Cheating death


Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky taking heat for suggesting it’s a good thing the only vaccinated Americans dying from Covid-19 are those with multiple comorbidities/CDC photo

President Joe Biden might want to believe the nation is facing a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,’‘ but the reality is that the United States is largely facing the same pandemic of the fat and unfit it has faced for decades.

Newly developed mRNA vaccines are proving remarkably good at protecting the vulnerable, and most everyone else – especially those over age 50 or with serious comorbidities – from Covid-19, and everyone should give serious thought to getting vaccinated.

But as with the flu and flu vaccines before this, getting vaccinated isn’t going to prevent all of the people already in ill health from dying in a country where “health care” has become more about medicine, a big business these days, and egos than about keeping people healthy.

 “I know that many people think that medicine should be devoted to promoting wellness, and that is probably the right approach,” Dr. Milton Packer confessed in an essay posted at MedPage Today earlier this month. “But to me and to the generation of physicians trained 40 to 50 years ago, the whole point of medicine was to understand how the body worked for one purpose, and one purpose only:

“To cheat death.

“I prided myself on cheating death. In my mind’s eye, I had succeeded in cheating death hundreds — perhaps thousands — of times. My experiences as a physician reinforced the explicit assumption that there was always something that medicine could do to make things whole again.

“Until it couldn’t.”

Sometimes people, like old buildings, are in such bad shape they can’t be saved, and then crumple.

As Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky told ABC’s Good Morning America last week, “the overwhelming number of deaths, over 75 percent (among the vaccinated), occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities.”

“So really, these are people who were unwell to begin with. And yes, really encouraging news in the context of Omicron. This means not only just to get your primary series [of COVID-19 vaccines] but to get your booster series, and yes, we’re really encouraged by these results.”

Her comments came in the wake of a Jan. 7 CDC examination of 1.2 million vaccinated people showing vaccinations hugely successful but not foolproof. More than 2,200 people suffered significant breakthrough infections; 189 became seriously ill, and 36 died, according to the report.

The study took place before the more infectious and now dominant Omicron variant arrived on the scene. The new variant appears to be less deadly than its predecessors but has proven itself much better at avoiding vaccines.

That could make it, as is the case with flu, a greater threat to those living with chronic diseases or old age even if vaccinated. The CDC has for years recommended these people get vaccinated against the flu because of the increased risks of serious disease linked to their pre-existing conditions. 

Walensky’s observations on SARS-CoV-2 were in line with what the data should tell any scientist, but for her blunt honesty, she predictably came under fire as callous toward the fundamentally unhealthy.


“‘Abhorent’: Disability Advocates Slam CDC Director for Comments on ‘Encouraging’ Covid Deaths,” headlined Rolling Stone, and the World Socialist Web Site went so far as to declare her statements “an embrace of eugenics by the Biden administration.

“‘This is eugenicist,’ lawyer and disability activist Matthew Cortland, who is chronically ill, wrote on Twitter. ‘The problem is that the people running @CDCgov, including @CDCDirector, **fundamentally believe** it’s ‘encouraging’ if disabled and chronically ill people die. And all of their decisions are informed by, and enact, that belief.’

“None of this is hyperbole. Walensky’s comments express the turn on the part of the White House and dominant sections of the US political establishment toward an open embrace of the view that the lives of the chronically ill, the disabled, and the elderly are fundamentally valueless.”

The unfortunate biological truth is that Walensky was only stating what has been obvious since the SARS-CoV-2 virus first arrived on the global stage: Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, predominately kills those with multiple co-morbidities and the old, who are naturally suffering from immunosenescence. 

Many of them have died with Covid-19 in the past two years. So many died in this country that a peer-reviewed study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS) estimated that life expectancy fell by 1.13 years in 2020.

To put this in perspective, however, one should recognize that a peer-reviewed study published in PLOS-One a decade ago concluded that non-smoking, U.S. residents aged 40 to 49 were, on average, already losing more than four times that many years due to obesity-related diseases (ORDs).

“…We found that the mean life years lost associated with ORDs for U.S. non-smoking black males aged 40 to 49 years with a body mass index (BMI) above 40 kilograms per square meter (kg/m²) was 5.43 years, which translates to a 7.5 percent reduction in total life years.

