Thoughts From A Covid Survivor
After being totally against masks and mandatory vaccinations since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, I was hospitalized with Covid (the Delta variant). Ironic right? I never doubted that Covid existed and never had any suspicion that it was merely a hoax. I was simply skeptical about how the government, politicians, some corporate leaders, and many influential people were reacting to Covid. Since the beginning of the pandemic, public officials frequently offered solutions which were clearly based on guesses. As weeks drew on, it became evident that the rhetoric outpaced the evidence until the evidence came in and when that occurred, it frequently (almost always) discredited the experts’ solutions and rhetoric. In some cases we learned the “experts” had intentionally misled the public. By the summer of 2021, people would have promoted taping banana peels to their forearms if the experts would have recommended the Covid-fighting benefits of forearm banana peel application. Everything was a guess, and one guess was just as compelling as the next because no data was available on the effectiveness of the advice or guidance from the Covid “experts”.
Now that we are two years into the pandemic and I am over three months from recovering from Covid I may now have some perspective which some have not considered.
I’ll start with my hospitalization. First, hospitals are insanely careful about their safety protocol with any infectious disease, but it appears they approach Covid with about as much caution as they do Ebola. In many cases, the patient is allowed absolutely no visitors while they are hospitalized. While that wasn’t the case in the hospital where I was hospitalized, I can tell you that this is a huge problem. It is isolation, which is very contrary to our human nature. Not only is isolation from your own loved ones a serious setback in your mental and physical health, it means that you have no one in your room to help you find the box of tissues for your runny nose, fill your water, turn down the thermostat, hand you your reading glasses, plug in your smartphone, or anything else. Even your healthcare providers spend as little time with you as possible. For simple tasks such as those listed above, you call the nurse to your room. This requires at least three minutes of preparation for your nurse and likely much more. They have to sanitize their hands, put on a gown, put on gloves, put on their mask(s), put on their visor or goggles, and put on their cap and booties. After handing you your box of tissues which was just out of reach because the lab tech had nudged the table 12” out of your reach in order to draw your blood, the nurse has to step out, remove all the gear, re-sanitize themselves, then chart: “Handed patient a Kleenex”, which they probably don’t chart, but should in order to show the monotony of the process.
This is all the more disheartening because I was told that most of the healthcare providers on my “floor” had already been infected with Covid, meaning that they had not only survived Covid themselves, but they likely had antibodies protecting them. In addition to those antibodies, many of them had also been vaccinated by the time I arrived.
Each morning, the covid patient is visited by several doctors and PA’s. While you might think this is a big deal, it is pretty anticlimactic because the medical team cannot really do much for the Covid patient other than prescribe some medications and observe. I say this will full knowledge that they will do a lot of things if the patient’s condition is deteriorating. However, for me, I improved each day, so from my perspective, here is the medical assessment each day after about the very first morning you wake up in the ICU:
Doctor: How are you feeling?
Me: I think I’m a little better today.
Doctor: Yeah. Your stats look good. We’ll turn your oxygen down a little.
Me: Does that mean I can go home?
Doctor: Not yet. We need to keep an eye on you a little longer.
Me: So, when do you think I’ll be able to head home?
Doctor: We can’t really say right now. But you need to get down to about 4 liters of oxygen so you can be on a residential oxygen mixer.
Me: So, can you tell me if it might be tomorrow, or two days?
Doctor: We can’t really estimate that.
Me: What can I do to speed this up?
Doctor: You can do your breathing exercises.
Me: I’ve been doing those.
Doctor: Great. Do you have any other questions?
Me: Not that I can think of.
Doctor: Okay. We’ll keep an eye on things and talk tomorrow. Okay?
I’m not minimizing the heroic and specialized work these healthcare providers have to do each day. Nor am I saying they don’t do an enormous amount of work other than this. What I’m saying is that the main thing they did in my case, was follow the standard course of treatment for Covid, tweak it according to my vitals and other developments in treatment protocols, and then monitor my condition. There is no question this approach and these medical professionals saved my life (second only to the grace of God).
However, this was my discussion with three or four different teams of healthcare providers each morning for a week, which has to be pretty monotonous and sometimes discouraging. This included my hospitalist, my respiratory therapist, my pulmonologist, and a consulting physician or physician’s assistant.
To have this conversation each day, at least four, and usually six healthcare workers had to go through the safety protocols necessary to enter my room. Then they had to do it for the next patient, and the next patient…
Healthcare burnout is real. However, it is not solely caused by people who have declined the vaccine. When a patient is asymptomatic and was only taken to the hospital because the patient had some other medical issue and then tested positive for Covid, it is either ignorant or dishonest to claim that the burnout is caused by the unvaccinated. In most asymptomatic cases, the daily routine is probably a lot less than I experienced for 9 days in the ICU, but the safety protocols would be the same, as would a lot of unnecessary assistance if family members were prohibited from the room. I am confident that a study on the isolation from family members would show a much higher death rate, and a much longer recovery period for Covid patients.
