THE SKY IS FALLING! (except maybe it’s not?) A rational COVID update discussion, live.

I talk about vaccine safety and efficacy, those darn variants, duration of vaccine effect, the “4th surge”, kids, vaccine passports, long covid and more.

Full Transcript Below

“Impending doom for COVID,” says the CDC. More people like Michael Osterholm going on TV and saying we’re in for a fourth surge, things are really scary. Aaaaah! Okay can we have a rational discussion about things like the fourth surge, variants, vaccines, and what we should do because I think we’re all tired of the fear mongering. Now I’m not saying it’s not fully, entirely inappropriate because I think what’s happened now is we have a situation with coronavirus and by the way leave your comments, leave your questions we’re doing this live, we have a situation with coronavirus where we’ve turned something that has a generally low fatality rate but still will kill hundreds of thousands or millions of people if left to just rip through, has a low fatality rate but is now preventable, it’s now a preventable disease, and I’m not talking about masks, and social distancing, and washing hands which probably have some effect, I’m talking about actually preventing the disease with a vaccine.

So I think where CDC and the people with I think good intent but they’re probably the victims of a little bit of mission creep and safetyism like we have to save every single human being we possibly can, we have to make sure, this is disaster, and if we use fear then people will listen and we’ll be more likely to get the outcome we want. Instead of just telling us the damn truth which is this, we’ve turned this disease, SARS-CoV-2-caused COVID into a preventable illness with some of the most remarkable vaccines that humans have produced. That’s it, it’s now preventable, you can get vaccinated.

Real-world data by Pfizer is showing that it’s 90% efficacious in the real world. Even though the case numbers were kind of low and there weren’t deaths and things like that, that’s pretty compelling data that these things work, now I think the concern and the public health apparatus is well but people aren’t scared enough, they’re opening back up, spring has come, they think Oh this thing is over because vaccines even though they haven’t gotten the vaccine and they’re gonna die at the finish line because they’re gonna get infected by quickly opening too fast, you’re gonna get what you see in Europe which is another surge and hospitals getting full again, and then people dying when it’s now preventable.

If people could just hold on, wear their mask, distance, don’t go to the church, don’t go to the bar, don’t open the restaurants, don’t go to the sporting event, if we do all that, we can get to the finish line with much fewer deaths. Okay, we need to get together with other people. It’s been a year of a pandemic right that has an infection fatality rate of probably .2 to .3. So you could say, Oh still hundreds of thousands of people are gonna die, but our response to it has been to, first of all in the US do a half-ass lockdown that never really was quite correct. So you never really suppressed the disease, and then you had all the negative side effects of the half-ass lockdowns that continue for months to a year, so you don’t really bend the curve enough to actually save a whole ton of lives. But you do interfere with the economy, with people’s mental state, with our social fabric, with very little benefit and we’ve been doing it for a year. So now we’re in a situation where the government appropriately invested in vaccines, it turns out the combination of a public entity, the government, and private institutions, the pharmaceutical companies, along with decades of science have emerged some of the most efficacious vaccines that we’ve had in history.

I mean it’s a new rebirth in vaccine science that we’ve had because of this pandemic. These things are ridiculously effective, absurdly safe, and that is the real out for this thing since we didn’t do mitigation early on. To think that we can really do serious suppression and mitigation now is I think a little farfetched. So what should we be doing? We should be telling people this, which is the truth. If you get vaccinated you can go back to your normal ass life. Everybody who can get vaccinated who’s willing to get vaccinated, should get vaccinated. We can stop talking about vaccine passports and all that because everyone will just get vaccinated who’s willing and able to get vaccinated, and the small percentage of people who don’t because vaccine hesitancy is declining as people look and go, “Oh wow, wait, these things work and they’re safe, no one’s sprouting extra arms, no one’s becoming infertile, no one’s got great 5G reception, which is a downside. Let’s go ahead and do this.” Get spin up as much vaccine as you can and get it into as many arms as are willing to get it,

And we’re done with the pandemic. All this talk about there’s an impending sense of doom, don’t jump the gun, don’t do all this. How about this, shut up and get the vaccines out there in as many arms as you can. And then there’s the debate of, well should they just have one dose and that way we could vaccinate more people? Look there are smart people on both sides of that debate, I’m not smart enough to know the answer ’cause we don’t have the data. We don’t have enough data to firmly say one way or the other, I don’t care, I think we have enough vaccine soon, so just anyone who wants to get vaccinated can get vaccinated, two doses for the mRNA vaccines, one for the Johnson & Johnson if you don’t want two doses that’s a great vaccine by the way.

