Officials Double Down on “Let ‘Er Rip” Strategy, Placing Undue Faith in Vaccines as Regions With High Vaccinations Suffer Infection Spikes

Again and again, all over the world, we’ve seen public health officials all too willing to relax Covid restrictions too early, resulting in an eventual spike in infections and hospitalizations. As we’ll explain, regulators are repeating the same experiment and expecting different outcomes, The classic example was the May CDC “Mission Accomplished” policy change of telling the fully vaccinated they could go about unmasked, even as Delta had become the dominant strain, had viral loads 1000x that of the wild type, and not surprisingly also had a much higher unmitigated R0. Yet at the same time, the CDC also told state and local authorities to not report cases among the vaccinated ex hospitalizations. The CDC backpedaled on both policies thanks to the summer surge. But considerable damage was done thanks to many of the middle and upper middle class vaccinated still seeing non-mask wearing as a perverse declaration of virtue, that they are doing so to show they are shot up, disregarding the new CDC guidance for the vaccinated to mask up indoors.

Damien Contandriopoulo in The Year Public Health Lost Its Soul explained how we got here:

Most jurisdictions in Western countries adopted “balanced-containment” strategies regarding COVID. This approach is characterized by the ambition to balance, on the one hand, the number of coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths and, on the other hand, the economic and social disruptions caused by strict infection control measures such as lockdowns…

… the focus of containment strategies shifted. Economic actors impacted by lockdowns and infection control measures successfully convinced many governments to slowly push the balance of the containment strategies toward looser infection control measures and the acceptance of higher infection rates. The reference point of balanced-containment strategies slowly shifted from minimizing cases to optimizing intensive care bed occupancy rates near or above 100%. The combination of outdated and misguided infection prevention advice and looser restrictions contributed to fuel higher and higher waves of cases.

In the meantime – and unsurprisingly – the balanced-containment strategies were also shown to be deeply inequitable. Both the incidence and relative risk of death from COVID were highly correlated with income, social status and racialized status…

More efforts seem to go in controlling the political spin and rationing the information made available than in trying to correct documented deficiencies …The ambition to be a science-driven evidence-based practice continues to be daily trampled in evidence-free statements.

GM has repeatedly pointed out that trying to manage Covid simply to keep it from overwhelming hospitals was tantamount to accepting large-scale deaths and morbidity, particularly since virtually no one is thinking about the likely scenario that Covid will be with us for decades, and even properly vaccinated individuals statistically will get infected multiple times. His less forgiving assessment of the official response:

As I have noted several times before, what is happening right now is due to the fundamental political economic conflict that dealing with the pandemic requires setting extremely dangerous precedents threatening the foundations of the current order — paying people not to work and canceling debts, none of which can be allowed to even be contemplated. So mass death it is instead.

But a big reason why the medical establishment has gone along with the current plan is that properly dealing with the pandemic also threatened the foundations of the current order in healthcare (we will never know how many people exactly died because someone infected with COVID decided not to seek care out of fear of the hospital bills; as an aside, I also see very few stories about COVID hospital bills in the media, which makes one wonder whether that is a taboo topic), and also that properly dealing with it never fit within the philosophical framework of the system. It isn’t just cold calculation — people have been brought up in this environment, it has fundamentally shaped their thinking, and the Hippocratic Oath (which explicitly talks about prevention being the prime objective) is just something they gave as an obligation. When your view healthcare as a service and part of a transaction, it is natural to manage up to hospital capacity, even though that should be an absolutely abhorrent idea if healthCARE was the objective.

When I first came to the US at [famous school], a friend of mine there (also an expat) had to go to the hospital several times because he was literally collapsing from overwork (that does happen at [famous school]). So he goes to the university medical center (which was thankfully free of charge), they examine him, and eventually decide to put him on some drug, but it was more of a precaution rather than something absolutely necessary (there was a fear he was starting to develop some endocrine problems).

Then they are explaining to him the possible side effects, one of which was dysfunction of some of the key internal organ (I don’t remember which one exactly) and apparently it wasn’t simply a rare side effect, it was quite common, so he asks “What happens if I develop such an issue? Isn’t it better to think about something else?” and they shrugged and replied “No worries, you will come back and we will treat you for it”. And that was quite shocking to us in terms of what it revealed about the mindset of the system — it’s not about taking care of the overall human being, it’s a series of independent transactions and boxes to be checked…

More specifically, we know that relying on vaccines and not much else isn’t adequate to combat Covid. We and readers have cited the NIH site article (accepted for publication at the European Journal of Epidemiology) Increases in COVID-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States, specifically:

Key point: The sole reliance on vaccination as a primary strategy to mitigate COVID-19 and its adverse consequences needs to be re-examined, especially considering the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant and the likelihood of future variants. Other pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions may need to be put in place alongside increasing vaccination rates. Such course correction, especially with regards to the policy narrative, becomes paramount with emerging scientific evidence on real world effectiveness of the vaccines.

An example of how differences in non-phamaceutical interventions apparently a big difference in outcomes:

And as GM pointed out:

Take a look at this curve:

For one of the best illustration of what “we vaccinate and abandon containment” looks like

Mongolia was a ZeroCOVID country that is also geogrpahically quite well placed to avoid infecting everyone given how sparse it is. But they started having some cases in November, then, having secured vaccines for everyone, gave up on containment in 2021, had a first significant wave in April, reached 60% vaccination in early May, had another even bigger wave in May-June, now they are at 70% vaccination, and the current wave is breaking all records. They do seem to fudge death numbers though — the official CFR is 0.4% and there were some distressing videos of people lying on the pavement outside hospitals about to die which do not fit with the reported averages of 5-10 deaths a day. So it looks like a Serbia situation (Serbia’s CFR is 1%, which is 3x less than any other country nearby and excess deaths are 5-6X the official COVID deaths, so it’s clear what is going on there).

And that is before factoring in the risk of new variants independently upsetting the apple cart. As GM wrote earlier this month:

People are right now worried about AY.4.2, which is AY.4 + Y145H. The suspicion is that with the Y145H mutation it has gained a sialic acid binding site, and thus potentially a new mode of cell entry.

If true, this will be another example of viral evolution completely blindsiding us.

One of the containment measures being abandoned is curbs on overseas travel. The US is ending travel restrictions on fully vaccinated foreign visitors on November 8. This is despite the fact that the CDC knows full well that the vaccinated can transmit Covid, and their own work suggests their nasal viral loads are as high as for the unvaccinated.

Ireland has a 90% vaccination rate, 88% among the >12 year old population, had one of the longest and toughest lockdowns in Europe in the past six months, and still has good mask discipline yet is in the midst of a surge that puts it on par with the bad areas of the UK. Yet it is opening up fully next week and per PlutoniumKun, the natives are itching to go on the road:

I’m surprised at how quickly travel is returning. Yesterday a friend asked about whether I’d recommended Thailand or Cambodia for a break she is planning with her partner just after New Year. I was really taken aback that she’d even consider it and told her fairly directly that there was no way I’d even consider a long distance flight like that to Asia under current circumstances. I was told equally bluntly that she had 10 days off and she and her partner were absolutely determined to ‘really get away somewhere sunny’. Oh well.

The US is opening up to countries in the midst of surges and/or rising case counts despite high vaccination rates like Singapore, the UK, Denmark and the Netherlands (although in the latter two, from a much lower level than their last peak). Peruvians can come to the US even as Lima is showing a rise in cases. Australia’s New South Wales (with the Sydney airport) is ending its quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated foreign entrants. Colonel Smithers reports that Mauritius will open to fully vaccinated travelers this month.

It would be better if I were wrong, but I don’t expect a happy ending. The only tiny silver lining might be it would be harder to scapegoat Bubba if as with the initial Covid spread, a new wave starts from cities with major international airports.

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  1. Tom Doak

    PK should recommend that his friend and her husband consider Myanmar as a sunny destination. If she reacts in horror, it will show that she understands risk, at some level.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Just as an update from Ireland – October 24 was supposed to be the day that most restrictions would be lifted, but there is a major surge in hospitalisations and the government, with great reluctance, looks like it will have to back down.

    Ireland is in a particular pickle because of Northern Ireland. Its very clear that the pattern is that we are ‘importing’ Covid from the UK, and this makes it almost impossible to control. And this is with a very high vaccination rate, and pretty good discipline with regular precautions – masks are still alost universal in public spaces. Although one area that Ireland is very weak on is testing – I think a key factor in those countries that have been relatively successful is mass, cheap, and regular testing.

    1. Tom Doak

      I visited Ireland a month ago for work and found, as in the bluest regions of the USA, the one place where mask discipline completely breaks down is at restaurants / pubs.

      The desire to dine out [or to drink, out] seems to me to be one of the biggest impediments to COVID prevention. Nobody wants to give up that lusury, and no politician wants to put restaurants out of business, because they all know that taking clients out for a meal [or having a meal with a lobbyist] is one of the keys to getting deals done.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its very variable in Ireland, but generally good. In rural towns, especially in ‘local’s pubs, its relaxed to the point of there being little to no ‘real restrictions. I’ve found most restaurants to be fairly strict, but they probably have to be in the big cities. Yesterday, walking through a working class inner urban area, most pubs were following the rules (sit down only, no service at the bar, masks when moving), but one pub had people openly sitting and chatting at the bar. It did, it should be said, have all doors and windows open, although it was a particularly balmy evening.

        I was in a restaurant this weekend which was very lax – masks only when people were moving around and few other restrictions. But from what I hear from my UK based contacts, people are far more disciplined here on public transport and shops.

      1. WhoaMolly

        N95 seems only realistic option for a bit of risk reduction. (I might be wrong)

        Fortunately N95 masks are returning to shelves in the US.

        I fear that the cloth masks and surgical masks are ‘mask theater’ and not much more. Yet that’s all my neighbors, family, and friends will wear.

        everyone in our family is double vaccinated. When CDC said “mission accomplished “ I went maskless. Now back to isolation and N95. I’m high risk.

