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On What Planet Does Jeff Zients Spend Most Of His Time?
Jeff Zients Is A Disgrace
I titled this newsletter “All Facts Matter” for a simple reason: to highlight the importance of facts, data, and evidence in rational discussion. I make my interpretations of the available facts and data, and will happily engage with all who disagree with me, but always at the core of any discussion are the facts and the data.
While I am not shocked to hear a public official emphasizing a particular narrative over factual substance--such mendacity is a staple of modern politics--it still offends me when that narrative veers so far from the facts as to become a vulgar, demented, and unprovoked attack upon others.
Jeffrey Zients' naked threats and accusations against those who choose not to receive either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Janssen inoculations is vulgar, demented, and wholly out of touch with reality. Respect for reason, facts, and evidence alone demands his comments be called out and condemned.
Respect for reason, facts, and evidence alone invites the question “on what planet does Jeff Zients spend most of his time? “
What Jeff Zients Said
Zients’ offensive comments came during Friday's (December 17) COVID-19 press briefing (Zients is the White House COVID-19 response “czar”).
“For the unvaccinated: you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death,” said Zients during a White House COVID-19 update Friday. “For yourselves, your families and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.”
This is not simply hyperbole. This is not simply dramatic rhetoric deployed from the bully pulpit to advocate for the COVID-19 vaccines—that would be ethically problematic but no more than that. This is both a threat and an accusation against those in this country who choose to remain unvaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus: a threat in that Zients implies the nation's healthcare systems will not be responsive to the needs of the unvaccinated, and an accusation in that Zients is stating outright that unvaccinated patients will overwhelm hospitals and emergency departments.
The threat is vile on its face—both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans fund this country's healthcare systems through their insurance premiums, their tax dollars, and through their own healthcare expenditures, and no one should be denied access to that for which they have paid—but it is doubly vile because the accusation is false: unvaccinated individuals are not overwhelming the hospitals. As a final rhetorical sin, the threat is based on a false premise that lack of COVID-19 vaccination means a certainty of severe COVID-19 infection.
Most COVID-19 “Cases” Are Asymptomatic Or Mild
Even before there were any COVID-19 vaccines, the reported data on those testing positive for the virus showed a large percentage of cases showed no symptoms of infection at all.
Up to 50% of people who had COVID-19 in Iceland were asymptomatic after health officials did broad lab testing of the population there.
This aspect of those testing positive has been documented even in more recent studies:
Approximately, half of individuals with positive test results don’t have any symptoms at the time of testing
Even meta-analysis of multiple studies reports this finding:
In this study, the pooled percentage of asymptomatic infections among the confirmed population was 40.50%. The pooled percentage of asymptomatic infections was 40.96% among cohort studies, which was slightly lower than that among cross-sectional studies (44.47%).
In the UK, the vast majority of symptomatic COVID-19 cases are considered “mild”.
Most (81%) of symptomatic COVID-19 cases are mild and remain mild in severity.
Here in the US, a preprint study (peer review pending) of VA hospital admissions shows that as many as half of patients in hospital with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection had either mild symptoms or no symptoms:
Among 47,742 admissions in 38,508 unique patients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2, N=28,731 met the criteria for moderate-to-severe COVID-19. The proportion with moderate-to-severe disease prior to widespread vaccine availability was 64.0% (95% CI, 63.1-64.9%) versus 52.0% in the later period (95% CI, 50.9-53.2%), p-value for non-constant effect, <0.001. Disease severity in the vaccine era among hospitalized patients was lower among both unvaccinated (55.0%, 95% CI, 53.7-56.4%) and vaccinated patients (42.6%, 95% CI, 40.6-44.8%).
To suggest that contracting COVID-19 while unvaccinated is tantamount to a painful and lingering death can only described as obscene, as the data has unequivocally shown from the outset that is not at all true.
There Is No Hospitalization Crisis
As I have discussed time and time and time again, the data on COVID-19 hospitalizations does not show the hospital systems in this country being overwhelmed. This was the case last year, it was the case when President Biden announced his illegal and immoral OSHA vaccination mandate, it was the case when the Emergency Temporary Standard was published, and it is the case now.
COVID-19 patients are not overwhelming hospitals in the US.
COVID-19 patients are not overwhelming hospitals in New York.
COVID-19 patients are not overwhelming hospitals in Minnesota.
COVID-19 patients are not overwhelming hospitals in California.
COVID-19 patients are not overwhelming hospitals in Michigan.
COVID-19 patients are not overwhelming hospitals in Texas.
COVID-19 patients are not overwhelming hospitals in Florida.
If COVID-19 patients as a whole do not saturated the nation's healthcare systems, it is mathematically impossible for the smaller unvaccinated cohort to have that effect.
There is no trend data here to support an extrapolation of saturation in the future.
The data says there is no hospitalization crisis. Jeff Zients’ accusation against the unvaccinated is false and arguably defamatory. If the preceding threat is obscene, how much more so is a false accusation?
And thus we return to the initial question: on what planet does Jeff Zients spend most of his time?
Jeff Zients’ agenda is clear: he means to force everyone in this country to accept COVID-19 vaccination. For those readers wondering what the “pharmaceutical authoritarianism” I wrote about the other day might look like, look no further than Jeff Zients. “Authoritarian” is the polite descriptor; a more accurate one would be “evil”.
Take note that I have not commented on the scientific efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines. That efficacy is not at issue here. That efficacy does not alter the rights of individuals to make their own medical choices, rights of privacy, personal security, personal choice, and religious freedom expressly guaranteed by the United States Constitution and specifically articulated in both the International Code of Medical Ethics and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Whatever good the COVID-19 vaccines do does not—cannot—justify an authoritarian and fascistic abrogation of individual rights and freedoms, which are as much a fact as any empirical data set.
Vaccine advocates should be free to respectfully make their case, using such facts and data as are available. People should be free to listen, consider, and respectfully choose for themselves whether to vaccinate or no.
Jeff Zients means to coerce and terrorize people into accepting the COVID-19 vaccines, to his eternal shame and disgrace.