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Dr. Hooman Noorchashm and #ScreenB4Vaccine, revisited

I recently criticized Dr. Hooman Noorchashm’s warning about COVID-19 vaccines to #ScreenB4Vaccine. Amazingly, the kerfuffle is still going on a week later. Here I will explain why his hypothesis is, from a basic science standpoint, not very plausible and not supported by epidemiology.

In case anyone was wondering why I haven’t written any blog posts since Monday, the answer is simple. I had a grant deadline. The grant has been submitted, which leads me to wonder what I should write about before the week is out. Unfortunately, when I’m frantically trying to finish a grant I tend to spend a lot of time on Twitter because it’s the sort of thing I can do at for a minute or two between bouts of writing and editing, which is bad because I’m usually in a bad mood while editing my grants. My bad habits aside, anyone who follows me on Twitter will be aware that the kerfuffle stirred up by my post a week ago criticizing Dr. Hooman Noorchashm’s #ScreenB4Vaccine campaign. Dr. Noorchashm’s idea and concern were that a mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 could be dangerous in people with preexisting antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the disease, because the virus infects the endothelial cells that line the inside of blood vessels and vaccination could therefore cause an autoimmune reaction that results in vascular clotting events. His idea was, therefore, that we should “screen” before vaccinating against COVID-19 (hence the #ScreenB4Vaccine hashtag), so that we don’t vaccinate people who either have or have had COVID-19 and have pre-existing antibodies.

At the time, I was more disturbed by how unconcerned the good doctor was that his idea had been co-opted by a leader in the antivaccine movement—namely Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. himself! Worse, Dr. Noorchashm used anecdotes to support his concern in much the same way that antivaxxers have weaponized anecdotes of deaths after COVID-19 vaccination:

As regular readers know, I’ve been warning about an expected veritable tsunami of reports of death and adverse events after COVID-19 vaccination that will result from antivaxxers weaponizing them and taking advantage of the human tendency not to understand baseline rates and coincidence. In brief, if you vaccinate hundreds of millions of people, there will be bad things that happen to some of them as a result of random chance alone. You have to understand the baseline rate of such events to judge if the reports we’re hearing might represent an actual signal indicating that the vaccine is associated with (and might cause) the adverse events reported. A good example is the report of deaths in elderly nursing home patients in Norway after vaccination, which ended up almost certainly being due to coincidence and the high baseline rate of mortality among very elderly, very frail nursing home patients with multiple comorbidities.

That’s why I thought that I should post an update to this sad saga. The reason is simple. A week ago, before I wrote my post, I had considered Dr. Noorchashm’s concern at least “not entirely unreasonable.” However, I’ve since read more recent scientific literature that has led me to believe that Dr. Noorchashm’s concern is actually not particularly plausible from a basic science standpoint.

First, in the spirit of Dr. Noorchashm’s repeated exhortation “Always polite!” I’ll point out that the good doctor finally did call out RFK Jr. for having stolen his idea to use for antivaccine propaganda. It took a lot of prodding over the course of four days by me and a number of pro-vaccine advocates, but he did eventually do it. That’s good:

Dr. Noorchashm’s request of RFK Jr. is fairly weak sauce, and, as far as I know, Dr. Noorchashm hasn’t directly written to RFK Jr., even though he knows RFK Jr.’s email address. (How do I know this? He cc’d RFK Jr. in some of his emails to me, along with my department chair.) But, hey, it’s a start. It’s something. It’s definitely better than nothing. True, I’d like him to do more, but, quite honestly, I don’t expect him to, although I’d love for him to surprise me.

Unfortunately, Dr. Noorchashm has continued to do the same thing that he did with Hank Aaron, which is even more unfortunately exactly the same thing that antivaxxers do with reports of death anywhere soon (or even not-so-soon) after any vaccine dose:

One notes in particular that, in the case cited above by Dr. Noorchashm, an investigation had specifically ruled out the COVID-19 vaccine as a contributing factor for the death. Dr. Noorchashm apparently didn’t care and hasn’t stopped doing the same thing:

Unfortunately, I feel obligated to point out that elsewhere Dr. Noorchashm has most definitely not lived up to his “Always polite!” motto. I’ll discuss that at the end of this post, in particular my concerns about how the good doctor has been (unknowingly, I assume) spewing familiar antivaccine talking points. First, however, let’s do science. Let’s look at his #ScreenB4Vaccine idea and why I now think it’s not even very plausible from a scientific standpoint.

Why Dr. Noorchashm is wrong about #ScreenB4Vaccine

I’ll start my discussion by reviewing the concept that I discussed a week ago, Dr. Noorchashm’s #ScreenB4Vaccine. Dr. Noorchashm’s main concern seems to be that those who have previously been exposed to COVID-19 (and have pre-existing antibodies), who’ve had COVID-19, or who might have asymptomatic COVID-19 at the time of vaccination will have particularly severe reactions to COVID-19 vaccination. At the time, I characterized #ScreenB4Vaccine as a “not entirely unreasonable fear, but also as a fear for which even the good doctor admits there is no evidence:

I want to be clear to be clear that my warning here is based on a near definitive scientific Immunological prognostication. It is a “prognostication” in that I have put it forth in the absence of clear “evidence” of it being a material risk.This is because we are dealing with an evolving 11-month old national health emergency with many unknowns, and a vaccine that is only several weeks old — and was approved for massive scale use on the Emergency basis. And, in a setting where it is critical to quickly vaccinate as many citizens as possible to achieve herd immunity against SARS-CoV-2.

Next, so that you don’t have to go back and read my previous post, I’ll repost the scientific rationale for Dr. Noorchashm’s warning:

As you also know it appears that the ACE-2 receptor on endothelium is the portal for viral entry into endothelial cells — and it seems that endothelial injury from the virus or from the inflammatory reaction it incites is the reason why many COVID-19 patients experience thromboembolic complications.

So it is a matter of certainty that viral antigens are present in the endothelial lining of blood vessels in all persons with active or recent SARS-CoV-2 infection — irrespective of whether they are symptomatic or convalescent.

I am writing to warn that it is an almost certain immunological prognotication that if viral antigens are present in the tissues of subjects who undergo vaccination, the antigen specific immune response triggered by the vaccine will target those tissues and cause tissue inflammation and damage.

Most pertinently, when viral antigens are present in the vascular endothelium, and especially in elderly and frail with cardiovascular disease, the antigen specific immune response incited by the vaccine is almost certain to do damage to the vascular endothelium. Such vaccine directed endothelial inflammation is certain to cause blood clot formation with the potential for major thromboembolic complications, at least in a subset of such patients. If a majority of younger more robust patients might tolerate such vascular injury from a vaccine immune response, many elderly and frail patients with cardiovascular disease will not.

Basically, Dr. Noorchashm expressed concern based on a simple observation. The SARS-CoV-2 viral spike protein is the protein used in the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines as the antigen to provoke an immune response. This protein is also the same protein that binds to the ACE-2 receptor on cells to allow the virus to gain entry to those cells. The ACE-2 receptor is a very important protein that is located on the surface of a number of cell types and has a major role in regulating blood pressure, among other things, which is why blood pressure drugs target it.

Here’s the problem. This concern was based on an early understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Early in the pandemic, it was observed that COVID-19 patients with severe disease often developed (among other serious problems) life-threatening dysfunction in their clotting system. One potential explanation proposed was that, given how SARS-CoV-2 gets into into cells by binding to the ACE-2 receptor, perhaps the immune reaction to the presence of coronavirus proteins being produced caused inflammation of the endothelial cells that line blood vessels resulting in clotting, because injury to vascular endothelial cells is one of the early events in clotting. After all, the function of clotting is to stop the bleeding that results when blood vessels are injured.

As Ed Nirenberg explained:

I’ll get to the “except” in a minute. First, note that this paper was originally published in April, when our understanding of the serious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 was still in its infancy. The question at the time was whether the hypercoagulability (excessive activation of the clotting system leading to clots that can result in strokes, organ damage, and more) was due to direct infection of the endothelial cells lining the blood vessels by the coronavirus or whether it was a byproduct of a more general systemic inflammatory response to infection. At this point, I’ll simply note that hypercoagulability is not an uncommon phenomenon observed in systemic inflammation, regardless of the underlying cause (sepsis, trauma, etc.). So, back then, either mechanism (or both) could explain the hypercoagulability observed in patients with severe COVID-19. (As an aside, the former trauma surgeon in me can’t help but note that hypercoagulability often, paradoxically, leads to bleeding. The explanation is that the excess clotting uses up clotting factors faster than the body can produce them. You’re welcome.)

Basically, if this observation were accurate, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to be concerned that vaccinating a patient concomitantly infected with SARS-CoV-2 might lead to the immune system attacking endothelial cells harboring the virus. That being said, it is a bit unreasonable to claim that previous infection with coronavirus, as evidenced only by the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in the blood, would be dangerous based on this mechanism. After all, someone who has cleared the infection would not be expected to be still harboring viral proteins in their endothelial cells, particularly if the infection had occurred weeks or months ago. Again, though, the concern that someone with an asymptomatic infection or a recent infection might develop inflammation of the endothelium if vaccinated was a theoretical concern.

It turns out that this concern was very likely not correct:

So the second paper that led to the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 directly infects endothelial cells never made that claim and used rat heart ventricle cells, not vascular endothelial cells. Second, it’s been called into question whether what was observed in the original Lancet paper were even viral inclusions in vascular endothelial cells in the first place! And the above wasn’t the only paper calling into question whether what had been observed really were virus particles in endothelial cells. The authors of one paper warned:

We read with interest the Correspondence by Zsuzsanna Varga and colleagues1 on the possible infection of endothelial cells by SARS-CoV-2 using electron microscopic (EM) images as evidence. However, we believe the EM images in the Correspondence do not show coronavirus particles but instead show cross-sections of the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER). These spherical structures are surrounded by dark dots, which might have been interpreted as spikes on coronavirus particles but are instead ribosomes. The purported particles are free within the cytoplasm, whereas within a coronavirus-infected cell, accumulations of virus particles would be found in membrane-bound areas in the cisternae of the RER–Golgi area, where the spikes would be located on the inside of the cisternal space.2 In addition, cross-sections through the viral nucleocapsid are not seen in the interior of these structures as would be found with coronavirus particles (figure).

Just recently, there have been two additional reports34 in which structures that can normally be found in the cytoplasm of a cell have been misinterpreted as viral particles.5 EM can be a powerful tool to show evidence of infection by a virus, but care must be taken when interpreting cytoplasmic structures to correctly identify virus particles.

Of course, one could simply point to this as a difference in interpretation of electron micrographs among scientists and thus still claim that Dr. Noorchashm might have a point. Unfortunately for his idea, this paper is not all the evidence calling his hypothesis into question. Perhaps the most damning evidence disconfirming the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 directly infects vascular endothelial cells comes from this paper:

Here’s what the investigators did. First, they noted with respect to endothelial cells (ECs):

In retrospect, there are minimal data supporting SARS-CoV-2 infection of ECs and no immunohistochemical studies demonstrating the colocalization of SARS-CoV-2 antigens with EC markers in pulmonary or renal tissues, which express ACE2 on adjacent epithelial cells. Nearly all studies reference electron microscopy data displaying two potential SARS-CoV-2 particles (315), which instead of virus have been implicated as being endoplasmic reticulum (ER) vesicles (16).

To address the question of whether SARS-CoV-2 can infect vascular endothelial cells, the authors isolated primary cultures of human endothelial cells from lung, heart, kidney, brain, and umbilical veins and tried to infect them with SARS-CoV-2 in cell culture. They failed. The coronavirus would not infect these cells. Asking why SARS-CoV-2 couldn’t infect vascular endothelial cells, the authors looked for ACE-2 protein and RNA in these cells and didn’t find any. So next they used a lentivirus vector that drives the expression (production) of the ACE-2 protein in the cells it infects and infected endothelial cells with it. The result? Lo and behold, driving the artificial expression of ACE-2 made endothelial cells susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2!

The authors concluded:

Our findings indicate that the absence of ACE2 prevents SARS-CoV-2 infection of human ECs and suggests that ECs are not primary targets of SARS-CoV-2 infection in COVID-19 patients. Consistent with this, COVID-19 does not result in Ebola-like hemorrhagic disease that would likely result from lytic SARS-CoV-2 infection of ACE2-expressing ECs. The inability of SARS-CoV-2 to infect human ECs is supported by low ACE2 expression in the highly vascularized lower respiratory tract (22), CDC and primary human EC infection findings (11422), and the presence of ACE2 in vascular smooth muscle and heart muscle cells (11182324) but not the EC lining of vessels (121423). These findings support a secondary role of the endothelium, perhaps in response to epithelial cell damage and cross talk, alveolar tissue factor/basement membrane exposure, or inflammatory EC activation, that directs a coagulative, endotheliitic state (131725).

