Sunday, August 20, 2023

Over 90,000 Canadian Deaths and Counting

A JAMA article called out 52 medical health professionals who knowingly posted misinformation on social media. About a third of them are primary care physicians. It doesn't name any names, but the funny bit is that some of them have outed themselves on Twitter as they complain about the post. 

The really compelling bit, though, is the one comment on that journal article from a retired physician, Michael Holloway, PhD: 

"One of the more disturbing common characteristics across pseudoscience topics and campaigns is the reluctance of academics and institutions to speak out against even the most harmful and egregious falsehoods for fear of political backlash and spending significant time on work for which they are not supported. These authors are right: it is the job of medical and academic institutions to take strong and effective action against pseudoscience campaigns that are actively killing people. No single individual should have to be sticking their head up despite a few principled individuals doing so. 

A July 26th Washington Post article, Doctors who put lives at risk with covid misinformation rarely punished, reports the failure of medical boards and institutions to do their jobs. The success of politicizing the pandemic and medicine is primarily owed to a few academics and physicians with ties to respected institutions who've made themselves political stars. Instead of distancing themselves from the lies, their institutions either explicitly or implicitly protect these political actors with a false argument of academic freedom and free speech. 

Two errors in this study: This is not the first article "to identify the types of COVID-19 misinformation." It is self-defeating to not reference those few individuals, like Peter Hotez, and online resources who've been carrying on the lonely fight. NYT and NPR are not the media sources of disinformation. Politicized cable broadcast news outlets are at least as responsible for the spread of disinformation as social media."

So good on JAMA for publicizing this problem. I'd add A.J. Leonardi to that list of people carrying on the fight. He's been proven prescient from the get go, and has to wade through considerable bullying from detractors in the field (some who write for the NYT), yet keeps going. 

And about those politicized broadcasts: some covid-aware medical professionals are making fun of (or getting frustrated with) the many articles coming out right now that ponder, baffled, about some mysterious reason for so many deaths. It's such a bizarre choice by media, as if they'd be struck down dead if they connect these deaths with the virus that is continuing to spread unabated. 

Canadian ER doctor, Kashif Pirzada, MD, linked to a Globe & Mail article with the headline, "More people than expected are dying in Canada in 2023 for reasons that are not yet clear," and said, 

"91,000 dead (so far) for reasons that are quite clear especially when these deaths likely cluster around surges of a certain illness that shall not be named. This isn't rocket surgery. What other major cause of death surges a few times a year with little to no efforts at prevention?

From the CDC: "Excess Deaths Associated with Covid-19"

I don't think not being able to go to brunch for a few months in 2020 is the explanation here. Lack of preventative care maybe, but why do the deaths surge with virus waves? Vaccines? Seriously? The ones most got two years ago? 

Then why are waves of death still happening? If it were vaccine related, you'd expect something right when most got them then, not in waves two years later." 
Tara Moriarty, who calculates probability rates for each province in Canada, clarified the percentage of the population in Canada that have had a Covid vaccine in the last six months: 5.7%. 

Vaccines work, doing what they were intended to do: that is, they mainly prevent severe illness, and they slightly reduce the chance of spreading Covid and getting Long Covid. But they don't guarantee that you won't get it at all. And because the virus mutates so quickly, they're only good for a few months. They're exactly like the flu shot that many of us get each year. 

Ideally we should get Covid shots every four months, but our government has allowed only once every six month. But most people aren't getting them at all anymore, to the point that many vaccines end up thrown away!! Too many people think they're like a measles shot: one plus a booster, and it's over. And that's on public health messaging - calling the second shot a "booster" instead of clarifying that this would be an ongoing thing, AND it's on the media in general for allowing anti-vax messages a platform. The upshot: very few have any vaccine protection right now.

So it really can't be the vaccines causing it. And it's absolutely ridiculous to suggest that not going to restaurants for a few months three years ago is causing people to drop dead right now. People are fighting so hard to avoid accepting that this virus is here and that we really have to change how we live, possibly forever, to avoid getting it and dying from it. Even doctors don't want to believe it. 

The change isn't that encumbersome, though. It's just one more thing to think about, which is a little bit annoying. Wear a mask when you leave the house, and, if you have to be in a public building all day, eat lunch outdoors or in a room with a window cracked and a HEPA unit or CR box nearby. It means getting take-out instead of eating in at restaurants. And it means not sipping coffee or water all day long. We used to live like that regularly. I never had a teacher actually eat or drink anything in the classroom. I wasn't sure they ate or drank at all! Now we've conditioned ourselves to accept being orally fixated, fulfilling a desire to constantly have something in our mouths. This behaviour is relatively new and can pretty easily be changed back. 

But I get that change is hard. 

We can do it during an emergency, but we can't live like it's an emergency constantly. There was a window of opportunity to teach everyone that we have to live like that, clarifying it's possible instead of allowing the media to run with articles about what a hardship it is to have some cloth in front of your face. That window closed, so we have a harder task set for us. 

How many deaths of friends and family and how many disabilities do we have to watch form in front of our eyes before we're jumpstarted to change? 

Apparently far too many.

No comments: