Header Image (book)


Monday, May 10, 2021

Recommended Reading

People Have Gotten ‘Institutionalized’ by COVID (dated May 6, 2021). 

...As the vaccine has brought the promise of liberation from a year of masks, lockdowns, canceled travel plans, and forgone family visits, there is a contingent of Americans who are simply not prepared to move on. They have somehow gotten used to the restrictions and are wary of returning to their pre-COVID-19 lives. In short, they’ve become “institutionalized.”...
 ...[W]e are in the midst of a destructive feedback loop. Leaders make statements that overstate the current risk of COVID-19, which ends up guiding the decisions of local officials, and it also makes people more nervous about returning to normal. The people who are nervous remain less likely to pressure local officials to change irrational policies....
Read the entire essay HERE

As I observe all the mask wearers here in Northern Virginia all masked up even when jogging or alone in their cars, I have to wonder if we are turning into a nation of hypochondriacs and — worse — a nation of sheeple. 

And we also have the extreme vaxxers (from Facebook): 
One solution to getting everyone to get the vaccine...bar anyone who has not had a vaccine (except for those with medical reasons) from entrance to any store, restaurant, bar, airplane, resort, movie theater, etc. Maybe when we deprive them of such things will they come to their senses.
Can we somehow turn back the clock so that Americans are not running scared and willing to subject themselves to tyrannical voices?


  1. Sheeple: "docile, compliant, or easily influenced"

    People should be easily influenced by logic and evidence -- I would reserve the "sheeple" epithet for people who are influenced by unsound arguments built on unsubstantiated premises. There's a lot of that about (both related and unrealated to covid) -- see any of the popular conspiracy theories circulating social media for examples. Stubborn nonconformity is clearly not in-and-of-itself a virtue; in fact, on a conservative forum such as this, I kind of expect most of you are predisposed to prefer comformity in many contexts.

    I'm sure a lot of us are dealing with some new phobias, but we are still to some extent rational, and insofar as we are rational a good level of immunity both at home and abroad (vaccine nationalism can go directly to hell) will do wonders to bring back normality. Maybe normality with better hand-washing and handkerchief discipline -- solid wins, the both.

    1. Jez,
      Speaking of logic and evidence...

      These vaccines as experimental. We the inoculated are lab rats. And there is no evidence to support how long these vaccinations confer whatever immunity they confer (another unknown). And the side effects! I had the J&J vaccine on March 31 and still have some side effects (particularly shortness of breath), albeit finally abating all these weeks later.

      But I digress.

      The point of this blog post is that people have become paranoid about COVID-19. In truth, if we are to lead our lives, there is no way to be 100% safe.

    2. 100% certainty is not available, but the element of luck does not mean that some measures are more logical and/or have better evidence in favour of them than others. The difference between sensible precautions and paranoia one of degree, and when the general level of public immunity is high enough, that threshold should move. Let's see how it responds after the vaccine has rolled out fully.

    3. The CDC recommends sensible precautions, or unembarrassing one?

      In response to the 3,800+ "breakthrough" cases in California... CDC Changes Rules for Counting Breakthrough Cases, as More Fully Vaccinated People Test Positive
      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will report only those breakthrough cases resulting in hospitalization or death. The agency also lowered the testing threshold, but only for the fully vaccinated.

    4. As of April 26, 2021, more than 95 million people in the United States had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. During the same time, CDC received reports of vaccine breakthrough infections from 46 U.S. states and territories.

      Total number of vaccine breakthrough infections reported to CDC
      Total number of vaccine breakthrough infections reported to CDC 9,245
      Females 5,827 (63%)
      People aged ≥60 years 4,245 (45%)
      Asymptomatic infections 2,525 (27%)
      Hospitalizations* 835 (9%)
      Deaths† 132 (1%)
      *241 (29%) of the 835 hospitalizations were reported as asymptomatic or not related to COVID-19.
      †20 (15%) of the 132 fatal cases were reported as asymptomatic or not related to COVID-19.

