it was actually easier to prove that intelligence and wisdom were mainly to be found in the non-credentialed.

      Now that I have been out among the “deplorables” as you call them – and as so often they are referred by the credentialed class – I can assure you that I cannot agree with the good Dr. Chomsky more vigorously.

      Non-credentialed does not equal moral and intellectual inferiority. Indeed, I have learned the past 3 years that if I was ever stuck on an island Survivor-style, I would want to be surrounded with the folks I stand with now – and not the ones I spent the past 30 years with. And most certainly I am so relieved that my children are learning values from these deplorables rather than the educated fools that populate our cities.

      Our move to the hinterlands has been probably the most illuminating journey in our lives.

      Reply
      1. occasional anonymous

        “Non-credentialed does not equal moral and intellectual inferiority.”

        No, it doesn’t. But being a petulant Karen or manchild who aggressively refuses to do something as simple as wearing a freaking mask does.

        I’m breaking hard with NC on this. Yes, our leaders, the media, and our ‘healthcare’ industry have failed over and over and over again over the last year. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that an apparently significant portion of our population have chosen to act like fools. In the end personal responsibility is a thing, and I’m tired of us trying to come up with systemic reasons to excuse the idiocy of individuals. As Lambert has said repeatedly: Russian roulette is risking your own life, while American roulette is risking other people’s lives. I actively resent these morons; they’re putting everyone else at risk.

        Reply
          1. Kurt Sperry

            We all engage in it. What is calling out GWB/Cheney and the bipartisan neocons for their heinous war crimes but an act of necessary moralizing? Some people like the Iraqi war cheerleaders choose to behave in unambiguously morally reprehensible ways. Is it useful to point out their moral depravity? I don’t really care, it’s truth. Sometimes truth needs to be heard even if it falls on deaf ears.

            Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You don’t even have your stereotypes right. Karens are middle aged, middle-upper middle class women who abuse working class people. They are the classic “I want to see the manager” types. They are city and coastal, not rural, because the class differences aren’t large enough in rural America to cop that ‘tude.

          Some well known Karen vids. They involve calling the police on blacks:

          https://twitter.com/jaimetoons/status/1271300265170186240?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1271300265170186240%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fus-news%2F2020%2Fjun%2F15%2Fceo-lisa-alexander-faces-backlash-video-berating-james-juanillo

          https://www.huffpost.com/entry/woman-calls-police-oakland-barbecue_n_5af50125e4b00d7e4c18f741

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqARrnQdcQM

          Reply
          1. flora

            re: “You don’t even have your stereotypes right.”

            Inst my much younger years, I though the US TV show “Murphy Brown” was tres au courant. Now, it’s sort of embarrassing to watch. Times change.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Dan Quayle was too far ahead of his times. Back then he was pilloried for his comments about “Murphy Brown.” “Low information, conservative bigot” was the kindest of the attacks on him.
              Now, he would be given a show on Fox News.

              Reply
        2. IM Doc

          These morons as you call them are the ones who risk life and limb dealing with animals so you can eat – and with oil pipelines and down the mines so you can heat your home.

          We seem to lose sight of this constantly.

          Their day to day life and jobs are so incredibly physically difficult and complete disaster is always around the corner – that many of them do indeed have the attitude of “What is a virus going to do to me that these bulls have not already done?”

          They are not morons. They are not going out of their way to inconvenience you or anybody. They laugh out loud at this kind of preening. Many of them stare death and dismemberment straight in the face daily. And have the scars to show for it.

          I used to think like you do. Those days are long gone. I deal with these people every day. Maybe you should get out into the rural areas of this country a bit more. It has sure changed my perspective.

          Reply
          1. IM Doc

            I do not know who you are. I do not want to come off as harsh on you either. Believe me I understand. I have learned over the past year to deal with people where they are. It is my job. It is my profession. There are thousands like me all over this country doing their very best to deal with this situation.

            I have learned a lot about how to deal with these “morons.” It has been a whole year of a step forward with me and then three steps back with the chaos in our media. I have been able to make great strides with many of them. But it has certainly not been done by name-calling or virtue signaling.

            Indeed, I have found this to be the best way to live life outside of medicine as well. Time and experience teach us quite a bit if we keep our minds open.

            Reply
          2. occasional anonymous

            I work on a farm. Don’t give me this ‘so I can eat’ crap. Being a laborer doesn’t necessitate someone to be a stubborn fool.

            Good job just throwing all workers under the bus like that though. So in your mind ‘covidiot’ equals ‘working class’?

            Reply
            1. IM Doc

              Not at all – I usually do not refer to anyone as a covidiot. It does not get one far in my business.

              All I can say I am relieved I am the one trying to deal with these people. Not all of whom are farmers, ranchers, or roughnecks by any stretch of the imagination.

              People with your attitude have been dealing with them all year on the legacy and social media – and you can see where it has gotten us.

