Vincent van Gogh Lilac Bush 1889
Granted, there are various levels of dumb acts and theories being passed as science. Spain mandating a law that says people have to wear a face mask when swimming in the sea is a extreme example. That not only has nothing to do with science, though undoubtedly they will say it’s based on it, it’s acutely dangerous. But there’s so much more.
I was reading the following for the New York Times (through local paper Kathimerini) this morning, and it gave me just about the right amount of anger. There are so many clowns out there that tell you they base their measures and restrictions on “the science”, but have no idea what that is. Injecting millions with untested substances is not science, it’s the opposite of science. Science would require evidence that such substances do not do harm (Hippocrates), and there is no such evidence.
And now we’re going to let those who have been “fully vaccinated” with these so-called vaccines, loose upon the world. What could go wrong? Well, thing is, we have no idea. The CDC is not alone in grossly botching their job, but they’re at the vanguard.
Americans who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can safely travel at home and abroad, as long as they take basic precautions like wearing masks, federal health officials announced Friday, a long-awaited change from the dire government warnings that have kept many millions home for the past year.
In announcing the change at a White House news conference, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stressed that they preferred that people avoid travel. But they said growing evidence of the real-world effectiveness of the vaccines — which have been given to more than 100 million Americans — suggested that inoculated people could do so “at low risk to themselves.”
The shift in the CDC’s official stance comes at a moment of both hope and peril in the pandemic. The pace of vaccinations has been rapidly accelerating across the country, and the number of deaths has been declining.
Yet cases are increasing significantly in many states as new variants of the coronavirus spread through the country. Just last Monday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, warned of a potential fourth wave if states and cities continued to loosen public health restrictions, telling reporters that she had feelings of “impending doom.”
Some public health experts were surprised by Friday’s announcement and expressed concern that the government was sending confusing signals to the public.
“It’s a mix of ‘please don’t travel’ at the same time this is easing travel for a subset of people,” said Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, professor of epidemiology and medicine at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. “I think it’s very confusing and goes counter to the message we heard earlier this week to ‘stay put,’ ‘hold on,’ ‘be patient.’ And that worries me. Public health messaging has to be very clear, very consistent, and it has to be very simple.”
Walensky herself seemed to acknowledge the apparent mixed messaging during Friday’s news conference. “The science shows us that getting fully vaccinated allows you to do more things safely, and it’s important for us to provide that guidance even in the context of rising cases,” she said.
[..] Federal officials remained adamant that people who have not been fully vaccinated should not travel at all, a position widely supported by public health experts.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you can return to travel, but if you are not, there is still a lot of virus circulating, and it is still a risky undertaking, and you should defer until you get vaccinated or the situation improves,” said Caitlin Rivers, a public health researcher and assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
If unvaccinated people must travel, the CDC recommends they be tested for coronavirus infection one to three days before their trip and again three to five days after it is over. They should self-quarantine for seven days after a trip if they get tested and for 10 days if they do not get tested, the agency said.
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two weeks after receiving the second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shot. Some 58 million people in the US, 22% of the adult population, have been fully vaccinated, according to the latest numbers from the CDC.
Just over a fifth of Americans have been fully vaccinated, and most of those people are too old and frail or otherwise compromised to do much traveling. Great moment to come with travel guidance. Moreover, as this little table from the Lancet shows, 40% of people are protected by their antibodies for only 90 days, and 70% for only 125 days. And that’s not the worst of it: according to the Forbes article I drew that graph from,
Though the correlates for protection weren’t exactly cut and dry, a handful stood out as potentially significant. Most salient among these was disease severity, meaning the price of admission to the persistent group was poorer health outcomes overall. The more robust a patient’s antibody response, the greater the chance they previously developed pneumonia, needed supplemental oxygen, spent time in the intensive care unit, and so on. A more technical determinant was the avidity, or binding strength, between SARS-CoV-2 and IgG antibodies, which typically help form the basis of a longer-term immune protection.
Table 1. A table based on data from the persistent antibody study. “DYNAMICS OF SARS-COV-2 NEUTRALISING ANTIBODY RESPONSES AND DURATION OF IMMUNITY: A LONGITUDINAL STUDY” HTTPS://WWW.THELANCET.COM/JOURNALS/LANMIC/ARTICLE/PIIS2666-5247(21)00025-2/FULLTEXT
That’s not a definitive word on antibodies, far from it, but that is exactly the problem. We simply don’t know, but some of us do pretend we do. Back to the “science”:
Scientists are still not certain whether vaccinated people may become infected, even briefly, and transmit the virus to others. A recent CDC study suggested such cases might be rare, but until that question is resolved, many public health officials feel it is unwise to tell vaccinated Americans simply to do as they please. They say it is important for all vaccinated people to continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and take other precautions.
How does that rhyme with Walensky’s “The science shows us that getting fully vaccinated allows you to do more things safely, and it’s important for us to provide that guidance even in the context of rising cases”? It is nonsense, that’s not what the science shows. All we have is a handful of experiments, theories and assumptions.
Under the new CDC guidance, fully vaccinated Americans who are traveling domestically do not need to be tested for the coronavirus or follow quarantine procedures at the destination or after returning home. When they travel abroad, they only need to get a coronavirus test or quarantine if the country they are going to requires it.
However, the guidance says they must have a negative coronavirus test before boarding a flight back to the United States, and they should get tested again three to five days after their return.
The recommendation is predicated on the idea that vaccinated people may still become infected with the virus. The CDC also cited a lack of vaccine coverage in other countries and concern about the potential introduction and spread of new variants of the virus that are more prevalent overseas.
The new advice adds to CDC recommendations issued in early March saying that fully vaccinated people may gather in small groups in private settings without masks or social distancing and may visit with unvaccinated individuals from a single household as long as they are at low risk for developing severe disease if infected with the virus.
Travel has already been increasing nationwide as the weather warms and Americans grow fatigued with pandemic restrictions. Last Sunday was the busiest day at domestic airports since the pandemic began. According to the Transportation Security Administration, nearly 1.6 million people passed through the security checkpoints at US airports.
If governments and their health boards like the CDC were actually interested in science, they would have campaigned starting a year or more ago, to boost the immune systems of their citizens. That is science. The impact of vitamin D on immune systems is science. The impact of healthy food is. The extra boost from ivermectin is. This could have saved millions of lives.
But your government did none of all that, so you’re on your own. Follow the science, not your goverment. They’re potentially dangerous for you, as are the “vaccines”. And yes, we get the notion of “fatigued with pandemic restrictions”, but stop calling your political calculations vis a vis that, science.
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