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.

16 thoughts on “Why Righties Can’t Understand Covid Risks

  1. I think this country is well on its way to being completely broken.

    We can't even seem to accept information the same way – let alone come to any consensus on the information, and what to do about said information.

    I'm probably out of my mind (certainly no newsflash to any of you folks!), but here's what I'm hoping for:

    That the NE part of this country, say from Maryland to Maine, joins Canada.  That would, of course, include my home state of NY.

    And that the West coast states could also join Canada.

    We might get a few mid-Western states, too.  Maybe even snag NC if it agrees to send the bigoted goobers to SC.

    So we all join Canada, making it the greatest country on the planet!

    And the rest of the states can continue on as the Fascist "Christian" Confederate Choiceless States of 'Murka.

    Is joining Canada crazy?  Or too much to hope for?

    • This op-ed appeared in Canada’s biggest newspaper a week ago. It’s by a well-known scholar, Thomas Homer-Dixon (I actually have one of his books). In essence, he’s looking south (at us) and telling his countrymen to “brace for impact”.

      I think Canada will be pretty selective about the Yanks trying to flee north. I’ve looked into it, nearly $1 or $2 million to retire there, similar amounts for other top tier countries, such as Australia or New Zealand.

    • WHAT IF….. We passed a Constitutional Amendment to allow states to secede?  TX would want to be first, FL second and at that point Democrats would have the majority in both the House and Senate to the degree they could rescind the amendment?

      Yeah, I'd have to move North, but the re-location would go both directions as Confederates moved to the Confederate states shifting borderline states (GA) to solid blue.

      • Has everyone forgotten why secession is unconstitutional? Has everyone just given up?

        Does no one grasp the reason you don't reward bad behavior?

  2. My grandfather died at age 69 of an abscessed tooth that he refused to have pulled.  But that was in 1935, and he'd been a dentist since the late 1880's, when the drills were foot-powered, so I imagine he'd heard his share of screaming.

  3. No, no joining Canada for me. We're not leaving anyone behind to be victims of RW and religious tyranny and dictatorial control.

    Not the millions of Dems and minority voters in Texas and Georgia and Florida, the Native tribes in many Plains and Mountain states. not Blacks in Alabama or Hispanics throughout the Southwest.

    Men and women fought throughout the whole country from 1861-1865 and in the years beyond, through Jim Crow and anti-Chinese legislation and border roundups. Tens of thousands of brave Americans died fighting against Treason in defense of Slavery. More endured unspeakable violence and oppression for over a century.

    No. This kind of thinking is wrong, I believe, even as a thought experiment. Like good and evil, which permeate every human heart and cannot be simply removed or located like a benign tumor, this anti-American ideology has to be fought in every town, every city, every state, and in every voter in this country. This battle will never end, ever. Greed and selfishness and pettiness are us, humanity. But so is kindness, and generosity, and a belief that the fight to make a better, more diverse, more inclusive nation, is a fight worth engaging in, forever.

    • IMO you have to figure out where you're going to make your stand. Many will be trapped here, unable to leave. I have a shot at living/working abroad and I'm fighting like h*ll to make it happen. Of course, I'll do all I can to help those left behind. 

      My ancestors moved here from Russia, seeking a better life. They beat the Bolshevik Revolution, although they probably had no idea it was going to happen. Fleeing is a proud tradition where I come from.

      The Jews who stayed in Germany didn't stand a chance. You simply have to assess whether you're going to get buried by a tsunami, and if so, move.

  4.  You can't reason with these people. Just recently with Bob Saget's death one of them was saying that he died from getting the vaccine. Being puzzled as to where they came by that information I searched online to see if I could locate the source,if it was information derived from a news story.

     After reading several stories mentioning his death I happened upon an interview he had prior to his passing. He was mentioning his delight in getting back into stand-up comedy after so many years away from it. Thinking that because of his age the opportunity had passed him by. So in his interview he commented on overcoming his fears by saying, "I took the shot".  That seems to be the extent of vaccine deniers reading comprehension and reasoning abilities. He took the shot and he died. Extract the simple truth without getting bogged down in irrelevant details?

  5. I do not believe that a medical examiner is the person who makes the decision on what to put on a death certificate.  In personal experience, it was the attending physician, the ER doc, or someone else who filled out the paper work.  

    What many Covid-19 truthers are doing is intentionally misunderstanding something for political reasons. 

    • It may vary by state. I know in some states the death certificate goes from the physician to the medical examiner and then to the funeral home, and the funeral director is responsible for filing the final document. At least one medical examiner I read about was taking "covid" off of death certificates in the family requested it. 


  6. Unfortunately I’m one of those who didn’t fare well after getting jabbed.

    Three Moderna shots all made me pretty sick. Especially #2. And the worst part is I was unable to sleep.

    That said, I will gladly take the 4th jab as soon as the experts tell me to.

    Oh, and I still wear a KN95 mask whenever I’m out in public.

    My plan is to be one of last people in the country to get infected.

  7. There was a great program recently on PBS on group think.  I was backed by some experimental evidence and made some sense out of this mess. 

    If you watch beginner children play chess, they tend to move quite rapidly without much time for analysis.  So too, do humans make decisions for the most part.  They tend not to weigh the options, or we would infer, as they do not take enough time to give the situation much thought.  As young chess players gain experience, they make their moves with more time for deliberation, and so we infer are doing more analysis.

    These researchers contended adults act like beginner children at chess.  Not only do humans tend to make decisions without much time for deliberation, but they also tend to sort what information they might have to select reasons and facts which support their snap decision. So rather than acquiring facts and using a decision-making process, they select facts and sources which support their impulsive decision.  These are decisions that tend to agree with those of "their" perceived group.   

    This all seems a bit of an oddball idea of how many people operate, but it does account for what we see happening.  You could go with the Freudian hydraulic model and attribute this all to the forces of Thanatos and the death wish. Some pieces seem to fit that theory too.  It does seem to be a case where what is politically correct is, in all probability, dead wrong.  So, is it a consolation if your tombstone reads: At least I wasn't a RINO?  You could go for: I followed the bad shepherd. Either way someone else probably made this decision for you too.


  8. As Spock quoted, "Nothing unreal exists." Conservatives believe if it doesn't happen to them its unreal.  Only some modify this stance slightly if a friend or family member catches covid.  Then it's a cost-benefit analysis depending on the closeness to the stricken person.

  9. Regarding the risk of vaccinations, the question to ask is: How many people die within a week after eating a pizza?

    If we had a database like VAERS for adverse reactions after pizza-consumption, it would also have many entries.

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