              Reply
              1. occasional anonymous

                My frustration is one created by a year of observing and trying to interact with these Cro-Magnons who are not just stupid, but aggressively stupid. Being polite to them hasn’t worked. Trying to handle them like children and talk down to their level hasn’t worked. No, continuing to insult them isn’t going to work, but freaking nothing else is working either.

                Here, can we please stop the pretense that the reason many people are are being idiots about this epidemic has anything to do with the (many) mistakes of the WHO, CDC, etc etc? Compiling a list of the many elite and institutional errors misses the key point that many people who refuse to even do basic things like wear masks aren’t even aware of those many errors, because they were never paying attention to official pronouncements to begin with. They were getting their news from Fox and Facebook groups. They were refusing to wears masks from jump. And in fact if you go back to the Spanish flu epidemic a century ago we see literally the same kind of stubborn stupidity.

                I’d throw up my hands and say ‘just let them kill themselves’, but unfortunately diseases don’t work like that.

                Reply
                1. JL

                  At the near certain price of being hated by all, I have to say that I agree with both of you. I suspect at different moments each of you do too.

                  Reply
                2. Wombat

                  Your comments display quite the religious fervor and “hate” for the “covidiott” nonbelievers. You pray the virus will strike these pagan non-believers down at higher rate than the coastal believers? Surely, “covidiott” pagans in SC, FL, and TX will be stricken from the earth at a higher rate than those believer locales like CT, NY, and CA:

                  https://www.statista.com/statistics/1109011/coronavirus-covid19-death-rates-us-by-state/

                  But they don’t. The numbers don’t show a correlation. Perhaps this incenses you. Fills you with spiritual rage at the nonbelievers. They must pay for their iniquities. Perhaps they will be stricken soon at a higher rate than coastal compliant church. We just need more faith.

                  Reply
                    1. Wombat

                      Ahh, Sin and iniquity are everywhere! Once we purge it from our church we will be blessed. Until every last non-compliant pagan is purged, we will see high death rates, regardless of the compliancy rate.

                      But… Some states we know are far more compliant with measures en masse and the numbers are not showing lower death rates per 100k. We should start seeing states with lower compliance rates and fewer lockdowns realize higher death rates right?

                      Don’t lose faith though! Keep your zealous disdain for those sinful. You will soon be blessed for your holier-than-thou piety. Maybe not one year or two, but soon, they will be punished.

                    2. Yves Smith Post author

                      *Sigh*

                      The numbers are very skewed because NYC got the disease early before anyone had a clue as to how to treat it and before the CDC was recommending masks. Help me. NYC is also densely populated so comparing it to Oklahoma or Maine is apples and oranges.

                    3. Wombat

                      Thanks and I agree. Calling out CT and NY as specific examples was flawed. I am not referring only to these Northeast states. For instance MI is higher than FL, and FL is comparable to CA. A month ago I scatter plotted all 50 States and DC – The X axis was “State Popular Vote Percentage for Trump in 2020 election”. The Y axis was “Deaths per 100k”. The R-squared was 0.003. So no correlation. This was not any sort of meaningful research or a detailed study. And there are so many confounding variables like population density and nursing home policies.

                      But the point is, at a macro level we do not see the less compliant locales – if you agree with the assertion that Trump supporters tend to be more noncompliant – dying more than the compliant. (When viewed at the State level- county and community level would reveal more). Without seeing a stark difference- without seeing the more relaxed States dying more, how can some hold so much animosity and hatred for the noncompliant. Hence, why I feel it is pure zealotry – this rebuking of a subset of America.

                      Thank you for the healthy environment where a wide range of people can talk about these issues

                3. judy2shoes

                  “My frustration is one created by a year of observing and trying to interact with these Cro-Magnons who are not just stupid, but aggressively stupid. Being polite to them hasn’t worked. Trying to handle them like children and talk down to their level hasn’t worked.”

                  Seriously, do you really think you are being the adult in the room when you are resorting to all kinds of name calling to describe people who aren’t acting like you want them too? Name-calling is an age-old method to boost one’s own superiority over others in one’s own mind.

                  You seem incapable of constructing an argument about this subject without resorting to name calling and saying you hate these people. I have to wonder if the people you were trying to persuade, with the various methods you mentioned, couldn’t see through to your underlying condescension.

                  As for me, you’ve convinced me of one thing, that’s for sure.

                  Reply
                  1. occasional anonymous

                    Oh get off it. This isn’t about people liking a band I think sucks, this is about people actively endangering others. I’m not going to play some ‘agree to disagree, but stay respectful’ game about this. They aren’t worthy of respect.

                    In fact I’m perfectly polite in person. This is a display of rage from behind the veil of anonymity, and again, one borne of a year of this nonsense. After about six months I just gave up trying to persuade these homunculi of anything.

