If interested in the history of the GBD and Brownstone, I found this article interesting: The “spiritual child of the Great Barrington Declaration” promotes antivaccine misinformation | Science-Based Medicine
Estimates that I’ve seen for seasonal flu case fatality rates are around 0.1% (e.g. this from the CDC for 2017-2018, which gives 0.12%). Given the substantial but poorly understood fraction of influenza infections that are asymptomatic, which is estimated to be something like a third or a half, that would yield an estimated IFR for flu of ~0.06% - 0.09% for 2017-18, for example. Truth is, IFR for flu isn’t that well known. For Covid, I’m going with this Lancet study, which estimates an initial IFR for the US of 1.28%, declining to 0.75% late in 2020, when vaccines began to become available to the most vulnerable. So I’ll drop the 20x but 10x still seems like a reasonable estimate.
Absolutely. In the current environment, severe Covid is much less of a concern that it was, now that most people have some degree of immunity from either vaccination or infection (or both) and with improved treatment. (Even so, four or five hundred people in the US are dying daily from Covid, which still makes it a major contributor to mortality.) Of more concern to me these days is the increased all-cause mortality that follows Covid infection and the quite high rate of major disability. If 1% of your entire population is suffering long-term disability from a single, new cause – that’s a real problem. Especially if that number keeps increasing.
Hi Phil. Thanks for sending the link. I just finished reading/scanning thru it and several more articles. It seems clear that Dr Gorski, the author, is militantly pro-vaccine, pro-lockdowns, pro-masks, pro-mandates and is just basically very extreme in one direction. He seems to essentially label any dissent or even discussion on vaccines as “antivax”. I guess I was expecting some objective point by point assessment of the GBD’s content but that’s not what he writes here…but I did search the SBM site and found his earlier article that does attempt to assess the GBD…link & my commentary below. As far as the article you sent, my assessment is its just a hit piece…he basically labels GBD and Brownstone Institute as “propaganda”, “disinformation” and “right wing”. I’ll leave it there…it’s just really extreme and his arrogance stands out most in the article versus any professional/objective convincing information/debate.
As far as his earlier article (link below)…Dr Gorski does offer some level of assessment of the content of the GBD so that was encouraging…before I read the whole article Important to note…this article is from Oct 2020 and has not been updated. So my comments on that article are obviously on his view at that time…but lo and behold, he does have a more recent article from Jan 2022 (link below) that I’ll read later…it seems he may have updates to his assessment of the GBD there…we’ll see. But in his Oct 2020 article on GBD, before he goes into his assessment, he goes thru this long essay about “science denialists” who use “declarations” to spread their message…basically accusing the GBD of being “science denialist”…nice start. Most interestingly, he uses Creation vs Evolution as an illustration of this. He points out groups that have signed “declarations” stating they either reject or are skeptical of the claims of “Darwinian theory” being the source of life. He calls these groups and their declarations “ridiculous”. Sidebar…this and other articles he’s written clearly reveal that he rejects the truth of God’s act of creation and embraces the lie of “evolution” as the origin of life…that’s important to note and to be discerning of as his erroneous world view will taint his understanding of most everything. He then lists the basic points of the GBD with brief comments in parenthesis and then moves on the criticize the GBD signators…just taking a hit I guess. Then he gets to assessing the first claim “lockdowns are causing missed vaccine appointments, cancer screenings, surgeries, and deteriorating mental health”…he uses tweets from Oct 2020 to support his view that its not the lockdowns causing these harms but the pandemic itself…his reasoning is less than convincing to say it kindly. He then addresses “herd immunity” and uses an article, again from Oct 2020, written by an epidemiologist author at Medium.com. I didn’t read the whole article to be honest because its old…2 years old…so it more than likely needs to be updated based on facts that have unfolded since it was written. He uses that article and also an article by Gregg Gonsalves (also from Oct 2020) to argue against “Focused Protection” and “herd immunity”. After a few paragraphs, Dr Gorski then makes the accusation that GBD is advocating “eugenics” of the elderly…his jump to this conclusion is quite remarkable and just plain baseless…he gets that from Gonsalves. Then Dr Gorski embarks on a hit piece claiming that the GBD comes out of the “climate science denialist organization” funded by the Koch brothers…just humorous at this point. Following that, he essentially attacks the GBD authors calling them “useful idiots”, “duped” and “disingenuous”. He even compares them to the scientists who supported the tobacco industry by casting doubt on the harmful effects of smoking…stunning and getting more pathetic as we move along. He then closes with a final blow of essentially putting GBD in the realm of “COVID-19 denial”. The end.
I apologize a little for some sarcasm interjected in the review above but I just couldn’t help it. Dr Gorski is off the charts! He is not balanced or objective by any means in my humble opinion. That’s all (and way too much) for now. Thanks, Tom
Article from Oct 2020:
Arcticle from Jan 2022:
Thank you for the links. Interesting articles. It is unlikely we will ever agree or change each other’s mind, so will bow out of the discussion.
Thanks Phil…I agree and I sincerely hope my reply did not offend you and apologize if it did. I wish you well. Tom
No offense at all, And hope I did not offend you. Someone brought up on another thread how we in the church need to learn how to disagree well and continue in fellowship and love of one another. I need to heed that wisdom often. It is frustrating at times when in church meetings to have some subjects that are off limits and discussion on issues that are both important and relevant is inhibited or squashed. What should be the ultimate safe place to talk is the most dangerous. (Of course, not specifically referring to this topic but everything in general)
Not at all Phil…you’ve been very gracious in our online conversation…thank you. I agree with you on the frustrations of having discussion on certain topics within the church family…its been a very difficult & challenging time. We do have unity in Christ and one day all these earthly difficulties and controversies will pass and there will be perfect fellowship…what a sure hope we have! Thanks!
