GALVESTON

Cathy Cloud wants an antibody test, not a vaccination.

Last week, Cloud, a Galveston resident, was having a tough time finding a place that would test her blood for COVID antibodies, she said.

She wanted a test that would prove to relatives she was protected against the virus. That proof would allow her to see family members who have avoided her because she’s unvaccinated, she said.

Cloud was diagnosed with COVID-19 in early August, she said. Despite getting “really, really sick,” going to an emergency room to seek monoclonal antibody treatments and losing 11 pounds over 15 days because she wasn’t eating, she said she now felt “fabulous” and had no interest in getting vaccinated.

“It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever had in my life,” Cloud said.

Cloud plans to rely on natural immunity gained by surviving COVID. She’s not the only one with that plan.

As the COVID pandemic approaches its 20th month, exact answers about how well natural immunity conferred by infection works to prevent reinfection remain elusive. Although experts now say previously infected people might be protected, many still consider vaccinations the best protection and the best path to take.

Detailed COVID statistics released by the Galveston County Health District indicate vaccines and natural antibodies offer protection against serious cases of COVID. But comparing the protective abilities of the two isn’t easy and is a matter of ongoing research.

And based on what’s known today, the weight of evidence says people should be vaccinated rather than risk getting sick and letting natural immunities develop.

“You’re risking hospitalization,” said Dr. Dean Blumberg, an associate professor and specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of California–Davis. “You’re risking death. You’re risking a severe disease. My recommendation is don’t take that risk.”

WHAT THE NUMBERS SAY

In Galveston County, which is emerging from a summer wave of infections that set records for cases and COVID- related hospitalizations, health district information indicates people who previously were infected with COVID-19 are more protected against the virus than unvaccinated people.

Every Friday, the Galveston County Health District reports the number of known breakthrough cases — when someone gets sick after getting a full course of vaccinations — and the number of reinfections, those cases when someone is diagnosed with COVID again more than 90 days after an initial infection.

Based on the county’s most recently reported numbers, it appears people in both groups are unlikely to be infected by the virus. If they are infected, they are unlikely to suffer serious consequences.

In the numbers released by the health district, breakthrough cases among the vaccinated occur at a lower rate than reinfections occur in the previously infected.

People who have breakthrough cases also are hospitalized at a lower rate. About 1 in every 10 reinfection cases has resulted in a hospitalization, according to the health district. In breakthrough cases, hospitalizations have happened in about 1 in every 25 cases.

A DISCREPANCY

But there is one rate in which that trend appears to be reversed. People with reinfections are dying at a lower rate than people with breakthrough cases.

Of the 52,387 COVID diagnoses identified in Galveston County residents since March 2020, only 476 were identified as reinfections, about 0.91 percent, according to the health district. Only two deaths were reported among reinfected people, about 0.4 percent.

Of the 181,101 people who have been fully vaccinated in Galveston County, 1,513 have been reported to later test positive, about 0.84 percent. Of the local breakthroughs, 17 people have died, a 1.1 percent rate.

Galveston County Local Health Authority Philip Keiser cautioned against jumping to conclusions based on the district’s reporting. The number of known reinfections is three times smaller than the number of breakthroughs, making it hard to draw direct conclusions on rates, Keiser said.

“We have a limited dataset,” Keiser said. “It’s a very small number. From a statistical point of view, your ability to measure that ratio with precision is not as high as when you have 200,000 people.”

There’s also a deficit in other types of information, he said.

“It’s not just infected/not infected, or vaccinated/unvaccinated,” Keiser said. “It’s how many days out from vaccination are you because we know the ability to protect wanes over time. You also need to know the total number days of exposure, and that’s constantly changing every day. You’ve got three moving targets.”

WHAT EXPERTS SAY

A low reinfection rate hasn’t changed public health officials’ stance on whether the unvaccinated and yet-to-be infected should be vaccinated.

“It’s an interesting question because for many diseases natural immunity might be better than vaccine-induced immunity,” Blumberg said.

“For COVID, if you measure the immune response for people who are fully vaccinated, the preponderance of studies find that immune response is stronger, more consistent and longer-lasting following vaccination.”

It’s also not advisable to hope natural immunity will protect you because natural immunity requires getting infected and sick, which carries a risk of serious health repercussions and death, he said.

Among Galveston County residents confirmed with COVID infection since March 2020, 1 in every 33 has been hospitalized and 1 in every 100 has died, according to the health district.

With the vaccines and natural infections, it’s still unknown how long immunity will last. But there’s evidence that vaccines protect better than natural immunity, experts said.

“We know natural immunity is limited,” said Dr. Richard Rupp, the assistant director of the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Texas Medical Branch. “Healthy people start getting reinfected as soon as six months after their initial infection. There is a good chance that natural immunity will only protect for three to five years.”

That chance is based on how long natural immunity lasts in people who have caught other types of coronaviruses, such as the common cold.

The virus adversely affects immune systems in ways vaccines don’t, and people who are vaccinated have higher antibody levels than do people who were previously infected, Rupp said.

There also is a potential benefit for previously infected over the vaccinated. When a person is infected, the immune system develops antibodies against more than just the spike proteins, which the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines teach immune systems to copy and train to fight against the real virus.

Theoretically, a natural immunity might be broader and help a body fight against future variations of the virus, Rupp said.

RISKING IT

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on its website acknowledges contracting COVID-19 might offer some natural protection, particularly in the first 90 days after infections.

Rupp and the CDC have the same stance on getting vaccinated over hoping to be naturally immune: It’s not worth the risk.

“Each infection carries the risk of myocarditis, blood clots, lung damage, long-haulers and death,” Rupp said. “We tend to only count death, but who really wants blood clots, heart damage, lung damage, prolonged fatigue or brain fog?”

Rupp and Blumberg said there’s one other benefit of vaccination for people who, like Cloud, already have been infected. Getting vaccinated after an infection might provide a super-immunity against the virus because the infection essentially primes a person’s body to receive the vaccine, they said.

But like so many things with the COVID virus, the super-immunity theory is still being studied, Rupp said.

Keiser said Monday about 100,000 county residents might still be vulnerable to infection because they’ve neither been vaccinated nor recovered from infection.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter

@johnwferguson.

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(81) comments

Bailey Jones

That's a nice summary of the state of our scientific knowledge at the moment. [thumbup]

Gary Miller

This writer is behind on scientific knowledge. Health agencies of the US, Israel, UK and Germany have reported aquired immunity is 6, 20, 27 and 19 times better than a vaccine immunity. Stronger now and longer lasting. Bureaucrats paid to sell vaccines ignore this.

Bailey Jones

Gary, we'd love to see those studies. Don't just keep them to yourself.

Carlos Ponce

Looks like Biff Tannen was patterned after Bailey Jones.

Gary Miller

Bailey > You will not find it on CNN or other MSM outlets.

Gary Miller

Bailey >It is nothing but a summery of what some bureaucrats have been PAID to say. Real science says aquired immunity is much stronger and longer lasting.

Carlos Ponce

Demanding vaccination for pandemic victims is purely political, neither medical nor scientific. Not my opinion but that of real doctors who see real patients, not medical bureaucrats promoting vaccinations for everyone - even your dog.

Ron Woody

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Ron Woody

WOW!

So let's just ignore the research that have come from Israel and the UK and our own Cleveland Clinic.

