Summaries of interviews with two leading epidemiologists

Summaries of interviews with two leading epidemiologists August 22, 2021

[Friends, please excuse the out-of-whack formatting in places.  The program did not always cooperate.]

Martin Kuldorff, prof. of medicine at Harvard Medical School, specialist in viruses

  1. There is a thousand-fold difference in risk between the oldest and youngest who contract Covid-19.
    1. Children are at “miniscule” risk.
    2. Of 1.8 million children in Sweden, where there were no lockdowns and kids attended school throughout the pandemic, there were no deaths.
    3. Young adults have very little risk.
  2. Lockdowns are against all the basic principles of public health
          1. One should look at all health outcomes, not just Covid
        1. Many went unattended, and many deaths resulted
              1. One should look longterm
              2. We should care for everyone in society
              3. Not just “the Zoom class” who can homeschool and continue working by Zoom
                1. But meat packers and supermarket workers cannot
                2. They cannot homeschool their kids, since usually both parents must work

  1. We don’t close schools for influenza
    1. Yet kids spread it
    2. But kids do not spread Covid
  2. The Delta variant
    1. Is not a surprise
      1. Viruses always mutate
    2. It does not kill children
    3. The vaccine gives good protection against it
    4. Natural immunity (if you have had Covid) is very strong against it
    5. This is no game changer, and lockdowns are unnecessary
    6. But we should get older people vaccinated
  3. The Florida surge
    1. We need to distinguish cases from mortality
    2. The increase in hospitalization and mortality in the South at the moment is a little blip
    3. We are on our way from pandemic to endemic
  4. Natural immunity
    1. Very few cases with the Delta have been serious
    2. In Israel those with natural immunity had 6X better immunity than those with the vaccine
    3. We should give the vaccine to poor countries, not those who have natural immunity already
  5. Universities forcing students to be vaccinated, or cities requiring vaccine passports
    1. This is coercive, bad for public health
      1. And unnecessary for the young and those with natural immunity
    2. Ethically, it is wrong
    3. And it undermines trust in public health
    4. The young getting Pfizer vaccine can get inflammation of the heart
    5. Hospital workers should get the vaccine to protect older people
      1. But Grandma should not be afraid of catching it from her grandkids
      2. The vaccine will protect her
  • The vaccine protects against death but not always against the virus
  1. If vaccinated, getting Covid is not dangerous
  1. Lockdowns delay the inevitable process
    1. Of Covid going through a whole population.
      1. It will happen regardless
    2. Lockdowns have too much collateral damage
      1. 25% of teens under lockdown had suicide ideation (normal is 4-5%)
      2. Great increase of opioid overdoses
    3. The CDC should collect data on mortality and not just cases
      1. How many were really Covid-caused deaths, rather than from other primary causes?
      2. The CDC reports 350 children dying from Covid
        1. But they have not done research on whether Covid was primary cause, or merely incidental
          1. This is crazy because the CDC has billions of dollars of new money
        2. The Great Barrington Declaration
          1. He was one of the three major co-authors
          2. There was nothing novel in there, it was routine advice for pandemics, representing a scientific consensus on lockdowns
          3. More than ten thousand public health scientists signed it
          4. It was attacked widely in the media, but without any good public health arguments
            1. Politics was at work
          5. Lockdowns protect the elite and make the working class and poor and young suffer
            1. The elite can order food online
              1. But what about the delivery men and cooks?
            2. They are driven by fear
  • The young are being fed fear, and the working class are being thrown under the bus
  1. Only a minority of scientists argue for them
  1. Final statement
    1. It is unethical to force the young to get vaccinated
    2. The US should send it to the rest of the world
    3. The young do not need the vaccine
    4. Vaccine mandates and lockdowns are unethical and unscientific


Martin Makary, surgeon and professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical School and Bloomberg School of Public Health

