Why Righties Can’t Understand Covid Risks

Recently a neighbor dropped by, and in the course of the conversation she told us she had been fired as a health care worker because she refused to be vaccinated. (Imagine me taking a few steps back. Also, she called herself a “nurse,” but her apparent lack of knowledge of how infectious diseases work inspires some skepticism.) In this particular case she might have some claim to a medical exemption, which was a past history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (although Guillain-Barre is a known possible complication of covid infection, also). But in conversation it became clear she was terrified of the injections and talked about side effects she had heard about. Which can be rough for some people — for a day or two — but not as rough as covid.

Risk assessment, people. This is an easy one. According to Bloomberg, as of today more than 9.51 billion covid shots have been administered worldwide. “In the U.S., 520 million doses have been given so far. An average 1.17 million doses per day were administered over the last week,” it says. If even 1 percent of those vaccines had resulted in long-term, serious impairment or deaths, we’d have millions of impaired and dead people as a result. I think someone would have noticed.

As it is, the science people do acknowledge that it’s not impossible for a covid vaccination to be fatal. But most of the time if a person dies within a few days of receiving a covid shot, it’s very difficult to know if the shot was a factor. The guy who had the heart attack may have had a heart attack, anyway. So it requires investigation. Here is an article from the UK Office of National Statistics (since nobody wants to believe the CDC) on why it’s difficult to know if a recent vaccine was a factor in assessing a death. The nice lady with the title ONS Head of Mortality Analysis said that by August 2021 they had determined there had been nine deaths in the UK that involved the covid vaccine.

(As tragic as that is, it’s pretty much a given that any medical procedure comes with some risk. People have died from routine dental treatments, for example. It’s extremely unusual, but it has happened. On the other hand, an infected tooth — left untreated — can result in multiple organ failure. You go with the odds.)

The visiting “nurse” neighbor said she had heard that two people in Florida had died after getting vaccines. Even if this were true, it’s kind of not in the ball park of “a rational reason to not get vaccinated.” This is especially true since, according to Johns Hopkins, as of today there have been 61,983,723 confirmed cases of covid in the U.S. and 841,123 deaths. So let’s compare 841,123 deaths to maybe two guys in Florida. Hmm.

Most of the claims by anti-vaxxers about covid vaccination deaths are based on VAERS data, which I explained in an old post written before anyone had heard of covid. VAERS is a CDC database of adverse vaccine reactions to which anybody can report. Doctors, patients, crackpots, drunken college students, anti-vaxxers who need juicier statistics to scare people with can all make reports and add to the database. It is all unverified. The people who allegedly died by vaccination may have been hit by a bus. Or they may still be alive, or maybe they never existed. The CDC attaches all kinds of disclaimers to the database about how it is all unverfied. They only use it as a means to maybe spot trends. Anti-vaxxers believe it like gospel anyway.

The Omicron virus is causing more breaththrough infections, much to the glee of the anti-vaxxers. The New York Times has an article on the growing gap in outcomes between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. This graph shows what’s happened to infected people in New York City and Seattle.

It shouldn’t take a genius to understand that vaccinated is better.

Republicans are dedicated to the opposite proposition. They are more interested in demonizing Dr. Fauci (the latest example, from today) and opposing all mitigation efforts because freedom. Of course. The deaths from covid are explained away in various ways. A big one is to misread death certificates. If the cause of death is “pneumonia,” for example, and covid is only the underlying cause of death, then they will argue the person didn’t die of covid but from pneumonia. Of course, the covid caused the pneumonia, a detail one cannot explain to a wingnut. They will not listen.

It doesn’t help that some Republican medical examiners around the country are refusing to put “covid” on death certificates for political reasons. Covid deaths are no doubt being seriously undercounted as a result.

Another trick is to misquote scientists. Recently CDC Director Rochelle Walensky spoke about a study that evaluated the deaths of 1.2 million adults who had been vaccinated. It turned out that only 36 of of the 1.2 million died of covid-19, and 28 of those 36 had four or more comorbidities. That means other medical problems, like diabetes or heart disease.

Naturally, Tucker Carlson told his audience that Dr. Walensky had “admitted” that most people who die of covid have comorbidities. He left out the detail about the people in the study being vaccinated. He led his audience to believe that this data applied to all covid deaths. So why bother getting vaccinated? Indeed, if you are healthy, throw out the masks and get on with your life. Covid is just a scam.

Now, Tucker Carlson is smart enough to know better. And since Tucker works for Fox News, we know he is fully vaccinated. He just doesn’t care who dies because of his bad advice. He just wants to see the Biden Administration fail. If I believed in hell, I would expect a special place for Tucker in it.

Risk assessment requires accurate data. Righties have enough trouble dealing with risk assessment when they do have accurate data. When they don’t, forgeddaboutit.