The Great Barrington Narrative #2
I appreciate a well crafted narrative and like to dissect them and analyze the tricks and techniques being used. As a Caveat, I should point out that the use of rhetorical gimmicks and propaganda techniques to push a given idea or proposal doesn't mean that said proposal is ergo automatically wrong, only that its supporters chose to use such methods to try to influence people's minds. That said, I decided I had to look into what makes THE GREAT BARRINGTON DECLARATION work the way it does and also address some of the points and arguments made in both the thread here from the 6th (https://caucus99percent.com/content/great-barrington-declaration#comment...), and elsewhere. The reader has the task of trying to ferret out such things as why this narrative, why in this manner, and, above all, cui bono; WHO plans to benefit HOW from selling this.
So they start with misleading over the top semantically laden misdirection, which is never a good beginning for something putatively science based.
Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come,
I am going to more or less gloss over the immensely distortive and misleading prefatory remarks and their use of over-the-top exaggeration and emotive phrasing. IF you have ever been in a Lockdown, raise your hand. Hell if you have ever been in prison or even the county lock-up , you know what horsecrap it is to use that word for the wildly variant and enormously permissive state of affairs to date. Many fingers have been pointed at California as horribly restrictive, yet it has not been remotely like a lockdown in any sense of the word. It also never, in any way, restricted access to medical care.
In the US we have no health care, but do have a predatory racket known as medical care. Arguably the government should've stepped in and provided for emergency "medical care", such things are really its primary and principal job, but it didn't and never will, which is also why the proposed "Focused Protection" will never, ever happen either. Government should've also provided economic assistance, some of which recipients willing to go slightly hungry could've slipped to "medical service providers" in exchange for those things, but no such funds were forthcoming.
At any rate, there is no lockdown and no restrictions not imposed by the medical service providers upon delivery of the services in question. You can bet your sweet bippie that Stanfoo and Hahvahd medical centers vaccinated all of their people and their families and their subscribers or whatever you choose to call them and their families, but nobody else unless somebody slipped them the requisite heaping pile of cowrie. Oxford possibly likewise, though the UK does have some kind of health care system, so they maybe helped the hoi polloi too. That's not because of social distancing or anything like that, that's because profit is the sole driver of our medical services racket and neither Obamacare nor anything else stepped in to fill the gaps even though a gazillion more people have medical care now than used to, or so were told.
Exclusive Focus on Death
This is very cagey and somewhat insidious. I am a member of the first generation to be told and constantly reminded as a child that "We can afford Megadeaths. It is worth noting, in passing that the phraseology is already economic, afford, we can easily spend these expendable, fungible, consumer and production units in order to procure something of value, in that case, keeping those dirty commies and their evil atheist socialized medicine away from our shores. That has, for generations now, set the bar for what matters. Thus, the current 210,000 deaths is pretty trivial, almost vanishingly so. Let's face it, none of us really contemplate dying anytime soon, none of us think about it much, it is something that happens to other people, those people, over there, so some of them dies, well, shit happens, fuck 'em.
Were the narrative more about already over a million have been struck ill, unable to work for a while, maybe a long while, and thereby earn a living with which to keep body and soul together and, for many, stave off medical bankruptcy. Were we to note that many of them suffered horribly during their illness, and that many, regardless of the severity of their symptoms will wind up physically impaired, with shortened and far less pleasant future lifespans and reduced ability to go work yet nonetheless condemned to toil 40 or more hours per week, in some cases just to buy their meds, then we might react differently, as in "shit, that could be me, or my friends and family", so no, we focus solely on DEATHS, a mere handful, so who cares and nothing to see here.
Only Current Deaths
By focusing on deaths, any narrative focused on data is restricted to current deaths. We know that some have gone from being healthy to having seriously damaged organs. We can be pretty sure that various numbers of that group will die a few years down the road, but they are not counted, which helps the goal of minimizing the seeming impact of the disease.