  1. Breakthrough infections
    1. Yes, there are vaccinated people getting the new Delta variant of Covid, but proportionately it is a miniscule percentage.
      1. Delta, BTW, has come from the massive epidemic in India.
    2. Of 159 million Americans vaccinated by July 28 only 791 died of Covid.
      1. That is .005%.
      2. Your chance of dying in a lightning strike is .007%.
  • “If you’re vaccinated, you have a better chance of dying from a hornet or wasp sting, a dog attack, a car crash, drowning, sunstroke, choking on food than you do of dying from COVID-19.”
  1. And importantly, almost all those hospitalized in this third wave are either very elderly or immunocompromised or have underlying conditions.
  2. In Israel, only 4% of those hospitalized in this new wave (same as here) were without comorbidities.
  1. So if you are vaccinated “you are basically bulletptoof. You’re not going to die or get hospitalized. For you, the pandemic is over.”
  2. And that means we should not force kids to wear masks in school simply because some adults don’t get vaccinated.
  1. Transmission of Covid
    1. Hand sanitizers are nice, but Covid is not transmitted through surface contact.
    2. One of the great failures of the medical leadership has been its failure to talk about natural immunity from prior infection.
    3. Those who should be concerned are 5% of seniors and 30% of adults—if they are compromised, have an underlying condition, and are not vaccinated.
    4. If you’re vaccinated, you’re good to go, to live a normal life.
      1. The one exception is if you live in an area where there is an active, big outbreak. Then you should be a little careful around those who are not immune, from the vaccine or having already had Covid.
    5. The vaccine
      1. Getting the vaccine is 50,000 times safer than getting covid.
    6. The CDC
      1. Should not be asking hospitals to test everyone who comes in.
      2. It violates its own guidelines, which say that vaccinated people without symptoms should not be getting tested.
    7. The problem with testing
      1. “If you’re immune you’re going to fend off the infection if you get it, and you might have a virus particle or two sitting in your nose, and the PCR test is so sensitive with the 30 cycle threshold, it is so sensitive it can pick up one dead virus particle. You have no risk of disease or transmission. You’re going to light up as positive. So, those are people counted in your statistic. I just point that out because we’re over testing those who are fully vaccinated and immune right now.”
    8. Masking
      1. There is a lot we don’t know about Delta.
      2. If you are in an area of active outbreak and are in, say, a crowded church, you might want to wear a mask.
      3. But it should be voluntary, not mandated.
      4. When we had mask mandates longer than needed, in May and June, without hard data, we lost credibility.
        1. That is bad for public health.
      5. Kids in school
        1. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC have said, “Look. Kids can do some mitigation like distancing and other things, but they’ve got to be in school, even if you cannot achieve the mitigation,” which is pretty remarkable. To see the CDC say that, which is what we’ve been saying the whole time, right? That is sure, you can take precautions and do things in schools but they’ve got to be there.
        2. There are no data on kids wearing masks.
          1. The NIH has been grossly negligent.
            1. “How is there no data? The NIH has $41 billion dollars a year and 20,000 employees. How did nobody study this? There’s no data in kids. The other thing is, do healthy kids die from COVID? No one knows. Ask Fauci. Ask the CDC director. Ask anybody. Have any healthy kids died of COVID? No one can tell you because that number, 335 deaths in kids under 18 the whole pandemic, the whole year and a half, no one has verified.
            2. “we put restrictions and stole the livelihoods of 50 million American kids for a year and a half without verifying the data. That, to me, is unbelievable.”
          2. The unvaccinated
            1. Danielle Pletka (AEI): It is not just Republicans and conservatives who are refusing the vaccine. The black community has the lowest rate.
              1. “In California, 29% of vaccinations have gone to Hispanic people, but they account for 63% of cases, 48% of deaths, and 40% of the population. In the District of Columbia, Black people have received 43% of vaccinations but they make up 56% of cases, and 71% of deaths, and 46% of the population. That’s not a MAGA problem. That’s a social problem, and I’m not quite sure how we get past this.”
            2. Makary: It is wrong to demonize those who are afraid of the vaccine. One of the greatest failures of the public health leaders is ignoring the contribution of natural immunity.
