The Debunkers

return to soft targets.

I think there are still going to be people continuing to demand masking forever, and Pharma is going to continue to push the vaccines and boosters. But the worst of the pandemic is over.

[Update a few minutes later]

[Late-morning update]

Commenter Mike Puckett reminds us of a twenty-year-old essay by Michael Crichton that remains relevant today.

8 thoughts on “The Debunkers”

  1. I agree, now is the time for resuming randomized trials to determine the true value of the Covid vaccine. You will not be politically able to rescind the EUA of this experimental vaccine, but that is still no excuse not to proceed with the normal clinical process.

    What seems lost in all this was how the original virus (Alpha and Delta, not the current Omicron variants) produced DEEP respiratory infections that triggered the avalanche of immune system response known as the “cytokine storm”, that caused so much trouble. We could use some research in this area as well.

    1. People are still dying from this thing at rates that would constitute a really bad flu season.

      1. And yet remarkably, the flu has nearly all but disappeared in relative terms. This “single disease” epidemic phenomena is also truly worth further study to figure out exactly what is going on. Some say the mitigation put in place to mitigate COVID-19 also put the breaks on flu outbreaks. Buy why so disproportionately? Truly fascinating…. Now that we are coming out from under COVID-19 mitigation strategies it will be interesting to see what happens next.

          1. More or less, as described from the CDC:

            Surveillance systems and research studies use different case definitions to characterize influenza activity and illness. Some outcomes (e.g., influenza illness confirmed by viral culture or polymerase chain reaction [PCR]­­­) are more specific than others (e.g., influenza-like illness defined by a clinical case definition, without confirmatory diagnostic testing). Studies that report rates of clinically-defined outcomes without laboratory confirmation of influenza (e.g., respiratory illness requiring hospitalization during influenza season) can be difficult to interpret because of coincident circulation of other respiratory pathogens (e.g., respiratory syncytial virus) (11). More specific burden estimates are provided by surveillance studies based on laboratory-confirmed influenza (LCI). However, less specific outcomes are useful in national surveillance of influenza activity, and are used in some components of routine U.S. influenza surveillance. Increases in health care provider visits for acute febrile respiratory illness occur annually, coinciding with periods of increased influenza activity, making influenza-like illness (ILI) surveillance systems valuable in understanding and describing the seasonal and geographic occurrence of influenza each year (12).

            Persons of all ages are susceptible to influenza. Influenza incidence is difficult to quantify precisely, as many or most of those infected may not seek medical attention and are therefore not diagnosed. An estimated incidence of approximately 8% (varying from 3% to 11%) was derived through statistical extrapolation of U.S. hospitalization data and a meta-analysis of published literature (13). In a systematic review of randomized controlled trials which examined LCI events in the control (unvaccinated or placebo) arms of the included studies, an estimated 1 in 5 unvaccinated children and 1 in 10 unvaccinated adults were infected, with approximately half of these cases being symptomatic (14).

            Burden of severe outcomes associated with influenza illness, such as hospitalization and death, may be estimated in several ways, such as through assessing rates of these events during influenza seasons, though mathematical modelling methods, and through studies that examine LCI.

            In other words: lies, damned lies, and finally statistics and models. OK, I’m being facetious, but as Wodun points out its not just counting up the numbers in hospitals.

            We should have done so much better with COVID-19. We really did a piss poor job of separating out deaths from Covid versus deaths with Covid. That needs some debunking as well, or at least a much better understanding and new methods of accurate accounting.

  2. “Of course, it is a lot harder to debunk hard targets. You need more technical knowledge of medicine, statistics, clinical trials, and worse, your audience and opponents— largely physicians and professors— are not fringe elements on the internet. You are talking to real scientists— not biology minors who write wikipedia pages— so you have to bring your A-game.

    Pre-pandemic, there was a growing chorus of soft-target debunkers— building an audience of disgruntled pro-science people to combat the disgruntled anti-science people. ”

    Ahh, the author was part of the problem and still is? Baby steps in the right direction?

    Maybe the “science” people don’t need to freak out about flat earthers and transform that freak out into censorship, bullying, and government persecution. Let’s not encourage these people to get back to normal but rather to act with humility and tolerance to change their behavior.

    “These days, COVID-19 debates are mostly in the rearview mirror, and the debunkers have returned to soft targets.”

    There never was a debate.

    Also, NDT is still a condescending idiot.

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