So why aren’t we just doing that? Well I’ll tell you why, one is of course it was slow to spin up, that’s getting better, Two, they focus first on hopefully the most vulnerable people which means if we start opening up now and you see cases bump, what we need to also see is what are the deaths doing? If we did vaccinate the most vulnerable people en mass that means that deaths ought to be declining because the vaccine is like almost 100% efficacious against severe disease and death. So if you focus originally on the most vulnerable people who are most likely to die, the elderly, people with two or more chronic diseases, you could even argue obese people of any age, what we ought to see is as you open up, yeah the disease is gonna spread more. Why? ‘Cause there’s variants that are more contagious than the original ’cause the virus evolved to higher contagiousness as mitigation measures put pressure on it, and it was still replicating enough that it could generate mutations that were then selected for because they conferred an advantage easier to spread. So look at the B117 UK variant, it spreads more easily. It may be replicates more easily. Maybe it infects children easily. Did the children die more often?

That hasn’t been shown, but maybe they can get more easily infected, okay. So you’re gonna see cases bump, and that’s what CDC is probably looking at, is going all of these cases are actually they’ve been stabilizing at the 60,000 range, that’s not low. That was actually high in the summer that was high. So then they say things like we’ll now I have the sense of impending doom, that this is gonna lead to a base from which another surge happens except what do we really care about? Hospitalizations, long-term disease, and death. If we vaccinate the most vulnerable first and then we vaccinate everybody else, we ought to see those parameters improve even if infections are still high in people who are unvaccinated which will be more younger people, et cetera who weren’t in first in line for the vaccine. So once you start vaccinating them what we’re gonna see is what we see in Israel, where there’s high vaccine penetration, a lot of people vaccinated, hospitalizations deaths off the cliff, dropping. That’s where we wanna be. And all the other talk talk about, Oh well maybe we should have a vaccine passport so we can get those restaurants open and all that. Look, I get it, I did a piece on that, there are pros and cons to that.

And the cons are, it’s not a very fair thing, because people who haven’t been able to get vaccinated, minorities who haven’t gotten vaccinated, kids, so there’s a generational unfairness, there’s all kinds of unfairness there. But apart from that and it triggers people who have this liberty thing they’re like, no you’re not keeping track of me and I’m not showing you my papers. Fine, why are we wasting our breath even talking about that when we to just be vaccinating as many people as possible? Now let’s talk about that for a second. It turns out they’ve looked at this now, there’s like 12 people that are responsible for like the vast majority of anti-vax information that’s spread online. And it’s all weaponized and catalyzed by social media. So that 12 delusional lunatics, and I’m not sure again, be really clear here, I was skeptical about this vaccine because of how “quickly” it was developed apparently although we’ve talked about why that’s not a thing, and the fact that you should be skeptical of any new therapeutic when you’re giving it to healthy people, that’s normal scientific skepticism.

People who are concerned, who are on the fence, who don’t wanna be first in line for this vaccine, you’re not being irrational, you’re being quite rational and quite human in how you’re thinking about it. We’re not talking about you, we’re not talking about a mom who heard some misinformation who like “Am I gonna become sterile taking these mRNA vaccines? Like, is this something I wanna do when my risk of dying from COVID is infinitesimally smaller than grandpa? Why should I be in line for this?” Okay, you’re being rational, you’re thinking about your own risk and you’re trying to figure out your place and what you do. You’re a good rational thinker. I’m talking about this delusional set of anti-vaxxers who hated all the other vaccines, they hate this vaccine, there is no amount of evidence that will convince them and they will use any tactic or strategy necessary to convince people that these things are not only not safe, they’re not effective, and they’re actually gonna make the pandemic worse.

