Thursday Throughput: The Boys Are All Right Fertility Edition
[ThTh1]A few months ago, I talked about the NY Times somewhat panicky article about declining sperm counts. The seed of this idea was planted in the late 90s when studies seemed to show a steady decline in sperm counts among men in Western countries. As more data have accumulated, alarmists have worked themselves into a lather over a supposed pending extinction as sperm counts are slowly choked off by our modern life. This has led some to blame various chemicals — phthalates in particular — for the “emasculation” of Western men.
But a new study argues that the declining sperm hypothesis is an over-interpretation of the data. Women’s fertility hormones — estradiol and progesterone — are known to show high variations that don’t correlate at all with individual fertility. They argue instead that sperm counts may also just have a very high natural variation that is unconnected to fertility. As with women’s fertility hormones, men’s sperm counts seems fine as long they exceed a certain fairly low threshold. Moreover, the average counts in the supposed decline period of Western men are comparable (although still a bit lower than) the counts of men in non-Western countries, both in the reference frame of the 1970’s and today. Finally, there does not seem to be an explosion of men rushing to urologists and fertility specialists complaining that they can’t make any babies. Basically, the evidence that declining sperm counts necessarily equal declining fertility is lacking.
I’m hesitant to tread here, since Kristin is our resident expert on fertility. But my experience as someone who has been on both sides of the fertility industry is that we understand women’s fertility reasonably well. If a woman is having trouble conceiving, there are lots of tests and drugs and diet changes and other things that can help. Although part of that is because many fertility problems are less about getting pregnant than about staying pregnant. But male fertility is not well-understood at all. The sperm counts from an individual male can vary wildly. Many men with low sperm counts have no problems conceiving. Some men with high sperm counts have big problems. If the problem is on the man’s side, the answers are…vague. Take some vitamins? Wear looser underwear? Lose some weight? Get those varicoceles fixed? Make an offering to Priapus?
And I think this is what has always bothered me about the “They Took Our Testicles!” moral panic. It is injecting certainty into a field that’s murky, attributing cause in a domain where we barely understand the effect. Human sexuality and fertility are severely understudied, which is stunning considering both how important it is to our species and how much money is poured into the fertility industry. Unfortunately, “Men’s sperm counts are declining. We’re not sure why. This could be a problem, but we don’t know yet” won’t draw as many clicks as “phthalates ate my balls”.1
Now I would be hesitant to conclude that this study puts the nail in the coffin of the declining sperm hypothesis. What it offers, in my view, is an alternative interpretation of the data: that we are misinterpreting noisy and stochastic data for a decline. But it does not answer all the questions. It does not explain why sperm counts were higher among Western men 50 years ago and have now returned to “normal” levels. It may be that something about our lifestyles — improved diet and overall health, for example — caused an uptick, and something else — increasing obesity, for example — has brought it back down. Or it may hint at some bias in the data. Or maybe it was disco that made 70s men so sodden with sperm. Who knows?2
I’m sure activists will continue to milk this one for all it’s worth. But this new paper suggests we should hold off flogging this panic for the time being. Let’s get some more data first. And then we can freak out.
[ThTh2] The Biden Administration is hoping to spend about $10 billion buying 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine for international distribution. This is a very good idea. I mean, it’s good on the humanitarian front. But it’s good for America. Everybody that is infected is a transmission chain the virus can follow back to our shores. Everybody that is infected is an opportunity for the virus to mutate into something our vaccines don’t cover. And while we’re at it, we should send the millions of doses of expiring vaccines overseas ASAP. This is triply true now that we have growing reports that China’s widely used Sinopharm vaccine isn’t very effective.
Yeah, vaccinating other countries won’t come cheap. But, as I’ve noted before, the cost of vaccinating the world — maybe $100-200 billion — is a fraction of what we spent bailing out the economy. The IMF estimates a worldwide vaccination program could pay for itself 200 times over and I think that’s a reasonable estimate, given how badly the global economy suffered from COVID. We should get other countries to chip in. But whatever we can do to knock this thing on its heels globally is a thing we should do.
[ThTh3] I wear an Apple Watch and monitor my heart rate pretty closely. It turns out, that may not just be a hypochondriacal thing. It may be a good idea.