                    And yes, it does make me feel good and superior to insult them. Guilty as charged.

                    Reply
            2. judy2shoes

              “Good job just throwing all workers under the bus like that though.”

              Er, I think you are the one throwing the working class under the bus. IM Doc has accomplished far more with his meeting people where they are and working with that, than you will ever do with your very clear hatred for those who don’t do what you want them to do. As Lambert said above, “Since moralizing is worse than useless as a tactic, why engage in it?”

              “Being a laborer doesn’t necessitate someone to be a stubborn fool.”

              Can you even hear yourself?

              Reply
              1. occasional anonymous

                No, I have a very clear hatred for people who willfully endanger others through their own self-inflicted stupidity and ignorance. There’s a difference.

                Reply
                1. judy2shoes

                  “No, I have a very clear hatred for people who willfully endanger others through their own self-inflicted stupidity and ignorance.”

                  Which translates to you hate people who aren’t acting the way you think they should.

                  I asked, “Can you even hear yourself?”

                  Apparently, the answer is no.

                  Reply
                  1. occasional anonymous

                    “We mustn’t be rude! I know this guy just willfully killed a van full of people by driving drunk., but you mustn’t insult or express hate for him!”

                    Reply
        3. ChrisPacific

          In the end personal responsibility is a thing, and I’m tired of us trying to come up with systemic reasons to excuse the idiocy of individuals.

          So you think it’s just chance that so many of them are concentrated in the USA then? No systemic factors in play at all?

          Reply
    2. Duke of Prunes

      “When you are dealing with the morally and intellectually inferior firmness is a necessity.”

      Spoken like a true elite. I guess you missed the whole point of the article (i.e. that this approach is not working so well.)

      Thanks IM, you are a voice of reason in this very confusing time.

      Reply
    3. Tom Stone

      I hope must understand I was being facetious.
      I was hesitant to take an MRNA vaccine due to the fact that I have idiosyncratic drug reactions and had a severe reaction to Rituximab last year.
      I spoke at length to both my primary care physician and my sister, who is a retired nurse and after taking into consideration my co morbidities decided to take the vaccine.
      I did have an adverse reaction, both elbows feel like they are badly sprained and my feet become quite painful by late afternoon.
      It started with the first injection and was getting a little better until I had the second jab.
      It feels a bit like playing poker all night and coming out 99 cents ahead.
      I’ll play with diet and if no improvement comes over the next few weeks I’ll consider anti inflammatories.
      We’re all playing the odds, starting with different assumptions.
      And as far as trusting “The Authorities”, they have steadily pissed away any credibility they once had and the increasing use of force is an indication of a loss of legitimacy.

      Reply
      1. Duke of Prunes

        Now I’m embarrassed that I was “that guy” who took internet sarcasm seriously. Next I will be “outraged” by a Babylon Bee article. Sorry I missed your snark. I should have known better – must have been slow switching gears from “the non-NC internet”. Hope you can successfully work through your health issues.

        Reply
      2. Petter

        I’ve kept going back to this thread to see if you would respond to the comments on your post, as I knew that you were being sarcastic. I’ve noted your comments on other threads and know you aren’t a member of the some heartless, out of touch “elite.”

        Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    Thanks for this post IM Doc. I have mixed feelings about those videos but agree that the optics are terrible. There is such a thing as winning a tactical victory while suffering a strategic defeat and I think that this is the case here. To many, this will be seen as an act of war against the Church when they should be cooperating. From what I have seen, authorities in too many countries have stuffed up in the messaging and have even resorted to lying because ‘mommy knows best.’ What I do find remarkable is that there has been no attempt to relate the present pandemic to the one from a century ago. They could have gone to the pubic and said ‘Look, just wear the damn masks, OK? Your grandparents had no trouble wearing them and here are fotos from that time showing Americans masked up everywhere. Are you calling your grandparents stupid or something?’

    But then there is the other side with these churches. So, what is a church? Is it a building or is it the people or the organization itself? A coupla years ago an old church was sold after being de-consecrated for use as a residence. Some people protested but the church said that on a local level, it is the parish of people that are the church, not the building. So why could those services not been held in a park with police cooperation. Everybody spread out and masked and the Easter service could have just gone ahead. Would you believe that in the past, Presbyterian Scottish Regiments had to hold their services in the middle of fields with guards at each corner to stop spies? See – their church was the people and the message and we have done it before.

    That would have not been true of the one In Canada though as he seems to be a professional ratbag who gives sermons against the Sharia law, abortions, LGBTQ rights and, lately, Covid-19 restrictions. His Wikipedia page goes more into it so I would not call him a moral hero by any measure-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artur_Pawlowski

    Reply
    1. vlade

      I have a feeling the tweets are missing (possibly on purpose), quite a bit of context.

      For example, the UK’s video implies that the UK is set against the Easter mass, which is not correct, as I believe the mass can be served with some restrictions on the number of people etc.