All of that is untrue, we’ve done multiple videos about why, but you’re gonna let these 12 ding-dongs who have everything invested in this anti-vaccine thing, influence your grandma who can die if she doesn’t get the vaccine when everything opens up, more likely to die being older, twice as likely to die of COVID than in a car accident. So why would we allow that? And yet again and again and again, people send me, what do you think of Sherri Tenpenny? I think she’s a delusional psychopath, that’s what I think. Everything historically she’s been an anti-vaxxer, everything she says is wrong.

She appeals to the heartstrings, she’s selling books and different things, and it’s like well, how is that any different than somebody you’re calling a “pharma shill,” who by the way, isn’t me, because who pays me? You do, supporters fund this show. So stop looking at the 12 people that are doing this, the Tenpennys, the Del Bigtrees, the Robert F. Kennedys, and look at the 12,000 scientists who were like, well, but yeah this is amazing. So once we get over that vaccine hesitancy that by the way was very appropriate, before we had more data. And now Pfizer is looking at this at a real-world outcomes, amazing, looking at adolescents now, turns out it’s a hundred percent effective in adolescents.

Oh there was a concern well what if you’re vaccinated and you can still spread it or still get silently infected? Well yeah I mean yeah, that’s possible ’cause vaccines aren’t a hundred percent perfect but now the data shows that no it drops asymptomatic infections and transmission, like almost every vaccine we have does. So the things work, what CDC ought to be telling people, what our public health apparatus ought to be telling people is, these are miracle drugs, get them and let’s move past this national nightmare and international nightmare. That’s it, they’re safe and effective, get them and then you can go back to your life, and we can go back to our life, sporting events, and bars, and restaurants, and goddamn school should have been started already if it hasn’t in your town like my town, my kid just today went to a half day of hybrid school for the first time in well over a year, the first time, and she’s been looking forward to it during all of spring break to see her friends, and yeah they gotta where masks and yeah they gotta wash their hands and yeah they’re gonna be distanced by some arbitrary rule that someone pulled out of their ass, but you know what it’s starting, we’re opening up.

Now is Rochelle Walensky correct that we’re gonna have another wave? Is Mike Osterholm correct? They could be that we have more infections. I personally don’t think we’re gonna have the bump in deaths if we can just get the vaccines out there. So the sky is falling, feeling of impending doom, we ought to be messaging the end is in sight, don’t blow it at the finish line, get your vaccine and you can move on with your life instead of are we’re gonna be wearing masks forever? Here’s your vaccine passport idea. And there’s gonna be a new normal where we’re never quite the same in a bad way. Okay, that’s no good, all right. That’s just not gonna work. People are not, you want people to get vaccinated, tell them the truth about the vaccines and that’s all it takes. And how do I know this? Because I get hundreds of messages from people who were like “Thank you for telling me the truth. I got the vaccine.

I was confused by this, by this, and the CDC said this and they said this.” And let’s talk about variants. Well people are saying well but the vaccines aren’t going to help with variants, in fact if anything they’re gonna promote the emergence of new variants by putting selective pressure on. Yeah, except we haven’t seen any evidence of that. The vaccines are still effective against the variants, maybe a little less so, but they’re still effective, why? Because it’s not just the antibody response they cause, there’s a T-cell robust response, that’s a little more non-specific but still pretty good against coronaviruses, and it’s quite overwhelming to these viruses. So again all the more reason reduced viral replication, less chances for mutation and new variants by getting vaccines into more people, as quickly as you can, they work, they work against the Brazilian variant, they work against the UK variant, will a variant eventually escape vaccine? Maybe, but that’s down the line and for now, we can actually do pretty good, and then you can get updated vaccine pretty quickly if we need it which there’s no conclusive evidence yet that we do. The other question people have now and this is a bit of misunderstanding the way the media has been portraying some of this, well but if the vaccine only lasts six months, why should I even bother, in six months it’s gonna be gone?

