Lately there’s been an awakening on the part of hardcore Covidians: Omicron done changed the game, so is it finally time to chill? Here’s my take.

Check out the Atlantic op-ed I reference here. And here’s a story from San Francisco that illustrates the power of vaccination to stop severe disease and the power of dumb public policy to create hospital staffing shortages nonetheless.
Transcript Below!

The PayPal Tip Jar!

– [Zubin] All right, so we’re in a crazy part of the pandemic now. Crazy because the affluent elites are finally getting COVID. They’re getting it left and right. Omicron is sparing no one.

And so the people who were on Twitter who were like, tsk-tsking, “Stay home, wear a mask,” their avatar is like 14 masks, and they’re wanting to close schools and continue lockdowns and do all of that, this kind of thesis tribe of like the mainstream, like, “We can do something about COVID, right? ‘Cause, look, I haven’t gotten it,” they’re now getting COVID because Omicron is incredibly contagious and it seems to have milder illness relative to Delta. So something remarkable is happening.

This tribe that used to be quite monolithic, and remember, we all have these kind of hive minds that emerge and they’re powered by social media where each of us is a neuron and our neurotransmitter is like, dislike, share, comment, and so these two big tribes that started during COVID, the sort of thesis tribe, which is more mainstream media, mainstream scientists, saying, “Hey, you know what? We can do something about this. We should mask. We should mandate. We should lock down, maybe close schools early on, that kind of thing,” that’s the thesis side, the Covidians, and then you have the Covidiots, right? Who are saying, “Hey, this is actually, the economic damage is worse, substance abuse, depression, chaos, social fabric tearing, masks don’t work that well, vaccines are overblown, open everything up and let ‘er rip.”

These are the extreme sort of tribal views. Well, each of these are kind of hive minds that are even beyond our individual ability to quite grasp but they’re kind of instantiated by our use of social media that creates them and then feeds back to us so that once you’re in that echo chamber, once you’re in that tribe, that hive mind, that collective demon that we’ve created, you’re really controlled by it and you don’t even know it.

So these sort of two big minds have been the predominant sort of discussion so far, but what’s happening now with Omicron is something remarkable. You’re generating within the thesis mind, the Covidian mind, a shift, a break, and it’s split into two opposing minds and Omicron has been the catalyst for this. Mind 1 is the mind that says, “You know what? Listen,” and I’m basing this a little bit on stuff that we’ve been experiencing since the beginning of the pandemic, but also on an “Atlantic” article that summarized this nicely which I’m gonna link to but it wasn’t complete, so I wanna hash it out a little bit, one mind says, “Hey, here we are, we listened to everything that the government said.

We masked, we vaccinated, we boosted, we didn’t travel, we took our kids out of school and did virtual to their detriment and all of this,” and then along comes Omicron, which infects everybody. It seems pretty mild. The data seems to suggest that if I’m 50 or below and I’m vaccinated, plus or minus boosted, my chances of dying in a bicycle accident or on a plane are higher than dying of coronavirus. So it’s time to say, “Vax and chill.” I’ve done it, I’m good. This is over for me. This is endemic and there’s nothing else to do and if you’re not vaccinated, that’s on you, but for me, this thing is over. I’m gonna go live my life and that’s it. And so this is the kind of vaxxed-and-chill scenario. Now, what’s interesting is that is what I had been advocating back in like March after the vaccine came out, saying, “Guys, severe disease dropped by 90%. If you’re vaccinated, this thing is over.”

Delta came along. It didn’t actually change my mind about vax and chill for that group. Why are they wearing masks? Why are they doing, you know, yes, you can still transmit, that’s the problem we’re gonna talk about, but they’re much less likely to die. So from a pure individual standpoint, vax and chill, right? And, by the way, they say, “Hey, never again should schools close. This was a disaster. We’ve damaged our fabric and economy and all that.” Okay, but the other part of this Covidian group that’s split off now is a sort of much more cautious group and they’re the ones that have a hive mind that says: Wait, this is still a coronavirus. This is still COVID. It still kills and maims people who are immunocompromised, who are elderly.

