Could the Omicron wave be the beginning of the end of this? What the science so far means for mandates, schools, and more.

00:00 Intro
00:53 Hospitalization vs.Cases
03:13 Vaccination, Reinfections & Mitigation Measures
09:32 Therapeutics
11:17 Omicron & Kids
11:55 Rogan, Malone & Mass Formation Psychosis
13:10 Real World Outcomes, Mandates & Policy
Full Transcript Below

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– [Zubin] Hey everyone, Dr. Z. It’s January 5th, the Year of our Lord, 2022. We’re gonna talk Omicron and what the heck is going on. The best science we have so far and how I think it should affect our policy moving forward.

Because I actually think we’re at a tipping point where this pandemic is truly going the endemic direction, where we are gonna have our fifth regular circulating coronavirus that doesn’t cause a lot of very bad illness, but infects everybody pretty much every year, regardless. So let me tell you why I think that. We’re gonna talk about hospitalizations versus cases. We’re gonna talk about therapeutics and vaccines.

We’re gonna talk about what we should do policy wise in terms of mask mandates, vaccine passports, vaccine mandates, closing schools, all the other stuff, and we’re gonna all do it as quickly as we can. So come on, come on, come on! Alright, check it out. Omicron. They talked about it early on saying, hey, this thing looks really contagious. We’re seeing it really take over Delta in South Africa very early on, but we didn’t see our hospitals fill up.

And actually it seemed that cases, the number of infections, ’cause we were testing everybody, was decoupled from the number of people getting hospitalized. And there wasn’t a big bump in deaths. So what the heck was going on? Right? And of course, the world responded with its usual blunt tools of stupidity, travel bans and all of this, when the thing was already everywhere. Looking at it now, the data that we have, it’s highly contagious. It’s like almost measles level contagious. Vastly worse than Delta in terms of how it spreads. Now, there’s a couple reasons for this probably.

One is that the studies seem to indicate that it replicates at a very high rate in the upper airways, at a very high rate. Like orders of magnitude above what Delta did. But it doesn’t seem to do that well in the deeper lung. Now, this has two ramifications. One is that by replicating so quickly in the upper airway, one, it can spread easier because you end up with a lot of virus, you’re breathing it out, you’re coughing it out, you’re sneezing it out. Number two, it can evade, temporarily, immunity from both natural infection and vaccines. Now, why is that? By jumping onto mucosa, on these mucosal surfaces and replicating quickly, you end up dodging the ability of antibodies and T-cells and memory immune response to quickly enough staunch all that replication.

Because you’re just beating it out. So you’re gonna have symptoms. You may have no symptoms, but if you have symptoms, you’re gonna have like sore throat, cough, maybe fever, kind of cold and flu symptoms. But if you have prior immunity from either vaccine or previous infection, you’re not gonna get a lot of that virus replicating in the lower lung, just ’cause it doesn’t seem to do that anyways. And that’s when your antibody and T cell memory response spins up and you actually prevent that severe disease, that is what causes the problems. So this upper airway versus lower airway replication thing with Omicron is a big deal. And the ability to evade vaccine and natural immunity and cause reinfection is very interesting.

Because if you look at, say, for example, what’s happening in the San Francisco Bay Area. We have about 81% vaccination rate. That’s across all ages. And remember a lot of kids can’t even be vaccinated. So it’s really quite high in the high sphincter tone Bay Area. Now, what do we see? We’re seeing cases go up. Every kid at my kid’s school has Omicron right now. And the school still opened. Ha! What? Because every year kids get colds and flus and the schools stay open. It’s great. But these kids are definitely testing positive. They have minor symptoms, if any symptoms at all.

And we’re seeing cases just do a vertical line. But what’s happening to hospitalizations? They’re barely taking up. Now, that could change. But if this were Delta, we should have seen at least a double the rate of hospitalization so far because hospitalizations and deaths lag cases. But we’re not seeing that. There is a clear decoupling between the number of cases and infections and the actual hospitalization and death.