“White males of the same age range and same degree of obesity lost 5.23 life years on average – a 6.8 percent reduction in total life years, followed by black females (5.04 years, a 6.5 percent reduction in life years), and white females (4.7 years, a 5.8 percent reduction in life years). Overall, ORDs increased chances of dying and lessened life years by 0.2 to 11.7 years depending on gender, race, BMI classification, and age.”

BMI is a less than perfect measure of obesity. Among its problems is that it over-estimates the body-fat percentage of people with short legs and longer torsos, such as Alaska Inuits.

The American Heart Association considers a BMI between 18.5 and 25 kg/m² to be normal weight, a BMI between 25 kg/m² and 29.9 kg/m² to be overweight, and a BMI at or above 30 kg/m² to be obese.

A 5-foot, 4-inch woman needs to reach a weight of 174 pounds or more to qualify as obese. The CDC in 2018 estimated this as the average height of U.S. women and calculated the average BMI for women was then on the verge of obesity.

It went from 28.2 in 1999-2000 to 29.6 by 2015-16, the last years for which data was available for the study. Men weren’t quite as close to being obese on average as women, but they were gaining weight at about the same rate, bulging from a BMI of 27.7 to 29.1.

Along with these weight gains have come steady increases in the ORDs – coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and sleeping problems, many types of cancer, clinical depression and anxiety, and more, according to the CDC, which now posts a pandemic specific warning on its webpage:

“COVID-19: Obesity and Excess Weight Increase Severe Illness Risk; Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist

The link there takes one to the CDC’s Adult Obesity Prevalence Map that shows 16 states with an adult obesity prevalence at or above 35 percent: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.

Fat states = deadly states

Seven of those states are in the top-10 for per-capita Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. with Mississippi leading the way and Alabama close behind in third, according to the Statista tracker. 

Only three states on the list are below the U.S. national average of 259 Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the Worldometer tracker, and two of those states – Iowa at 254 deaths per 100,000 and Ohio at 257,000 per 100,000 – are just barely under the average.

The only less-obese states in the top-10 are New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the nation; New York, where New York City has been the focal point for pandemic deaths; and Arizona.

New York City is the sixth most densely populated urban area in the country behind four cities in New Jersey and Kaser, NY, a small village of Hasidic Jews in the New York Metropolitan Area. 

The ever-increasing number of people gathered in “dense urban areas coupled with the existence of efficient modes of transportation connecting such centers, make cities particularly vulnerable to the spread of epidemics,” Covid-19 researchers reported in a peer-reviewed paper in Nature in August. 

Arizona is a different case. It was hit hard early in the pandemic, and some have blamed Gov. Doug Ducey for encouraging people in May 2020 to “get out and about, to take a loved one to dinner, to go retail shopping.”

Restaurants were, by then, already suspected hotspots for infection, and the CDC four months later reported that “adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results.”

Arizona’s death rate now, it should be noted, is less than half of what it was this time a year ago despite a surge in infections, according to the Worldometer tracker. The seven-day average for infections peaked near 10,000 per day in mid-January 2021, but is now near 13,500.

Weekly deaths, however, are averaging 60 to 70 per day, about a third of what they were at their peak last year at this time.

The numbers there and elsewhere buttress Walensky’s conclusion that the omicron variant has brought “encouraging news,” or at least encouraging news on the Covid-19 front.

On the obesity front, a major factor in the country’s still leading causes of death – heart disease and cancer – nothing has changed.

Fat and getting fatter

If anything, the obesity problem has only grown. The Harvard Medical School blames the stress of the pandemic for putting pounds on some people.

“There was a great deal of stress during the first year of the pandemic,” Dr. Elizabeth Pegg Frates wrote at Harvard Health Publishing, “and stress is associated with increased cortisol. Increased cortisol has been associated with increased intake of hyperpalatable foods, which are foods high in salt, fat, or both. There is also evidence that our bodies metabolize food more slowly when under stress.”

Researchers looking at the records of 15 million patients found 39 percent gained weight during the pandemic. Overall, individual increases and decreases in weight were relatively small, but the average, unfortunately, continued a long-running national trend toward heavier, heavier and heavier.

