The CDC Versus Common SenseMon 10:28 am Europe/London, 15 Mar 2021
CDC vs. Common Sense
By: Paul E. Alexander
The death of Common Sense begins with the words initiated by the morass of Bureaucracy couched in safety and security. Indeed, and according to past President Ronald Reagan, the most frightening words to hear in the English language are para ‘We’re here from the government and we’re here to help you!’ The underpinnings of such beginnings appear benign and with benign neglect the malignancy storms through, metastasizing arboreally through the veins of the entire system. The world is seeing such a death these days.
We argue that the real virus is ‘fear’ and ‘fear’ stops people from thinking clearly. Governments and bureaucrats and their expert advisors are depending on people not thinking clearly, and are providing knee-jerk reactions to every facet of the pandemic which only drives fear unnecessarily. We also point out that the fuel for this fear rests on the reliance of our leadership on wholly unreliable PCR testing for SARS-CoV-2. In effect this has led to a fear-based PCRdemic that has not only paralyzed society but has led to massive societal disruption and unnecessary suffering and death.
The CDC has again revealed itself to be a nonautonomous entity grifting on the illogic of pseudoscience with its recent guidance regarding Covid-19 vaccines and travel as well as how vaccinated people can safely visit others. This once glorified agency has stooped to issue conflicting and at times illogical and frankly misleading guidance on Covid which can confuse not only the public, but healthcare providers and policy makers alike. It is troubling that the reports and guidance being produced by the CDC are at times contradictory and very confusing and make no sense. We focus first on the foremost and most disturbing issues of the day: The current guidance follows in step with Dr. Anthony Fauci’s suggestions when he opined that children will be vaccinated in early 2022.
How could Dr. Fauci, who we assume reads the science and understands the science, make this statement when he knows that 1) children were not included in any of the Covid-19 vaccine research studies and as such, the results cannot be extrapolated to them and 2); these actions are even more perplexing particularly if one is ‘following the science,’ which in this case simply does not exist? It needs to be reemphasized that the risk for the development of serious SARS-CoV-2 infection in children is infinitesimally small in the first place (risk is in the range of 0.002%). They are also at very low risk of transmitting virus to other children, to adults, to their teachers, or of taking it home. We know there are exceptions as there are for any infectious pathogen, yet these exceptions remain exceedingly rare. This is not heresy and is a fact, based on undisputed science. This recommendation made by Dr. Fauci does not consider the long-term risks to children, especially given their low probability of infection and even lower probability of illness from the virus. Inserting the potential of harm where little to no risk exists is tantamount to gross malpractice in our opinion.
We must look at these issues as a risk management question and balance (trade-off) the benefits versus the harms of alternative courses of action. We have to balance the risk and the reward and make our decision based on how the balance settles out. These concepts are mainstays of public health policy and science and yet do not seem to play a meaningful role in the development of the CDC’s and Dr. Fauci’s guidelines. In fact, we find it exceedingly difficult to justify the administration of an experimental vaccine into any population cohort that has virtually no disease risk. This comes into very sharp focus when it is also understood that until long-term data are available post-vaccination, why would we even consider the administration of an experimental vaccine to children? This is a vaccine that might potentially have longer-term harms that are as yet unrecognized. This philosophy is no different than that applied to any new pharmacological agent, and especially so for still-experimental vaccines. Remember, these Covid vaccines are under emergency use authorization (EUA) and are decidedly still experimental. There is known risk (albeit low) to the healthiest of persons when they take into the body any drug, any vaccine, any substance and as such, this also applies to our children. Thus far there has been no evidence or science in support of such a theoretical enterprise, only innuendos. Today Dr. Fauci cannot point to any science, evidence, or data that could support the provision of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination of children in 2022. None!