Translation: SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t infect vascular endothelial cells because they don’t express ACE-2. The authors do concede that there might be a small percentage of endothelial cells that could be infected by SARS-CoV-2 through a mechanism that doesn’t depend on ACE-2, perhaps as a result of secondary inflammation that “activates” endothelial cells, but I agree with Ed here that the current evidence does not support Dr. Noorchashm’s hypothesis:

Again, there is a tiny bit of wiggle room, but Dr. Noorchashm’s hypothesis does not look promising at all. This is particularly true in light of the fact that, so far, no safety signal that would support his hypothesis has yet been observed after tens of millions of people vaccinated:

In other words, there really isn’t any good evidence to support Dr. Noorchashm’s hypothesis, and, even as a theoretical concern, there is no good reason to use his hypothesis as a reason, even based on the most generous interpretation of the precautionary principle, to test everyone for COVID-19 virus and antibodies before vaccinating them. CDC guidelines already say that someone with an active infection should defer vaccination for a while anyway, specifically:

Data from clinical trials indicate that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines can safely be given to persons with evidence of a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Vaccination should be offered to persons regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. Viral testing to assess for acute SARS-CoV-2 infection or serologic testing to assess for prior infection for the purposes of vaccine decision-making is not recommended.

Vaccination of persons with known current SARS-CoV-2 infection should be deferred until the person has recovered from the acute illness (if the person had symptoms) and criteria have been met for them to discontinue isolation. This recommendation applies to persons who develop SARS-CoV-2 infection before receiving any vaccine doses as well as those who develop SARS-CoV-2 infection after the first dose but before receipt of the second dose.

While there is no recommended minimum interval between infection and vaccination, current evidence suggests that the risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection is low in the months after initial infection but may increase with time due to waning immunity. Thus, while vaccine supply remains limited, persons with recent documented acute SARS-CoV-2 infection may choose to temporarily delay vaccination, if desired, recognizing that the risk of reinfection, and therefore the need for vaccination, may increase with time following initial infection.

None of this has stopped Dr. Noorchashm from claiming that vaccinating people who’ve already had COVID-10 is a “breach in the standard of care.” It is not:

The bottom line is that Dr. Noorchashm’s #ScreenB4Vaccine is not supported by evidence; the mechanism he proposes is not plausible from a basic science standpoint; and real world evidence after tens of millions of vaccine doses has not turned up any of the safety signals predicted by Dr. Noorchashm’s concept. Worse, #ScreenB4Vaccine is not only unnecessary but would add considerable cost and logistical difficulties to the mission of getting as many people vaccinated against COVID-19 as possible as quickly as possible and thus might even contribute to letting the newer more infectious SARS-CoV-2 variants, for which current vaccines appear to be less effective, to spread faster, thus costing lives.

Dr. Noorchasm’s “polite” reaction to criticism

I debated about including this last section to my post, but I think that it really is important to see how, his grudging appeal to RFK Jr. to stop using his #ScreenB4Vaccine campaign as antivaccine propaganda notwithstanding, Dr. Noorchasm is, whether he knows it or not and whether he can admit it or not, promoting a form of antivaccine messaging. I’ve already mentioned the first example of how he is doing this by including some examples of Tweets in which he pointed to deaths after COVID-19 vaccination, even one for which the vaccine had been explicitly ruled out as a cause, as reasons to adopt his proposed “solution” to what is almost certainly a non-problem with COVID-19 vaccines. Unfortunately, Dr. Noorchashm also appears to have a bit of a double standard when it comes to “civility” and “politeness.” If you’re not interested in reading a number of Twitter exchanges in which Dr. Noorchashm becomes increasingly nasty, feel free to skip this last section. I’ll understand.

After a whole week of this kerfuffle, there are many examples of what I’m talking about; so I’ll simply highlight a few to make my point, particularly ones that demonstrate that Dr. Noorchashm has a worrisome affinity for antivaccine talking points and language as abusive as any that he decries, whether he realizes it or not and, again, whether he will admit it or not.

I’ll start with, believe it or not, one of the less offensive examples of Dr. Noorchashm’s stylings:

You saw that Tweet right. Dr. Noorchashm characterized calling out antivaxxers like RFK Jr. for spreading antivaccine disinformation and conspiracy theories as “character assassination” for political purposes and referring to RFK Jr.’s critics as “clueless.” Not very polite at all.

I couldn’t help but respond:

Here I also respond thusly: RFK Jr. is out there spreading fear and loathing for COVID-19 vaccines after at least 16 years of having spread fear and loathing for all vaccines, and Dr. Noorchashm is more upset that I (and others) criticize RFK Jr. harshly for doing that than he is at RFK Jr. for stealing his article for antivaccine propaganda purposes. That’s pretty disturbing to me.

As was this:

Which is why I responded:

In case one wonders what I’m talking about, here’s a primer. Apparently, Dr. Noorchashm labors under the delusion that “live debates” decide anything in science or are good for anything other than persuasion based on rhetoric instead of evidence. He also seems to labor under the delusion that countering antivax disinformation is so easy, that the “dunking on a 7′ hoop” analogy came to my mind:

Somehow, I’m reminded of someone else who made a similarly misguided and ignorant argument, but I won’t dwell on that. Let’s move on. Next up, Dr. Noorchashm notes:

Oh, goody. Dr. Noorchashm is not-so-subtly implying that I am “unethical”! Whatever. I counter that I do not “detest” vaccine-hesitant parents. Quite the contrary! I view them as victims who need to be given the tools to recognize antivaccine disinformation and conspiracy theories when they see them. I do, however, detest antivaxxers like RFK Jr. who spread the antivaccine disinformation and conspiracy theories that create vaccine-hesitant people, and I make no apologies for that. Apparently, he also thinks I’m an “availability entrepreneur”:

For those who don’t know what an “availability entrepreneur” is (prior to Dr. Noorchashm’s accusing me of being one”), here’s a description:

Availability entrepreneurs are individuals or groups that understand the dynamics of availability cascades, and use this knowledge in order to promote availability cascades with the goal of supporting a certain agenda.

Accordingly, availability entrepreneurs often utilize various tactics in order to increase the likelihood that an availability cascade will occur. Such tactics include actively promoting a certain stance in the media, making a certain idea more appealing to people, and ensuring that a certain concept is easy for people to repeat to others.

For example, availability entrepreneurs often make sure to craft simplified, rhetorical statements that are easy for people to understand, even if those statements are misleading in some way. The advantage of such statements is that people are prone to accepting and promoting them over statements that are complex and difficult to understand, even when the latter type of statement reflects the situation at hand more accurately. There are various ways to craft such statements, and one technique that availability entrepreneurs frequently use it to focus on using dramatic anecdotes, while ignoring empirical data that is more meaningful, but also more difficult to understand.

In other words, Dr. Noorchashm accused me of being opportunistic and deceptive in the service of promoting pro-vaccine science. Again, that’s not very polite. It’s also not accurate. Indeed, ironically, one can almost see how such a definition might be applied to Dr. Noorchashm himself, who is clearly intentionally glomming on to something being publicly discussed in order to promote his idea. It’s just that he isn’t doing it very well and hasn’t much succeeded in promoting his #ScreenB4Vaccine concept.

It gets more interesting:

I love how Dr. Noorchashm portrays me as being somehow “unethical” and uncaring about patients and their concerns. How very, very “polite.”

Here, Dr. Noorchashm is pulling the “elitism” gambit and characterizing pro-vaccine advocates as oh-so-nasty. Where have we heard that before? Maybe when RFK Jr. himself characterized us as “hating mothers“? Or perhaps it was when Alice Dreger basically described us as frenzied, self-righteous zealots? What Dr. Noorchasm did here is a common trope used by antivaxxers, whether he understands that or not, whether he could ever admit that or not.

This brought Dorit Reiss into the conversation:

It’s odd that Dr. Noorchashm was confused by Dorit’s having mentioned vaccines and autism. The claim that vaccines cause autism is arguably the central claim of the antivaccine movement. It’s the claim that Andrew Wakefield glommed on to with his horrible Lancet paper and remains, even in 2021, the zombie lie that just won’t die. It had to be explained to Dr. Noorchashm:

To which I responded:

Dr. Noorchashm never provided any citations showing that “stacked” vaccine schedules can cause “inflammatory or autoimmune complications.” One wonders if he’s been reading too much of Yehuda Shoenfeld‘s writings.

Even worse, Dr. Noorchashm then invoked one of the most frequently used antivaccine tropes:

This is a statement that could easily have been made by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Del Bigtree, Andrew Wakefield, Barbara Loe Fisher, or any number of antivaccine activists, prominent or in the trenches. How do I know this? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen antivaxxers express variations of this particular claim, that you “can’t question vaccine safety” or “They” (translation: big pharma, the medical profession, the CDC, the government, and, of course, the “rabid” pro-vaccine advocates) will make your life very uncomfortable or even destroy you.

These exchanges really disturbed me, particularly Dr. Noorchashm’s parroting almost word-for-word familiar antivaccine tropes. After first taking claims of parents of “vaccine injury” at face value, even though the evidence overwhelmingly does not support such claims, Dr. Noorchashm has, whether he realizes it or not, parroted a second major claim of the antivaccine movement, namely that, as far as vaccinations go, we’re giving “too many too soon.” Worse, it appears that he and his wife themselves used an “alternative vaccine schedule” à la Dr. Bob Sears to vaccinate their own children. Seeing Dr. Noorchashm Tweet vitriol about “character assassination” at people criticizing RFK Jr.’s antivaccine propaganda, uncritical acceptance of claims of “vaccine injury,” and support for major talking points used by the antivaccine movement, such as “too many too soon” and the admission that he himself vaccinated his children according to an alternative vaccination schedule made me wonder if I had been too quick to bend over backwards to assume that Dr. Noorchashm isn’t at least antivaccine-sympathetic.

The—shall we say?—problematic Tweets did not end there, though. Dr. Noorchashm is very much enamored of false balance, labeling “both sides,” pro- and anti-vaccine, as so very extreme, while characterizing pro-vaccine advocates as “arrogant,” in much the same way that antivaxxers do:

I never accused Mr. Schultz of lying.

Note the false equivalence, though. Note also that it’s not very “polite” to incorrectly characterize the pro-vaccine position as strictly utilitarian while calling it “mindless” and pro-vaccine advocates “intellectually lazy and ethically misguided.” Truly, when it comes to the antivaccine movement and pro-vaccine advocates trying to combat antivaccine pseudoscience and conspiracy theories, “bad people on both sides” and “extremism on both sides” are the new “very fine people on both sides.” (Yes, I’ll go there. Dr. Noorchashm did, after all, liken pro-vaccine advocates to Trump supporters.)

That’s not all. Dr. Noorchashm also used another favorite antivaccine trope, namely accusing me (and other pro-vaccine advocates”) of being “unconcerned” about vaccine safety—not just “unconcerned,” but “moronically unconcerned”:

It gets worse:

Dr. Noorchashm posted several Tweets in the same vein, in which he more or less accused me and other pro-vaccine advocates who combat antivaccine disinformation of wanting to “round up” the vaccine hesitant, hold them down, and forcibly vaccinate them—or even put them in internment camps! He also accused me and other pro-vaccine advocates of wanting to “round up” doctors who question vaccines and put them in internment camps. Apparently, he soon realized that he had gone too far, as he does appear to have deleted those Tweets.

Although perhaps not all of the Tweets:

I’m half-surprised that Dr. Noorchashm didn’t invoke the Tuskegee syphilils experiment, even as I note that it’s not necessary for the majority of the population to refuse COVID-19 vaccines to be a problem. (Also, oops! And oops again! And double oops! Over half of some very critical groups say they would refuse the vaccine! Oh, dear. Antivaccine misinformation has a most deleterious effect!)

To summarize, Dr. Noorchashm is very, very concerned that vaccinating those with silent COVID-19 or who are recovering from COVID-19 or who have had COVID-19 before and have pre-existing antibodies is very, very dangerous and can lead to death, particularly of the elderly. He uses the same technique that people like RFK Jr. like to use to cultivate fear of vaccines, specifically pointing to anecdotes of people who died after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, even though there is no evidence of causation and, in one case, strong evidence against causation. Meanwhile, he repeats, probably unknowingly, antivaccine talking points, such as taking parents’ attribution of their children’s health issues to vaccines at face value even though there is no evidence that such health issues are caused by vaccines and repeating the “too many too soon” trope long beloved of the antivaccine movement. All the while, he keeps doubling down on his idea.

Finally, his previous frequent exhortation of “Always polite!” notwithstanding, Dr. Noorchashm likes to call provaccine advocates to Trump supportersl “mindless” and liken us to”pro-life nutjobs”:

And call us fools:

I take Dr. Noorchashm at his word when he states so emphatically that he considers himself pro-vaccine. However, the disconnect between his behavior on Twitter during the last week and his exhortation of “Always polite!” is impossible for me to ignore, as are his rather nasty attacks on pro-vaccine advocates up to and including his not-so-subtle insinuation that we have fascist tendencies when it comes to vaccines and want to round up antivaxxers and put them in internment camps. His having deleted the most extreme of his Tweets doesn’t make him look any better, at far as I’m concerned. It also disturbs me that he uses a technique favored by antivaxxers (anecdotes) to advance his idea and, whether he realizes it or not, has been Tweeting the same sorts of talking points used by antivaxxers. I find that disturbing.

