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Is Asking Questions "Anti-Vax" Because the Answers Invalidate Mandates?

In December I conducted a poll on Twitter:

Most people selected gender affirmation. The best answer would be both. 

Much of the writing that I do is focused on the moral idealism or "wokeness" used to cultivate division over perceived identity issues. My focus on gender identity propaganda has much to do with the way that it is being used to redefine humans and reorder society. It has proven a powerful tool in convincing people to accept meaningless absurdities as reality, whether as belief or repeated to avoid social or financial sanction. Put simply, the propaganda was never about a group of marginalized vulnerable people, but using a group invented for the purpose of growing acceptance in the population for more immediate state control. If the state can convince people to accept obvious lies without resistance, what can't it do? In retrospect it is obvious that the global public health "response" to COVID serves much the same purpose. It very much parallels gender propaganda in the the harm it visits on those it is ostensibly meant to represent. The major difference between the propaganda for gender identity and that for vaccines as the sole means of controlling COVID is that there seems to be fewer degrees of separation between the public health propaganda and its likely objectives.

I made a point of ignoring much of the early COVID speculation. I had trouble believing that it would be any more deadly than any of the other possible global pandemics from the last two decades. I see now that never viewing broadcast news made that easy. So much of the individual response to COVID seems to depend on how a person engages news. People watching MSNBC or reading the New York Times viewed COVID different from those watching FOX, who saw it different from those like me, avoiding traditional news outlets. I instead followed the conversations between people arrived at different conclusions. 

I found myself genuinely surprised by the sudden heightened level of fear. I had no clue why the community center I directed was suddenly empty of children. The clue came when one of the young residents was called by a panicked grandmother ten minutes after arriving, forced to return home. That was the first time that I wondered if I had completely underestimated the potential danger of this virus. Soon after, I was "working" from home watching videos on social media of ambulances streaming into neighborhoods, more sirens in the distance. In New York City the fear of hospitals being over run was so strong that the Javits Center was converted to a field hospital and the Navy sent a hospital ship. Neither ever operated at full capacity. I noticed that my level of concern was directly proportional to how many of those videos I engaged and how much of the discourse I listened to. 

There was a moment very early on where I wondered if it might be an opportunity to strengthen our connection to each and a commitment to ensuring basic needs are met. It didn't last long. I returned to my doubts of how serious COVID was, it was clearly not just about controlling a virus. People were being demonized for being insufficiently afraid of the virus. Every foray outside for exercise or mental health was portrayed as a potential spreader event. People were bad first for wanting to wear masks and then for being unwilling. Then the summer arrived and with it a reason to stop paying attention altogether. 

I find myself responding to artifacts from that time with, "oh yeah, I remember that." So much has been memory holed. I have a vague memory of growing calls for better wages for (formerly) essential workers, better healthcare, more economic stability that all evaporated after the death of George Floyd. Also forgotten is the degree to which that death galvanized people initially. There were broad calls for greater police accountability across the political spectrum. The image of a cop kneeling on a man's neck, smiling and nonchalant as the man expired, had an immediate unifying effect. So, of course, it needed to be politicized through subtle narrative shifts to ensure maximal division.

I was speaking recently with my sister in law about how racism, in a country supposedly always indelibly racist, suddenly became more deadly in the Summer of 2020 than the novel virus responsible for a global pandemic. My sister in law didn't remember the shift and doubted that it had happened. I was somewhat shocked in the moment but gained clarity from that and other ensuing conversations on why that might be. 

Without closely following mainstream news I can generally know what is said based on what my friends from high school and college are saying on social media. The majority of the people I know follow the news through MSNBC, CNN, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and local affiliates and newspapers. These sources all produce more or less the same narrative. Or I assume that they do based on the similarity in arguments by their viewers for the efficacy of the mRNA injections in relation to the idea of mandates (or whether 1/6 was an insurrection, the guilt of Kyle Rittenhouse, or social media censorship). Many of these friends simultaneously talk about COVID as if the virus is just as deadly as was reported in early 2020, rather than something with a generally high survival rate. They are current with the most recent shift in the narrative to justify inoculations. It's not recognized as a shift, it's more like an update replacing previous knowledge. The clearest example of this are the people declaring that no one ever promised that the vaccines would stop transmission. It's not true, but if it were how would the promise that we could return to normal and lose our masks be fulfilled without stopping transmission? (or without ignoring the fear?)