    5. So according to CDC's new rules only 967 cases count... or 10%

    6. The herd has been culled by Covid. Significantly Less people are dying every week now than normally would have...

    7. "Data are incomplete because of the lag in time between when the death occurred and when the death certificate is completed, submitted to NCHS and processed for reporting purposes. This delay can range from 1 week to 8 weeks or more, depending on the jurisdiction and cause of death"

      The data point that's exciting you is from 3 weeks ago.

    8. There are "projected" deaths in those numbers already. You can vary the chart outputs at the site and the projected portions will be revealed.

    9. Wrong comment. The above refers to the CDC Excessive Death data. There are no projections in the breakthrough infection data. In fact methodologies have been revised to ensure lower numbers in the future.

    10. They're pencil whipping the vaccine data at CDC to make it appear more effective and less harmful than it is so as to encourage vaccine participation.

    11. Kinda like they do with temperature data from NASA now.

    12. are you withdrawing your "the herd has been culled" assertion?

    13. FJ,
      so as to encourage vaccine participation

      For the benefit of whom?

    14. Nope. Sorry, but that was the right comment based on the CDC data...see the projections vs actual graph there (it's a selection for the graph).

      @AoW- for the benefit of the CDC. People won't understand just how risky and experimental the vaccinations really are. They'll be left with the impression that the vaccine is both more effective and comes with less complications than reality suggests. Unlike before, they want to re-assure v. scare the public, and so they apply the original counting methodologies instead of the scarier "count every positive test" standard.

    15. @ jez- It's the "Excess Deaths with and without weighting" option.

    16. Even if they did want to do that, there's only so much they can do... or are they going to massage the excess deaths and hospitalisation numbers too?

    17. They haven't been all along? Who knew?

    18. Not you, apparently when it suits you.

  2. There is a ton of misinformation on the jab. A lot of people die from it.
    Just not everybody. So you get so many saying "I got it. I didn't die. "
    Lucky you.
    Now, are you among the lucky percentage that are actually protected?
    How do you know?

    1. This is why we should prefer measurement to anecdote.

    2. I am not getting the vaccine because I don't need to. I am already safer than people who do get the vaccine.

      According to the pharma companies who make the vaccine, who say that the vaccine is 94% effective, people who get the vaccine still have a 6% chance of getting Covid.

      The media also do not report one single case of a person getting Covid, recovering, and then gerring Covid again. Not one. If it were happening, even anecdotally, I think it's safe to say the media would be all over it. I have had Covid and recovered from it. My doctor says I have "less than 1% chance" of getting it again. I say I have 0% chance. Why would I get the vaccine?

    3. That's not what "94% effective" means. Rather, it means that vaccinated people 6% (about 1 seventeenth) of the chance of an unvaccinated person of catching it. Also, it is well understood that reinfection from coronaviruses in general (not cv19 in particular) is far from unusual. Your MD is telling you comforting stories.

    4. Read the published results of the tests as published by the producers of the vaccines, jez. They report that 94% of the group receiving the vaccine did not become infected, while a larger percentage of the control group did become infected. "94% effective" means that it prevents infection in 94% of the people receiving the vaccine. That is specifically the definition of the effectiveness of a vaccine.

      Before you accuse my MD of medical malpractice, perhaps you should at least find out who he is and where he received his degree.

      Please provide me with links providing evidence that "reinfection from coronaviruses in general is far from unusual." Links to specific credible references please.

    5. The discussion above between Jez and Jayhawk is a mirror of a conversation among friends tonight, one a Phd in Physical Therapy and the other a Registered Nurse/nursing and clinic manager and myself, an automation engineer.
      We all interpret the facts the way we see them.
      I'm with Jay, by the way. The Phd with Jez.