1. Depending on whichever statistics one wants to state 40% to 80% of COVID cases were asymptomatic. So no known effects on 50% of cases, just to use a moderate number.

2. We know the vaccine begins to fade at 6 to 8 months, but studies show natural immunity is lasting up to 14 months. Longer period can not be verified due to the time the virus has been identified.

3. We have been told not to compare COVID to flu or cold and now authorities are doing such. There are numerous diseases and viruses where natural immunity lasts a lifetime, but let's pretend that doesn't happen.

4. Since August 1st over 70% of hospitalizations in the UK are breakthrough cases of the vaccinated. This makes sense due to UK high vaccination rate.

I appreciate the GDN pointing out that natural immunity has the potential to fight new variants more effectively and that adding the vaccine does provide the best precaution.

I truly do not understand the country I am living or the unnecessary over reach by our government.

1. I am told I have to become vacconated yet, over half a million immigrants have been released into the nation in 60 days and the government doesn't care if they are vaccinated.

2. I have to assume President Obama and other elected officials have more information than us, as they continue their maskless lives, while forcing children to wear masks.

As an individual with natural immunity that was completely asymptomatic I see no reason to take the vaccine while this hypocrisy continues, with knowing that my natural immunity lasts longer than the vaccine, fights other variants better and while we do not know the long term side effects of the vaccine.

Let me be clear without natural immunity, at age 61 and being slightly overweight I would strongly consider the vaccine. Given Pharma's ties to the AMA and our elected officials, AMA/Pharma's history of shoving drugs down Americans throats whether needed or not, history of drugs being pulled off market after years of us for side effects (Chantix, talculm powder), the hypocrisy and denial of rights the last 20 months, the history Dr. Fauci had with pushing AZT, I can not think of one reason I or anyone else in similar situation should be required to take the vaccine.

Apologies for any grammar or spelling errors as done on my phone.

Robert Braeking

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Gary Miller

Ron> US researchers say natural immunity is6 times better than vaccine. Israel says 20 times better, UK says 27 times better, German say 18 times better. Our Lobbyist funded Bureaucrats dispute the real science because when the pandemic ends mask and vaccine sales will end. The naturally immune should get credit for being the safest people around. Depending on the level achieved natural immunity may only last as long as a shot but may also last a lifetime. The vaccines only last a few months.

Ron Woody

Correct and here is where the insincerity of American media comes through. They have the numbers you mentioned, but none of those were listed in GDN or any mainstream media. Dr. Fauci was never asked a question about natural immunity until two weeks ago. SERIOUSLY!!

His response it needs to be considered and studied. RIDICULOUS!!!

Then they wonder why there is vaccine hesitancy. COME ON, MAN!!

Bailey Jones

I'd like to see that Israeli study, Gary. Especially since they've just mandated a 3rd dose, and are requiring all recovered COVID patients to be vaccinated.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/over-1-million-israelis-who-didnt-get-3rd-dose-to-lose-green-pass-on-sunday/

Ron Woody

Mr. Jones the Iaraeli study has been out for a couple of months and from my reading is often misintrepreted. My understanding it states natural immunity is 27 times better than unvaccinated not vaccinated. If my memory is still accurate this is also the study that first identified "super immunity". Identied for a number of patients that had natural immunity coupled with vaccination and an extreme resistance to all known variants.

Doing this from memory but have read synopsises of this Israeli study three or four times.

Bailey Jones

Ron, I curious to know why the Israelis draw a different conclusion from their study than you and Gary have drawn. For instance, requiring former COVID patients to get vaccinated. That seems like a waste of resources if natural immunity really is many times better than vaccine immunity.

Ron Woody

Mr. Jones, I agree, as you know that was guidance from Cleveland Clinic study. That on a global scale vaccination should be focused on unvaccinated and those with natural immunity should be an afterthought.

I would also question it since it is also known that the vaccine does not fight new variants. I have not heard or read that boosters are anything different from original ingredients. Curious on your research of difference between original and booster.

The only justification is chasing the super immunity. To date I have not seen any research of natural immunity not maintaining acceptable antibodies up to the 14 month period. Yes, there are unvaccinated natural immunity getting a second case, but as the article points out the results are similar to vaccination and deaths are lower in the small sample size.

Mr. Jones, I have respected your tenacious efforts on this subject for the past 18 months. Please do not make me question my own judgement by telling me you believe Natural Immunity is not acceptable 🙂

Or the belief that governments have not used COVID for political reasons and to infringe citizen's rights.

I am curious as to how you are unaware of the Israeli study? With UK and Israeli populations high vaccination rates studies coming from those countries have been a legitimate and accurate predictor of patterns in the US

Ron Woody

Mr. Jones, please re-read my response. I clearly stated that the Israeli study is often misintrepreted. I also stated that from my reading it states natural immunity is 27 times better than unvaccinated, NOT vaccinated.

Carlos Ponce

"Israeli study: Natural immunity gives better protection than COVID shot"

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/312637

Ron Woody

Mr. Ponce, thank you as always!

Bailey Jones

Ron, my mistake.

Bailey Jones

Ron, I believe I've said before that if I was in your shoes - having recovered from COVID, or at least with a positive antibody test - I would still get vaccinated. And I believe I have said before that I understand your believing that you don't need to.

As for the boosters, they are the same stuff as the original vaccines.

I'll disagree with you on the point that the vaccines don't work against variants. So far, they are effective against all of them.

Ron Woody

Mr. Jones, no worries. I am not saying that the vaccine does not help with variants, what every study I have read (five or six) and even the developers of the mRNA say is that while the vaccine fights the spike peoteins, natural immunity fights all aspects of the variants giving a broader defense than the vaccine. That is why the government just ignoring natural immunity is a joke, especially given UK results in last month where 70% of hospitalized are vaccinated.

Thanks for the info on the boosters. I knew you would know. 🙂

On a personal note I have a 60 year old friend with Type I diabetes since age 12. He is currently fighting COVID that has turned into pneumonia. Unless it turns he will be in good shape. The vaccine was made for individuals in his condition. He is not committing to he wishes he would have had the vaccine, but his misery and tone tells me he wish he had.

Bailey Jones

The Israeli study is here - https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.08.24.21262415v1

It's worth noting that this study comes with a caveat - "This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice."

However, the conclusion is something that we should all be able to agree on - there is still a benefit to getting vaccinated after recovering from COVID.

"Conclusions This study demonstrated that natural immunity confers longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, compared to the BNT162b2 two-dose vaccine-induced immunity. Individuals who were both previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and given a single dose of the vaccine gained additional protection against the Delta variant."

Gary Miller

Bailey> Bureaucrats selling vaccines might be responcible for Israel numbers confusion. You fell for their sales pitch and now want every one to also.

Gary Miller

RON .you covered the facts very well even if your spelling or grammar aren't perfect. The best teacher I ever had said spelling or Grammar aren't as important as getting the idea correct.

Tom Brown

Thanks for this report Mr. Ferguson. A non-fear spreading or demanding report, and a much better way than our federal government or Dr. Fauci.

Ron Woody

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Lisa Windsor

The only epidemic evident from these comments is paranoia. Dr. Rupp is probably wondering why he spent so much time and money on medical school when he could have googled everything he needed to know. I received my booster today at UTMB. Behind me was a man getting his first vaccine shot. The message has not been lost on everyone. I guess some people just have thicker skulls than others.