Since children do travel (usually with their parents of course), and in light of the far-reaching implications of the advice given by the CDC in relation to travel we are compelled to address several concerns that have arisen in our opinion. In regard to the travel guidance that has emerged due to the introduction of the new experimental vaccines, we think that the CDC guidance, suggesting that fully vaccinated people avoid traveling is contrary to common sense, so much so that one can say the guidance is irrational and absurd on its face. Even the airline industry feels the blow from such unempirical and irrational guidance. The above article states, “The CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Monday that the agency’s advice on travel remains the same for both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans: Don’t do it.” What facts, we ask, did she use to support this contention? Where is the evidence? She reiterated further, “We are really trying to restrain travel at this current period of time, and we’re hopeful that our next set of guidance will have more science around what vaccinated people can do, perhaps travel being among them.” Given the precarious state of the travel industry at this time, further advice, particularly sound advice, must not be delayed anymore.
The CDC guidance suggesting that fully vaccinated people should still avoid traveling is contrary to common sense; so much so that it is impossible to understand the merit relating to this recommendation. If a person has had a Covid infection and has been fully vaccinated, then one is immune from future illness. Adaptive Immunity and immune memory are central (B cell antibodies, CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells) to clearing the viral pathogens from the human body. This adaptation is acquired through exposure/infection (far more robust and protective over a longer-term based on the immunological data thus far available). Vaccinations also induce similar responses but since only specific and targeted portions of the epitopes are used in the manufacturing of the vaccine, the viral escape mechanism and selection pressures on the virus may help in the mutation process. This is why we also suggest that those with naturally occurring immunity and who therefore won’t have ‘monospecific’ antibodies are probably more fully protected than those who have only received the vaccines that focus on the spike protein. In any event we must recognize and appreciate that vaccines also provide for the development of a functional immune response to SARS-CoV-2. Hence there is no reason why vaccinated persons or those who developed natural immunity due to prior SARS-CoV-2 infection should not be free to travel.
CNN Medical Analyst, ER physician, Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University Visiting Professor and former Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen opined that the guidance defies and challenges common sense and logic. We applaud her bravery in calling this out! Sadly, she will most certainly be slandered by the media and others for her temerity in making such comments. Oddly, even as little as 3 years ago such comments would have been considered as being mainstream. And even if the ideas were not mainstream, veering from the party line would not be considered heresy! Prior to more recent changes in our methods of discourse, respectful, if intense, argumentation might follow, but this is unfortunately no longer the case. In any case, her comments reflect previously accepted knowledge and practices in public health science. Along these lines, we argue that if the vaccine is as effective as it has been purported to be and especially in reducing likelihood of being a carrier, then fully vaccinated individuals “should be able to travel, should be encouraged to travel.” After all, what was the point in developing vaccines in the 1st place if not to return to normalcy?
Wen then explained what is so very illogical with the CDC’s vaccine-travel guidance is that the CDC on the one hand is indicating that if someone is knowingly exposed to another with Covid-19, and they are vaccinated fully, then they do not need to get a test or even quarantine. However, the CDC also recently stated that “If you’re sitting on a plane, you’re not necessarily sitting next to people with COVID-19, you’re wearing a mask, ideally; you’re keeping distanced. And so, it just doesn’t make sense that you can’t travel.” We agree fully with the contention by Wen and argue that people have been isolated for one year now and it is devastating. Isolation ravages people, especially our elderly who desperately want to see their families. We say that if someone is fully vaccinated, and they take reasonable safety precautions and especially so by strongly protecting our elderly, we should, and in fact must allow people to travel. As such, we reiterate that the guidance by the CDC makes very little common sense. Dr. Marty Makary also stated, para “To tell people who have been vaccinated that they cannot travel…to tell vaccinated people they can only be with vaccinated people…is a problem…the CDC was wrong on testing, they were wrong on masks, they were wrong on schools…this hurts our messaging…get out there, be active…guidance like this by the CDC hurts public health credibility…you don’t need to wait for 2 weeks after the 2nd dose, look, 4 weeks after the 1st dose, you have 94% protection based on NEJM article.”