Even if they’ve been boosted, there can be breakthrough and you can get severe disease. It’s unusual, but it can happen. The effects on society are massive, so if everybody’s out with Omicron, like you have supply chain disruptions, you have school closures ’cause there aren’t enough teachers. The hospitals are very, very stressed. These are already tired, burned out people and now you’re throwing a huge amount of Omicron at them and even though it’s less severe, there’s enough of it out there that there’ll be enough severe cases that you’ll overwhelm hospitals.

So we need to continue masking aggressively. We need to have mandates for vaccines aggressively. We need to make sure that we’re, you know, even schools are questionable. Should we be closing them? More aggressive situations like this. Now, these two hive minds are, again, part of that original Covidian hive mind and what’s interesting is the vax-and-chill mind is really espousing what the Great Barrington Declaration, Jay Bhattacharya and his associates were saying early on pre-vaccine, which is, hey, focus the protection on people who are highest risk, everybody else is probably okay, and the reason they’re okay now is they’ve been vaccinated right? So it’s really interesting how this has played out. So what’s the answer?

Now, we’re gonna leave out the antithesis position for now ’cause we’ve talked about it quite a bit. So these are people who maybe are not getting vaccinated. They don’t trust the vaccine. They think the whole thing is either overblown or a hoax or they think that they’re gonna take ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine or they’re gonna listen to Rogan and Peter McCullough and, you know, Robert Malone and these guys and they believe that because that hive mind, again, is instantiated by this. So it’s feeding back and forth and that’s how they see the world. So let’s leave them out of that for now. It’s this mainstream schism that’s interesting. And you even see it in government now. Like what do we do about testing? What do we do about, you know, opening up economy in the face of Omicron, which, in the early days, if Omicron had been there, people would have been freaking out.

Now, they’re just like, “Eh, vax and chill.” So how can we think about this? Well, it’s interesting because if you actually look at other countries that had been doing really well, in the face of Omicron, they’re doing worse per capita than the United States. So the argument on this vax-and-chill side is, to me, quite strong, that, hey, the way these viral dynamics play out, you think you can mitigate Omicron, you’re out of your mind. Like what are you going to do short of lock down all of society and force an N95 mask onto people and close schools and do all of this?

That’s the only way you’re gonna mitigate cases, and even then, it probably won’t work ’cause the thing is so contagious, right? So speak first about what we can, what we’re able to do. So when we’re coming up with a synthesis position, an alt-middle between these hive minds, the sort of corpus callosum, the fibers that connect the left and the right hemisphere of the brain, these two independent minds, how do we form that? Well, we have to think clearly, rationally, nonpolitically, and with a goal that we’re never gonna be perfectly right.

We’re gonna be wrong about some stuff but we’re gonna do the best we can, right? So let’s think this through. I think vax and chill is compelling in the sense that if you’re vaccinated, you’re under 50, you don’t have comorbidities, I don’t even think you should be wearing a mask because I don’t think it does anything unless you’re living with people that are very high risk, in which case, you do wanna reduce your infection risk, in which case, an N95 or KN95 mask is the only thing that’s really gonna help you significantly. A surgical mask might help a little. Cloth mask isn’t gonna do anything. So that’s an individual decision. You can get those on Amazon. The government could actually provide them to people if it wanted to, right?

As a policy. So that’s something within people’s control. They can choose to get vaccinated, they can choose to wear those masks if they want to, and then go on and live their lives, right? I don’t think we need a mandate because, again, where’s the science that wearing a bunch of cloth masks is going to do anything? I don’t think we need a vaccine passport because people who are vaccinated can still spread the disease, especially Omicron. It’s less spread, right? But it’s not compelling enough to wield a policy hammer that requires a passport that takes information that does have this sort of authoritarian feel for many people’s moral palettes. So why burn your political capital doing that? Just say, “Hey, vaccinate or don’t, you can wear or mask or don’t, and go on with your life.” I think that’s a reasonable synthesis position. For people who at high risk, provide them with KN95 or N95 masks.

