Sometimes I think our leaders don’t understand human beings. At all.

See also a relevant discussion with Dr. Monica Gandhi here. Here’s my previous piece on the dynamics of the Delta surge. And here’s an older piece we did on needle fear.


Transcript Below

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– [Dr. Z] All right, let’s start off by saying, I love the Coronavirus vaccines. They work, they save lives, they prevent severe disease. Immunity is our only way through a pandemic, whether it’s naturally being infected or being vaccinated. I love them. I’ve been advocating for them patiently from the beginning. When I was skeptical, I’ve seen the data, they work, we need them, it’s great.

So, why do I hate what’s happening with this Federal mandate? That they’re talking about to mandate vaccinations for the 80-odd million, 100-odd million Americans that haven’t been vaccinated either through corporate mandates on companies that hire more than 100 people saying, “You got to do this,” or, “You got to test every week,” which effectively most of these companies are not gonna test every week, ’cause it costs money. And for Federal employees and for all basically, healthcare workers that take Medicare money, which is pretty much almost everybody. Why do I hate this? Why do I think this is a terrible idea?

And why do I think it’s gonna set back the cause of vaccination and increase tribal division? Well, here’s why. For months, we’ve had an opportunity from the highest levels to do the correct messaging on vaccines that they work to prevent severe disease, that they’re a very good idea for adults to actually even protect children who can’t be vaccinated, because the data shows that in communities where vaccination levels are low, there are high rates of childhood infection and hospitalization. Whereas, in areas where there’s a cocooning effect from adults getting vaccinated, there’s less of that. So how about we talk about that?

How about we talk about the fact that, hey, guess what? Why did we pause the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and basically destroy it in the minds of the public, right? That was a really good PR move. When the science didn’t say to do that, right? It said, “Hey, yeah, there is this rare complication of blood clotting that we can actually look for. We know the demographic it happens in, let’s talk about that honestly and openly,” right? Now, the mRNA vaccines people are worried about, well, do they all cause blood clots? Well, they don’t. But you do you see how this messaging was kind of bungled from the beginning?

Now here’s the worst part of what they did. They said, “Hey, guess what if you’re vaccinated, take your masks off, live your life.” Beautiful messaging, wow. You mean actually, if I vaccinate, if I do the right thing for myself and for society, I’ll actually be rewarded in a real and tangible way. Wonderful. 12 seconds later. Nope, just kidding, psych. There’s a thing called Delta. And you know what? Better mask up, which is going to send this message. The vaccines don’t work. So better mask up anyways. Oh, and by the way, you better get vaccinated.

Here’s a mandate to do it. Oh, it gets better, it gets better. Guess what? We’re gonna offer a booster shot for everyone in America, by September 20th, based on, I don’t know what science, we’re just, ah, maybe there’s something going on in Israel? I don’t know. But you know, wait. But we’re still really protected against severe disease, which is all we care about and death. But you know what? We’re gonna do a booster for pretty much everyone. What does that say? The vaccine doesn’t work. Here’s a booster. But it does. And you don’t need a booster, if you’re healthy, not immunocompromised, not super-elderly, not high risk.

What is wrong with our messaging? You know what? We voted one chump out, because we said, “You’re unscientific.” And then we vote another chump in who’s equally unscientific! And this is where I get unscientific and quite emotional, because I’m Alt-Middle son, look at the actual data and understand human beings and how we operate. You don’t persuade people through coercion. You don’t persuade people through messaging that is paradoxical and contradictory. That’s not how you do it. You talk to people. Okay, so who are these 80 or 100 million people that aren’t vaccinated that now the Federal mandate is gonna try to coerce?

Okay, how many of them have actually been previously infected with coronavirus and according to the latest data have reasonable immunity against disease? Probably a lot of them. And now you’re telling them, you know what? You can’t have a job, you can’t work. You can’t do X, Y, and Z. Unless you get two doses of an mRNA vaccine or a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which we’ve stigmatized already. Are you crazy? That’s anti-scientific and guess what? Rational people are gonna look at that and go, “Yeah, I don’t think so.” So now you further tribalized people along party lines, right? Now, who are the other hardcore people that aren’t gonna get vaccinated? Well, there are people who are victims of misinformation, there are people who are politically outraged that the government would tell them what to do and it violates their sense of freedom. My body, my choice, right?

Okay, well, they see hypocrisy everywhere. Well, it’s my body, my choice when it comes to say abortion, but it’s not my body my choice when it comes to an injection for a disease, with an infection fatality rate of very low for me, because I’m young and otherwise healthy and not obese and don’t have other issues. That’s how they see it. So you can’t take five seconds to put yourself in the mind of someone who disagrees with you. And by the way, I said it already. I love these vaccines. I think every single American, even if you’ve been previously infected should get at least one dose, if you’ve been previously infected, because it’s just gonna speed us along the path to getting a level of immunity in the population that turns this thing into a common cold, right? Which is already happening. The Delta wave has peaked and it’s coming in the United States, because that’s what viral dynamics do.

The vaccinations prevent severe disease. That’s why Great Britain had their spike, but they didn’t have a huge massive amount of per capita death like we do, because we’re under-vaccinated. So you can understand the good intent with a vaccine mandate, but this is how they message it. He comes out and says, “Oh, you know what? We’ve been patient with you. We’ve made it easy, we’ve made it cheap, enough fooling around. It’s time you just shut up and got vaccinated. And here’s how we’re gonna do it.” So you’re gonna treat people like children, people who have been naturally infected, who understand science, people who already feel outraged that you’re violating their perceived rights of freedom. And who’ve been the victims of misinformation and poor communication and mixed messaging. And you’re saying, “Do this,” and guess what you’ll get in return? Jack nothing, nothing.