Meanwhile, the SARS-CoV-2 virus was evolving to more easily target children, who’d largely been spared early in the pandemic. And the country now finds obese children – almost a fifth of all kids, according to the CDC – in greater danger with omicron running rampant.

There are 14.4 million obese children in the U.S., by the CDC estimate, and the country is probably lucky there aren’t more given the realities of changing lifestyles:

More fast food. More time spent watching TV or computer games instead of playing aerobic games. More processed food. Less everyday exercise as schools become less accessible by walking or bicycling.

Four out of five high school students now fail to meet the standards for minimum, weekly physical exercise, according to the CDC. The lack of activity combined with changes in diet has resulted in fewer calories burned and more calories consumed which is the perfect formula for putting on the pounds on the road to obesity.

And now a peer-reviewed study in Hospital Pediatrics warns that “a high proportion of hospitalized children from COVID-19 had obesity as comorbidity. Furthermore, obesity had a significant independent association with critical illness.”

The number of children killed by Covid-19 in the U.S. remains very, very small. Out of 825,083 deaths between Jan. 1, 2020 and Jan. 6, 2022, the CDC reports only 694 – 0.08 percent – were age 1`7 or younger. 

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which puts the deaths of children age 14 and under at about 1,000 per year would indicate that being a passenger in a car or truck remains far more of a threat to children than Covid-19.

Still, omicron is changing the dynamic, and it is hard to predict the future. So far it seems to present a milder form of the disease as did the flu epidemics that followed the pandemic flu of 1918-1919.

But those epidemics continued to this day and still kill tens of thousands of people every year. They cannot, however, begin to touch the toll the SARS-CoV-2 virus heaped on America’s elderly.

Of those 825,083 deaths, the CDC reports 615,861 – or 74.5 percent – involved people aged 65 or older. And most of them shared one thing in common – comorbidities. And many of those comorbidities were linked to lifestyle decisions, decisions often made early in life, to ignore the health importance of fitness and diet leading to what is now called metabolic syndrome.

And there is at this time no one pill or vaccine to prevent that.














17 replies »

  1. was ycooper..
    You (superego) would never bother to say, “Body, please help me to be well,” because it goes without saying. You might say, “Mind (consciousness), please help me to be well’. But Mind must first and foremost, even before it thinks constructively, must first control the Id, the snake within us all, the base of the brain. Remember the Cherokee grandfather:
    ‘You have two wolves within you constantly at war. A good wolf and an evil one.
    “But who will win, Grandfather?”
    “The one you feed.”


    49. Alaska
    > Confirmed cases resulting in death: 0.58%
    > Cumulative COVID-19 deaths: 128 per 100,000 people — 5th lowest (980 total)
    > Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases: 23,050 per 100,000 people — 3rd highest (168,618 total)
    > Fully vaccinated population: 56.3% (18th lowest)
    > Obesity rate: 31.9% (22nd highest)
    > Diabetes rate: 8.3% (3rd lowest)

    50. Utah
    > Confirmed cases resulting in death: 0.55%
    > Cumulative COVID-19 deaths: 123 per 100,000 people — 4th lowest (3,907 total)
    > Cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases: 22,027 per 100,000 people — 5th highest (706,183 total)
    > Fully vaccinated population: 60.2% (24th highest)
    > Obesity rate: 27.0% (8th lowest)
    > Diabetes rate: 7.5% (2nd lowest)

  3. The latest data from AK DHSS says that the unvaccinated had 10.7 times the rate of hospitalization as the unvaccinated in November, 10.6 time the rate in October, 11.3 times the rate is September, 9 times the rate in August, 8.9 times the rate in July, and for whatever it’s worth at this point 19.7 times the rate from January through June. 88.9% of all covid related deaths from March 2020 through November 2021 were in those 50 years old and older. From July through November 14.4% of people between 50-64 years of age who were hospitalized with covid were vaccinated meaning 85.6% were unvaccinated, the vast majority of Alaskans in this age range were vaccinated during this time. From July through November 32.7% of people between 65 years of age and older who were hospitalized with covid were vaccinated meaning 67.3% were unvaccinated, the super majority of Alaskans in this age range were vaccinated during this time.