I hope that when Dr. Noorchashm sees this post he will manage to suppress his anger at me for a moment and seriously consider the points that I make. Assuming that he truly is provaccine and just has an idée fixe so powerful that it has overwhelmed his better judgment and led him, in this instance, to ignore his “Always polite!” mantra, I continue to hope that he will see reason again. He’s not entirely wrong when he proclaims, “Divided we fall!” However, he does seem rather blind to the the fact that people like him are far more source of the division than pro-vaccine advocates.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

166 replies on “Dr. Hooman Noorchashm and #ScreenB4Vaccine, revisited”

re vaccination pre-screening:
isn’t that the main point of Handley’s How to End the Autism Epidemic
as well as one of Orac’s more florid trolls’ MO?

So he speculates about a possibility and then runs with it as if it were a reality. Who else do we know who does that?

It really was the use of deaths unrelated – or not related by evidence – to vaccines that bothered me the most. That really is letting what you want to believe guide you.

I do think the doctor is not an experienced user of social media – though he does seem to be trying to use it to promote his belief, even to the point of coining a hashtag – and some of his reaction might be from being unused to how the discussion works on Twitter. Still, if you call for politeness and then go there, expect to be called out.

Dr. Noorchashm should consider a simple fact: a man would not admit his mistake if his income depends on it.

I don’t understand Dr. Noorchashms’ proposed mechanism on a more basic level. If you have or recently had COVID-19, wouldn’t you already have been effectively immunized with a spit-ton of spike protein? (esp if it was in your endothelial cells).

I was particularly struck by his comment

I frankly don’t care about what political club U belong to, @RobertKennedyJr or anyone else’s. I am pointing to science.

because he never seems to point to the rapidly evolving science about SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19, in particular the vaccine trial results and the safety results from the 20+ million people vaccinated in the U.S.

Under no other circumstance do we vaccinate those who have an existing infection. This is a medical standard of care.

My country has that too, as a general rule (or rather, more of a guideline), but I always felt the idea was to let the body deals with the current infection first. Not so much “the vaccine will make it worse”, but rather “let’s get the other thing out of the way”.
Not being a doctor, I have no idea how much this is nested in reality, and followed.
I suspect it’s heavily context-dependant. Like, if you are already running a fever, maybe it’s a good precaution not to receive something which is likely to make you run a fever.
But again, IANAD. Any specialist shedding some light will be very welcomed.

maybe we just stay a bunch of elitist bastards, jump on bandwagons and beat our chests

“jump on bandwagons”? Is he mixing metaphors? Or does he think/pretend that Orac and the other pro-vax meanies just started beating poor RFK Jr., like, yesterday.

Speaking of RFK Jr, since his little Berlin’s escapade, I’m a bit confused about his political stance, but as pointed, it’s irrelevant.

We always unstacked our kids schedules.

Uh-oh. A doctor recommending and using a spaced schedule. Reminds me of another doctor appearing regularly here.

don’t anyone say it–it’s a nice Friday that doesn’t deserve to be ruined.

Hooman’s approach is like that basketball hoop dunking Prasad guy–namely they stick their head in the door and tell us what they think we’re doing wrong, why they are right, and how easy it should be to fix it.

I still rank anti-vax physicians as the most despicable, but Hooman and Prasad are running 2nd for their blundering arrogance and cluelessness.

“blundering arrogance and cluelessness”

Nice that they have so much in common with their new BFFs—I’m sure they’ll get on like someone else’s house on fire.

“We always unstacked our kids schedules.”

That right there tells me that Dr. Noorchashm and his family are very anti-vax adjacent and have been for a very long time.

And it’s so dang arrogant. “I know more than the thousands of doctors and scientists who developed these vaccines and the current vaccine schedule, and I have the money and spare time for my children to have extra doctor’s office visits and extra injections!”

I sure hope that he has the decency to be honest with all of his kids about which vaccines they did and did not get so they don’t go out into adulthood unprotected from HepB and rubella and HPV (among other things).

What is so awful about ‘unstacking’ the vaccine schedule? Why do you denigrate his decision to do so?

You claim he is saying: “I know more than the thousands of doctors and scientists who developed these vaccines and the current vaccine schedule, and I have the money and spare time for my children to have extra doctor’s office visits and extra injections!”

Well, he is a peer of those doctors and scientists and allowed to form his own opinion.
I don’t think “the thousands of doctors and scientists who developed these vaccines and the current vaccine schedule” object to spacing out vaccines if you have the time and money to accomplish that. I thought the important thing was that his kids got vaccinated not whether they adhered rigidly to the recommended schedule.

@ Beth

Well, in a US context, it seems that talk about unstacking the schedule can be contrived as sleazy talk to unwind vaccination itself, given the level of vocal confrontation on the topic.

Otherwise I mostly agree with you. Except that IMO anyone has a right to form an opinion. (Not that they magically get things right this way, but still, anyone has a right to form an opinion…)

@Beth:

You claim he is saying: “I know more than the thousands of doctors and scientists who developed these vaccines and the current vaccine schedule, and I have the money and spare time for my children to have extra doctor’s office visits and extra injections!”

That is precisely what he is doing. He is rejecting a schedule that was put together with evidence and science by experts, and substituting his own. He IS acting as if he knows better than those experts.

Well, he is a peer of those doctors and scientists and allowed to form his own opinion.

This is not about opinion, it is about facts and science. Personal opinions do not trump science, no matter what.

I don’t think “the thousands of doctors and scientists who developed these vaccines and the current vaccine schedule” object to spacing out vaccines if you have the time and money to accomplish that.

Spacing out the vaccine schedule leaves children at risk of catching those diseases until they catch up. The schedule was developed to be both as protective and as safe as possible. He is putting his children at risk. And it’s presumptuous to assume they wouldn’t.

There is a certain amount of wiggle room built into the vaccination schedule anyway.
But there are at least 5 vaccinations for the 2 and 4 month visits in the U.S. vaccination schedule. At best, he is taking advantage of his privileged status as a physician to give his children extra doctor visits to assuage his vague concern about a possible effect of those multiple shots.

At worst, he is increasing the risk to his own children by delaying their protection from real diseases that still circulate in the U.S.

For instance, consider pertussis. In 2012, there were 48,000 cases of pertussis in the U.S. or about a 1 in 6800 risk of an individual getting the disease. (And there were a lot of unreported cases, especially among adults.) So delaying protection for 1 week gives the child a 1 in 355,000 risk of getting pertussis, or about a 3 in a million chance of a potentially fatal disease. By comparison, the risk of a serious long term adverse effect from a vaccine is typically about 1 in a million.

And then there is rotavirus.

Prior to vaccine introduction, almost all U.S. children were infected with rotavirus before their 5th birthday. Each year, among U.S. children younger than 5 years of age, rotavirus led to

more than 400,000 doctor visits,
more than 200,000 emergency room visits,
55,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations, and
20 to 60 deaths.

So, he is increasing the risk of that too.

He may be able to give his children 5 times the number of well baby visits, but it is wildly impractical for the U.S. to do that for the 4 million children born every year.

If he has evidence of a serious risk from multiple vaccinations, he should document it and advise others even if it’s just on his blog.

But as a non-researcher in childhood infectious diseases, he has a responsibility to at least review the relevant research before overriding the judgment of people whose full time job is studying the field.

But I can understand his being extra suspicious after what happened to his wife. I remember many years ago when she had a miscarriage and the doctors did a supposedly benign procedure. We got lucky and had a baby girl a few years later, but I would have been horrified if she had died at that time.

@squirelelite, Plus, what about the people who can’t get appointments because he’s taken up 5x the appointments as anyone else?

Who are these “thousands of doctors and scientists” involved in vaccine development and implementation who supposedly are OK with delaying vaccination?

(crickets)

“Only one vaccine schedule has been shown to be safe and effective. Any deviation from the recommended schedule may jeopardize benefit and increase the risk of harm. It is unlikely that a parent or guardian who wishes to alter the schedule has considered the complex interaction of these numerous factors. Families who wish to deviate from the recommended vaccine schedule should understand that the remarkable benefit of vaccines can be assured only if the established schedule is followed precisely.”

http://aappublications.org/news/2017/07/27/IDSnapshot072717

@F68.10 Thank you for responding. I was not familiar with the term ‘unstacking’ and did not realize it was contrived as sleazy talk. I agree with you about everyone having a right to an opinion but that doesn’t mean they are right.

@Julian Frost

When you say “He is rejecting a schedule that was put together with evidence and science by experts, and substituting his own. He IS acting as if he knows better than those experts.” it seems to me that you are ignoring that those experts put together the schedule as a ‘one size fits all’ recommendation. People can choose to deviate from it not as a rejection of their work, but because they have given consideration to their own individual situation which the experts making the recommendations cannot do.

You are right that personal opinions do not trump science, but science isn’t the only input into policy decisions. I don’t see choosing to ‘unstack the schedule’ as the equivalent of personal opinions trumping science.

As far as ‘putting his children at risk’ – parents do that everytime they strap their child into a carseat. When the risk involved is as minimal as that we need not concern ourselves with the parent’s choices.

@Squirrelelite

I agree that it is impractical for everyone to make multiple visits to get the shots one at a time, but I don’t see why, for those who can, it’s a problem. As far as the risk to his children, see my last paragraph to Julian.

@Terrie,

Exactly, even if we weren’t in a pandemic situation.

@Beth,

I think you’re smart enough to think of several reasons why taking your infant to 5 times as many doctor’s visits isn’t a good idea, even if you can afford it. You just choose not to.

Also, your comment to Julian didn’t address the explicit increased risk to the child I discussed. And since most of these diseases are communicable, that increases the risk to other children.

@Beth, you’re lying when you claim the schedule is one size fits all. It’s full of directions on when science indicates vaccines should be delayed or avoided.

@squirrelelite

“I think you’re smart enough to think of several reasons why taking your infant to 5 times as many doctor’s visits isn’t a good idea, even if you can afford it.”

Agreed.

@Squirrelelite

SE: I think you’re smart enough to think of several reasons why taking your infant to 5 times as many doctor’s visits isn’t a good idea, even if you can afford it. You just choose not to.

Actually, no. I don’t understand the vehement objections. I don’t consider it worth the extra effort involved myself, but I don’t get why the hate towards those who are willing to do so.

SE: Also, your comment to Julian didn’t address the explicit increased risk to the child I discussed. And since most of these diseases are communicable, that increases the risk to other children.

IMO, The risk to the infant in delaying a vaccine is simply not a large enough risk for society at large to be concerned about. The risk to others is orders of magnitude smaller.

@Terrie: I disagree that calling the vaccine schedule one size fits all is a lie simply because they do allow for some contraindications. Would you call it a lie if I said human being have two arms and two legs because not everyone does?

@Beth, If you said all humans did, I would. You said it was one size fits all. If you’re unfamiliar with what that word means, dictionary.com might be helpful.

@ Beth

“I don’t consider it worth the extra effort involved myself, but I don’t get why the hate towards those who are willing to do so.”

I do: don’t make it a habit of pushing your kids around doctors for the sheer pleasure of it. It’s really unhealthy…

Multiplying doctor visits needlessly is a sign something is off in someone’s head.

@Beth: As for risks of extra doctor’s visits, let’s start with the one you’ve already pointed out: “As far as ‘putting his children at risk’ – parents do that everytime they strap their child into a carseat” It’s possible that this specific family walks to the pediatrician for well baby visits, but far more drive.

Five times as many visits to the pediatrician is also five times the chance of catching something from one of the other patients, either something that neither child has yet been vaccinated for, or something for which there is no vaccine.

That’s the risk to his children. There’s also the fact that doctors’ and nurses’ time is a limited commodity, and those extra visits means someone else’s child has to wait to be seen, or doesn’t get in at all.

@Terrie – Yes, I said ‘all’ as in ‘one size fits all’ which is generally equivalent to one-size-fits-most. I agree that the vaccine recommendations are a one-size-fits-most rather than ‘one size fits all’ in the literal sense. If you’re going to call me a liar for making that generalization, I don’t think you’re interested in actually discussing the horrid behavior demonstrated by ‘unstacking’ the schedule and why Dr. N is deserving of the approbation heaped upon him for doing so in this thread. Probably because it’s not an awful dangerous thing to do, or at least no more awful and dangerous than driving your kids to school.

Not a doctor but……

Spreading out the vaccinations has associated risks that the parent will have to take responsibility for. Increased chance of the child encountering disease X whilst unprotected etc. However, for a DOCTOR to do this (and brag about it) is tantamount to giving the AV crowd a loaded magazine of propaganda to play with. Despite them knowing better than all the experts, they still love to get one on side.

@Vicki – Thank you for your response. Why do you think the various downsides you mention are deserving the approbation heaped upon Dr. N for ‘unstacking’ the vaccine schedule?

@Terrie – Thank you for your response. I don’t agree that the law of large numbers makes the risks of ‘unstacking’ the vaccine schedule unacceptable and deserving of the hate it’s getting in this thread.

