Fake paintings and lemons

George Smiley : Ever bought a fake picture, Toby?
Toby Esterhase : I sold a couple once.
George Smiley : The more you pay for it, the less inclined you are to doubt its authenticity.

Remember how, once we’d received the vaccines, we’d achieve herd immunity and we’d be able to go back to the lives we once led?

This study published in The Lancett suggests otherwise.

The SAR in household contacts exposed to the delta variant was 25% (95% CI 18–33) for fully vaccinated individuals compared with 38% (24–53) in unvaccinated individuals.

Your vaccine doesn’t prevent you catching the virus and barely reduces transmission to others.

But wait, there’s more:

Vaccination reduces the risk of delta variant infection and accelerates viral clearance. Nonetheless, fully vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections have peak viral load similar to unvaccinated cases and can efficiently transmit infection in household settings, including to fully vaccinated contacts.

To “steelman“ the case for the vaccinations, I would suggest there are three reasons for their use:

  1. To protect me from death or severe illness from the virus,
  2. To prevent or reduce my risk of catching the virus, and
  3. In the event I catch the virus, to prevent or reduce the likelihood of me passing it to others.

That’s it, right? There are no other reasons for the vaccine (or any other vaccine for that matter). Let’s avoid the conspiracy theories and temptation of assigning nefarious motives to the vaccine campaign; as we discussed earlier, that will just drive you mad,

So, those three reasons….

The statistical data from around the globe suggests (1) is valid. It’s not watertight, people are still ending up in hospital or worse, but there’s a clear drop off of the volume of severe outcomes correlated to the vaccine roll out.

The Lancet paper suggests the vaccines don’t contribute much towards (2); people are still able to catch it regardless of vaccine status.

The same paper confirms the vaccines barely prevent transmission relative to the control group of unvaccinated. 25% transmission rates versus 38% transmission isn’t going to stop us all from eventually meeting this thing. If you believe the study, anyone saying vaccines are required to stop the spread isn’t thinking straight.

Bill’s Opinion

The sunk cost fallacy is a very strong human urge. Nobody likes to admit they’ve bought a lemon.

How long we can pretend to ourselves that these vaccines do anything other than ameliorate the symptoms though, well that’s an entirely different proposition.

Expect the mass hallucination to continue for a very long time into the future. Add in a large helping of the sunk cost fallacy and we will be blaming the unvaccinated for every inconvenient data point throughout the northern hemisphere winter and beyond.

10 Replies to “Fake paintings and lemons”

  1. I think the demonisation of the 5-10% unvaxxed is the government and associates setting up a fall guy for the inevitable continuation of infections and deaths, and probably for fresh lockdowns, too.
    Whatever I read, I keep coming to the same conclusion: offer the shots to the vulnerable and be done with it.
    Some people don’t seem to want to let this issue go, and are intent on dragging it into our broader social conflict.

    1. Yep. But we waved farewell to logic a very long time ago.

      I really enjoy your blog, by the way. Commenting on it seems too much effort, I don’t want to have to register or use linked accounts.

  2. The beatings will continue until moral improves. Today I heard musings over whether a yearly booster (for a “vaccine” which loses efficacy after 5-6months) will be required or not.

    In the Phillipines they’re mulling over no vax, no food.

    I’m a strong adherent to Hanlon’s Razor, but the longer this goes on, the harder it becomes to attribute this behaviour to stupidity or even just greed.

    1. But there’s a special kind of stupidity that afflicts politicians (maybe all public figures – health officers, CEOs, etc),which is the reputational investment. We see it most obviously with politicians, who will never willingly admit an error, but it’s not exclusive to them: having confidently predicted that the new corporate strategy would work, it’s difficult for the CEO reverse course – and easy to double-down; let’s put even more money into it, as we are almost there. The problem is worsened when the prior prediction / strategy / rationalization was oversold – as most of the covid stuff was. Then the climb-down involves not only admitting an error, but admitting to deliberate deception – like Fauci now admitting that he knew (or at least, he believed) masks would be effective, but had to claim they weren’t to preserve availability for medical staff. The clear implication is that he took it on himself to lie to the people paying his (more than ample) salary because he didn’t trust them to understand the issue and behave rationally.

      I really don’t think there is some great conspiracy, behind this or the other great fuck-up of our age, the Global Warming (oops, Climate Change) crisis – other than in the PJ O’Rourke sense that we are being led by a confederacy of dunces. I think it’s pressure form people who are concerned, coupled with deliberate overstatement by people who should know better (and should be more trust-worthy – but this is the path to grants / tenure, etc) – which then feeds the concern, coupled with politicians and so-called (or self-proclaimed) leaders who can’t admit that they acted as if they had better knowledge than they actually did.

      1. I take your point, and I’ve seen this at work plenty of times. Mind you, no one dies at my workplace as a result of ego, because there no one is actively suppressing treatments.

  3. Thank you for introducing me to Oja Kodar. Is it not a shame that beautiful women seldom age well.

  4. William has previously written about the madness of vaccinating healthy kids for COVID-19 when the risks of them getting seriously ill are very small. However, it is also important to consider the vaccines also have some risk.

    Health authorities around the world have a lot of information about the rates of serious health effects from both COVID-19 and the vaccines. This could be presented to the public, and doctors, to help inform decisions about the risks and benefits of vaccination for people of different ages, sexes and health conditions. However, I have not seen this comparison anywhere.

    The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia publishes a weekly report on adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines. This has one useful table with a demographic breakdown of the rates of myocarditis following Pfizer injections. Fortunately, the rates of myocarditis are very low. However, there are some concerning results in this table. One is that the rates of myocarditis increase from the first dose to the second dose – which is not a good recommendation for booster shots. Also, younger people, especially young males, are more likely to get myocarditis after vaccination than older people.

    These rates can be compared with the rate of hospitalisation associated with COVID-19 for unvaccinated people from the UK Health Security Agency vaccine surveillance report (table 5). This shows the number of cases presenting to emergency care (within 28 days of a positive test) resulting in overnight inpatient admission. For unvaccinated people under 18 the rate is about 5 per 100,000 population and for 18-29 year olds the rate is about 6 per 100,000 population.

    Comparing this to the TGA figures, the rate of myocarditis following the second dose of Pfizer vaccine is about 7 per 100,000 for males aged 12-18 and about 2 per 100,000 females in the same age group. The rates for 18-29 year olds are about 4 males and 1 female per 100,000.

    There are of course many issues with this comparison, but health authorities have the information to make more reliable comparisons of these risks and present them publicly.

    The TGA makes the following statement on their website “The protective benefits of vaccination continue to far outweigh the potential risks.” However, they don’t provide any evidence to support this statement when they could.

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