Sunday, December 06, 2020

Optionally mandatory vaccines and conspiracy theories

Like most of my compatriots, I surely plan to avoid the Covid-19 vaccination as long as it is possible. All experts seem to agree that the available Covid-19 vaccines have much more violent and unpleasant side effects than any other vaccines that have been used en masse (mostly local pain, inflammation, sometimes fever, headache etc.). As a kid, I had reactions to regular vaccines (including fainting, a few times) and I have other reasons to think that the costs and damages would safely exceed the benefits for me.

The average size of a Covid-19 shot. A warning for Google's officials and people with a similar IQ: this comment is a joke and the picture above is a party costume.

More generally, if we ignore my idiosyncrasies, some people worry that the vaccine is unsafe. I believe that if a particular vaccine were made with the purpose of helping the people who get it, it is safer than the virus itself (because the vaccine should be something resembling the virus, without the full ability to grow in your body) and the virus isn't terribly harmful. However, I do share worries that the vaccines may be intentionally modified to cause some extra effects.

Don't get me wrong. I don't believe that the vaccines will include microchips that will turn every recipient to a slave controlled by leftists from the Silicon Valley. I believe that the contemporary technology isn't this powerful. As long as the vaccine looks like a liquid or a powder, it's really a chemical compound, not a bunch of chips that are capable of a nontrivial microscopic behavior. In particular, 5G chips almost certainly cannot be this microscopically small. This statement holds right now and I suspect that for fundamental physics reasons, and because of some bounds on the ratio of the size and the wavelength, 5G chips will never be microscopic.

But malicious people simply can supplement a vaccine with damaging chemical compounds. There have been statements that tetanus shots for the poor world were laced with sterilizaton drugs harming the women's reproductive health. Infowars quotes a European scientist saying that the same will be true for the Covid vaccines that are getting ready.

Now, I surely call these claims – especially the latter – conspiracy theories. (OK, I take "especially the latter" back. The leftists as they exist now are much more likely to mass sterilize the whites than the blacks, I think.) But like other theories, conspiracy theories have a nonzero probability of being (conspiracy) facts. There are lots of people – and organizations – who think that depopulation would be great for our planet. Some of them are very open about this inhuman opinion; and some of them even seem utterly fanatical. More generally, I think that almost all the people who are behind the Covid hysteria and the universally recommended "cures" are just nasty, lying, untrustworthy scum. I wouldn't trust them sufficiently to hire them to clean my toilet; why should I trust them to inject something into my blood stream?

The pretty nurse was just an ad. This is what you really get.

So even if it means "no flight in coming years", I will reject the vaccine. (In a truly free market, an airline company that refuses to serve the non-vaccinated people will be put in a huge competitive disadvantage – and if it is not, it proves that the market is totally distorted.) If the punishment were more serious, I could hesitate. And yes, under some circumstances, I could try to buy a fake confirmation – which will surely be sold on the free market if the vaccination becomes mandatory or almost mandatory (think about the alcohol market during the prohibition in the U.S.; or the black market with many things in communist countries like Czechoslovakia). But if I were forced to be vaccinated by similar pressures, I would surely consider such a scenario one of the most important political topics (a major violation of the basic civil rights) and I would almost certainly support the political forces that fight against this kind of blackmail.

In the case of vaccination, most of our governments are fortunately taking the position that the vaccination won't be made mandatory by the government. As far as the governments go, it will be optional. But the problem is that the vaccination may be de facto mandatory due to the pressures which are legal – either from the public sector or the private sector. Either the government or the private companies may prevent the non-vaccinated people from using the public transportation, going to a concert, whatever. I think that not only the governments should avoid vaccination mandates. They should ban the vaccination mandates imposed on the general public – the general consumers and general employees – by lower-tier portions of the government bodies as well as private companies. Such a discrimination of non-vaccinated people should be as illegal as the refusal to serve costumers with a certain skin color.

It is often being said that in communism, lots of things were mandatory. But this summary is misleading. At least in the 1980s when our socialist society was already "very advanced" and marching towards its collapse, most of the things were officially not mandatory at all. For example, there were May Day Parades and the November Seventh (Russian Communist Coup) Marches with the Chinese lanterns. The attendance was never officially mandatory, at least in the 1980s. It was just de facto mandatory or "optionally mandatory", as a funny Czech hybrid oxymoron phrase says. If you didn't attend, your kids could be refused when they apply for a school. You could be downgraded in your job. And other things. Needless to say, this pressure is completely analogous to the hypothetical ability of airlines and others to force their clients to get vaccinated.

But I think that even these comments about the "optional mandates" and the subtle pressures are overstating the amount of pressure that the people were exposed to in the 1980s. In reality, almost no one was really fired because he had snubbed a May Day Parade. What was actually happening is that the overwhelming bulk of the population was "actively adapted" to the communist party's desires and they attended May Day Parades because they wanted a higher chance to be promoted! (Well, these parades were often pretty entertaining and you could have wanted to go even if you disagreed with all the politics behind them.) In practice, most people competed in their apparent compatibility with the totalitarian regime. The claims that "something terrible" would have happened to them if they hadn't done some morally defective things – almost all such claims were just lies made by people who no longer had any spine. Almost everyone was pretty intensely collaborating with the communist system and almost everyone was privately claiming to be one of the most courageous members of the resistance.