The narrative around the expectations for the mRNA inoculations have constantly shifted as the inoculations have fallen further and further short of those expectations. The media reports the new reduced expectation as if it has always been what was expected. Fully vaccinated once meant two shots, then two shots and a booster, then two shots, a booster, and the willingness for as many boosters as it takes. Vaccines no longer sterilize pathogens, since the mRNA inoculations fail in that regard. The definition of herd immunity was changed to focus on immunity conferred by the inoculations which "no one ever said would stop transmission." Anti-vax now means skepticism of mandates for a pharma product with time limited minimal protection from transmission.

Gaslighting is one of the most overused internet terms of the last decade, but it's the best description of this "we/they never said that, stop being paranoid" approach to public health. Our public health reporting stenography is mostly sponsored by Pfizer.

We don't have a skeptical press, we have a few journalists skeptical of the claims of government castigated by their credulous peers. I'm tempted to say that were Trump the president the seeming left/right divide on the approach to COVID and mandates would be reversed. Impossible to know, but I don't think that would be true. The willingness to be gaslit by the press is entirely partisan. The center left has far more trust than the right in the press. Much of the divide is the willingness to accept contradictions between what a person has always known and what they are now being told. For example, knowing all your life that a parent's job is to protect their children, and now being told that your children should be injected with a novel inoculation, not to protect them, but because it protects you (although no one ever said it stops transmission).

The divide may also reflect a willingness to be willfully misinformed if the statements from the liberals on the Supreme Court are any indication. Hearing a challenge to the Biden Administration vaccine mandates for employers, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor appeared to be incredibly unprepared. It probably says far more about their sources of information than their work ethic. Still, it was a chilling display of their lack of intellectual clarity on this. Putting aside the constitutional merits of a mandate, consider what would justify an order to be injected with a novel pharma product or face economic consequence. As a layman in both law and medicine, I would start with a disease that is universally deadly. I would expect a product that confers immunity and stops transmission. I would expect for the risk for adverse event up to death to be extremely low, much lower than for the disease it is meant to protect against. It should be the best, if not only, means of combating the virus it is meant to protect against.  Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor all seem to believe these statements are relevant to the mRNA inoculations. Yet, not one of these statements is applicable to the mRNA inoculations and current knowledge of the virus. 

Justice Breyer believed that the mandate would prevent 100% of cases, and that hospitals are full of the unvaccinated. He also seemed to think there were 750 million cases the day before. Justice Kagan said, "we know the best way to prevent spread is for people to get vaccinated," although no one ever said it stops transmission. Justice Sotomayor believes that Omicron is deadlier than the Delta variant, COVID deaths are at an all time high, and that 100,000 children were in critical care, many on ventilators.

Considering the statements from the justices and social media posts from my peers who focus on the Supreme Court every presidential election, the narrative in mainstream media is that masks and inoculations are the most essential things in dealing with COVID. There is no other place from which to receive this impression, certainly not from evaluating the actual impact of masks, inoculations, and public health mandates. The division is between people who believe the mainstream media narrative and those who are skeptical of the mainstream narrative. The latter group is composed of some of the most knowledgeable of immunological science, people wary of pharma, people wary of government, and people who are just generally distrusting and skeptical. Those fully onboard with the public health plan centered on an increasing number of injections and those skeptical to varying degrees call each other variations of stupid. Which group is more correct? How is that best evaluated?

On the one hand we have people who have the initial shots, have been boosted, perhaps inoculated their young children, and are open to more boosters. They believe that masking and just enough inoculations (although no one ever said they stop transmission) will eventually eradicate COVID. They trust the pronouncements from Faucci and Biden. On the other hand we have people doubtful of a process in which all roads lead to an increasing number of inoculations regardless of individual costs and benefits. The irony is that, unlike the people who think "believe the science" means being up to date on the CDC  guidelines, it's the skeptics who are engaging the scientific process. 

Science is less about certainty than theories strong enough to withstand uncertainty. The division on COVID is cultivated by a media focused on telling people how to feel about what we know instead of fully informing viewers of what is known. This has been done by censoring doctors, researchers and information which contradict the current narrative and guidelines. Not only do the people informed by mainstream media seem unaware of the specific questions asked by skeptics, they have been trained to see the questions as a form of anti-science. No wonder so many seem fine with the same guidance offered two years ago, their media operates as if that guidance remains relevant.