One thing for which I can unquestionably vouch is the dedication and sincerity of the healthcare providers I met. You can tell that they have seen a lot of suffering and that they are working a lot of extra hours, with a lot of extra precautions and oversight. I suspect that on many occasions, a patient who was doing fine one morning, slipped into serious condition before the next day’s rounds. Therefore, their cautiousness and patience with observation is undoubtedly necessary. It is the overbaked concern about safety, such as prohibiting family members, excessive sanitization, and other restrictions and procedures which will someday lead to the admission that we didn’t react well to this virus.
Would a vaccine mandate help prevent healthcare worker burnout?
Since early in the pandemic, many people have been talking about a vaccine. When the vaccines became available, faster than any vaccine in history I believe, a lot of people recommended the vaccines. After a lot of people declined the vaccines vaccine advocates began “highly” recommending the vaccines, a lot of people continued to decline it. Then some of the advocates lost their patience, and began telling people that they had to be vaccinated. Then President Biden ordered people to be vaccinated. Now a lot of people have lost their jobs because they have continued to decline the vaccine.
Pardon my generalizations above. I used the phrase “a lot of people”, because the actually numbers and percentages are not imperatives here. If one person declined the vaccine, this blog would be just as relevant as if thousands or millions of people have declined the vaccine.
In Canada, honking has changed the science on their vaccine mandate in several provinces, but Justin Trudeau apparently has not yet been fully briefed on the effect honking has on Covid. Once he is briefed, even the most diehard proponent of the vaccine will admit that the Canadian vaccine mandate has been rendered unnecessary due to honking horns. Sometimes science is so interesting!
The vaccine issue is rife with more than ideological problems. First, the vaccines are not nearly as effective as they were touted, so are we supposed to believe they are as safe as they were touted? We will not know the answer to that question for a long time to come. In other words, a lot of people seem content serving as the lab rat for the Covid vaccine clinical trial.
Back when Trump was the president and was encouraging people to get vaccinated as soon as it was available, CNN disagreed. In September, 2020, CNN wrote: “Vaccine experts are warning the federal government against rushing out a coronavirus vaccine before testing has shown it’s both safe and effective. Decades of history show why they’re right.”
As you might know, CNN quickly changed their opinion once President Biden took office. I am skeptical that this change in opinion was any more science-based than a convoy of truckers honking their horns, unless you include political science in that definition.
I didn’t agree with Trump, and I don’t agree with Biden. I disagree with mandates even more.
Here are my top 10 reasons why a vaccine mandate is foolish.
- The vaccines were developed immorally, using human cells derived from abortions.
- The vaccines do not prevent people from contracting or spreading Covid. Remember all the promises of freedom of association and no more masking?
- They are pressuring and mandating that you get vaccinated, regardless of your chances of experiencing complications from the virus. Why would a healthy 18yr old need this vaccine? A lot of the push is an attempt to mold a culture of compliance.
- The vaccines are not proven to be safe due to the lack of trials and time.
- We know that some people, maybe a lot more than report it, suffer adverse reactions to the vaccine and the boosters.
- We also know that the virus wasn’t as deadly as first predicted, and the latest mutation cause primarily mild symptoms. So, is the need for the vaccine still so great that we can justify the risks of the “cure”?
- Boosters. How many is going to be enough? Is there a study on the impact of multiple and possibly endless boosters?
- The law has allowed people to access things they consider medical procedures, such as abortion (which is not healthcare), but unlike China, the law has never mandated things like abortion.
- The vaccines seem to only work to decrease the symptoms of Covid. So go ahead and take the jab if you want because your “vaccine” is more like a medical treatment than an actual vaccine, and my medical treatments do not keep you healthier, they just help the person receiving the medical treatment.
- If the unvaccinated are causing healthcare worker burnout (and as stated above, I think healthcare workers are experiencing burnout), why is the government and the healthcare industry firing healthcare workers who decline the vaccination? Remember, the vaccine does not work the way it was touted. It does not prevent the spread of the virus.
I am also aware that a lot of hospitals filled up (to varying degrees) during the Omnicron phase of the “pandemic”, but were they swamped with people struggling to survive Omnicron, or were they treating patients who were there for an unrelated reason, but who had also tested positive for Omnicron when they were admitted? As we now know, the phrase “died from Covid” means something much different than “died with Covid”. These slight variations in wording make a big difference, especially with hospitalized children. We have learned that many or most children who were hospitalized over the last two years, were in the hospital for reasons unrelated to Covid, but while there, they were tested for Covid and many tested positive. This meant that they had to be isolated from the rest of the hospital, taking up Covid beds when they had few or no symptoms and commonly had no complications.
