I’ll take my COVID curve short and steep, not long and flat

Scientists are still debating whether we should try to “flatten” the COVID curve. The curve is a plot of deaths on the vertical axis versus time on the horizontal axis. The graph above is an example, showing daily deaths worldwide from COVID since the advent of the pandemic.

If you add up the daily deaths, you of course wind up with the total deaths – currently over 800,000 in the U.S. This is the “area under the curve.” (Calculus, anyone?)

“Flattening the curve” means lowering the peaks – lowering the daily deaths. Scientists on one side of the “flattening” debate – call them the Flatteners – say that we can accomplish that by taking preventive measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing, as we have for the last two years to varying degrees.

On its face, that sounds prudent. It was certainly prudent two years ago when COVID infections threatened to overwhelm hospitals.

Other scientists – call them the Non-Flatteners – contend that, with Omicron now the dominant variant, we should do the opposite. (Yes, “follow the science” is a meaningless platitude when scientists disagree, as they frequently do.) The Non-Flatteners point out that the Omicron variant is highly transmissible, and so preventive measures are futile.

Moreover, the Non-Flatteners say that the lethality of Omicron in low anyway. So people who catch it are even more unlikely to die than people who caught previous variants. In fact, Omicron infections seldom require even hospitalization, and so the threat of overwhelming the health system is mostly gone.

Finally, the Non-Flatteners say that allowing people to catch Omicron would be a good thing because, though a small percentage of them will die of it, the vast majority will survive. And the survivors will be conferred immunity from future infections that is far more effective than the immunity conferred by the vaccines.

The Non-Flatteners say that even if we can flatten the curve, and it’s not clear that we can, the flattening will lengthen it, and so the area under the curve will not be reduced. In other words, the pandemic will go on for longer, albeit at a lower daily death rate, to produce the same or a greater number of total deaths.

I’m not skilled in COVID epidemiology (and, the last two years suggest, neither are epidemiologists) but my instinct is that the Non-Flatteners are right. Flattening the curve by reducing the daily death rate will produce a longer curve by prolonging the pandemic. Consequently, the area under the flattened but lengthened curve – the total deaths – will be the same as under the higher but shorter unflattened curve.

And so the question becomes, do we choose a short steep curve of greater pain or a longer flatter curve of more moderate pain?

Expressed that way, this choice is no longer a debate about science so much as a debate about philosophy. It’s a debate about how to live. Some people will choose low-level pain that goes for years over high-level pain that goes for months.

I respect that. But for me, I’ll take my pain short and steep. I recognize that this short, steep curve of pain could claim me personally, or those I love. But so could the long, flattened curve of pain.

I don’t live recklessly. I take risks, but I calculate them. Sometimes I miscalculate, but better to miscalculate than not to calculate at all. Regular readers know that I was in the original Pfizer vaccine clinical trials, and still am. That entailed risk but my calculation was that the risk was acceptable when weighed against the benefits.

So too on this issue of flattening the curve. In my calculation of risks and benefits, I choose to live real over living long. I’m done with masks and social distancing. Life is too big, brave and steep to live it small, fearful and flat.

What I will remember about COVID is that people got mean

I remember 9/11 well. People were shocked and angry, but also brave and compassionate. Police and firefighters ran into the burning World Trade Towers to save office workers. Many of those police and firefighters were still there trying to save lives when the buildings collapsed over and under them.

On a hijacked flight over Pennsylvania, passengers heard by telephone of the collapse of the Trade Towers and surmised that their hijackers planned a similar strike. Some of the passengers huddled, plotted and made a pact to overcome the terrorists.

The terrorists had already murdered the pilots, and so the passengers knew their actions would crash the plane and end their own lives. But they figured that by crashing the plane before reaching the building that the terrorists had targeted (we now know it was the Capitol Building) they could save people.

A passenger pictured above named Todd Beamer said the Lord’s Prayer. Others joined in. At the conclusion he said, “Let’s roll.” And they did. All aboard died, but thousands on the ground were saved.

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Whose fault is it that America is descending into Third World status?

Store theft is now done openly. People load their arms or shopping carts with stuff they want and simply walk out the door. After closing, mobs of them smash the storefront and grab what they want. I’m reminded of stores in Mexico where padlocked steel curtains cover the glass storefronts each night. After closing, the store become a little fortress.

The left explains that this isn’t looting because . . . reasons. One reason is that it’s really a protest for social justice, whatever that is. Another reason is that stores have insurance, dontcha know, and so stealing from them isn’t really stealing. Another reason is that the looters are jobless due to COVID, and so their theft is excused by their hunger.

In other words, the left contends that stealing a Prada bag to feed their greed is just like Jean Valjean stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s children.

