Heartbroken 8/18/21

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

This has been a heartbreaking week. The long term damage of fear politics has hit my close personal friends.

One of my friends has told me that for the past week (as of the writing of this post), she has been fighting a Covid infection. She lives in South Dakota, and frankly, it’s a pretty mild case since she is at home and not on a respirator. None the less, for those of us who have suffered the Covid symptoms from the vaccination (my symptoms lasted about a day and a half), we understand what that is like. It feels very much like a flu, and frankly, I’m glad I only had it for about thirty-six hours (give or take). South Dakota is famous (or I should say “infamous”) for resisting any form of action to reduce the spread of the virus like face mask mandates and support of the vaccination while still hosting super-spreader events like the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (which is happening as I write this). And now my friend is fighting it, at home, near her children.

What truly has me concerned, though, is not so much that she has it as how she wants to treat it. She is taking zinc and Vitamin-D, which is a good thing. Vitamin-D has been clinically proven to help with recovery, and zinc will help stave off and fight any bacterial secondary infections. She is also looking for Hydrochloroquin.

In case you forgot, Hydrochloroquin, an anti-malaria medication, was mentioned as a cure without proof early in the advent of the infection and touted, strongly, by the president and the Fox Conspiracy Network. The push was so strong, in fact, that it was studied by legitimate clinical trials and found that it was not only ineffective, but it was worse as there is evidence that it puts patients at greater risk for heart problems.

I hadn’t even heard the word Hydrochloroquin in months, so I was taken aback when my friend said she was looking for it. This shows the long-term harm that people like Trump caused because they politicized the infection. Trump has no scientific background and routinely butted heads with Dr. Fauci and had even gone so far as to suggest drinking bleach and internalizing ultraviolet light. It was a vain attempt to be the national hero that solved everybody’s woes without sharing the spotlight, and several people were seriously injured as they took his suggestions to heart.

Another friend of mine, just this week, went to a super-spreader event, a concert in Texas where Covid cases are again on a dangerously steep rise. She also informed me, after the fact, that she has not had the vaccination. She tells me that she has heard of the dangers of the vaccination and doesn’t want to risk it, but the dangers of which she is speaking are from “experts” who are still politicizing the infection.

As President Biden tries to increase the percentage of vaccinated Americans, there is a risk to Trump and his party. With more vaccinations, the infection rate will likely fall, and the fear is that Biden will take the credit for the victory (as well he should as his predecessor did nothing but downplay the pandemic). To prevent this win, Trump and his party continue to spread the rumors of the dangers of the vaccination in the hopes that, in the next three years, they can blame Biden for failing to stop the virus.

I’ve tried to convince my friend that she needs to ignore everything she hears except from the experts, to which she responded that is what she is doing. Experts, she tells me, are torn. But let’s talk about experts. First of all, you have to be a little bit careful. In the seventies and eighties, the tobacco industry proved that “experts” can be for sale. Every study that came out linking smoke to cancer had a counter-study saying there is no conclusive evidence for the link. And, by the way, let’s talk about who the experts are.

See, I have the credentials to understand. I have my doctorate in chemistry, well versed in physical chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. I am properly credentialed, unlike politicians. There are perhaps a few politicians with the correct potentials (like Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor who also has a Ph.D. in chemistry), but let’s be real; they’re few and far between. Most politicians studied political science (which is a “soft science” at best) or law, neither of which are proper credentials for this problem. Trump certainly lacks credentials.

Yet, even with my credentials, I am still not an expert. The true experts are those with proper credentials AND who have been actively researching Covid. The clinicians, laboratory scientists, biochemists, clinical doctors, they are the experts. My friend says that she is listening to experts, but when we consider the true (and truly limited) experts, the overwhelming majority agree that the risks associated with the vaccination are significantly lower than the risk of not getting it at all. Anything you put in your body is a risk; the purpose of clinical trials is to ascertain if the difference in risk is significantly beneficial enough or not, and the answer is, yes, for the Covid Vaccination, it is. And those who have frightened my friends and gotten bad information to them should be ashamed.

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