In This Episode: Now that the coronavirus vaccine is rolling out, there are several important things to watch out for, which may take a little Uncommon Sense to fully get past the scare-mongers.
086: Beating the Vaccine Scare-Mongers
- Help support Uncommon Sense: — yes, $5 helps!
- The CDC’s v-safe program is here.
- Recent (21 October) journal discussion of herd immunity: Nature.
- The CDC’s “v-safe” program information is here, and I urge you to participate.
- The CDC’s list of the Top 10 Causes of Death for the latest year all stats have been processed (2018), and the number of deaths for each (Source):
- Heart disease: 655,381
- Cancer: 599,274
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 167,127
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 159,486
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 147,810
- Alzheimer’s disease: 122,019
- Diabetes: 84,946
- Influenza and Pneumonia: 59,120
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 51,386
- Intentional self-harm (suicide): 48,344
Welcome to Uncommon Sense. I’m Randy Cassingham.
It’s practically a miracle that the Covid-19 vaccine is already being administered. That was certainly made possible by the application of Uncommon Sense, but that’s a story for another day. Meanwhile, there are some things to watch out for.
First, when you get the vaccine you’ll probably feel pretty icky for the next 24-48 hours, but that’s not just OK, that’s preferable: it means your body is quickly ramping up defenses against Covid. But no, it’s not possible to get Covid from the shot.
With more than one vaccine being approved, it looks like we could get as many as 100 million people vaccinated by the end of March. If we’re really lucky, more. But even if we do, that’s nowhere near enough to reach the “herd immunity” we’ve been hearing about. That’s when enough people have the antibodies to the virus to keep it from spreading wildly, which is what it’s doing right now.
To get to herd immunity we need as much as 70 percent of the population to be immune, either because they’ve recovered from Covid-19, or had the vaccine. So even getting 200 million vaccinated isn’t quite enough.
Because there’s another problem: medical science has had long enough to study Covid to know that the natural immunity brought by recovering from the disease lasts somewhere from 2 to 9 months. So as that immunity goes away over time, others have to become immune to keep to the 70 percent needed for herd immunity. Pretty much, that would be impossible without a vaccine, no matter what some politicians and other uninformed people might say.
And they have been saying that. “Just let up on the controls so the economy can recover, and let people get sick so we can develop natural herd immunity!”
There’s a problem with that, too: that means there would “have to be” about 850,000 new cases a day. It’s estimated that in the process Americans would have to take about a billion days of sick leave from work, and it would result 42,000 people being hospitalized …per day, for nearly a year. There aren’t enough hospital beds to hold them all.
At least some hospital beds would be freed up by people dying: at least 2.3 million would, assuming the case fatality rate wouldn’t increase, but it would since there aren’t enough hospital beds — or enough doses of the effective medical treatments for Covid — to keep that rate down. Deaths would at least double, so now we’re talking nearly 5 million people dying from Covid, which is more than double the number of Americans that die of heart disease plus cancer plus accidents plus chronic lower respiratory diseases plus strokes plus Alzheimer’s plus diabetes plus flu and pneumonia plus kidney disease, and plus suicide in a normal year.
And all of those “normal” causes of death would increase because hospitals and medical personnel would be continuously overwhelmed with patients, so naturally many of those patients would have to be turned away. People who, for instance, could have been saved from a heart attack by a quick trip to the cath lab wouldn’t get that trip to the cath lab. Yet so many are so quick to just spew “Oh well! Too bad!”
The other problem with that is it would probably take longer to get there than by getting there without all the suffering and death and long-term health effects by using a vaccine.
Clearly, the only way to get past this without horrific results is with an effective vaccine. That the vaccines are coming in at more than 90 percent effective is another miracle: the flu vaccine is rarely even 50 percent effective.
OK, all that aside, what are we going to hear when the vaccine really rolls out widely? Things like:
- “Joe Blow got the vaccine, and that night he died of a heart attack.”
- “Jane Doe got the vaccine, and a few hours later she had a major stroke.”
- “Billy Bob Smith got the vaccine, and on the way home he died in a fiery car crash!”
We need to be really careful that we don’t mistake correlation (two things that happen close together in time), and causation (the first thing caused the second thing).
Because let’s go back to those death numbers. Let me rattle them off to you: these are the latest full-year figures from the CDC, which are from the year ending December 31, 2018, of the top 10 causes of death of Americans:
Heart disease: 655,381. Cancer: 599,274. Accidents (unintentional injuries): 167,127. Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 159,486. Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 147,810. Alzheimer’s disease: 122,019. Diabetes: 84,946. Influenza and Pneumonia: 59,120. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis (kidney disease): 51,386. And Intentional self-harm (suicide): 48,344. That’s a total of 2,094,893 from just those 10 top causes, from a grand total 2,839,205, which means every other cause combined accounted for 744,312 deaths.
The point is, if we’re going to vaccinate 200 million Americans over the span of just a few months, of course a lot of them will die of something in the 24-72 hours after the vaccination, because every day in the United States around 2,000 die of heart disease, more than 1,600 die from cancer, more than 450 from accidents, and more than 130 from suicide! Or, to put it another way, nearly 8,000 Americans are expected to die every day, not even counting Covid.
Obviously, Covid is more deadly to those who have conditions like that — heart disease, cancer, respiratory issues, etc. — so even if 2,000 people die of Covid on a particular day, you can’t really say that the 8,000 expected deaths plus 2,000 Covid deaths = 10,000 deaths, since Covid probably took them out before their underlying condition did. On the other hand, we can’t be callous and say “Well, they would have died anyway!” Probably not that day they wouldn’t have.
The point, of course, is that we can’t let fear get in the way: even if there are hundreds of news stories of people having heart attacks in the days after getting the vaccination doesn’t mean anything regarding causation, because — yes — we expected thousands and thousands of them to die anyway, and the odds are really low that the shot had anything to do with it.
And even if there aren’t such stories in the news, you can bet you’ll see them on social media. There are plenty of scare-mongers who will actively try to raise fears to scare us away from the vaccine. They’re the same people who spew “Oh well! Too bad!” about the millions of people who now have a “pre-existing health condition” to jack up insurance rates, and the hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths we’ve already seen.
As you might expect, the Centers for Disease Control have realized this, and have set up a program to track actual adverse affects from the Covid vaccines. It’s called “v-safe”. It’s for everyday people like you and me, and I urge you to participate.
During the first week after you get your vaccine, v-safe will send you a text message each day to ask how you’re doing. Then you’ll get check-in messages once a week for up to 5 weeks. This way they can quickly gather a lot of data on reactions. The link is on the Show Page, or you can use my short URL: hop2.cc/vsafe — that’s h-o-p, the digit 2, dot cc, slash v-s-a-f-e. hop2.cc/vsafe Or, just click the link on the Show Page.
So what’s the bottom line Uncommon Sense approach to staying as safe as possible from Covid? Well, it’s just as they’ve been saying for months: wear a mask, stay well away from others, wash your hands, limit your exposure. And, get the frigging vaccine as soon as you can.
The Show Page for this episode is thisistrue.com/podcast76, where there are a links to source material, and a place to comment.
I’m Randy Cassingham …and I’ll talk at you later.
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