We also argue our core thesis that the flurry of travel and visitation vaccine-related guidance by the CDC has in effect subversively driven the concept of the need for mass vaccination accompanied by vaccine immunity passports. In fact, our suspicions comport with what was said previously by Dr Wen. Dr. Wen may have let the cat out of the bag in this statement: “And that’s one of those incentives that we can give as a way for restoring freedoms that you are now able to travel and go visit your loved ones and go to museums and cultural institutions once you’re fully vaccinated.” So, the government will give us back our freedom if we get vaccinated? Our Founders would be aghast! Dr. Makary also highlighted this mass vaccination agenda by the CDC when he weighed in on the CDC’s comment indicating that vaccinated people can get together with vaccinated people, in essence, telling us that once we all get vaccinated, life pretty much can get back to some semblance of normal. Apart from being wholly irrational, this is an infringement of our Freedoms and Liberties! Is the reticence by the CDC to come out and fully explain to the public that the reason why they are calling for masks and no travel etc. is because the vaccines have not been as effective and do not appear to give sterilizing immunity with effective neutralizing antibodies? In other words, is the public being asked to continue masking and locking down and not travelling (as if we were still living in March 2020) even if vaccinated because the vaccines are not optimally effective? Then why force the people to take the vaccines in the first place? Is this miscommunication, just ignorance of facts or both that drive the CDC to continue to make such dubious statements?
Similarly, and in terms of the visitation with others once vaccinated, we find that the CDC guidance is confusing and specious. Dr. Makary said, “I think they’re overly restrictive…but to tell vaccinated people they can only be with other vaccinated people and let down their guard then, or only be with a low-risk individual from one household, people need to get out there.” Makary went on to state, ‘CDC COVID-19 guidelines were an abuse of power’…’ they have exercised that power because they could…the CDC guidelines were flawed and filled with dogma…if they were applied to the airline industry, every plane will be grounded.’
We agree fully with Dr. Makary and think that it is imperative to allow visitation once people are fully vaccinated with the safety steps of good hygiene and where applicable, a face mask (we shall not comment on the effectiveness or lack thereof) as well as following other steps such as maintaining social distancing, or meeting outdoors or in a room with good ventilation. These are reasonable suggestions. We believe strongly that visitations amongst family members and friends must happen now, once people have been either vaccinated or have developed and recovered from Covid-19. The elderly and the infirm and those most at risk should receive the vaccination first so that they are allowed to resume some normalcy of life and the freedom to see their loved ones to prevent further psychological harm to them. But even in this case, we do not really understand the longer-term or even shorter-term side-effects of vaccinations on the frail elderly and so we make this suggestion with caution. Yet, the very elderly we seek to protect have been decimated by the lockdowns and travel and visitation restrictions that have been imposed more or less arbitrarily.
Reports suggest that the restrictions from visitations and normal routines have accelerated the aging process along with accelerated cognitive decline. There have also been several reports showing that since the implementation of (largely draconian) lockdown measures, there have been increases in other problems in elderly patients including increased incidence of falls due to declining strength and loss of ability to adequately ambulate. The aging process escalates dramatically. Dementia is escalating as the rhyme and rhythm of daily life is lost for our precious elderly and there is a sense of hopelessness and depression with the isolation from restricting loved ones, especially in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities and similar congregated settings. Isolation forces people into despondency and prolonged loneliness is devastating and it kills!