Ron Woody

Ms. Windsor, since you are superior to me and my thick skull would you please answer these questions from an experts point of view:

1. If COVID is the extreme crisis that we are led to believe would you allow over 1 million unvaccinated immigrants to enter and move around the country?

2. Would you continue to hold parties attended by dozens and hundreds of maskless people, while requiring others to be masked?

3. Would you allow strip clubs to be open, but require churches to remain closed?

4. Did you have any associates or friends deaths hastened by the use of AZT?

5. Would you criticize/question college football and Sturgis Rally and say nothing about Lollapalooza and the Tennis US Open?

I anxiously await your reply to see if you agree with the experts.

I know I am just a deployable, unsophisticated neanderthal, but elected officials and experts have consistently lied to me my entire 61 years. Please forgive me if I prefer to think for myself and do my own research as it pertains to my personal health. For your information I do not subscribe to any social media sites or Google anything. I do however receive over 2O newsletters and curated news articles and have read over 2,000 articles on masking, social distancing, COVID, etc, as have many others. When studies are referenced from medical schools, research institutes or universities I go directly to the sorce and read a synopsis by the authors of the research. No Google required.

Guess I am just your average thick skulled, deployable, unsophisticated neanderthal. I am thankul individuals such as yourself are around to keep me in my place!

Lisa Windsor

Mr. Woody, I’m not trolling the newspaper everyday in search of a soapbox. I’m not an expert in this topic and neither are you. However, I do know that the quantity of information you digest has little value if the quality is poor. Just because you can read doesn’t mean you have the base of knowledge to interpret what you’re reading or put it in the proper context. If your sources don’t observe rigid standards and have a proven history of maintaining a high standard, you might as well use the paper to line the litter box. Your research will never trump formal education and years of experience, thank goodness. You confuse rights and privileges and you don’t understand when and how exceptions apply in the law.

If you want to identify with the thick-skullers, so be it. The problem is that people read the newspaper online. If they don’t have the skills to judge expertise, they might use your self-serving rhetoric as an excuse to not listen to the verified experts, not wear a mask, go unvaccinated, and throw the dice hoping that nature will be kind. They might end up dead. They might infect a parent or a child who dies. I guess that’s a risk you’re willing to take. This very real scenario is not inevitable. Prophylactic measures are proven to slow the progression of viruses. As a voluntary member of society your focus should be on the best interests of the Nation as a whole. You are called upon at times of crisis to put aside your personal comfort and desires for the good of the country which has given you so much.

In case you missed it, public health and welfare is an exception to the first amendment of the Constitution. It’s an exception to HIPAA. It’s an exception to search and seizure. If the government believed the stakes were high enough, the National Guard could come to your home, hold you down and jab a needle in your arm. Refusing to be vaccinated could easily be criminalized like it is in the military. You could be forced to isolate yourself away from the general public because you pose a threat, like how the government treated Japanese-Americans during WWII. That’s government over-reaching. We’re not there, so you can stop your sniveling.

To answer your questions, as a leader at that level I would use the best available evidence I had at the time to make the decision that was in the best interests of the population as a whole. I don’t know anyone who’s death was hastened by AZT, but I lived in Houston at the beginning of the AIDS crisis and do know people who’s lives were extended by taking the drug. Anyway, nobody thinks your questions are about COVID-19 and its variants. Your questions employ false premises in an attempt to paint anyone on the left as naive, uninformed, hypocritical, unethical, etc. You presume no one on the left can be trusted; that all public officials and professionals value prestige over their oaths; that immigrants only come to America for nefarious reasons; and that everyone on the left hates everyone on the right. I’m sorry after all this time you’re still tilting at windmills, but if you’re looking for absolutes in an ever-changing environment you will continue to be disappointed. We’re very lucky that most public officials in America possess integrity. Working for the fed is a thankless job but the career public servants still manage to hold a belief in an ideology bigger than themselves. They don’t deserve your consistent ridicule.

A fundamental value in a democracy is selfless service. Your job is to help your fellow man and leave the world better off than you found it. My suggestion is to climb off the front porch of the General Store, brush that chip off your shoulder, stop obsessing about things over which you have no control, forget the past, and move forward in a positive direction.

You wanted a reply so you got one. I have to get back to work, now and won’t reply further. If you want a debate, I’m sure a public forum can be arranged.

Ron Woody

Thank you for taking the time to respond. Have many thoughts but will respect your request.

Again, thank you for taking time to respond

Gary Miller

Two shots with a booster later to perhaps get 8 or 9 months protection? Get sick and recover once to get protection for perhaps life time?

Ted Gillis

And of course here’s Gary Miller pushing the mask and string lobbyists theory (as if there is such a thing) and the preposterousness of it having such a great hold over our scientific community.

Gary Miller

Ted > Do you think a mullty billion $ industry like MASKS doesn't employ Lobbyists? Do you think bureaucrats don't sell products they are paid to sell.

Carlos Ponce

Real Doctor vs bureaucrat

"The science is against you on this. The science is clear. Naturally-acquired immunity is as good as a vaccine," Rand Paul said. "This isn't an argument against the vaccine, but it's an argument for letting people make a decision who already have immunity."

"Mr. Becerra, are you familiar with an Israeli study that had 2.5 million patients and found that the vaccinated group was actually seven times more likely to get infected with Covid than the people who had gotten Covid naturally?"

"I'm not familiar with that," Becerra replied.

"I think you might want to be if you're going to travel the country insulting the millions of Americans, including NBA star Jonathan Isaac, who had Covid, recovered, look at a study with 2.5 million people, and say, well, you know what, I should make the decision. Instead, you've called Jonathan Isaac and others, myself included, flat earthers. We find that very insulting... Are you a doctor or a medical doctor?"

"I have worked for over 30 years on health policy," Becerra said.

Paul said: "You're not a medical doctor. Do you have a science degree? And yet you travel the country, calling people flat earthers, who have had Covid, looked at studies of millions of people, and made their own personal decision that their immunity they naturally acquired is sufficient but you presume somehow to tell over 100 million Americans who survived Covid that we have no right to determine our own medical care. You alone are on high and you've made these decisions, a lawyer with no scientific background, no medical degree. This is an arrogance coupled with an authoritarianism that is unseemly and un-American."

"You, sir, are the one ignoring the science."

"The vast preponderance of scientific studies, dozens and dozens, show robust, long-lasting immunity after Covid infection. Even the CDC does not recommend measles vaccine if you have measles immunity. The same was true for smallpox. But you ignore history and science to shame the flat earthers, as you call them. You should be ashamed of yourself and apologize to the American people for being dishonest about naturally acquired immunity."

"You want more people to choose vaccination? So do I. You want to lessen vaccine hesitancy? So do I. You want to have that happen? Quit lying to people about naturally acquired immunity."

"Quit lording it over people, acting as if these people are deplorable and unwashed. Try persuasion instead of government cudgels. Try humility instead of arrogance. Try freedom instead of coercion. Most of all, try understanding there is no more basic medical right than deciding what we inject into our bodies. Today, half a hearing that millions of people in a study prove -- show without a doubt that there is a great deal of immunity from getting it naturally, do you want to apologize to the 100 million Americans who suffered through covid, survived, have immunity, and yet you want to hold them down and vaccinate them? Do you want to apologize for calling those people flat earthers?"