Terrie: “You don’t get it both ways. You either accept the collective risk of delaying vaccination or you ignore the collective risk of drunk driving. Pick one.”

Those aren’t the same risks nor are the costs of preventing the behavior the same. I can accept the collective risk of delaying vaccination because I find the costs of insisting on conformity to the schedule to be too high relative the risks incurred while feeling the opposite about drunk driving. To insist that I must accept neither or both behaviors is kind of silly IMO. Not only can I ‘have it both ways’ as you put it, but it’s currently the law of the land here in the U.S.

I hope this satisfies your regarding the differences between them, but I can be more explicit if you like.

I can accept the collective risk of delaying vaccination because I find the costs of insisting on conformity to the schedule to be too high relative the risks incurred while feeling the opposite about drunk driving.

So you admit you’re basing your claims on your personal feelings, not facts. I suppose it’s good you’re willing to admit that.

@Terrie – You should not assume we disagree on the facts. When weighing risks, benefits and costs, different people can arrive at different choices even when they agree regarding all the facts about those risks, benefits and costs because they may differ on the values they place on such things as avoiding risk or how much a benefit is worth. Thus any choice that depends on values is dependent on ‘feelings’. I’m more than willing to admit this and discuss those values/feelings.

You don’t have values, Beth, You have a knee-jerk emotional response, which you then call your values to cover up for the fact that you’re making it up as you go along. So there’s not point in discussing your “values” with you, when you’re entire reasoning is, as you’ve admit, “Well, that’s just how I feel.” Which is how you can claim to be about individual rights while also believing children are the chattel of their parents, because it’s not about consistency, just emotion, for you.

@Terrie – No one is forcing you to respond to my posts. If you had valid points to make, I presume you would make them instead of descending into personal insults. It does not make your argument better. Everyone, including me, has values. Do you honestly believe that the only reason someone would express support for a parent’s right to choose when to vaccinate their child, it’s because they believe children are chattel? I hope not. Instead I presume those are the things you tell yourself to avoid reasoned and reasonable debate.

@Beth, because “unstacking” the vaccine schedule stacks risks. If we follow your logic, we should legalize drunk driving, because an individual incident of driving drunk is fairly low risk. Obviously, we don’t do that, because unlike you, we understand the concept of collective risk vs individual risk.

Could you be more explicit about how “unstacking” the vaccine schedule stacks risks? Because I don’t understand what you mean by that. I don’t see it as being at all like drunk driving.

@Beth, it’s basic rule of large numbers. Just because the individual risk of delaying a single vaccine (which is inherent in the “unstacking”) might be small, it adds up, especially as multiple people do it. Just like the risk of drunk driving.The vast majority of drunk driving incidents (over 100 million a year in the US alone) don’t result in accidents. Yet cumulatively, drunk driving accounts for over 25% of traffic fatalities.

You don’t get it both ways. You either accept the collective risk of delaying vaccination or you ignore the collective risk of drunk driving. Pick one.

@Beth, also, having laid out my basis for comparing the risk of delayed vaccination to that of drunk driving, if you’re going to claim they are not the same, you need to give a basis for that claim, or I’m forced to assume your logic consists of “I don’t want them to be.”

While Dr. Noorchashm appears outraged over criticism of his views, particularly by those he views as less than “polite”, he should be livid at the treatment he’s getting from commenters at Children’s Health Defense. Posters there are charging him with being deceptive or ignorant (for supporting Covid-19 vaccination in general), trying to have it both ways to protect his “privileged” doctor position, or even dishonestly posing as being concerned about vaccinating people with pre-existing antibodies to Covid-19. In the words of one commenter, “This entire article stinks to high heaven with a very ‘controlled opposition’ feel to it.”

I’m a bit more understanding about Dr. Noorchashm’s mindset concerning what he sees as risky medical practice and his sensitivity to criticism, now that I know something of his family medical history. Noorchashm was the husband of Dr. Amy Reed, who developed widespread and ultimately fatal leiomyosarcoma after her uterus was removed by morcellation technique for what was originally thought to be a harmless leiomyoma. Both battled to have the technique abandoned.* (I hadn’t seen a reference to the case in RI articles on Noorchashm; excuse me if I missed it).

http://cancerletter.com/articles/20170526_1/

One hopes that Dr. N.’s mistrust of certain mainstream medical practices hasn’t driven him to be unduly sympathetic towards virulent antivaxers like RFK Jr. and his followers. Early returns are not encouraging.

*Power morcellation i.e. of uteri is still sanctioned; the FDA warns that any use of such devices should involve a containment system to prevent fragments of potentially malignant tissue from getting into the abdominal cavity.

As a medical doctor, Dr Noorchashm should know that medicine makes mistakes, and that some of those mistakes will be fatal. He should also understand the limitations and dangers of making professional pronouncements outside of one’s own specialization. And there’s no way in hell he can not know there are those who will exploit every medical limitation and honest error for their own corrupt ends (and that quite a few of those are lawyers, natch). As awful as Dr Reed’s death was, it does not permit him to endanger other people be it through careless language or consorting with famous frauds.

So if people are being sharp with him, he needs to suck it up like a professional. Maybe even consider why they’re not pulling their punches. Because pandering to delicate feels over protecting people’s lives is a good way to make more of those people living no more.

he should be livid at the treatment he’s getting from commenters at Children’s Health Defense

There’s a comment section? I was only able to take the site design for about five minutes before sensing urgent warning signals being broadcast from my extant coagulopathy to my eyes.

Keeping digging Noorchashm’s declarations:

It’s a slow process. Public education. Education in the principles of immunology….

As I wrote recently on another blog, my very first comment here was a very lengthy description of the working of the immune system.
From time to time, because I feel chatty and/or I fall for some troll, I have another go at it.
I’m not a full idiot. I know It’s mostly futile. Pro-vax readers already know about immunology, a number of regulars here much better than me. Anti-vax readers either aren’t convinced or don’t care.
It’s just I love writing about immunology. Or anything sciencey. Or nerdy.

and recovering trust in experts.

Thing is, anti-vax people have trust in experts. Their experts.

Most antivaxers are far from being stupid. Far from being uneducated, anyway.

Also, who is the more arrogant? The doctor who see antivax leaders as grifters nurturing and preying on followers, or the doctor who thinks vaccine hesitants/refusers are just ignorant sheep in need of a gentle guiding hand from wise, learned men such as himself?

Please, let’s all be polite, you disgusting excuses for human beings.

Yup, that works.

In my opinion, a profitable business-model in medical science adheres to the notion, “The needs of the many far outweigh the needs of the few.” In contradiction, there are many physicians that have a weakened business model and adhere to the belief, “The needs of the few are equal to the needs of the many.” Let’s be honest, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm is a gem for proposing a speculative, but potential harmful, mechanism of action associated with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Oh. Another doctor added to the ever-growing, crank “anti-vax” list. They question the current vaccination protocol which is recommended by an organization notorious for COI especially back in the day…before the plebs were watching.

Thank goodness doctors like Semmelweis and Kelsey bucked consensus. I’m sure they were despised, too.

We’re in good hands now. Governor Nuisance is opening Commifornia after checking on some secret stats. I’m sure the impending recall didn’t influence his decision at all.

Speaking of $cience and $cience denial, President Joe Biden picked a person who doesn’t believe in chromosomes to be the assistant health secretary. Wacky times indeed!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Levine

“So you are anti-TG also.” No. Nice try. I am anti-delusion, anti-nonsense, anti-fraud, anti-corruption, anti-medical tyranny, anti-genital mutilation – I’m anti-anti but I’m pro antipasto! Live and let live…

You’re so kind. I appreciate your posts.

Now, about New Mexico…the state seems so enchanting. What do you think about Taos?

Good day and good health to you!

Now, about New Mexico

I’d check whether non sequiturs are a potential civil offense there first.

@Natalie,

I had a wonderful weekend in Taos a few years ago. The Rio Grande Gorge bridge is beautiful. It’s a long, bumpy drive back to the D.H. Lawrence Ranch, so you should make sure the tours are open before you head back there. The Fechin Museum is definitely worth a tour. The food at Doc Martin’s is great and you can enjoy the live jazz in the evenings. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit the Pueblo.

The Wikipedia article didn’t mention chromosomes, so perhaps you could be more explicit about what you really mean.

But I’m glad you are willing to let TG people live with proper care for their dysphoria.

Good health and may you get your SARS-CoV-2 vaccination soon!

“So you are anti-TG also.” No. Nice try. I am anti-delusion, anti-nonsense, anti-fraud, anti-corruption, anti-medical tyranny, anti-genital mutilation

How noble of you. So why are you sneering at a trans woman as someone who “doesn’t believe in chromosomes”?

So you are anti-genital mutilation?
I don’t consider my genitals mutilated, though you might see it different. They fit by who I am and what I look like. I would feel disfigured with the genitals I was born with.

@ Renate

Good to know. I do assume that generally intersex surgeries are done in a context that isn’t endorsed by the kids when they grow up. Glad to know that some beg to differ. Though honestly, I have trouble finding figures on that specific topic that would make me shift entirely my mind.

And I do have the feeling that some countries are kind of overdoing it…

Good health and may you get your SARS-CoV-2 vaccination soon!

Perhaps this would help. What could go better together than prosperity doctrine and random Egypt fetishism?

@ F68.10
I’m not intersex. Just transgendered, something I prefer to forget. Living for almost 40 years as a woman. The surgery I underwent some years after that, I wouldn’t consider mutilation.

@ Renate

OK. I won’t bother you with that. I’m just uncomfortable with the way we deal with transgender issues in our society. On one hand, bigotry is all too obvious… On the other hand, I’m kind of afraid that in 50 years we’ll look on what we did on kids (you seemingly were likely adult at the time of transition, so that’s different) with disbelief. Do not know how we should navigate these issues as a society…

@ Natalie White

“Speaking of $cience and $cience denial, President Joe Biden picked a person who doesn’t believe in chromosomes to be the assistant health secretary. Wacky times indeed!”

Being transgender has nothing to do with not believing in chromosomes, you whacko.

“Thank goodness doctors like Semmelweis and Kelsey bucked consensus.”

That would be Frances Kelsey of the F.D.A., who prevented thalidomide from being marketed in the U.S. It’s amusing when antivaxers who loathe the F.D.A. cite Kelsey as a heroine (though typically if they reference the thalidomide disaster at all, it’s to ignorantly and falsely blame the F.D.A. for allowing thalidomide sales in this country.

You see, Natalie, the scientific and medical consensus changes when new and valid evidence emerges.

The antivax/woo crowd is highly resistant to change, recycling the same discredited tropes over and over and over again.

@ Squirrelelite writes, “The Wikipedia article didn’t mention chromosomes, so perhaps you could be more explicit about what you really mean.” I wonder how many of the TG folks have a genetic deformity/mutation and how many just want to be the other sex. Many who go through with the actual surgery have regrets.

If I could have chosen my sex at birth, I would have been a man…hands down!!! 30+ years of monthly hormone cycles, cramps, periods, childbirth. Guys that decide they want to be a woman and start taking hormones are cheating. They haven’t earned it…that’s all. If that makes me a bigot….so be it.

I wouldn’t take my children to a pediatrician like Dr. Rachel. She would have freaked them out.

Good day and good health.

Speaking of $cience and $cience denial, President Joe Biden picked a person who doesn’t believe in chromosomes to be the assistant health secretary. Wacky times indeed!

Oh, goody. You’re even more vile than I guessed, as you are clearly an anti-transgender bigot. Holy hell.

Natalie despises everyone who isn’t Natalie. The feeling is reciprocal.

The corollary is that is far better to listen to Natalie than to be Natalie.

Along with other vile things. There is a reason I call her a child hating sadist who loves it when kids get seizures, high fevers, meningitis, etc from vaccine preventable diseases.

Given that I’ve never met an anti-vaxxer who didn’t prove to be ableist or think children are chattel, I’m not shocked. Once you’ve dehumanized one group of people, it’s very easy to do it to another.

“They [parents] know more about their bodies and experience than you.” This statement was all I needed to discount Dr. Noorchashm’s credentials as a scientist; a seeming failure to understand that people are generally the worst observers of their own circumstances. Sure, don’t blow them off, be sympathetic, but don’t lose sight of the fact that scientific methods are necessary precisely because of our cognitive biases.

Actually, that makes me feel that he’s someone worth listening to. Because he would be willing to listen to me if I were his patient.

American medicine – as a profession – has a long history of not listening to the patient – particularly when female – when the doctor/science can’t figure out what is wrong or how to treat it. The discounting of women’s pain has been in the news recently, but it’s merely a recent example of a historical flaw in the profession. To be sure, they are not the only American profession with that historical flaw. I agree that science is necessary to understand what’s going on, but science doesn’t prescribe what to look for and study. Patients do.

@Beth Clarkson: “Because he would be willing to listen to me if I were his patient.”†

Except, newsflash, Beth: The pediatrician’s patient is NOT Mommy Dearest. The pediatrician’s patient is Babby.