Focus on the Elderly
This is very likely to be somewhat misguided and a misrepresentation, but such is the nature of "epidemiological studies", they only get as far as "who" and seldom "how", and even less often "why". So we pretend that it is almost exclusively a problem of the elderly, which is very, very far from true, but nonetheless something that the populace has already internalized enough to buy without any real examination. This again makes it easier to dismiss, just some old fogies who have already lived a long happy life and yada, yada, yada. NOW, what about Co-Morbities? The narrative ignores these, because it is less likely to be simply "some of those people" and more likely to involve friends, family, co-workers and possibly you and me. In addition, that might help explain why the elderly, that and other things. These co-morbidities are health conditions ranging from COPD to heart problems, liver problems, diabetes (both types), varying degrees of overweight and obesity, and on and on. Anybody know anybody with any of those conditions? Yeah, me too, which is why they are ignored and only the elderly are targeted as possibly at risk. Another factor, which may or may not have been disclosed by the various epidemiological studies is simply poverty and/or inadequate income. Look at the established co-morbidities and at the way lifestyles in the US are divvied up depending upon earnings, think about food deserts and their effect on peoples' health, etc., but that is a digression and a rabbit hole we needn't go down right now. But! a related condition that might be significant is the terrible quality of care given to those elderly we warehouse in "homes" and its correlation to the wealth and expenditures of the victims and their families.
Now focus, focus on those 210,000 (mostly) old people who died, because that's the only impact they want you to think that the virus has had OK, I was just going to analyze the rhetorical and illogical gamesmanship, but I cannot resist pulling back the curtain a tiny bit to assist in determining just who among us is old. Given that only the old are at risk, it looks like antiquity begins at 45, except that it is elsewhere used to mean only those over 85.
Age group All Deaths involving COVID-19 (U07.1)1
35–44 years 3,956
45–54 years 10,389
55–64 years 24,772
65–74 years 41,866
35 more rows
(full table https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm shows that "old age" seems to start at 45)
So, my fellow elderly, stay focused on those 210,000 old people's deaths and don't think about other's with damaged health and lives. Remember, we are only interested in current deaths, not next years, or thereafter, but maybe also glance at this chart and what they say to do to minimize the spread. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/investigations-disc... .
From that chart, we can see that people 18-20 are not young, so I guess that they too are old. Otherwise, THIS statement from the report is complete bullshit a total misrepresentation of the data by pretending that the old are only those over 85 and the young are only infants and extremely young children.:
Fortunately, our understanding of the virus is growing. We know that vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young.
Ok, now forget that you saw that, especially on minimizing the spread, we don't want to minimize the spread, the unstated focus of the declaration is to get us to maximize the spread, "bring it on", dude. Most especially ignore social distancing because you can't do that when "business as usual kicks: in.
Join the Herd
As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e. the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.
1) We don't know that herd immunity will occur. In history it has sometimes happened, and we hope it happens with covid-19, but it is not guaranteed by any means. Perhaps somebody might have told you about the common cold, or how many strains of flu keep on coming back year after year after year or that we still have cholera outbreaks. BTW: "You have failed to prove that it won't" is argumentum ad ignorantiam, a known fallacy and doesn't fly in adult discussions.
2) Note their definition of herd immunity, not at all what most think of as herd immunity because it is not not really immunity at all. 250,000 new cases, per week, like clockwork, week after week after week would meet this definition - keep that in mind.
3) Downplaying vaccines, because we will have to wait a bit for them and they are trying to make a case that it is urgent that we get back to work in our nice crowded offices via our nice crowded public transit immediately, yesterday if possible. There was, for the record, a recent piece by the BBC on how pandemics end ( https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-876f42ae-5e44-41c0-ba2d-d6fd537...?) that noted, for those ready to accept it, that smallpox was eliminated and wiped out by a vaccine. Of course, that's just one example, unlike polio and measles and all those other things that weren't wiped out by vaccines and which, of course, are still with us, though greatly reduced in occurrences because of luck or magik or something but most definitely not some vaccine.
That whole paragraph is an admixture of hopes and opinions presented as if it were established scientific fact or logical certainty, which is a common propaganda technique.
About those Model T's - a digression.
We are told that a large but unknown fragment of the population is already immune because of T-cells. Not quite. A completely unknown portion of the population has some T cells of mysterious unknown origin that react to and will try to attack Covid-19 virii. A large enough number of them in robust enough condition could give an individual immunity, especially where the viral load is small. That is really all that we actually know. Will they in all cases stave off a large viral load, or even any? Dunno? To some degree it is clear that their efficacy is health and diet dependent, but how much so? Dunno. Can we replicate them in those persons without them? Nobody has so claimed. Can we massively ramp up production of them in those having them to ensure success against a heavy viral load? Nobody has so claimed. Not exactly a sure thing.
a Diamond in the Rough - another digression.