Do you think we overstate the probability that initiating the use of Covid vaccine immunity passports is not a possibility? Vaccine Immunity Passports harken back to the yesteryears of tumult and chaos of Wars that we feel are contrary to the open society we exist in. Some nations are marching ahead with these “passports” contrary to the natural rights of humanity in general, and Canada seems to be leading the pack in terms of how much oppression and punitive draconian steps it can implement on its population in response to Covid-19. Canada’s Health Minister Patty Hajdu (a graphic designer with no health experience) indicated officially that Canada is discussing the issue of a Covid-19 vaccine passport with other G7 countries, stating that “Canada is engaging in “very live” conversations on requiring proof of vaccination in order to travel internationally.” We are very concerned by this evolving situation and argue that this represents further confirmation that the CDC has tacitly and ‘silently’ signalled this in their recent vaccine-related travel and visitation guidance. We have many concerns about the unscientific, and unsound decisions and edicts being imposed on populations. Along these lines we point out that Ontario has become the first Canadian province to prioritize pregnancy in vaccination, despite our understanding that very limited data exist to support this recommendation (despite what you might hear from vaccine manufacturers)! The duration of follow up and the sample size and events needed to support the decision to vaccinate pregnant women are not available, or are at least so thin as to be completely unreliable. Thus we argue that this recommendation is not evidence-based and is certainly not reflective of the now infamous statement ‘We’re following the science!’ We are very concerned by this particular decision in Ontario and conclude that this could be very dangerous to pregnant women given the existing evidence of potential risks. We even have reports now of risks when pregnant women have been vaccinated with Covid vaccines. Regardless, the decision to vaccinate pregnant women without actual supportive data is a gargantuan departure from the requirements for RCT-based data in relation to the use of safe and effective medications to prevent hospitalization and death. Why are similar data not necessary in order to substantiate the recommendation to inoculate pregnant females?
Perhaps no exchange exemplifies the insanity and absurdity now prevalent when medical experts like Dr. Fauci speak. John Berman of CNN asked Dr. Fauci, “What’s the science behind not saying it’s safe for people who have been vaccinated – received two doses, to travel?” Dr. Fauci replied para “There is no science, you just have to trust his “judgement call…when you don’t have the data and you don’t have the actual evidence, you’ve got to make a judgment call.”
It seems that Dr. Fauci operates in a world of supposition and speculation and assumptions. Dr. Fauci should know better and that this is NOT science! Dr. Fauci wants us to trust his judgement? This is incomprehensible, particularly when the evidence shows that he has been flat wrong concerning everything from the lockdowns, masks, and school closures with regard to the pandemic. Time and again when we analyze his statements there is no data to back them up and they have led to catastrophic outcomes for the population (e.g. lockdown effects).
People must understand that CDC guidance is just that, ‘guidance.’ Guidance is not law and police enforcement of guidance alerts cannot be undertaken by the state! And we must emphasize that this concept also applies to the recent travel restrictions and visitation guidelines (post-vaccination). Where are the guidelines insofar as naturally acquired immunity is concerned? Why are the guidelines not based on data? How is the CDC developing guidelines in the absence of scientific support for these guidelines?
To close, the entire Covid-19 pandemic response in Western nations and perhaps the entire world, has led to disastrous outcomes. We argue that most have taken the lead from Western nations like the UK, US, and Canada. It has been a complete disaster and the irony is that we had strong reasonable pandemic plans in place prior to the advance of SARS-CoV-2 that for inexplicable reasons were shelved by the WHO, with no apparent or at least scientifically defensible rationale. As an example, we argue that after constant lockdown, by the time Australia emerges, they will likely discover as other nations did, that all they have done is delayed the inevitable, and while at it, destroying people’s lives, their economies, and eviscerating civil liberties and law. We also feel that ad hoc remarks made by ‘media’ medical experts and authorities promoting fear is reprehensible, and we suggest a more science-based approach, with rational and validated evidence, that educates the public and will yield more benefit to a healthier free, and compliant society. The currency of credit is lost with illogical and haphazard statements when borne without relevant facts. Our governmental agencies are bestowed with certain powers to safeguard the lives of individuals and not to harass and subjugate them to the whims of a few narrow field “experts” who have no idea about the well-being of the society as a whole. We are allowing government agencies and inept government bureaucrats and technocrats to destroy our lives and futures. Stopping Covid ‘at all costs’ will destroy us societally and globally!
Paul E. Alexander MSc PhD, McMaster University and GUIDE Research Methods Group, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada firstname.lastname@example.org
Howard C. Tenenbaum DDS, Dip. Perio., PhD, FRCD(C) Centre for Advanced Dental Research and Care, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Faculties of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Parvez Dara, MD, MBA
The above article (CDC vs. Common Sense) was originally created and published by AMERICAN INSTITUTE for ECONOMIC RESEARCH and is republished here with permission and attribution to the author Paul E. Alexander and aier.org.