        1. Joe Well

          Cloth masks and surgical masks reduce the spread of covid, this has been studied and proven ad nauseum.

          Just one source but there are many, many more.

          My point was that N95 masks along with other interventions could not only reduce the spread but bring a society a lot closer to 0 covid.

        2. XXYY

          I fear that the cloth masks and surgical masks are ‘mask theater’ and not much more. Yet that’s all my neighbors, family, and friends will wear.

          Yep, this is pretty much the situation. There’s a reason respirators have to be certified by regulatory agencies, it’s because random pieces of cloth don’t do much to constrain very small particles. No one would buy respirators if they could get the same effect by putting a bandana over their face.

          Cloth masks date back to last year, when the widely accepted idea was that covid was being spread by large droplets. Random face coverings were thought to provide some amount of source control in this model, same with poorly fitting surgical masks. This has all been overtaken by a new understanding that covid is spread through aerosols, but obsolete mask dogma seems not to have changed much.

          Everyone who thinks they should be wearing a mask should be wearing an n95 mask.

          1. WhoaMolly

            I may be flying cross country for some essential family business at the end of November. Round trip.

            Rather than wear an N95, which I find uncomfortable, I will probably wear a respirator sporting two hockey-puck size filters. Looks ugly, but it fits better and is at least designed for wearing for several hours.

            I am definitely not going into a crowded aircraft terminal without a respirator.

            As I mentioned earlier I’m in a high-risk category.

      2. Alena

        On this note, I was disappointed with ny KN95
        mask, swiss made. I wear them to work to transport schoolchildren with a minivan. They are all under twelve. And since september I got two different infections from them. After the first one I doubled on the hand sanitiser but to no avail. Well a small closed space, two hours daily transport can beat the best mask?

    2. Ignacio

      It is interesting to see how Covid goes in waves and how some authorities are ignoring this.
      Probably because of cyclic changes in behaviour. An important issue not given enough thinking IMO. Behaviour is indeed an important determinant in this epidemic.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It’s not like they didn’t have a clue. The great flu pandemic a century ago came around in three waves so straight off that should have told them what to expect.

        1. Ignacio

          A difference with the flu epidemic, an important difference, is that now we count with nearly real-time epidemic info that is being a main driver in such behavioural changes.

      2. Raymond Sim

        … cyclic changes in behaviour. An important issue not given enough thinking IMO.

        Man, I’ll say. I’m overly fond of saying “The enemy gets a vote.” but the virus population’s responses to our actions at least gets some attention. The ways populations of people are altering their behavior seems to be almost ignored. ‘Seasonality’ is about as close as we get, or it would be if typical discussions didn’t proceed as if the virus were meteorological phenomenon.

        Of course actual knowledge is often a huge pain in the ass for propagandists. I’m guessing it particularly complicates sales pitches to their clients.

  3. ambrit

    On the issue of scapegoating “bubba.” Scapegoating is, by definition, an irrational act. So, if “Scapegoating Bubba” is the ‘official’ narrative this winter and spring, then Bubba will be scapegoated, facts be d—-d.
    The present elites look to have fully embraced a strategy of substituting public relations to support the ‘narrative’ for rational actions to ameliorate the crisis.
    In America right now, appearance is reality.

    1. Carolinian

      Rationality is at particularly low flame among our “elites” now that they’ve adopted a narrative based approach to reality. After all what rational person could believe that real estate playboy Trump was a secret Russian agent and yet those peddling this nonsense have given every indication of actually believing it–not just a fairy tale for the rubes.

      And perhaps it’s a trend that has always existed among privileged groups who live in bubbles isolated from every day realities. In medieval times there was a vogue among aristocrats for pointy shoes and the longer and pointier the better. Their impracticality was likely the point. Only the little people have to worry about practicality.

      Which is a long winded way of saying that our health authorities are just fine with current policy as long as the right people approve. Whereas to others Biden’s inflexible vaccine pronouncements seem a bit nuts. He’s wearing his pointy shoes.

    2. Joe Well

      It is also the strategy of a movement that only wants to shore up its own base as opposed to expand it, i.e., who don’t really want to win.

      1. Tomfoolery

        I also think it’s the classic dem mistake of reading polls in isolation. They’ll look at things that poll really well (say gun control, or in this case, vaccine mandates), and think they have a winner. But they never really appreciate the asymmetry of the issue. To the supporters, it’s a nice thing that they like that rarely motivates a vote or turnout, but to their opposition, it is EVERYTHING. To wit, I saw a poll (can’t find reference) that showed the repub Virginia governor polling 10-15% above normal with Black men due to his opposition to mandates. For a vax hesitant Black man facing job loss from the mandate, it has suddenly become THE issue, even if you dislike everything else about the repub candidate.

    3. d w

      so i guess that the numbers of infected and deaths in some states that have decided to surrender to the virus, and hope that at some point, they might get their goal of herd immunity, by reducing the herd? while i suppose we could allow this, no matter the cost, by allowing those who dont agree with this methodology of getting there, to be able to reframe from participating in it. that might be using what ever protections that they want to use, from working %100 from home, wearing full masks, and not being subject to any adverse actions for having picked their choices. and the country will just have to deal with choices of their citizens

      1. Carolinian

        the country will just have to deal with choices of their citizens

        I think that’s called democracy. And yes there are exceptions at times…martial law etc. But in our system those exceptions are supposed to be absolutely defensible. As reported above the vaxxed are also getting Covid, spreading Covid. Therefore a mandate is not going to solve this and arguably is simply adding social chaos to the mix.

        This was once the position of the ACLU–not exactly an outfit of rabid Trumpsters. They’ve changed their position but perhaps only to avoid bein “canceled.” See Greenwald.

      2. marku52

        AFAIK, and correct me if I’m wrong, but no place anywhere has gotten to “herd immunity”. Not Manaus, not Iran (despite entire counties where many people have gotten it twice), and as Dr Campbell pointed out, not the UK despite high rates of both vaccination and previous infections.

        It seems that these non-sterilizing vaccines coupled with antibodies that very rapidly wane, means COVID could be forever. You could get it over and over again.

        That does seem to be GM’s position.

        1. d w

          defines rapidly wane? and since the vaccine is just mimicking what natural immunity does, how long does that work? so far, going back ‘normal’ and not vaccinating ends with lots of people in ICU beds, to the point than many counties doent even have an ICU bed that isnt full. and where if there any others needing an icu bed, that they have go a long way to find one.

    4. praxis

      Rule by PR and appearances quickly becomes a religious calling after years of promotions and ‘jobs’ well done. I think the risk is that the systematic delusion encapsulates the ruling consensus until we truly are rulled by the whims of a schizophrenic elite incapable of reason.

  4. Robert Hahl

    I know five people who tested positive for Covid, the last one got it from her young son who brought it home from school. They all got the same medical advice: Go home and sleep it off, and don’t let anyone in or out of the house for two weeks. Nothing about monitoring pulse or oxygen level, just go to the ER if you can’t breath. I think the great motivation toward the vaccine-only policy is just so they can say this to people and do nothing more.

    1. d w

      my daughter got covid, probably from her daughter. lucky for her she worked for a hospital, so she got sent home. course in this case might have been better to separate her, but that is very hard to do, when the daughter is 5 or 6 years old. course it also seems that of the 5 people in that household, all but one was infected. and vaccines work well with most virus intrusions, just not with that level of threat. i supposes one could look for some thing that looks the same. its like getting into a pool with 100 others who have a skin disease that is contagious and not expecting to get it also.
      even if one was in a full skin diver suit. with a mask on you face, and tanks.

    2. Mantid

      So sad that Ivermectin is being repressed at every level of discourse.Beside that, the other basics are never mentioned: Vitamin D and C, Zink, oral and nasal mouthwashes. I know governments (pawns of corporations) have a death and long Covid wish (lots of money to be made), but so many people just don’t have the patience to study the situation, even lightly. Just put on some “mask theater” and head out to eat indoors, go to the pub, or go our dancing. So much of the populace has truly been “dumbed down”. Sad state.

      1. d w

        its been tested. it doesnt work,. which its a treat for worms, not viruses they arent exactly the same thing. at east nasal washes might work, but actually doing some thing about the virus requires an anti-septic to work. which probably a heath hazard by to self.
        while i suppose its is a money making thing (its the US…what hasnt been turned it that?)
        havent seen what the hospitals and other providers make from treating covid, so i dont know if they really make much. cause they are loosing out on other surgeries, and other minor things like cancer treatments,
        but i suppose having full IVU beds is better than empty ….for profit reasons.
        but then thats a sign of how our health care ‘system’ operates, highest cost, lowest life expectancy. And this is supposed to be the best in the world? really? based on what ?

  5. Eric377

    Why isn’t the message from the Ireland experience that non-vaccine measures also don’t work well enough to insist on them? They are doing A, B, C and so on, and the results are poor, so better keep doing A, B, C? Is Ireland doing a lot, but getting the “let ‘er rip” results anyway?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      A theory is that they’ve been overly sensitive to false positives in their testing and thus have allowed people who actually had Covid to act as if they didn’t, which would propagate infection (certainly within households, since just about no one masks at home).

      A second issue is the porous border with Northern Ireland, which isn’t as stringent as Ireland has been. Northern Ireland is also less vaccinated, only 65% for adults.

    2. GM

      Ireland is doing “let it rip”

      There are only two options — zero tolerance or “let it rip”

      Anything “in between” is just “let it rip” in disguise because the only two equilibrium points are virus goes extinct or everyone gets infected. So either you drive it to extinction, or eventually it will be out of control.

      It’s simple as that.

      So basically right now nobody outside China is doing enough.

