Covid Has Gone on Too Long for It to Be This Dumb

 

I’m writing this from rural southern Missouri, the hotspot of the Delta variant and one of the lower vaccinated areas in the country. It’s not good. It’s not what the national media would lead you to believe but it’s still a tragic situation. Any honest person can see that here. But even with a year plus of living this, we’re still having the same dang arguments. It’s exhausting.

We have been living in a pandemic for a year and a half. We have learned a lot of new information, developed amazing new vaccines, and observed changing human behaviors. Our medical field has learned new ways to treat the virus. New data has given us insight into which categories are most at risk vs those least at risk. Despite a few blips here and there, the media has reported on the pandemic nearly non-stop.

Why are we still so dumb about it?

To begin, I believe many of the early “pandemic skeptic” claims have been blown out of the water:

A. It’s not “just the flu”. If you’re not living in a total bubble, anecdotal evidence alone should prove that to you. I have a few otherwise healthy (and young) friends who over the last couple weeks have ended up on oxygen or worse (collapsed lung, ventilator, death, etc.) due to their infection. That’s not the flu.

B. Following that: it’s not a conspiracy. Now maybe our political “leaders” have conspired in bad faith and cynical behaviors over the course of it but that’s a separate matter. The virus is very real.

C. The mask fight was and still is dumb. From day one, masks at best would help and at worst would be a waste of time. Nobody really knew. Current data supports they are probably a waste of time. Just don’t be a jerk about them (Good life lesson: don’t be a jerk.).

D. The vaccines are safe and effective! Yes, nobody knows the long-term complications of the vaccines but the same is true for COVID. The overwhelming number of cases since mass vaccination are from the unvaccinated. Virtually 100% of deaths are from the unvaccinated. While this is the first vaccine using MRNA technology, MRNA technology is not new. It’s not a “modified live” virus. It’s not a chip. It’s not a ploy from Bill Gate or some other nefarious actor angling to control the populace. It truly is a modern medical wonder. (I hear some say “well it’s not FDA approved”, well neither are the vitamins you take every day. The FDA doesn’t have the most sterling record of approvals and non-approvals either, some studies show that their lag in approvals cost thousands of American lives each year. It’s weird to be skeptical of the government-backed vaccine yet say you’d feel better about it if it was approved by the government.).

Another point: there have been billions of shots globally. There will be some adverse reactions. There will be some who are vaccinated who still get infected. No vaccine is 100% effective nor without side effects. Nobody said they would be. Stop arguing as if a minute fraction of cases represents serious evidence against the efficacy of the vaccine.

Disclosure: I have been vaccinated since February (Moderna). My only side effect was a mild hangover feeling the day after the 2nd dose.

E. Understand that private companies can force you to do things on their property. Yes, Walmart can force you to wear a mask. Yes, your employer can force you to get vaccinated.

Now for the “pandemic catastrophists”:

A. Stop lying, misrepresenting the data, and exhibiting double standards. It started with lying about the masks. Then two weeks to slow the spread. Then the riots. How many politicians were caught eating out or getting their hair done during the lockdowns? The list goes on and on.

B. Certain groups are more at risk and others are much less at risk. Quit acting as if everybody is going to die and requires the same level of protection/caution. Young people just aren’t dying from the pandemic nor is there much if any evidence they spread it. Open schools. Don’t mask kids. Don’t force vaccinations on children.

C. Stop thinking you can force people. This mainly applies to the governments. There are many common sense areas where mandatory public health measures can be taken (think nursing homes or hospitals), thinking you can enforce outdoor mask-wearing is not that. The little authoritarians running rampant the past year have done nothing but create a divisive and counterproductive environment.

D. Stop punishing those who have been vaccinated. At this point, getting vaccinated is the most you can ask of someone. Don’t turn around and tell them they’ll still need to wear a mask because they may still transmit the infection. WE ALREADY KNEW THAT. The vaccine is to protect yourself, not others. Now that the vaccine is widely available (and largely free!), those who have made the decision to not get vaccinated will have to assume those risks.

E. Stop name-calling. There are studies that show calling people racist who aren’t actually racist makes them more racist. What do you think calling someone who is being cautious about the vaccine a “killer” or “stupid” is going to do? I doubt it’s going to warm them up to your position.