Now, the parents are supposed to promote the child’s best interests when the child is too young to represent her interests for herself, but as we see over and again there are a lot of parents who prefer to pursue their own agendas.

Still, I think it neatly betrays your own “Speshul Schedule” JAQ-off from upthread. Narad called it: the children are merely a vehicle for greedy needy egos like yours. Because it’s not about the children; it’s all about You.

(† Yes, medical professionals’ selective hearing problems—particularly when interacting with women and minorities—are well documented, and there much work yet to do. However, antivaxxers whining that medicine isn’t listening to them is ironic beyond all belief.

@ has (@ Beth)

I think you’re painting Beth with kind of a broad brush. I believe she’s kind of unaware deep down of moral issues know as moral hazard when people take decisions on behalf of others. She may understand them in the abstract or in domains that have resonance with her experience such as voting systems. But the fact that it may go wrong in a kid/mommy/doctor trio is something most people can’t manage to wrap their heads around. I know that all too well. And understand why people just do not get it.

(Though I believe vaccinations are not really the elephant in the corridor on these matters.)

Yes, listen, and as I said, be sympathetic, but that does not mean trust in anecdotes, which Dr. N clearly does. You are talking about overcoming a bias, and I agree with you. I am talking about a logical fallacy that causes one to place too much importance on personal experience and not enough on objective evidence.

@F68: Beth Clarkson is a sophist with a well-worn record of JAQ-ing off. The brush that I paint her with is no broader than the yellow streak up her back.

@ has

“Beth Clarkson is a sophist with a well-worn record of JAQ-ing off. The brush that I paint her with is no broader than the yellow streak up her back.”

That is simplistic. The value issue she raises is a real one. To what extent does health trump everything? I seldom hear satisfactory answers to this one from medical authorities.

The biggest point of contention I have with Beth is not her claim that values matter. Though I would dispute some of her points on that. It is the fact that she uses the fact that values matter to back up individual freedoms to the point of (likely) denying that public authorities have a right to enforce, on a topic such as vaccinations, publicly deliberated values.

There is an articulation point between democracy and public health that needs to be addressed. As of today, the only way to address it seems shouting matches, and top-down decisions.

Maybe I misestimate the situation in the US as that country is on the whole more democratic and transparent than elsewhere. And I’m always surprised that such a vocal antivax movement exists publicly in the US. There therefore is a dynamic I still do not quite grasp. In my country, you’d have hush-hushed opposition from antivax MDs, with prominent public figures coming out as antivax because of that base of antivax MDs that dare not speak out much.

But had you have a Del Bigtree around here? He would have been crushed by the anti-cult Miviludes police. Which the US deems to be a (mild) threat to religious freedom. The Miviludes specifically targets medical beliefs such as antivax as cults (but mostly crazy whacko stuff like regene.org, as a cult too).

@FM68.10

I do not deny that public authorities have a right to enforce, on a topic such as vaccinations, publicly deliberated values. Clearly they do. I merely contribute to that debate in forums where the majority do not side with me.

@F68.10

Sorry about the typo in your nym.

It’s sweet of you to defend me against has, but not necessary. I stopped reading or responding to his posts some time ago. What he says about me is more of a window on him than me.

@ Beth

I am not particularly defending you. It just happens that I’ve been on both sides of that debate (on medical topics other than vaccines). Simultaneously. In my own head. For years. So I kind of understand both has’ and your point of view fairly well. In fact, I play them over in my head every night while asleep in infinite loop mode. When I’m awake, I try to strike a balance between these conflicting poles, which is kind of a rage minimisation process.

Had I not found Orac’s blog a while back, I’d still be fuming through my ears in broad daylight. Now it’s mostly at night…

@F68.10

I have read about some of your troubles. You have my sympathy and understanding regarding the sleep issues. I had had a few nights like that, thankfully not a normal occurrence.

Even if you weren’t defending me, just calling out bad behavior because it affects the group, I appreciate that too. Thank you.

I agree that both sides have some valid issues. I accept that vaccine work and are an important tool for public health. What I don’t accept is that we should blithely accept vaccines being mandated.

I think we are likely to end up with some sort of ‘immunity status’ disclosure required for attendance at public events with immunity being required for some things. Clearly, documentation of the covid-19 vaccine at some point, when it no longer considered experimental, will be part of international travel, as other vaccines are already. I don’t have a problem with this.

I think what these anti-vaxxers did last week-end was horrible.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/06/us/california-covid-vaccine.html

I have no desire to be on the same side as them. What they did was morally reprehensible. But I’ll not be surprised when posters here try to equate me with them. As if posting concerns about vaccines on as pro-vaccine site like this is the equivalent of giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

I think the idea that anti-vaxxers are the enemy is what bothers me most. They aren’t. They are our fellow citizens. Anyone who isn’t a full-on advocate for every recommended vaccine for everyone-who-can’t-prove-their-body-is-likely-to-have-a-bad-reaction, but someone who has vague concerns and maybe ‘unstacks’ the schedule a bit is accused of being too tolerant of the anti-vax position (anti-vax adjacent?) and thus, also treated as the enemy, i.e. someone who can be vilified and verbally abused without consequence. Dr. N. is clearly not anti-vaccine. But he is being condemned here for being – inadvertently – too nice to them and giving them ‘ammo’.

That’s not the attitude of people who are willing to discuss ideas and values with those who don’t agree. It’s not trying to contribute to a conversation to find our communal values – like people not dying is a good thing. What is feels like to me is people at war. Anyone sympathizing with the enemy is also considered the enemy.

@ Beth

Honestly, Beth, I believe we are now well past the point were civil discussion is appropriate. It has indeed become a full blown information war. People are bickering on covid vaccines in times of a pandemic as if they were still dealing with vaccines being deployed for prophylactic measures as they were back in the good ol’ days. The lack of sense of proportion is epic.

So, yes, unfortunately, now is not the time to be overly bickering on “mindless utilitarianism”. “Mindless utilitarianism” is not the alpha and omega of vaccinations, but in these times, it is mindless not to use “mindless utilitarianism” as a major guiding thread. Which ends up trumping most other considerations.

@F68.10 “we are now well past the point were civil discussion is appropriate.”

I understand your feeling that way. I know many others who are at the same point. And yet, you remain civil. Thank you for doing so.

A nation that is afraid to let it’s people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of it’s people.”

John F. Kennedy

I do regret missing out on the reputedly insane shortwave screeching from Radio Tirana in the olden days.

@ Narad
I do regret missing out on the reputedly insane shortwave screeching from Radio Tirana in the olden days.

I only picked them up once and it took me forever to work out who they were. A Toronto accent pronouncing “turona” and Albanian accent pronouncing “Tirana” are pretty close.

@ Charles Bronski

I’ve got even more snappy quotes:

“Mg uaaah gof’nn syha’h, f’k’yarnak ‘a !” — Cthulhu

An “open market” is fine, as long as it has sanctions against fraud.

BTW, I’m sure that JFK knew the correct use of “its” and “it’s”.
Nitpicking? Perhaps. However, it’s a bad look when you’re trying to be profound.

Yes. Yes.

And I’ve been banned at RFK, Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense comments by its führer – John Stone**… in keeping with RFK, Jr.’s commitment to open discussion, non-censorship, the 1st Amendment, and Informed Consent. /sarc
… All while RFK, Jr. has articles posted wherein he is hypocritically complaining about being censored by Facebook, etc.
It only took 6-8 non-combative posts which backed Stone into a corner of irrationality, dishonesty, and hypocrisy for him to start removing inconvenient posts of mine. That action was followed by a request by an AVer who had been following my deconstruction, with citations, of RFK, Jr.’s & Co’s lies and distortions in the article being discussed, for Stone to allow my posts to show as they were interested in what I had to say.
.
At that point all my posts were removed and marked “Spam” and I could no longer post.
Ah well, just another in my collection of bannings by the “Troof & Freedumb” websites such as NewMax, GnaturalGnus, WND, etc. all for having the audacity to actually post facts with citations which showed that the article’s author was being considerably less than honest.
.
So tell me again about a Kennedy’s commitment to “an open market” of ideas….
.

** I was using Disqus, not social media to comment. AFAIK all posts immediately go to moderation and must be approved by the outrageously dishonest John Stone to be posted.

@ Reality

“So tell me again about a Kennedy’s commitment to “an open market” of ideas….”

None. Obviously.

Haven’t found discussions with medical doctors much easier with the “terrorist” mention I drag in my records, though. Showing them evidence had a tendency of getting me being manhandled and handcuffed. Repeatedly.

So…

But yeah. Commitment to an “open market of ideas” usually is pure bollocks on most blogs.

I must say I did find a far right blog held by a judge who does hold up to these expectations of “open market of ideas”. But discussions tend to be brutal. Most people do not have a thick enough skin for that.

@ Athaic

For your eyes… I know (or guess…) you’re more left wing than I am, but you may enjoy the kind of shitshow that occurs when people commit to an “open market of ideas” in our beloved country, that happens to be so attached to freedom of conscience, thought and expression… thanks to you know who

The blog’s host is, however, no matter what his political stance may be, a rare example of intellectual integrity on this matter. You need nerves of steel to handle such a comment section around here. We do not have a first amendment, as you well know…

about Disqust.

I posted a very, very flattering image of Barack Obama’s mom* on Infowars. There was no moderation at all for me before that; They just removed all my innocuous posts dating back 3 weeks afterwards.

*yes, the titty pics

@ F68.10

but you may enjoy the kind of shitshow that occurs when people commit to an “open market of ideas” in our beloved country

That was kinda brutal, as a marketplace.
Not saying it’s wrong. On one hand, people are speaking their mind, and it’s refreshing. A bit prolix, but who am I to judge?
OTOH, the commenters may need some more work to actually exchange other things than insults. Lack of habit, I guess. Or maybe I just stepped in at the wrong time.

It’s interesting. There may be less than a half-dozen comments which pertain to the OP. The other comments are mostly about bashing previous comments. Apparently continuing former feuds on the new thread.
Oh, and that comment by this lady about late-term just come out of nowhere, on all levels. I hate that commenter already.

That being said, I kinda liked the OP.

Went to read other threads. I liked less the OP – some things he said, are too vague, I’m not sure which type of dog whistle I should be hearing.
OTOH, the comment threads were more interesting to read. More actual exchanges.

@ Athaic

I do not think you came in at the wrong time. It’s just that French culture is IMO so bent on clever wordings and “polite-and-cruel” behaviors that in order to get an argument through and make a logical point, you have to make your way through a jungle of pompous sophist gits. Hence the brutality: a requirement. You have to counter-troll trolls while simultaneously pitilessly driving your point home whether they like it or not. Hence the brutality in a really open marketplace of ideas: feels a bit like undertaking non-consensual surgery without painkillers or anesthesia to me…

There is no culture of rational debate around here. Sneering is the only thing they understand to be an argument. They do know how to express “feelings”, at times, though…

You can win. But it feels a bit like Nagasaki when you finally rhetorically checkmate your opponent.

That late-term lady? Well, dunno if it’s a lady, but it definitely is a sockpuppetting bigoted troll. He hates fags (i.e. “pedophiles”), abortion (i.e. “sex”), atheists (i.e. “free-masons” or “joos”) and democracy (i.e. “not-the-Church”): old-school French far right, y’a know… That’s when I first met that sockpuppetting master: Enjoy!

@ F68.10

French culture is IMO so bent on clever wordings and “polite-and-cruel” behaviors

From personal experience – both that I read and that I tend to do -, I would agree on that. We like to have our bon mots, but confuse it with having good arguments.

I am still looking for French blogs discussing science, of a quality I found here at RI or the other secret blogs. That, too, doesn’t seem in the French culture. All I found are a few blogs ran by students and young scientists, who quickly have to stop posting when life gets too busy.
Some newspapers like Le Monde started running a column about debunking fake news. It’s a start, but they are reacting, rarely writing full pieces.
I found a French blog slightly akin to RI, debunking alt-meds and the like. But not the same quality, not enough scientific references, so comparatively too much appeal to emotions. And one of the contributors is a Climate change Skeptic, because, you see, if the Greens are in favor of it, then it must be wrong.

We French like to think of ourselves as Cartesians, but…

@ Athaic

“I am still looking for French blogs discussing science, of a quality I found here at RI or the other secret blogs. That, too, doesn’t seem in the French culture.”

Yeah… well… if you feel like wanting to change that, you may eventually try to contact me. I’ll give another email, more anonymous, than the one I use on this blog.

“All I found are a few blogs ran by students and young scientists, who quickly have to stop posting when life gets too busy.”

There aren’t really much incentives to do that in French culture. And you may be sued so easily… did you know that Karine Lacombe got sued by Didier Raoult because she called his behaviour “unethical” ? That the courts considered that such a statement was against the notion of “dignity” of Raoult and the case is therefore going forward? Just imagine the mess it would be if you translated RI in French and made it liable in front of French courts ! No wonder any scientist that tries to move things forward will never reproduce something like RI around here…

“And one of the contributors is a Climate change Skeptic, because, you see, if the Greens are in favor of it, then it must be wrong.”