      1. Eric377

        Well I live somewhere where I fully expect the idea of following China to be a total non-starter. So I guess I am in favor of “let ‘er rip” official policy. Basically continue with strong recommendations and easy access to tests and vaccines (and anything else that works) but drop restrictions. Maybe give people a month warning to let them consider personal approaches to it,

      2. MonkeyBusiness

        Do you count Taiwan as part of China? ;) Taiwan is also still pursuing a zero tolerance strategy. There’s been requests to shorten quarantine time for vaccinated people, and the Taiwanese are having none of it. 14 days quarantine for EVERYONE entering the country. And right now unless you have a very good reason or you are a resident, you can not enter the country.

      3. VietnamVet

        This is the crux of the problem. Only the Chinese are successfully exterminating coronavirus. The 3rd World can’t — they don’t have the wealth or means. The West hasn’t. If it had the will, it could but instead disaster capitalism is using the pandemic to increase the looting; hedge funds are buying up neighborhoods to rent. For-profit, leaky, mRNA gene therapy is the only Plan A to control the pandemic in the West. There is no plan B.

        Coronavirus will be endemic for the foreseeable future in North American unless a New Deal type government takes over to provide free accurate daily testing, safe and paid quarantines, contact tracing, off-patent treatments, promote masking and social distancing, plus telling the truth, and most importantly universal health care. It is clear now that the current corporate/state is simply incapable of acknowledging reality. Profits are all that matters to the global top 10%; not the lives of others. If there is no change; climate change, resource depletion, war, and illness will destroy today’s civilizations except perhaps for the oldest existing one – China.

    3. d w

      might be because of the UK, which seems to be in the let her rip mode at the moment, and since the UK can send folks into NI, and from Ni they can go into IR. so the next choice would be a hard border? not sure that was why the UK chose that this time around

  6. Basil Pesto

    These state of play updates are always appreciated, even if they are, shall we say, bracing.

    Victoria, Australia is ending its lockdown on Friday; I think the 80% adult double vax rate has been reached. I’ll be hermitting still for the foreseeable future except to play golf, and maybe do some outdoor drinking, although I’d probably rather wait for my second shot before I do (I’m +5 weeks after AZ #1, aiming for 8-12 weeks). I have noticed in recent weeks than in my generally middle class, get-with-the-programme suburb, mask wearing has fallen off quite a bit – including a guy, post-workout, breathing heavily in the local minimart sans mask. I’ve written at length about how I think the mask mandates in Aus are inadequate as it stands, and doomed to fail, but I can only assume that this newly emboldened lack of mask-wearing reflects the same phenomenon described by Yves in her first paragraph, which is truly alarming considering the time we’ve had to learn from America’s mistakes – but the public here seems blind and unwilling to learn from the rest of the world’s mistakes, or simply sees “oh look, life’s back to normal in the northern hemisphere, why can’t we be like that?” with no realisation of the risks involved, because that’s what they want to believe, and that’s the goal they’re being sold by the federal and state governments and by the media. International travel is opening up here next month, so that’s something to look forward to.

    In the medium term, I am tentatively planning on moving back to my home state (South Australia) next year, before winter when I suspect the shit will really hit the fan here. SA is still a zero covid state but I think that will change when the vaccination targets have been reached and they open up, which they will probably do before Christmas. That’s bad because my parents, though both vaccinated, are both very vulnerable in terms of their health profiles and comorbidities, and I don’t want to be interstate if and when they are infected. I don’t want to move back but I don’t know what else to do; I can’t really justify staying away from my family when the risks to them are, I suspect, going to be quite high.

    Meanwhile, pro-vaccine people fail to see the obvious and serious risk of heavy-handed vaccine policies/mandates for these beta-version vaccines 1. the ‘leakiness’ of these vaccines, their attendant failures, and lack of warning about this aspect is only going to be a boon to formerly fringe anti-vax sentiment in the medium- to long-term, and 2. I feel like you probably only get one good chance at a big, heavy-handed mass vaccination campaign. When a better vaccine comes along as it surely will, whether novavax or a nasal option or whatever, it’s going to be that much harder to convince people at large “okay, now we’re mandating these” – “why? what was wrong with the last ones that you mandated? why did you make them mandatory in that case?” etc. Hopefully I’m wrong.

    1. GM

      It was absolutely heartbreaking to watch how easily the Australian public was suckered into accepting the vaccinate-and-reopen non-solution.

      What happened in Israel was there for all to see.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It was more a case of ‘We are opening up all the borders so you had better get a vaccine or you may die. And if you don’t get a vaccine, we will make sure that you will never be able to leave your front door again.’ My family are getting their first vaccines as when we open in December, tens of thousands of people from NSW & Victoria as well as from overseas will be roaring across the border to go on holidays here. In short, with these vaccines we were made an offer we could not refuse. It does not help that you and I know that this is a lunatic idea. It is just the way that it has been decided for us.

      2. Basil Pesto

        Especially because the ‘trust the science’ cliché is prevalent here, but of course the perfectly scientific thing to do would have been to continue our successful policy; recognise that the importance of non-sterilising vaccines in countries where covid is running rampant is considerably greater than in a country where covid isn’t even present (us until May/June) – that the situation in Australia and the situation in the US/UK weren’t remotely comparable; sit back, and observe how the vaccines were doing in the rest of the world, and shape our policy accordingly – that is, according to those (scientific) observations. Instead, it’s exactly as you say in the post – the political-economic imperative of the status quo and the lack of imagination (and, perhaps, popular will) required to deviate from it has shoehorned us into a position of failure, and people will believe there was no other way it could have been done. You’re right, it’s desperately sad.

        1. d w

          US wasnt where COVID went away, it never left, at best it was taking a break. course its hard to tell, when you look at states, and how they track diseases in general. some leave that to counties, and only mandate that there is a health department, if the population is more than a million. and some counties, dont have doctors, let alone hospitals. never mind that one state basically just just ignores what data they do get.

    2. Kris Alman

      Those who cling to immunizations as the panacea (because the MSM told us so) also cling to reassurances of “durable immune memory” when waning antibodies is observed in vulnerable populations.

      Here’s a doozy, a study which longitudinally follows just 61 individuals for their vaccine responses after having received either the Pfizer BNT162b2 (N=54) or Moderna mRNA-1273 (N=7).
      mRNA vaccines induce durable immune memory to SARS-CoV-2 and variants of concern

      Buried deep in this jargon loaded, data-heavy article is the following:
      “Finally, our cohort is skewed toward young healthy individuals. As such, the results described may not fully represent the durability of vaccine-induced immunity in older individuals or populations with chronic diseases and/or compromised immune systems, and future studies will be required to better quantify the immune response over time in these populations.”

      One might ask why waste time studying people with healthy immune systems in the first place.

      1. Greg

        At a guess, I’d say because young healthy students can be found on campus, while studying the elderly and immunocompromised might require leaving the office.

      2. marku52

        Yaaabut “durable immune memory” is of little value WRT Delta. The immune memory stuff takes 5 days or more to get going and by that time, fast replicating Delta has destroyed you. Too little and too late.

        You need antibodies to be present and those disappear within months. It’s like “Hurray, we are vaccinated, we can put Covid off for 6 months!”

  7. Tom Stone

    This far into the pandemic it’s getting harder and harder to believe that culling the herd isn’t the plan of our betters.
    The censorship of proposed treatments and the vaccine mandates along with opening up air travel guarantee mass deaths, which may have unintended consequences for our elites.
    Velvet glove, Calving glove (2008) and now the Iron glove.
    “Go die,because markets” doesn’t scale in a way that is beneficial to anyone, but by golly it FEELS good.
    to our reptilian overlords.

    1. ambrit

      You’re being disingenuous mate. Iv—–n has been used billions of times in Terran humans, not just in the hybrid populations, with an absurdly low side effects profile. Terran humans in America aren’t getting this particular treatment because the extant Medical Industry has enforced a supression of the use of the drug for anti-viral purposes.
      Your point about the drug being ‘cheap’ is the primary point in this entire tragedy. Raw, naked greed is being shown to one and all to be the primary policy of the Medical and Pharmaceutical industries, not health care.
      This is not going to end well, for anyone.

  8. Lee

    In my fully vaccinated household, zippered plastic barriers have gone up dividing the available space in two. Outtake fans and hepa filters are strategically arrayed. There is still some shared space but the individual who just started a job working on docked NOAA science vessel, and is therefore more exposed to potential infection than the rest of us, vacates the kitchen area one hour before we enter it wearing our P-100 respirators, by which time we are assuming the powerful outtake fan and air filter will have done their job.

    As the two remaining younger folks now sharing the partitioned space with me have good job offers on the table requiring contact with others, and wish to resume work, a further reconfiguration will take place so that they and the fellow now living separately can all share space, with me in my own bubble. Fortunately, our mild SF bay area climate will allow us to hang out and have meals together outside much of the time.

    I’m wondering how many millions of us there are that for one reason or another, are unable to take such precautions, which I feel pretty confident will protect me. Yet I fear for the safety of the younger, fitter household members that include my son as well as the woman he intends to marry.

  9. Gerd

    I was really taken aback that she’d even consider it and told her fairly directly that there was no way I’d even consider a long distance flight like that to Asia under current circumstances.

    I would be somewhat OK with the flight as flights themselves don’t seem to be a major source of spread. Its the getting on the plane and the environment at your destination that would be more concerning.

    I think Canada is an interesting study. Eastern Canada, including Ontario, has Covid numbers that are stable but mask mandates are still in place and generally followed. Western Canada opened up and loosened mask restrictions and Covid has run rampant there now for several months. It seems to mirror John Burn Murdoch’s comments above. Could masks be just as important than Vaccines?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      On a longer flight, you will eat and drink. That means mask off. Many people on planes wear crappy masks and often below noses.

      Lambert recently had a table which was a guesstimate of how long people could be in each other’s company safely depending on who was masked and with which quality mask. Basically for every combination it was less than 2 hours.

    2. Joe Well

      I was on two Boston-San Francisco flights this summer. Mask discipline was pretty strong in the terminal, with a huge exception: people who were eating or drinking in the lounge area (not just the shops). It is as if a cup of coffee were a talisman warding off COVID or providing some kind of ethical exemption.