Speaking of the jobless, employers are desperately seeking to relieve them of that status while the jobless are desperately seeking to maintain that status. People have decided they’d rather not work, which is understandable since we told them they don’t need to and we even pay them money not to.

Joe Biden still denies it’s happening (he’s probably being ignorantly sincere but he might be knowingly lying – you never know which it is with Joe) but these workers opting out of work have caused a shortage of the things that workers used to make. Go figure.

The resulting inflation has now reached that level of emotional spiral where it takes on a life of its own. Unable to hire workers to meet the demand for their products, businesses raise prices on the little product they can produce, which causes inflation which causes the expectation of more inflation which causes more inflation.

The left says this mass resignation of American workers is a good thing. Lefty economist Paul Krugman writing for the New York Times says people’s refusal to return to jobs they were reasonably happy with, but shouldn’t have been, is a “silver lining” to COVID.  

Consider the irony that Krugman, who thinks societal wealth is produced by printing more money, analogizes to a precious metal.

It must bug Krug that millions of people wade across the Rio Grande in search of these jobs that make people unhappy if only they weren’t too stupid to know it. His only solace is that at least they come illegally and so he thinks that they, like most criminals, are future Democrats.

He’s mostly wrong. People who risk everything and even commit an immigration crime, all for the purpose of finding work to feed their families, are not likely to become Democrats. Indeed, Hispanics were never really on the Dem plantation, and increasingly don’t want anything to do with it.

Murder is on the rise nationwide. The left explains that it’s not because murderers are emboldened or society is coarsened, but because of COVID. Oh, and guns too, which were evidently invented just now. It might also be due to global warming. Meanwhile, lefty politicians defund the police while spending taxpayer dollars for personal bodyguards.

On the streets and highways, people drive wildly. I’m not talking about speeding 10 mph over the limit or running yellow lights. I’m talking about running lights that have been red for a long time, maniacal weaving through highway traffic, and laying on the horn and flipping the bird at other drivers who commit no offense other than being in their way.

The left now instructs the police – the ones not yet defunded – not to stop these lunatics because that would be racist because too many of them have dark skin.

Fine, but could we at least stop the white ones?

They are sure to stop the Asian ones if they can find any. Anti-Asian discrimination is the good kind, we’re told. Harvard candidly discriminates against them because, dontcha know, they have bad personalities. An Obama-appointed judge in Boston agreed. The Supreme Court is stalling on whether to decide the case or just let it fly under their radar. After all, the victims are only Asians.  

Everyone knows that the real reason for discriminating against Asians is that they’re too meritorious. So rather than increasing the merit of non-Asians in order to compete better with Asians, the left is abolishing merit. If their favored groups don’t do well on the tests, they abolish the tests.

That same Supreme Court looks like it will decide to uphold a law in Mississippi that allows a pregnant woman only three months to abort her baby. The left says this law from the former and current Confederacy – which is similar to the abortion laws of France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Switzerland – violates Section . . . um, mumble . . .  of the Constitutional guaranteeing a womyn’s right choose an abortion whenever she/he/they/it wants and guaranteeing a baby’s obligation to be the victim of that abortion whenever the womyn wants – just like in China.

Justice-ish Sotomayor, appointed by the current de facto president, Barack Obama, warned her colleague-ish Justices in open court that upholding this law would create the “stench” (her word) of a politicized Supreme Court because it would require reconsidering the celebrated case of Roe v. Wade where a Justice nicknamed “Hip Pocket Harry” for his choice of residency in the hip pocket (or was it the front pocket?) of the Chief Justice at the time discovered said Section . . . umm, mumble . . . of the Constitution.

But according to the left it would be different to overrule Citizens United which held that under something called the First Amendment (curses on that Bill of Rights thingy!) political candidates can receive not just money from trade unions, as they always have, but also money from the people. Same with Heller which said that the Second Amendment (more curses on that Bill of Rights – rights are for trade unions, school boards and the FBI, not for people!) means what it says. Overruling those cases, the left assures us, would not be politically stenchy but would be a breath of fresh air.

Which is something increasingly rare in our once-great cities where fresh air is polluted by stenchy vagrants who camp on the sidewalks and poop in the parks. They’re not discouraged; they’re heroized. The leftist rulers of our cities spend taxpayer money to entice them downtown to remind us that America is bad. The bums allow themselves to be used in this manner because it satisfies their need for the sympathy deserving of a willing victim of a life of willful failure.

Fresh air is something also denied to toddlers who are forced to wear COVID masks. The left orders this not to protect toddlers – who get approximately 0.0% of COVID cases – but to remind you that they’re the boss. They control what your children wear and what they learn. They own them.

There’s a common thread here. The left controls colleges, big business, schools, media and entertainment. They’ve convinced much of America especially young people that Western Civilization is bad. They’re actively rooting against us.