Yes: Our death rate was bewteen 40 and 80:1 for unvaccinated to vaccinated during Delta
Getting my seasonal booster tomorrow, my flu shot a week tomorrow. Common sense isn’t it?
I got both Monday. One in each arm. I had nearly no reaction to either this time, too.
Even with reactions in the past, those were a lot better than the times I have had influenza for real. Before I knew about the vaccinations for it.
Haven’t had covid. My unvaxxed sister and her unvaxxed family did. Not good.
It seems reasonable to reduce the pile of life concerns on my plate, when i can this easily.
Not common enough.
Yeahhhhh. Even our superb NHS isn’t quite joined up. COVID vaccination is nationally administered, flu locally. Hence the two trips. But the COVID front line are all volunteers. Superb.
Just reading about the new variants coming around.Amazing how rapidly mutations occur, of course, when the Petri dish is the size of the earth, i guess should be expected. Not going away anytime soon, that is for sure. CDC now tracking rise of BF.7 and BA.2.75 COVID variants nationwide
I think that may be one reason why so many people are skeptical of CDC’s reliability. They expect Covid to be a monolithic, unchanging entity-whereas the mutation is really frustrating, even to CDC. Rochelle Walensky comments on that–she acknowledges the difficulty. She says communication would be better as “the current science says”…
CDC Director: 3 Things I Consider When Changing COVID Advice (businessinsider.com)
( Sorry… I know I have posted this before somewhere but find her communication helpful)
Thanks Christy…no COVID among my family-- amazingly – but know others who have had it–and a woman who was just diagnosed at the unfortunate moment when her husband needs surgery (he is OK but of course she has it)…A nurse at the emergency facility I went to told me that they have found that these masks (N95 or whatever you get in the store) have not been as handy in warding off the COVID virus as they are with other sorts of viruses…all sorts of data out there, I suppose
I appreciate this; it’s key. For some reason, many of us seem to think that the vaccine is riskier as a subunit than the whole complex (and a noninfectious one, at that). It’s maybe because we are afraid of doing anything. However, letting nature take its course would likely have caused more deaths than the million people who have died–and paralyzed the country with infections early on, as in the 1918 H1N1 epidemic, not allowing people with cancers and strokes, heart attacks, to be seen (more like the delta wave last year, which was largely fueled by the unvaccinated).
Imagine what people would be saying if the morbidity and mortality rates were the same for the vaccine as they are for the natural infection. And yet, many tout the actual infection as the better solution for gaining immunity.
At the same time, we are in a different world now. We have reached close to herd immunity, be it through vaccine or infection. This is a very different context than where we were 1.5 years ago. Like all vaccines, the COVID vaccine is not 100% safe, so that needs to be taken into consideration. The future of vaccines is going to hinge on what the data looks like. If a new strain starts sweeping through that has comparable numbers to Delta then a new vaccine might be worth considering.
You could say the same about most medications, medical treatments, surgeries etc. You have to weigh the relative benefits vs risks.
Absolutely. This came up a lot during the whole hydroxychloroquine craziness. The medication has side effects, so doctors weren’t going to prescribe it unless it was demonstrated to be effective against COVID to the point where it outweighed the negative side effects.
Well, yes, but there are several differences to flu, for example, that I see in my practice. You probably know more than I do from reading the stats regularly. Here is what I’m seeing right now:
–lots of my patients are getting it every 3 months–a friend’s wife just had it a second time in her same pregnancy. Usually you get it once a year with the flu
–it still wreaks a lot more havoc than flu
a) Mortality is still present, more than flu. I’ve still had deaths in the last few months with omicron, as opposed to only one from flu in my entire 17 years of practice. While way better than delta and alpha, this is still pretty bad. Our health system still has about 50 inpatients from Covid alone, with about an equal number of other illness complicated by Covid side effects.
b) Morbidity out weighs flu by quite a bit. Secondary side effects, including loss of work from sheer numbers and muscle aches/fever; but also longterm, shortness of breath, clots (pregnant ladies still require Lovenox as prophylaxis), and mental and other fog still way out weigh flu
The vaccine’s safety is considered really good–even compared with flu shot, if I understand–and I’m still all in favor of the flu shot. I’m definitely getting all my boosters, including the bivalent one–more to protect my patients than anything else, and keep from losing time at work, where I’m backed up in seeing patients!
Other prevention methods, like social distancing, masking, etc, will also likely come more into force as we look at other strains, as you said. For me, my population of patients is majority elderly, so for their sake, not primarily mine, I still wear my mask in public buildings, even though CDC says we are in a lower risk county and don’t need to. My family don’t wear the mask at school any more (my kids were happy to get rid of that). Our health system does still require the mask for all visitors and providers in the actual clinic and hospital, and all staff have to have documentation of either the vaccine or past infection.
I wonder if anyone else is seeing a lot of Paxlovid Rx. We see a lot of that here, though we try to use the hotline folks sponsored by our health system, as that’s more efficient. You have to check out quite a few interactions, as well as double check on kidney and liver function (I have prescribed it, but it takes quite a bit of time to figure it out, and I am very slow).
I hope that it all evolves soon into a more benign entity , and it’ll be a “normal” coronavirus in conjunction with our immune systems.