So far. Now, there there’s even deeper truth here. Which is, if you look at the actual hospitalizations, everybody gets screened in the hospital for COVID, which means there are many people getting admitted with COVID incidentally noted, but they’re not symptomatic from it. But they have something else going on, whether it’s an appendicitis, or a broken leg, or whatever. And this is particularly prominent in children. So when you look at hospitalization statistics even in children, you are not seeing a clear case because a lot of people are admitted with COVID.

Now, in the early days, a lot of the conspiracy people were saying, you know, or COVID minimizers were saying, well, this was happening early on, but actually wasn’t to the degree that we see it now. So you can actually look back and go, no, actually there were a lot of people who died of COVID. Or COVID pushed them over. They had a multiple co-morbidities, but COVID was a factor, right? Now we’re talking about, COVID is not even a factor. It’s almost like a bystander. Because Omicron is so infectious that pretty much everybody’s who’s exposed gonna get it. And we can talk about mitigation and masks and all that in a second.

So what does that mean? That means we have a highly immune population through vaccine and some natural immunity in the Bay Area, and they are getting Omicron anyways, but they’re walking it off for the most part, unless they have multiple comorbidities, immunocompromised, advanced age, those kinds of things, in which case a cold could kill you, right? That’s the problem in those groups. So this is quite remarkable. We saw it in South Africa too. And that may be a combination, again, of Omicron’s less severe disease because it doesn’t replicate so much in the lower lungs, presumably, and in South Africa they have a ton of natural immunity because a lot of people weren’t even tested. And it’s just, if you look at the seroprevalence there, it’s quite high.

So there’s a lot of existing immunity. All right? So that’s very good news if it pans out further. Because it says we have a less deadly virus, that’s more in the kin of a seasonal flu, or a bad cold. It’s very contagious. So our mitigation measures of, you know, crappy cloth diaper masks, and, you know, the hygiene theater you see with the stupid temperature gun, and, you know, the little bit of distancing in restaurants. It’s not gonna do crap. Because this thing is airborne. And it has an R0 of like 10 or something. It’s something incredibly high. One person infects a ton of other people.

And that’s why you see it just. And our preexisting immunity isn’t enough to prevent an infection. It might lessen the chances of it, right? So there’s still some benefit there, but it’s not enough really for a lot of people so you’re gonna see this thing. Well, what does that mean? It means you now have effectively an endemic virus that’s with us every year, like the other four coronaviruses there. It’s the fifth coronavirus. It causes Omi-cold, and we generate immunity from being infected by it. And we actually have treatments for it, which we’re gonna talk about, if you are predisposed to severe disease. And we have ways to prevent severe disease in the form of vaccines. So we have all the answers, and individual can make a decision now to manage their own risk in a way that doesn’t even require any policy intervention from above. In my opinion. This is editorializing.

So the science says, we have a less deadly, more contagious virus. We have a highly immune population in areas with high vaccination rates. In areas with low vaccination rates, you may have some natural immunity, but Omicron may cause less severe disease in general, but you’re still gonna have a lot of sick people filling hospitals. But hospitals fill up at this time of year no matter what. It’s just gonna be a lot worse because it’s all gonna happen at once. That’s gonna suck. So the next two, three, four weeks is gonna be brutal. And so people can decide, do I want to be vaccinated to prevent severe disease? Do I want to avoid big crowds maybe to lessen my chances of this? Do I want to get tested if I have symptoms so that I don’t spread it? Maybe those things are good things for me to do, maybe not. But in the end, it’s not gonna make a massive difference in what happens.

Are mask mandates gonna make a difference? No. I’m gonna tell you point blank. There’s no effing way. They barely make a difference in general because people don’t wear masks that actually work, which are N95 or KN95 masks. High grade, high filtration masks. And even those are tricky when used by the public because people don’t fit them right, they’re not. But here’s the deal. If you’re an individual and you’re worried about COVID, you’re high risk, whatever it is, you have all these tools now to prevent yourself from getting severely sick. You have all these tools. You have N95 masks, which you can get on Amazon. They’re not in short supply currently, right? You can vaccinate yourself and get a booster because the booster will raise your neutralizing antibody levels to Omicron resistant levels. But it’s still, again, it’s a temporary thing.