Okay, that is what Pfizer has determined is it’s been like six months since the trial, the vaccine still work really good at six months, they may work really good at a year, they may work really good for life. We don’t know because we haven’t had enough time to see, the assumption is they’re gonna work well enough for long enough to get us out of the pandemic, get the damn vaccine if you can, and increasingly you should be able to. Now, what do I think about like kids under 11 or something getting vaccinated? Well, we don’t have the trial data yet. Are they a big vector of spread? Probably not. Should we wait for them to be vaccinated before schools are fully open? No, teachers can wear masks, kids can wear masks until they don’t have to, until enough people are vaccinated that we get community immunity and we’re done, that’s it. And you gotta understand there’s always going to be some people who get infected and some people who die.

That’s what happens with influenza, that’s what happens with a lot of diseases. You’re never gonna get to COVID zero in this country, unless we vaccinate a hundred percent of people or something very close to get to real community immunity. It’s gonna become an endemic virus that behaves more like a cold and a cough, that we get seasonally, but it’s gonna take a couple iterations before that happens, which means you’re still gonna read in the news about the vaccinated person who got infected. Did they die? No. Will there be a case where someone will die after being infected, despite getting a vaccine? Yes, ’cause that’s what statistics and probability says will ultimately happen with a large number game. Should that dissuade you from getting vaccinated? No, because it means you’re misunderstanding risk. Can I go get hit by lightning? Sure. Is it gonna happen? Well, the way I’ve been blaspheming, probably, but it’s still pretty unlikely.

The other thing I wanna talk about with this is, these people who say it’s an experimental vaccine, I’m not getting an experimental vaccine. Again, these are people who have been poisoned by the same tiny component of delusional anti-vaxxers. This is not rational skepticism, this is a talking point of the anti-vaccine movement, and we should just ignore them. This is not an experimental vaccine, an experimental vaccine means you’re part of a trial. This is a vaccine that has had tens of thousands of participants in placebo controlled double-blinded randomized controlled trials across multiple continents, safe and effective. Oh but it’s not FDA approved, it’s only emergency use authorization approved, okay, that’s true. These are the same people who don’t give an F what the FDA says because they approved the measles vaccine and the mumps vaccine and the rubella vaccine. So they’re using an argument that they wouldn’t apply to the other vaccines. So it’s just a bunch of clownery on that side, on the delusional anti-vax side that you should stop listening to, stop sharing their crap, stop sending it to me going, “Is this true?” If you had to ask the answer is: probably not.

What else did I wanna tell you before I take your comments? That’s I mean, that’s it. Now people are looking at Europe and going, Oh what’s happening in Europe, this third wave they’re having, where hospitals are full in certain countries and they’re locking down again, and all of that, first of all we just don’t know if lockdowns work like this, lockdowns don’t work, lockdowns work, masks don’t work, masks work. We don’t know enough, we have circumstantial evidence, and the truth is we never did in the US lockdowns in a way that we could test if they actually work, ’cause we never did them consistently, we never did them in an intense enough way that we would prove whether or not they work, we did them half-ass and so that question doesn’t even matter anymore.

We shouldn’t be talking about that, we should be talking about simple mitigation measures, masks, distancing and then the cure, which is vaccine, that’s it, that’s what we ought to be talking about. So you look at what’s happening in Europe, They’ve vaccinated only their most vulnerable, if even that, they’re behind on that, and so you’re seeing surging cases which is exactly what you would predict especially when you have new variants that have a higher reproductive number they’re more contagious so you’re going to see that. So what’s the answer? Vaccinate people. So AstraZeneca screws up all over the place, and there’s a pause on the thing because they’re worried about rare blood clots which we still don’t really know the answer to, the rare blood clots with AstraZeneca.

I’m talking about the ones in women that are in these like sinus venous thrombosis in the brain and things like that. They’re still looking, there’s very rare. So risk of the vaccine is still outweighed by the benefits but they need to continue to study that and they are, and that’s another sign that the science of looking at vaccines actually works in post-marketing surveillance, but AstraZeneca’s fumbled in terms of how they’re reporting data in the US and that error they made and so on. It’s still a really safe and effective vaccine, but now look at all the stigma, and so Europe was partially a victim of that. They had to pause these mass vaccination campaigns for a while, everybody’s nervous about AstraZeneca. So there are things in Europe that are happening that aren’t necessarily fully applicable to the US, but it doesn’t mean that we won’t have another bump in cases here.