I blame both sides for many of the issues during this terrible time. Most of all I blame our political class and media. The inability to have an intelligent and good faith discussion is completely on them. The political football played with the virus in 2020 entrenched millions of Americans into defensive positions, many I think for political reasons (although they won’t tell you that). It’s sad. It didn’t have to be this way.

Growing up, to be “conservative” was to be for smaller government. The other side of that was conservatives were for “good” government as well, and by good I mean effective. Being smaller would enable a more efficient government. While that’s changed some in recent years, that’s what I still believe. Unfortunately, we’ve been operating under bad government for quite some time. A lot is written about the costs of bad government. The pandemic has caused the bill on those costs to come due.

I think H. L. Mencken would say we’re getting it “good and hard”.

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  1. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    I hope you’re taking a double dose of Vitamin D. 

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Preston Storm: I’m writing this from rural southern Missouri

    East, west central? And how far southern? My father spent his last three decades about ten miles from Arkansas in Doniphan.

    • #2
  3. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Very good! This is a solidly well-balanced discussion. Point by point, I agree.

    • #3
  4. Preston Storm Coolidge
    Preston Storm
    @PrestonStorm

    cdor (View Comment):

    Very good! This is a solidly well-balanced discussion. Point by point, I agree.

    Thank you! I’ve been solidly in the middle from day 1! Never understood why it became such a tribal issue. 

    • #4
  5. Preston Storm Coolidge
    Preston Storm
    @PrestonStorm

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: I’m writing this from rural southern Missouri

    East, west central? And how far southern? My father spent his last three decades about ten miles from Arkansas in Doniphan.

    Southwest so all the way across the state from Doniphan.

    • #5
  6. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Preston Storm: Now that the vaccine is widely available (and largely free!

    Are you a conservative?  I think it would be hard for a conservative to have said that.

    • #6
  7. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Preston Storm: Understand that private companies can force you to do things on their property. Yes, Walmart can force you to wear a mask. Yes, your employer can force you to get vaccinated. 

    Sure like to see this taken to court. It’s not like a dress code. It’s a medical procedure. Can your employer legally force you to undergo a medical procedure?

    And why shouldn’t I look at this as the government, knowing that it legally can’t mandate vaccinations, just doing what it does in other cases and getting its corporate pals to act as its proxies.

    • #7
  8. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    “Despite a few blips here and there, the media has reported on the pandemic nearly non-stop.”

    They’ve reported on it nonstop, indeed, but with few exceptions, haven’t reported on it very *well*.  Real journalists would attempt to get their arms around the oceans of data which have been produced and attempt to display this data in meaningful form.  For example: a simple table, where the rows are age groups…the first column is death rate for unvaccinated people that age group, the second is death rate for vaccinated people in the group, the third is death rate from vaccine reactions, and the fourth is serious illness from such reactions.  Pretty sure the data exists, probably a matter of a couple days work to put it in that form if anyone wants to bother.

    I recently read a good book about the history of the Salk polio vaccine…A Splendid Solution, by Jeffrey Kluger…and there was one particular reporter, John Troan of the Pittsburgh Press, who followed the development closely and was able to write about the research, the vaccine, and the roll-out in an understandable and accurate manner.  We could use a few of him today.

    https://archive.triblive.com/news/polio-vaccine-triumph-was-a-product-of-its-time/

     

    • #8
  9. Preston Storm Coolidge
    Preston Storm
    @PrestonStorm

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: Understand that private companies can force you to do things on their property. Yes, Walmart can force you to wear a mask. Yes, your employer can force you to get vaccinated.

    Sure like to see this taken to court. It’s not like a dress code. It’s a medical procedure. Can your employer legally force you to undergo a medical procedure?

    And why shouldn’t I look at this as the government, knowing that it legally can’t mandate vaccinations, just doing what it does in other cases and getting its corporate pals to act as its proxies.

    My employer mandates Hep C vaccinations if you work in waste water. It’s a job requirement. 

    I’m not saying mandating COVID vaccines would be a wise decision for employers due to the possible negative ramifications, I’m just saying they can. You’re not forced to work there.

    • #9
  10. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: Understand that private companies can force you to do things on their property. Yes, Walmart can force you to wear a mask. Yes, your employer can force you to get vaccinated.

    Sure like to see this taken to court. It’s not like a dress code. It’s a medical procedure. Can your employer legally force you to undergo a medical procedure?