      On the plane, I was impressed people really did the whole thing of keeping the mask on while eating as well as possible. Why can’t people do that everywhere?

      But no way I would fly without an N95 and now a surgical mask over it. And even then, not eager to fly with rising cases.

    3. GM

      I had to do two intercontinental flights this year. Just had to, for family reasons. With serious PPE on, and not removing it for the whole 13 hours except for literally 5 seconds in the middle to drink some water. Not pleasant at all — N95s dry up your throat real bad, it’s a torture.

      Anyway, people take off their masks to eat for a whole hour. Twice.

      And when they are sleeping, there is no enforcement at all.

      A person across the aisle from me had his mask off for hours while sleeping.

      Then remember how the Nanjing outbreak started? The cleaning crew got infected AFTER everyone had departed the plane. So there were enough aerosols floating around with no people there for the cleaning crew (who were presumably masked) to get infected, but while the plane was full with people nobody was in any danger? Please…

      There absolutely is spread on planes, it’s just that nobody is doing any contact tracing so you never hear about it.

      1. Gerd

        I don’t really want to die on this hill, but, what about the claimed HEPA filters and the ventilation over your head.

        Again, I am nor defending airlines, just trying to understand.

          1. Samuel Conner

            I’m not sure that high CO2 concentration is per se indication of high risk of exposure to airborne CV. If the air is recirculated but well filtered, one could have high CO2 but low CV concentration. High-performance in-room air filtration units will reduce CV content without affecting CO2 concentration, for example.

            That said, I’m not planning to fly any time soon, and without other information, I would be anxious about entering any space with high CO2 concentration.

            1. Greg

              Anyone who has travelled much knows that travel is highly correlated with picking up illnesses, at least in pre-covid times.

              Even when flying from and to destinations where you spend minimal time in areas with other people at either end (i know this is inconceivable to Americans, but some international airports are fast and sparsely populated).

              I don’t think the plane filters are doing much for you.

              1. GM

                I got seriously sick exactly that way, on the plane going home just before Christmas 2019. As in sicker than I’ve ever been since I was a kid.

                As a result my first memories of the pandemic are from scanning headlines on my laptop in a very dazed and fogged mental state around December 31st/January 1st, after not having been able to get out of bed for days, and seeing “novel coronavirus in China”.

                It took me quite awhile after that to wake up to what is happening.

                I blindly assumed they will contain it as they did in 2003. Then January 25th came…

            2. Raymond Sim

              I’m not sure that high CO2 concentration is per se indication of high risk of exposure to airborne CV.

              Well, I would expect your risk looks something like:

              (CO2 concentration)x(probability an infectious person is present)x(a coefficient)x(filtration efficacy)

              So in any situation where you’re disinclined to count on nobody being infected, the CO2 concentration at the very least shows indicates how much you’re counting on those filters.

              And of course the filters can’t protect you from anybody upwind of you. That being so, I’m going to guess that high CO2 concentrations on an airline trip indicate a level of risk roughly comprable to spending the same amount of time in a closed room with 5 persons randomly chosen from a group salted with at least 10% people who’ve traveled in the past week.

              1. Raymond Sim


                .. a level of risk roughly comprable to …

                I should have said something more like “The lower bound to the risk would be roughly comparable to …”

          2. BlakeFelix

            Well, the filters planes use to fight viruses likely wouldn’t affect Co2 levels. Not that planes are perfectly safe, IMO they are about bar/restaurant safe, so pretty safe if you stay geared up(like hold your breath to drink from a bottle), and somewhatish safe if you are healthy and vaccinated and test regularly. I don’t know why they don’t have flights where they quick test everyone before they board though…

        1. ChrisPacific

          There have been some studies on it in New Zealand (which sequences all its cases, allowing it to map out transmission paths). The HEPA filters do seem to be effective at reducing or eliminating transmission between people who are sitting a long way apart. You are still at risk of infection from those close to you because you may breathe in air that hasn’t passed through the filter yet. The study I read showed multiple instances of transmission between people sitting within a few rows of each other. Curiously, you seem more at risk from people directly in front or behind than from your neighbors, which suggests that airflow in the neighborhood of seats is a factor (compare the results Lambert found about the risks of plastic barriers creating dead pockets of air).

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        I’m assuming ocean travel is the same or worse? For instance, have cruise lines done anything significant about ventilation introducing significant amounts of actual fresh air? Or about filtration? Are masks required? Social distancing strikes me as almost a contradiction in terms aboard these vessels assuming they are still doing it for profit. My son wants to travel abroad (his reasons are good enough but not at risk to his life good enough) but I don’t see any good means of travel other than buying a sail boat (which has its own wide wide world of issues).

        1. d w

          well there is some question about that 6 foot (2 meter) standard. some say its closer 20 feet, or more that is the real social distancing. but i suspect that isnt possible in most countries. sort of like that dont touch your face thing, which we humans cant really do. even if we tried

        2. marku52

          I think the problem would be their communal HVAC, which is unchangeable. Lots of people on the “Disaster Princess” got infected while quarantined in thier rooms.

          The communal HVAC did it. Actual cheap hotels are better, each room has its own HVAC.

  10. Sawdust

    What’s the endgame? Vaccines don’t help much, and these figures make it pretty clear that lockdowns only delay the inevitable. So it seems that the only choice is between let ‘er rip today or let ‘er rip tomorrow. The original rationale of the lockdown was to build up hospital capacity before things got bad. Instead, the system is only getting less functional. Again, what’s the endgame? Lockdown forever? Italian style vaccine fascism? I don’t use the F word casually: a compact between the government and the private sector to strip the citizenry of basic rights can’t be called anything else, regardless of the fear used to rationalize it.

    “Let ‘er rip” is real ugly, but if anyone’s got a better plan, I’d love to hear it.

    1. Joe Well

      You don’t seem to understand that it can get much worse. No more hospitals at all. If you get in a car accident, maybe some first aid supplies throw at you and a priest comes to say last rites from a safe distance. If you get cancer, it’s hospice at home. Back to the 19th century in terms of health.

      And there will be no light at the end of the tunnel. New variants and waning immunity mean you can expect a symptomatic bout every couple of years at least for at least the next ten years.

      Life expectancy in the US falling by 10 or 20 years easily.

      Wearing masks in public and moving things outside as much as possible…these are trivial sacrifices in comparison.

      Amazing that this far in, there are still people who don’t understand the concept of “flatten the curve.”

    2. GM

      The only endgame is elimination.

      Otherwise it never ends.

      One would have thought “Let it rip” would be completely abhorrent to the West. Because it means the world is totally ruined, physically. And then China sweeps up the pieces. From that perspective you would think we would not be doing “let it rip”

      But here we are.

      1. haywood


        Someone pitch Max Boot and the State Dept media flunkies on “The only way America defeats China is by prioritizing public health over private profit.”

        1. Anthony Stegman

          It terms of defeating the climate armageddon we need China and they need us. State competitions need to be set aside if we are to have a viable planet. This pandemic is trivial compared to what awaits us if we fail to address the climate catastrophe underway.

      2. Eric377

        Well, elimination I think is going to take a whole other type of vaccine because it is very likely to come about from specific human immunity to eliminate it person by person and not from heavy and continuous enough social distancing to eliminate it by that means. Social distance measures will not be the world’s successful elimination strategy.

      3. marku52

        My tinfoil hat idea was that our geniuses would assume the US would get to magical herd immunity and take over the world economy while China was shut down repeatedly, with Delta outbreaks. Which actually kind of seems to be happening.

        And if that cost was that a couple million “useless eaters” got taken out, well that is just a “price we are prepared to pay”, as Ms Albright put it.

      4. Raymond Sim

        The only endgame is elimination.

        And I would love to hear what’s going to stop us, other than greed and folly.

        Who was the guy who said “Wall street is run by greedy, avaricious people who don’t know their own interest.”? I mean we’re hanging ourselves without even charging for the rope.

      5. Glen

        Gibson’s Jackpot scenario is starting to look entirely too prescient for comfort:

        “Wilf reveals that the Jackpot begins in the middle of the 21st century as a combination of climate change and other causes, followed by a series of droughts, famines, pandemics, political chaos, and anarchy. 80% of the global human population dies off. But as this is going on, scientists have created nanotech called Assemblers that begins to rebuild society, as well as finding other scientific and engineering breakthroughs. As a result, everything is very efficient and advanced in Wilf’s future, but it has mostly empty cities and most natural animal species are extinct.”

        Well, except for the bit about “scientific and engineering breakthroughs”, that isn’t going to happen unless you consider spending tens of billions to figure out how to shoot rich people sixty miles into space in a dick shaped rocket a breakthrough. Seems like Gibson underestimated just how stupid we are.

    3. haywood

      “These figures make it pretty clear that lockdowns only delay the inevitable”

      I wouldn’t make that interpretation. Locking down when community spread rises and reopening when cases become manageable, over and over as needed, is a sensible policy but one that very few places follow for reasons discussed above. There probably is no eradication of covid under any circumstance, but polities can dramatically reduce death and disability of their citizens through sensible temporary timely shutdowns of situations where viral spread is most likely, especially in rich nations able to offset the wage and profit loses incurred therein.

        1. Basil Pesto

          I agree; and yet, that is the era that has been all but guaranteed for us by the failure to take eradication seriously.

        2. haywood

          Are you arguing for perpetual lockdowns? Or against lockdowns entirely? Because neither of those policies seem seem to have worked and no one, here at least, is ready to accept the “Let ‘er rip” policy.

