Last year, during the summer, I got sick. I was functional, could still work and even lift weights, but I had a dry cough, my resting heartbeat went up 16 beats per minute, my blood oxygen level dropped down to the 88-92 level for the first time in my life and I became winded walking short distances. Even after I got over it, it took me a month or so to get my cardio back, and during that period, a large blood clot developed in my left leg. That’s called deep vein thrombosis, it’s potentially fatal and it’s associated with COVID-19. So, was it COVID? According to the test I took at the tail end of my sickness, no it was not. I then took an antibody test about a month later and once again; it came up negative. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean much because as Elon Musk pointed out, the tests we have for COVID have proven to be considerably less reliable than most people think.
All of this turned out to be relevant when the vaccine became available the following year because had I gotten a positive diagnosis of COVID, I wouldn’t have gotten vaccinated at the end of May. That doesn’t mean I regret getting vaccinated or don’t recommend that other people get vaccinated. It means that I believe that if you get COVID, it’s essentially as good as a shot, so there wouldn’t have been any need for me to get vaccinated. Of course, that is a hotly contested statement. Some people may say it’s wrong. Some might say it’s right. Others might point out that some scientists have concluded that people who have been infected AND get vaccinated have even better protection against COVID. So, who’s right and who’s wrong? The honest answer is that informed guesses can be made, but no one really knows. Fauci doesn’t know, Biden doesn’t know, Trump doesn’t know, all the scientists, influencers, politicians, and doctors claiming they know, don’t know. Some of the guesses are better and more informed than others, but right now, everyone is making guesses.
That doesn’t mean we don’t know anything at all or that there’s nothing we can do to protect ourselves, but it does mean that everyone should be humbler about this whole process. What do I mean by that?
Well, for example, I went to Miami on vacation recently. It was gorgeous.
I commented on Twitter that I was surprised that there were multiple places that I had to wear a mask since I thought they weren’t doing that in Florida. Soon thereafter, someone said it was “tyranny” to be asked to wear a mask and that I should fight back. Who would I have been fighting back against exactly? The cab driver driving me from the Everglades back into Miami who seemed very nice, but was obviously terrified of COVID? The crew of the celebrity mansion cruise that I went on that insisted we wear masks until we got on the boat and then none of them cared? Now personally? After watching a full year of mask mandates that clearly did nothing of significance anywhere in the US to slow the rise of COVID, I believe standard masks either don’t work at all or do so little to slow the spread of COVID they are practically useless. That being said, I keep my own advice in mind. Although I don’t wear a mask anywhere I’m not required to do so, I try to be respectful. If a business wants me to wear a mask on their premises, I’ll do it even though I don’t agree, because I respect their right to have their own opinion and recognize that I don’t know everything.
That brings us to our government.
Even if you set aside the intentional deceptions, the politically motivated “scientific” decisions, and the “masks for thee, but not for me” hypocrisy of government officials since the start of the pandemic, the sheer number of costly mistakes and incompetence we’ve seen from our elected leaders should have humbled all of them. Remember “15 days to slow the spread” and the lockdowns that literally forced people to shutter their businesses despite doing nothing of note to slow COVID? How about Anthony Fauci saying on March 8 of 2020 that, “Right now… there is no reason to be walking around with a mask” and then on January 25 of 2021, that wearing two masks was just “common sense?” In the middle of that, in July of 2020, Robert Redfield, the then-director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, “If we could get everybody to wear a mask right now, I really think in the next four, six, eight weeks, we could bring this epidemic under control.” How’d that work out? Do you know how they came up with the “stay 6 feet away from other people” rule to prevent the spread of COVID? They essentially just pulled it out of thin air. Of course, we can’t forget this from Joe Biden in July of this year, “You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.” He essentially said the same thing last Thursday. Fact Check? False.
If you think there’s any “expert” who knows exactly how to handle all of this and has it all perfectly mapped out, you’re a fool. That’s true about everything when it comes to this pandemic, including the vaccine.
There are some things we can say about the vaccine that at least at this early juncture, appear to be true. It appears to lessen the chances that you will get COVID, although it doesn’t prevent people from contracting the virus or spreading it. It appears to dramatically lessen the chances that a person that has the virus will be hospitalized or die from it. The vaccine also has frequent minor side-effects and much more rare extremely serious side effects. There are a very small number of people who have been confirmed to have died because of the vaccine, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the actual number were significantly larger, albeit, tiny compared to the number of people that would have died of COVID had they not been vaccinated.
