Election Day Email and the GBD — (Great Barrington Declaration )
Covid-triggered TDS — another sign of CNS damage?
It is election day and I’ve decided to try and reply in full and cogent detail to much of what you have written or asked, before the results of the election are known. As we all know, reasonable predictions span the range from Democrat blow-out (taking the White House by storm and the Senate by a comfortable margin) to Trump eking out another victory. We’ll see sooner — or later.
I voted (again) for John Kasich, but would have voted for Trump had I not promised my wife otherwise. Why? See: Trump is Terrible but the Alternative is Worse
First, non-Covid stuff: Responding to your latest email, TDS is Trump Derangement Syndrome, first posited by the well-known psychiatrist/commentator Charles Krauthammer as BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome). See:
Now, for the Covid stuff:
1. Use your imagination, Steve. I sent you a list of signatories to the Great Barrington Declaration to encourage you to read it. (I signed as a health care professional and scientist — only a month ago I was photographing mice lung under the microscope trying to find better treatments for Covid-triggered “cytokine storm”.) The Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) is only 500 words long but you haven’t yet read it — perhaps your time is too valuable?
2. I don’t think you are irrationally scared. Rather I believe you are rationally scared — you realize there’s a real risk you or someone close to you might catch this disease and die, and that idea scares you. I also think the vast majority of people, including my well-educated friends, are largely ignorant of the complexities of medicine, disease, and health care. Frequently when individuals consult me about these matters, they are surprised to learn about how things actually function. Whether you have an interest in being better-informed in these areas, or not, I do not know.
[A digression on health care complexity and Covid: most people imagine “herd immunity” to mean a state or condition where no one gets sick because of some magical immune state amongst the population (or because the disease has been eradicated, like smallpox). Domestically-acquired polio is non-existent in the USA but the worldwide eradication attempt has failed. With an excellent vaccine and mandatory vaccination, stateside “herd immunity” for measles means the disease is rare, but isolated outbreaks occur and individuals die. However, the GBD points out that “herd immunity” merely is the state where the rate of new infections is stable.
This state is reached in various ways, different for each infectious disease, and each population. Factors include the virulence of the disease, types of vectors and reservoirs, the efficacies of vaccines, the vaccination compliance rate, the rapidity of mutations and the directions they take, the degrees of isolation or containment of either the population(s) as a whole or certain sectors of the population(s), etc., etc.
Regarding the current pre-vaccine Covid “herd immunity” state, it will be different in different environments: highly monolithic populations will differ from those with great heterogeneity; isolated island countries and/or city-states will be different than vast continental nations or countries with open borders; dictatorships and authoritarian regimes can be different from raucous open democracies. Thus small well-organized countries can with some luck achieve “herd immunity” with low infection rates by utilizing good tracing, intense testing, and tight borders, without resorting to police-state tactics; larger countries can do the same with highly invasive methodologies, not acceptable in a free society (i.e. China). “Herd immunity” in the USA for influenza, for instance, means every year a new, changed vaccine, moderate vaccination compliance, and 40,000–60,000 deaths each flu season.]
3. Regarding the not-so-obvious vulnerable (your Neanderthal cannon-fodder, for example), I find the issue as you raise it inconsequential. I could name dozens of illnesses off the tip of my tongue where genetic (and/or environmental) proclivities govern the likelihood of death or survival: Africans and sickle-cell/malaria; Aszkenazi Jews and Tay-Sachs; G6PD deficiency and Mediterranean genetics/malaria; Japanese and stomach cancer; Chinese and hepatomas; Navajos and diabetes; Nordics and osteoporosis….the list is endless. Whether a few more Neanderthals die because of Covid than the rest of Homo sapiens (i.e. Darwinism continues its natural process) is hardly even of passing interest in the larger scheme of things, especially given that we know that most of the Covid deaths won’t be triggered by genetic rarities but rather by old age, life-style diseases and/or bad habits, and modern medicine’s miraculous achievements in keeping alive those who would otherwise long-since be dead.