      Similarly, you identified the problem with he Canadian one – IMO no amount of _any_ persuation would get those people on the side of vaccination or even an acceptance of covid as a danger.

      Sure, the “authorities” didn’t help.

      But, TBH, there are refuseniks across the religious and political spectrum, and not just on covid.

      I have seen a rather efficient way of dealing with this on other vaccines. Adults who refused vaccination (not covid, but say tetanus) and were then treated for it, were billed the full cost. This is not the US, but the public-health system (free at the point of delivery).

      Reply
      1. Redlife2017

        I have personal experience from about 3 weeks ago in London. A friend of mine and I walked into a lovely Anglican high church service. The priest doing his thing and lots of incense. And probably 20 people or so spread out. It is not at all impossible to have a service for Easter. It is clear from the video one of the issues is the choir members have no masks on and are sitting next to each other.

        It is completely possible to have a lovely service and not endanger the local community. I was rather unhappy at how that video really misrepresented Covid restrictions.

        Reply
    2. wilroncanada

      The Rev Kev
      The two videos are probably not particularly representative of general public acceptance of government, or elite overbearing rules-making for the “herd”. It is ironic, however, that the police have been reacting on behalf of right-wing governments. The province of Alberta would give Georgia or Texas competition for right radical legislation and rhetoric. Trying to legislate that speaking about government complicity with some oil industry activities is criminal, or setting up a commission consuming millions of dollars to try (completely without success) to “prove” that environmental activism is a “plot by radical socialists” funded by “foreign money”.
      However, all of Canada west of the Maritime Bubble is in a major spike of cases, in British Columbia the most serious since the start of the pandemic, and all provinces are scrambling with instant or nearly instant lockdowns in along with vaccine rollouts to stem the tide. The country had given away its vaccine production years ago–neoliberalism, you know.

      Reply
      1. IM Doc

        I am certainly not from Canada – but the other tweet gone viral this weekend was a crowd in a restaurant in BC booing the cops and forcing them out the door.

        Reply
    3. Lambert Strether

      > There is such a thing as winning a tactical victory while suffering a strategic defeat and I think that this is the case here.

      Agreed.

      I also feel that the idea that people have to meet in a church to worship is theologically unsound to say the least (cf. Acts 20:7-8).

      People who identify the church with bricks and mortar probably use “fellowship” as a verb. To be fair, it’s easier to pass the collection plate pew to pew, and of course there’s likely to be a safe to hold the take.

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        > the idea that people have to meet in a church [building — which is what I interpret this to mean] to worship is theologically unsound

        It’s even semantically unsound. The noun “ ekklesia ” simply means “assembly.” If you assemble, you are in ekklesia. If followers of Jesus assemble, they are for that time an ekklesia of Christ. Whether or not there is a roof over their heads.

        Reply
        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          “Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

          Reply
  13. Lynne

    The Rev Kev, re your question about having services outside:

    See, eg, https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2020/04/15/coronavirus-mississippi-justice-department-takes-churchs-side-first-amendment-lawsuit/5136025002/

    Last year during Holy Week, a church in Mississippi held a drive in service, where people sat in their cars in the church parking lot and listened on their radios to the service. They drew a parallel to drive in restaurant service, which was allowed. The cops threatened to fine anyone who didn’t leave $500 EACH. The church sued the town, after which someone firebombed the church. The DOJ joined the church in the suit, alleging that the constitution does not allow a government to impose *more* restrictions on churches than private businesses.

    And I continue to shake my head at MSNBC and BBC types who would “report” with great mystification that evangelicals supported Trump over democrats, even as they fluff off reports like these that got huge play in the Christian press. Evangelicals view this as an existential attack on Christianity by the state.

    Reply
    1. Lynne

      Or, I should say, *many* view it as an existential threat. There are some like the mainline pastor I had a conversation with. When this church arson came up, she responded with a tirade (replete with F bombs) about how many “wingnuts” have burned down Black churches in the South. Not sure where she got her Divinity degree, but it was pretty clear that she lost her way somewhere.

      Reply
    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      The evangelicals won (rightly) a resounding victory in this case. The entire episode is a testament to the U.S. legal system working rightly on behalf of their freedom of assembly. So much so that their preferred news venues are now – one year later – reduced to posting articles about ongoing oppression of Polish Catholics immigrants in other countries.

      Why this complete failure of powerful secular government is still touted as proof of the terrible oppression of Christians is unclear to me. They. Won. Utterly. Apparently that isn’t enough.

      Reply
      1. Lynne

        You’re joking, right? The cops showed up and broke up an outdoor worship service that incorporated social distancing. Their church was firebombed. At the time, I read a number of condemnations of “Barr’s Justice Department” for violating the division between church and state for joining in the suit. Contrary to the left’s propaganda, the evangelicals I know are broadly international in their viewpoint. They’re certainly more concerned about human rights in other countries than the Biden administration. As I noted, MSNBC, etc, STILL don’t understand why evangelicals are concerned.