    And why shouldn’t I look at this as the government, knowing that it legally can’t mandate vaccinations, just doing what it does in other cases and getting its corporate pals to act as its proxies.

    I knew when I said I agreed with every point Preston made, I might regret the statement. But he still might be correct about this. There are work-arounds. Morgan Stanley says all employees going back to the office must be vaccinated. The employees that don’t want vaccinations can stay home and work. BUT…they must take a salary deduction. Depending on the court, that still might not fly.

    • #10
  11. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    Preston Storm: E. Understand that private companies can force you to do things on their property. Yes, Walmart can force you to wear a mask.

    I find it interesting that a large portion of those who strongly (and rightly) confirm this today were very cock sure a couple of decades ago that such entities did not have this kind of say over their own property with respect to customers consuming a completely legal product at their own expense (i.e. smoking).  (I’ve told the story before, but it was hilarious how that issue sharply divided a local “conservative” radio audience. The pretenders self-identified rather quickly.) 

    • #11
  12. Preston Storm Coolidge
    Preston Storm
    @PrestonStorm

    David Foster (View Comment):

    “Despite a few blips here and there, the media has reported on the pandemic nearly non-stop.”

    They’ve reported on it nonstop, indeed, but with few exceptions, haven’t reported on it very *well*. Real journalists would attempt to get their arms around the oceans of data which have been produced and attempt to display this data in meaningful form. For example: a simple table, where the rows are age groups…the first column is death rate for unvaccinated people that age group, the second is death rate for vaccinated people in the group, the third is death rate from vaccine reactions, and the fourth is serious illness from such reactions. Pretty sure the data exists, probably a matter of a couple days work to put it in that form if anyone wants to bother.

    I recently read a good book about the history of the Salk polio vaccine…A Splendid Solution, by Jeffrey Kluger…and there was one particular reporter, John Troan of the Pittsburgh Press, who followed the development closely and was able to write about the research, the vaccine, and the roll-out in an understandable and accurate manner. We could use a few of him today.

    https://archive.triblive.com/news/polio-vaccine-triumph-was-a-product-of-its-time/

     

    My main sources come from the National Review camp, specifically Jim Geraghty and Robert VerBruggen who have done yeoman’s work since the early stages.

    • #12
  13. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Preston Storm (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    Very good! This is a solidly well-balanced discussion. Point by point, I agree.

    Thank you! I’ve been solidly in the middle from day 1! Never understood why it became such a tribal issue.

    I think the Left saw it as an opportunity to take down Trump. His policies had been successful and the economy was doing great. Reelection appeared to be a sure thing. Trump left control to the states instead of grabbing federal control. Democrat governors were willing to tank their states knowing their allies in the media would provide cover. Heck, Gov. Cuomo killed 10,000 senior citizens and won an Emmy. If they were successful and a Democrat won the presidency, he would bail them out. I’m convinced my governor restricted public gatherings to five people through November to prevent Trump from holding campaign rallies in the state.

    Four years of constant lying about Trump from the media had prepared Trump supporters. Anything Trump was for, the media was against. They lied about his bleach statement. There was no goal to present facts and let viewers decide from the media. It was push the fear porn and support the authoritative state.

    • #13
  14. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: Understand that private companies can force you to do things on their property. Yes, Walmart can force you to wear a mask. Yes, your employer can force you to get vaccinated. 

    Sure like to see this taken to court. It’s not like a dress code. It’s a medical procedure. Can your employer legally force you to undergo a medical procedure?

    I know it has been discussed haven’t been paying close attention these days but…does your employer even have a right to know whether you have or not (ala HIPAA)?

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):
    And why shouldn’t I look at this as the government, knowing that it legally can’t mandate vaccinations, just doing what it does in other cases and getting its corporate pals to act as its proxies.

    If we had a Supreme Court worthy of the title, this would be (actually, “is”) clearly unconstitutional. But we don’t so it will go on. 

    • #14
  15. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):
    Democrat governors were willing to tank their states knowing their allies in the media would provide cover.

    In Michigan’s case, the FBI created a little kidnapping plot to engender sympathy for their hated governor.

    • #15
  16. Preston Storm Coolidge
    Preston Storm
    @PrestonStorm

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: Now that the vaccine is widely available (and largely free!

    Are you a conservative? I think it would be hard for a conservative to have said that.

    That’s a different debate. Yes, yes, nothing’s free but you get what I mean. I only put it in there because “it costs me money” is not an argument against getting it now. For a lot of people (including myself) getting a shot will actually pay them.  

