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The COVID-19 Pandemic; Anti-Vaxxers Right and Left; and Be Careful who your Friends are

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"Either this nation shall kill racism, or racism shall kill this nation." (S. Jonas, Aug., 2018)

Covid-19 Aerosol.
Covid-19 Aerosol.
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Nuff said!!!



I am a traditionally trained public health physician. My M.D. (1962) is from The Harvard Medical School, my Master of Public Health degree (M.P.H.), is from the Department of Public Health of the Yale School of Medicine (1967), and I am Certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine (1971). Do these qualifications mean that I am always right? (Well, just most of the time - joke.) Do some anti-vaxxers, whom I regard as totally non-scientific, have some similar credentials? Yes. But that doesn't make them right.

What my credentials say about me was that, as I said above, I was traditionally trained in public health and preventive medicine, and, as it happens, the bulk of my career was spent as an academic in that field, as a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Book, NY. I present this information just for your information. What stands behind the positions that I take on the pandemic and the anti-vaxx movement are not my credentials, but my commitment to the science of public health and preventive medicine (the field in which, as noted, I have spent my whole career).

An Introductory Historical Note

Not too many people, other than students of Nazism, know that there was a "left-wing" of the Nazi Party. It was headed by the Strasser brothers, Otto and Gregor. As the beginning of the Wikipedia entry on them says:

"Strasserism (German: Strasserismus or Straßerismus) is a strand of Nazism that calls for a more radical, mass-action and worker-based form of Nazism hostile to Jews not from a racial, cultural or religious perspective, but from an anti-capitalist basis to achieve a national rebirth. It derives its name from Gregor and Otto Strasser, two brothers initially associated with this position." This is a subject to which I shall return at the end of the column.

Trump, the Republican Right, and the Pandemic.

I refer you to a series of columns that I have written on that subject, e.g., "Why anti-Pandemic Control from the Right," "No Mandates! Mandates! And the Republican Religious Right, (Click Here), and "The Republican Party of Death."

Also see: "Dr. Scott Atlas, a Radiologist, Is Now Helping Trump Lead America Into a 'Dark Winter' of COVID Infection."

See also the evidence provided by the one public health physician who managed to stay inside the Trump White House as it engaged in its ongoing destructive behavior, Dr. Deborah Birx.

As for the conspiracy theories rampant on the both the Right ("the Chinese," George Soros [see International Jew], Dr. Fauci, and Bill Gates) and the Left ("the Chinese," Bill Gates, "Big Pharma," Dr. Fauci, and the "CDC" [generically]), variations on the "Plandemic" hypothesis (for population control or some such), I am not going to deal with them, except to say that anyone who thinks that Dr. Fauci has the power to "run the pandemic" should look up his job-description.

Some Comments on Vaccination, its Effectiveness, and Side-effects

Does vaccination work to prevent acquisition of this highly infectious disease, transmitted through the air? Yes, most of the time. And when it doesn't prevent infection of a specific individual, in most of those cases it diminishes the severity of the resulting illness.

Does vaccination have side-effects? Yes, it does. In most cases, beyond short-duration tenderness and redness at the injection site, are they primarily annoying rather incapacitating? Yes. As an example, I had the "tireds" for about two weeks after I received my second shot last spring. I had them again for a shorter period of time after I received my booster at the beginning of October. (Oh yes. I received the Pfizer vaccine.)

Have a significant number of people died after receiving the vaccine? The anti-vaxxers say "yes," but don't seem to be able to provide any data supporting their position (at least I haven't seen any, and I am on a couple of left-wing anti-vaxx listservs, so presumably if there were any, it would have been sent around). Again, some folks have said that the death-toll from the vaccine is "massive," but I haven't seen any numbers (and if they were, to be convincing they would have to from reproducible sources).

