(Brian C. Joondeph, M.D.) American corporate media love catchphrases that they all repeat in unison, across network and cable television and through social media. One recent example is “viral blizzard” referring to the omicron variant of COVID. A search of Google News for “viral blizzard” demonstrates how in the past several days, myriad media outlets used the term in scaremongering headlines.
Another similar phrase made the rounds this past summer, “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” attributed to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. At the time, it was believed that only the unvaccinated were transmitting, catching, and getting sick from COVID.
The same CDC Director Dr. Walensky two weeks later acknowledged, “vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus.” This lead to the July 27 CDC recommendation, “that everyone wear a mask in indoor public settings in areas of substantial and high transmission, regardless of vaccination status.” So much for it being a pandemic of the unvaccinated.
This is the time when I must add this standard and necessary disclaimer that I am not anti-vaccine, having been personally vaccinated. Nor am I offering medical advice, only an analysis of this newsworthy issue with questions about ever-changing recommendations and certainties from the political and medical establishments.
I am not the only one questioning this catchphrase. A German doctor wrote a letter to the prestigious medical journal The Lancet one month ago entitled, “COVID-19: stigmatizing the unvaccinated is not justified.” He raised the following points,
There is increasing evidence that vaccinated individuals continue to have a relevant role in transmission.
People who are vaccinated have a lower risk of severe disease but are still a relevant part of the pandemic. It is therefore wrong and dangerous to speak of a pandemic of the unvaccinated.
I call on high-level officials and scientists to stop the inappropriate stigmatization of unvaccinated people, who include our patients, colleagues, and other fellow citizens, and to put extra effort into bringing society together.
This is sage advice which hopefully doesn’t lead to the German medical authorities threatening or revoking this doctor’s medical license.
In the early days of the vaccines, many of us, myself included, had high hopes that COVID would be a distant memory by now. We took President Joe Biden at his word last April when he promised the nation, “Getting together with friends, going to the park for a picnic without needing to mask up, we’re back to that place now as long as you get vaccinated.”
Instead, we see New York, among the most vaccinated states with 95 percent of adults receiving at least one dose and 84 percent of adults fully vaccinated, locking down yet again, Broadway shows canceled and restaurants closed. We also see this surprising statistic this week for such a vaccinated state, “For a fourth day in a row, the state has broken its record for highest single-day case count since the beginning of the pandemic.”
It is so bad in mostly vaccinated New York that the governor is pushing a bill that would, according to RedState, “grant the far-left governor of New York — or any government official or entity — the unilateral authority to detain anyone ‘indefinitely’ even suspected of posing a significant threat to public health.” Does this mean anyone who dares question Dr. Anthony Fauci or Gov. Kathy Hochul is now a “threat to public health” and can be disappeared like the Jan. 6 protesters?
In the past few days, we have seen reports of prominent “triple vaccinated” individuals getting COVID. Notice how we have gone from “fully” vaccinated to “triple” vaccinated, at least until a second booster is needed, as in Israel, perhaps this new group called the “quad” vaccinated. We can save “penta” vaccinated for next summer.
CNBC host Jim Cramer is vaccinated and boostered and yet has COVID. So do Sen. Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, Sen. Cory “Spartacus” Booker, Rep. Jason Crow from my home state of Colorado, and Rep. Matt Cartwright from Pennsylvania. Rep. Barbara Lee from California, also vaccinated and boostered, now has COVID.
There is also New York acting Health Commissioner Mary Basset, vaxed and boostered, now with COVID. A triple-vaccinated White House aide who recently spent time with Biden on Air Force One also tested positive for COVID.
Cruise ship Symphony of the Seas, which required all passengers 12 years and older to be fully vaccinated and test negative to board the ship, had a COVID outbreak among 48 passengers.
Cornell University in upstate New York is 97 percent fully vaccinated, many with booster shots, conducts routine surveillance testing, and requires indoor mask use. Despite these measures, they had an outbreak of 903 cases and closed their Ithaca campus for the remainder of the year.
Across the country, Cal Berkeley, with a 99 percent vaccination rate, had a COVID outbreak, leading them to postpone their football game against USC. A fully vaccinated NHL team is canceling games due to a COVID outbreak. What’s going on?
It is clear that today’s version of the COVID pandemic is among the vaccinated, as the above examples illustrate. Recent infections, if of the omicron variant, are likely to be mild, with hospitalization or worse very unlikely. If this is true, it is good news, as this latest variant is acting like an old-school vaccine, an attenuated virus stimulating the immune system to generate cellular and humoral immunity, providing the recipient with long-term protection from future infection. In other words, omicron may promote natural immunity which at some point leads to population herd immunity.
It is apparent that the vaccines are not doing what vaccines are supposed to do, which according to the WHO, is expressed this way: “Vaccination is a simple, safe, and effective way of protecting you against harmful diseases, before you come into contact with them.” If all they are doing is reducing the risk of severe illness, then for many they can be lifesaving, but the vaccinated are still catching and spreading COVID.
Perhaps the PCR test is overcalling COVID, diagnosing those with a cold as having the latest COVID variant. This test is the gold standard, leading to lockdowns, quarantines, masking, school and business closures, and a total disruption of life in America. The PCR test, ideal for diagnosing, not so much for mass population screening, set with too high a cycle threshold may be producing false positive results in 60 to 90 percent of patients, according to the New York Times.
This may explain why the CDC is withdrawing its emergency use authorization request for the current COVID PCR test to the FDA as of Jan. 1, “CDC is providing this advance notice for clinical laboratories to have adequate time to select and implement one of the many FDA-authorized alternatives.”
This current “pandemic of the vaccinated” may be more akin to a cold rather than the nasty respiratory virus sending thousands to the ICU last year, at least based on current data. As The Economist describes, “surging cases but milder symptoms.” Watch this U.K. health minister struggle to explain the low omicron hospitalization and death figures while at the same time promoting fear and panic.
How is omicron being treated by those in charge? President Biden issued a grave warning to the unvaccinated, “We are looking at a winter of severe illness and death for the unvaccinated — for themselves, their families and the hospitals they’ll soon overwhelm.”
It has been almost two years, and little has improved in terms of mandates, rules, and restrictions, most of which have done little if anything to improve our lives. We are still masked up indoors and out, remote learning, social distancing, and travel restrictions for those trying to fly their cares away.
Common sense measures like protecting those at highest risk for severe COVID, early outpatient treatment and prevention, and following past successful pandemic strategies have all been scrapped in favor of endless vaccine boosters with case numbers still breaking records. We are doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result, and we know what that’s the definition of.
President Biden, despite earlier claims of a desire to be, “a president who seeks not to divide but to unify,” is shaming and scapegoating the unvaccinated while news stories are replete with the vaccinated catching COVID. Is this incompetence or is it deliberate? I’ll leave that to you to answer.
Meanwhile, we are watching Groundhog Day. Read or watch the news now and compare it to 21 months ago, and it’s déjà vu. The catchphrases may change but the oppressing COVID cloud continues to dispirit and demoralize the world. So much for “building back better.”
Brian C. Joondeph, MD, is a vaccinated physician and writer. On Twitter as @retinaldoctor.
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It’s beginning to look a lot like genocide…