Virtue or Vice

This is a story about me, my golfing buddy, and our CoV2 debates. I’ll call him Mitch.

Mitch is highly-educated, does not trust media, claims to be a political Independent, is inquisitive, and has a lawyer’s mind (cross-examine, logical, fact-based).

For a long time, we never discussed anything related to current affairs (politics, CoV2, etc.).

But then I mentioned I was leaving my excellent job of 14 years so that I could stop being anonymous while fighting against CoV2 restrictions, including the local school Board.

Being anonymous was holding me back, but I did not want to bring any undue attention to my employer, coworkers, or customers.

I also needed to put a lot more time into homeschooling my 3 kids as the primary educator, because we would not allow our kids to be force-masked.

Initially, this only spawned conversations of how I would sustain our standard of living: investment types, cash flow, tax-advantages assets, entity structuring, asset protection.

But then 1 day, he made an off-hand comment similar to “but I know you don’t support vaccines.”

I quickly replied, “Wait, I do support vaccines but not mandates.”

This could have been a negative turning point, but thankfully it opened a wonderful door to intelligent, adult dialogue between 2 people who fundamentally disagree.

To him, not supporting CoV2 vax mandates was akin to not supporting or believing in the vaccines at all.

I explained that vax is a personal choice, should be an informed decision based on individual risk calculus, and should not be coerced.

He believed vax mandates were for the greater good and that was enough to override personal choice.

He had no empirical evidence of HOW mandates help, but he believed they did simply because “the scientific consensus says they are helpful.”

This will become a running theme.

I showed charts where CoV2 patterns and amplitude moved independent of vax rate and in spite of mandates.

I mentioned how HCW mandates only reduce the quantity of staffed beds without improving healthcare (likely a net negative).

For example, look at FL vs. NY staffed beds.

He argued that most hospitals want the mandates because otherwise they’d lobby hard against mandates.

Since they seem to want mandates and most public health experts agree on HCW mandates, then they must be helpful.

No evidence, but his logic engine deducts it must be true.

We agreed to disagree on HCW mandates, but he did at least say, “you might be right, but I have to go with what the experts say.”

Not unreasonable. Most people probably feel this way.

Except the experts who disagree are vilified, censored, ostracized, and crushed.

We also debated masks.

He did not know there were already decades of research concluding that community masking of healthy people does not prevent viral (influenza) transmission.

Nor that studies since CoV2 were low on the evidence pyramid and were being overstated.

He couldn’t wrap his head around the possibility that the CDC, WHO, Fauci, and most worldwide Public Health experts might be wrong or might be overstating a useless intervention.

This isn’t possible, right? Global “consensus” must be correct, right?

No. I showed otherwise.

He countered with the old PNAS study/model from leading mask proponent Jeremy Howard:…

I explained how it was over a year old and used low-quality evidence from early 2020.

A great example is Chechia being included as a top example of mask usage.

The others in the study with Chechia were all Oceana countries.

I mentioned how it was a lot of early correlation-as-causation observational studies in Oceana that led the West to flip known mask science on its head.

We panicked because we had nothing else to fight CoV2.

And still to this day, we are clinging to the mask fallacy while forcing toddlers to wear masks on planes and kids of all ages to wear masks for 6+ hours per day in school.

All with no evidence of efficacy.

I showed the school study results. He had no idea and was shocked.

This actually changed his mind, and he no longer agrees with kids being forced to mask in school. His kids are grown, so he had not experienced the many harms.

He also had thought school masking reduced community spread because that’s what media and Gov’t tells us.

Though his mind changed for kids, he still chooses to believe Public mask mandates are warranted.

His reasoning is there is global consensus that masking helps.

Though he now sees the evidence is limited & inconsistent, it’s enough for him to “err on the side of caution.”

Back to vax, boosters, natural immunity, and Omicron.

He’s vaxxed/boosted and actively attempting to avoid infection still.

I showed how that is futile and that it can’t be avoided, which means continually imposing restrictions only adds harm and prolongs the process.

His belief was that natural immunity was inferior to vax protection and shorter-lived.

This belief was a holdover from early studies showing antibodies fall quickly after infection.

What he didn’t know is they stop falling and remain strong for an indefinite time period.

And that vax protection falls off much more quickly regardless of antibody titers, because antibody levels are not predictive for re-infection.

These studies show a stark difference with natural immunity being far superior.……

After those, I showed the recent Vaccine Efficacy (VE) results from Denmark (Omicron vs. Delta) and UK (case rates by age).

Notice the NEGATIVE 76% VE vs. Omicron after 90 days. Even 31-90 days shows error bars extending below 0.

For UK, vax case rates are higher 18-59.

He says hospitals are overwhelmed and HCWs are burned out, so it’s justifiable for Gov’t to impose restrictions as long as that reduces the # of hospitalizations.

Harms to society are outweighed by the need to protect hospitals/HCWs from CoV2 surges.

Back to these charts.

After all this, his view was definitely shaken a bit, but he concluded with saying he does not have the expertise to make his own informed decisions better than what the experts are telling him.

He will continue doing as they say so he can contribute positively to society.

We are still good friends, play golf together, eat indoors together (no masks), and respect each other.

I believe Mitch represents many Americans who are intelligent, thoughtful, caring, and haven’t seen counter-narrative data.

Where do you see yourself in this story?


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