Might there be some very long-term side effect[s], resulting from this vaccine which is based on an entirely new and different mode of vaccine production? Yes, we are told by the anti-vaxxers, 15 years down the road there is going to be some significant damage, of some (unknown) kind, to the human population who took the vaccine. But of course, we do not they know that to be true. It is indeed speculation. And if that speculation (which has no scientific basis, it's only speculation) proved to be entirely incorrect, then possibly hundreds of millions of persons would have died unnecessarily. Hmm.

It has been claimed that "vaccination has killed hundreds of thousands." There is no verifiable proof for this claim. Nevertheless, it is made repeatedly, on both the Left and the Right. But one wonders, in this country why would the CDC not respond as vigorously to that situation as they have to the pandemic? Oh, I know. Because each and every employee at CDC is part of the "plandemic" plot and the really want to kill people beyond those who the virus has killed (at least according to cause-of-death reports, which are "obviously" false).

On the anti-Vaxxers

From the Left, there are folks like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Well, at least he's consistent. He is against all vaccination, of children anyway, because of the association of certain child-hood vaccines (required for school entrance, by the way) which cause autism. That that is an hypothesis which has been proven to be entirely wrong seems to make no difference to Mr. Kennedy and his allies.

But at least he's consistent. Most other anti-vaxxers, whether form the Left or from the Right seem to be entirely happy with traditional, required, pre-school vaccination programs, and with certain required vaccinations for certain kinds of employment or travel to certain locales (e.g., for Yellow Fever or polio).

Both the anti-vaxx Left and the anti-vaxx Right talk about refusing vaccination as a matter of "personal freedom." Well first of all, it should be made clear that no one, at least on the Public Health side is taking the position that people can be forced to be vaccinated. (And I have seen folks on the Left accidentally or purposefully confuse the public health position that vaccination can be required for, say, certain kinds of employment or entry into certain kinds of public spaces.

But NO ONE on the public health is advocating forced vaccination in primus. That would violate the inviolable principle of informed consent for any medical/public-health procedure. The public health position is that vaccination can be required for certain kinds of employment, for entry into certain public spaces and facilities, and so forth, not that it simply can be required willy-nilly without consent.

To repeat, as is well-known we are dealing here with a highly communicable disease, which can be brought under control in significant part by mass vaccination. BUT, if vaccination-or-not were solely a matter of personal freedom, why should folks not have the freedom to defecate into public water supplies, if it makes them feel good and helps them to express their personal freedom? Or how about the prohibitions against drinking and driving or smoking in forbidden areas? "But it makes me feel good" even to "I can't live without it" don't seem to cut the mustard.

Anti-vaxxers appear to be calling for an immediate end for vaccination programs, in order to save people from being killed by the vaccine. I wonder what the health care delivery systems that were overwhelmed with the COVID sick-and-dying, before the vaccine, would respond to that? But what then would be done for people who want to be vaccinated?

The anti-Maskers

As for anti-maskers, for a disease transmitted entirely through the air, it is the most effective means for reducing transmission. Can masks be uncomfortable? They sure can (I wear mine every time I go outside, double-vaxxed and boostered or no. Comfortable? No. But I wear it.) Ah ha, you might say, so you don't trust the vaccine, eh? Well, no I don't not trust it, but there are exceptions to every rule, so why take a chance? As for right-wing anti-mask mandates/laws, I dealt with that subject at length here: Click Here. As for left-wingers who are against mask mandates because they interfere with their personal freedom, I haven't dealt with that open in any detail, although I do bring up the defecation-in-a-public-water-supply Comparo with them on occasion.

As for the Governor who claimed that masks inhibit God's love from getting into the person (sorry; misplaced that reference) how does he know that God is not a mask-wearer? Then apparently there are one or more anti-mask physicians who refuse, for example, to wear a mask when talking with, for example, an immune-compromised patient, because wearing a mask in any situation makes the doc uncomfortable. Must have forgotten the Hippocratic oath to which one has sworn: "First, do no harm."

As for "do no harm," on a Chris Hayes telecast, at a right-wing talker's "town hall" a questioner asked, in reference to school board mask-mandates, "when do we start using our guns?"