    6. Have a read of this one (re experimental meaning behind %-effectivenees) https://investors.modernatx.com/news-releases/news-release-details/modernas-covid-19-vaccine-candidate-meets-its-primary-efficacy
      Sorry Ed, not much room for interpretation this time, these terms are strictly defined.
      And for reinfection of coronovirusses, open this and reminisce about when I linked to it in reply to you (jayhawk) almost exactly one year ago. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2271881/pdf/epidinfect00023-0213.pdf

      Your MD isn't committing malpractice necessarily, unsupported numbers from a position of authority might be just what you need to hear as a patient. Doesn't matter where he studied, unless he's fresh out of school I guess. If you asked him to back up his 1% claim (and no reason why you shouldn't) do let me know what evidence he shows you, but he might very well admit it was a guess. I would hope that he would set you straight in the %-effectiveness business too. We do not expect 6% of people vaccinated with moderns to catch covid, or at least that's not what that number asserts.

    7. among many other typos, that last sentence should say "infected with moderna"

    8. First of all, any tests of efficacy on humans is meaningless, because they do not know how many of the test subjects were exposed to the virus. They report that 94.4% of the test subjects did not become infected, but how many of those did not become infected merely because they were never exposed?

      Secondly, the numbers do not amount to 94.5%. Five cases out of 15,000 test subjects is a number far lower than 5.5%, so the language in the report is largely gibberish. Bear in mind that the article is a sales pitch by the manufacturer of the vaccine.

      If a doctor is telling a patient what he needs to hear rather than the truth, he is committing medical malpractice, so you hedge on your slander by repeating your slander.

      And you buttress your reinfection argument by citing yet another article that addresses antibodies and only antibodies, which are a transitory and short term part of the immune response.

      If your first claim fails you cannot win the argument by merely repeating the claim.

    9. "any tests of efficacy on humans is meaningless, because [difficulty with the naive approach]" - it would be if they were taking that naive approach, but they're doing it a different way, as the report explains.

      "They report that 94.4% of the test subjects did not become infected" - no they don't, as you read yourself those numbers are not even the right order-of-magnitude for it to check out. But the report isn't gibberish, it just doesn't say what you expected it to say.

      "slander" -- I only know your report of his conversation, maybe his would be different. The way you've interpreted him, I would classify as "comforting lie," or at least "dr glosses over patient's misapprehensions to encourage self-efficacy" which is something I approve of, where it doesn't cause harm. I know of no good evidential basis for his 1% estimate, particularly since it depends so much on external factors, such as proximity to an outbreak, circulation of variants etc. (this is like your objection to measuring efficacy above... how does your md know whether you're going to be exposed?) It's not unknown for MD's and patients alike to give the MD's sheer guesswork more weight than it deserves. I think that's fair comment. Most of us would recognise that dynamic I think.

      "citing yet another article..." -- yet another? Is two articles excessive?

      "...that addresses antibodies and only antibodies" I believe it mentions virus shedding and development of symptoms.

      By the way, if you are amenable I would 100% be in favour of a less adversarial approach.

  3. When the CDC announced those who have been vaccinated can now go unmasked outside, my reaction was, "we were supposed to wear masks OUTSIDE???"

    There is scant scientific basis for masking up outside, and masks inside is shakey.

    Governments at all levels should have told our schools to "follow the science" and make those teachers get their asses back in the classroom so kids can go to school. How many children completely fell through the cracks this past year?

    Government-sponsored hysteria wrecked our economy and our lives.

    1. I think the evidence for home-schooling is much stronger than the evidence for masks, indoor or outdoor.

    2. What about people who are immune due to having recovered from the disease?

    3. Jayhawk,
      What about people who are immune due to having recovered from the disease?

      Supposedly, those people are supposed to be vaccinated, too.

    4. @ aow. This is what leads people to the reasonable belief that government is in service to Big Pharma

    5. SF - Yep. I think it goes without saying that during all of our lifetimes, government has always been in service to Big [Fill in the Blank].

    6. I'm sure government looks after pharmaceutical companies' interests, but also there is evidence that vaccine response is, in at least some aspects, more durable and robust than immunity from natural infection.

    7. Regarding the link provided by jez, which addresses antibodies and only antibodies.

      Antibodies are a short term, transitory part of the immune response to a virus. The lasting immunity is provided by the immune system's ability to rapidly create T-cell response, which is a result of the immune system's ability to store the memory of the virus and the necessary patterns needed to repel it.