That’s a systematic bias in French rationalism/skepticism: science is not supposed to look out for the truth, but unleash the power of human inventivity and industry. Truth is then secondary in science. It’s kind of the political marker that pushed the Union Rationalism into communism if not stalinism, and the contemporary AFIS is kind of a splinter group that rejected this over-the-top leftist utopianism but that did not entirely manage to wean out this pro-industry bias. Though it’s on a good track.

But we’re here back to the FNSEA debate with Dangerous Bacon on this one… But nothing of that is new. Why did we have the asbestos scandal around here? Because science cannot be true if it goes against government and our own national crony capitalism: we have to pay lip service to government and not to science if we do not want to be labeled a conspiracy theorist… Hence the asbestos scandal with our own French science on asbestos which was superior to Amurikan science. It’s always the same mental trick that we have to outgrow… In the case of asbestos: 100 years of science denialism and a health scandal…

When I was growing up, there were 12 kids in my neighborhood all born within a 13 month time frame. We all played together, sat in the same sand boxes, shared our toys, our pets all licked the same faces and hands, we ate together, shared food together, swam in the same streams, lakes and and horse tanks. We all got chicken pox, mumps, measles, colds and flu with in days of each other.

The difference, only one kid got polio. Why this one kid get polio and not the rest of us? Why did no one else in the whole town of 15,000 get polio.

I have been to this site often enough that people here will dismiss the idea of the “terrain” and shaping of the “terrain”. However isn’t that what vaccines do, shape the “terrain” No one was able or has been able to explain to the 11 of us why the difference.

On Sunday we are going to see an NFL quarterback at the age of 43 have the speed, mobility, skill to play in the super bowl. I don’t care if you like Brady or not (then use Warren Moon) it is amazing that at his age he can still play football (Kinesiology). Why would the same thing that makes those two people able to still play football not apply to the rest of the human body as far as its ability to fight off cancers, viruses etc.

I don’t understand the vitriolic language used against people who sell vitamins etc, or to people who exercise and keep in shape to help their body fight off the ravages of viruses, aging, etc. What if science was able to take a blood sample at birth and design a vaccination tailor made for each person, or cancer screenings not just based on guessing (family history etc.). Not everyone needs to have the same level of protection from the same diseases. Covid is a perfect example, the majority of people under 40-50 have mild symptoms and seldom die, people over 65 well its pretty lethal. Why shut down a whole state/nation/world when the outcome is going to be the same bell shaped curve and have the same results as a non lock down state.

Please, think of all the useful and artistic scarecrows those straw men could have made.

@ Charles Bronski

“I don’t understand the vitriolic language used against people who sell vitamins etc”

Simple. Such people, whether they sell vitamines in the US or homeopathy around here, sell things that do not solve the issues they are supposed to solve. Hence, there is damage. In 2 ways: 1. Some people forgo the sound procedures that would have avoided the said damage. 2. It popularises ideas in the minds of people that reinforces the damage in point 1 by making the problem viral.

In the end, if you choose to undergo nonsensical medical procedures or non-procedures, it is in the end your choice. When you take care of someone else, such as your child, the moral stakes are higher: you are not the only person in the game.

Hence what might be considered self-destructive behaviour by using vitamines to treat, say, one’s own cancer, may end up being child abuse. And here, you do have a real moral problem…

Of course, if you do not dive into specific cases which should make any decent human shake his head in disbelief, you have no reason to understand the depth of the issue.

So look at how people abuse themselves and their children based on whacky ideas. That’s when you understand that vitamines are not only vitamines, but in some context a medium by which one harms himself or herself or someone they care for. By letting their ideas get in the way of sensible actions.

And you also have crazy beliefs within the medical world itself that make the situation worse as they consolidate these whacko beliefs elsewhere. On top of potentially directly harming patients.

Take vitamins if you wish. But do not pretend they treat what they don’t. Hence one of the issues with the terrain theory, which legitimizes the idea that they do.

Now, by all means, exercise and take of yourself if you so wish. It does matter. But do not believe that it solves what it doesn’t.

Not just anything flies when it comes to medicine.

^ Got no soul, man. You’re a paper-thin guy with a keyboard and an Internet connection, no more, possibly less.

^^ And if you want to try to prove otherwise, explain what this means. I’m not dragging you through the f*cking woods, and I doubt many have much patience left with you in any event.

Tell me. Does there exist something referred to as ‘suffering’? C’mon. impress everyone. I, for one, have at least a month in the Shitstate of Florida.

When was the last time you wept?

Time for big-boy pants.

Tbruce
Your first mistake was not addressing the question I put forth in the first 2 paragraphs.
The next mistake you made was looking at twitter, cesspool of disinformation (which is degrading to cesspools).
Your next mistake was thinking that I am on Twitter or Facebook or any other data mining operation.
You next mistake was reading and believing what narad posts and due to the plethora of his post (in the range of 20% of all things posted here) thinks anything he has to post has great credence or provides even the slightest of information to any discussion. His wit, is really half.
You last mistake was thinking, I like you or f68.10 or sirhcton or most other posters to this site use as their real name to post (even you don’t use your real name).
So when you can answer the question I put forth in my first two paragraphs, we might be able to carry on a cogent exchange. Until then you are just narad’s minion.

As for your post on the curve, yes it will flatten the curve but that just extends the curve (that is per Dr. Fauci) , the end results will be the same. Sorry to use this analogy, but think of any sports game, teams are up at a quarter/half but the bottom line is at the end of the game. For the most part California locked down and for the most part Florida didn’t, they are pretty much going to have the same infection rate, hospital rate and death rate.

@ charles bronski

“You last mistake was thinking, I like you or f68.10 or sirhcton or most other posters to this site use as their real name to post (even you don’t use your real name).”

Just who do you think you are? Of course I won’t use my real name! That would give away the names of members of my family, and given what I have written here and elsewhere, I do not believe they need that kind of publicity, you du-b-ss.

Moreover, whether or not I have a Nobel prize or am a convicted mass murderer doesn’t change in the least the words I put into sequences in my comments. They stand on their own, and you have no use nor any right to know my real name.

Get lost, w-nk-r.

@ Denice Walter

See? The same kind of anti-anonymity nonsense that we have in France? Seems the English speaking world is not immune to that either. Charles Bronski must likely be easily above 50 years old and seemingly doesn’t stand the change in communication the Internet brought. He likely likes epic battles between well-respected authority in good old-fashioned newspapers and obviously can’t stand the mere idea that an über-psychiatric loon such as myself dares oppose arguments to his even loonier self.

Pathetic.

@ Charles Bronski

Overreacted.

Though honestly, your statement was confused/confusing. And TBruce never made the assumption that you used your real name. He merely pointed to a twitter accounted that has no reason not to be linked to you a priori. So he’s well in his right, and talking about him making an error about “real names” is… misleading. At a minimum.

Just who do you think you are? Of course I won’t use my real name! That would give away the names of members of my family

Exactly. You can fck with me until the cows come home, but not with mine. Same story for three decades. There are certain things that I will not tolerate, and one of them is the sort of attempted collateral shit that Orac and Prof. Reiss have had to suffer.

Hence, privacy. It’s not for me, it’s for the people I care deeply for.

*One of whom now has tenure at the vicinity of MIT.

@JRH

<

blockquote>The Trump version is hilarious.

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blockquote>

I know, but I’m a sentimental sort. Same as it ever was. Cheers, mate.

^ Aside from apologizing yet again for the b0rk3d HTML, I would just to re(?)iterate that the choreography for the original video was a Toni Basil joint. There are indeed things to be found in the water, if one is so lucky as I to have had a much more diligent guide (not that I didn’t do my part to respond in kind — just different skill sets).

OK, one last thing before I try to just nuzzle the new cat and be done with the day:

The choreography for David Byrne? That’s ab initio for me, mamesh.

“before I try to just nuzzle the new cat and be done with the day”

You do know those things will “steal your breath” if you nod off, right?

I kept waking up into alternate realities (presumably because the cat kept stealing my breath) and don’t even know what is going on anymore.

Considering all the close calls over the years, I’m convinced that every single instance happened in a parallel universe and I died. I often think of the sadness I’ve caused others because of how many, many times I did a stupid and snuffed out.

I’ve also considered that every being, unaware of their previous death, just picks up where they left off in the last universe, looping through again and again until finally “they get it right this time.”

Also, I think I’m just not right in the head… Hooboy, here comes that place again with the cat that likes bathtubs and showers*…pretty…

*RIP, Pounces. I never knew what happened to you, the smolest cat I ever had; probably the hawk got ya.

@ F68.10:

Anonymity is necessary: several sceptics here have been targetted by loons in RL, including at work or have been the victims of mis-informational campaigns. .I use two of my four names**. Also, some alt med proselytisers are notably litigious: I know a physicist who was sued for basically writing the truth about a woo-meister’s ‘bogus’ doctorate.***

If a person presents facts and data backed by reliable sources, what difference does it make if they call themselves “John Smith” or “Marie Curie” or “Dude”?. .

** since my two surnames are male personal names I thought about using them as a nym ( women are often singled out) or the more cryptic “DW” but my feminism prevented me. I could translate it into Italian, I guess.
*** it was eventually thrown out of court but it cost the guy time and money .

@ Denice Walter

“If a person presents facts and data backed by reliable sources, what difference does it make if they call themselves “John Smith” or “Marie Curie” or “Dude”?. .”

Aaaahhhh…. The Dude Abides….

Where’s my rug ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCgeaNfcw-w

Is this a weekday ? What day is this ?

El Duderino is cool too, if you’re not in the whole brevity thing…

“I, for one, have at least a month in the Shitstate of Florida.”

Dick slapped in the face by a falling iguana. I warned you. But did you listen? Ohh no, it’s just a harmless little cold front iddn’t it?

Covid is a perfect example…Why shut down a whole state/nation/world when the outcome is going to be the same bell shaped curve and have the same results as a non lock down state.

It’s not going to be the same curve. Masking and distancing is slowing down the spread of covid, preventing overloading of ICUs and other medical providers. These measures are also buying time to develop vaccines and effective treatments, something that is happening now and will ultimately prevent millions of deaths and disabling complications.

I also looked at your Twitter postings. Any vitriol you receive is well-deserved.

As for your post on the curve, yes it will flatten the curve but that just extends the curve (that is per Dr. Fauci) , the end results will be the same.

You really don’t have a clue, do you?

As for your post on the curve, yes it will flatten the curve but that just extends the curve (that is per Dr. Fauci) , the end results will be the same.

You really don’t have a clue, do you.

And my apologies for assuming you had a twitter account under the name Charles Bronski. However, it is weird that you chose that as a nym.
BTW, TBruce is my real name. Part of it, anyway.

(Sorry if part of this comment is a duplicate. I hit the wrong key by mistake on my first attempt)

Okay let’s deal with a couple of my “mistakes”. Actually, my omissions weren’t mistakes. They were a considered choice.
Anyway,here’s the gist of what you posted:

The difference, only one kid got polio. Why this one kid get polio and not the rest of us? Why did no one else in the whole town of 15,000 get polio.

First, I doubt that one kid in a town of 15000 was the only one to get polio in an epidemic, unless it was in the 60s, and his idiot parents didn’t have him vaccinated. But I digress.
The reason not every kid got paralytic polio is that polio,in most cases, was indistinguishable from other innocuous viral illnesses. A minority of cases did lead to paralytic complications.
Kind of like measles, which in most kids, is a few days of misery from which they recover without problems. Of course, a small percentage will develop pneumonia or deafness. One kid in about a thousand will die. A few years later, one survivor in ten thousand will develop SSPE and die a horrible lingering death.
We could speculate all day about “terrain”. But that’s all it is: speculation.

The case I posted about occurred in the early 50’s not in the 60’s, none of us had been vaccinated for other issues other then small pox, which we all got at 1 years of age.

Flattening the curve, was never about reducing the cases but spreading out the cases. And staying at home actually increased cases. About 60% of Covid cases are spread thru the home.

https://gh.bmj.com/content/5/5/e002794.abstract

Flattening the curve videos

https://nypost.com/2020/04/09/fauci-agrees-ny-likely-seeing-flattening-of-the-curve-on-coronavirus/

https://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/watch/dr-fauci-critical-point-in-flattening-coronavirus-outbreak-curve-80692293843

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/03/13/815502262/flattening-a-pandemics-curve-why-staying-home-now-can-save-lives

Dr,. Dennis Carroll on flatten the curve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcOZ5xpY4Ec

As i said the end result will be similar, pick a state and look at the infection rates and deaths over time. lock downs etc. did not have the desired effect on the bottom line numbers ie deaths, hospitalizations, icu etc.

https://covidtracking.com/data

full lock downs

https://covidtracking.com/data/#state-ca

no lock down

https://covidtracking.com/data/#state-fl

I have a feeling that 2-5 years from now that what we were told to do is going to be proven wrong, history is on my side.

No need to apologize about the twitter post, you believed narads post, just remember that, between narads (I am in need of validation), tim (what drugs did I score) and f68.10 (website always has its bully) I tend to ignore them, I am not sure who to laugh at more. Others on this site are insightful and possess real information to share.