All this being said, overflowing hospitals and healthcare provider burnout, are likely the result of many factors which include people who are unvaccinated, but not solely because people are unvaccinated. It is harder to work in healthcare right now because of all the safety protocols, friction with supervisors and other workers who disagree on matters such as vaccines and some of the other protocol obligations, concerns about testing positive themselves and going through quarantine and isolation, and the general upheaval of our way of life in the entire country.
Since the vaccines do not prevent you from contracting Covid, and since the vaccines do not prevent you from spreading Covid, the only remaining reason to mandate the vaccine is to make sure your local hospital is not so overwhelmed that they can’t care for everyone who needs care.
On my first night in the hospital, I asked my nurse if the hospital was full. I was hospitalized right about the time the Delta virus hospitalizations spiked in my geographic area. My nurse said they were busy, but not swamped. She also said that about ½ of the Covid patients were vaccinated and the other ½ were not. This is anecdotal, but it is also true.
At the same time, it is well-known that the government restrictions have created an increase for medical care for many conditions other than Covid. Humans, by our nature, are social. We thrive in our relationships with others and one of the most severe punishments a human can ever suffer is solitary confinement. Yet some of us, primarily our loneliest and already most isolated, were required to eliminate what little social interaction they had. Even in their dying moments, nursing home residents were prohibited from seeing their family members and family members were denied access to their loved ones.
As a result of the futile effort to slow or reduce the spread of Covid, the government and corporate leaders have inadvertently increased a lot of other health problems and behavioral problems, such as depression, suicide, alcohol abuse and alcoholism, drug use and drug overdose, domestic assaults, diabetes, and many other illnesses impacted by anxiety, loneliness, boredom, etc.
We heard shocking predictions about the possible death toll which could come from Covid-19 in the early days of the pandemic, but now that the death toll is unfolding before our eyes, the shocking numbers are actually the deaths of people who didn’t die from Covid.
One thing we know about capitalism is that Americans and many other business-savvy people across the globe are highly motivated to make money. Too often, this motivation trumps morality, but it can also trump the liberal ideology of liberal capitalists. Therefore, when a large industry such as the insurance industry announces that there has been an unprecedented rate of death in the last four months, we should pay attention, because of all industries, the insurance industry is extremely focused on making money. According to OneAmerica CEO Scott Davison:
“We are seeing, right now, the highest death rates we have seen in the history of this business… The data is consistent across every player in that business… the deaths that are being reported as Covid deaths greatly understate the actual death losses among working age people (ages 18-64) from the pandemic. It may not all be Covid on their death certificate, but deaths are up just huge, huge numbers.”
What incentive is there for a healthcare provider to omit Covid as a condition or cause of death on a death certificate? None. In fact, with government financial assistance being conditioned upon a Covid diagnosis, many people believe the number of deaths from Covid are exaggerated, not understated or underreported. In early January 2022, CDC director Rochelle Walensky admitted that “up to 40 percent” of patients had been admitted to hospitals with another medical emergency but had been later detected as having COVID. Other medical providers estimated this to be more like 50%. In such cases, about 40-50% of these patients may never had known or suspected they had Covid.
What have Americans added to their lives in the last four months which could account for a sudden spike in deaths for Americans age 18-64? By the way, the Pfizer vaccine was approved by the FDA on August 23, 2021. Wait a minute! That is right as the 4th quarter started for industries such as the insurance industry! Could there be a connection? Vaccine apologists and purveyors of pandemic terror will soon come out with a totally different explanation, but for me, this is just one more sign that there is something evil lurking in this pandemic, and it is much more diabolical than a virus.
Some vaccine apologists are pointing out that there is no direct evidence that any of the 40% increase in deaths is directly tied to the vaccine. While this is currently true, the vaccine apologists and the “Covid experts” are still on the hook for this unprecedented spike in deaths because another very viable explanation is that a lot of these people died because they were scared to receive medical treatment. They were scared they would contract and die of Covid because of the doomsday predictions the CDC and Dr. Fauci repeated over and over again since before Covid started showing up in tests in the U.S. They were scared they would be isolated in hospitals and nursing homes without any contact from family members because that is exactly what happened to enormous numbers of people over the past two years. They were afraid of testing positive for Covid and missing work, school, or social engagements, even though they had no Covid symptoms. Others lost trust in healthcare because of the obvious lack of honesty and/or knowledge by those who touted themselves as experts (i.e. Fauci himself). In short, the fearmongering, contradictions, hypocrisy, and unreasonable medical directives kept a lot of people from seeking medical help for things other than Covid, and in some cases (hopefully this is a no-brainer for most people), avoiding medical care actually leads to death.