        Your sneering about “terrible oppression” proves the point.

        Reply
  14. Carolinian

    Great, great post and thanks to Yves and IMDoc. One should also point out that, bad as it is, Covid is not the plague nor this the 14th century. Half the population isn’t going to die of it.

    As with everything now the media and establishment reaction has been way over the top and fostered a distrust that some of us share. I don’t even like to comment on the topic any more and will only repeat a previous remark–we’ll only know what it was all about when it’s over. Perhaps that will be soon.

    Reply
    1. cocomaan

      Yes, this is the perfect disease for a country suffering from an overabundance of post-modernism.

      Highly transmissible, manifests differently all the time, relatively low death rate, generational divide in outcomes.

      It lets people who are concerned be correct in their behavior and people who are unconcerned also to be right.

      Reply
        1. cocomaan

          100% flora! Creates class divides (service vs professional) and one of the most underrated aspects of this disaster, which is the age divide (young and immune and poor vs older and vulnerable with disposable income).

          Shows off our institutional rot, privatization where it wasn’t warranted. Man, just the perfect disease. I feel like Ash the android in Alien. “I admire its purity”

          Reply
            1. cocomaan

              I believe in that scene his severed head is bubbling and sitting on a table, that’s how I feel after this pandemic.

              Reply
          1. occasional anonymous

            The people who are unconcerned are objectively wrong. Covid is exceptionally nasty, and leaves a lot of damage behind in many people it infects even when it doesn’t kill them. Anyone who thinks it isn’t a big deal is simply an ignorant fool, they have no evidence to support their case.

            Reply
              1. occasional anonymous

                “Yes, this is the perfect disease for a country suffering from an overabundance of post-modernism.

                Highly transmissible, manifests differently all the time, relatively low death rate, generational divide in outcomes.

                It lets people who are concerned be correct in their behavior and people who are unconcerned also to be.”

                That aside, I know from personal experience that a huge number of people are completely unconcerned. They outright say it. At best they merely find the pandemic ‘annoying’. They’ll tell me to my face things like how business owners who defy lockdown orders are ‘heroes’, and how this ‘Kung-flu’ is either a liberal hoax, or sent by the Chinese to destroy our economy, and we’re letting them succeed.

                Reply
            1. Carolinian

              Perhaps they aren’t “making a case” but questioning your evidence (and Fauci etc.). The article above is about the public questioning the “experts.” You seem to be presenting yourself as one of them.

              Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The immediate death rate is low. The shortened life-span rate over the next few decades won’t be known for some time.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          And the long term effects of the vaccines also won’t be known for some time. I think the point of this article–the “art versus science’–is that the self-certain pronouncements of “experts” as well as we blog commenters often turn out to be wrong and surely that ‘s nowhere more true than in medicine where historically the treatments themselves have often turned out to be deadly. The power of life and death is surely a very tempting avenue of abuse and ordinary people understand this even if the MSNBC crowd pretend not to.

          Some of us do obey all the (arbitrary?) rules and I too tend to resent those who refuse simply out of defiance. But once you change over voluntary compliance to forced compliance it does begin to seem more than a bit totalitarian.

          Reply
  15. petal

    The PMC class and governments that have hung so many out to dry over the last few decades are now preaching to these same hung out to dry people about what they should do. We haven’t forgotten. People have had their noses rubbed in it for years. There’s a lot of cynicism out there, more than there had to be. Why should anyone listen to them(govt and PMC)? These are the same people that screwed us over and couldn’t care less. Do they have our best interests at heart? They’ve shown over the years that they haven’t. Who would believe them? Churches seem to be some of the last vestiges of community some places and people have left, and now there’s videos of cops breaking up Easter services. Can’t blame people for wondering if that’s going to be taken away from them, too. There’s no trust left, and it’s not coming back.

    It seems NH has taken over the vaccination process in the state. It’s one-size-fits-all, so no choice about which one you can get. Some people are hesitant and want to be able to decide which one to get. I think until that happens, there’s going to be a block of people that stay away. Also, how many people are staying away because they have had a negative experience with the medical industry? They don’t want to put themselves at risk of having to deal with a doctor or hospital again, or risk the bills, if they have a hard time with the vaccine? There’s so much distrust, and so many are already living on thin(ning) ice.

    Thank you, IMDoc, for the great post.

    Reply
  16. Nick

    My experience in Alabama (but not Birmingham) is similar to Yves’s, I think. I have seen a lot more adherence to precautions than flaunting, and a lot more social media talk about sourcing vaccines than anything else (whether that be anti-govt interventions or anti-anti-interventionistas).