You’ll get nothing in return, because there are still gonna be mask mandates. Stuff’s still gonna be pretty draconian. The same people who you’re trying to coerce are the people who believe that you’re doing it to control them. And what have you just done? You’ve tried to control them. You’ve proven them correct. What’s gonna happen in the future with anything public health with them? They’re not gonna listen to you. You just don’t understand human beings, you don’t. By the way, anyone who wants to be President should not get to be President. You’re a horrible human being. I don’t care if you’re Trump or Biden or Kamala or whoever, DeSantis. If you wanna be President, you’re a horrible person. I’m just gonna say that. This is where you see my emotional side. I hate these people. I’ll tell you what happens on my end. I get hundreds of emails from people who are vaccine-hesitant, the same people we’re trying to coerce with a mandate. And they say, “Listen, I wanna understand these questions. Here’s the reservations I have. I feel like these guys are not honest with me. And I have these concerns that I’ve seen online.” All I do is I spend a few minutes answering, okay?

It takes up most of my day. I spend a few minutes answering. And more often than not, I get a response, “You convinced me, I’m gonna go get the vaccine. I’m gonna bite, I’m gonna hold my nose, because I feel politically coerced, I don’t like the guy in office, who’s now telling me to do this and it’s tribalized me, but I’m gonna do it anyways.” I’ve had powerful emails saying, “This goes against everything I intuitively and emotionally believe, but I know it’s the right thing to do.” Can we just believe in human beings to do the right thing when you sit with them patiently and hear them out and put yourself in their shoes? Why do we have to coerce people in a way that’s probably illegal anyways, ’cause he’s going back door through OSHA, right? It’s crazy. Here’s how you do it, all right? Democrats and Republicans sit together and do town halls saying, “Hey, we disagree about a lot of things.

Here’s what we agree on. The science says, the best science we have right now says you should get vaccinated. If you’ve had natural immunity, we’re gonna do something called an immune passport. It means if you’ve been vaccinated or you have evidence of natural immunity, whether it’s an antibody test, whether it’s a positive PCR, whether it’s evidence of hospitalization or whatever, you get to do a lot of cool stuff that maybe unvaccinated people, we might say, “You know, probably not a good idea.” Whether it’s a big sporting event, whether it’s going to the movies, whether it’s indoor dining at restaurants, an immunity pass is very different than a vaccine passport, right? Because it actually honors natural immunity.

It honors “the science.” And then, Democrats and Republicans sit together in town halls and talk to their constituents and say, “We really think we should do this,” right? And then you can say, Well, if you wanna your political voice heard, then vote the way you think we should be doing these policies. That’s what politics is for. But here’s what the science says. And they should sit together and do this. Patiently educate people and give them a real reward, not these bulls**t bribes for getting vaccinated, give them a real reward for doing what is scientifically correct and in the best interest of themselves and everyone else. That’s what you do.

And then, get rid of… Say, get rid of mask mandates for people who are vaccinated. What does that…? It tells you the vaccines work. Yeah, sure, you may have some infections, maybe stop testing people who’ve been vaccinated, because they’re probably not gonna die. 99% of the deaths are in unvaccinated people. Can we acknowledge that and say, “Okay, so here’s how we can think about it.” That’s what we need to do you guys. What’s wrong with our leaders? All of them, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians. They’re all garbage. Rank and file human beings know they are garbage people. They’re just looking to the next election, right? They’re taking money from everybody. No wonder we’re poisoned… Are you gonna trust somebody who takes money from big pharma to tell you to take a vaccine, even though they’re right, are you gonna trust them? No, ’cause humans aren’t stupid, right?

And then they’re saying, “Boosters,” you’re gonna trust. Pfizer said, the Pfizer CEO says, “We’re gonna have to have boosters.” Yeah, of course he’s gonna say that, “he wants money.” That’s what people see. Then someone like me sits down and goes, “Well, okay, here’s the data. My whole family is vaccinated for these reasons. I think it’s a really good idea. It’s our way through the pandemic. I understand why you’re reluctant. I’m reluctant too, nobody wants to go do that.” And then we don’t even acknowledge the fact that there’s needle fear. Hey, can we talk about needle fear for a second? There are people who are deathly afraid of needles, and you’re telling them, “I’m gonna coerce you to take two shots.” Needle fear it’s a conditioned response a lot of times, right? It’s unconscious. You have to address it. There are ways to address it, right? We’ve actually done shows on this. But we don’t, well, no, no, no.

It’s a one-size-fits-all mandate. What’s it gonna do to people? It’s gonna tear the fabric of our society even further apart. It’s gonna polarize us away from… and it’s not a loving, compassionate way to do things. A loving, compassionate way is to look somebody who disagrees with you in the eye, get off the Internet and sit down and inhabit where they are and understand it and then speak to that. That’s what we need to do, all right? So that’s what I think about vaccine mandates. Will they save lives? Maybe, maybe. But at what overall cost for the future? What’s the area under the curve? It’s like talking about a lockdown. Do lockdowns save lives? Yeah, maybe a few lives here and there. How many lives do they cost? People who’ve lost their livelihoods. I have a supporter in my Supporter Tribe whose husband just, the company went out of business because of COVID, her side project went out of business because of COVID, economically devastated and she’s a nurse. She takes care of sick COVID patients. So she sees it on all sides. Can we recognize that the world is complicated and our actions have complex consequences. It’s not black and white.

All right, that’s all I wanted to say. I went way longer than I wanted to. If you think this message is valuable, just share it. That’s all I want you to do, that’s it. All right? Oh, and the last thing, please, if you haven’t been vaccinated and you haven’t been previously infected with coronavirus, please just get vaccinated, please. I really think it’s the right thing to do for you, I do, I do. All right? I love you guys.   

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