And so that’s why I’m telling you, go get vaccinated. That’s the only thing we should be talking about. That’s all we should be talking about. Honestly if you’re asking me and I’m editorializing here but that’s what we ought to be doing. All right, let’s take some comments, if I can make these comments work, let’s see. And Canada is a good example people aren’t able to get the vaccine, they’re relying a little bit on AstraZeneca too. Are vaccination rates in the US higher than in places in Europe that are getting a second wave, Liliana Avilar, that’s my understanding. Now but again the US we have been pretty good about getting vaccines in the arms. I think something like 20 or 30% of Americans have had the first dose, I may be getting that not entirely correct but quite a large number. And then don’t forget this, the US has already had an amount of natural infection that is pretty amazingly high compared to the rest of the world, so we’ve had a lot of natural cases which generates some immunity. Now here’s a question people are like, well, do I need to get vaccinated if I’ve been already infected?

This is where it gets really interesting, and again, we don’t have a full answer to this, but this is my intuition so far based on the best data we have, and it could change. I don’t think natural infection is as robust as particularly the mRNA vaccines and probably the other vaccines too. And the reason is those vaccines generate a multifocal overwhelming response to that spike protein along with its ancillary T-cell and innate immunity responses that happen on top of the antibody response, and so assuming you get the full set of doses if we’re talking about the marinade vaccines, both doses, there is some data that might suggest that is a more robust immunity that is more resistant to variants that are circulating in probably some future variants than being naturally infected.

And so then the question becomes, well if you’re naturally infected, where in line should you be for the vaccine? And the answer is if everyone’s being offered it, then anywhere you want, and then the question is should you get both doses if it’s an mRNA vaccine? And the answer is we don’t know but probably one dose is pretty good if you’ve been naturally infected already, can act a bit like a booster, but we don’t know a hundred percent for sure, but there’s some circumstantial evidence. And could you just get the J&J vaccine and have a single dose there? Sure. So I think that that’s how I think about people who’ve already had COVID, you shouldn’t be panicking running out to get the vaccine, but at the same time you shouldn’t have a full sense of oh I’m now invulnerable to COVID.

I think the vaccine adds a bit to that. So that’s just something to think about if you’ve already been infected. Talking about pregnant women and sterility and effects on fetus, the answer is they’re all good effects. So it turns out these antibodies do cross placenta and protect your baby. It turns out there’s no evidence that there’s any cross-reactivity with placenta or things like that that was proposed early on by some anti-vaxxers, hasn’t shown up. There’s zero evidence of antibody dependent enhancement where getting vaccinated actually makes the disease worse. We’ve seen none of that in real world, and you would have seen it when the prevalence is this high of natural infection. So everything that the sky is falling people about vaccines have said has been proven not to be the case.

The wildest hopes of vaccine efficacy hopefuls like myself have been exceeded. The biggest concerns have been alleviated, So if we’re talking about a sense of impending doom, I don’t see it. What I see is the first true beams of light that are shining on us that this thing is absolutely gonna be over well earlier than we think, is it gonna be as early as some people have said, like end of April? Well April’s end of April’s coming up so we’re gonna find out, aren’t we? But we gotta keep pushing those vaccines. And whether it’s a single dose or doing both those whether it’s J&J or Moderna or Pfizer or even AstraZeneca heaven forbid we gotta get it done, and that’s where all our efforts should be put into. Other comments here, let’s see. Why stop there when you can have 8G? What a bunch of amateurs, Adam West. Right Adam?

I mean, 5G is not good enough. So Julie van Osstell, I just read that people who are long haulers are seeing their symptoms reduced dramatically after getting vaccinated. Is that true? That’s what they claim, so the long haul thing is very mysterious. Nobody can deny that these symptoms are real, that people are suffering, that they’re having real effects. What we don’t know is why, we don’t know why some people get them and most people don’t. We don’t know why getting a vaccine would then suddenly make you feel better. If I’m being completely transparent in my own thinking which is what you guys pay me for, meaning my supporters I would say this, I think that long haul COVID is a complex bio-psycho-social scenario, where there is a component of biology, you’ve been infected or you’ve somehow been exposed to coronavirus and some people have never had who say they’re not long haulers have the symptoms but have never actually had documented COVID infection, which means maybe there were false negatives, maybe they weren’t tested, but maybe they never had it, there’s a psychological component, because the mind and the body are not-two.