    In addition to being fat or overweight, the data shows being unvaccinated, being old, having comorbidities, or any combination thereof does not help your odds of surviving covid. We can control certain things in life and can’t control others. None of us has yet figured out how to truly keep aging at bay, there are many comorbidities that we have yet to keep from making us dead, being fat or overweight is amongst that comorbidities list and it isn’t like we are figuring a out away to make that upward trend stop, we just keep getting fatter. So we are left with trying to control control our weight, age, and any number of other random comorbidities…or being vaccinated.

    The median age of those hospitalized with covid was 74.4 years of age, while it was 62.0 years of age for the unvaccinated. This isn’t just a fit vs fat, young vs old, or unvaccinated vs vaccinated issues, it’s an all of the above issue. Being in any of the at risk groups isn’t even a guarantee of not being affected. This is a pandemic of the old, young, fit, unfit, unvaccinated, vaccinated, and everyone in between…some get it, or have it, spread it, or die from it worse than others. Often it’s the ignorant who get the worst of it.

    • Steve o , did the Alaska data define vacinated as the people who had one two or 3 shots / inoculation? Recent data from England and a few other countries was the reverse of what you said and they differentiate between 1-2-3 shots . Is alaska data now calling vacinated a shot and a booster ? I heard that was the new modified definition. Not sure why you said the ignorant get the worst of it . There is no proof or studies that indicated that . Tmk . Do share if you have data on ignorant . I think its health age genes and vaccine status that changes outcomes.

    • Possibly the higher recent breakthrough that end in hospitalization among the vaccinated is due to wanning immunity and Omicrons ability to skirt vaccines immune response. Thats what im reading anyway. If they develop a new omicron specific vaccine it should reverse that trend but i also recently saw European health authorities balk at the idea of a 4 th shot as odds of immune problems go up / vears/ with each additional shot ive read . True or not – unknown. The European health indicated its an unsustainable practice to constantly booster and claim we should treat it like the flu.

    • Those are generally good observations, Steve-O, but this is decidedly not a disease of the “young, fit” as the CDC data clearly shows. The deaths of those under 40 number fewer than 15,000, and those deaths weight heavily toward the unfit. The likes of Aaron Rodgers, Peter Sagan and Kenenisa Bekele are not dying from COVID-19. The latter ran 2:06 in the Berlin Marathon in September AFTER recovering from the disease.

      More under 40s die from suicide in this country every year than COVID has killed in two years.

      Now as for all the old folks – people of my age – who are dying, their deaths appear clearly linked to immunosenescence – basically the decay of the immune system – which appears to kick off big-time in our late 30s or early 40s.

      There is now a fair amount of research going on in an effort to find drugs that might slow this decay driven by “genetics, nutrition, exercise, previous exposure to microorganisms, biological and cultural sex, and human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) status can influence immunosenescence.”

      There are also sorts of wild and crazy things going on in this area with some thought being given to the idea that (HCMV) “may act to enhance immune function in younger people but then becomes a negative impact on immune function in older people”, and that there might be some sort of protection against immunological decay in a “lifetime dose” of exercise.

      As one of many infected with the cytomegalovirus, I’d personally love to know the age at which it goes from helping to hurting. I’d also love to know exactly how much it undermines the vaccines. But there are a lot of things we don’t know. There are also things we do know.

      The data clearly shows being old and unfit puts you at the greatest risk for death from COVID-19 and being young and fit is the polar opposite. If you’re in the former group, GET VACCINATED! It’s just too risky to avoid doing so. And if you’re in the latter group, go study up on the subject. Whether to vaccinate or not is for that group a debatable subject, and I personally believe people should have the freedom to choose what they put in their bodies or refuse to put in their bodies.

      A strong scientific case can be made for the decision Rodgers made even if he is a manipulative bullshitter who should have been called out by the media when he first claimed to be “immunized.” Only incompetence can explain the failure of any reporter to ask “what the hell does that mean?” But then incompetence has defined a lot of COVID coverage.