Charlotte O'rourke

Bailey, “However, the conclusion is something that we should all be able to agree on - there is still a benefit to getting vaccinated after recovering from COVID.”

I agree with you vaccination after recovery from covid gives extra protection based on this Israeli study that still needs peer review.

But not everyone would agree as some people don’t believe in vaccinations at all or don’t believe in this particular vaccine or don’t believe covid is serious enough to warrant vaccinations.

It’s almost impossible to change a “belief”. One anti-vaccine example is the CDC case study on a child without any vaccinations who develops tetanus.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6809a3.htm

It’s hard for me as a parent to understand this decision as I believe in vaccinations, but there it is.

Bailey Jones

I can't fix stupid.

Charlotte O'rourke

But you continue to try. Keep it up.

Robert Braeking

Charlotte, Since natural immunity is more efficacious and longer lasting than the vaccine, why would anyone with two brain cells in communication risk, albeit ever so slight, suffering side effects of a vaccine that could cause permanent damage or even death?

Why is the CDC so adamantly opposed to accepting the fact of natural immunity? Is there an agenda?

If the CDC would accept the fact of natural immunity and issue exemption certificates based on that natural immunity then the vaccine hesitancy would diminish. The fact that they don't is the cause of all the distrust. The CDC is their own enemy.

Ron Woody

The idea that our government is forcing individuals with natural immunity to lose their employment is for me the one significant issue.

The vaccine does not keep one from getting COVID or spreading COVID. It does give a layer of protection that lessens the effects of COVID and in a majority of cases prevents hospitalization or death.

The idea that our government is forcing vaccinations on its citizens and allowing hundreds of thousands of unvaccinated immigrants to scatter throughout our nation is criminal.

Mr. Jones, evidently you are correct, you can't fix stupid.

Please explain the logic, rationale or science behind this policy.

Paul Sivon

The path to natural immunity is paved by death and long term disability. It’s interesting that some have the short sightedness to prefer their neighbors and community travel that road.

Ron Woody

The path to immunity is also paved with no harm at all. At least 50% of cases were asymptomatic. I never knew I had COVID until my annual blood draw. I had to ask for the antibody test to be run.

I am not telling people to run out and get COVID to gain natural immunity. Due to the significant number of asymptomatic cases I do believe it would be a worthwhile option to have blood work to detect antibodies as individuals consider their personal health choices.

I noticed you, any elected official or otherwise ever answers the two main questions I have asked for several months:

1. Why is the federal government allowing over one million unvaccinated immigrants to enter and move about the nation?

2. Why will the federal government not acknowledge natural immunity?

Anyone please answer these two questions!

Bueller, Bueller, Bueller

Bailey Jones

I'll try, Ron. It basically comes down to the science and responsible public health policy. The jury is still out on whether natural immunity is better or worse than vaccination. I've seen good arguments for both sides - but the science just isn't in yet. As of today, 700,000 Americans have died from COVID. That sounds like a national emergency to me. Those of us who believe this to be a national emergency want to do everything to halt that death toll. And "doing everything" means using every tool available - including vaccination.

We do know some things -

We know that up to a third of COVID patients will not create antibodies. No one knows why yet. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/27/9/21-1042_article

We do know that 90%+ of vaccinated people will develop a very robust antibody response (see the efficacy studies for each vaccine.)

We know that immunity fades with time - but we don't know the timeline. We do know that COVID patients don't have a uniform antibody response - some develop a lot of antibodies, some few or none. We do know that those who don't have a strong antibody reaction to the disease begin to lose their immunity after just 2 months. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6947a2.htm

We do know that the longer this pandemic drags on the higher the likelihood of a variant emerging that neither vaccine nor natural immunity protects against.

Who will be more protected - someone who got COVID in the summer of 2020, or someone who got vaccinated 3 months ago, and will get a booster shot three months from now? Common sense, as well as science, tells us that natural immunity plus vaccination offers more protection than just natural immunity (or just vaccination).

Let's do a little thought experiment. What if we had the vaccine sitting on the shelf in February of 2020? Which would have been the more responsible public health policy - letting the virus rip through the population killing 700,000 Americans but offering natural immunity to the survivors, or mandating that every American be vaccinated? I think the answer to that question is clear.

Now, let's ask the opposite question - why on earth would any sane person not want to get vaccinated? There is no doubt - no doubt at all - that the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh the risks of being vaccinated - even for someone who has previously been infected. (With extremely rare exceptions - talk to your doctor if you have serious health problems.) There is a lot of mythology out there about vaccine risks, but no science. The science - the reality - is that something like 2 billion people have been vaccinated. Many 10,000s were vaccinated more than a year ago. That is a large enough sample that we can say with certainty what the risk of the vaccines are. And I'll repeat - the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh the risks of being vaccinated - even for someone who has previously been infected. That is just a simple fact.

I understand the notion that "I had COVID and it was fine so I don't need to be vaccinated." But that's looking through the wrong end of the microscope. It isn't about you or I making decisions about our personal health. It's about how to stop a pandemic. Where does it stop - at 750,000 dead? 800,000 dead? 900,000 dead? 1,000,000 dead? If I could prove to you that universal vaccination meant that the death toll stopped at 800,000 instead of 900,000 - would saving 100,000 Americans be enough to convince you? How many additional American deaths (not to mention deaths worldwide) are worth your personal decision not to get your personal self vaccinated?

History will look back on this moment and ask the question, did you do all that you could, or just what you wanted? I just don't understand the logic, rationale, or science that says we have the opportunity to save 100,000s of American lives, but I'm not willing to do my part. Especially when "my part" is a just couple of jabs of a needle. Maybe you can explain that to me.

Carlos Ponce

Paul Sivon posts, "The path to natural immunity is paved by death and long term disability". With a high rate of recovery that simply is not true.

Johns Hopkins University’s mortality data as of Aug 6, 2021 shows a 1.7% mortality rate for Americans.

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality

The Mayo Clinic reports those with post-Coronavirus syndrome usually affects patients with pre-existing comorbidities, hypertension and diabetes. Their estimate runs from 10% to 40% of survivors. Why the fluctuation? To put it simply, sometimes it goes away. Those with "long term" effects have other medical problems before they were infected.

Ron Woody

Mr. Jones, I had quit following this, because frankly it just wears me out after a time. COVID has become like abortion, no one is truly changing anyone's mind until it affects them personally.

I do get a bit out of sorts when you challenge my commitment to my fellow human beings. Please verify for me if the following statements are true or not:

1. When the vaccine was released there were not or have been any claims that the vaccine keeps one from getting COVID. Is this true?

2. When the vaccine was released there were not or have been any claims that the vaccine keeps one from spreading COVID. Is this true?

3. The benefits and intent of the vaccine is that in most cases it lessens the affects of COVID and keeps people from dying. I have never questioned this. Fortunately for me, unknowingly my immune system did the same.

4. There are now studies of the viral load of infected people both vaccinated and with natural immunity, they are the same. Recent study from UC-Davis, has not been peer reviewed yet, but appears relevant. This means that vaccinated and unvaccinated have the ability to spread COVID at the same rate.

5. We also know from research and the developers of the vaccines that the vaccines only fight the spike proteins and not all aspects of the virus. Natural immunity fights the entire spectrum of the virus, not just the spikes.