4. You speak of vaccine immunity as if it will be a done-deal, but I’m not sure what you mean, nor what the future will be. If the future for Covid is like influenza (i.e. mildly efficacious vaccines, moderate compliance) then I presume you mean once we have a successful vaccine, our USA “herd immunity” will produce about 100,000 Covid-19 deaths yearly (i.e. double the number of deaths from influenza because Covid is — at least according to some — twice as deadly). That would be about 1/3 of the yearly deaths from Covid’s first 12 month-sweep through the country. Steve, is 100k/year Covid-19 deaths (or maybe best-scenario 50k) the USA “herd immunity” you are envisioning?
5. There have been a variety of scholarly attempts now to cost-out the loss in life due to the lockdowns around the world, and many of them suggest the deaths and damage will far outweigh the savings in morbidity/mortality of the lockdowns. This is exactly why so many knowledgeable people have signed the GBD. The fact you haven’t read them (I’ve sent a few out previously) isn’t my fault. Overall the losses will be from missed vaccinations worldwide (for diseases far worse than Covid), worldwide malnutrition/starvation, lack of routine preventative medical care and/or missed treatments,
and multiple other factors. Furthermore, keeping children out of school to protect the old/infirm is outrageous and selfish. To quote GBD: “Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice. “
5. Your last sentence is unworthy of you: I’m good with just lobbing personal insults because I’m in no mood to take any crap from hypocrit, look-the-other-way conservatives.
What you refuse to take, Steve, is not “crap from hypocrit, (sic) look-the-other-way conservatives”, but well-thought out information from a healthcare professional and long-time friend who, unlike you, is not so hypocritical as to want to sacrifice the well-being of those less-fortunate (children, poor, working class, 3rd world, etc.) in order to protect his own well-being. Regarding lockdowns, the GBD states:
Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.
I find your position, Steve, to be mostly based on superficial understandings from casual media coverage combined with a selfish, though understandable, desire to protect we aging baby-boomers, who have already had superb lives. Shouldn’t we let the next generations live their lives at least quasi-normally and take our own individual risks with the virus, which — after all — will spare most of us anyway — just like it spared Trump? Who is the hypocrite?
6. Final point, Steve. You based most of your TDS rants against Trump on the “fact” that at Covid’s first pass, the USA had the highest reported deaths/million of any developed country, and this was, of course, all his fault. With the recent upsurge in cases in Western Europe (much greater than its simultaneous counterpart in the USA) we are reaching the point where the Western European Covid deaths/million will pass the USA’s numbers. Does that mean you will now rant against Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Pablo Sanchez, Giuseppe Conte, etc.?
Email to me from my friend SJDunn:
On Monday, November 2, 2020, 08:12:40 AM MST, Steve Dunn <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I don’t know what TDS is, but I do notice that when I disagree with you Montauks you assume I must be irrationally scared and/or have a mental problem, inc. ignorance or stupidity.
My mental problem right now is that I don’t see how a list of names and titles constitutes a plan. “Focused protection” in Trump style GB means “unfocused protect yourself,” but in practice, what does this phrase mean for Montauk or the people on this list?
My first particular question, asked in an earlier email, is worth asking again. Some of the people presumably worthy of “protection” are obvious, like old and fat. What about the vulnerable who aren’t obvious, like people with unlucky genetic predispositions like my Neanderthal variants example? Won’t they be the viral equivalent of cannon fodder, suffering and dying disproportionately for the sake an infinitesimal advance towards ‘herd immunity’ for the rest?
Probably any meaningful ‘herd immunity’ arrives mostly via vaccine. So my second item is that I would love to see the reasonable back of the envelope cost benefit analysis of what the benefits are of going the GB way that outweigh the costs of all the additional unnecessary deaths and long term lung, heart and brain damage we’ll have between now and when most of us have some vaccine immunity.
But if you continue to not want to say what your policy would be, that’s fine. I’m good with just lobbing personal insults because I’m in no mood to take any crap from hypocrit, look-the-other-way conservatives.