    I even remember seeing confederate paraphernalia from when I worked drive-thru vaccine clinics. But, come to think of it, I can’t recall any of the punisher skull or militia related stuff. I wonder if beyond the cultural fault lines there is one related to age. A few older people I know, whom I know to be not especially or at all liberal, have taken Covid precautions exceptionally seriously, going well beyond the insufficient and, generously, misdirected government advice.

    Reply
  17. Thomas Connors

    IM DOC, could you show the math of the actual risk of getting the covid and dying?

    For example yesterday in the UK – five different countries – 66 million people – they had 10 deaths yesterday from covid, where the person had tested positive within the previous 28 days. Probably most or all of the people were old infirm and with comorbidities – there were likely little or no young healthy people passing of the virus.
    If there were 10 deaths in 66 million people and they were by and large old infirm and with comorbidities then that seems to be an extremely unlikely event of getting sick of covid and dying for the average healthy person.
    For your region how many people in your health condition are actually dying of covid?
    And how many people live in that region so what is the math what is the likelihood of a person dying of covid?
    Now do the math of the side effects for vaccines using known side effect rates.
    To my mind there’s far greater risks of side effects from people who never would have been passing from the virus in the first place.
    If you could comment please, thank you

    Reply
    1. R

      When did the UK become five countries?! England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and… USA? Canada? There is a purist / realist view that Cornwall is strictly a separate vassal state of England, as the Duke of Cornwall has the rights of the sovereign in the Duchy, except when the Queen is in the territory, but I suspect that wasn’t the allusion. All the other bits and pieces are Crown dependencies / dominions, not parts of the UK. You weren’t tarring the Republic of Ireland with the UK brush, were you?

      Anyway, we have ten deaths because we have vaccinated 80% of old people, 90%+ in some demographs. If we had not, we would have a thousand deaths, like we did in the recent wave this January. There is zero support from our current case and fatality rates for the case and fatality rates of coronavirus in an infection and vaccine-naive population.

      Reply
    2. Yves Smith Post author

      That is an assignment and a violation of our written site Policies. Please acquaint yourself with the use of a search engine.

      In addition, as we have repeatedly explained, the health risks of Covid go well beyond death. A >3000 person study in Texas found that everyone who had a symptomatic case and 70-80% with asymptomatic cases showed worse than smoking level lung damage. 1/10th to 1/6 of cases, including asymptomatic cases, result in Long Covid. Covid victims also show high levels of heart damage, brain inflammation, and kidney damage.

      Reply
  18. occasional anonymous

    The guy in the second video screaming about ‘fascist communists’ is demonstrating about the level of intellectual capacity I would expect from the kind of troglodyte who has a gathering in the middle of a pandemic.

    Reply
    1. Gareth

      Occasional anonymous, that “troglodyte” was arrested by the same police force for feeding the homeless last year. Perhaps he has different life experiences and thus different morals than you.

      Furthermore, how should he react when police enter private property without a warrant? He told them to come back when they got a judge to issue a warrant. He knows his rights, and expects them to be respected pandemic or no pandemic.

      He also avoided their intentional provocation. Since they had no warrant, they had to leave when asked. Yet they stand for there as long as possible. Why? They hope to provoke him into touching one of them or committing some other form of assault. Then they could arrest him without a warrant. He sees them off and doesn’t fall for the trap. Good for him.

      You’ve spit a lot of venom today, maybe you should set some time aside for a little introspection.

      “Any person capable of angering you becomes your master;
      he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.”
      ― Epictetus

      Reply
  19. drexciya

    Speaking from the Netherlands, everything already went off the rails in the beginning, because of the insane fear porn being spread by the media as well as the politicians. And the politicians took things even further; they have been using fear in general, as a way of building an argument for ever stricter measures. Effectively speaking, this has been setting up people against each other in general.

    So for instance, people that are suffering, because of their business suffering, versus public servants, who seem to be “enjoying” the lock down, and working from home, without any suffering. Also people, who are even remotely critical of what is going on, are seen as “murderers” or “science deniers” by the pro-measures group, most of whom are still into a sort of fear psychosis state. We’ve seen this come up in a very nasty way, with the excessive violence against people demonstrating against the measures, by the riot police. Some people were really enjoying those sights; hit those “wappies” (“retards”) hard they were yelling on social media, since they’re irresponsible and stupid.

    In The Netherlands, the so called Outbreak Management Team (OMT), mostly made up out of virologists, which is actively “advising” our politicians, has been pretty bad at PR as well. Apart from some pretty glaring conflicts of interest, they have been routinely leaking to the press just a few days before a press conference, and actively influencing the measures in that way, facilitated by the press, with no interest at all when it comes to the human or economic side of things. One of them predicted 170.000 “cases” earlier this year, because of the British variation. None of that happened, but we’re still suffering from a curfew, which was explicitly enacted, because of that prediction.