6. Given that 70% of UK hospitalizations since August 1st are individuals that are vaccinated, I think it is fair to question (HIGHLY SPECULATIVE!!!) and at least wonder if somehow the vaccine may open a bridge or pathway to the many variants. AGAIN THIS IS SPECULATIVE, but how are 70% of the hospitalized vaccinated in a nation that has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world?

Mr. Jones, we can discuss the results of research, the obvious benefits of taking the vaccine and how it minimizes the affects of COVID. It does not fight the spread of COVID.

If I have interpreted statements by the manufacturers or CDC incorrectly please let me know. However, if the facts that I stated are true please quit implying that my being unvaccinated is hurting society in someway. I do take offense at that statement, especially considering the facts.

I do wish I had the time and energy to organize a breakfast, lunch or happy hour to discuss in person. I truly enjoy the minds that comment on a regular basis. I think it is important to remember we all have a love for fellow mankind, just a different path to pursue that goal!

Again thanks for your many hours of thought and work.

Regards, Ron Woody

Bailey Jones

Ron, the things you list are mostly true. I think you understate the effectiveness of the vaccine. In the US, with more people vaccinated than not, the hospitals and morgues are filled disproportionately with the unvaccinated, and the vaccine is the reason why. Being vaccinated won't keep you from being exposed to the virus (that's what masks and distancing are for) but it will HELP keep you from getting infected to the point of being contagious. It's not 100% - nothing is. Someday soon I expect we'll have a better understanding of both natural and vaccine immunity.

I do appreciate your ability to keep a civil tone, Ron. It's not one of my strong points.

Charlotte O'rourke

Robert, Ron, and Paul,

I agree with Paul in that getting to natural immunity requires getting covid. I don’t see that as a viable option and don’t want to take that painful path or have friends and family decide on that path to see if their natural immunity to this virus is good or deadly. Once you have covid and natural immunity, the better odds are to also get the vaccine as the study being quoted suggests.

I know unvaccinated individuals that have gotten covid more than once. And I know fully vaccinated individuals that have gotten covid and have been medically advised to get another shot after.

I think the CDC accepts natural immunity - who doesn’t? It’s just that at this point in time with the data still being gathered and the hospitals full and medical staff exhausted, viruses mutating, and people dying needlessly, medical experts are advocating not to risk getting covid and possibly spinning more deadly mutations. Rand Paul in the speech posted isn’t saying not to get vaccinated but to consider natural immunity as part of the equation.

That’s my take anyway. The CDC made mistakes early in the pandemic not explaining masking to the public and then allowing and even encouraging masking indoors to be removed from the equation without the data on whether vaccinated people could get and carry.the virus. We now know the vaccinated can get and carry the virus.

While I don’t like mandates, in the case of public health and protecting the vulnerable, the least intrusive to stop the spread should be employed like distance and indoor masking unless health issues. It’s temporary and a sacrifice but doable as health care workers demonstrate everyday. As for vaccinations, the government is allowing some choice - vaccinate or testing and exceptions per medical advice.

I’m sure no one wants to mandate that which should be a logical choice to help our country put this pandemic in the rear view mirror. Bottom line - Get vaccinated unless there is a medical reason not to. Sorry for the length of this post. Stay safe.

Bailey Jones

The CDC is a government bureaucracy just like any other. Fortunately, unlike most other agencies, the CDC makes decisions based (mostly) on science. And they reference the science upon which those decisions are made. Everyone is perfectly free to do what I do - look at the science and act accordingly. Our problem is that most people only look at the messenger. And there has never been a perfect messenger. (Or perfect science, for that matter.) It's very easy to gin up a contrarian narrative that exaggerates flaws and division while ignoring overwhelming consensus.

Let's face it - no one can be an expert on everything. That's why we have experts. And that's why we rely on our elected representatives and our media to tell us what the experts are saying. When the politicians and talking heads are delivering opposing messages based on the same experts, it's time to ignore the talking heads and look directly to the experts. Luckily, in science, the experts show their work.

We have to remember that there is a lot that's still unknown about this virus. And we knew next to nothing about it at the beginning. So, we should expect that even expert opinions will differ between experts and that experts will change their minds as time goes on. That's normal and expected. What would be suspicious is if every message was always exactly the same and everyone was in perfect lockstep. If that ever happens, I'll be the one screaming about international government conspiracies.

Carlos Ponce

" the CDC makes decisions based (mostly) on science"

Mostly on politics and securing additional funding.

Robert Braeking

According to the CDC for the year 2020 deaths all ages related to COVID-19 were 385,257. That is out of 3,389,985 total deaths. By far heart disease is the greatest killer.

Bailey Jones

Yes, Robert - 385,257 Americans died from COVID last year. And 314,000 so far in 2021. We've lost more Americans to COVID than we've lost in every war, every police action, and every terrorist attack, since the Civil War - including WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq.

Yet amazingly, there are still people who don't believe that this is an emergency.

Ted Gillis

Well, let’s all just jump for joy with that great news Robert.

Mike Ritzmann

Carlos, I like this, "You want more people to choose vaccination? So do I. You want to lessen vaccine hesitancy? So do I. You want to have that happen? Quit lying to people about naturally acquired immunity."

"Quit lording it over people, acting as if these people are deplorable and unwashed. Try persuasion instead of government cudgels. Try humility instead of arrogance. Try freedom instead of coercion."

Lisa Marie

Health experts? Hahahaha. Paid shills for big pharma I reckon. When there are BILLIONS to be made, people will say anything to get their nickel. Vaccinated will need to keep rolling up their sleeves and book a permanent seat on the Booster Train. No turning back now.

Gary Scoggin

Yep, who needs health experts? We’ve got forum posters who have spent hours researching these things. I do hope that the six hour Facebook outage didn’t set their valuable efforts too far behind, though

Ron Woody

Mr. Scoggin, I find your comment somewhat accurate but also amusing. We do need experts, but the day of just believing them is long gone. I would also say after following comments on COVID since February, 2020 I do not recall anyone refrencing Facebook, Instagram or Twitter on either side of the arguement. If it was referenced it was to take one to a post from a medical jounal, research institute or so called "expert".

For myself I have zero social media accounts for the very reason you imply.

Now a couple of questions:

1. Are you referring to the 27 experts that have stained the reputation of the Lancet by lying for Dr. Fauci about the origins of COVID?

2. Are you referring to the experts that refuse to acknowledge natural immunity?

3. Are you referring to the experts that allowed strip clubs to be opened in California, but churches remained closed?

4. Are you rerring to the experts that want to enforce masking on us lesser citizens while they walk around maskless?

5. Are you referring to the experts that attend large parties and fundraisers but tell us lesser citizens we can not gather with family?

6. Are you referring to the experts that are allowing over 1 million unvaccinated immigrants to enter and move around the country?

7. Are you referring to the expert that has lied to Congress about funding Gain of Function? Dr. Fauci can spin the words all he wants, but numerous researchers in the field have stated it is obvious Gain of Function.

Mr. Scroggin, do you remember the 17 intelligence agency "experts" validating Russian collusion? Do you remember Brennan, Clapper and Comey (experts) lying to Congress and repeatedly on national media?

COVID is a very serious issue and if one can not confirm natural immunity, they need to seriously consider the vaccine. Even with natural immunity individuals should consider the vaccine.

The communication and coverage of COVID has often been used to obtain control and certain political outcomes.

