There is an old phrase out there among those who like to smugly remind you they were right all along that goes something like this: “I don’t mean to say I told you so, but…” which is inevitably followed by gloating that they were indeed correct all along.
Guilty as charged. I’m going to be that guy today.
For the better part of two years, the world has been plagued by the COVID-19 virus. People have died. Others have suffered ongoing ill effects. All of it was and continues to be serious business. Anyone who suggests otherwise is a fool.
Various government responses however have repeatedly been based on fear rather than science. Cities, states and even entire nations have taken ridiculous measures in their collective effort to “do something.” Never mistake frenetic activity for success.
The longer COVID-19 has been at large, the longer science has had to study it and the more accurate the information available to us all has become. That luxury has not always translated to better public policy. Two major studies that came to light this past week should dramatically alter the way the world handles the reaction to coronavirus, but because so many public officials love the illusion of “doing something” and so many media outlets prefer to scare people rather than accurately inform them, it will likely take months before the hard data and resulting common sense is even considered.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published a groundbreaking report. The study looked at COVID-19 cases on both the East Coast and West Coast and broke the information down into four categories: those who were unvaccinated without a prior case of COVID-19; those vaccinated without prior COVID-19; those unvaccinated with prior COVID-19 and those vaccinated with prior COVID-19.
The study found that after the Delta variant of COVID-19, natural immunity was more protective against infection than vaccination. The report says what I’ve been preaching all along, that surviving COVID-19 provides excellent natural immunity against repeat infection, hospitalization and death.
Don’t get me wrong. If you are over 65 years of age, obese, chronically ill or immunocompromised, the vaccine is your most logical step. Talk with your doctor and make your decision accordingly. But for the vast majority, the science is coming forward that shows natural immunity really does offer the best protection.
A Johns Hopkins team also published a report last week that had information that when coupled with the CDC’s data, helps us draw an indisputable conclusion. The Johns Hopkins study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, offers the following statistical facts:
- 99% of individuals who reported a positive COVID-19 test have antibodies.
- 55% who believed they had COVID-19 but were never tested have antibodies.
- 11% who believed they had never had COVID-19 infection have antibodies.
What is indisputable is that vaccination is not the sole elixir for warding off the boogie man we know as COVID-19, yet the government would have you believe so. In our nation’s capital, Washington DC, for example, you can’t eat at a restaurant or order a beer at a bar unless you show proof of vaccination. Forget the more than 65 million people who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection in the United States. Forget they are rocking the antibodies and are statistically the least likely to be ill or to transmit the virus. Instead, let’s go through the charade of showing off a card and we’ll all be safe.
One of the authors of the Johns Hopkins study, whose previous work has been very skeptical of natural immunity, made a blunt statement following the publication of this study, regarding current public policy. “We can no longer reconcile that you can work with 2 vaccine doses from 1 year ago (which means you have no antibodies today) but you can’t with natural immunity,” (The study showed antibody levels were consistent all the way through the end of their 20-month study).
Meanwhile, the US Army is firing folks with those antibodies. Wednesday of this week Army brass reiterated their intent to immediately discharge those who have refused the COVID-19 shot, regardless of antibody status. Ignore the science. To be clear, the Army was actually the slowest in our military to implement the policy. The Marine Corps, Navy and the Air Force have all already been dismissing active-duty troops and others for refusing the jab. Is it wise to compromise the nation’s security for a policy contradicted by science?
It gets worse.
In major metropolitan areas around America including New York City, public health officials have been fired if they aren’t vaccinated, regardless of natural immunity status. One of the co-authors of the CDC study, Marty Makary tried to point out the absurdity of such a policy.
“Public-health officials ruined many lives by insisting that workers with natural immunity to Covid-19 be fired if they weren’t fully vaccinated. But after two years of accruing data, the superiority of natural immunity over-vaccinated immunity is clear. By firing staff with natural immunity, employers got rid of those least likely to infect others. It’s time to reinstate those employees with an apology.”
The Johns Hopkins study also found that throughout the United States and around the globe, governments took wildly different approaches to try to stop the pandemic. Masks, lockdowns, complete shutdowns, internment camps and more were all practices tried in at least some jurisdictions. Other places put little or no controls in place, preferring to let individuals make the choice. The difference in infection rates among all these approaches? Virtually none.
The Johns Hopkins study is called “A Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Lockdowns on COVID-19 Mortality.” The authors of the study are Jonas Herby, Lars Jonung and Steve H. Hanke of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health and the Study of Business Enterprise
Regarding various government attempts to protect the public they found the following:
“We find no evidence that lockdowns, school closures, border closures and limiting gatherings have had a noticeable effect on COVID-19 mortality.” Read that last line again. I’ll wait.
No evidence. None.
The study further concluded that while lockdowns “have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted. In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.
“They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence and undermining liberal democracy.” The report refers to the economic impact of lockdown policies as “devastating.”
In summary, the CDC and one of the most prestigious institutions in the world both released studies documenting life-changing information. Natural immunity is actually more effective than the vaccine. Natural immunity antibodies stay in the body while the vaccine’s fighting capability does not.
Lockdowns don’t protect us. School closures are ineffective, border closures don’t stop the spread. All of those things wreak havoc on the economy and society but they don’t stop the virus.
These studies are not alone in their sentiment. Dr. Vishal Sehgal, president of medical services at Portea MeMedical in India was quoted in the Times of India this past week saying “Omicron acts as a natural vaccine and proves beneficial as it is less life-threatening.”
Nicanor Austriaco, a Filipino-American molecular biologist, spoke at a Town Hall meeting recently and said that those infected with omicron will have antibodies that “will protect them against Delta, Gamma, Beta, Alpha and D614G” variants.
How has our government responded to what should be absolutely essential information? About the same time as the release of the studies explaining lockdowns and social distancing don’t work, the Biden administration was announcing the purchase of up to one billion K95 masks at taxpayer expense, undoubtedly having been assured by a lobbyist that these masks are better than anything and will quell the spread.
On natural immunity, I told you so.
On the foolishness of lockdowns, I told you so.
On unnecessary government spending for the latest magical fix, well, I don’t want to gloat.
But I told you so.
• Tim Constantine is a columnist for The Washington Times and hosts “The Capitol Hill Show” podcast every week from Washington, D.C.
For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.
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