The good news is that the COVID-19 pandemic is effectively over. Between natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity, 85% of the country is protected. Children and young adults don’t need protection. Monthly COVID-19 deaths have plummeted from almost 105,000 in January to little more than 2,000 in July. In terms of deaths and hospitalizations, this is no worse than the flu.
The bad news is that the Biden administration and its public health authorities reject the good news. All of the above is considered misinformation. They only want America to see, and to be frightened by, the daily SARS-CoV-2 infection count and their herculean, and impossible, effort to shrink it to zero. That is, the pandemic will last at least until the 2022 elections.
During the summer, it looked as if the authoritarian pandemic response (authoritarian solutions are the only solutions within the intellectual capabilities of progressive liberals, especially when science is involved) was winding down. Facemasks, lockdowns, and school closings would be things of the past — a welcomed and long overdue event, especially since there was no scientific evidence to justify any of those measures in the first place, and they caused more harm than good. Finally, life could get back to normal.
The Biden administration and its public health authorities only want America to see, and to be frightened by, the daily COVID infection count.
But the Delta variant (a strain of SARS-CoV-2 that is more infectious than the original virus, but less lethal) arrived in May. By July, it became the dominant variant in circulation, and infections spiked; hospitalizations and deaths also increased, but by much lower rates. The Biden administration’s response: an authoritarian vaccinate-everyone (with 2 shots) policy.
COVID-19, however, has been anything but a one-size-fits-all pandemic. Its death toll is extremely skewed toward the elderly, and people with multiple serious underlying medical conditions (aka comorbidities). Everyone in this most vulnerable cohort should be vaccinated; and almost all of them (90%) have been. As should the overweight and obese cohort. If our public health authorities cared to review their own studies (e.g., the March CDC mortality and morbidity report), they should be startled to discover that almost 80% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were obese (50.8%) or overweight (28.3%). If saving lives was more important than asserting political authority, then focusing the pandemic response on the health of the elderly, the obese, and people with comorbidities makes obvious sense.
Vaccinating children makes no sense. Children under the age of 18 are our least vulnerable population. Statistically, they are invulnerable. For normally healthy children, if infected, the symptoms are mild, or nonexistent, and the child becomes immune. Amazingly, only 335 of them have succumbed to the virus since the pandemic began, giving the stalwart cohort of the young a measly COVID-19 mortality rate of 0.003%. According to a Johns Hopkins study, even this paltry number may be grossly inflated: if the CDC had taken the trouble to examine the cause of death, it would likely have found that none had died of COVID-19. After analyzing the health insurance records of 48,000 children, the Johns Hopkins team “found a mortality rate of zero among children without a pre-existing medical condition such as leukemia.”
If saving lives was more important than asserting political authority, then focusing the pandemic response on the health of the elderly, the obese, and people with comorbidities makes obvious sense.
Nor does it make any sense to vaccinate the previously infected. By some estimates, more than half the country has already acquired natural immunity. It might be a higher percentage. Through serology testing, India recently found that 67.6% of its population has coronavirus antibodies. Remarkably, 62.2% had not been vaccinated. More remarkably, in formulating their pandemic response, US public health authorities have downplayed the importance of natural immunity. Experts such as COVID guru Anthony Fauci, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy have spent their time promoting facemasks and lockdowns. Too bad they didn’t spent some of it following the science (such as studies from the Cleveland Clinic, Israel, and Emory University) which shows that the immunity acquired through infection is at least as strong and lasting as the immunity conferred by vaccination. The nationwide Israeli study, for example, found that with respect to infection, hospitalization, severe illness, and death, the efficacy of natural immunity is actually better than that of vaccination. The Cleveland Clinic study found similar results, concluding that “Individuals who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection are unlikely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination, and vaccines can be safely prioritized to those who have not been infected before.”
To gain an appreciation for natural immunity, note that in February, COVID-19 deaths dropped to 47,043, and then to 22,708 in March. During those months, very few Americans had been fully vaccinated. The tremendous drop from 105,000 to 22,708 was mostly the result of the immunity accumulated by previously infected Americans. The drop to 2,000 deaths in July can be attributed to a combination of natural immunity and the immunity produced by the vaccines.
But the durability of the vaccines is becoming questionable, and the plan to vaccinate everyone is in trouble. Ironically, the Delta variant, which originated in India, demonstrates that that plan was fallacious from the start — unless “everyone” means the entire world. So too is the campaign to shame and vilify the unvaccinated. The unvaccinated, initially hesitant, have become resistant, if not recalcitrant. They, especially children (as well as young adults) and the previously infected who don’t see the need to be vaccinated, have hardly been won over by President Biden’s craven attempt to scare the unvaccinated and blame them for the pandemic: “We are in a pandemic of the unvaccinated. The unvaccinated are killing us.” If the vaccines work, the unvaccinated must wonder, how is it possible for us to infect the vaccinated? If they don’t work, then why bother?