As examples:

1. Vaccine manufacturers never stated it kept individuals from getting COVID.

2. Vaccine manufacturers never stated it kept individuals from spreading COVID.

3. It lessens the effects of COVID and keeps people from dying, at least from the original variant.

If the vaccine were truly effective how can there be more cases of COVID in August 2021 than August 2020? Since August 1st, over 70% of deaths and hospitalizations in the UK are vaccinated. How can this happen?

There is also now at least one study from UC-Davis that viral loads for vaccinated and those with natural immunit are identical.

Regardless of vaccination status individuals have the same level of COVID viral load, just spreading at same rate.

Where are the experts on this information and facts. SILENT! Is it because it does not fit their need to control and effect political outcomes.

The idea that recent surges are a result of the unvaccinated is just simply a lie. There is no evidence to support that statement.

Gary Scoggin

I just can't understand why all those smart people spend 8-10 years of college and twenty or so years in researching to become experts with medium paying jobs and then become corrupted in order to purposely make people sick. You'd think there's an easier way.

Ron Woody

Mr. Scoggin, you must be a member of the media or leadership elite. I noticed that you were unwilling to address any of the comments, facts, questions or statistics, very similar to those we are submitted on a daily basis. Then you completely misrepresented what I stated in every way.

1. Please show me where I stated that these "experts" were purposely making people sick. I said they were hypocrites and liars, not felons.

2. What did I state that was incorrect?

3. Everyone of the individuals that I am speaking of make a minimum of $200k per year, plus royalties from books, consulting fees, speaking fees, etc. Dr. Fauci makes over $400k in salary. I you consider $200K a medium paying job that tells me all I need to know about your perspective on life.

4. I have continually said that the vaccine has saved many thousands of lives and its effectiveness to keep people from dying is unquestionable. The manufacturers have never stated it keeps people from getting or spreading COVID. We now also know the effectiveness of the vaccine is limited over a short period of time and does not limit the viral load for those that are vaccinated. The only question for me now is in six months from now the difference in COVID cases between the vaccinated and those with Natural Immunity.

I apologize for not being in the elitist class as you appear to be, maybe if I were then I would be willing to sell my values for control, money and power.

$200,000 is 5.6 times the individual per capita income of $35,672 in the US. I believe that most of America would love to have one of those medium pay jobs.

Bailey Jones

Ron, I don't believe I ever got an answer to my question. I may not have stated it well, so I'll restate it -

For context, I'm sure you've heard the stories from WW2, when Americans were called upon to face down another deadly threat. We suffered rationing of food, automobiles, tires, gasoline, fuel oil, coal, firewood, nylon, silk, and shoes. We had wage controls, price controls, rent controls. We had women called into the labor force. We had curfews and blackouts. Now, all these years later, we look back at the sacrifices we were forced by our government to make with pride.

Given a pandemic that's killed 700,000 Americans and is still killing >2000 per day, is it not incumbent on every patriotic American to do everything possible in order to stop it?

To me, this is what all of this boils down to. Not who said what, or which study says this or that, but will each American do the simple things being asked of them to defeat the greatest threat to human life that we've faced in a century.

Ron Woody

My apologies for my brain was moving faster than my fingers, the last statement should have read:

Mr. Gillis, I will state that I hope I never gain the elite status to call people names without meeting them. I would never question your elite status of casting judgement on people without meeting them, that is your right. I just hope I never achieve a status that makes me believe it is acceptable.

I acknowledge that I have never met many of the elected officials and policy makers that I have called liars and hypocrites, they are however public figures and their actions speak for themselves. I believe the law gives leniency for those that are public figures. I do believe those of us "commoners" deserve respect from others until our behavior deems differently.

Gary Scoggin

Mr. Woody -- for someone that doesn't want to be elite, you sure talk about them a lot. I didn't realize I was not only elite but "leadership elite." I wish my Mother were still alive to know that. She would be proud.

Ron Woody

Mr. Jones. That was the crux of my comment that you consider me a lesser American due to my refusal to get a vaccine that I do not believe I need and I truly believe, given that I have natural immunity, may actually change/harm the immune system that allowed me to have COVID and literally never knew it. No fever, no loss of taste or smell.

1. Does the vaccine keep me from getting COVID? NO!!!

2. Does the vaccine keep me from spreading COVID? NO!!! Studies now show that viral loads among vaccinated and natural immunity are identical and they both can spread it equally.

3. Please explain to me how taking the vaccine makes me a superior American or saves even one life. If this were true how can we have twice or three times the number of cases after at least 50% of the nation is vaccinated. How can 70% of the deaths and hospitalizations in the UK be from the vaccinated? One of the most vaccinated nations on the globe.

So what does taking the vaccine do for me or anyone else do to save another Americans life?

I can easily understand the behaviors taken in the era of WWII. I also notice you conveniently ignore the Concentration Camps for Asian Americans, would you promote those? That was a sacrifice that many Americans went through. Their property was taken, their children were lost, is that what you choose for the unvaccinated?

In your eyes I will always be a lesser American and yes that bothers me. However, the data and facts tell me that the only way COVID will be beaten is by people paying attention to their personal health and be able to fight this and upcoming viruses that occur.

If anyone believes that this is the last virus the CCP will release after seeing the affects to our culture and economy, then believe that all you want. One of the issues Americans have is that we believe other countries share our values. The CCP has proven that they do not value life the way the US does. They will continually release viruses to disrupt the world because people dying is just an inconvenience. They do not care about their own citizens, does anyone truly believe they care about others?

The stronger I can make my immune system the better prepared I will be which means I must lose 40 to 50 pounds. [smile]

Mr. Jones, you know I have a great deal of respect for the work you have done on this issues. Even though we often disagree on interpretation of data. I would never consider you a lesser American for your personal beliefs.

Just for clarification I do not believe that this virus was released intentionally from the Wuhan Lab. I do however believe that the CCP has seen the global effects and will not hesitate to do it again intentionally.

Ron Woody

Mr. Scoggin, OK, I am truly giving into my addiction at this point. Given our previous comments and communications it has become apparent that you do not understand irony, nuance or sarcasm. I will try to explain:

1. I never said that I never wanted to be elite, I stated that I did not want to be elite if it required me to exhibit values that enables individual rights to be diminished and give a power to central government and so called "experts" that believe laws, policies and regulations are for lesser citizens; or if I ever believed that $200,000 is a mediocre income.

2. I am already part of the "global" elite, all Americans are! To be in the top 1% of the globe one only needs to have $32,000 in annual income. I have to assume close to 90% of Americans exceed or close to this amount. Even lowering the amount to $20,000 probably includes 99% of Americans and would most likely put them in the top 10% globally. Someone living in Benin, Haiti or Syria would consider this elite.

3. My assumption on you being elite is that you consider $200,000 mediocre pay. I can only assume that someone considering that mediocre is an elitist.

You can keep commenting and if my addiction hits I may respond. LOL!!!

Gary Scoggin

More fuel for your addiction…. I said “medium pay”, not “mediocre pay”. According to payrate.com, the average scientific researcher in the US makes $82k. That’s good money but less than many plant workers in Texas City make. And definitely not in the elite. Maybe they are just inherently evil and not doing it for the money.

Evil? Well anyone that would misrepresent the data in the ways you suggested, thereby funneling people to less effective treatments must be sinister in some form or fashion. Agree?

Ron Woody

Mr. Scoggin, why do you continue to misrepresent what I have written. I have not stated anywhere that someone is guiding people to a less effective treatment. That would be doctor's not the clinical researchers.