      • Craig,
        Good points and I appreciate the effort.I can empathize with your libertarian streak.But we are almost of similar age, we both have a button shaped emblem on one of our shoulders.Mine seems to have melded into nothing.That button represents a vaccine against 4 or 5 things that ran around back in the day when we were covered in dirt, and our pockets were full of dead spiders.
        Nobody asked us, pretty sure our parents weren’t asked either, who also most likely had a similar button, worth almost as many things on one of there shoulders.
        When Marlin was a kid he was given a draft #(or would have been because of his age),as was the case for several decades.When we were kids, we were told to enroll in “selective service”‘still the case to this day.
        These were things we did because thats what the collective does for the betterment of all (and well sometimes theres legal ramifications)
        .Its something that we sacrifice for the all.
        As Ive stated before adnauseum over the past 2 or so years.Its not about me its about the citizen around me,I make the sacrifice for the betterment of us all,whethor its following rules of the road, or getting the jab.
        Im not scared of dying or even a bad sick over from The ‘Rona,I dont want to infect somebody in Carrs.Thats simply looking out for my neighbor far and wide.And I wish others had the same outlook.
        What would the outcome be if everybody had nearly that same outlook?
        And what would the outcome be if we all said as a collective majority “F.U”?
        Maybe ask somebody who works in Intensive Care what they think about that libertarian streak.

      • Dave: You’re not paying attention to the science. Vaccination is not stopping the spread of the virus. There’s no evidence it’s doing the opposite, but it might be. It could easily encourage those who think it is stopping the spread to ignore the mild symptoms that suggest they have Covid and venture out among the rest of us, as is a now long and established practice in this country.

        If we were truly interested in looking out for our neighbors, we would have long ago stopped going out when we had the sniffles. We were killing people by the tens of thousands by giving them the flu for decades and even the common cold, which kills some as well. I fully admit to going to work with the flu in my younger years (now long ago) to prove how I could tough my way through it.

        This “betterment of the all” bullshit has been the biggest strawman in the game since the start of the pandemic. If we cared about the betterment of all, people would pay attention to their driving – a simple thing – but few do. And I’m personally far more concerned about getting run down by someone with their face stuffed in their phone checking their email than I am about being killed by COVID.

        But then it’s pretty easy to avoid the places where SARS-CoV-2 viruses are likely to accumulate, say poorly ventilated bars and restaurants. Unfortunately, I’m confident that as I write this on a Friday, there is someone with mild symptoms of COVID, because they have COVID, getting ready to go out to eat or hit the bar, because, well, “I’ve been vaccinated, and I’m going to wear my mask, and everything will be fine.”

        Unfortunately, the SARS-CoV-2 being picked up in restaurants doesn’t fall from the sky:

        “When 62 volunteers wore the samplers for 5 days, PCR detected SARS-CoV-2 RNA in 5 (8%) of them, 4 of them worn by restaurant servers and 1 by a homeless shelter worker. The highest viral loads (more than 100 RNA copies per clip) were found in two clips worn by restaurant servers.”

        So, please, please, please just stop with the betterment of all nonsense. I’ve heard it too much the last two years from good liberal friends I know well who would never – NEVER, NEVER, NEVER – stop to help someone broken down along a cold, deserted Alaska highway at night because there might be some tiny, minute risk to stopping to help.

        I don’t fault them for that. There is a risk, no matter how small, and the betterment of others, though a good thing, is not a requirement of citizenship. That said, I’m always going stop. And if I’m ill, as I was with RSV a while back, I’m now making it a point to stay the hell away from other people. But I’m not going to demand everyone get vaxed to protect me, because it doesn’t work that way.

        Israel is reported to be 97 vaxed. Go look at their infection rate since omicron hit. It’s about three times higher than where it was at its peak last year.

        Thank God, omicron isn’t proving as deadly as delta, but delta is still out there, which is the best reason for anyone who is vulnerable to get vaxed. I’m twice vaxed and boosted. The booster (Moderna) sucked. It was like going and getting a shot of the flu. I don’t know that I wanted to get boosted with that shit again. And I don’t think anyone is under any obligation to put themselves through that or anything else for the betterment of me, especially when the evidence indicates it doesn’t better me or if it does the betterment is so small as to be meaningless.

        If you want to do something for me, do something that does something. Control your dog maybe. 800,000 people per year go to the hospital in this country because of dog bites.

        Or pay attention to your driving. I’ve been hit five times on the bike. Fortunately none of the injuries were serious, but I now find it hard to ride near many roads in Anchorage for fear of getting hit again.

