The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Vaccine And Mask Effectiveness

I have mostly avoided the vaccine debate, but let’s take a brief pass.

This isn’t because vaccines don’t work.

This doesn’t mean I’m entirely happy with MRNA vaccines, I’m not and I think there’s some validity to them having negative side-effects. I’m even more unhappy with the uneven way they were applied, which allowed for Covid to gain repeated mutations which made vaccines less effective. I personally would have taken Sputnik-V if it were allowed in my country.

But the vaccines are protective against death and serious illness is indicated by the population studies I’m aware of. This is also true of masks.

Now, I do not favor and never did favor a policy primarily based on vaccines. I have always believed that public health measures like properly done shutdowns (much briefer than we had if you do them early), track and trace, quarantine, paid sick leave, travel bans for anything but absolutely necessary travel (with mandatory quarantine) and so on were the way to go. I wanted all loans frozen for the duration of shutdowns, or paid for by central banks (if they can create trillions for rich people, they could easily have done so for ordinary people.)

We fumbled Covid, probably because it was making the rich rich very very fast, and that lost trust in measures that were somewhat effective, but were sold as silver bullets. They weren’t, absent both public health efforts and a worldwide effort and/or travel banks. This has now morphed into culture war bullshit, where what you think depends not on your actual study of the issues, but on what your politics are.

That’s very sad, and very stupid.



Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – October 2, 2022


Rationality Is A Process, Not A Conclusion (Nuclear Weapons Edition)


  1. Dan Lynch

    The emphasis on vaccines might have worked with the original Wuhan strain, if the vaccines had been rolled out fast enough and thoroughly enough (mandatory!) to reduce the transmission rate Ro to less than 1.0. Remember, to control a pandemic, you don’t have to completely eliminate the disease, you just have to reduce Ro to less than 1.0, and then transmission will fizzle out. And the vaccines did reduce (but not eliminate) infection from the Wuhan strain.

    But we didn’t roll the vaccines out fast enough or thoroughly enough, and we didn’t get serious enough about masks and ventilation, so the virus continued to circulate and mutate into strains that are more and more resistant to immunity and more and more transmissible, and there currently is not any light at the end of that tunnel.

    Until such time that someone develops a super-vaccine that can greatly reduce infection from the variants, it seems to me that China’s zero-covid policies are the only way any society can get the pandemic under control.

    As an individual, I’ll continue to get the latest and greatest booster, continue to wear an N95 and glasses when I am around people (including friends and family), continue to avoid dining out (except possibly outdoor dining). A personal CO2 monitor is on my wish list, when money allows. Those things may protect me as an individual, but our society is f**ked.

  2. different clue

    The truly effective public health measures you describe are so very forbidden in America that even I forget about them until you or someone else reminds me again.

    The only way we could ever apply these public health measures in America is if a Public Health Party could get so many Party Members into so many positions of power that they could force the rest of government to impose all the measures you describe, by rounding up and killing every opponent of these measures everywhere within government and the medical-industrial complex and the anti–public anti-health agencies and departments until the survivors utterly and abjectly surrendered and agreed to implement the measures you describe.

    As it is, if we accept ( as I do) that the real secret agenda of the anti-public anti-health authorities and the Inner Government was to propel covid forward as a way to stealth-kill millions of people far enough in the future that most of the cull-targeted majority population would never see the connection, then the actions taken were not sad and stupid. They were and are evil and smart.

    If the goal is mass stealth-extermination of millions of people over the coming decades. Which I absolutely believe the real goal really is.

  3. VietnamVet

    In the neo-liberal world there is no room for anything that is for the public — health, safety, education, highways, libraries, utilities, etc. Four NGOs led by Bill and Melinda Gates seized control of WHO’s and global governments responses to the pandemic (except China). McKinsey & Company advised Quebec and NY State. Their simple goals are to keep hospitals open and profitable and to develop and sell patentable treatments. All non-pharmaceutical mitigation measures that require taxes to work are trashed. International travel was not halted. Quarantines weren’t imposed. The lockdowns were leaky. The human lives lost do not matter. Andrew Cuomo ordered COVID infected patients to be returned to nursing homes to spread the virus to free up profitable beds. Sweden gave infected COVID elderly patients morphine not oxygen even though it was available.

    Monkeypox got a foothold and spread. There are no functioning governments left except China’s. Russia is showing the invasive rot. Besides being #4 on the listing of total COVID deaths, its Army is incapable of maneuver warfare and is retreating. Shortly we shall see if the Russia Federation uses tactical nuclear weapons to halt the Ukraine counteroffensive into the former Czar’s land. Donald Trump and Joe Biden have been infected with coronavirus; perhaps, Vladimir Putin too. COVID affects human brains. There are diseases that change the hosts’ behavior to aid their transmission. Removing inhibitions to remain safe and isolated spreads disease.

