But wait, there's more ...
I shake my head about our uniquely American response to this pandemic. As we head into our second YEAR of dealing with what could have been a preventable disease, there's whole swaths of people who choose to ignore what we have learned about COVID-19. They actively argue about scientific discovery, or turn a pandemic response into a political argument, or ignore any warnings about safety and live their life the same way they lived it in the "before times."
And this is not including arguments made in the past, like:
- "We shouldn't worry about this virus, it has killed fewer people than Dahmer."
- "If so many people have been sick or died, how come I don't know anyone who got it?"
- "All you need is a multivitamin and some lupus medication and you'll be okay. Or maybe an antibiotic. Because those work on viruses."
With all of the hullabaloo surrounding this pandemic, there are a lot of talking points that are misleading, incomplete or false. Here's a few of them -- separated into categories -- that are sure to make the end-of-year holiday party conversations more exciting (if you choose to have them in person, you monster).
NOTE: I'm going to take this time to point out that I am not a medical professional. I am not an epidemiologist, virologist, or mixologist. The closest I've gotten to being in the medical field is working in a hospital's datacenter. I am simply some guy who has read a bunch while stuck at home during most of this pandemic. Hey, it beats playing Cookie Clicker.
Dirty, Old Facts
When arguing about COVID, people love to cite statistics. Specifically, they like to cite months-old statistics and treat them like up-to-date ones. Or incomplete data and extrapolate it out like it works for everyone, everywhere. This fun form of data cherry-picking leads to taking incomplete or incorrect information and treating it like the gospel.
For example: I am in a family of four. This year, two of us exhibited COVID-like symptoms, and one of us tested positive. The positive case wasn't severe (no hospital visit). Therefore, I conclude:
- COVID infects 25% of people.
- COVID has a 0% hospitality rate.
- COVID has a 0% fatality rate.
Checkmate, science! My logic is flawless!
I've seen arguments about how COVID has only killed 500,000 people globally (as of December 16th, the number is at 1,654,000). I've seen others argue about how the United States hasn't had a spike in 2020 mortality that would match the numbers from the pandemic -- then try to use a number for 2020 that ignores January, November, and December (this was a similar post to the one I covered in COVID lies, Part One). Ever since the beginning of the year, I've seen people continuously talk about how COVID kills as many (or fewer) people than the seasonal flu, ignoring both:
- They're comparing COVID facts for months vs influenza for the year, and
- COVID is still spreading, while influenza is already everywhere.
Sometimes facts don't match up with people's ideas or agendas. When things don't match up, however, the choice isn't to recklessly ignore facts (or try to crush them, like Florida Governor DeSantis' raid of a whistleblower's house when her facts didn't match with his). You need to look at as clean and complete data set as you can, interpret it without as much of an agenda as possible, and come to honest conclusions based on those interpretations. Don't just hit the share button because someone made a meme that matches your worldview.
This also brings up the topic of comorbidities. We know that co-morbidities are a thing, they have been since before COVID-19 existed, and they shouldn't be used as a way to handwave the majority of dead from this pandemic. We know COVID kills people. At least 1 in 1,000 (1 in 500 if you live in New Jersey). Being old doesn't help, and neither does having a pre-existing condition. When people argue "but the people that are dying are old and sick," they are just as easily saying "these people don't matter as much as other people."
It's Not So Bad
Some people try to point out that COVID isn't that hard-hitting of a disease. It's just a flu. It's no big deal. They fail to include what happened in New York in March, where the flare-up was so bad that a medical boat was docked for patients to potentially use. Or how currently (as of December 16th), Southern California is nearly out of ICU beds, and is in the middle of its worst flare-up in cases and deaths (happy holidays, everyone). Or how 10% of the population of the Dakotas caught the virus over the course of a month, killing one out of every thousand people there. Let me repeat that one: over thirty days, one out of a thousand people living in the Dakotas (both of them) died from COVID-19.
Another big thing to point out is how certain top Republican politicians have a clear difference in their public and private opinions on COVID. Publicly, there are declarations of how the "Kung Flu" is a nothing-burger, and it is nowhere near as dangerous as people think. When these same people test positive for COVID, all of a sudden there's a sudden retreat to hospitals to receive round-the-clock, hyper-exclusive medical care costing the American taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars. Trump did it. Giuliani did it. I guarantee they weren't alone in receiving a standard of care well above the people crammed into overcrowded Intensive Care Units are currently getting.
The Vaccine Is Worse Than The Cure
Here's the fun new talking point: our ineffective, chip-inserting, freedom-destroying vaccines are coming to alter our DNA, track our every move, poison us with chemicals, and leave us a hollow, autism-riddled husk of who we once were.
While it's true that the myriad of vaccines being developed have all been fast-tracked and released quicker than the typical time-frame of years for most vaccines, that doesn't mean they haven't gone through clinical trials, tests, more clinical trials, evaluations, peer reviews, even more clinical trials, pauses (or full stops) at the first sign of serious side effects, and more trials before making their way into the bodies of the public. Fast tracking this vaccine involved mass production starting simultaneously with the final clinical trial, in an attempt to roll out as many doses as safely possible.
The argument is that we don't know what the long-term side effects of the vaccine are. Sure. Technically we don't know what the long term effects of COVID-19 are, either. As the virus drags on, people report difficulty breathing, fatigue, scar tissue on the lungs, blood clots, amputations, and more. While it's safe to say that the vaccine will probably have some side-effects like bruised arms, muscle pain and minor allergic reactions in some people, does that mean we sit around for a few more years and let this virus rip more of us apart?
People have started cherry picking results of some of these trials, as well. Spitting out (unsourced) numbers like how the vaccines are 68% effective. I have yet to see a review of the FDA-approved vaccines (Moderna or Pfizer) that have shown an "effectiveness" rate so low that there's a 1/3 chance that even after you're vaccinated, you're still going to catch COVID.
If you want to virtue-signal and say you're not getting the first round of vaccines because ... reasons, that's fine. It's still your choice. No government has made mandatory vaccination into law. New York is teasing legislation for it in extreme circumstances, but that's it. Zion isn't coming to inject your babies with mandatory godknowswhat, I don't care how well-crafted that photoshop was.
Please, please, please socially distance, wash your hands, wear a mask and check your sources. I'm pretty sure I'll be back with a part three.