This tag is associated with 3 posts

Long Post Reviewing COVID19 Myths

I’m often asked to comment on medical issues by friends. I’ve been having a Messaging conversation with a libertarian friend about what I consider myths. Here’s a loooong post, based on that conversation. I’m not linking to his reference videos, but you can search for them (or ask on my Facebook page) if you really want to give them the “clicks.” Comments should also be made on Facebook. (Keeping comments more public as well as trying to avoid “blog-pimping.”)

The problem I’ve seen is mixing criticism about policy (politics) errors from the actual science. It’s important to separate the science myths from the evidence for science facts. This “ZDoggMD” (Zubin Damania, MD) video is a good place to start for an overview.

As is this one, between Dr. Damania and Dr. Mike (Mikhail Varshavski, DO) who, in another useful (and easy to watch) conversation,
point out that it’s not wrong to be skeptical and question data. While reviewing the science and the scientific method, they discuss the harm from tribalism and politicization. Also, at 59 minutes, there’s an explanation about how the variants arise.

However, the skeptics are wrong to dismiss all data from formal regulatory and research sources. The scientific literature is best evaluated over time and in proportion with the number of supporting reports. As in the case of the Wuhan doctors who stood against their government to call the world’s attention to the outbreak in the first place, minority reports should be considered. The valid reports will stand the test of time, public scrutiny, and real world observation. In contrast, as in the case of the (infamous) retracted papers in Lancet and JAMA, questionable data will be disproven.

If we can’t agree on the above paragraph, there’s no common ground for discussion.

As for the questions I often receive about my personal sources (in reality, my integrity): I use as many sites as possible. I certainly do not refer to only one silo of information. And, yes, I have watched all of the videos people share – at least until last night, when my friend linked to ten. I have worked through over half of them, and watched the first part of all of those.

I prefer to evaluate the myths themselves, rarely discussing the validity of the sources, except to point out those falsehoods or to point out obvious pre-existing biases based on the statements of the speakers themselves.

For instance, there are repeated referrals to Robert F Kennedy, Jr., who isn’t a good source. He has made inaccurate claims about vaccines for years, shifting from blaming measles vaccines to aluminum and mercury & he makes money from his anti-vaccine advocacy.

The doctor at the school board meeting loses validity right from the first by flatly stating that masks cannot protect from any virus. Surgical masks and N95s work.

He repeatedly talks about “the vaccine,” when there are at least four, developed by different companies, tested in different sites. Are all the nurses and other personnel involved going along with some conspiracy(ies) promulgated by corrupt doctors and companies?

He is absolutely mistaken about enhancement by the vaccines – as Dr. Zubin Damania pointed out in the first video above, real world observation on the sheer numbers of vaccinated disprove this myth.

The event he referenced about in Barnstable, Massachusetts is an anomaly, due to large indoor gatherings.

The pdf of the actual report is here

In fact, Barnstable answers the doctor’s question about why we’re seeing a surge in summer: people who were previously “socially distanced” are now gathering with fewer precautions. (Add the fact that the biggest breakouts are occurring in areas where close spaces and air conditioning are predominant.)

In the rest of the world, the vaccinated are less likely to get infected at all. At least 1/3 less likely, perhaps closer to 90%.

(This is pre-peer-reviewed data.)

In one video recommended, Geert Vanden Bossche, DMV, PhD, who is a frequently referred to, emphatically states that there is a virus, that it is highly infectious and it is deadly and that the vaccines are “excellent” & prevent disease – meaning the severe effects of infection. However, since they do prevent infection, I believe he is wrong about using vaccines in the middle of the pandemic.

The largest number of people becoming infected, and by corollary, becoming infectious, symptomatic, requiring hospitalization and dying, are unvaccinated. What we are seeing is that the vaccinated who do get infected are less sick – even though they are older and have more comorbidities.

There may be a kernel of truth in what Bossche says (in spite of the decreased numbers infected), since the vaccines were authorized first for the elderly and sick, who were also most likely to have an incomplete immune response.

Vanden Bossche proposes that the variants come from patients with partial immunity in the same way that antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria are exposed to antibiotics in already infected patients. As pointed out in the Dr Z and Dr. Mike explanation about how viruses mutate, the variants occur after thousands or millions of replications in infected people. The viruses first have to infect, then they have to survive and be infectious.

The vaccinated are much less likely to get infected in the first place so the numbers of infections that are necessary to happen for the event of mutations and spread to others occur in the unvaccinated. So fewer infections mean less chances to mutate.

Vanden Bossche doesn’t answer the question: “What do we do?” The alternative was to let them get sick and risk death, a risk which is much greater in this population than in younger people who likely have a stronger immune response.

Mike Yeadon, Ph.D. is another “expert ” that is frequently referenced because he once was a head researcher and CEO at Pfizer. He was one members of the team that did early mRNA vaccine research. Even he notes that he repeats that government shouldn’t be trusted. Included in contradictory statements, he claims that there’s no virus, after saying older and sicker people should probably choose to be vaccinated. What infection is Bossche talking about if Yeadon is right?

There’s an emotional video at the “A Warrior” vlog that has too many distractions to be useful in fighting for sane policy, with its emphasis on 9-11 and pedophile truthers. But I’ll cover some of the obvious errors:

Dr Sam Smith is wrong about the SARS-1 animal experiments.

Il repeat: Do you believe that any group is powerful enough to suppress the observation of the effects of 500,000,000 doses of different vaccines all over the world – 350 million in the US, alone? – by the hundreds of thousands of doctors & even more nurses and other professionals who are involved and would need to be complicit?