    And now that the third wave seems to be missing in action, the politicians have enforced a testing regime on schools, to get the number of tests up, and of course also the number of (false?) positives. We’re clearly seeing that a lot of people have had it with the measures, when we had a few days of good weather, people went outside, which is healthy anyway, and we haven’t seen an increase in the figures. But still the measures are in place, and there’s still no discussion possible about any form of exit strategy.

    Politicians, media and certain people in the medical profession, have been guilty of not calming people’s fears, but have been deliberately overreacting to the potential dangers of Covid-19, to push through very dubious measures, that seem to do more harm than good. Now that people are slowly and steadily seeing, that things aren’t that bad with Covid-19 (and don’t even try to tell me the measures have been responsible), this will potentially lead to a fierce backlash. Also, treating people as if they are irresponsible children (“it’s your fault that the cases are increasing, since you are not adhering to the measures”), while the politicians have been failing left and right (vaccinations in The Netherlands are a disaster), is really not helping at all.

    I’ve lost any trust in the mainstream media, politicians and the so-called “science” by now, and I will not get a vaccine.

    Reply
    1. ObjectiveFunction

      > people that are suffering, because of their business suffering, versus public servants, who seem to be “enjoying” the lock down, and working from home, without any suffering.

      Xactly, and bears repeating. The ‘similar to Me’ fallacy. Universal human nature, and the ‘cosmopolitan’ PMC is in no way better: worse in fact because of their smug credentialist self regard and in-group groupthink.

      Reply
    2. Basil Pesto

      One of them predicted 170.000 “cases” earlier this year, because of the British variation. None of that happened, but we’re still suffering from a curfew, which was explicitly enacted, because of that prediction.

      You might want to reread this a few times my dude.

      My recollection is that whenever you have appeared in comments here regarding covid, you have consistently underplayed the harm caused by the disease along lines similar to the above, with meagre evidence. Similar, in fact, to Carolinian, former stanner for Sweden, who has been told off a number of times for inadequately informed posts, which is probably why he no longer likes to bring up Covid.

      Your comment, as part I quoted above suggests, shows that you do not have any interest in understanding how lockdowns work. I won’t pretend to know about the Netherlands’ specific approach, but there have been successful lockdowns in the world – which, yes, have involved considerable hardship and sacrifice for those undergoing them, giving way to long term bebefit – which I would hope the authorities there are learning from, something you apparently refuse to do.

      My pointing this out is not buying into insane fear porn; I have next to no fear of the virus at the moment because I’m in one of the apparently level-headed countries that have got it more or less under control (and I feel smug pointing this out, but there you go).

      It’s a shame to me personally, because I bloody love Drexciya

      Reply
  20. Lambert Strether

    One thing I’ve noticed, or not noticed:

    I do not recall anybody in a position of authority — political class, business leaders, academia, the various churches — thanking the American people for their (touch wood) efforts in masking, social distancing, and all the other non-pharmaceutical efforts they did. We never did achieve the level of compliance that China, or Korea, or Taiwan, or New Zealand, or Australia did, but still we made enormous efforts, in the face of universal official incompetence and wretched messaging, and our collective efforts had good success, better IIRC than most of Europe, let alone Brazil.

    And did anybody say thank you? I can’t recall a single one. All we get is shaming and scolding — those beach pictures — along with fear-mongering. And the elites wonder why their PR machine isn’t working as well as it once did.

    Reply
    1. occasional anonymous

      What are we, a nation of six year olds? We need praise for doing a good thing? The thanks for wearing a mask is less dead people, holy shit.

      Reply
      1. Jen

        Having coached adults in a new, unfamiliar sport for a number of years, I can tell you that giving positive feedback for doing something well/correctly is vastly more effective than criticizing for doing something poorly/wrong. And on the very few occasions when I’ve had to yell about something for safety reasons, compliance is immediate and 100%. YMMV.

        Reply
        1. judy2shoes

          Praise is also unifying, as in, “we are all in this together.” It’s certainly a more effective motivator than telling someone they’re an idiot because you don’t like their behavior. Browbeating never works, in my experience.

          Reply
          1. occasional anonymous

            My attitude is the result of a year of trying any other approach. I didn’t start by just calling them morons. It is in fact incredibly difficult, to the point of impossible, to reason or convince the type of brainlet who thinks not wearing a mask is their great patriotic stand for liberty, and will probably film (in 4:3 pillarboxed, because they’re too stupid to rotate their phone) themselves berating some minimum wage grocery store employee who asked them to put on a mask, before proudly uploading it to Facebook, convinced it makes them look like a hero.

            Reply
    2. Cuibono

      it is a good point and one i have tried to emphasize. Shaming comes more naturally i guess. WE are all victims of our childhoods?

      Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Governor Whitmer in Michigan has said various kinds of thank you within the borders of Michigan, if I remember and interpret correctly what I have heard her say on various radio-broadcasts.