    • #16
  17. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    cdor (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: Understand that private companies can force you to do things on their property. Yes, Walmart can force you to wear a mask. Yes, your employer can force you to get vaccinated.

    Sure like to see this taken to court. It’s not like a dress code. It’s a medical procedure. Can your employer legally force you to undergo a medical procedure?

    And why shouldn’t I look at this as the government, knowing that it legally can’t mandate vaccinations, just doing what it does in other cases and getting its corporate pals to act as its proxies.

    I knew when I said I agreed with every point Preston made, I might regret the statement. But he still might be correct about this. There are work-arounds. Morgan Stanley says all employees going back to the office must be vaccinated. The employees that don’t want vaccinations can stay home and work. BUT…they must take a salary deduction. Depending on the court, that still might not fly.

    Thirty years ago I would have been fully on board with “private businesses can do as they wish” but given how they are now so closely tied to the federal government — to the point where it’s no longer clear which is the tail and which is the dog — I have reversed my thinking on that. I have reversed my thinking on a lot of views I once believed were the solid conservative view. I should write a post on that sometime: “How I gradually, then suddenly, began agreeing with my leftist roommate from college.”

    • #17
  18. Preston Storm Coolidge
    Preston Storm
    @PrestonStorm

    philo (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: Understand that private companies can force you to do things on their property. Yes, Walmart can force you to wear a mask. Yes, your employer can force you to get vaccinated.

    Sure like to see this taken to court. It’s not like a dress code. It’s a medical procedure. Can your employer legally force you to undergo a medical procedure?

    I know it has been discussed haven’t been paying close attention these days but…does your employer even have a right to know whether you have or not (ala HIPAA)?

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):
    And why shouldn’t I look at this as the government, knowing that it legally can’t mandate vaccinations, just doing what it does in other cases and getting its corporate pals to act as its proxies.

    If we had a Supreme Court worthy of the title, this would be (actually, “is”) clearly unconstitutional. But we don’t so it will go on.

    You sign off on it when you agree to work there. Same with physical aptitude tests for employment or drug/tobacco affidavits. 

     

    • #18
  19. Preston Storm Coolidge
    Preston Storm
    @PrestonStorm

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: Understand that private companies can force you to do things on their property. Yes, Walmart can force you to wear a mask. Yes, your employer can force you to get vaccinated.

    Sure like to see this taken to court. It’s not like a dress code. It’s a medical procedure. Can your employer legally force you to undergo a medical procedure?

    And why shouldn’t I look at this as the government, knowing that it legally can’t mandate vaccinations, just doing what it does in other cases and getting its corporate pals to act as its proxies.

    I knew when I said I agreed with every point Preston made, I might regret the statement. But he still might be correct about this. There are work-arounds. Morgan Stanley says all employees going back to the office must be vaccinated. The employees that don’t want vaccinations can stay home and work. BUT…they must take a salary deduction. Depending on the court, that still might not fly.

    Thirty years ago I would have been fully on board with “private businesses can do as they wish” but given how they are now so closely tied to the federal government — to the point where it’s no longer clear which is the tail and which is the dog — I have reversed my thinking on that. I have reversed my thinking on a lot of views I once believed were the solid conservative view. I should write a post on that sometime: “How I gradually, then suddenly, began agreeing with my leftist roommate from college.”

    The problem in that is still government though :)

    • #19
  20. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Preston Storm (View Comment):

    philo (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: Understand that private companies can force you to do things on their property. Yes, Walmart can force you to wear a mask. Yes, your employer can force you to get vaccinated.

    Sure like to see this taken to court. It’s not like a dress code. It’s a medical procedure. Can your employer legally force you to undergo a medical procedure?

    I know it has been discussed haven’t been paying close attention these days but…does your employer even have a right to know whether you have or not (ala HIPAA)?

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):
    And why shouldn’t I look at this as the government, knowing that it legally can’t mandate vaccinations, just doing what it does in other cases and getting its corporate pals to act as its proxies.

    If we had a Supreme Court worthy of the title, this would be (actually, “is”) clearly unconstitutional. But we don’t so it will go on.

    You sign off on it when you agree to work there. Same with physical aptitude tests for employment or drug/tobacco affidavits.

    Employee handbooks being updated as we speak!