The connection between gender identity propaganda and the COVID narrative is how effective they have been at convincing proponents to avoid questions that undermine the narrative entirely. As a result of willfully ignoring the mainstream media and avoiding the narrative I have missed some truly mind blowing aspects of the last two years. It's only recently that I have people close to me infected with COVID. So while I probably have heard it, I was unaware that there is no early treatment protocol for COVID. Visiting family over the Christmas holiday I caught a news report of a symptomatic middle aged white man who tested positive sent home until his symptoms worsened. Somehow two years into this "deadly" pandemic early treatment still means waiting until the symptoms get worse. The "protocol" in the beginning was "hope for a vaccine" the "protocol" now is "you should have gotten the vax." For what other illness has the treatment involved catching it early and waiting until the symptoms are bad enough to treat it? The idea is insane, but especially for a virus said to be highly transmissible and deadly.

Much of the skepticism starts with this absence of an established early treatment protocol and expands from there. There have been doctors treating COVID patients, successfully avoiding hospitalization through their early treatment strategies from the beginning. Many of those protocols started by repurposing older drugs which can be offered as cheap generics.  Patients in the US were warned against taking these prescription drugs when the only alternative was hoping that symptoms wouldn't worsen. Drugs like Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin, with long established safety profiles were dismissed due to the lack of clinical trials. That same concern is ignored in favor of the mRNA inoculations and the early treatment drugs quickly developed by Merck and Pfizer, all permitted under an Emergency Use Authorization. It should be noted that these repurposed drugs were effective in controlling the spread of COVID in developing nations where the mRNA inoculations remain unavailable.

Considering the minimal standard I would apply to justify mandates, it is clear that the idea that mRNA inoculations are "the only means" of controlling COVID is true only as long as all treatments found to be effective in non-clinical settings are denied and ignored. Since no one ever said they would stop transmission, the inoculations are not the best way of controlling COVID. How well do the the mRNA inoculations meet the other standards laid out for the mandate? The claim is that the mRNA inoculations are safe and effective. The meaning of effective has clearly shifted to support the inoculations. Has the meaning of safe as well? The unprecedented spike in mortality and other adverse events in VAERS would suggest that it has.

Most skeptics would suggest that unprecedented spike in mortality in the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System means the risk of adverse event up to death is high. That peak represents half the number of deaths following inoculation in the entire history of VAERS. People dismiss this point by suggesting that we don't know the denominator. This is false. We know the number of shots given, it is the numerator that is unknown, the actual number of adverse events. By many estimates, as a passive system, VAERS only captures 1-10% of adverse events. The VAERS data alone does not prove that the vaccines are unsafe. That is not the point. The reported number of events shows that researchers need to see the raw data used to prove these inoculations are safe. The limited data already offered in response to Freedom of Information requests might explain why Pfizer and the Federal Drug Administration want to wait 75 years to fully share the data used to justify the Emergency Use Authorization for the inoculations.

The Canadian COVID Care Alliance overview of Pfizer's 6 month trial data and data collection irregularities makes a strong case for the inoculations doing More Harm Than Good. More people died with the inoculation than with the placebo. Following the unblinding early in the trial, the placebo group were inoculated and two more participants died. They highlighted the case of Maddie de Garay from the 12-15 year old trial. She developed a serious reaction  to the second inoculation which resulted in hospitalization. Maddie eventually developed gastroparesis and lost feeling from the waist down. She has been repeatedly hospitalized and is wheelchair bound and fed via feeding tube. She was described in the Pfizer report to the FDA as having functional abdominal pain. In testimony to Congress her mother contemplated what might have happened to people experiencing adverse reactions to the first dose when Maddie's severe symptoms were so minimized.

Toby Rogers found numerous red flags in the FDA risk-benefit analysis connected to an EUA to inoculate 5-11 year olds. Looking at Pfizer's data and the death rate from COVID in 5-11 year olds, he concluded the inoculations would kill 117 children through adverse events for every child saved. One study from Germany found that no healthy children from 5-11 had died from COVID. The flu is responsible for more deaths than COVID in this cohort. As schools begin requiring inoculations it seems likely that the protection from COVID will be as well. (The fact that it risks more harm to children than the illness meant to be addressed is another connection to gender identity propaganda.)

This speaks to another reason skeptics might think the public health response has been about something other than health. Universal inoculations have been recommended for a virus with far from universal impacts. It is most dangerous for people over 65 and people with other co-morbidities, including obesity, diabetes, and heart illness. As with children, the inoculation represents a much greater risk of harm than the virus for most cohorts. The calculus of risk depends on sex, age, and other health factors. For example, numerous studies point to COVID as a much greater risk of myocarditis than the inoculations. However, for males under 40 the risk of myocarditis is significantly higher from the shots than from the virus. The risk increases significantly with each subsequent shot. 