    4. d w

      well i suppose we could all go back into lock down again. adding in the vaccines, and mandatory masks (and wearing them correctly too). we might be able to avoid massive death rates (so far 700,000 or so folks have died…and millions have been infected). vaccines work, just done expect them to work as well, when you are dumped into a pool full of virus. and who knows how many will dies if we just go with let er rip. and how long would it be before we could get to where the virus wont be so bad (many kept saying this isnt as bad as the ‘spanish’ flu was, which is true, but that took a few years to recover from, and even they had the idea to do what is called social distancing, and they didnt do it much better than we do. they still had parades, with the results you would expect. and to top it off, back when the worlds population was a lot smaller, they had some where between 15 to 70 million die. and they really didnt know what they were dealing with. and while natural immunity exists, nobody really knows how long it will work, or how well it work with newer variants. and nobody really knows why some get covid symptoms and others dont. or why some die (i know some say its age….but its not always…as young children have died too).

      but as you said, what other plan exists that really does work (not based on snake oil ). but i suspect no one will actually follow it, because ….freedom

    5. Samuel Conner

      > “Let ‘er rip” is real ugly, but if anyone’s got a better plan, I’d love to hear it.

      IMO “Let ‘er rip” could be feasible with a massive “world war scale” investment in expanding the health care system to deal with the consequences. But if one is going to make that large an investment, perhaps it would be better to invest in the measures required for eradication. One or the other is necessary in any event as this is not the last pandemic humanity will face.

    6. Darius

      Ventilation standards with ubiquitous self-testing and self-quarantining would greatly reduce exposures. Hardly anyone is talking about this except the #COVIDisAirborne scientists.

    7. Grebo

      A better plan:

      Everyone tests themselves twice a week. A positive result and you isolate until you get a negative two days in a row. You notify the authorities so they can track and trace. The government pays you to do all that (and for the tests). Otherwise continue with masking etc.

      International travellers are tested before and after they travel.

      Keep this up and the virus will be gone in less than 3 months.

      1. d w

        the good part, find out who is infected.
        the bad dont do much with that info, no treatments, or any thing else?
        so why are we testng?

  11. Sam

    In this article, “GM” is quoted all over the place, besides being the initials for General Motors, what exactly is GM in this context?

    Quoting someone/something with NO context as to what it is makes it completely unreliable and hard to understand WHAT is being quoted.

    1. Skip Intro

      GM is the handle of a frequent commenter and physician who has provided us with great insight and information. You can see some GM comments in response to this very article!

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        GM is a rigorous and relentless reader of Covid and related pandemic research and data and also has very good recall, so when I toss a new study/story at him, a good proportion of the time he has already seen it and regardless. can often cite corroborating or conflicting information.

        And as you can see, not at all capture by the official narrative.

  12. haywood

    Re: the NIH article Increases in COVID-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States

    Not sure about the methods in this paper. While I broadly support the quoted recommendations, and wouldn’t doubt a weaker than advertised correlation bw cases and vax rate, the 7-day period of study struck me as odd. Why 7 days? Why those 7 days? If one ran the same analysis over 14 days or 4 months would the findings be as robust?

    (can’t access the article at the moment so if the authors give some rationale for the time-frame or conduct similar robustness checks, please do forgive me)

    1. Raymond Sim

      I haven’t checked for a while, since the trends seemed so clear. But last I did check, which would have been about a month ago, here in California the percentage of cases in which the patient is vaccinated looked set to ‘asymptotically’ approach the percentage vaccinated in the population overall. They’re both moving numbers, and one has to contend with official obfuscation, and steer around misleading reporting by journalists with pro- or anti- vaccine axes to grind, and now boosters are in the mix, so it’s very much a semi-educated guess on my part, but it seemed consistent with events elsewhere, and with the apparent pattern with naturally acquired immunty.

      Is it possible they chose 7 days to avoid incorporating more than one Monday or Friday?

  13. Jade Bones

    And so, even here, in a home grown piece, nothing is said about alternatives to the “narrative”. Fortifying one’s system; D3/K2, Quercetin/zinc, C, Ivermectin, nasal irrigation, exercise, diet, etc. Shoot, I’ll bet prayer and Jesus are saving some but if published would be labeled ‘fake news’. Just keep vaccinating…

    1. Arizona Slim

      Exactly. I’ve taken the COVID era as my golden opportunity to improve my health.

      And, shhhhh! Don’t tell anyone! I’ve found that working on my health is a BLAST! I can’t believe how much fun I’m having!

      I can’t say enough good things about this approach. Looking forward to a long walk later today — I really am.

      1. Samuel Conner

        Gardening is also reputed to be very good for physical health. The functional strength one develops (assuming one has access to a plot of soil big enough to dig extensively in) is useful later in life, when muscular weakness can lead to infirmity/debility. It’s also, I think, good for mental health.

        Slim — is that seed library, that IIRC you reported on a few years ago, still running?

    2. d w

      i see ivermectin raise its head…again

      do the supporters really know what it does? its used to treat worms..which arent viruses. and there has been testing of it….works about as well as a placebo..note placebos are a to account for some of us to be able to get well on our own….but bacically it might be nothing but saline….which means that it accomplishes nothing. and while exercise might help, it just wont help all that much, as many extremely healthy folks have died from covid. and while there could be a miracle cure out there some place, it hasnt been found as of yet. we do have vaccines to slow the spread and masks and social distancing, and there are now some drugs that can treat it, but they are expensive (so i am told), and hard to get too.
      i do think one of the things many dont want to vaccinate, because they want a cheap solution. there isnt one so far, and may never be
      and given enough time, and enough deaths, those who are susceptible to the virus, the number of deaths might be over 100 million (or more), and as noted above, we already seeing the problems hospitals have with dealing with the flood of virus victims, to the point that if you got in a wreck, you may not have any where to go if your injured.

      1. Samuel Conner

        A few thoughts:

        While it’s true that ivermectin has not yet been proved effective as prophylaxis or early treatment (I have the impression that even its boosters are not confident that it is useful for treatment of advanced COVID), I think it’s also true that the few studies to date don’t have sufficient statistical power to rule out a therapeutic effect.

        There’s some reason to think that IVM has antiviral activities. Search Pub Med on the terms ivermectin and antiviral and you will find quite a few hits, including plenty that predate the pandemic.

        Here’s a recent review (full text available) that sees potential promise in the agent,

        Here’s an item that used computational methods to screen agents for propensity to interact with CV proteins, and found IVM and remdesivir to be potentially useful:

        (ASIDE: intriguingly, the combination IVM + remdesivir is reported to be highly effective in suppressing CV in infected cell experiments


        I think it’s way too early to be assessing that IVM has no utility in prophylaxis or therapy of COVID.

        Which makes be a bit mystified by the FDA’s definitive stance on off-label use of human-formulated IVM.

        If the FDA were as vocal in opposing off-label uses of all other meds as it is of IVM, I suspect that Pharma share prices would tank, as off-label prescription is a significant fraction of all pills prescribed. Whose interests are served by the special stance on IVM?

        1. barefoot charley

          The sufficient answer to your mystery is: EUA. Emergency Use Authorization, under which the ‘vaccines’ were administered without FDA-required minimal study, is only legal if no other treatment exists. So a small part of the Pfizer promotion includes slamming, shaming and deligitimizing all alternatives. It’s telling that Vitamin D has been categorized with the I-word and injecting bleach. Above all, do not take care of yourself! That’s like thinking for yourself.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          While the negative findings are accurate, I will play devil’s advocate. I believe the ivermectin advocates argue for using it as a prophylactic or early in the disease process. I don’t believe anyone who is a fan has suggested it will do much for seriously sick people, yet I know there are studies that tested it in that situation, which suggests an effort to assure a failed outcome.

          There is also a question of dosage. It’s proportional to body weight.

          I haven’t seen any of the advocates like FLCCC go through the meta studies, toss the studies that were not based on recommended protocols, and see how the ones that fit did. Of course, FLCCC is a bunch of doctors, not researchers.

      2. Darius

        I deleted the I word to avoid moderation. The medicine you mention at worst is a wash. Studies are conflicting depending on design and country. Many medicines have surprise off label therapeutic uses. It is approved by the FDA for human use. Lambert has covered this extensively.

      3. ambrit

        I can’t ignore the possibility that you are an anti-I troll. (Do you not accept the documented history of the use of I——–n on the Terran human population over the past forty years?)
        “The Drug That Dares Not Be Mentioned By Name” already has a quite good track record against the coronavirus, as a treatment, and possibly as a prophylactive. Yet, serious research into it’s efficacy for this purpose is marginalized.
        A lack of data is not sufficient to demonstrate either a positive nor a negative judgement on any drug, treatment, or policy. So, stating that there is no peer reviewed, large cohort meta study of the effectiveness of the ‘I’ drug, when no such analysis has been done yet, is not sufficient support for an anti-‘I’ drug pronouncement.
        Oh, and, this being NC, the “Big Lie” propaganda method will not work here. The readership is too sophisticated to fall for that trick.
        Stay safe!

        1. marku52

          Also this. IVM is incredibly safe. And cheap. So there really is no down side to adding it to the prophylaxis portfolio. Worst case it doesn’t work, but there is a ton of anecdata (from actual Drs using it with success) and small studies showing that it does work.

          So down side of using it? There isn’t any. Upside? Might help

          That’s a pretty easy call for me to make.

          Plus, the FDA advocates Tylenol? Really? I’d like to see any RCT showing a benefit. Because I’m sure their aren’t any. And it doesn’t actually make any sense anyway. Tylenol reduces fever. But you WANT the fever. It is your immune system trying to make the virus uncomfortable. And Tylenol is an actually quite dangerous drug.

          Thanks FDA!

        1. RA

          The link you shared is basically an opinion piece that gives no hard data to support its claims.

          Dr. John Campbell recently did a YouTube video in response to a BBC attack on ivermectin that also provides little justification. All of Campbell’s video is good. In the middle at about 14:00 he gets into the paper you have linked.

          here’s the Campbell vid link…
          “BBC debunks ivermectin”

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          That study was debunked a long time ago. Doses needed to create an effect in vivo much lower.

          Our reader KLG (microbiology prof who did bench research on HIV back in the day) said that ivermectin is in several clinical trials outside in advanced stages as an HIV treatment and is performing well, which corroborates its anti-viral impact.