      • Craig,
        As this pandemic morphs into an endemic especially with the rise of omicron, and as people have died off, the age groups impacted have shifted. Just since the beginning of this year the majority of cases are with those under 50, the largest age group being those 18-29 years of age. Whether one suffers bad outcomes from this disease or not is, without a doubt, related to age and the persons health/fitness before coming down with the disease.

        The age group disparity of those hospitalized with covid who are vaccinated vs unvaccinated is a massively and glaringly obvious data point. Older people have a much higher vaccination rate, their immune systems might not even take the vaccine as well and yet out of those hospitalized with covid the unvaccinated group is 12.4 years younger…that’s astonishing. Essentially the vaccine is providing an immune response that improves an old persons immune system with a decade plus benefit over an unvaccinated person.

        I’m a big believer in personal choice and I do not believe in mandates, especially from the federal government. I’m also a big believer in being informed, sadly there are far too many who have perished and will perish from covid simply due to ignorance.

      • Craig,
        The vaccines are very effective in preventing serious illness and death FULL STOP.
        Should I even bother with links?
        While I’ll state upfront, that I dont wear a mask (unless mandated, and no not N95,i have a beard, waste of time and $’s).
        There was a PEER reviewed study on the efficacy of good masks, not some un reviewed bullshit study from Bangladesh,if I remember correctly(which you linked to at the time),which showed that there was an indeed helpfull response by wearing them(properly).
        But you dropped that waste of time narrative when that came out, perhaps it was coincidence.
        You want a perfect solution, the same way you want an anchorage that pays for or guarantees safe bike travel.Whats life telling you?
        Does it pay to be a Cranky Old Fuck?
        We’re in fairly uncharted waters,we’ve come so far in 100 yrs but if you read historical accounts, we really haven’t.
        Lifes a circle…

      • Dave: I think we’re in agreement on at least a couple of points here. One from the same position – that there is no perfect solution – and another from slightly different positions, that being that we haven’t come very far in 100 years.

        I two months ago started asking people if they knew anyone who NEVER had the flu? I was convinced then that we were ALL going to have Covid-19 sooner or later. There is now a medical consensus building toward that conclusion. Half of Europe is expected to have it within six months. I would wager we come out this the way we came out of the flu with a long and declining tail of deaths as the virus moderates (because that is the best evolutionary path for it) and people develop increasing immunity.

        The vaccines we have now certainly do work well against alpha and delta for the at-risk populations, but vaccinated, at-risk people are still dying, and the success of the vaccines is overrated because the pool of the vaccinated includes a shit-ton of people at little risk of serious Covid or death.

        There are a whole lot of folks, basically all healthy people under 40, at little risk. Millions of them got vaccinated. Others likes Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton didn’t, caught the disease and then went back to their jobs seemingly none the worse for the experience.

        Do you really believe we should equire people at little risk of disease to inject something, anything, into their bodies to make you feel better or safer?

        How about we require everyone in Anchorage to drive at 20 mph everywhere, which the evidence actually SHOWS would reduce the deaths of pedestrians, cyclists and, for that matter, moose? I’m not about to propose that, but there is more actual science to support the idea than there is to support the idea that vaccinating everyone is going to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and end all deaths.

        Given that is now clear we are looking at the necessity to inject and inject and inject boosters as the virus evolves into new variants, my thinking is largely in line with that of the European Medicine Agency:
        “Boosters ‘can be done once, or maybe twice, but it’s not something that we can think should be repeated constantly,” Marco Cavaleri, the EMA head of biological health threats and vaccines strategy, said at a press briefing on Tuesday. ‘We need to think about how we can transition from the current pandemic setting to a more endemic setting.'”

        I am of this view because that is where science is pointing. That said, I happily concede that science is not perfect. I’ve been a student of science for more than 50 years. Sadly, it is regularly wrong, and it seldom offers perfect answers let alone perfect solutions.

        Along those lines, rather than debating masks, I suggest you read this study:

        The researchers involved there actually made some breath-test dummies – you know, like the crash-test dummies used to actually STUDY seatbelts and automotive crumple design and not just speculate on it. The takeaway from the study was this: “The droplets present in the impinging cough can penetrate through the mask, atomizing into the aerosolization range and thus increasing the infection potential.”