Given all of this, even with my dangerous battle with Covid, I would not change anything if I were to be able to go back in time and start September all over again. In fact, I still feel just as strongly that mask mandates and vaccine mandates are horridly misguided, and/or they are tools for evil. One thing I like to see are people who reject the mandates. When I have to go into a community with a mask mandate, I am pleased by the fact that many people, sometimes most people, don’t even have a mask on. I also find it interesting that many who do wear a mask are wearing them improperly, or they are wearing a cloth mask, which even the CDC admits, does little to no good. I also find it interesting that some places don’t require a mask at all, such as government services, those seated in restaurants and bars, and a few other locations or scenarios.
This is also why I am increasingly frustrated by those who exert their power over the people with little or no ability to push back, such as k-12 students, college students, healthcare workers, and employees who cannot afford to lose their job, which describes nearly every employee in the U.S.
Strangely, a lot of people appear to be stuck on old information, information which has been proven incorrect, old recommendations from experts, and false assumptions.
One example is the belief that masks are extremely important and effective. This was the pattern statement when the pandemic began. Today, many people no longer believe this, including many people who were considered experts on Covid such as a recent Johns Hopkins study.
As for lockdowns and radical efforts to prevent the spread of covid by changing the way we live our lives, the evidence is also unfavorable to the advice the Covid experts were offering over the past two years. According to a large analysis of the effect of lockdowns by Johns Hopkins:
“The use of lockdowns is a unique feature of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdowns have not been used to such a large extent during any of the pandemics of the past century. However, lockdowns during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic have had devastating effects. They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy. These costs to society must be compared to the benefits of lockdowns, which our meta-analysis has shown are marginal at best. Such a standard benefit-cost calculation leads to a strong conclusion: lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument.” (Emphasis Added)
Hopefully we can learn from the facts and experience instead of ignoring them and continuing to impose draconian measures on ourselves for no good reason.
Today, I remain opposed to the insane idea that we can prevent or stop Covid. The fact is, nearly all of us will be infected by one strain of Covid or another if we haven’t already been infected. Another fact is that all of us will die, but only a fraction of us will die from Covid. It is sad that it will take decades for people to honestly admit that the governmental response to Covid has been an utterly horrific failure.
We are constantly told to “follow the science”, but the Covid “experts” and government officials have truly struggled to do this themselves. Some of that struggle has been due to the lack of scientific evidence, forcing them to guess. For that, we cannot fault them. But a lot of guessing has continued after evidence to the contrary has come to light. Also, too many people, experts and otherwise, are content to impose restrictions, mandates, and messages, which are totally contrary to scientific and statistical evidence in the last 12 months. If the government and Covid “experts” expect us to follow the science, I suggest they do the same.
Instead of forcing people to wear masks, take the jab, avoid social contact, close their business, and stay in their homes, there is a better and more human approach:
- Encourage people to make good decisions, such as staying home if they don’t feel well.
- Educate people about steps they should take if they have a symptom such as a sore throat, congestion, a fever, etc.
- Encourage people to seek treatment for symptoms right away instead of “toughing it out” (this was my big mistake).
- Stop discouraging the use of low-cost therapeutics which have been proven safe and effective such as Ivermectin.
- Increase the availability of medications such as Ivermectin in pharmacies, so people stop trying to obtain these things through other sources such as veterinary clinics and agricultural supply outlets.
- Encourage a healthier lifestyle such as exercise, avoiding excessive consumption of food, and getting appropriate rest and nutrition.
- Encouraging people to reduce stress in their lives, which usually leads to unhealthy lifestyle habits and physical changes in our bodies.
- Admit that no one can live forever, and that most of us will not die from Covid, nor will most of us become seriously ill.
- Recognize that not only is #6 true, there is also something much better waiting for us after we die, and that dying is a necessary step in reaching that much better place. The denial or ignorance of this is, in my opinion, a main cause for the panic we have experienced in the last two years.
- Develop safe and effective vaccines which are also morally developed (no use of human cells derived from abortions), and which are tested over a longer period of time to make sure they are truly safe.
- Respect the ability and willingness of people to make their own decisions when provided with accurate and honest information.
If you are afraid of catching Covid, there are a lot of things you can do to try and protect yourself, but in the end, the only one imprisoning you, is you. Those of us in the growing population of people who are sick and tired of all the misinformation, panic, terror, restrictions, mandates, and guesses have decided to live once again in the land of the free, which has always wrestled with life’s balance between safety and risk. Hopefully, you will join the Convoy soon.