      Reply
  21. Steve

    I’m struck by the similarities between resistance to wearing masks and resistance to using condoms in the earlier (and still current) HIV epidemic.

    A close friend who worked for an anti-HIV community organization in Toronto in the 1980s and 1990s was constantly frustrated at the difficulty of getting the resistant minority simply to use condoms. The frustration wore him down, and he finally left that line of work.

    Perhaps vaccination outreach efforts could learn something from the strategies used by successful anti-HIV initiatives and organizations.

    Reply
    1. occasional anonymous

      I think the successful outreach for HIV was enough corpses pilling up that people started to actually get scared. Apparently we either can’t do the same today, or the number we need to reach is bigger than half a million (or it may simply be that America genuinely just doesn’t care about old people so much that no number of dead retirees will sway people. Not that it’s just old people dying, but apparently that’s what most people have convinced themselves is happening).

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Sorry you aren’t in a position to have gotten the memo, but plenty of non HIV positive gay men bareback knowingly with HIV positive bottoms. The data apparently shows that it’s the sperm recipient that is at risk of getting HIV, odds of a top getting it from an infected bottom are <1 in 10,000, some studies show <1 in 100,000.

        Of course, their calculus depends on other stuff not happening. I have a friend (non IV drug user) who got Hep C, and his only plausible explanation is that he used the razor of a trick who had Hep C and didn't clean it well enough.

        So much for being informed.

        Reply
  22. antidlc

    IM Doc:
    “Our agencies must immediately yank the HooHahs off the air – and get someone else to reach the rest of this country without all the backtracking and theatrics. I just do not know who that would be, nor do I know if the damage is already permanent. ”

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/evangelical-church-covid-19-pandemic-vaccine-skeptics/

    mentions a post by Franklin Graham:
    https://www.facebook.com/FranklinGraham/posts/276922917136643

    His post recommended the vaccine, but I’m not sure he convinced anyone.

    Reply
  23. IM Doc

    I cannot say it enough – the people are no longer listening.

    To the federal public health authorities – The people are no longer listening. At least enough of them to make any difference. This has been caused by many things – but not the least of which has been the outright bumbling incompetence you have so expertly displayed repeatedly this past 12 months. It will be fodder for management, marketing, and communication classes for a generation – as in how not to do things.

    I am not sure what to make of this. Thankfully, this event is largely outdoors with an open roof so hopefully lots of ventilation.

    If I were you – I would be moving to PLAN B. And I would be getting input from as many local health authorities and providers as I could.

    I cannot say this loud enough – you have completely lost the narrative.

    Reply
    1. Kurt Sperry

      There’ll be blood on MLB’s hands for sanctioning that event. I can’t believe they let the game go ahead as a sanctioned event under those circumstances. There should be criminal penalties for recklessly endangering the lives and health of everyone present.

      Reply
  24. Kurt Sperry

    occasional anonymous, thank you for refusing to temper your scathingly truthful and accurate assessment of the people who selfishly put everyone else at danger with their willful and macabrely proud ignorance. Those people didn’t stop listening, they never did listen and probably never will. Not speaking the honest, plain truth in a vain attempt to persuade them of their ignorance and selfishness and change their behavior is sadly 99 times out of 100 a fool’s errand.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You really don’t get this, do you?

      The Mark of the Beast types have concerns they regard as far more important than death: their immortal souls. They have an utterly different paradigm. In their view, your insistence that they are ignorant and must be punished confirms that people like you are in league with Satan.

      Reply
        1. Basil Pesto

          weren’t you opining just the other day from a place of abject yet seemingly proud ignorance about the inhumanity (or some other form of inadequacy) of asexuals? Referring to other people pejoratively as children can be a fraught business.

          Reply
  25. ocop

    IM Doc,
    As an aside to the main point of the article, could you comment on why you and your wife ultimately chose J&J?

    Reply
      1. ocop

        Oh I am doing both and am not fishing for a recommendation, but I think his thought process on the topic would be an additional, welcome datapoint.

        Reply
  26. Cuibono

    “In brief – I am finding it ever more fascinating to live in a culture where everyone is trying their best to do the right thing – but the level of trust in our institutions is now approaching ZERO”

    One has to ask: is that accidental?

    Reply
  27. drumlin woodchuckles

    I get the feeling that IM Doc is writing about one group of people . . . many millions of non-demonstrative non troublemakers who are not getting vaccinated as of now.

    And that the expressers of hatred are talking about a smaller and different group of people . . . the Typhoid Maganons who make a point of coughing in your face, blowing their nose on you, spitting on you, etc. They are indeed hateful vicious people.

    If the expressers of hatred are also speaking hatred for the millions of non-demonstrative non-troublemakers who have been led into coronavax-specific doubtfulness by the various CDC and Fauciform elites, then they may receive the return-hatred from these millions of people.

    Reply

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