One sees claims that "the Diamond Princess, a perfect incubator, full of old and hence massively at risk people only showed 20% infection" and ergo whatever. Way too many facts not in evidence, and given what evidence exists, almost certainly afactual. I have yet to see any reputable study or report which gave detailed demographics for the passengers on that ship. If it was more or less average, it would include all ages, though a sizable fraction would be over 45. Old, for purposes of this paper, depending upon the statistics they are distorting, could start at 45 of so, or at 85, so who knows. At any rate, the old often include a sizable fraction of relatively active and relatively robust persons in addition to some infirm persons. The ship was almost certainly NOT a perfect incubator. I have been on a cruise ship, of that specific line, fwiw, when a contagion was discovered aboard, and as soon as a very small number of passengers were discovered to have it they immediately instituted serious measures to combat and contain it, including quarantine and isolation of these who had it (whose rooms were treated in most respects like hazmat sites), hyper sanitizing all public areas on a frequent regular basis, restructuring their meal and similar services, etc. A ton of specific information is needed before any claims of anything based on that ship are to be taken seriously
Back to the "proposal"
The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.
As noted above, this focuses once again exclusively on DEATH and downplays all of the other harm from long term illness to permanent organ damage to medical bankruptcy that can result from infection. They also promote, but do not and cannot promise the nice sounding palliative of "Focused protection". Ooooh, Protection, and focused. How focused, well not nearly so much as the paper is focused to death and on minimizing all other consequences and risks, but, kind of focused, in theory, maybe.
Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19.
Like "Focused Protection" nice, reassuring, paternalistic verbiage meaning and promising nothing. It heads up a paragraph that focuses on the elderly, of course, in keeping with the theme of pretending that they are the only people at risk (because we want the rest of you out packing the sports arenas and restaurants). And the solution is for some bureaucrats to draw up and publish some suggestions of things the elderly and their families and caregivers should take it upon themselves to do. Resources?? Come on, kids, this is the US of A, there will be no resources or assistance, or medical care. Anything that is done by or for those people will be done with their own resources until they run out and then it will be powered by hope and prayers.
THIS is very much the crux of the matter, the whole plan and proposal is made acceptable to the herd or at least sweetened and softened by "Focused Protection", a thing that does not and will not exist within our lifetimes in the good old US of A. You know what you call a proposition based on a false premise? Nonsense! or, in the immortal words of Herr Wittgenstein "Unsinn!" (also sinnlose). If this great herding of the risk free (whomever they might actually be, many but not all children under 7 or somesuch) depends upon this beautiful and wonderous "Focused Protection", should they not have presented a detailed plan for what it is, how it will operate and how they hell they personally intend to fund it, since their universities will not, nor will our government, nor any of those like Lockheed or Chevron who really run the show here?
In that respect, this is most telling:
Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home.
And why should they? That is preposterous. If they can successfully work at home, especially if they have been, why take any risk whatsoever since they could very well be the next victim? Why, why, why, when it is so harmful to the environment (and to everybody's overall well being by contributing to the stresses of commuter living). They get no benefit and their employer gets no benefit, so it would appear that there is a crying need for these people to go out and eat junk food and soda from vending machines and convenience stores and some fast food joints while directly or indirectly consuming petroleum and other resources. Oh, and with luck they'll get sick, and survive with a minimum loss of income, few permanent physical impairments, and medical bills that stop just short of bankrupting them, which might or might not infinitesimally contribute to herd immunity, if there is actually a real possibility of that for this virus. Remember, they do not contribute unless they actually get ill, and stay home from work sick for a while. Why not just stay home from work well since neither they nor their employer benefit?
People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.
Reassuring as that was intended to be, it shows a terrible lack of understanding of their purported goal. Individuals do not, under any circumstances, build up herd immunity, herds do. Individuals build up individual immunity. They just had to throw the magic phrase in one more time, because repetition sells stuff. (BTW, why is "sheeple" derogatory if even scientists call us a herd?)
Whatever they decide to do is really out of our hands, but what they ought to do should be based on many things, and not merely the perceived need to get back to work. What they should do, among other things, never addressed, is see to it that there is plentiful economic support for the people (as opposed to the corporations) and ample health care (yeah, I know, it is too late for most generations now living.)
As always, ymmv, but, why this narrative, presented in this manner, using these techniques and "facts" at this time. Cui bono? Not I, guaranteed of that. Personally, I wanna see a great outpouring of real, tangible, funded
compassionate focused protection. (I already have a few cases of moldy thoughts and prayers rotting in the shed, thank you.)
Once again, for me, I want to see somebody try to be vaguely honest and truthful, address the facts and the guesstimates, state their assumptions and do a real cost-benefit analysis. That they refuse to do is suspicious, regardless of the position they are taking.
be well and have a good one
Edited to fix mucho mispelllings