     

    • #20
  21. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: Understand that private companies can force you to do things on their property. Yes, Walmart can force you to wear a mask. Yes, your employer can force you to get vaccinated.

    Sure like to see this taken to court. It’s not like a dress code. It’s a medical procedure. Can your employer legally force you to undergo a medical procedure?

    And why shouldn’t I look at this as the government, knowing that it legally can’t mandate vaccinations, just doing what it does in other cases and getting its corporate pals to act as its proxies.

    “No shoes, no shirt, no service.”  Kind of like “no queer wedding cakes”.

    For the other, my last three employers all required me to pass a physical.  My employer can’t force me to do anything, its my choice – I can always quit.

    • #21
  22. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):
    I should write a post on that sometime: “How I gradually, then suddenly, began agreeing with my leftist roommate from college.”

    DO IT

    • #22
  23. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Preston Storm: Stop punishing those who have been vaccinated. At this point, getting vaccinated is the most you can ask of someone. Don’t turn around and tell them they’ll still need to wear a mask because they may still transmit the infection. WE ALREADY KNEW THAT. The vaccine is to protect yourself, not others. Now that the vaccine is widely available (and largely free!), those who have made the decision to not get vaccinated will have to assume those risks.

    Appreciate the post. I would quibble with this or that detail, but overall well done.

    The portion quoted above is my favorite.

    ETA: I’ve said something about letting unvaccinated folks take responsibility for themselves to a couple of coworkers, and they all looked as if that idea had never occurred to them.

    • #23
  24. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Love the post title, BTW. It applies to so many things in modern life.

    • #24
  25. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Preston Storm (View Comment):

    philo (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: Understand that private companies can force you to do things on their property. Yes, Walmart can force you to wear a mask. Yes, your employer can force you to get vaccinated.

    Sure like to see this taken to court. It’s not like a dress code. It’s a medical procedure. Can your employer legally force you to undergo a medical procedure?

    I know it has been discussed haven’t been paying close attention these days but…does your employer even have a right to know whether you have or not (ala HIPAA)?

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):
    And why shouldn’t I look at this as the government, knowing that it legally can’t mandate vaccinations, just doing what it does in other cases and getting its corporate pals to act as its proxies.

    If we had a Supreme Court worthy of the title, this would be (actually, “is”) clearly unconstitutional. But we don’t so it will go on.

    You sign off on it when you agree to work there. Same with physical aptitude tests for employment or drug/tobacco affidavits.

     

    Some of the vaccination requirements for work are far more closely associated with risk unique to the work environment and protects the company from workman’s comp in injuries and morbidity. A business that mandates a hep vaccine and you don’t get it and you get Hep on the job, you can’t sue for unsafe work environment.

    Flu vaccination is not mandated because no one can sue the business office because you caught the flu. How do you know you got it at work?

    In a nutshell, mandated employee vaccinations are to protect the business’s liability and lower insurance risk. If a virus can not be legitimately/reasonably tied to the business and it has no effect on workman’s comp or insurance or OSHA directives, there’s no justifiable reason for employers to be mandating that vaccine.

    • #25
  26. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Chuck (View Comment):

    “No shoes, no shirt, no service.” Kind of like “no queer wedding cakes”.

    For the other, my last three employers all required me to pass a physical. My employer can’t force me to do anything, its my choice – I can always quit.

    Nice to be independently wealthy.

    • #26
  27. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    This is a nice job.  It would’ve been a better job if you hadn’t been so dismissive of the lack of FDA approval.

    • #27
  28. Preston Storm Coolidge
    Preston Storm
    @PrestonStorm

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Love the post title, BTW. It applies to so many things in modern life.

    Thank you! Lol what does that say about us?

    • #28
  29. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    Stina (View Comment): How do you know you got it at work?  …there’s no justifiable reason for employers to be mandating that vaccine.

    Just an interesting data point: Based on my [company’s] own date, 40% of the positive COVID cases among the employees were people who had not been on-site in 14 days prior to the positive test. (Also interesting that this “science and technology” company does not follow the science…instead it follows what the CDC recommends to a “T.”)

    • #29
  30. Preston Storm Coolidge
    Preston Storm
    @PrestonStorm

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    This is a nice job. It would’ve been a better job if you hadn’t been so dismissive of the lack of FDA approval.

    My libertarian streak is not going to allow me to be much of a FDA defender.

    • #30