If You Don’t Trust the Science . . . Trust the Math
Recently, I saw a meme from an acquaintance who attended grad school with me, which explained why the expression “trust the science” is faulty. Basically, the meme (and my frenemy) were arguing that science is science because we don’t trust it. That science is science because we keep asking the questions, and not blindly accept any one conclusion.
I could argue that at some point, with enough tests, the science is right enough — and that’s how we get our approved medications and foods, our conclusions about the specific harms of pollution, or a mostly agreed-upon understanding of the way our world works, and so much more. But I concede her point that science means asking questions.
My pal was, of course, referring to the vaccinations we now have to fight Covid-19. She isn’t ready to take the current vaccinations; apparently FDA approval and the word of a wide range of virologists (besides Fauci) who vouch for the efficacy of the current vaccines, particularly the Pfizer and Moderna versions.
My response to her? If you don’t like the science, then trust the math. Unlike science, the math can’t really be questioned. It is what it is.
I present to you Covid-19 math, based on up-to-date information.
According to the Department of Health, hospitalizations for Covid-19 are 19 times higher for unvaccinated 12–34-year-olds; 18 times higher among 35–64-year-olds, and 12 times higher among those over 65.
According to the Center for Disease Control, those fully vaccinated in the general population (all ages) have decreased infection rates 5 times over the unvaccinated. Hospitalization rates are greater than ten times among the unvaccinated and death rates are also more than ten times that of the vaccinated population. Mind you, those are the numbers even though the unvaccinated make up just 40% of the population nationwide.
Finally, according to Health System Tracker, 85% of current Covid-19 hospitalizations are for those who are unvaccinated. The breakthrough infections and hospitalizations among the vaccinated are by and large (69%) among the elderly (over age 65), who have more comorbidities than the younger population. This was the case for the recent famous example of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was vaccinated but was also in his eighties and fighting cancer.
Interestingly, the highest breakthrough infections and hospitalizations among the unvaccinated are those in the 18–49 age group (36%). It can be assumed that this is because they are the most socially active population — college students and those in their twenties and thirties — who are going to concerts and bars and gathering for parties.
The lowest rates of vaccination are in the south and Midwest, and those states have had, and continue to have, high hospitalizations and per capita death rates compared to other states.
However, you might ask yourself why the northeast (New York and New England) is now in the grips of the Omicron variant infections — those states mostly have the highest rates of vaccination in the country, over 70%. My guess is that the virus is finally reaching those rural areas in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (and the other states), and that 30% unvaccinated is still a large number of people who are susceptible. In the case of New York City, close proximity to other people and perhaps a relaxing of social distancing and masking in recent months has caused a spike in infections there. Although the infection rate is now high there, I don’t think the death rates will come near what they were in the early days of the pandemic — because so many New Yorkers are now vaccinated.
Among the die-hard conspiracy theorists, these numbers from respected organizations do not matter, because they think the CDC and WHO and Department of Health are in cahoots with Joe Biden and other world leaders who are trying to kill us with vaccines. None of these Commie numbers can be trusted!
What are ya gonna do?
I suggest they talk to people who actually work in hospitals. While the Covid-19 numbers rise as we get to the two-year mark of this pandemic, we are also facing staffing shortages because burned-out healthcare workers are quitting their jobs. Who can blame them? I wouldn’t want their jobs, no matter what the pay is. Currently, hospitals are dangerously facing collapse.
I will close with a statement from Dr. Gabriel Bosslet, an ICU pulmonologist in the Indiana University hospital system. (Indiana has a vaccination rate barely over 50%.) I have not changed his words but edited his spoken words for a better narrative flow.
“Our hospitals are bursting . . . We are tired. We can’t do this much longer. Our ICU beds are 40% over the usual capacity . . . We have been able to scale up ventilators and ICU beds but we have not been able to scale up people . . . I will probably work on Christmas, and I’m okay with that. I signed up for this. But I did not sign up for seeing people dying needlessly . . . Of the hundreds of patients I’ve seen in ICUs, I can count on one hand the number who have been vaccinated. Those few vaccinated who end up here have compromised immune systems from other diseases. They need the rest of us to step up . . . Listen to public health officials . . . Vaccines are the only way to end this.”
So, if you don’t trust the science, fine. Trust the math. We are ending the year with staggering numbers and are likely to start the new year with numbers more staggering.
We need to come together to end this. Now.