Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Covid-19: Did US Surgeon General Just Ask Social Media to Censor Covid-19 Vaccine Posts?

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On July 15, 2021, the White House and the US Surgeon General released a statement expressing concerns that social media was allowing average citizens to spread Covid-19 misinformation that conflicted with the stated goal of herd immunity and a 70% vaccination rate for all adult populations.  Additionally, there was a clear request for these outlets to curb the publication of such information.  Was this a not-so-subtle way of telling social media to get with the program or else?

Normally, I take the position that the difference between free speech and libel is in the mind of the reader/viewer and I take my lumps when my opinion is too sharp for others to handle.  But after Facebook has refused to run ads for a well researched, six month project that intends to bring out alternative lines of climate change thinking, some warning bells have sounded.  Why would anyone be interested in censoring productive discussion whether it be about Covid-19 or climate change unless it interfered with a stated agenda?  

Still, I am not ready to slide into the mindset of a police state and prefer to maintain a tone of civility when I point out government actions which fail to rise to the level of "smart".  At the same time, I look at the federal government as an institution that has simply painted itself into a corner with years of bad decisions based on economically driven advice and Intel.  The last time our country saw this level of misinformation, it lead to the war in Afghanistan. This time, however, the war is being fought on native soil and the combatants are its own citizens. 

By its nature, government cannot be completely transparent, especially in the case of national emergencies.  The deals that occur behind closed doors are a necessary part of the process but when those making the decisions have little or no education about what they are deciding, then "revolutionary" ideas have to surface for the good of everyone.  What the administration has labeled as "misinformation" has come about by trying to force nature to comply with economic demands in a way that goes against practical and common science. That is the reason people are hesitant to follow this lead. It doesn't matter whether the administration is Republican or Democrat. Shoving a one-solution-only decision down the throats of Americans has never worked well and the federal government should know that by now. 

Contrary to what the government has tried to spin, there is a great deal of evidence that the Covid-19 vaccines are far from perfect and that they were never going to have the desired results of a quick and timely end to this all too common virus. it is the assumption that citizens are not rational and knowledgeable enough to add value to the discussion that rankles this author.  Allowing barely educated social media addicts as well as self proclaimed social justice experts to judge the validity of science are just two reasons to be  outraged. 

Here are a few evidence-based points that the administration has avoided mentioning.  Interestingly, this research comes mostly from studies filed on the government's own National Institute of Health research archives.  The reader can decide what is and is not reasonable information.

  • Domesticated animals and wildlife are often carriers for a type of coronavirus that is specific to their species. Veterinarians are well informed about the virus and its nature. Coronavirus is not manufactured in a lab but is found anywhere there are colonies of animals living in high numbers. Bats and feral cats are two of the most common.  A main characteristic of the virus is its ability to mutate quickly and infect other species such as humans. That contamination can happen without warning and anywhere animals and people live in close contact. 
  • Because it can often be dormant in the body for long periods of time, a test for Covid-19 may not always pick up the active virus.  If there were no testing protocols in place, this would just be seen as a bad allergy or cold season and deaths would be attributed to pneumonia, heart failure, stroke or several other respiratory conditions.
  • Many rural communities may have experienced widespread Covid-19 outbreaks in the weeks before the government identified the virus and went into lock down. Rural populations are not as isolated as might be thought. Over-the-road truckers along major highways, holiday trips and special vacations during school breaks could have spread the virus to every part of the country before professionals even knew it existed. This possibility is pushed to the side in dealing with vaccination recommendations and mask mandates. Rather, rural populations are seen as stubborn and uneducated.
  • For decades, pharmaceutical companies have tried to produce human and veterinarian vaccines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  There has been little success. Using a computer to help speed the process of identifying the infection did not change the nature of this highly adaptable, commonplace virus nor does it seem that it was more effective than past attempts.
  • Testing of the Covid-19 vaccine during lock down and during mask mandates would have compromised drug trial results.  Using natural methods of infection prevention such as social distancing and face coverings made the vaccines appear more  effective than they are/were.  In a recent news article from the Israeli Times, that country, which was one of the first to be fully vaccinated, estimates the overall effectiveness of the vaccine to be less than 40%. Other sources speculate the protection period to be no more than 70 days.  Attempting to force vaccinations with low efficacy rates serves little purpose in bringing this pandemic to a close but makes huge profits for the drug companies that produced them.  What is the real goal here?
  • Healthcare methods that use immunosuppressants as part of a regular treatment put people at risk for contracting the virus multiple times. First, these drugs interfere with the vaccine and second, they weaken the natural response to additional infections. In a study published on the CDC website in August 2020, even health care professionals could not estimate the number of people using these drugs and expressed concern about how vaccinations would react to their use.  Could these break-through cases be more about conflicting medical treatments or is the vaccine just not worth taking? Unfortunately, no one knows the answer for sure.

To be clear, vaccines are a significant way to prevent major illness, but natural immunity builds over time and the effectiveness of receiving multiple vaccines each and every year has not been studied, especially when patients use medications that conflict with these vaccines. Vaccines should not be an automatic substitute for good nutrition, reasonable personal space and healthy living. 

Now two weeks after the original statement first hit the news cycle, there are other developments which impact this topic. On July 16, 2021, the FDA announced that it would take up to 6 months to act on final approval of the Pfizer vaccine and recently, the CDC has reversed its decision on indoor masking of all people, vaccinated and unvaccinated.  These precautions should not be needed if these vaccines did the job they are supposed to do.  


So, who is promoting misinformation--people like me who look at the history and nature of this virus or those who want to fix this medical issue quickly so that wealth can again flow in the States. That is the question which is ultimately up for debate.  

 Covid-19 may be the force this country needs for government to finally realize there is more to life than world trade, stock market prices and an ever higher standard of living that only some enjoy.  Sometimes, good health that comes naturally, personal safety and a reasonable level of comfort is all that is really needed to be happy and successful.  That, after all, is what is guaranteed by the Constitution.   

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