              1. Right now there is very high population immunity.
              2. But if you don’t recognize that, you demonize the unvaccinated and blame them for not eliminating the virus.
  • Let’s stop getting celebrities doing commercials, and get FDA approval.
    1. Right now it is only approved for emergency use.
      1. “We are debating if we should give third doses and immunizing five year olds for whom we don’t even know if a healthy five year old has ever died from COVID in the United States. We don’t even have that data from the CDC, and here we are saying, ‘They have to get two doses maybe in order to go to school.’ I mean, that’s the level of debate we’re at. And meanwhile, healthcare workers, a senior nurse overseas doesn’t even have any vaccine and so what we’re doing by hoarding vaccines and throwing millions into the trash, which we did on the FDA’s order because it expired, we’ve thrown millions of doses in the trash. We should be addressing the threat of new variants emerging overseas by getting not only the vaccine over but the logistics.
      2. “So, America is seen in the world as a land of waste and excess, and what we’re doing right now is certainly fulfilling that impression.’
  1. The Delta variant
    1. Will be with us for a long time because it is highly contagious. Virologists say it might be the seasonal virus that will be with us for years.
    2. We need to remember that 180 million Americans have already had Covid, in one of the variants, whether they know it or not.
    3. We should not be vaccinating children but sending the vaccine overseas where it is more needed.
  2. The future
    1. The Delta will peak in August or September, and pols will use it to impose coercive sanctions again.
      1. this is going to be a period where you’re going to see a lot of headlines. You’re going to see a lot of fear, you’re going to see a lot of draconian policies come back in certain parts of the country. Ironically in the parts of the country where people need it least. Right? You’re going to see it in some of these blue states where the vaccination rates tend to be higher.
    2. Some pols will want to shut down schools and require vaccines for kids even tho there is no science supporting that.
    3. There are two Americas
      1. If you’re vaccinated, you now are living in a world where there’s a seasonal virus that is very mild called COVID-19 that could give you very mild symptoms season to season, and that’s okay. Our battle has never been against the common cold. It’s been against death.
      2. Then there are those who are immunocompromised and who have other comorbidities are not vaccinated. They live in some risk.
    4. The problem is that in the media two very different things are being conflated
      1. Outbreaks among nonimmune, which are small, regional, but real
      2. Breakthrough infections, which are nothing to worry about
        1. They will produce cold-like symptoms
        2. Like the other four corona viruses that have circulated for decades in this country.
      3. The other corona viruses came from nature, but this one came from gain-of-function research in a lab in Wuhan, China. “I was doing some research” on this.
        1. ‘The year after SARS went away, it totally went away, there was a SARS outbreak among lab workers in a Chinese lab. In 1977, the Chinese were found injecting an influenza strain into their military recruits, which is what we call a challenge trial, that is you give them an experimental vaccine and then give them the infection to see if it works, well that strain was from about 25 years prior. There’s no way it lives 25 years. Influenza is too flimsy. It only can live in a lab frozen for 25 years, so they pulled it out of the lab. By the way, that virus in 1977 got out. It was an H1N1 strain of flu, and killed 700,000 people that year.
        2. ‘So, there’s a long track record here and I just don’t understand personally, and sorry to offend you Danielle because I know you’re a big fan of Dr. Fauci, he was going around the country. Even if the dollars he was donating to the Wuhan Virology Institute, which ironically we submitted a grant at the same time from my research team at Hopkins, to identify the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. We think we’re onto it. That was rejected. We find out later the money was going to Wuhan. Even if the dollars were not going directly to splicing the spike protein and doing the gain of function, which is what he’s arguing, he was giving lectures promoting gain of function research 100%. They’re on tape, they’re out there. We’ve seen some of them on Fox. I would say if I were him, ‘Gosh, I feel horrible I was promoting this practice. Should never be done. 100% never, never, never. I’m sorry. This was an honest mistake.'”

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