That doesn’t mean it’s all in your mind, it means everything is in your mind. The body appears in our consciousness, so there’s a psychological component meaning there’s the social contagion, there’s expectation, there’s other trauma and other issues that go into these things, and so that contributes just like it does for pain, and we did the show with Rachel Zoffness about that. And then there’s the social component, which is, well if I watch the news and I see that long haul COVID is a thing and I’m not feeling good or I’m otherwise having some suffering due to other issues, it’s very easy to fold that into a bio-psycho-social package that presents as long haul COVID. And then there’s probably people who have pure biological long haul symptoms, like people who’ve been ICU-hospitalized and have lung scarring and permanent reductions in FEV1 and diffusing capacity in their lungs and permanent organ damage and heart damage from the virus, and that is another type of long haul.

So you see how it’s not just I have long haul COVID so well, no, let’s look at this from an integral perspective of what all the pieces that are showing up in your presentation, because your symptoms are real now the question is, how do we help you? How do we come up with an answer? And reducing it to simple biology, psychology or sociology is not gonna solve it. It’s gotta be an integral bio-psycho-social picture when we’re looking at long haul COVID. And so to get back to the question, why would a vaccine help it? Well, from a biological standpoint, people report like immediately after getting vaccinated, they feel better. Well the only explanations there might be there some revving up of the innate immune system or a clonal adaptive immune system memory that generates cytokines or something that causes people to feel better. Maybe coronavirus is hiding out somewhere but that’s not been documented and so this would help alleviate that with a more robust immune response. There are probably some other biological mechanisms that might be at work including some effect of adjuvant nanoparticle piece if it’s an mRNA thing on auto-immunity. I mean I’m waving my hands here ’cause we don’t know, but there’s definitely a psychological component because we know that placebo effect is real.

So you now give someone a very powerful vaccine and you tell them this is a very powerful vaccine and they start to feel better. Why ignore that? Harness that, that’s wonderful. That’s the relief of human suffering, go for it, absolutely. So again, that’s how I think about that, and I’ll get hate for this, I don’t care. Like I said you guys pay me to be me and be authentic, and if you don’t like me you unsubscribe. And if you’re really cool on Facebook, you don’t just unsubscribe. You treat it like an airport, you announce your departure, “I used to love you ZDogg, but ever since you said long haul COVID was bio piko poshul, my friend had that and you’re a liar. I’m leaving now. I’m hitting the unsubscribe button. My finger is almost there.” Why aren’t you gone then? “Because I need to let you know that I’m hurting inside.” That’s really what it is. That’s it, that’s all I got.

That’s all I wanna talk about. Okay, so I gotta end with this because this is important. Like I said, it’s you guys that make this thing hum, if you think this is a good alternative to the mainstream narrative on things that is more rational, is a little more integral a little more alt-middle, a little nonpolitical, a little more truthful with somebody who’s been through a bunch of medical school but is okay with knowing that he doesn’t know about stuff, then you support our show. You can PayPal us one time. You don’t get access to all the supporter stuff but you get a personal email from me, and I read your comment and I respond to it. So that’s just, or you can join our tribe on Locals which is off the Facebook, YouTube, Twitter grid. It’s its own thing where people are cool as hell, and we don’t play by the usual social media nonsense. It’s really a great group, and that’s just or join us on Facebook or YouTube as a member and you get my nightly live supporter only videos where we go deep and we curse and we sing karaoke and we talk hella smack. So thank you, I’m deeply grateful for being able to do this from my studio and connect with you guys. You make what I do have some deep sense of meaning to me, not even joking. So if you’re gonna now depart and unsubscribe in anger, please announce your departure at the airport gate you’re leaving, I’m looking forward to reading your comments and we are out. Peace.

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