  14. The Rev Kev

    Here in Oz it is bizarre watching us throw away all the hard work and sacrifices of the past year and a half in pursuit of what, going back to 2019 again and having a re-do? Our compliant media is pushing this whole we-get-our-freedom-back spiel and are gushing to each other all the places that they want to fly to. Hotel quarantine is being abandoned (we will be needing those hotel rooms for overseas tourists) and in fact any quarantine at all just so long as that tourist is double-vaxxed. Already 650 have died here since NSW opened up and I know that we are just at the beginning of a very steep Bell curve. But business has spoken and so we must be prepared for a few thousand people to die each an every year so that people can go out freely and spend money – just like we did before we opened up. The CEO for Virgin Airline basically came out and said that. But what does it all mean?

    The idea of “we vaccinate and abandon containment” partially explains it but it is not quite there yet. I think that for governments, it is more a case of “we vaccinate and abandon responsibility.” I had better explain that. In a lot of countries, governments have had to step up and (against their neoliberal grain) provide support for people and small businesses during the lockdowns. The consumer society had to be put partially on hold and people realized that they could do their work from home. Worse for governments, people had time to actually think (a very dangerous thing) and now we see the Great Resignation and unions are going on strike like it was the 70s again. So what does this new strategy mean?

    I believe that in essence, it will mean that responsibility for dealing with this pandemic will be thrown on the shoulders of people and no longer the governments. And typically, they are having businesses be the enforcers on their behalf with the full backing of the governments. It will be people’s jobs to get the vaccines and get the boosters. It will be people’s responsibility for deciding on things like masks (which soon will be discouraged), for social distancing, for work arrangements and everything else. And if there are problems with it not working, well, then they can blame the people for being slack or not trying hard enough or for being ignorant about vaccines. In short, it will not be the government’s fault if anything goes wrong. Yeah, the new variants will trash these arrangements but they will still put the blame on people and not them.

    1. d w

      i wonder how the consumer economy will survive if consumers stop buying stuff?

      almost sounds like a repeat of the black death, only with much smaller death scale. so far any way

      and while i can see politicians doing as you say, as long as their supporters can still vote, but that wont work if they stop voting for them, and then what?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Western Australia is digging their heels in as well. They may be waiting to see how well let ‘er rip works out for the eastern States before making any final decisions. The island State of Tasmania is not a fan of this new idea either.

    2. Norm de plume

      ‘Our compliant media is pushing this whole we-get-our-freedom-back spiel’

      I was moved enough about their ‘journalism’ to write a five page opus to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald (to which I subscribe, for now) about 6 weeks ago. No reply of course but I read this morning that the editor has just resigned, no reason given. This follows the departure of ABC News editor Gaven Morris last week.

      As I said to a mate by email:

      In olden times someone in the MSM might have drawn a connection, or tried to ascertain if the decisions were driven by similar calculations or rationales. Not any more.

      What might that connection be? Could it be the pressure and soul-destruction involved in having to be part of a global propaganda and censorship storm front on behalf of powers unaccountable in this country? They are in roles where the deceptions and outright fraud, let alone the egregious errors of the ‘narrative’ have become too obvious and onerous for a genuine professional (and a half-decent human being) to bear. My missive was I’m sure only one of many angry responses.

      Think about it. One example: there is now ample evidence of the almost unbelievably stupid horse-dewormer meme being driven from on high at the FDA and the CDC and thru them the US political and mediascapes and thru them the media/social media and govts of much of the rest of the world. In ‘normal’ times there would be not just prominent retractions, but op-eds about ‘where we went wrong’. But there is complete and utter radio silence, the episode is airbrushed out of history like an unwanted Politburo colleague in old photographs. For anyone with any understanding of what journalism is (as opposed to ‘journalism’) is, surely that situation is untenable.

      Perhaps we have been too quick to diss Morris; it is possible that he was opposed to much of what we have complained about but found himself isolated by the increasingly Liberal tone of the Board and management and their complete surrender to the official approach. It is not ‘my ABC’ any more.

      If he and Davies have gone for these reasons it is cause for some hope that there are still some journos in an industry now dominated by PR flacks like the Herald’s science reporter. But on the other hand… they have gone, and the message from that may be that they were on their own, realised this and decided to up sticks. Not a good portent.

    3. Eric377

      Not being Australian, I can’t dispute your views that hard work and sacrifices are being thrown away. But I feel that it would have been a good bet that many restrictions in the US would never had gotten going if these imperfect vaccines were available day 1. They represent substantial risk mitigation. Unless the lying is even more tremendous than we are sadly getting used to, COVID for the vaccinated is down at flu-like chances of severe illness. People are pretty happy to run higher risks if the alternative reduces their life satisfaction a lot. “Throwing away” might be more usefully replaced with “trading”.

      1. Raymond Sim

        Unless the lying is even more tremendous than we are sadly getting used to, COVID for the vaccinated is down at flu-like chances of severe illness.

        Really? Flu is neuroinvasive? Flu is associated with decerebration? Flu is a demonstrated cause of immunodeficiency? Influenza viruses replicate in human macrophages? With respect, you yourself are perpetuating a notorious lie, with the apparent excuse that if it’s true then you’ve been lied to.

        “Throwing away” might be more usefully replaced with “trading”.

        You’re talking about trading in other peoples lives, other people’s children’s futures. Is it that you don’t realize the vaccinated can still transmit?

        I’m finding myself forced to take you for a rather gullible fellow if I’m to give you the benefit of the doubt that you’re speaking in good faith.

  15. PKMKII

    The discourse on COVID since about April-May has felt oddly binary: either you trust the expert, Fauci can do no wrong, vaccinations are herd immunity, if everyone got them we could just go back to normal, or you’re a conspiracy theorist, it’s simultaneously a hoax and the Chinese trying to kill us, microchip in the vaccine, taking the literal horse paste. The voices in the middle, we’re vaccinated but we see it as a mitigation tool and not a panacea, and see the relaxing of social distancing and masking protocols as dangerous, we’re largely ignored. The former group thinks we’re not reasonable enough, and the latter thinks we’re sheeple.

    1. outside observer

      Agree completely. I feel like one of those lost voices in the middle. Vaccinated but against mandates. Would like to see ubiquitous testing, masking, prophylaxis, and efforts towards broader nutritional improvement. We really do need to make some changes to the way our society is organized with regards to healthcare and economic incentives. Also, in light of the novelty of both the virus and the vaccines, from a scientific and species survival point of view, shouldn’t we actually desire to have an unvaccinated cohort? You know, just in case things don’t quite turn out as planned? Perhaps we should be thanking these people for opting to be part of the control group.

      1. GM

        I am against mandates if they are not accompanied by commitment to elimination. Because then they just serve as an excuse for abdication from any responsibility and from containment.

        But I would be for them if they were a part of an elimination program. Which would have to feature a lot more than that though.

        Also, I am a staunch anti-masker. As in I don’t want to be wearing one for the rest of my life. But right now I am seriously PPE-ed everywhere I go and will keep doing it for as long as necessary. Which under current policies will be the rest of my life…

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I was just in NYC and was cheered to see several mobile testing stations even though I only went to places I normally go (routes to and from doctors). Seriously, how hard is that? If I were in NYC, I would get tested at least weekly because why not?

    1. Kris Alman

      Here’s Oregon’s most recent report on breakthrough cases.

      Biden administration tells the vaccinated it’s safe to take off masks in mid-May despite a recognition that the delta variant was wreaking havoc abroad– including Israel, which had a higher vaccination rate and was seeing so many people hospitalized with covid breakthroughs.

      The Oregon Health Authority follows the CDC directive.

      With spiking infections, Oregon began to tighten up mask mandates. It started July 27 with an indoor mask mandate,

      More restrictions followed on Aug. 27th, requiring “people in Oregon to mask in most public outdoor settings — regardless of vaccination status — where physical distancing is not possible.”

      A graph on p.3 of the report is interesting. Cases nosedive after Oregon’s most restrictive mask policy. In the meantime, the gap between vaccinated/unvaccinated cases continues to shrink with waning efficacy of the vaccine.

      Breakthrough cases now make up over 27% of all cases in Oregon, with a median age of
      breakthrough cases of 48 years (range: 12-106).

      Another table on p. 6 provides the proportion of vaccine breakthrough cases who have died with COVID-19. More than 80% of vaccine breakthrough deaths have occurred in patients 70 years and older.

      Is that supposed to be reassuring?

      Or merely a rationale for the booster shot experiment?

      Time will tell.

        1. Shtucb

          Thank you for the summary and analysis.

          Looks like the vaccines will be having little to no impact in Oregon by March 2022, when Unvac/Vac might be at 50%/50%.

          I believe this is what we saw in the Israel data, so it shouldn’t be a surprise.

    2. GM

      What was coming was known to everyone paying attention weeks before May 13.

      And guess what the CDC’s job is? To pay attention to these things.

      Also, vaccines would have waned without Delta too, probably even worse — B.1.621 is the next most contagious variant and it is much more immune evasive antigenically than Delta/B.1.617.2. Delta beats it on raw transmissibility. So if there had been no B.1.617.2, we would likely be in the exact same place right now, just with B.1.621.

      1. Eric377

        They threw the dice in a kind of no lose situation is my view. Unmasking the vaccinated really did no harm. Five months later with declining potency, sure, but they have already jumped back on the masking. They were hoping that another big surge of vaccinations would result. Delusional, but kind of a minimum harm bet then and for a month or two afterwards. The delusion was that the deliberately unvaxxed cared about the CDCs recommendation.

    3. marku52

      Yes, but you could already see Delta effects elsewhere. Particularly vaccinated infected people infecting others in Sinagpore.

      I knew that was bad advice the day it came out.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      NO, that is not when it became dominant. That is when the CDC admitted it was dominant.