[ThTh4] Two years ago, New York shut down the Indian Point nuclear power station. The result? A huge increase in carbon emissions.
A rare photo of Schrödinger’s cat 📸 🐈📦 🤣 pic.twitter.com/jT4NPLRzr3
— Jo Berry is Writing 🖋✨ (@J_WBerry) June 2, 2021
[ThTh6] Astronomy gives us different eyes.
If you had x-ray and radio vision, you’d see amazing things at the center of our galaxy. Oh wait–you DO, courtesy of the Chanda and MeerKAT telescopes. https://t.co/lcK0ZGAh1a pic.twitter.com/rDp9q4EdwL
— Corey S. Powell (@coreyspowell) June 1, 2021
[ThTh7] Why, this isn’t nightmare fuel at all.
- Raise your hand if you remember that internet meme. Now put it down because you shouldn’t be doing such vigorous exercise at your age.
- Although…I do note that the 1970s would have been the time when the Baby Boom generation was having all its babies. I have no idea what this means, but it jumped out at me while I was thinking about through this post. Usually when I use reproduction metaphors to describe what the Boomers are doing to this country, it’s in the more metaphorical sense.
W(h)acky hypothesis: What if the increased availability of…novel forms of entertainment is leading to more frequent ejaculation? Unless it was explicitly accounted for, that seems like it would lower average sperm count (see, e.g. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1953201/).
I’d like to think that scientists know what they’re doing and would obviously account for that, but…I’ve read a lot of published research, and peer review isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.Report
They obviously tell guys not to “clean the pipes” too much but…compliance and all that.Report
The other issue is that the entirety of GenX grew up with a steady bass-line of “don’t have kids, don’t have kids, don’t have kids, don’t have kids”. Sometimes the melody was “you’ll be able to support them when you’ve got a good job,” sometimes it was “you should have fun when you’re young,” sometimes it was “if you have a baby then you can’t finish school,” sometimes a nasty cynical “who’d want to bring a child into this horrible world,” but the basic theme was “don’t have kids”.
And now nobody had kids, and everyone’s in their mid-to-late forties when that old biological clock has just about wound down, and everyone’s looking for some reason why they can’t have kids other than “we listened to what our Boomer parents told us”, which is basically the reason for all of GenX’s problems.Report
One would hope that the studies are looking at a full cross section of ages.
But nothing you’ve said is wrong.Report
Yep this applies strongly to both Gen X and Millennials.
I would go even farther and say for the Millennials especially, there’s been a fairly intense movement to actually make the process of having kids icky/scary/difficult, as you can see in those Cosmo-type articles where they say “I got pregnant and my BRAIN fell out of my BUTT, LITERALLY” and “Men: if you have kids, you’ll never have sex again”.Report
also articles about “natural childbirth is horrendously dangerous! but! having a C-section is EVEN MORE DANGEROUS THAN THAT!”Report
Re: Fertility – The lack of understanding of the male system – You’d think, given how long men have been in control, that we’d have put more resources into this kind of understanding.
Re: Overseas vaccination – $200B? That’s it? Hell, overseas criminals have already stolen twice that from our various unemployment systems. Tell me again why a UBI system would be a waste of money?
Indian Point – Pretty sure that is what has happened EVERY time a nuclear plant was shut down. See also: Germany after Fukushima.Report
Because a one-time $200B is a drop in the bucket next to a recurring $3 trillion to give each adult $12,000 every year, and might even be smaller than the annual deadweight loss from raising marginal tax rates enough to pay for it.Report
That depends on how you craft the system. There is more than one way to skin that cat.
And it’s not so much the loss of $200B, it’s the loss of $200B to mostly criminal cartels in foreign countries that are hostile to us.Report
I got a letter claiming that I had applied for unemployment and that it had been moved from the first step to the second step and if I had any questions, call this number, etc.
So I called my HR and told them that I had *NOT* applied for UI and they explained that this had happened a lot (and I was, like, the third call complaining about that this month) and they walked me through what to do next and who to call.
All in all, I took care of it with a cellphone, pad, and pen while sitting in the Dentist’s parking lot while waiting for Maribou to get her annual checkup.