And you already have severe disease immunity with your previous doses, alright? ‘Cause that’s memory B and T cell immunity. You, if you were to get sick, now have new therapeutics in the form of molnupiravir from Merck, Paxlovid from Pfizer, monoclonal antibodies. Let’s say a word about monoclonal antibodies and Omicron. It turns out they don’t work against Omicron unless they’re Glaxo’s sotrovimab, I forget how to say it, monoclonal. So Regeneron and those things, they don’t really have good efficacy against Omicron in the studies. Which means they’re still giving them to some people because some people still have Delta, but we’re not testing everyone for what genotype they have.

So in a way you’re kind of shotgunning it. If you’re getting a monoclonal cocktail that isn’t Glaxo’s, if you have Omicron, may not help that much. Now, here’s something really important. I’ve talked about people at high risk. What if you’re a young person who test positive for Omicron? Should you go to the ER and ask for monoclonals if you have no comorbidities? I’m gonna tell you this right now. Statistically, no. All you’re gonna do is clog up the emergency department, put other people at risk by being there, and you’re gonna slow down the whole flow of things. Do not fill up the ERs if you’re a low risk young person and you test positive. Statistically, you are gonna be just fine.

Now, there are other therapeutics too, like fluvoxamine, which nobody talks about, good randomized data that that can prevent hospitalizations. It’s an antidepressant, has relatively low side effects. Now, all these drugs can interact with other drugs so you have to talk to your own clinician. Please don’t email me these questions. I’m not your doctor. So that all being said, there’s therapeutics. You don’t need to clog up the ER if you’re low risk. You’re gonna get Omi-cold most likely and have even more immunity, right? If you’re high risk, you can vaccinate. You can wear an N95 mask. You can avoid certain situations that are crowded if you can afford to avoid those.

So it seems to me now that individual, Now, kids, kids, kids. Kids. Same thing, they’re gonna get infected. Even the vaccinated ones. Should we be mandating boosters for kids when the marginal benefit is this? Where they’re still potentially gonna spread Omicron to adults if that happens. And Omicron’s already everywhere. I don’t see the reason to do that. All you’re gonna do is further erode the belief and trust in vaccines and vaccine science by forcing people to do something that the intuitive feel is not a high benefit for their child. Their concern maybe about the small risk of myocarditis and so on. By the way, let me say a word about this, vaccine risks. I know Malone just went on Rogan and everybody’s asking me to do a piece on it. And it’s like, well, everything I said about McCullough applies to Malone and more.

Which I’m gonna do a separate piece about groupthink in general, and this idea of mass formation psychosis which he talks about. Because that blade cuts both ways, Robert Malone. You can’t accuse one side of having that and then be in the same groupthink yourself, where in one day you’re going on Rogan trying to be all professional and talk about how you invented the mRNA vaccine, even though it’s a whole team event. And then the same day practically going on Infowars and talking about the new world order, and the great reset, and all the conspiracy stuff, and, you know, mind-controlled nanobots.

There’s groupthink on all sides, right? But the fundamental things that he brings up that these vaccines are not safe like you think, and that they’re not effective like you think. All I have to do, Robert, is point to the San Francisco Bay Area, which, believe me, I hate a lot of our crazy lefty policies here, because I’m alt-middle and I think some of them are insane. But if you look at what’s actually happening on the ground and talk to healthcare professionals here, which by the way, I get this complaint a lot, “Well, you’re not treating COVID patients.” Neither is Robert Malone, alright? So the point being, if you look at what’s actually happening and you talk to the people I talk to, there are not thousands of cases of myocarditis clogging up our hospitals. There’s not all these blood clots and strokes happening from the vaccines. There’s not this rash of infertility that he’s talking about that’s happening.