Make sure that they have the option to get vaccinated and they’ve chosen to do it. If they don’t, then it’s on them. It really is. As far as testing, make the tests available but don’t asymptomatic screen people because you’re gonna have a lot of positives in asymptomatic people and what are you gonna do? Are you gonna have them quarantine for five days, take them out of the workforce and all of that? If they’re having symptoms, that’s probably when they’re the most contagious, although you can still pre-symptomatically transmit. Well, at this point, hopefully they’re vaccinated and hopefully they’re taking the usual precautions and if they’re symptomatic, they stay home. I mean, that’s the best thing that we can do.

It’s this tension between the individual and their decisions and their autonomy and what they can do to stay safe and the community, which, again, our effect on the community is much more limited than we think. The number one thing you can do probably is get vaccinated because it will lower your risk of infection and transmission, not as much as preventing severe disease, and it will help offload hospitals. At this point, states’ data seem to suggest 90% of the deaths in hospitals are unvaccinated people. Let that sink in, right? That is huge. It means, hey, if you wanna prevent dying, we kinda know how to do it, right? Yeah, it’s annoying that they talk about multiple boosters and all this. Just don’t listen to that.

At least the first series of the mRNA vaccines will keep you safe from severe disease most of the time. So isn’t that what we really want? So that piece of the synthesis puzzle I think is key and then you really should think about where do you focus protection, to think about that second group of people that are much more cautious, right? So higher quality masking, testing when you’re symptomatic, and then really focusing on at-risk, vulnerable populations. So maybe, you know, mandates are not a bad idea for vaccines in a nursing home population, right? Something like that. But even then, I don’t think you need mandates. I think people, when they’re really educated, will make the decision that’s best for them.

And honestly, if they’re the victim of another hive mind that has a lot of sort of not-correct scientific information like what Robert Malone was talking about on Rogan, which, at some point, I will go through ’cause it’s very similar to what McCullough, which I went through his thing. It sounds really good on paper. People are like, “Yeah!” But unless you have a specific medical background to be able to code what he’s saying and realize, “Oh, no, actually, that’s not true at all. Actually, no, look at that study. That’s not what it says at all. Wait, no, what he’s saying doesn’t even make logical sense,” you’re never gonna know that and it’s gonna be very compelling, which is a problem if you’re trying to convince antithesis people that vaccinating them if they’re high-risk is a good idea, right? So that synthesis position is where we need to go. We need to build that corpus callosum between the tribes and come up with a more alt-middle synthesis, which means, again, to summarize, stop mandates. Let people make decisions based on the best evidence they have. Vax and chill is not unreasonable as long as you’re not in a very high-risk group, in which case, vax and be cautious.

And we’re at a stage where we’re getting a virus that’s never going away. It has animal reservoirs. You can’t mitigate it very well. If there’s future variants and something changes, it’s more fatal or something, we will change what we do. But right now, I think public policy should be focused around education about vaccines, providing high-quality masks for people who need them or want them, and opening everything else up and then focusing on supply chain issues, which means, hey, maybe we do need very clear guidance on quarantine, on testing, and we need very clear help for hospitals that do get overwhelmed, for frontline healthcare practitioners who’ve been suffering and now are having to take care of predominantly unvaccinated people in their ICUs.

So how do we support them through that? Because you’re not gonna turn away a person because they’re unvaccinated. I’m sorry, you’re just not. That’s not the oath we took. It’s not okay. It’s okay to feel conflicted and angry and emotional about it, but it’s not okay to treat somebody who made a decision that probably isn’t even in their control because they’re part of a mind that is instantiated by social media that’s beyond us. In the fragmentation of our information economy, we can’t even make sense of the world anymore. So that’s what we’re trying to do here, is some sensemaking.

Guys, I love you so much. This thing, this thing is causing so much emotional trauma, heartache, economic trauma. It’s disproportionately affecting the poor. Now that it’s affecting the rich, hopefully we’ll have a solution, huh? Don’t you think? Now that the elites can no longer shame other people for getting COVID, it’s time we woke it up. So if you like what we do, become a Supporter. Join our Supporter Alt-Middle tribe where we hash these things out,, or you can support us one time, it’s deeply appreciated and I usually email people a thank-you note, at That’s how we pay for this stuff. I love you so much, and we are out, peace.

Related Videos