In formulating their pandemic response, US public health authorities have downplayed the importance of natural immunity.
Indeed, recent empirical evidence indicates that the 95% efficacy of the vaccines may significantly decline after four or five months. Some of the vaccinated are now becoming infected, and, irony of ironies, becoming infectious. The unvaccinated now worry about being infected by the vaccinated. Instead of pausing to analyze this disturbing development, the Biden administration simply chose to ignore it. As alarming numbers of new infections are occurring in the vaccinated, Mr. Biden tells us otherwise, insisting that more than 99% of the new cases occur in the unvaccinated — just before rushing to change his original one-size-fits all vaccination plan into an even sillier one: the old plan, plus wear a face mask, plus get a third shot six months later, and possibly a fourth or fifth, depending on the emergence of new variants that Mr. Fauci says will carry a viral load “about 1000 times higher” than the original virus.
And the new plan will likely include mandates (at least for government employees), as well as pressure on businesses to impose their own. To enter a facility owned by the government or a compliant company, you will need proof of vaccination. The sole idea, of course, is to punish the unvaccinated — even those who have natural immunity. A serology test showing immunity is not sufficient to get in. What better way to ensure the success of a one-size-fits-all policy, than with a one-size-fits-all mandate?
Mr. Biden’s blithe charge, that 99% of the new cases are the fault of the unvaccinated, is pure deceit. It is based on CDC data collected prior to June — that is, prior to noticeable declines in vaccine efficacy and prior to a meaningful US presence of the delta variant. But the infection rate among the vaccinated began to increase in May. Recent reports from England, Israel, and Singapore show that, respectively, 47%, 40%, and 75% of new infections occurred in people who had been vaccinated. In July, the CDC reported that 74% of the infections in Provincetown, MA occurred in fully vaccinated people. Moreover, testing determined the viral load carried in the noses and throats of the vaccinated was about the same as that of their unvaccinated counterparts. So much for the pandemic of the unvaccinated. Fully vaccinated individuals are now being infected by SARS-COV-2, and spreading it.
For perspective, however, these high percentages are not particularly alarming. The Israeli study involved only 7,700 new cases, from a population of 9.3 million. Further, the CDC has said that the vaccines are doing well against death. On the other hand, the CDC is not known for its curiosity. It didn’t think to ask Pfizer and Moderna why those companies came to believe that the fully vaccinated might need a booster shot. Nor is it known for its foresight. For instance, England’s experience (because the Delta variant invaded the UK months before it invaded the US) provides a preview of what is coming to America. In late June, Public Health England released a report that examined the cases of 61,057 patients infected with the delta variant; 7,235 were fully vaccinated and 53,822 were unvaccinated. Despite the overwhelmingly larger number of unvaccinated cases, more vaccinated patients died than unvaccinated: 50 (0.69%) fully vaccinated died; only 44 (0.08%) unvaccinated died.
Some of the vaccinated are now becoming infected, and, irony of ironies, becoming infectious. The unvaccinated now worry about being infected by the vaccinated.
Public health America (Fauci, Walensky, Murthy, et al) is only alarmed by the number of fully vaccinated people who are becoming infected and infectious. This number contradicts the mendacious “pandemic of the unvaccinated” story, and the loutish press conferences denouncing the unvaccinated. It’s starting to look like the vaccinated have the same worries as the unvaccinated. And the unvaccinated don’t have to worry about the side effects from three or more injections of a hastily developed, hastily approved experimental drug. The public health elites are also disturbed by the numbers for natural immunity. In the Israeli Health Ministry study, more than 3,000 (~40%) of the 7,700 new infections were found in patients who were previously vaccinated. A mere 72 (< 1%) were found in patients who were previously infected. This collides with the equally mendacious claim that the antibodies created by the vaccines are superior to those created by natural immunity.
Although such numbers make them look like aloof buffoons, the Biden administration and its crack team of public health experts are undeterred. They are buoyed by America’s newfound willingness to do what it is told. For nothing matters as long as the infection count is the yardstick used by frightened Americans to measure pandemic severity. The Biden administration knows that unless the entire world is vaccinated there will always be a newer, scarier variant arriving from a vaccine-hesitant country somewhere. And it will bring with it the need for yet another booster shot and more facemasks — not to mention lockdowns and school closings.
Our public health authorities have engaged us in a seemingly endless battle with SARS-CoV-2. Under their policies, no one can say when it will be over; some in that lackadaisical cabal struggle with the question of if it will ever be over. The facemask, lockdown, and school closings regimen failed. The two-shot plan didn’t work as promised. But now the fully vaccinated are getting infected, and spreading it; some are dying. There is no scientific evidence that children or the previously infected would benefit from vaccination. There is only the risk, however small, of side effects. Through it all, the cabal clings to the idea that only a federally mandated, one-size-fits-all plan, concocted by fearmongering authoritarian politicians will end the pandemic. Yet they have stumbled every step of the way. It must be their giant shoes.