      There is a lag in reporting and the US has extremely poor sequencing capability. The US has been close to flying blind. From JAMA at the end of March (emphasis mine):

      Until late last fall, public health departments had no federal mandate or additional funding to sequence samples, although new variants were an inevitability, according to Kelly Wroblewski, MPH, director of infectious diseases at the Association of Public Health Laboratories. Lacking that political prioritization, viral sequencing has been limited and unequally distributed, providing only a patchy understanding of circulating and emerging strains….

      The piecemeal approach to genomic surveillance also has played out on the global stage, with sequences largely coming from nations with a combination of resources and political will. But now—amid growing concerns that virus variants could alter the current downward trajectory of cases and undermine vaccines, therapeutics, and natural immunity—the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is ramping up variant surveillance…..

      But the number of US sequences relative to its cases has been low. In December, a Washington Post analysis revealed the abysmal state of US variant surveillance. Despite leading the world in infections, the nation ranked 43rd globally for its percentage of cases sequenced. At the time, the US had sequenced about 50 000 of its more than 18 million cases—just 0.3%. Britain, another high-income nation with a large outbreak, had sequenced almost 160 000 samples, 7.4% of its 2.1 million cases….

      A more robust national genomic surveillance program almost certainly would have flagged B.1.429 sooner…

      “Right now it’s 2- to 3-plus weeks for us to get sequencing results back” from the CDC, a state health department epidemiologist who did not want to be identified, told JAMA. “There’s no window for meaningful public health action to control potential clusters or transmission.”

      The article makes very clear US sequencing is patchy geographically.

      I based my claim that it had become dominant in the US because it had become dominant by then in IM Doc’s county, in flyover, which has no international airport but does have lots of super rich people who fly in and out on private jets.

  16. Kent

    Is it possible that for various cultural reasons it is simply impossible to impose mask mandates/business lockdowns/limited gatherings or years on end? Maybe that is just too much to expect. If it is, what’s the best other options once a virus becomes endemic in the population?

    1. GM

      We have the option of not letting the virus become endemic.

      All the tools necessary are available to at the very least eliminate it locally in most of the word. But we can eradicate globally too with some a bit more serious effort.

      There is no technical barrier, don’t let the propaganda fool you.

      It is a matter of political will, which is not there because there is no way to eradicate the virus without some quite substantial downwards wealth redistribution. And that can never be allowed — from the perspective of the people currently on top of it, it is much better to have civilized society crash and burn but to preserve their position on top than to have that even as an idea to be taken seriously.

      1. urblintz

        “We have the option of not letting the virus become endemic.”

        Thank you. I’ve heard “it’s already endemic and will be with us forever… like the flu” from too many sources.

        If an honest history of this pandemic is ever allowed…

      2. WhatdoIknow

        It seems to me that we simply dont know enough about the virus.
        We dont really know why cases surge and drop down at certain points , all seems too random to draw policy conclusions.
        You can take any covid chart there and make it suit a particular narrative, this is not helpful.
        Maybe in two months it will vanish by itself and we will never know what happened or turn into a more deadly mutation and force severe policy decision, only time will tell.

        1. Raymond Sim

          It seems to me that we simply dont know enough about the virus. …

          Maybe in two months it will vanish by itself and we will never know what happened or turn into a more deadly mutation and force severe policy decision, only time will tell.

          You clearly don’t know what actually is known about the virus, but even so, what’s the point of this? When in doubt mutter and delay?

          It’s actually possible that aliens will lay waste to the planet tomorrow, and won’t I feel silly about worrying over that stupid germ?

          1. WhatdoIknow

            Behavioral analysis of groups has consistently shown that conscience of the problem makes outcomes worse. Sometime ignorance is bliss.
            No one can say what the outcomes would have been if we didnt spend billions on the vaccine and simply let the virus do its thing.
            Look how the narrative on the vaccine has shifted from the beginning.
            How do we know we are not doing more harm than good with the vaccine?
            All people I know who are vaccinated behave as if they are bullet proof against the virus, yet they spread the virus and get sick like everyone else.
            I now regret being vaccinated but I had no choice in order to travel.
            There is no end game to the virus other than herd immunity.
            How are we going to reach herd immunity if the vaccines dont stop transmission?

            1. Basil Pesto

              Behavioral analysis of groups has consistently shown that conscience of the problem makes outcomes worse. Sometime ignorance is bliss.

              What kinds of problems? How consistently? Show some of this analysis so we can evaluate how good it is and how applicable to the current problem it might be. Can you provide modern (say, post-germ theory) historical examples where such a ‘la la la I’m not listening’ approach to epidemiology may have been superior to what we got?

              ‘Herd immunity’ is a chimera. What is your basis for thinking that there is no other end game to the virus than it?

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              Provide links. I’ve got a whole career of dealing with complex analyses in group situations and I have never ONCE heard anything like this.

              Making Shit Up is a violation of our site Policies. Unless you can substantiate such a sweeping claim, you are on a fast track out of here.

    2. Raymond Sim

      We won’t need any of the onerous interventions for years on end if we do it once for real, and do it right. And then follow up like responsible adults. That would require about 3 months of severe disruption.

      Which means doing it right necessarily includes making sure that people stay economically whole during that disruption. That includes protecting a lot of landlords, owners of various kinds of businesses and so forth who are currently under the impression that effective measures will ruin them. And indeed, it’s rational to expect that from our rulers. They’re looters, not helpers.

      Right now, with very few of the people in charge seeming to recognize it, nations are under severe selective pressure from SARS-CoV-2. The question we should be asking isn’t “Can we really muster the resources to eradicate the virus?” it’s “When we fail, who will rule what’s left of us, and by what means?”

      1. Eric377

        Too late! Way too late! There will be a reign of holy terror in the US if a “severe disruption” is attempted for 3 days. But it won’t come to that as the lack of enforcement will be apparent within 3 hours. March or April of last year was the only possible moment.

        1. Raymond Sim

          Too late in what sense? There’ll be civil war?

          If you don’t think the disease is ever going to get bad enough to force huge changes in attitude, well, either you have some basis for optimism regarding the virus which I’m unaware of, or perhaps you take declarations of defiance absent immediate threat of consequences more seriously than I do. People said a lot of bloodcurdling things during the civil rights era too, and I’m pretty sure some of the people I knew back then meant what they said. But the Race War never came.

            1. Raymond Sim

              Like Eric377 above, you’re assuming the changing situation won’t change attitudes.

              I.e., you don’t think it will get that bad.

              1. TBellT

                Have attitudes changed yet, after 700k deaths? When exactly are people going to come to their senses? No I don’t think people will wake up no matter how bad it gets, they’ll just get more deranged in their solutions.

                1. Raymond Sim

                  “No I don’t think people will wake up no matter how bad it gets, they’ll just get more deranged in their solutions.”

                  Most people are profoundly misinformed about the nature of the disease. The future we’re headed towards is one where the great majority of people are stricken with serious long-term effects of the infection and everybody knows children who’ve died. Somewhere along that path there will be big change. I don’t know what form it will take, but prognostications that take current attitudes as a given will likely be inaccurate.

                  1. TBellT

                    K I’ll hold you to that, we shall see.

                    I don’t know how you can go through April – May of 2020 , with people being absolute babies about containment, harassing underpaid grocery workers about their right to not wear a mask and filming it for the internet to see them as a hero and think this public is remotely irrational. From that point it was clear to me that the only way the US society will reform is when it’s hit rock bottom, and clearly rock bottom has been far lower than I ever imagined.

          1. Eric377

            Yes, I don’t think the disease will get anywhere near bad enough to call for 3 months of severe disruption. Civil war makes no sense as who is going to fight for 3 months of severe disruption? No one, that’s who.

            1. Raymond Sim

              Yes, I don’t think the disease will get anywhere near bad enough to call for 3 months of severe disruption.

              Okay, so you’re an optimist about the virus. Since you don’t offer any rationale, can I assume this is faith-based, or are you perhaps a eugenics enthusiast?

              Civil war makes no sense as who is going to fight for 3 months of severe disruption? No one, that’s who.

              Again, you’re assuming there won’t be big changes in attitude. Which makes your second sentence just a corollary to the first.

  17. Roger Blakely

    I am not opposed to the “let ‘er rip” strategy. At the same time I am not saying that I don’t agree with GM. GM’s position is sophisticated. I have always been sympathetic to the message of the folks of the Great Barrington Declaration. Once it’s endemic, whatcha gonna do?

    What drives me crazy is the murderous recklessness of the public health establishment. First, they need to say that they are implementing the “let ‘er rip” strategy. Second, they need to say that many will die. Third, they need to say that it is not safe out there and that people need to be living their lives as if they are under strict lockdown. Fourth, they need to say that everyone with reason to worry needs to be in respirators and goggles in indoor public spaces. Fifth, they need to make it clear that the vaccines provide a false sense of security and that all of us are going to get COVID-19 several times over the next several years if not for the rest of their lives.

    1. GM

      Once it’s endemic, whatcha gonna do?

      Smallpox was endemic.

      We did something about that.

      Fourth, they need to say that everyone with reason to worry needs to be in respirators and goggles in indoor public spaces

      That includes exactly 100% of the population

      1. Raymond Sim

        Smallpox was endemic.

        I’m pretty sure that right up to the present day most people who’ve died ‘Died with endemic disease.’

        Especially kids.

      2. The Rev Kev

        There are all sorts of diseases that were once endemic to the United States. Things like Polio, tuberculosis, malaria, ringworm, etc. You don’t see them around so much anymore. Ever wonder why? Because the Americans of earlier generations said ‘No. This is not good enough. We can’t live like this. We are going to do something about it.’ And then they went to work. You are reaping the benefits of all their hard work but don’t realize it-

        If you want a more recent example, do you remember the time when it was decided that people had to learn to live with AIDS? No, I don’t either. Because it never happened.