Smith’s major objection is the regulation of treatments and what he believes is a politically motivated exaggerated risk of COVID. However, I know several people who have been hospitalized with the infection, and several friends have lost relatively young loved ones to it. I’m sure you have the same experience.

An August 26, 2021 “McCullough Report” podcast begins with a major myth: that there are 90% false positives in asymptomatic testing. That number might actually be 2-3% for saliva tests. But is closer to 1%. Confirmatory tests are recommended for any positive test.

(McCullough does quote the correct percentage of hospitalized cases which are vaccinated in the UK and Israel: 40%. This number should be evaluated in relation to the percentageof vaccinatedin the community and who is getting sick. Both countries have a majority of elderly, who are likely to have less immunity efficacy, and were the first eligible for vaccination roll outs. These are also the people who are getting sick.)

BTW, going to integrity and trust, Zubin Damania has been active for years in fighting the politicization and socialization of medicine in the US, as have I. Google his conversations with Dr. Atlas, and two of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration (which I also signed), Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Dr. Sunetra Gupta. We are all secure in supporting vaccination, opposed to blanket lockdowns, draconian enforcement, and politicization of treatments by physicians.

Front lines in the ICU with COVID-19

Reality is teaching a hard reality lesson with COVID-19.

This video concerns the minority of COVID-19 patients who require intensive care and the less than 1 percent who die of the disease. The discussion about the course of the disease and treatment is possibly too technical and brutal for the general public, so watch the whole thing with care.

However, I’m hoping to spur conversations about end of life in light of the broader COVID-19 crisis and specific crisis events.

This is a tough, highly technical discussion between Dr. Zubin Damania, a blogger otherwise known as “ZDoggMD” and Barbara McClean, MN, RN, CCRN, NP-PC, an expert in Critical Care & Intensive Care medicine in an Atlanta, Georgia teaching hospital with over 100 ICU beds. The first few minutes show Barbara McClean as a compassionate caring practitioner and educator. I believe and trust what she says about the worst case (stressing, again: fortunately these are the minority!) outcomes with COVID-19.

If you want to get to the meat of the video, there’s a “philosophical discussion” about the very real, unique in this modern age, futility of CPR in COVID-19 patients whose hearts stop due to the disease at 35:00 to 41:00.

There’s also interesting information about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) difficulty (not shortage, but the physical reality) at the segment 30:00 to 35:00 minutes.

COVID-19 is, as Ms. McLean says, an unpredictable, sometimes deadly disease. Currently, patients can go from minor symptoms to death due to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest in as little as 4 hours. There is very little success to date in attempts to resuscitate patients who “code,” whose hearts stop, while in distress due to the virus.

I can’t stress enough that we need to talk, we need to make decisions among our families and to understand that this disease takes some options, some autonomy we have come to assume are our rightful “choices,” completely off the table. This disease doesn’t care what we want.

I’m unable to turn comments back on for this post. Please post comments to my Facebook page and I will try to keep up with replies. Let’s keep this on the level of philosophy and medical ethics. I will delete political criticisms.

Let’s keep this on the level of philosophy and medical ethics. I will delete political criticisms.

Arguing Abortion on YouTube

I usually agree with this doctor. But not about abortion. ZDoggMD, Zubin Damania, has a sense of humor and a sense of balance. But today, he demands that we to “come to the center” because 1 in 4 women in the US have an abortion by age 45. “It happens.”

Well, according to the 1860 US Census, approximately 25% of families owned slaves. “It happen(ed).” Common ground was hard to find there, too.

The question is whether or not abortion ends the life of a human that is human-enough to possess the Human Right not to be killed. Are they one of us and can we kill them if they don’t threaten our lives?

The first question has been definitively answered, at least scientifically. Louise Brown was born 5 years after Roe v Wade. Serial ultrasounds showing the progression of the egg to embryonic organism to fetus were possible soon after. (I’m tempted to echo the ZDogg, “Grow up and get into the 21st Century.” But of course, I won’t.)

Answering these questions according to ethics and law can’t be addressed by science and requires a bit more discussion. Nevertheless, the trend in Western societies has been toward including all humans as rights bearers endowed with at least the right not to be killed or treated as the property of another and preventing legally sanctioned killing and enslavement, regardless of characteristics, abilities, or background.

Beyond the life of the mother, the rest of ZDogg’s arguments are the usual justification for what I call, “I want” ethics, including arguments for the “control of the woman’s body,” the health of the woman, and exceptions for rape and incest.

Nik Hoot, a 20 year old young man from Indiana, lost his feet and part of his legs and fingers to an attempted abortion, but survived to be adopted, eventually a State Semi Finals high school wrestler, and a productive member of society. His mother’s body didn’t lose limbs; his did. As he says, he has to “live with someone else’s choice.”

As to the health of the mother, how could anyone know at 12 weeks that there will be sequelae at or after delivery?

The safety of abortion is most often reported using short term data. There’s support for increased mortality and morbidity in the long term, however.

Late discovery of fetal abnormalities isn’t a good argument in favor of induced abortion, either. After 15 weeks and definitely after 20, it’s statically safer for the mother to carry to term.

I won’t even entertain arguments that crime is down because the unwanted are killed. “Minority Report” has a double meaning, here.

Here’s an article from The Atlantic – not an “anti-choice” publication, by any standard – focusing on the rape exception.

Let’s face it: the wrong human is killed by abortion justified by reason of rape or incest. If you cringe at that statement, you might want to consider why.

Edit: Comments are closed. Please comment on my Facebook page.

Beverly B Nuckols, MD

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