Believing in impossible things – and COVID19
March 6, 2021 | By Dr. Malcom Kendrick | Source
““Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
1: ‘The Concept of Coronavirus Herd Immunity Is Deadly and Dangerous’ https://www.self.com/story/coronavirus-herd-immunity
Since COVID19 first hurtled over the horizon, before landing upon us all with great force, I find that I have been asked to believe in many impossible things. First, I was told that attempting to create herd immunity was not achievable. It would also be extremely dangerous and would inevitably result in many hundreds of thousands of excess deaths.
Then the vaccines arrived at fantastical speed and I was told that mass vaccination, by creating herd immunity, would be the factor that would allow us to conquer COVID19 and return to normal life. I am not entirely sure which of these things is impossible, but one of them must be.
2: ‘Vaccines, on the other hand, are believed to induce stronger and longer lasting immunity.’https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/does-the-vaccine-give-better-protection-than-having-fought-off-the-virus_uk_601c0663c5b62bf30754c563
I was then told the vaccine would provide greater immunity than being infected with COVID19. Which was interesting. I am not sure if this is actually impossible, but it seemed unlikely that anyone could make such statements after about three hundred people had actually been studied, and just two months had passed.
At the time I was aware of two people proven to have been re-infected with COVID19, out of about ten million cases. So, getting infected certainly seemed to provide a pretty good degree of immunity. A re-infection rate of 0.00005%
I also know that vaccinations can only ever really create an attenuated response. Whereas a full-blown infection triggers a full-blown immune response. So, I think it is pretty close to impossible that vaccination can provide greater protection than that from getting the actual disease. Which is why I think it is utterly bonkers we are actually vaccinating people who have circulating antibodies in their blood.
3: ‘Universal mask use could save 130,000 U.S. lives by the end of February, new study estimates.’ https://www.statnews.com/2020/10/23/universal-mask-use-could-save-130000-lives-by-the-end-of-february-new-modeling-study-says/
I am also being asked to believe that face masks are essential to stop the spread of COVID19 and prevent millions of deaths worldwide. The use of masks to prevent viral spread is something I actually researched in depth before COVID19 arrived (for various reasons), as did the WHO. They looked at non-pharmaceutical interventions for prevention of influenza, and produced a hefty report, which covered the use of masks.
Yes, I agree, influenza is not exactly the same as COVID19. But it is pretty much the same size of virus, and it is thought to spread in much the same way. Anyway, the WHO reported their views on masks in 2019, using data from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) – the gold standard.
‘Ten RCTs were included in the meta-analysis, and there was no evidence that facemasks are effective in reducing transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.’ https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/329438/9789241516839-eng.pdf?ua=1
Since then, there has only been one RCT done on COVID19 transmission, in Denmark. It did not find any significant benefit from masks in reducing spread. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33205991/
Never has a trial been subjected to such immediate and hostile reporting. Fact-checkers (whoever exactly they might be, or what understanding they have of medical research) immediately attacked it. One such, called PolitiFact, made the following judgement, which amused me.
“Social media posts claim, “The first randomized controlled trial of more than 6,000 individuals to assess the effectiveness of surgical face masks against SARS-CoV-2 infection found masks did not statistically significantly reduce the incidence of infection.”
The study concluded that wearing masks did not offer a very high level of personal protection to mask wearers in communities where wearing masks was not common practice. The study noted, however, that the data suggested masks provided some degree of self-protection.
We rate this claim Mostly False. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33205991/”
So, according to PolitiFact, masks provided self-protection, but not personal protection. An interesting concept. Note to self, try to find out the difference between these two things.
In fact, this was just one of hundreds of critical articles, with self-anointed fact checkers clearly desperate to pull it to pieces. Yes, we have now entered a world when political fact checkers feel free to attack and contradict the findings of scientific papers, using such scientific terms as ‘Mostly false.’ Maybe they should have called it ‘very unique’ at the same time. Or, like the curate’s egg, that was good in parts.
Ignoring the modern-day Spanish Inquisition, and their ill-informed criticisms, I will simply call this study. More evidence that face masks don’t work. Perhaps someone will come along with a study proving that face masks work. So far … nada. Another impossible thing.”