At any rate, I think that it is counterproductive to vaccinate people who don't belong to the risk groups in the coming months. Covid-19 is in the final months of its significant impact. You may watch the numbers of deaths and in almost all the countries where the disease has ever become widespread, the death tally is approaching a simple rule: about 1/1,000 of the population dies. The total Covid-19 events bring the equivalent of 1 month of dying (because about 1% of the population dies every year). None of the contrived policies in any of these countries has reliably changed anything about this outcome. The data from a majority of nations indicates that the European countries where the death count is well below 1/1,000 of the population (i.e. below 1,000 deaths per 1 million people) are just waiting for the events to occur later in this month, in January, and in February. For example, it seems pretty clear that Greece's economy-destroying policies didn't prevent the exponential growth in that country, either.

Genetically, Covid-19 is a rather well-defined virus which is on par with a single strain of flu. No one has really had immunity against this virus which is why the virus was destined to permeate a majority of the population of most nations and that is the actual reason why the total death count is higher than that of the average flu season by now. I think that it is so highly contagious that the basic reproduction number \(R_0\) is normally much higher than 1.5 or 2.0 when the virus starts to spread. It is probably as high as 4.0 or higher – corresponding to the fraction \(f = 1-1/R_0\) equal to 75% or higher which is needed for the exponential growth to switch to a decrease. And I think that many countries including mine are already (well) above 50% of the people who have had it and developed some immunity. (Flu and cold only have \(R_0\) smaller than two because most people are immune towards the chosen strain.)

The overall percentage of the people who die of Covid-19 is between 0.1% and 0.2% of those who contract it – if all cohorts are equally represented. I can't be 100% certain about such claims but it is compatible with a huge majority of the data that I can see. Lockdowns have been completely futile and stupid. Blaming tourists, musicians, skiers, guests in bars, ... all these things have been medieval witch hunts reloaded, completely unfair and irrational rituals. A 21st century person just shouldn't blame natural events on particular human scapegoats! But at the end, it seems likely to me that even most of the efforts to protect the vulnerable groups were futile, especially if the disease was being unnaturally slowed down in the bulk of the population. With the unnatural slowdown, the epidemics really takes many months and people lose the patience. People can't naturally protect themselves and their patients for much longer.

So I believe another thing: among the people who have contracted Covid-19 by now, all age groups were comparably represented, as if no focused protection has taken place. On one hand, older and ill people may have reduced their trips and contacts and someone could have taken care of them. On the other hand, the "guard" could have been the reason of the infection herself. And on top of that, the old and ill people are also much worse in their ability to quickly move and avoid e.g. another person's droplets of saliva. I think that I am much more likely to keep my 2-meter distance from someone on the sidewalk than a senior. The senior just can't run or move quickly enough so he is forced to be close to many people.

Well, I can also use the cold hard data. Look at the Czech population pyramid and compare it with the number of positive Covid-19 tests. The age distribution is almost the same! For example, the number of 75-year-old is 1/2 of the number of 45-year-old, and that's true both in the general population and among the positively tested people. So no substantial "selective protection of seniors" has actually taken place!

Because the timescales of the Covid-19 symptoms and contagion (X days) are comparable to those of flu, it would take almost the same time for a city to experience the natural Covid-19 epidemics – a month or two. Because of all these almost omnipresent restrictions, it may be divided to three months in a given city. However, because different cities are peaking in different weeks (or months), the national and global curves are much more diluted in time. At any rate, the disease will naturally end sometime in the winter – in a few weeks or a few months, I don't really want to make a terribly accurate prediction. It will be before significant percentages of the people will be vaccinated.

By spring 2021, even in the absence of any vaccine, the disease will almost completely disappear in the regions where it has been widespread. What is the vaccine good for in a country which has already reached herd immunity? The vaccination of "not a risk group" people is just irrational. Countries like Australia and New Zealand (and Uruguay, not to mention the bulk of East Asia) which haven't allowed any macroscopic propagation of the disease are in a different situation. They have "saved those lives" but is the salvation permanent? I think that they will have to vaccinate the people in order to "lock" this salvation.

But you know, to prevent the explosion of this "time bomb", an exploding epidemics in a country like Australia which has delayed the propagation of the virus by a 7-month-long lockdown of a sort, they need to 1) vaccinate a big majority of the population, to say the least, because \(R_0 \gt 2\), as I argued; 2) they need to vaccinate them against a flu-like disease that is currently absent in their whole continent. I find it psychologically bizarre. If a majority of nations such as the Czechs want to boycott the vaccine despite the fact that the risk of an infection is clearly very high in Czechia (and, I think, higher than 50% when integrated over 2020), how can you persuade the majority of Australians to get vaccinated?

However, I find it plausible that a majority of Australians, and perhaps even almost all Australians, will agree with the vaccination. This possible outcome requires a certain "psychological mood" of the 25 million individual people and a certain "political atmosphere" in the country and I, for one, am vastly more afraid of these moods and atmospheres than I am afraid of any Covid-like virus. It's just terrible if a whole nation may be easily persuaded to get a (rather new, more painful than normally) vaccine against a flu-like disease that doesn't even exist on the continent.

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