While on the topic of clinical/medical/pharmaceutical researchers, I have had the good fortune to be in conversations with three of them since the vaccine was released. One from UTMB, one from Rice University and one from MD Anderson. These were separate conversations with me doing nothing but asking about the vaccine. None of them had direct knowledge of the vaccine at the time, but all of them had a good understanding of the approval and development process to create pharmaceuticals. To a person they all expressed concern about the speed of the development and the thoroughness of the process. It had been drilled into each of them that development takes five years with at least three years of multiple clinical trials. They did not say this meant the vaccine was not effective or that it would not save thousands of lives, just that in their experience it was very abnormal.

Mr. Scoggin, I am also certain that you do not believe an $82k researcher is making public policy decisions for the executive leadership. Mr. Ponce has pointed out on a regular basis how many of the noted "experts" have become political hacks to save their budgets. So when I referred to the $200k salaries I was referring to the individuals advising on the policy decisions. You are too knowledgeable not to know this, so why are you trying to misrepresent my intent or meaning? Comparing a clinical researcher on the ground to a clinical researcher leading an agency, institute or school is insincere on your part, and you know it!

Gary Scoggin

MR. Wroody. When you post questions like these:

"

1. Are you referring to the 27 experts that have stained the reputation of the Lancet by lying for Dr. Fauci about the origins of COVID?

2. Are you referring to the experts that refuse to acknowledge natural immunity?

3. Are you referring to the experts that allowed strip clubs to be opened in California, but churches remained closed?

4. Are you rerring to the experts that want to enforce masking on us lesser citizens while they walk around maskless?

5. Are you referring to the experts that attend large parties and fundraisers but tell us lesser citizens we can not gather with family?

6. Are you referring to the experts that are allowing over 1 million unvaccinated immigrants to enter and move around the country?

7. Are you referring to the expert that has lied to Congress about funding Gain of Function? Dr. Fauci can spin the words all he wants, but numerous researchers in the field have stated it is obvious Gain of Function."

You are, in effect, accusing these "experts" of advocating for health outcomes not in the best interests of everyday people. So, I must push back on the notion that I was misrepresenting what you were saying.

With regard to the income statement, for a GS-15, the top US Government pay range, reserved for senior administrators and true technical experts with a PhD, the range is $128K-$166K. This level includes the policy makers that you seem to have general disdain for. (I'll admit my $87K number may be too low in that includes lesser qualified people than the GS-15 but it is reflective of the research community at large.) While this is a very nice salary, it is hardly elite; especially for a PhD. Also, remember many of these folks are also medical doctors, with a much higher earning potential. For what its worth, about 10% of all Americans make $200k or more per year.

I appreciate the time and passion you have put into this and, until the science is settled, reasonable people can come to different conclusions. But once the science is settled, it should be accepted. And all I and others are saying is that it appears that for people who have had COVID, the vaccine does not lower the protection and may actually raise it. Since the vaccine risks are low, there is very little downside to recieving it no matter your previous COVID status. If there is a flaw in this logic, I would appreciate understanding it.

Ted Gillis

Long winded Woody, you contradicted yourself at least half a dozen times before I stopped reading, because you know, I’m a lesser person and I’m apparently controlled.

Go eat horse paste!

Ron Woody

Wow, another great tactic by media and elites. If we can not answer the facts or questions let's just name call that distracts the truth.

1. I will admit to being long-winded, have been my entire life. I do not believe that important, serious issues can be explained, questioned or solved in 280 characters like Twitter seems to think can happen.

2. I notice that you said I contradicted myself several times before you stopped reading, but yet did not give one example of that. If there were so many instances, I would think that you could at least give one example.

3. Mr. Gillis, you consistently throw things in the air without evidence. I am now at a point that you do this to just get a reaction. While I despise individuals like yourself that refuse to give any factual basis to their comments, my guess is due to my addiction to public discourse I will continue to respond.

I wish that twice a month in person discussion could begin, because I truly enjoy the conversation, dialogue and discourse after all that is what America is based, Civil Discourse.

Does anyone know of a way to contact people that comment without exposing my personal information I would truly enjoy meeting many of you, maybe even Mr. Gillis (TBD) and would expend the effort to organize a meeting place if the potential existed. I have often found throughout my career that meeting people in person gives a complete different perspective than online.

I will say it again, we all want what is best for the citizens of this great country. As long as the leadership of this country on both sides is not held accountable then there is little hope. I detest Mitch McConnell, wish Donald Trump would go away. I am a fan of Common Sense not Conservatism or fake Conservatism.

What happened in Texas in February was a complete embarrassment and unacceptable. People can consider the cause/reason all they want but many of the Directors and Operating Director were removed within a month. If only the Federal Government were as proactive.

Mr. Gillis, I will state that I hope I never hope that I gain the elite status to call people names without meeting them. I would never question your elite status of casting judgement on people without meeting them, that is your right. I just hope I never achieve a status that makes me believe it is acceptable.

Mike Ritzmann

Ron, I disagree wholeheartedly with a LOT of my fellow posters but I would LOVE to meet for a weekly coffee or some such thing where we can have conversation without shouting...would seriously love that

Ted Gillis

Oh please Ron, don’t be so thin skinned.

Being called long winded is not a cause to despise me.

Yeah I’d like to meet for real discourse. That would be much better than the comments section.

And I too will continue to post comments, most of them short attention getting comments.

Ron Woody

Mr. Gillis, I do appreciate your making me smile. Do you truly believe that you are the first person to describe me as long-winded. You are just the most recent of a long line. I have long known that I am rarely concise, often verbose and frequently arrogant.

My issue is when you make a statement disparaging me or others, then refuse to give examples it places you in an area of contempt. Just saying someone contradicts themselves does not make it so, refusing to answer the questions asked and then diverting to a different topic does not mean there is not truth to the question.

I have stated before that I believe my role in this world is to be a court jester to bring thought, while being a person for which others can laugh. You and I may be kindred spirits, just with different approaches.

Regards, Ron Woody (don't worry you would be invited)

Mike Ritzmann

Hi Bailey, to requote you for context, "Ron, I don't believe I ever got an answer to my question. I may not have stated it well, so I'll restate it -

For context, I'm sure you've heard the stories from WW2, when Americans were called upon to face down another deadly threat. We suffered rationing of food, automobiles, tires, gasoline, fuel oil, coal, firewood, nylon, silk, and shoes. We had wage controls, price controls, rent controls. We had women called into the labor force. We had curfews and blackouts. Now, all these years later, we look back at the sacrifices we were forced by our government to make with pride.

Given a pandemic that's killed 700,000 Americans and is still killing >2000 per day, is it not incumbent on every patriotic American to do everything possible in order to stop it?..."

Bailey, we've done an AWFUL lot to address covid-related complexes but the simple and most efficacious ones are summarily dismissed by the editor of the GDN when he proposed denying triage to unvaccinated patients.

Smoking cessation, curtailing the boozing and clearly limiting obesity/TII diabetes are significant factors that we can address - ourselves! - to help protect ourselves if the worst does come. These contributing factors have been proven to increase survivability and recoverability. Not speculaltion about booster shots, not a 3-24 month vaccine window depending on who you happended to be listening to today, not shrieking at loved ones or screaming at neighbors while pretending we know what's best but.....simple, effective long-overdue means to makes ourwselves better, healthier and happier - with or without a vaccination.