        I’m glad I don’t have to work in a poorly ventilated building, and I’ve avoided such spaces for two years due to concerns about this very issue of the potential build-up of aerosols. We’ve known since the Spanish flu that for viruses as for pollution the solution is dilution, but we’ve almost totally ignored that problem. It is only in the last six months or so that there has really been serious discussion, though little action, on fixing building ventilation.

        Possibly this was because of the belief vaccines were going to fix everything. That has been unlikely since the start. Here is a history of the flu from 1918 to near the present day. I suggest you point out on the graph of infections where vaccines fixed everything?

        Vaccines are sadly not the be-all to end all. They were hugely successful in eliminating smallpox, but we should not be misled by that BECAUSE “only humans can transmit and catch smallpox.

        “Some diseases have an animal reservoir, meaning they can infect other species besides humans. Yellow fever, for example, infects humans, but can also infect monkeys. If a mosquito capable of spreading yellow fever bites an infected monkey, the mosquito can then give the disease to humans. So even if the entire population of the planet could somehow be vaccinated against yellow fever, its eradication could not be guaranteed. The disease could still be circulating among monkeys, and it could re-emerge if human immunity ever waned. (The discovery of an animal reservoir for yellow fever was in fact what derailed a yellow fever eradication effort in the early 1900s.)”

        We already know that SARS-CoV-2 can infect, according to the CDC, “cats, dogs, bank voles, ferrets, fruit bats, hamsters, mink, pigs, rabbits, raccoons, tree shrews, and white-tailed deer.”,be%20infected%20with%20the%20virus

        They are all potential reservoirs for the disease. So now what, a national program to hunt down every cat, dog, bank vole, ferret, fruit bat, hamsters mink, pig, rabbit, raccoon, tree shrew, and white-tailed deer to vaccinate it? Or maybe just aerial hunts to eliminate them all? That would probably be the safest and easiest way to go.

        P.S. The Bangladesh study was peer-reviewed. It is one of two peer-reviewed RCTs of masks out there. Neither showed that they did much of anything, but there are still plenty of people willing to believe they are as protective as condoms. Just as there are people wanting to believe that everyone got vaccinated this long, global nightmare would be instantly over. I wish it was that simple.

      • Dave,
        What don’t you get, the vaccine does not work!

        In Alaska, for the most recent report going back about a month, from November 27 to January 1 there were 49 vaccine breakthrough hospitalizations and 12 deaths reported by DHSS. During that same timeframe there were 139 hospitalizations and 82 deaths in the unvaccinated reported by DHSS. The vaccination rate for Alaskans 5+ years of age was reported as 61% to 67.8% during that time. That means 26% of those hospitalized and 13% of covid related deaths were vaccinated, while 61-68% of the population was vaccinated in the last month. Put another way 74% of those hospitalized and 87% of covid related deaths were unvaccinated, while 32-39% of the population was unvaccinated in the last month.

        Vaccines totally do not work! Some people who are old and are vaccinated are still getting sick and even fewer are dying, like fractions of those who have not been vaccinated! It totally does not work, because you know, vaccines cause autism…

  4. The US ranks # 46 worldwide in average longevity (79+ yrs) People pay their taxes for this performance (a loss of about 5 yrs of potential life in a ‘developed’ nation) and there are 14 MDs in Congress. Go USA, make it #50.

  5. Excellent points: prevention, wellness, and long term outlook for health, among other things, factor in heavily here, and seem to be most of what we Americans are lacking, today.

    But we can certainly learn to Do Better.

    Best Regards,

    • One would hope so, but we have a lot of seductive “energy-saving” devices and such easy access to large quantities of food it would have been hard to imagine 100 years ago.

      • Yes. This is why I am careful now, since I’ve hit 50, to time my eating and keep track of my calorie to movement ratio. It’s not rocket science, and avoiding temptation, for me, is just a matter of occupying myself with something useful until the craving passes, as right now, with my craving for some coffee!
        I think the biggest problem is that we no longer have a general expectation of self-discipline. A librarian even told me that he couldn’t imagine having the level of discipline needed to keep working as I do, in the library to avoid my smoking neighbors, although he’d like to write a book.
        I don’t understand it.
        Practice builds self-discipline, all it takes it application.

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