By Ted Noel, MD Early twentieth-century satirist H.L. Mencken quipped, “For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.” The ongoing COVID-19 disaster illustrates the truth of Mencken’s Meta-Law.
We have a virus afflicting us. Wait! That’s not true. We have multiple viruses, and alpha, beta, gamma, delta, lambda, and who knows how many other variants of COVID. Yet the answer given by the CDC, Fauci, Biden, and PMSNBC is that we have to wear masks, get vaxxed, socially distance, and maybe lock down. Those are simple solutions to a much more complicated problem than those problem-solvers are willing to admit. Let’s break it down.
There are at least five notable variants that were originally called Brazilian, Indian, and so on. But politically correct authorities decided that, like with hurricanes, we can’t be racist. They have to be named for Greek letters, and that cultural appropriation is OK.
Those viruses aren’t identical. We now know that the vaccines don’t work equally well on all of them. We know that more variants are coming, and just like the flu shot, a COVID shot is not a COVID shot is not a COVID shot. Today’s vaccine won’t necessarily give the same immunity for today’s variant and tomorrow’s variant.
We know that some people are naturally immune to COVID without ever being exposed to either the virus or the vax. We’re not sure why, but one suggestion is that they’ve already been exposed to some other coronavirus. That wouldn’t be a surprise because at least two coronaviruses can cause the common cold. Others have recovered from the Wuhan Flu and have more robust immunity to more variants than people who only got the Fauci ouchy. Again, the idea that there is only one real answer, the one proposed by petty tyrants in various government pigeonholes, is simply false.
The next question has to be about age. We learned very early on that the elderly and infirm were at highest risk. The Italian data showed 2.3 serious comorbidities (other illnesses) plus an age of 82 in the average person who died. It turns out that the average life expectancy for those people without COVID was only another seven months.
When we look at younger people, the numbers are radically different. Old people died at about 400 times the rate of young people in the early data. Now we know that the real number is closer to 1,000 times.
When we look at average mortality rates from infection, we find ourselves firmly trapped in Simpson’s Paradox. Worldwide, the average mortality from COVID is 0.27%, in the ballpark with seasonal flu. But that number is meaningless without context. In most of the U.S., mortality under age 70 is at or below 0.1%. English data are similar. In the U.K., delta variant infections have a 2.0% mortality in patients over 50, but the death rate below 50 is statistically indistinguishable from zero. Put bluntly, lumping everyone together is guaranteed to yield a bad answer, while separating distinct groups makes good sense. We have to have different answers for elders and young-uns.
This problem continues. If someone arrives at the hospital in extremis with COVID, he probably is in Stage III of the disease. By then, the virus has stopped being a problem. The body’s “cytokine storm” has taken over.
If you use antivirals in Stage III, they’ll do bupkis because SARS CoV-2 is long gone. That’s why Remdesivir did so poorly in the original COVID trials. It’s also why HCQ doesn’t do well in ICU patients. Its antiviral effects have no virus left to work on. But if you use antivirals in the early stage of the infection, when there’s lots of virus around, they can be very good. There are at least thirteen outpatient treatment protocols that address this issue.
Once again, we have a complex problem, and the simple answer is wrong. The CDC has pushed its favored high-dollar therapies for advanced cases at the same time another government agency published multiple studies showing that “large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin,” just to note one of them.
Fauci and the CDC are pushing universal vaccination, while efficacy of the vaccines is waning. Their answer is to double down on stupid, forgetting that the death rate from COVID in the young and healthy approximates zero. They don’t even spread the bug very well, so they don’t need the vax. And they are prone to heart inflammation and miscarriages from the shot. If they get sick with the actual virus, they can use the very inexpensive cocktail that India used with nearly universal success.
We cannot leave the issue of complex questions without discussing masks. There are literally dozens of studies on masking. None of them provides high confidence that masking by the general public has any benefit in reducing the spread of COVID. Without high confidence, an intervention should not be used. I, for one, have been highly critical of mechanistic studies. They accurately measure physical processes, but so far, they have not been able to cross the divide from the mechanical arena to the biological universe.
There is one area where masking has proven benefit: COVID units in hospitals. In those portions of the hospital, the presumed high intensity of virus in the air is beaten by high-quality N-95 masks or better, but only when properly fitted, worn, and disposed of. Masks that don’t fit tightly actually increase the risk of infection. And once again, Simpson’s Paradox strikes us squarely in the face. If you have different populations in different circumstances, they will have different responses to interventions. Estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer requires a different treatment from triple-negative breast cancer. Ditto for a host of other diseases. Every real doctor has learned this.
“Doctor” Fauci and his minions are a one-note samba. Mask, distance, vax! Rinse and repeat. They are presenting a simple answer to a complex question. The list of their errors is too long and distinguished to tackle here. And they are so wrong that it’s impossible to express the revulsion they should create in every sentient being. Their prescriptions are responsible for uncountable deaths and untold misery. Mencken was right, but the proper answer appears to be, “Beam me up Scotty! There’s no intelligent life down here.”