It is generally accepted that human fear frequently manifests itself through anger. Whether you research the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ( DSM–5), a product of more than 10 years of effort by hundreds of international experts in all aspects of mental health, or simply flip through the latest edition of Psychology Today, fear turning into anger is a common thread. Exhibit A supporting this in the real world is the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
Daily death counts became part of the news cycle in 2020. No one was sure of the origins of COVID-19. Initially, there was limited treatment, and all indications were that this coronavirus spread very quickly from person to person. Naturally, the reaction of people all over the globe was fear. No one wanted to die from some strange sickness with a funny name.
Entire cities closed down. People were told to stay home, to wear masks and not to touch anything anywhere. As the death count piled up, so did the blood pressure of people from coast to coast. The economy tanked. Many services ceased to exist, and many businesses shut their doors for good, unable to survive with no customers. Society oozed fear.
Hope came near the end of the 2020 calendar year in the form of a vaccine. To be more accurate, in the form of multiple vaccines. The best medical and scientific minds on earth had participated in the race to create a vaccine against the dreaded sickness. Trump touted its imminent arrival. Biden and Harris doubted its effectiveness, at least until they won the election and then suddenly it became more politically expedient to be solid believers. Shots began in late December. The world held its collective breath and wondered if the end of the COVID-19 pandemic was near.
The fear remained, however. Was the vaccine safe? Would it work? If so, could life return to normal? Early estimates of the Moderna vaccine indicated an efficacy rate of 93%. For comparison sake, the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) shot most American children receive is considered 95% effective. Having a coronavirus vaccine with similar numbers gave people hope.
Despite getting the jab, as it came to be known, many vaccinated people suffered “breakthrough” cases of COVID-19, that is, they were infected despite their vaccination status. This raised doubt even further among the vaccine skeptics and reignited fear among the vaccinated that they could still get sick. Thus the tension between the two groups grew considerably. Finger-pointing was everywhere. Lines were drawn, and good guys and bad guys were established.
Those who had been vaccinated seemed to consider themselves somehow more righteous than the unclean, unvaccinated. In fact, those who had opted not to get the shot were labeled as selfish, irresponsible and ignorant. Some of these harsh descriptions came straight from the White House, where President Joe Biden declared with clear anger that his patience with those who had chosen not to take the vaccine was running out.
Despite saying he wouldn’t implement a vaccine mandate, Mr. Biden attempted to do precisely that. His administration used OSHA to mandate employers with more than 100 employees be forced to make sure all their employees were vaccinated. Anything less warranted regular testing, perpetual mask-wearing, public shaming or the employer could simply fire the employee and be done with a headache. Failure to comply with Mr. Biden’s mandate would result in a fine for the business of between $14,000 and $140,000 per employee. Be our police, or we’ll bankrupt you.
The OSHA mandate was a one size fits all approach. If an employee had a religious concern? Still subject to fines for the business and termination for the employee. Medical exemption? For most, it was rejected. What if someone had already had COVID-19 and showed evidence of natural antibodies? Not good enough for Mr. Biden. In his mind, Pfizer’s fix was better than the Lord’s. It’s that last point that completely ignores that left’s mantra of “Follow the science.”
What is the science at this point anyway? It seems to have evolved considerably during the last 18 to 20 months.
Indeed it has. The latest efficacy rates for the three approved American vaccines have dropped to disturbingly low levels. Pfizer has fallen from 87% to 43.3%. Moderna has fallen to 58%, and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine efficacy hardly exists. It plummeted from an initial estimate of 86.4% to just 13% in September of 2021. All of those statistics come according to researchers from the Public Health Institute, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Texas Health Science Center.
If only 13% of J&J shot recipients are effectively protected, that means nearly 9 out of 10 aren’t. Why would we even call these folks “breakthrough” cases? It appears J&J didn’t actually do the job.
Compare that with the numbers for people who have tested positive COVID-19 at some point in the last 18 months and now have natural antibodies. A Cleveland Clinic study of 52,000 employees, including nearly 2,600 who tested positive, found zero were reinfected, even among those who were never vaccinated. Likewise, Israeli researchers studied 6.3 million Israelis and their COVID-19 status. They confirmed only one death in the entire country among those who already had the virus, and that individual was over age 80. Another review of natural immunity looked at 54 studies from 18 countries, w/records from more than 12M individuals, followed up to 8 months, and those researchers found an average reinfection rate for COVID-recovered patients of just 0.2%.
Study after study after study worldwide has found the same thing. Natural antibodies give the best protection against future infection. Remember all the snickering at the mention of herd immunity back in the summer of 2020? It seems the science supports the theory after all. Earlier this year, World Health Organization (WHO) released a scientific update that most people who have recovered from COVID-19 develop a strong protective immune response. They highlight the essential fact that within 4 weeks of infection, 90% to 99% of people who recover from COVID-19 develop detectable neutralizing antibodies.
Even the FDA contradicts Mr. Biden. Direct from the FDA website is the following nugget: Requiring the immune to get vaccinated unnecessarily exposes them to risk-averse reactions, including thrombosis & myocardial inflammation, neurologic injury, & possibly death.
If WHO is correct that up to 99% of recovered COVID-19 patients develop natural antibodies and the FDA warning is taken to heart, why would anyone who already had tested positive for COVID-19 want… or need… the vaccine? At the very least, that information seems vital for a person to make an informed decision.
So why is Mr. Biden playing up fear over science? Perhaps it is a different type of fear that is driving the Biden administration’s effort. They quite literally bet the 2020 election farm on fear of COVID-19 and a Biden promise to save the day. It worked. He won. Now, however, he and his team are convinced anything short of forcing everyone to follow his prescription for a cure is tantamount to admitting that a combination of science and mother nature will bring this situation to heel, with or without Joe Biden.
The absurd level to which they are willing to promote Biden COVID-19 fear is best demonstrated by encouraging parents to vaccinate their young children. During the recent FDA hearings on whether to approve the shot for 5 to 11-year-olds, several pieces of crucial CDC information came to light.
Children in this age group are every bit as likely as adults to be infected with SARS-CoV-2, but they are far less likely to die. In fact, if they don’t have underlying conditions, there is a near ZERO risk of death.
There have been around 1.9 million positive COVID-19 cases reported in the 5-11 age group, but only 94 children ages 5-11 have died of COVID-19, which is 0.00012 percent of the 723,880 total U.S. COVID-19 deaths.
Underlying risk factors in hospitalized children ages 5-11 include obesity, chronic metabolic disease, feeding tube dependence, cardiovascular disease, neurologic disorders, chronic lung disease, blood disorders, and immunosuppressed conditions.
In the one year from October 2020 through October of 2021, there were 66 COVID-19 associated deaths in children ages 5 to 11. Compared with other causes of death in this age group such as accidents (969 deaths), malignant neoplasms (525), Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities (274), assault/homicide (207), heart disease (115), chronic lower respiratory diseases (107), and influenza and pneumonia (84) it makes one realize the need for a children’s vaccine isn’t based on science either.
However, acknowledging that children will test positive, recover, and develop natural antibodies would harm the “Biden as savior” narrative. Pushing the shot for children who don’t suffer from underlying risk factors is unnecessary and shameful. It is most certainly putting parental fear ahead of science.
If Mr. Biden insists on following (and preaching) fear rather than science, perhaps we shouldn’t be following him.
• Tim Constantine is a columnist for The Washington Times and hosts “The Capitol Hill Show” podcast every week from Washington, D.C.