These are the issues that - to me, at least - could stand from in-person dialogue, accountable banter and bit of empathy.

Quoting Bailey's original response again,"To me, this is what all of this boils down to. Not who said what, or which study says this or that, but will each American do the simple things being asked of them to defeat the greatest threat to human life that we've faced in a century."

The WHO implies that the single greatest threat to human life in the last century is the 18 MILLION who died of largely, but certainly not entirely preventable, cardio vascular disease. In comparing appples etc, the WHO implies that last year we lost almost 2 MILLION but perhaps 3 million depending on accounting practices to Covid-Related infirmities. 18 MILLION Deaths to largely ameliorative cuases, the vast majority already being treated by the best and brightest MDs and pharmacological adjuncts. If it wasn't for the sheer immensety of the trajedy, I would say this is the biggest Red Herring ever perpetrated on a peoples.

Bailey Jones

Mike, I'm not really sure of your point. The diseases you mention aren't communicable. A better analog might be smallpox, measles, and all the other communicable diseases that used to be our biggest killers before antibiotics and universal vaccination came along. The fact that cardiovascular disease is now our biggest killer seems to me to be all the proof one needs for the importance and efficacy of vaccination.

Mike Ritzmann

The diseases I mentioned are imminently preventable to a very large extent yet those that haven't yet gotten a vaccine can be subjected to a VERY special class of discrimination based on a medical condition that they may - or may not - have been able to minimize or even eliminate with a shot.

WHO gets to make this freakin call?? I submit that it not be the outrageously narcissistic editor of the Galveston Daily News, Michael Smith.

Gary Scoggin

I would be interested in the basis for your assertion that Mr. Smith is “outrageously narcissistic.”

Mike Ritzmann

no matter how many times I proofread, lol - WHO 18M by cardio in 2019, not last century as I wrote

Robert Braeking

It would seem to me, one of the unwashed masses, that the CDC is going about fighting this virus all wrong. They are hanging their hat on a so-called pre-treatment for the enrichment of the pharmaceutical industry. Perhaps they should be looking into treatment protocols. In India, those who test positive are given a kit of tools and drugs at a cost of $2.60 which has proven to be effective in keeping victims of the virus out of the hospital. What do we do in this country? We send the patient home with instructions to go to the hospital when he is on death's doorstep.

There are 2 ways that this virus will be eradicated, if that is even possible:

1. Develop a true vaccine that contains attenuated live virus.

2. Develop treatment protocols to mitigate the effects of the disease.

What sacrifices can Americans make? Lose weight, get your immune system up to peak efficiency, modify your diet by eliminating sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and chemically treated bread and pasta. There is something wrong with bread that never gets moldy.

Ted Gillis

Robert,

Even if the medical community did develop a vaccine derived from a live virus, and sent people home with self treatment kits as you suggest, the same deniers would still be out their. They would still listen to others that claim to have a better way. They will listen to other deniers because of a deep distrust that they have with authority. These people feel left out because of their circumstances and/or just poor life choices. I’m not being trying to be the elitist as Ron Woody claims that I am. I’m just observant of human behavior. This group of deniers will always be out there. They will refuse to comply with authority because in some way it makes them feel better about themselves.

This behavior of theirs is what made Donald Trump so appealing to them. They recognized his faults but ignored them. They liked his carnival like delivery because it made them feel better about themselves.

Maybe if the FDA and CDC promotes the vaccines as a hucksters cure, or as an alternative scheme, we might make some headway.

The tag line could read “Here’s a cure that no one will tell you about”.

Signed, Elite Ted

Robert Braeking

Actually, Merck is working on a live virus vaccine. What absolutely boggles my mind is that absolutely no treatment protocols are supported in the United States. Could it be because the EUA would not be granted if there were available treatments? Other countries are having success with treatments including India, South Africa, Peru and others. For whatever reason some vaccinated patients are getting infected and dying. Could it be that they are not being treated at the onset?

So far there is no cure or vaccine for the common cold. Yet, we still treat infections of the common cold. Why do we never get treatment recommendations when we get a positive test for COVID?

Mike Ritzmann

Okay Mr. Scoggin, I'll back my assertion regarding the GDN editor's narcissism with the title to one of his many writings on covid and covid-related complexes,

"We don't owe the unvaccinated priority on hospital care."

By MICHAEL A. SMITH The Daily News Aug 13, 2021

“The question is how much responsibility does society have to prioritize health care for people who’ve made that risky personal decision.” – GDN, Smith.

By risky personal decision do you mean obesity? Not getting screened regularly, avoiding breast exams, TII diabetes, fatty liver cirrhosis, monitoring levels of various drugs on a timely basis? Choosing a home birth? Pick your poison Editor Smith but pick them all or none.

I LOT of people can avoid trips to and extended stays at the hospital by taking better care of themselves. Mr. Smith's acknowledgement that a HOST of other but lesser known problems (let's address hammer toes and high heels while we're at it) fall in to the same necessity for triage but that the very results the triage system is charged with recognizing, categorizing and prioritizing will be disregarded in Mr. Smith’s world – provided the patient is not vaccinated to Mr. Smith’s standards.

In a wide-ranging diatribe about evils of big government and CBD oils, Mr. Smith seems to lay many problems at the feet of the un/unable to be vaccinated. That can in many cases be improved by individual actions of the patients. For Mr. Smith to single out the actions of covid patients, well-earns him the applied moniker of narcisis along with the requiste arrogance.

I’m not going to redress the entirety of the article but in re-reading it this evening I did notice Mr. Smith’s assertion, “The inescapable fact is COVID hospitalization rates are increasing because of unvaccinated people. Almost 100 percent of people needing hospital care for COVID infection are unvaccinated.”

I don’t believe this jibes with the recently released peer-reviewed data that has been produced in last week to ten days. I was concerned about the historically short trial periods for these mass inoculations for those that were not in grave heath and I still am. Elderly, infirm, immunocompromised that have little to lose, I would want them to have the opportunity for a trial cure.

Local newspaper editors threatening trauma patients with inordinate waits or evictions? This is simple fear-mongering on your part. I saw it referred to a gas-lighting earlier and maybe I’m not up on what that is but you are using your typewriter to inspire fear.

Back to the original art of 08.13 ---

My discussion was hijacked by Larry Grissom who had the following bon mot that must have seemed (to him?) apropos if not deeply rooted in the science at hand.

“Oh good gosh. It’s one of the willfully ignorant Mr Smith is speaking of. Wear your tin foil hat but get out of intelligent debates.”

Fortunately, Larry Grissom shared his colloquial aphorisms with me at the time and I learned from him that it is indeed simple to make a tin foil hat.

Thank you Larry, as you made me laugh. Mr. Smith did not make me laugh as his bully pultpit has far more reach – and, if you reach far enough – you will find more of the Larry Grissoms of the world.

Mr Scoggin, you did ask quite simply a question which I have now avoided for the last twenty minutes. To be certain my usage was accuarate, I asked my computer if I’m right, lol - resounding answer, “oh yes!”

I specifically asked Just checking up on my 8th grade education, I googled narcissism to find, "selfishness...a lack of empathy...self-absorption..." amongst others.

Mike Ritzmann

and the ever-prsent typos...

"I LOT" instead of "A LOT" Getting kinda scary how many mistakes I make at this age

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