      How many antibodies do you think I have in my bloodstream against chicken pox at age 77? The answer is, of course, zero. Does that mean that, having had chicken pox at age 12, I am no longer immune to chicken pox? It does not. I still have the same immunity to chicken pox now that I had at age 13, because my immune system still knows how to create T-cells and antibodies to combat it.

    8. Further countering the idea that "vaccine response is, in at least some aspects, more durable and robust than immunity from natural infection."

      There are many reports of "breakthrough infections," that is infections which occur after someone is "fully vaccinated." There are so many, in face, that the CDC has now mandated that the only ones which will be reported are those which cause hospitalization or death.

      How many cases are reported of persons who have recovered from a coronavirus infection and have become reinfected? If it is happening, why is the media not reporting it?

    9. Hence "in at least some aspects".
      There is academic work on cv19 reinfection in the wild. One of the challenges is distinguishing between reinfection and reactivation of the original infection. You'd have to ask a mainstream journalist how they choose what to cover, but there are already some suspected cases, and from what we know about traditional coronovirusses, we expect more as we get more people who have been recovered for over a year.

    10. What is "some aspects" of immunity. You are either immune or you are not. What is "reactivation of the original infection" please? Please provide links that provide medically sound discussion of that.

      If there are already some "suspected cases" why is the media not reporting them? Please provide a link to your source of the suspected cases. Why are they merely suspected and not confirmed? Where are they occurring?

    11. Please provide linbks regarding information regarding "what we know about traditional coronovirusses," as I have not seen any discussion of that. SARS-1, and MERS are the only notable coronavirus epidemics that have been discussed in the media that I know of, and natural immunity from both of those coronaviruses lasts a lifetime.

    12. That's why SARS-1 and MERS died out.

    13. "What is "some aspects" of immunity."
      For example, T-cells and antibodies are two aspects of the immune system.

      "You are either immune or you are not"
      Immunity is not binary. All vaccines are strictly less than 100% effective.

      'What is "reactivation of the original infection"'
      Does your search engine not work? Start with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virus_latency

      "why is the media not reporting them?" ask a journalist.


      These suspected cases are from the UK, and like I said it's hard to rule out reactivation.

      Already linked my favourite general coronovirus study, and you didn't like it. Coronoviruses are a family of common cold viruses, they're not always as part of some sexy epidemic, but I don't think you can chalk the end of SARS-1 up to immunity quite so neatly. As far as I know, virolgoists do not understand how it ended. (MERS was pretty reluctant to transmit human-to-human to start with, so it just fizzled out).

  4. Emma Green in the liberal Atlantic writes about The Liberals who Can't Quit Lockdown.

    * Atlantic gives you three freebees. Open in private mode

  5. From Your Daily Poem:

    "In the Garden of COVID"
    Caroline Johnson

    In your garden, getting lost
    in lilac coneflowers, mingling
    with the bees and hummers,
    your grin another bloom.

    I move out of the wilderness,
    tall as a sunflower, turn to talk
    to a stranger veiled with fear,
    the pandemic always near.

    I ache to see lipstick and balm,
    teeth smooth, white, chipped,
    stained, or even gapped,
    a nose Roman or crooked.

    I yearn for a bouquet of expression,
    see smiles not hidden by cloth.
    A native plant of spontaneous
    laughter, growing in public soil.

    All this masking truly does depersonalize us!

  6. NBC News a couple of days ago ran a segment about a flight which was made for people to visit relatives, mostly grandchildren, for the first time since the pandemic began. Everyone in the tour was "fully vaccinated" and everyone had received a negative Covid test within the past 24 hours. The were celebrating their freedom to travel as a result of the vaccine and the tests. Their first chance to see their families. The scene was of everyone on the airplane.

    Everyone on the plane was wearing a mask.