    The one sure thing is that there are crazy decisions being made since February 2020 like blowing up Europe’s energy supply line from Russia or raising interest rates when inflation is not being caused by wage growth but by shortages of goods, energy and workers that will be compounded by the looming failures of voodoo corporations. The European War, Pandemics, and Shortages cannot be solved unless they are faced by united, cooperative and governable societies.

  4. capelin

    The graphs show Republicans with about 20-25% spread (max, not cumulative) from the Dems in terms of Excess Deaths. Even without querying the “adjustments for age and county”, that’s a spread that could also be influenced by a whole host of factors, given the sample sets. Poverty levels, who’s doing the shitty dangerous jobs vs managing via laptop, availability of health care, impact of the lockdowns, etc.

    The non-reviewed(?) e-print states “Overall, the excess death rate for Republicans was 5.4 percentage points (pp), or 76%, higher than the excess death rate for Democrats. Post-vaccines, the excess death rate gap between Republicans and Democrats widened from 1.6 pp (22% of the Democrat excess death rate) to 10.4 pp (153% of the Democrat excess death rate).”

    Which takes us to RR (relative risk) vs AR (actual risk). 153 is a lot scarier than 25. The MRNA trials showed a (RR) success for the injections of around 96%! Woohoo!

    But he AR yields a benefit of something like .86% … yes, point eight-six. In the trials, the placebo was something like 92% effective in preventing infection, and the injections increased this to say 92.86%.

    We as a society are also looking at this thru a very narrow lense. I equate the injection to steroids – sure, dose someone up and they’ll be “stronger” for awhile, but ignore the underlying health issues, and keep doing it… not going to end well, and I believe we are already seeing the fruits of this; in that the far bigger question raised by these charts is

  5. capelin

    try this again, without the problem characters;

    …the far bigger question raised by these charts is – Why are Excess Deaths in both political parties rising after the introduction of the injections ?

  6. marku52

    capelin”: Yes. Even the observed ” vaccine effectiveness” maybe nothing more than wealth effect. It certainly isn’t dramatic. The polio vaccine reduced cases (or deaths, I forget which) by 90% in a year. We haven’t seen anything like that with these “vaccines”.

    Open up the deaths chart for any well vaccinated country (Israel, Portugal, Iceland, etc) and look for the drop in deaths when the vaccines are introduced. If there is an effect, it sure isn’t obvious.
    Perhaps they were effective against Wuhan. They are not now, and the adverse effects are off the chart. It took a lawsuit to get this data, but the CDC’s own self reporting ap shows that about 8% of those getting the vax reported an adverse effect that required medical care. That’s TERRIBLE.

  7. capelin

    The Excess Deaths numbers get really crazy once one gets a bit more granular.

    “The head of Indianapolis-based insurance company OneAmerica said the death rate is up a stunning 40% from pre-pandemic levels among working-age people.

    “We are seeing, right now, the highest death rates we have seen in the history of this business – not just at OneAmerica,” the company’s CEO Scott Davison said during an online news conference this week. “The data is consistent across every player in that business.”

    OneAmerica is a $100 billion insurance company that has had its headquarters in Indianapolis since 1877. The company has approximately 2,400 employees and sells life insurance, including group life insurance to employers in the state.

    Davison said the increase in deaths represents “huge, huge numbers,” and that’s it’s not elderly people who are dying, but “primarily working-age people 18 to 64” who are the employees of companies that have group life insurance plans through OneAmerica.

    “And what we saw just in third quarter, we’re seeing it continue into fourth quarter, is that death rates are up 40% over what they were pre-pandemic,” he said.

    “Just to give you an idea of how bad that is, a three-sigma or a one-in-200-year catastrophe would be 10% increase over pre-pandemic,” he said. “So 40% is just unheard of.””

    Niaomi Wolfe, who seems like a fairly level-headed person, has broken down the Adverse Reactions data from the court-ordered release of company files. It’s very batch-specific, and corresponds to geo-political areas. She concludes, given Pfizer’s one-degree-of-separation from the CCP (majority ownership by some intermediate money entity or other), that it’s bio-warfare.

    I have a hard time even thinking about that seriously, but really, why the hell not? “Nah, they’d never do that” doesn’t count.

    This is early days of a rushed novel product force-administered on an unprecedented scale, by dubious actors, one and all.

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