No, none of those things are happening. What is happening in the San Francisco Bay Area at 81% total vaccination is a decoupling of cases of Omicron and hospitalizations. That’s what we wanted the vaccines to do, to prevent severe disease. And they do it safely. That’s what we see. So the proof is in the outcomes. Everything else he said, you can be like, aha, aha, aha, what data? Where, what? Okay, aha. But yeah, but look. The proof is in the pudding. This is what we care about. Right? So you can do all these things yourself. I highly recommend you get vaccinated if you’re at all high risk and even if you’re not, just because. Don’t roll the dice with it, and the vaccines are very safe. If you’re a kid, that’s a nuanced discussion, we’ve done many shows on that. We should not be mandating boosters and vaccines honestly, for anybody. For anybody. Including healthcare professionals.

And I’ll tell you why. All it’s doing is creating staffing problems. A lot of them have been naturally infected. And with Omicron, it doesn’t even really matter because of all the things I just said. So that gets me to the policy side of this. Because I do think we have a very high likelihood, I don’t make predictions anymore ’cause I’m always wrong, we have a very, I’m not always wrong, but I’m more wrong than I’d like to be in the future. I think we have a very high likelihood that this is the final bandaid that gets ripped off that turns this thing endemic. I think that you wielding a public policy hammer to cause things like vaccine passports, waste of time, counterproductive, divisive, discriminatory. Closing schools.

Disastrous, mistaken. What Chicago’s Teachers Union are doing to vote to go remote for the next two weeks ’cause of Omicron. I don’t get that at all. New York isn’t doing that. New York’s new mayor just said, “We’re not doing that.” Mask mandates and closures of institutions and things like that. I don’t see why, it’s not gonna do anything against Omicron unless you wear N95s and the government passes them out to every man, woman and child. And why? If this thing is what we think it is, we’re all gonna get infected and we’re gonna have immunity, and that’s that. So be in the best possible shape you can be for your date with Omicron. Which means if you can get vaccinated, do it. If you don’t want to do it, fine, bro, don’t do it. It doesn’t matter really to the broader system. It really doesn’t. It’ll matter to you potentially, or it may not. But it doesn’t matter. And so that means we can’t use policy hammers to deal with this. We need to get out of our whole thought bubbles groupthink and build a more alt middle connection between these different schools of thought, which I’m gonna do a separate show on. And it’s time to move omicron. That was terrible. That’s it. That’s it. That’s the point.

So that’s it. So this is what my call to action for you guys to help us out. The outrage porn machine that sells clicks and mainstream media and a lot of internet media that creates thought bubbles is fueled by the neurotransmitter of outrage, emotion and clicks. That’s how people make money. It’s incentivized. I’d like not to make money that way. I like to support our efforts through subscribers, supporters we call them. On Locals, Facebook, YouTube, PayPal. PayPal is a one-time donation, Just to say, hey, we like what you’re doing. And I usually respond to all of those with an email. But by joining our sort of alt middle group, you’re saying, okay, first of all, I believe in actually rational discourse, in breaking down walls, in thinking in a holistic and integral way that everything is true but partial, and trying to recognize my own biases and bubbles.

And the fact that I’m captured by my own groupthink. And how can we overcome that to be more loving and kind to each other and do the right thing, right? So we have those capacities. By supporting us, you’re supporting that movement and you’re becoming a part of a new neural network that promotes that way of thinking, and maybe we can take over the world. That’s a kind of groupthink I don’t mind. Alt-middle groupthink. So join us, please. I really appreciate it. Check out the new episode we did with Peter Attia and Dr. Marty Makary on his podcast, The Drive, and on mine. It’s co-released on The ZDoggMD Show.

We talk about a lot of these things in depth. And check out The VPZD Show, podcast I do with Dr. Vinay Prasad on your favorite podcast platform. We also dive into the science and the alt-middle on these things. Alright, guys, I love you so much. Do not go out and intentionally try to get Omicron. That’s not a wise move. Do the best you can with the tools you have to mitigate your own risk and live your life the way you think you should. And we should get all this policy stuff out of the way, because it’s no longer relevant. Alright, I love you. And we are out, peace.