Kelly Bee 🐝 @ke11ybenderSeattle, WA — Jessica Berg Wilson, an "exceptionally healthy and vibrant 37-year-old young mother with no underlying health conditions," passed away from COVID Vaccine-Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia. She did not want to get vaccinated. 😥 RIP🕊️ https://t.co/0gz98R1YW4 https://t.co/pF10pk2nDr
Are all those things true? PROBABLY, but this isn’t the Polio vaccine (around since 1955) or the Chickenpox vaccine (around since 1995), so we can’t be 100% sure these presumptions will hold up long-term.
Now here are some very important things we don’t know about the vaccines. First and most importantly, we don’t know exactly how long the effects will last. For example, although the protection against serious illness holds for a longer period, Pfizer’s protection against a breakthrough infection wanes in as quickly as two months. That same sort of breakdown seems to occur in all vaccines currently available in less than a year and yes, over time, their ability to protect you against serious illness will drop off as well. As a practical matter, this means that herd immunity is not on the table. Not only are there many poor nations with minimal vaccination rates, since corona will continue to circulate in vaccinated individuals, whether everyone gets vaccinated/contracts COVID or not, it’s not going away. Either the new variants will occur here, or they’ll occur in places like Egypt, Ghana, and Venezuela, then someone will contract the variant, fly here, or walk across the border illegally and start spreading it.
As a practical matter, that leads us to a number of conclusions. The first is that COVID-19 could be around for the foreseeable future. The second is that the initial hit of the vaccine people got isn’t going to be enough to protect them over the long haul. In fact, Israel is already requiring a booster shot for their equivalent of a “vaccine pass.” Even if you felt comfortable taking the jab initially and feel it’s safe, how do you feel about another round? What about round 4 or maybe even round 10 sooner than any of us may suspect? That’s something to consider. Additionally, if the effectiveness of the vaccines doesn’t improve, it seems entirely possible that the best solution to COVID may turn out to be aggressive and effective treatment AFTER someone gets infected. All sorts of drugs have been tossed around as possibilities for this, but there hasn’t been time to definitively find the best ones. Some look amazing in one study, then not so great in another. It’s not unusual for this sort of thing to go on for years before we get good answers, although it is worth noting that Florida, among other states, seems to be getting good results with Monoclonal Antibody Therapy.
All that being said, what’s the best path forward? Probably to encourage people to get vaccinated, try to increase the availability of Monoclonal Antibody Therapy, encourage more companies to work on treatments for COVID and then, try to rebuild public trust in the government and scientific authorities. What we absolutely should not be doing is trying to get people fired and banned from polite society for still having very legitimate concerns. For example, here’s Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac explaining why he doesn’t want to get vaccinated.
Essentially, Isaac said he’s had COVID before which gives him some protection, he’s young, he’s fit, and he doesn’t want to chance the very rare, but possible side-effects from the vaccine. It would be perfectly fair to argue that the chances of him getting long haul COVID (which can happen, even to young athletes, as Khamzat Chimaev could confirm) are significantly greater than his chances of having a vaccine side-effect, but it still doesn’t change the fact that he’s making an informed, rational case for not getting vaccinated.
On the other hand, what exactly is the case for the government mandating vaccinations? The reality is that there is no good reason for forcing the general population to get something as new as a COVID vaccine at this point. After all, as we noted, herd immunity isn’t happening and it doesn’t make much sense for people that have been vaccinated to demand that the unvaccinated get vaccinated, to prevent them from potentially giving COVID to the vaccinated (wait, what?). Also, given the outright scorn and contempt we often see for anyone who is reluctant to get vaccinated, the people demanding mandates pretty clearly aren’t concerned about the safety of the people that are unvaxxed. So, why are we seeing something as radical and dangerous as the government threatening companies to make them fire people over not being vaccinated?
Part of it certainly seems to be catering to terrified people who don’t yet understand that life isn’t going “back to normal” even if everyone is vaccinated.
If those people are the cupcake, the frosting is liberals who hate the unvaccinated because they think they’re all Republicans. Then, the cherry on top is the liberal politicians who view George Orwell’s 1984 as something to aspire to instead of a warning. In the overall scheme of things, people that are unvaccinated are primarily a threat to themselves if they’re a threat to anyone, while the precedents being set by politicians trying to take away people’s livelihoods and force Americans to put a new drug in their bodies that they don’t want are potentially a dire threat to all of us. The government forcing people to take a brand new vaccine with an unknown long-term track record to combat a virus 99+% of the population will survive is dangerous, foolish and, unscientific. All Americans who value our freedom should oppose it.