This is also true of people who have recovered from COVID infections. Part of the early pandemic response was predicated on the idea that reinfection from the deadly virus was a high risk. This idea continues to inform vaccine mandates for healthcare workers. Many frontline healthcare workers were infected in the course of their work. A number are now being fired for refusing to be inoculated, preferring to rely on the immunity conferred by passing the virus. Not only is their immunity stronger it lasts longer against a wider array of viral variants. The inoculations not only fail to offer increased benefit against COVID for the previously infected, they increase risk of serious harm from adverse events. There are many reasons to believe that prior to the Omicron variation, reinfection was unlikely. In response to a Freedom of Information request the CDC was unable to produce the name of even a single individual confirmed to have been reinfected after recovering from COVID.

Since the inoculations began, women have complained about irregular and painful menstrual cycles. Many of those complaints were initially dismissed as anecdote. Think about this in relation to VAERS and how it differs from an active reporting system. An active system would prime the population to consider changes to their bodies following an inoculation in relation to the inoculation. It would result in an overabundance of timely data. The experiences which were outliers would be revealed by the number of similar and dissimilar experiences. 

Our passive system primes the population to consider only the most extreme experiences as outliers. I have a friend who experienced extreme menstrual changes following her second shot in May. It was only when her cycles grew even more unusual in October that she consulted her doctor. It's doubtful that her case has been reported to VAERS, her doctor was unsure if it is related to the inoculation. But how would we ever know if the data is not collected and evaluated? We can't. Any assertion that an individual's symptoms are unrelated to the inoculations is just an unsupported assertion.

This uncertainty might explain why an FDA advisory panel recommended against universal boosters in September of 2021. Tasked with evaluating the data for vaccines, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted unanimously for boosters for vulnerable populations and 16-2 against for everyone else.  The CDC director partially overruled the recommendation by recommending a third shot to everyone. Two senior vaccine regulators in the FDA, Marion Gruber and Phil Krause, left the agency as a result. There is not a more directly obvious exhibit of a public health response guided by factors other than public health than this decision.

The only remaining asserted expectation of the inoculations is that they prevent serious illness. This supposed benefit to the individual may justify their continued availability but does not justify a mandate. The benefit may also be highly overstated. A group of researchers looking at data from the UK noticed that there was a peak in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths of the unvaccinated following rollout of the first and second shot. From their analysis it became clear that the protection from serious illness was an artifact of counting people with inoculations as unvaccinated until the period of increased susceptibility to the virus caused by the inoculations had passed. There was a similar spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths following inoculations in the data from Alberta, Canada.

It's fascinating interacting with peers on this topic. I have been called stupid, accused of spreading misinformation, pushing right wing talking points, and of having some bias towards something that remains unnamed. Every request that the accusations be substantiated is met with silence. It is concerning that so many are unable to distinguish between disinformation and questions which expsoe a failed public health narrative. That we continue to experience wave after wave of peak cases and the constant threat of lockdowns and school closures is a sign that our public health response has failed. The divide on COVID is between those who see it as a failure and those who believe that the plan would be successful, if not for the people refusing to follow every mandate. I would suggest that any public health plan reliant on 100% compliance from the entire populace is destined to fail. It's not one that accounts for the actual public.

I'm not entirely sure how to change this dynamic. There have been a few recent events which offer some clue as to what might. In December Joe Rogan hosted two of the most viewed episodes of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience with Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone, called by some the inventor of the mRNA technology. The two interviews are cumulatively five+ hours of conversation on COVID science and the data around inoculations and their criticisms of the public health response. A group of 300 health professionals signed a letter concerned that misinformation was spread by the episodes, requesting that disclaimers be added. In response Dr. Malone noted that his arguments had the support of the 16,000 doctors who had signed The International Association of Physicians and Medical Scientists declaration against mandates for children and those recovered from COVID. 

What is interesting about these attempts to censor the Rogan podcast or push people away is the degree to which they do the opposite. His viewership is multitudes larger than for any of the cable news programs. Every attack from the mainstream media seems to grow his audience. It's not because of his expertise, or even that his guests won't get anything wrong. Rogan seems to have a level of respect for the intelligence of his audience that mainstream media lacks. He asks the questions not answered anywhere else in the media. His interview style promotes the sense of agency that comes from increased understanding, which is absent from an unquestioned belief in expertise. The viewership for these two episodes speaks to how many wish to engage in these conversations, not just be told what to believe. A federal judge recognizing the need for transparency may aid those who wish to be informed participants. He has ordered the FDA to release the data used to authorize the Pfizer EUA in eight months, rather than their requested 75 years. This will either answer a great many questions for skeptics, or cause many to question their assumptions, trust, and government.

but no one ever said it stops transmission


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