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Welcome to a new edition of The Illusion of Consensus podcast. You can download our third episode on Spotify and Apple. Below are transcribed highlights from our nearly 2-hour conversation. Please leave your feedback in the comments below!
(Apologies on the suboptimal audio quality. Future episodes will have highly refined and produced audio.)
— The Illusion of Consensus team
Dr. Jay B: Tony Fauci going door-to-door telling people that it's very very rare that you're going to get the disease if you are vaccinated in early 2021 — he didn't know that!
The randomized trials for the vaccines that had been just published in December of 2020 never looked or checked for prevention of disease transmission. Instead what those trials checked for was prevention of symptomatic infection for two months, which is not the same thing as preventing any infection.
He should have said we don't know if it stops transmission….That would have been within what the science actually showed at the time instead he vastly overstated the case and in ways that just when you look at those PBS documentary, it makes him look foolish.
Rav: What's incredible about some of these clips is that you have ordinary people who seem more sensible and more rational than someone with decades of medical and epidemiological experience handling multiple pandemics.
This is a broader trend that can be sensed in different political and cultural issues where the ‘experts’ seem to be less in touch with reality than ordinary people are.
The lunacy of incentivizing vaccination with donuts, ice cream, cheeseburgers, and weed:
Rav: Why aren’t more people getting vaccinated? Why do we need cheeseburgers and ice cream and weed to get people vaccinated?
Many of these things, in fact, add to long term risk factors….like an unhealthy diet, eating fast food with seed oils etc — they work against your health in the long-term. This is one of the things that Joe Rogan has been correct about — why weren't public health experts encouraging proper exercise, sleep, diet, and supplementation with vitamin D and magnesium?
There was no holistic approach to understanding mind and body. Why was none of that encouraged but instead ‘go get your vaccine and here's your cheeseburger and fries’?
Dr. Jay B: They're essentially treating adults as if they're children. “Look if you're good and you do what we're asking you to do and we'll give you a lollipop….we'll give you Krispy Kreme”
It's absolutely right for that man in that PBS video talking to Fauci to say, “look when you start talking about paying people to get vaccinated…when you start talking about incentivizing people to get vaccinated something else is going on with that.”
It is inherent in the human soul to be suspicious of someone trying to bribe you to do something you don't need…to bribe people to be vaccinated…
Dr. Jay analyzes the popular scientific claim, “300,000 US COVID deaths could have been averted through vaccination, analysis finds”
Dr. Jay: “So if you have let's say it's 50% of teenagers or 19-year-olds are unvaccinated but only 4% of older people are unvaccinated, expanding vaccination in teenagers is not going to prevent that many deaths because teenagers don't die at very high rates from getting infected. So the vaccine doesn't reduce the risk of death by very much in that population.
A second complication around this is that you need to know how many people are unvaccinated and recovered from Covid. Why is that important? Well, because if you've had Covid and recovered there was at the time — and even more now — a tremendous amount of evidence that suggests that a Covid-recovered person also has a very substantially lower risk of death in a subsequent covid infection than they might have faced.
So you need to know those two facts if you're going to run a study like this. You need to know what's the age of the unvaccinated population and you need to know what fraction of each age group had Covid and recovered.
The group that wrote this paper had access to neither of those facts and they made assumptions which, from a technical point of view, I think don't look plausible to me. So it's not surprising to me when I looked into this to see that this paper has not yet been published despite getting tremendous amount of media attention a year ago
They don't have the vaccination rates by age and they don't even mention natural immunity or immunity after Covid recovery in the paper at all — they don't have the county level age structures.
I think there's like very important technical problems with this paper that sort of make it so it's impossible to really believe the bottom line number.
If scientists are going spreading it around without having gone through the caveats that I just went through I think they're also doing an irresponsible thing.
Rav on obesity leading to more serious Covid outcomes:
Rav: One thing that I've written about recently is obesity rates in the United States —many people are asking why does the U.S have such a high rate of Covid deaths, whereas other countries don't and one major factor — and I'm actually curious if you think there are other major factors at play that differentiate the us— is about 40% of the population is obese. Something like 60% to 70% of the population is obese or overweight.
And I was just looking at the rates for young people and teenagers ages ten to 17: the obesity rate is about 20% now….There's a lot of uncertainty here and so it's hard to predict or to make extrapolations from very limited data but there are many risk factors involved that make this picture very confusing to understand.
Dr. Jay B: I think obesity is one of those things where I have a rule of thumb based on what I've seen of the literature that characterizes the mortality risk from Covid infection for every seven years of age.
Speaking maybe eight years of age the risk of dying from Covid infection doubles right so in 2020 based on this vast literature of seroprevalence used to estimate the covid infection fatality rate…roughly speaking, people can dispute the specific numbers but I'll just give you some ballpark figures: someone who's 50 years old has an infection fatality rate about 0.2%.
So 99.8% survival in 2020 — this is in 2020 if you're taking a population of people that have not previously been infected for every seven years of age. It doubles the risk right so for a 57 year old maybe the risk could be 0.4%l for a 64 year old the risk would be 0.8% and so on and it halves in the other direction. By the time you get down to a teenager you're talking about very very low rates of infection fatality rate…so an obese 50 year old who remember I said would average 0.2% might have a 0.4% infection fatality rate because of obesity.
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