  18. Brian Beijer

    Earlier, the question was raised, “What’s the endgame?” In another comment, it was noted that with the long-term high mortality and morbidity rates, the “let ‘er rip” tactic would crash the economy. I’ve been trying to answer the “What’s the endgame?” question myself because so many of the governments’ (almost all governments under Western influence, so pick your favorite) have been mis-handling pandemic since the begining, making similar mistakes in assumptions, giving conflicting or erroneous guidance to their citizens, not allowing for off-label treatments (including countries that have socialized health care), not informing people that the virus is airborne, even the latest controversy that Dr. Campbell has been immersed in involving the guideline that many countries seem to be actively discouraging aspiration when vaccinating, the list goes on and on…

    I freely admit that I am a paranoid person when it comes to dealing with people. Frankly, after the last two years, I’ve even arrived at the point that I trust the Corona virus more than I do people. It’s goals are straightforward, it behaves according to certain guidelines, and it isn’t malicious, even if it is deadly, which is more than I can say about people in power (whether in government or business). Anyway, I’ve been going down the rabbit hole into tin foil hat country looking for reasons that would explain this “let ‘er rip” tactic and several tin foil hatters I’ve come across believe that crashing the economy and even dismantling our current social system is the intent. They point to the WEF’s proposal that a circular economy is the only solution to the climate problem. They suggest that the vaccine mandates and digital tracking systems being set up in many countries are mostly about bringing into fruition the “internet of bodies” that is the required complimentary component to the internet of things in order to have a circular economy. I know this sounds like all the other TFH theories, and I already can hear Yves* reply that one shouldn’t leap to a conspiracy when simple mass incompetence and corruption is the simpler (and more probable) explaination. Lambert’s two rules of neo-liberalism can explain most of what governments are doing. It just doesn’t settle my gut feeling I’ve had since the very begining when no government was stopping international travel despite everyone knowing that the virus was some serious sh*t. The gut feeling that there is something more going on here.

    If anyone else has looked into this and dismissed the idea that end goal of how governments are dealing with the pandemic is to accelerate the time frame of implementing a circular economy, please feel free to comment. I confess to having very little understanding of economics beyond what I’ve read here. If there’s a simple reason as to why this CT can’t be true, then knowing that would save me a lot of time and energy.

    1. Samuel Conner

      I think there’s also a “stability breeds fragility” dynamic similar to the way bank regulation eroded (at the behest of specific interests, of course, but the stability of the time may have lulled regulators) during the “Great Moderation”.

      If the CV pandemic we are experiencing had taken place in the 1920s or 30s, the public health response would have been more effective, even without vaccines, simply on account of the vivid memory of the recent influenza pandemic.

      In the century since the Spanish ‘flu, we lost institutional memory and capacity. It has been repeatedly noted that successful public health systems are always threatened with cutbacks, because their success produces the illusion that they aren’t needed.

    2. AJB

      Dr Campbell’s videos on aspiration raised a very sensible point. If something as simple as pulling back on the plunger could potentially break a link in the side effects chain by eliminating the risk of intravascular delivery, why don’t governments world wide just get the nurses/doctors to aspirate? This issue has me shaking my head in disbelief.

  19. marku52

    Here’s my take. First of all, our “leaders”, if you can all them that are incredibly incompetent. Most of them got where the are by going to the right school and falling upward after that. They have never been faced with a situation where getting the right answer actually mattered.

    And this—the foreign policy establishment (throughout out the 5 Eyes) are aware that China is going to take over their entire baliwick through economic strength, in just a matter of years.

    “So what about this–we just let it rip, and in a year or two, our entire economies will be immune and roaring while China suffers shutdowns after shutdown as they keep trying to stay zero”

    I can’t dismiss this……And of course in the mean time, look at all the Vaccine Billionaires we are making! Genius!

  20. Iseeyoudock

    This Is a broad topic, but there are so many policy holes in the current mix mash of messaging that it’s hard to know where to begin a critique.

    With reguard to the vaccine I think we have both presumption fallacies as well as scientific incongruities which could merit mention.

    The presumption that the vaccine is sterilizing; that is that it prevents transmission and infection, is one under which I think a swath of both the general public and non-scientifically educated policy makers labor.

    That specific presumption has incorrectly guided the one horse vaccine pony out of the barn and into the field of the lives of everyone.

    As far as I can discern the mandates are fallaciously based upon this mistaken perception.

    We tend to view vaccines as things which prevent disease. Measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria pertussis, polio ( the Sabin ). All prevent transmission. All prevent acquisition. Some have a variant time course but it’s usually on the order of years during which they protect both the recipient of the vaccine from acquiring disease, and the community through their termination of transmission.

    The current vaccines for covid do not do this. They can attenuate the severity of disease, however they do not prevent the nasopharyngeal carriage of the virons when vaccinated. This, speculatively, would be due to a lack of induction of mucosal IgA which is not being induced because the mechanism of action of the vaccine is one which will provoke a primary IgG response; it will protect your bloodstream, but not your superficial respiratory epithelium.

    Further, there is limited temporal benefit to the protection afforded due to the titers of neutralizing IgG falling as a function of time and the increasing levels of circulating IgG needed to effectively neutralize the variants which have changed as the virus has mutated over time.

    Variants in circulation prior to delta required about 2, 5, and 8 fold increases for UK, Brazil and South Africa, respectively. Delta is about 8 fold also.

    The current vaccine is only alpha; that is, it is still ‘geared’ to the original strain. There has been no change in the formulation of the vaccine. Hence, he ever shortening temporal benefit; 9,8, 6, 4, now 2 or three months of protection afforded due to the natural tail of IgG decay and changing point mutations which have rendered greater stearic affinity for the ACE2 receptor and higher viral loads enhancing transmission.

    This is the first fallacy. One of sterilizing protection.

  21. Iseeyoudock

    The policy prescription with the vaccine is based upon a sterilizing vaccine presumption and it is a false presumption.

    If indeed the vaccines were truly sterilizing, I think the pressure to enforce mandates would be justifiable. We could, corporately, as a society, bear the burden of the side effect profile, adverse event profile including vaccine mediated TTP, venous thromboembolic risk, cerebral thromboembolic risk, the underreported mortality associations, myocarditis risks in the young, and the as yet unknown long term effects of mutagenesis, carcinogensisis, and fertility impairment and all say together that this was worth it. Look. It’s gone now. God job guys. You took one for the team. Yea.

    But No.

    It isn’t the end of this story. It’s not sterilizing. It’s not protective over a longer time frame, it doesn’t prevent transmission.

    It has risks. Less frequent, but they are present, and occasionally severe and rarely deadly.

    In this, I think that our policy makers have abutted and attempted to overrun the barricade of historic norms around risk/benefit discussions , measured actuarial calculation and informed consent in a data vacuum.

    There is a curious incuriosity around the apparent superiority of natural immunity, the ever growing body of literature that supports this thesis, and an abject abdication responsibility by policy makers around this specific item in consideration of “vaccination status” and the true epidemiological and public health value of this newer finding into current policy.

    To treat people with prior infection who have already suffered through the disease as a Typhoid Mary is insulting to people who think, read and understand. Probably more so to the victims who have recovered .

    It’s also dead wrong in terms of the epidemiology.

    To pressure young people to get a vaccine which has unknown long term adverse event profile, without an actuarial risk / benefit discussion and true informed consent abridges historic ethical boundaries.

    The false presumption of prevention of community transmission is driving the mandate madness. It is a false presumption by people driven by lack of scientific education, emotion, fear and herd instinct.


    1. Roger Blakely

      What I’ve been saying to myself about the mandate madness is that it isn’t worthwhile to get into life-and-death fights with people over getting vaccinated. Iseeyoudock’s two posts here give the details that would indicate that my vague understanding has been on the right track.

  22. coboarts

    I was a frontline healthcare worker during the wtf is this AIDS thing in the 80’s. The only one here I’ll even begin to listen to is IM Doc, and then, not too much.

    1. Raymond Sim

      What’s the point of posting this? There’s no useful communication – you don’t even say what you agree with IMDoc on.

      We’ve got WhatDoIKnow declaring nobody knows anything, and here you are not even beginning to listen to us dummies.

      Why has twitter-style vague casting of shade and doubt come to NC today?

      Is GM ever so politely hitting people where they really feel it? Three cheers for GM!

    2. Basil Pesto

      sorry, have you been lead badly astray by paying attention to and taking heed of any of NC’s covid coverage since January 2020? I don’t like to blow smoke up our hosts’ arses because I myself don’t like the idea of being overly reliant on one site, so if you have a better source of information and analysis with a similar track record I’d love to hear it.

    3. coboarts

      When you can’t believe anything you’re hearing from any side, you fall back on your basics and press on. What might those be? That’s all I’ll say. If you don’t get that, oh well. Too many good for nothing know it alls are always around. Live and die by your faith in YOUR destiny. By Bye.

      1. Raymond Sim

        Coboarts, you’re actually describing an aspect of human behavior propagandists use to manipulate masses of people – the tendency to double down on previous convictions in the face of uncertainty.

        But the fact that when in doubt we go with what we’ve got ain’t exactly news is it? Which brings me back to my original question: Why even post this?

        Who are the good for nothing know-it-alls? Everybody but you and IMDoc on his good days? What are we getting wrong? I could almost believe you yourself are mostly concerned with inducing uncertainty.

  23. TBellT

    The “Great Resignation” is a good name for this period and not just the current employment statistics. I think most people I talked to are resigned to muddling through with regards to the virus. Even those who know it’s not going to work just don’t believe our society is possible of reversing course. Especially when the most popular anti-“establishment consensus” voices are the ones who have derided containment since the beginning.

    For instance a friend who works at a theme park was happy when the “vaccines=demask” original guidance meant that they didn’t have to argue with nasty parkgoers to wear their mask, even though they recognized that the guidance was probably not good for spread. I don’t think people realize how much the pre-vaccine containment measures mentally wore on those who were forced into the responsibility of enforcement.

  24. bernie karpf

    Veering off the road a bit, but has anyone had experience, or feel confident in a anti-viral nasal spray? thanks!

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