Covid-19 And Omicron: The Layperson's Guide
I wanted to take a moment to break away from the technology to talk about technology of the Covid-19 kind. This humble blog post I hope will serve as a guide to making the complex understandable, eliminate the cloud of politics, and help you make the best decision for yourself regarding Covid-19.
First a disclaimer: The author of this post is officially me. The source for the information is someone I have close rapport with. The person is a health care professional, and what follows is the individual's direct response to my inquiries regarding Covid, the Omicron variant, vaccines, and therapeutics.
The person's identity however, will remain confidential at this time. The reason? To be honest with you, we have a lot of kooks out there from all sides who have a propensity to make threats, send hate mail, and make life miserable for people who do not deserve it. My contact does not wish to get involved in all of that, and asked for confidentiality to avoid dealing with the nonsense. So if someone out there has a concern with this, you can bring it to me. OK?
Now then, what are some things to know about the current state of affairs with Covid-19? When asked about the purpose of vaccination, this is my contact's detailed response. It is non-partisan, fact based, and easy to understand:
"I would refer you to the plethora of research over the past year clearly documenting the epidemiology of this virus. Who is at MOST risk? Age is the biggest factor (the inflection point where risk starts to really increase is on the mid-50s). Then comes other factors— diabetes, obesity, immune status, and others. This is not hyperbole- look up the literature on this.
Regarding vaccination. The primary purpose of vaccine development for Covid was never to prevent spread. It was to reduce risk of dying and of severe disease (that is, winding up in the hospital and likely on a ventilator). There was data early on when the vaccines were introduced suggesting vaccinated people were transmitting less, and sure, that is a positive effect of vaccination.
But with variants coming into the picture, the efficacy of the vaccines (which were based on the original virus— not variants) was going to be questioned. Fortunately tests showed that efficacy (on reducing hospitalization and death) was not impacted until omicron, but that does not mean it’s not worth vaccinating! The vaccines still have pretty substantial efficacy against even omicron.
Side point: Most vaccinations do not completely prevent you from contracting disease. Case in point: seasonal flu vaccine. Just like the Covid vaccine it’s designed to prevent serious illness or death. These are still valuable endpoints. Have you had the flu? Yep it sucks… but it sucks more to be on a vent, or taking a dirt nap.
The comment I hear about “golly I am seeing so many vaccinated people with Covid” well no S@#$ Sherlock! Look at the number of people partially vaxxed (2 doses of mRNA) or boosted…that is a majority of the US population. So statistically you are likely to see more vaxxed then unvaxxed with Covid. So while it may be your right to no vaxx, that does not mean I have do not have the right to disagree with that decision. You can risk severe disease, but you are also more likely to contract Covid because you have no inherent immunity on board."
"What about natural immunity? It is true that it may confer some protection, but it’s much more transient than what is observed with vaccination. Think of it this way: with vaxx, you may need a booster every 6 months, but for natural immunity, you’d have to contract another bout of Covid every three months to keep you immunity (based on antibody titers as a surrogate marker.) I am failing to see the logic of wanting to get sick over and over as preferable to a vaxx."
"Then there's Long Covid. This remains under appreciated. Up to 30% of people (regardless of how severe their Covid infection was) may have lingering symptoms that drag on for months and can lead to disability. Brain fog, fatigue, heart problems, lung issues… more prices to pay for having Covid. Whether prior vaxx status protects from long Covid is not known yet. But consider this: you may wind up with even more medical issues needing long term treatment than that one bout of Covid. That has huge implications for healthcare cost to you and society overall."
"Finally, you don’t want to get vaxxed? Fine. But don’t expect me to spend any time with you other than via Zoom or more than 6 feet from you. I don’t want this for all the reasons noted above. All I am asking is the same courtesy I am giving you- your choice on your actions, but please expect, and respect, me to make my own choices to oppose having your choices impacting me. And think about that when you are potentially exposing your elderly parents to your choice. Remember: age is the biggest risk factor for a bad outcome with Covid. I’d love to hear that eulogy at their funerals: "They lived a good life, but the folly of a family member directly contributed to their demise"."
"Yes, these are needed, but just like antibiotics, they can and will be abused. And viruses will not take long to develop resistance to them. This happened quite quickly with the single use of Bamlanivimab, remember? So please don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s ok to not vaxx because you have therapeutics to fall back on. You may not. Plus, there are going to be shortages with supply so I guarantee they will be rationed."
The "Unproven" Vaccine
There is a common talking point of “bbbbut it’s an unproven vaccine!” No, efficacy (and safety)has been proven, both in clinical trials and now in millions of those who have been vaccinated. What is often misconstrued is FDA approval being used as a false equivalency to “proof.” Two different things entirely. And the FDA HAS approved use of the vaccine through the EUA process. All that means is that approval was made based on the best data (clinical trial data) in hand at the time, and the approval was needed because of the nature of the crisis: people dying from Covid! So please rethink the false equivalency statement in the future.
And also consider that when you shove edibles and “natural” remedies down your throat. Are those “proven”? Uhhhhh no."
"Read the two part analysis on masking on the CIDRAP website. Bottom line: masks offer incremental protection provided you have a high quality mask that is well fitted around your face. That means N95 or KN95. No surgical or cloth masks or gaiters. They can give you a little more protection particularly in crowds and indoor spaces. But will they prevent any potential for being infected? No but it’s a low tech option for incremental protection so I’ll take it."
Vaccines and Blood Clots
"As far as vaccines and blood clots? Vanishingly rare potential complication from Covid vaccines, especially JNJ and AstraZeneca’s vaccine (which is not available in the US). You know what places you at MUCH higher risk for clotting? COVID!! don’t be fooled by the hype against vaxx. Focus on the very real risk of clots due of Covid."
There you have it folks! This is from someone who is non-partisan and just about the facts. Admittedly there really hasn't been great communication from the a lot of the officials in government, and the net effect has been confusion and the various arguments we are seeing today.
This, however, takes all that out and gives you the information that is really needed. I get it that this is a cell phone repair blog, however I also want to do whatever I can to serve the community at large. If this space can help people? So be it.