@TBruce: “First, I doubt that one kid in a town of 15000 was the only one to get polio in an epidemic”

Indeed. But if a thing occurred outside of young Master Bronski’s finite sphere of personal experience, then did it really happen at all? This is how conspiracy theorists are born: through their simple inability to count beyond One.

@ Charles Bronski

“No need to apologize about the twitter post, you believed narads post, just remember that, between narads (I am in need of validation), tim (what drugs did I score) and f68.10 (website always has its bully) I tend to ignore them, I am not sure who to laugh at more.”

Holding you to objective standards of morality is not bullying. It’s called responsibility. I tend to side with Emmanuel Levinas on this one. (Though I have nothing in common with religion.)

On flattening the curve, for Charles Bronski:

Let’s do a hypothetical exercise. Suppose we have two cities, each with the same demographics. City A promotes masking, social distancing and restrictions on gatherings in order to flatten the curve. City B does none of that.
City A flattens the curve, and after one year, has 5000 cases and 100 deaths. City B does not flatten the curve, and after one year, has 10,000 cases and 200 deaths. At this point, a vaccine has been approved and is now being distributed. The case load and death rate in each city will now drop dramatically and soon the outbreak is over. Yay!
Except that City B has 5000 cases and 100 deaths that would not have happened had they been following City A’s lead.

Do you get my point, at long last?

Tbruce

“But I digress.
The reason not every kid got paralytic polio is that polio,in most cases, was indistinguishable from other innocuous viral illnesses….
Kind of like measles, which in most kids, is a few days of misery from which they recover without problems.”
I would be careful about posting something like that on this site, it could get you “labeled” as an anti vaxxer. You did however make my point that viruses etc. do not effect/affect everyone the same and that science should be working on simple blood test taken/given at birth to determine what, if any vaccines are essential, or marginally effective for that person/baby.

As for your hypothetical two cities/states and lock downs, I showed you an example of two states that took different approaches to lock downs (Florida and California) Florida has a similar death rate to that of California (and Florida’s death rate should have been much, much higher based on the age of the population). In addition waiting for a vaccine to be given to enough people so the US can reach heard immunity will take another year or so as we are vaccinating about 1.5 million people a day, given that it takes two shots, the 80% heard rate that Dr. Fauci says will be needed, will take the better part of a year. So we stay locked down for another year?

The unintended consequences from this lock down (or what ever you choose to call it) are just now being felt with increase in suicides, drug and alcohol deaths, learning issues in children when schools shut down and shorten life spans.

75,000 additional deaths due to suicides because of Covid

https://www.psycom.net/covid-19-suicide-rates

81,000 drug overdose deaths an increase of 38% because of covid and lock downs.

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p1218-overdose-deaths-covid-19.html

science should be working on simple blood test taken/given at birth to determine what, if any vaccines are essential, or marginally effective for that person/baby.

Why?

I have a feeling that 2-5 years from now that what we were told to do is going to be proven wrong, history is on my side.

How so?

“How so?”

Because $words, Narad. Because words and the stupid appear to be in the majority fighting for freedumb. These lawsuits against FauxNews are only inflamming ‘the base’. I can not believe what I’m witnessing even though in my own house; I predicted it.

She starts screaming in ‘pain’ as soon as I make the slightest noise in the kitchen…
“will you stay here with me Tim?”

Yea. The woman that turned her own son in for daring to smoke the mariuanas? Idk why dad won’t take her to some other state that might give, you know, ketamine or something. I know I’m crass but I’m going to attempt to tiptoe quieter because damn.

I would be careful about posting something like that on this site, it could get you “labeled” as an anti vaxxer.

No fear of that.
It’s true that a good numbers of illnesses don’t have too serious consequences, in most people.
The issue is figuring out which people are going to have serious consequences.
Also, confort. Even if nothing bad results of it, going through an infection like the flu or measles could be… painful. Why not avoid it?
On the same page, let’s first define “serious consequences’. Real antivaxers tend to limit their risk assessment from the illness to the risk of death. Is a risk of getting deaf, sterile, blind, paralyzed, etc., count? Or again, does being bedridden for a week or two count as “serious”? Some people may consider it so.

Tl;dr: if you feel like playing Russian roulette with the viruses infecting you, be my guess. The odds are in your favor. Mostly. We are in free countries, you do whatever you want.
However, when you play Russian roulette with your children, or insist on spreading your germs to people around you, forcing them to play Russian roulette, allow me to be a bit shocked at your laissez aller.

You did however make my point that viruses etc. do not effect/affect everyone the same and that science should be working on simple blood test taken/given at birth to determine what, if any vaccines are essential, or marginally effective for that person/baby.

A few points about why this is not going to work:
1 – you assume that something in the blood will inform us of the ability of the person to fight off a virus or other bug. And fight it off, and well, without lasting issue.
There is no such thing.
Right now, we may be able to find out people who have some issue with their immune system, but that’s it. People with an otherwise working immune system fall ill all the time.
2 – you assume that the main – if not the only – parameter is the person’s body. But like Tango, it takes two to become ill. Bugs come in all varieties and shapes. Just look at the SARS-Cov2 variants currently emerging. Bugs work hard to evade the immune system.
3 – building on the last two, you also assume that the ability to fight off bugs is a static status. A test a birth will become irrelevant very fast.
Whatever we may find about the baby’s ability to fight off diseases may not – will not – be true for the toddler, the teenager, the adult, the elder. Changes in diet, environment, general health… will affect the immune system’s abilities. Not to mention newly emerging bugs.
Sure, you can insist on people exercising, feeding themselves correctly, taking extra vit-D where needed… That will help. A bit. Are you going to make that mandatory?

OTOH, a well-developped and monitored vaccine will work 60 to 99% of the time and (except the flu – although the fault if the virus’, not the vaccine’s), gives long-lasting immunity.

@ Natalie White

You write: “Speaking of $cience and $cience denial, President Joe Biden picked a person who doesn’t believe in chromosomes to be the assistant health secretary. Wacky times indeed!”

Do you understand what a chromosome is? It’s a chain of genes, RNA, viral fragments, etc. Each of these can be mutated. So, what do we know about “Transgender?”

Just one study: “examined the genetic variations of 380 transgender women and compared them to those of non-transgender men. Within the transgender women, they found a significant over-representation
of four genes that are involved in processing sex hormones. This variation suggests a potential biological reason why certain people experience gender dysphoria. Those behind the study propose that these genetic variations can affect the male brain’s ability to process androgen, meaning that the brain develops differently in a way that is less “masculine” and more “feminine,” contributing to gender dysphoria in transgender women.” (Lenton, 2018)

“The sex determining gene Y (SRY) was identified in the 1980s by Peter Goodfellow’s group. Goodfellow’s group and others performed a series of experiments to demonstrate the role of the gene. In one such study, they looked at the genetic information of individuals who were anatomically female and had both XY chromosomes, and individuals who were anatomically male with XX chromosomes. They found the SRY gene in an X chromosome in fifty cases of anatomically male with XX chromosomes. In one of the anatomically female case with XY chromosomes, they found a single nucleotide mutation in the SRY gene, that translated to a single amino acid change (from methionine to isoleucine), thus disrupting the testes development process. A single amino acid change from methionine to isoleucine in the SRY gene can cause an embryo with XY sex chromosomes to develop as a female.” (Ganesan, 2021).

To simplify for you simple mind, though XX usually results in both female genitalia and appropriate hormones and XY in male, mutations in only one or more genes can lead to genitalia of one sex and hormones and other chemicals for another, hormones that affect how certain aspects of our brains function. And different variants in between.

So, how does someone born with one or another of above possibilities in any way, shape, or form imply they don’t “believe in chromosome?” You don’t know where to draw the line.

And, your implication is someone who is transgender is not appropriate for being an assistant health secretary. Rachel Levin is a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. So, she made it through med school and a fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital, where she trained, etc. How does her sexual identity affect her medical knowledge???

Years ago, many believed women too emotional, lesser intelligent, so shouldn’t have right to vote or getting higher education and appropriate jobs. Actually, even today, white women with same qualifications on the whole earn less than men. What does gender have to do with qualifications, job positions, and earnings?

And same goes for race, homosexuals, or lesbians. People, despite your need to see things in black and white, are not unidimensional. I have been treated by a black surgeon, an hispanic woman doctor, a Sikh, a doctor from the People’s Republic of China, etc. And, I’m pretty good at judging medical competence and would easily recommend any one of them. In fact, in my mid-70s, after several surgeries to reduce my prostate, I think it has grown back again, so, as soon as I get the second COVID vaccine shot, which, together with a mask, will reduce risk from COVID, will make appointment with the Black urological surgeon, who not only extremely knowledgeable and skilled; but great guy who I would love as a neighbor, proud father of four daughters.

And I’ve known and been friends with gays, lesbians, etc. since my teenage years. Nope, I’m strictly heterosexual; but I’m also a vegetarian and most of them were meat eaters.

Thanks for once again showing your ignorance. Do you know anything at all about genetics?

References (note I’ve got lots more):

Ganesan, Sai Janani (2018 Mar 19). What Role Do Sex Chromosomes Play In Transgender People’s Identities? Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/03/19/what-role-do-sex-chromosomes-play-in-transgender-peoples-identities/

Lenton, Abbey (2018 Oct 5). Scientists discover link between genes and being transgender. New York Post. Available at: https://nypost.com/2018/10/05/scientists-discover-link-between-genes-and-being-transgender/

Note, regarding your take on “commifornia” and Newsome’s decision based on secret data, your paranoid conspiracy mind just keeps leaping out in front. Some of his decisions, based at the time, on what was known, turned out problematic; but, when he loosened lockdown first time, deaths and hospitalizations skyrocketed. I know you don’t believe it; but I personally know several doctors and intensive care nurses and their respective hospitals was full up. I actually e-mailed CDC and California Department of Health suggesting that they include in their stats, if possible, hospitalizations, perhaps table of number of days, and explain Long COVID. Yep, number dying, if not someone you care about not extremely high but if one adds in hospitalizations and Long COVID, the numbers increase substantially. Many with reduced lung function, heart arrhythmia, etc. and so far lasting more than six months and, perhaps, a life-time.

I realize that you are sure you are right, despite having little to know knowledge of immunology, microbiology, epidemiology, infectious diseases, past and present and, despite I have a life-time learning the aforementioned, in your mind I am just part of some establishment conspiracy. Not necessarily actually interacting with others; but towing the party line. Yep, researchers, medical doctors, public health experts around the world, from nations with different histories, different political systems, different economic systems, different cultures, different educational systems, etc. all towing the party line. So nice that we have geniuses like you to set us straight.

Unfortunately you represent a large segment of our populations, not agreeing or focusing on same things, e.g., vaccines, COVID, Qanon, Anti-semitism, Racism, etc.; but with the same mentality, that is, confirmation bias, cherry picking what agrees with you, and not only not trying to learn in depth seeing world in black and white; and rejecting as the enemy anyone who doesn’t recognize your brilliance.

Maybe, one of your friends should recommend you to head Cal State Dept of Health???

@Joel: “Do you understand what a chromosome is?”

Pretty sure Mad Nats knows how to shit in her hand and throw it, and that’s about all.

Still, thank you for your thoughtful and reasoned precis of the vast complexities of human existence, even if it is wasted on these terminal yahoos too terrified at the thought of anything they don’t understand and cannot control.

@ Joel

They found the SRY gene in an X chromosome in fifty cases of anatomically male with XX chromosomes.

Science is fascinating.
So the SRY gene may cross over to the X chromosome – during gametogenesis, I assume, and then the gamete with the special X goes on to do its job.
I have flashbacks of my biology lessons in French grad school, a looong time ago. Exchange of bits of DNA between chromosomes was a known thing already, back then, (e.g. in Down syndrome, for a extreme case). I didn’t know about possibles exchanges between X and Y.

A single amino acid change from methionine to isoleucine in the SRY gene can cause an embryo with XY sex chromosomes to develop as a female.

Oi. Methionine is slightly hydrophilic, and isoleucine is one of the hydrophobic-side-chain aminoacids.
Predicting a protein activity based on its aminoacid sequence is slightly outside my field, but I know enough to not to be surprised this single change has such an impact.

Thanks for the insights. As I say, this is fascinating.

Thank you for sharing the information about individuals who are transgender! It’s amazing how much of an effect a single change of an amino acid can have. I’m interested in the subject of transgender orientation (?) because there is so much I don’t know. Including proper, respectful terminology. I sometimes use wrong terms through simple ignorance, but the more I learn, the more I improve. I try to do better and apologize when I’ve been in the wrong. I’m going to do more digging around for the latest information. Thank you again for sharing these new discoveries. At least they’re new to my ears/eyes.

I adore and admire Dr. Levine. She was wonderful during her daily press conferences last year, and I was so happy for her appointment by President Biden.