    1. Jez says that people "should be easily influenced by logic and evidence." When you are traveling with a group BECAUSE you believe they are safe, because the evidence they present in the form of proof the cards showing vaccination and tests that says they are safe, what is the logic and evidence which dictates that you wear a mask?

    2. Many people in Asia wore the mask before Covid... and given the "influenza rate" this year is nearly zero, there might have been something to it.

    3. @jayhawk: do you think they shouldn't?

      @jc: Well makes sense that lock down measures would slow down ordinary influenze virusses too.

    4. I think they should do anything that makes them feel good. My question is why do they think that they need to do it?

    5. "celebrating their freedom to travel"
      Freedom isn't freedom if it has to be purchased with a mask or a jab.

    6. @jayhawk I mean shouldn't they be influenced by logic and evidence?
      @ed public health is a thing, that's why you aren't "free" to throw your raw sewage out of the window into the street. An aeroplane with recirculated air is horrible for picking up infections at the best of times.

    7. Evidence demonstrates masks (the ones everyone use) are useless. Except as a symbol of submission.

    8. I'm not convinced about masks either, but even if we're right I don't see how they're a symbol of submission. It's a precaution which it will maybe turn out wasn't worth doing, that's all.

    9. @jez
      OF COURSE they should be influenced by evidence and logic. I'm asking what is the evidence and logic for wearing masks in an airplane in which EVERYONE is vaccinated and has tested negative for the virus. An airplane's air can pick up the infection FROM WHERE?

    10. it's not hard to think of reasons. Tests can give false negatives; maybe they weren't qurantining between the test and the flight; maybe they just wanted to do it for the photo.

    11. When masks are proven ineffective, yet demanded, they only serve as a signal.
      A virtue signal, or a signal of compliance, submission.

    12. They are not proven ineffective.

  7. Scientific American provides a bit more enlightenment on the immune system here. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/your-immune-system-evolves-to-fight-coronavirus-variants/

    "And levels of the cells that make antibodies, called memory B cells, remained constant or even increased in some people over time. After an infection, these cells hang around in the body’s lymph nodes and maintain the ability to recognize the virus. If a person gets infected a second time, memory B cells activate, quickly produce antibodies and block the virus from creating a second serious infection."

    Further down they add,

    "For months and years after an infection, memory B cells hang out in the lymph nodes,"

  8. It's just bizarre. I've been in Dallas for a couple of days and they're all wearing masks like it's some kind of gay badge of virtue signaling smugness.

    I'm aghast.

  9. "One solution to getting everyone to get the vaccine.."
    These solutions could also apply to those who don't pay child support, have outstanding traffic tickets, eat too much sugar or the wrong kind of fats. The possibilities for control using "Health Uber Alles" as a stalking horse are endless. Very appealing to the totalitarians that are experimenting with how far they can go. And speaking of "experiments" I wonder what it is about the words "Clinical trials to complete in 2023" that these reflexive totalitarians don't understand?

    1. Public health (eg control of a *highly infectious* disease) is different from those more personal issues you listed. I can't think of anyone I've talked to who doesn't recognise that the vaccines have been developed and rolled out in an amazing hurry, much shorter than the usual timescale for approving a medicine.

    2. Yeah. Rushed.
      And people are the lab rats.
      I remain in the control group.

    3. On the advice of my primary care physician, a very cautious man, I got the J&J vaccine on March 31 because he deemed it less risky than the two-shots vaccine and less "alive" than the vaccines using mRNA technology.

      The paperwork clearly stated that the vaccine was not FDA approved.

      I've had enough side effects, the shortness of breath quite debilitating -- so debilitating, in fact, that I couldn't have taken care of Mr. AOW had he still been alive.

      My cousin had the above same side effect, finally gone now almost three months later. I'm getting better now, too. At last!

      I will likely refuse any booster shot(s).

    4. Baysider,
      "Health Uber Alles" as a stalking horse

      Excellent way of putting the situation!


We welcome civil dialogue at Always on Watch. Comments that include any of the following are subject to deletion:
1. Any use of profanity or abusive language
2. Off topic comments and spam
3. Use of personal invective