Their ideas for a substitute civilization that they will rule, benevolently they assure us, are at best pipe dreams and are at worst authoritarian nightmares. Their substitute civilizations will fail, as they always have, but in the meantime they want to destroy what’s here. In that, they’re winning.

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Of masks and men; the weird religion of COVID masks

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Daily COVID deaths and new cases are down to pre-pandemic levels in America. Even the CDC says masks are no longer required for vaccinated people. Heck, even school teachers are returning to the classrooms – sans masks – now that their demands for more money and less work have been met.

Weirdly, however, many people are still wearing masks. In fact, I often see mask wearers driving around alone in their cars. What’s up with that?

A little historical context is necessary. Dr. Fauci originally told us that masks were not effective. It turned out that he never really believed that. He was lying in order to conserve the masks for people he thought deserved them.

Then when masks became plentiful, the good doctor said they are effective after all and so we should wear them. He himself took to wearing two at a time, both over his mouth. I rather wish he’d worn half a dozen.

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Modern education is crap — or Lincoln, math and the CDC are racist

The Center for Disease Control announced in February that schools could safely reopen, and that it was “critical” that they do so. They said the risk of COVID transmission in schools was minimal — even if teachers were not vaccinated — and the damage to children by remaining closed was maximal.

Experience in the schools that have opened bears that out. There have not been cases of widespread transmission of COVID in reopened schools. That’s undoubtedly because children are nearly immune to COVID. And their teachers retire long before they reach the COVID-vulnerable post-65 age group.

That CDC announcement that teachers, vaccinated or not, should return to work was two months ago, though it didn’t get much media attention because teachers are overwhelmingly Democrats and so are the media. Since then, many teachers still refuse to return to work even though many have been vaccinated in the meantime.

So much for “follow the science.”

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Is Europe seeking herd immunity, or just culling the herd?

The first vaccine against the Wuhan virus was developed by a German biotech company, BioNTech, in partnership with American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

So why is the vaccination rate in Germany stuck at 4% while the American vaccination rate is now quadruple that? Throughout Europe, it’s much the same story. The vaccination rate is 4% in France, Spain, Sweden and Italy, and 5% in Finland, Greece, Poland and Norway.

Only the UK, now separate from the EU, is doing well with a vaccination rate of 27% after approving the vaccine weeks before the FDA did in the U.S. (with the same data that the FDA ultimately based its approval on, it should be noted).

Unsurprisingly, this dawdling on the Continent has an effect: death. While the death rates have come down from January’s peak wave, daily new cases and daily deaths in the EU remain stubbornly high. In contrast, in the UK where the vaccine is really rolling, daily new cases are down by three-quarters and daily deaths are down two-thirds.

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Masks are killing us

The bulk of seniors who are at risk from COVID have either died of the disease, survived the disease or been vaccinated against the disease. New cases are dropping quickly.

Over ten percent of the overall American population has been vaccinated – over 40 million of them – and that figure is increasing at the rate of about 11 million a week. It looks like nearly everyone who wants to be vaccinated will be vaccinated by late spring. Meanwhile, drug treatments have proved increasingly effective. Most recently, the FDA approved a drug cocktail from Eli Lilly.

There will come a time when COVID masks are no longer necessary.

The implicit assumption in that statement is that masks were necessary before. The science is not clear in that regard, but it seems logical that they helped to some degree. The virus seems to be transmitted by airborne particles like microdroplets of sputum. The virus is far too small to be intercepted by a mask, but many of those microdroplets are not.

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Vaccinating anti-vaxxers’ children is associated with autism in their parents

Regular Beatniks know that since last summer I’ve been enrolled in the clinical trials for the Pfizer COVID vaccine. Because it’s a “blinded” study, I never really knew whether I’d received the vaccine or a placebo.

The clinic called me last week to tell me that Pfizer was unblinding the study for people in my demographic (translation: old farts) if we wished. Moreover, Pfizer was offering to administer the vaccine to those whom the unblinding revealed had received the placebo.

I accepted Pfizer’s offer. They then told me I’d received the placebo. I suspected as much based on the complete absence of any side effects, as well as the antibody test that I took a week after getting the injection which told me I had no COVID antibodies. (Getting the antibody test was not prohibited by the paperwork I signed.)

Pfizer then offered me the vaccine. I accepted their offer, and received the vaccine this morning. 

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Pharma performed a miracle, but government’s botched rollout killed tens of thousands

Although they aren’t exactly scientists, the media said that COVID vaccines would take years or even decades to develop and test and that they would probably be only about 50-60% effective.