On ivermectin, and other proposed treatments, as THE approach to the pandemic in general, in order to avoid some negative effects that MIGHT (or might not) occur 15 years from now, they all rely on waiting until a patient becomes sick (and infectious). Furthermore, there is the matter of proof, or more important, being able to prove. Randomly allocated double-blind studies which have to take place in persons already ill (where the alternative to ivermectin or other is hospital care which is known to be effective in most cases if caught early enough) cannot be carried out, for obvious ethical reasons. Even if it works, and no even semi- controlled studies to date have shown that it does, it does NOT, indeed cannot, prevent transmission. And further, on the subject, a controlled double-blind study would be very difficult to carry out. In what randomized group of sick patients will be found one-half who will be getting nothing to help them deal with the disease they already have (different from clinical trials of vaccines, where everyone is healthy to begin with)?

As for the effects of Lockdown, should steps have been taken to reduce economic hardship? Absolutely. The (capitalist) world powers moved much too late on this (and I don't think that that happened in China, where the lockdowns were massive and intense --- but I am not sure). But letting the disease run rampant, thus killing millions and overwhelming health care delivery systems and their personnel with the dying and the dead, is not the way to do that. Such an approach would have an even worse effect on the economy!

In summary, the Left anti-vaxxers think that they are it is supporting/benefiting the public's health according to some version of public health science. That version must come from another planet, and maybe the crew of the Good Ship Enterprise will find it someday. It is simply not the public health science to which virtually all public scientists subscribe. Are there a few exceptions here and there? Surely, tell me a human endeavour in which that sort of thing doesn't occur. As for the political Right, it cares not a whit about the public's health (see the cited columns above). It's all about politics, right-wing politics of course, and at this stage of the pandemic, with Joe Biden in the White House, doing anything they possibly can to make him look bad.

Be Careful who You Ally With

Finally, as for allies in the anti-vaxx struggle, of the two "Left-wing" Strasser bothers mentioned at the beginning of this column, Otto left the Party and Germany in 1930 (and somehow managed to survive the War). Gregor remained a Nazi through the early days of the Hitler Dictatorship, while still pronouncing his "left-wing" views. On the Night of the Long Knives, in which many of Hitler's enemies both within and outside if the Party, but still right-wingers, like Ernst Roehm, the Commander of Hitler's private army, the Sturmabteilung, which had fought street battles for him from the early 1920's, and a very close ally, were killed, as the price to be paid to a variety of Nazi supporters in return for the continued support of the Military and the German ruling class . E.g., the SA's dissolution (remember, it was a private army, directly loyal to Hitler) was demanded by the German armed forces as the price of their support for Hitler and his dictatorship. And so, the "leftie" Gregor Strasser, Hitler supporter from the early days in the 1920's, was murdered.


A very recent item indicated that "The End is in Sight: Click Here." The most important corollary for declining disease is high vaccination rates. High vacc. rates. But that is just fact. Does anyone think that anti-vaxxers on the Left, operating on conspiracy theories of various kinds and fear of some thoroughly unknown and unknowable possible negative outcome of vaccination way down the road (as well as devotion to ivermectin-etc.), and anti-vaxxers (anti-maskers as well) on the Right for whom anti-science is in their blood (although I must say that I do not have any scientific support for that statement) proving to be a very useful political tool, in responding to that fact, going to change their position? Well, since 1969 we now know for sure (well most of us do anyway) that the Moon is NOT made of green cheese. So, the answer to the question, "are facts going to change my position on the pandemic and now to control it," is the same as the answer to the question "Is the moon made of green cheese?" (Except, I know, I know. There are still some flat-earthers out there, somewhere.)

(Article changed on Nov 06, 2021 at 8:04 AM EDT)

(Article changed on Nov 06, 2021 at 3:44 PM EDT)

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a "Trusted Author, he is a Senior (more...)
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