I’m transgendered myself and lived it for almost 40 years and I’ve seen so many changes in terminology and attitude, ranging from “now I live the life of a woman, so I don’t want to remembered of the past” (some even go as far as changing all references of their childhood to “when I was a litlle girl”), to “well, I’m transgendered, so deal with it”. It’s hard for me to keep up. In the past nobody, except my parents, family and old friends, knew about it. My parents even moved with me, to give me a fresh start. Now I’m living between bringing it out in the open, like here and keep it a secret, almost everywhere else, though my dad had told several people in the appartmentbuilding where he lived and I live.

Here’s a general point about alternative schedules.
There’s a way to follow an alternative schedule and still keep the cdc schedule, which after all gives ranges, not dates. By itself, it means going back to the doctor for multiple visits (increasing the risk of infection in waiting rooms), and submitting babies to different days where they get a needle, which isn’t great, but this is still a low risk option and not horrible.

And even if a family falls for an alternative schedule that means they skip some vaccines, and delay others beyond what’s recommended, that’s better than not vaccinating. It’s taking unnecessary risk, but it’s less risk.

But when a doctor like this says they spread out vaccines because he thinks stacked vaccines are dangerous, that tells me that he bought into some antivaccine myths, and that he’s vulnerable to pseudoscience, because there is no scientific reason to do that. And yes, that he thinks he knows more than experts even though there is no good data behind his position.

So for me, it’s less the “did they go for more visits and delay a vaccine a week”, and more what it teaches me about how credible is this doctor on vaccines.

As I’ve noted upthread, it is vital to differentiate the child’s best interests versus the best interests of Mommy Dearest’s ravening ego. Because I seriously doubt that such Obsequiously Speshul Schedules are concocted to serve the best interests of the patient, and I’m quite sure that where a modified schedule is medically called for (e.g. to carefully negotiate around possible allergic issues) that none of those agreeing it feel a need to shout it from the rooftops. But that’s just parents being parents, and you don’t get to choose your own.

The medical quacks who indulge and enable these users, however… honestly, you are much too kind. Tarred and feathered and thrown out by their boards should be the only correct response. We should demand a higher standard of medical professionals who hold our lives in their hands, and “read it on the internet” should not be any defence. Alas, foxes and henhouses come to mind; and while I am sure there are plenty of individual practitioners like our Dr Hickie out there quietly steaming at the betrayal of patients’ interests, I don’t think anything less than a permanent 24/7 mass pile-on by all the good, competent, humane practitioners will ever take out the trash.

Thank you for acknowledge that spacing out vaccines isn’t a horrible thing. There simply isn’t sufficient downside to the practice to make it something that society needs to concern itself with.

I’ll leave it to you to decide for yourself who is worth listening to and who isn’t. We all get to make those decisions for ourselves. If you don’t find him credible, you are under no obligation to do as he has recommended for vaccinations. You can publicly disagree with his choices, as you have done.

Beth is distorting and ignoring Dorit’s message about delaying vaccines (why am I not surprised?).

Dorit’s point was 1) while delaying kids’ vaccines is a poor choice, it ‘s not as dreadful as forgoing them altogether, and 2) a physician who’s bought into the idea that delays are a good way to avoid imagined dangers in the recommended schedule is demonstrating that he’s not a credible source of info on vaccination in general.

In reality, society (and more specifically parents) should be concerned about vaccination delays. They increase children’s vulnerability to dangerous infectious diseases, subject kids to more trauma due to extra visits to the doctor’s office for shots, subject them to heightened risk of contagion in the waiting and examination rooms, and increase chances of office staff making mistakes and not ensuring that all required shots are given. Crucially, there is no evidence that delaying vaccination is safer than vaccinating on schedule.

Thank you, DB. And I agree delayed schedules are not good in any way. Just not as bad as not vaccinating.

The other point I was making was that not all delayed schedules are the same. You can spread vaccines and still be within the recommended schedule, for example, by spreading two months vaccines to a seven week, eight week, nine week visit. That is not great, but you would not, technically, be deviating from the schedule, and that’s likely a pretty low-risk option.

Or you can delay hepatitis B vaccine until the child is two, like Dr. Sears recommends, and leave your child at risk of a very serious disease exactly when they’re most vulnerable to it, or do other higher-risk things, like skipping varicella or delaying vaccines like pneumococcal or hib.

These two options are not the same. The first, I think it’s a mistake, but I’d mostly shrug it and likely not argue over it. The second is a problem.

And you exactly captured my point about doctors who buy into this.

@Dorit, In theory? Sure, you could. But once someone is willing to break with best practices and evidence to demand their own unique program, I would need some proof that it’s actually going to be within the recommended schedule before I’d believe anyone does it. Possible? Yes. Probable? No.

Right, because it’s “not a horrible thing” to make a frightened child get more shots than necessary. I mean, it might be horrible for the screaming toddler, and frightening for all the other kids who can hear said screaming toddler, and upsetting to the parent, and to the nurses who have to hold the kid down.

But it’s not horrible for you, so that’s what matters.

And in your mind it’s “not horrible” if the child, or their parent, or sibling(s) catch something in the waiting room, like hand-and-mouth disease, or norovirus. I’m sure you’ve got all the sick time in the world, and nothing better to do than throw up your toenails.

@justatech

No, it’s not a horrible thing if a child makes additional trips to the doctors office. I’m not sure why you think it would require them getting more shots. Could you explain that?

Nor do I think it’s a significantly higher risk that “the child, or their parent, or sibling(s) catch something in the waiting room, like hand-and-mouth disease, or norovirus” if they did. Pre-pandemic, and in the absence of an local outbreak of some contagious disease, the probability of that happening was low enough that it was not a concern when deciding whether or not something is worth going to see the doctor for. During outbreaks, it would be a consideration, but then I wouldn’t bother with doing that in the first place.

Finally, no, it’s not something that everyone could manage do to time or other resource constraints. Again, I don’t think it would be worth the bother myself, but why do you object so forcefully to the idea that someone might think it was worth the bother?

It seems we’ve come full circle with Beth. The original reason for needing more doctor’s visit was to separate the shots in time to “unpack the schedule”. That wouldn’t necessarily increase the number of shots administered unless we go full Wakefield and administer combined shots as separate vaccinations, which is not possible at this time.

And if visiting the doctor’s office is such a minimal risk, I wonder why so many family practice clinics like the one I attended for many years have set up separate waiting rooms for potentially contagious patients?

I reserve my right to choose which commenters I consider credible. But I especially value blogs like this one that push back against public figures who make medical claims that are not well supported by evidence.

@squirrelelite: “It seems we’ve come full circle with Beth.”
Indeed, she does spin a dizzying dance. ‘Round and ’round, but always coming back to the same place.
Reminds me of that WB Yeats poem “Turning and turning in a widening gyre…”

There’s a profile of Paul Offit M.D. in the weekend edition of the Wall St. Journal, in the Review section.

He talks about being hospitalized as a 5-year-old for clubfoot surgery. During recovery he was in a ward full of pediatric patients who had suffered the consequence of polio (in iron lungs, traction etc.) and how the experience “left him with an appreciation of the vulnerability of children and a deep desire to protect them.”

Offit: “I think the scars of our youth become the passions of our adulthood. On some level, we always treat ourselves.”

“He takes heart from the fact that so many studies disproving the link between vaccines and autism have helped nudge anti-vaccine advocates into the margins. “I think it’s a long race,” he says. “In the end, science wins out.””

(article is likely paywalled)

http://wsj.com/articles/vaccine-expert-paul-offit-believes-science-will-win-in-the-end-11612543849

Oh Christ, it’s this asshole again…
https://www.rawstory.com/fox-anchor-called-out-for-conspiracy-theory-about/

Dr. Fauci a “sinister guy”? This coming from Junior, the perfect archetype of a sinister guy. As Dominick Dunne said about Junior:

“I don’t give a fuck about what that little shit has to say,” Dunne spits back. “That fucking asshole. This pompous, pompous, POMPOUS man. I don’t care what he has to say. He’s not a person that I have any feeling or respect for.”

“That fucking asshole. This pompous, pompous, POMPOUS man. I don’t care what he has to say. He’s not a person that I have any feeling or respect for.”

He sounds angry. I think he needs to chill a little:

As temperatures dipped along the U.S. East Coast, alligators at a sanctuary park in North Carolina figured out a cute way to survive in their icy homes: They poked their noses out of the water as it began to freeze over, their scaly “snorkels” becoming their only conduit for oxygen.

https://www.livescience.com/64592-alligators-weird-snout-behavior-winter.html

Fox News & friends still trying to murder their primary audience? Honestly, at this point I’m really struggling to find any problem in that.

A reminder to everyone considering not only Covid-19 vaccination but any type of immunization:

Among Dr. Noorchashm’s copious Urgent Letters and Warnings to various people and entities on a variety of subjects*, is one foreseeing “catastrophic potential” in vaccinating anyone (for whatever reason) who hasn’t been pre-screened to make sure they aren’t SARS-CoV-2 positive. In other words, “the author is delineating a potentially high immunological risk to asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 carriers who non-selectively receive the 2020 Influenza vaccine (or any other vaccine).”

It’s the undoubted threat of developing autoimmune disease if you vaccinate an asymptomatic individual with a positive Covid antigen test.

I can’t understand why we haven’t already experienced an epidemic of autoimmune illness attributable to this problem.

*http://noorchashm.medium.com

Wait, he’s saying that any vaccine (against any disease) in someone who has or recently had SAR-CoV-2, will cause terrible things?

Based on?

And how is it generalized to all vaccines, but specific only to SARS-CoV-2? If it happened with any other infection I think we would have noticed by now.

Also, if the flu shot caused bad things to happen to people who’d had COVID, wouldn’t we have noticed during flu shot season?

I would need to see a lot of data on that.

Beth: It’s not trying to contribute to a conversation to find our communal values – like people not dying is a good thing.

Have you been asleep for the past year? That’s not a communal value anymore at all. Conservatives love the ‘rona like they love their guns and they want to kill everyone they can; thus the Trumper tantrums about masks and vaccines, and the police being sent out to arrest doctors and nurses. We are at war, and we should acknowledge that.

“We are at war, and we should acknowledge that.”

…so I started AWOLing again…

Because I’m a numbers geek, I updated a spreadsheet I had started last summer to see how various states have been doing with Covid-19. Someone shared data links for total cases in California and Florida and made the claim that

lock downs etc. did not have the desired effect on the bottom line numbers ie deaths, hospitalizations, icu etc.

I used 7 day averages from the New York Times and the cumulative numbers from each state’s Wikipedia page and checked numbers as of the 5th of each month from last August through February.

Here are the normalized cases per 100K

Month … U.S. wide … California … Florida
Aug………….17.4 ………….16.9 ………..34.1
Sep ……….. 12.5 ………… 12.5 ………. 16.5
Oct ……….. 14.4 ………… 8.3 ……….. 11.0
Nov ……… 29.3 ………… 12.3 ……… 21.8
Dec ……….. 58.5 ………… 49.5 ……… 42.8
Jan ……….. 69.1 ………… 97.1 ……… 66.4
Feb ……….. 37.1 ………… 37.3 ………. 43.4

So, what to make of these numbers?

The protective measures in California kept their case rates below the national average and significantly below Florida until the holiday-driven outbreaks in November and December swamped those early benefits. Nevertheless, in the last month, California has reduced their case count to 38.4% of the previous month. Whereas, Florida is only down to 65.4% of the previous month.

Case fatality rates are 1.31% for California, 1.56% for Florida, and 1.73% for the U.S. as a whole.

For comparison, New Mexico imposed a stiff lockdown for two weeks over the Thanksgiving holiday into early December. Their numbers for the last 4 months are 42.3, 87.7, 58.5 and 27.2

So they actually reduced case rates from December to January while California and Florida were still rising. And the February numbers are below the November numbers and several counties may qualify for lessened restrictions when this week’s update comes out.

Also, daily vaccination rates continue to improve and hit 1.4 million on Saturday.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2021/02/03/fauci-us-covid-19-pandemic-going-in-the-right-direction/?sh=345d1d3c4719

An EUA for the J&J vaccine will expand the supply. And I expect the Novavax vaccine to also get an EUA in the near future. Astra Zeneca looks more problematic since it doesn’t seem to work well against the South African variant.
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/02/south-africa-suspends-use-astrazenecas-covid-19-vaccine-after-it-fails-clearly-stop

So, wearing masks, social distancing, handwashing, and reduced occupancy have a benefit. But we need to keep our feet on the brakes for a few more months to keep the Covid-19 truck from running over us before the vaccine supply expands enough to help get this under control.

Here’s an example of how lockdowns and other public health measured dropped the 14-day infection rate for the Australian state of Victoria from a 14-day average of ~450/day to zero:
https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/ten-graphs-that-show-the-rise-and-fall-of-victoria-s-covid-19-second-wave-20201027-p5694b.html

The graph near the start of the article shows the whole outbreak (from zero cases, up to 450/day and back to zero) showing the main interventions. Further down is a graph showing more detail on how the restrictions were eased.

Lockdowns can certainly be made to work, but a lot depends on how they are timed (and especially how large the outbreak becomes before measures are applied), and how good public co-operation is.

Australia has had 3 cases of local transmission of covid-19 in the last 14 days.

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