It’s not clear whether the media really believed their own dire predictions, or whether they were just rooting for the virus because they thought it hurt Trump and hurt America, both of which they like to see hurt. Although (or perhaps because) they’re not scientists and not very smart, they are Democrats after all.

In any event, the pharmaceutical industry proved them wrong. They developed new vaccines with new technology in a few months, then finished testing them in a few more months. The effectiveness is about 95%.

Expect media reports that in the 5% of the population where the vaccine seems not to work, it’s all Trump’s fault. The headline will read something like, “Although impeached and out of office, Trump is still killing people.”

Now that the scientists, physicians and businessmen at pharmaceutical companies have performed scientific, medical and business miracles, we can conquer the pandemic and get back to watching proper football in sports bars by simply taking the vaccine. Right?

No, not right. Because the simple distribution of the vaccines wound up the responsibility of the people who brought you the Obamacare website and VA Hospitals.

The first act in their comedy of errors was to suggest that the first people to get the vaccine should not be the people over 70 who are dying, but the people who have the darkest skin. Because social justice.

Imagine the vaccination center. Would they have a light meter to measure a person’s pigmentation, or would they just take the person’s word for it? What if they were white, color-wise, but identified as very black, at least on that day?

Ironically, or perhaps intentionally, but probably just carelessly, the effect of this scheme would be more deaths among both older whites and older blacks because the vaccine supplies would be used instead on not-at-risk younger blacks.

But no matter. The point was not to reduce white deaths or even black deaths. It was to feel very, very woke. After a suitable outcry from doctors – the kind with patients, not the kind jockeying for government grants – the government quietly backed off that racist plan.

The FDA finally approved the vaccine in mid-December. That was weeks after Great Britain already had. In the interim, another ten thousand died. The government boasted that we’d get 20 million doses administered by the end of the year. As it turned out, they administered only about 10% of that.

Happy New Year!

What happened? Intra-governmental squabbling between the bureaucratic Center for Disease Control and military brass heading up Operation Warp Speed (why military brass for that task?) consumed months. Eventually, they decided that the vaccinations should proceed in phases.

Fine. But they decided that we cannot go onto a new phase until the prior phase is finished. They never specified what “finished” means. Does it mean 100.00% of the people in the prior phase have been injected? What if less than 100.00% of those people actually want to be injected? Is 90% enough? Or 70%?

They never said. Meanwhile, millions of vaccine does were, and are, sitting in freezers while people continue dying at the rate of about 4,000 a day.

The vaccines are administered in two shots about three weeks apart. The government decided they couldn’t proceed to a new phase until they had in-hand enough of the vaccine to administer the second shot to people who’d gotten the first shot in the prior phase.

But the pharmaceutical companies had already told the government that their manufacturing capabilities are sufficient to manufacture those second shots on-the-fly. The government didn’t need to keep the second shots on ice. But the government did anyway, and still more people died.

Moreover, the data indicates that just a first shot is highly efficacious, so if somehow a person doesn’t get his second shot he’s very likely protected anyway. No matter, the government insisted on reserving a second shot for a person who’d taken the first shot rather than administering it as the first shot to another patient. Meanwhile, thousands more died.

Finally, the government relented and decided to administer that shot to new patients rather than reserving it to be the second shot for earlier patients.

Now we’re assured that the vaccination program is “on track” but we’re not given any metrics as to how it’s really going in comparison to the plan (assuming there really is a plan this time). In reality, over half the New York allotment of vaccine is still on ice.

This Keystone Kops routine has literally cost tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of lives. More Americans have now died of COVID than American soldiers died in WWII. But the government types don’t care because as “essential workers” they personally have gotten the vaccine.

Call me cynical, but are these lazy, selfish and inept government types the people we want running the health care system? Or anything else?

Is that all ya got, 2020?

Pfizer has sold $25 billion worth of Viagra and now they’ve raised the bar even higher. To keep their Viagra customers happy, healthy and horny, they invented a vaccine against COVID.

The FDA approved the vaccine for emergency use this month, years after approving Viagra for “emergency” use (isn’t all use of Viagra an emergency?). Viagra will of course retain its preeminence in the company, and so the vaccine will likely become known as “Pfizer’s Other Drug.”

Some say this medicine comes too soon, that it needs more testing, more time to get acquainted, more foreplay, more cuddling. I say baloney. Viagra comes not a moment too soon. Same with Pfizer’s Other Drug. If only they had come at the same time.

It was indeed a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am kind of year. It’s with proper social distancing, mind you, which can cramp one’s style among other things and attenuate both the whams and the bams. But in sex, Americans and all other people are resourceful.

Sadly, however, there appears not to be the pregnancy surge we often see after a city blackout. Although sperm are ingenious in navigating their way through the kind of person who identifies as a woman because she is one, they cannot navigate across a room or through a Zoom teleconference lens.

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