So it wasn’t particularly tough to clean up… but even if 1% of the requests got through, that’s a *LOT* of money.Report
I got the same thing. The claim was denied. My state had a website where I could alert the necessary agencies of the fraud. My hunch is it’s happening more frequently since the payments have increased.Report
From the brief discussion I had with the Texas Workforce Commission, UI fraud was super high primarily because the UI centers were massively overworked. (Someone attempted to claim UI under my name. As it was explained to me, scammers will simply submit a massive number of claims under stolen SSN’s, which is sufficient for the first step — verifying current employment and that you aren’t currently on UI. Scammers thus weed out a lot of SSN’s at that stage, before moving forward with the actual application — which is where they have to forge proof of identity and such)
There were not only insufficient resources to process claims, there were incredibly insufficient resources to look for fraud, because fraud was prevented previously by generally making UI so hard to get that it wasn’t WORTH the time of scammers.
Fraudsters were lost in the noise, and enforcement and followup were simply spread too thin.
It doesn’t help that, bluntly, most state UI systems are incredibly ancient, rickety machines that barely work as is.Report
And the fraudsters were smart to operate outside of the reach of LE.Report
That Axios story is pretty thinly sourced.Report
My thought as well. An anti-fraud company would have some expertise to aid in estimating total fraud, but also an incentive to overestimate.Report
The article does hedge quite a bit, but I know in WA it’s estimated to be $650M in fraud, and as much as an anti-fraud company, might want to over-estimate, a government agency could have incentive to low ball the reported estimates (depending on the political climate they operate under).Report
We could pay for it easily with a very small wealth tax.Report
Studying the male system would undermine the mystical magical strength of sperm.Report
Have you not bothered to read any research, whatsoever, on non-sterilizing vaccines?
Particularly on non-sterilizing vaccines targeted toward spike proteins? (aka “how they get into cells”?)
Every person vaccinated is another petri dish.
A better petri dish for a New Corona Virus.
(Well, every one that doesn’t die. Predictions are that the vaccine will kill many more children than the virus has.).
This is game theory as well.
Seriously, have you not studied this?Report
You are welcome to place some links in a comment (2 links per comment or you’ll find yourself in the spam filter) for our education.Report
Spike Proteins are the new Thimerosal.Report
Kinda what I figure, but I always give a person a chance to offer up compelling evidence.Report
Antibodies tuned to the spike proteins are an example of groupthink.
4 “working” vaccines, that generate antibodies to the spike proteins.
What if they aren’t simulating natural immunity at all?Report
If you’ve never googled “spike protein toxoplasma gondii”, you should.Report
I don’t understand what you’re on about. All immunity works by identifying antigens in the virus. All all viruses can mutate. We have to update the flu vaccine every year. There’s nothing special about the COVID vaccine that makes it more or less likely to lose effectiveness. We’ve had vaccines for years, like HPV, that don’t use actual viruses.Report
“Our soldiers only shoot at enemy tanks. What if enemy tanks looked like trees? THE TREES WOULD KILL US ALL!”
Training soldiers to only shoot at enemies is groupthink, not simulating combat at all.Report
in re your footnote #2: what if there’s some kind of larger scale cyclic pattern in male fertility? Like, peaks and valleys every 40 years or so? Other mammals show cyclic population fluctuations (which are also poorly understood, AFAIK – at one time people were claiming the 11 year arctic hare cycle seemed to synch up with the sunspot cycle, and I am super suspicious of anything proposed as ‘causative” that has no clear direct action on the thing it’s supposed to be causing).
I wonder if anyone has gone back and looked at per capita birthrates over time to see if there are any cyclic patterns. There’d be a lot of confounding factors though….Report
Oooh. Interesting. Not remembering that we are animals is one of our biggest failings when it comes to stuff like this. Maybe some adaptation — sperm counts and population density anti-correlated or something.Report
Although one of the interesting quirks of homo sapiens is that we’ve lost the differential fertility traits that are common in mammals in favour of being capable of reproducing at pretty much any time.
Which is not to say that there might be residual regulation systems or patterns that we don’t know about.Report
According to the Hallmark Channel, most human mating occurs in small towns around Christmastime.Report
We have only just begun to scratch the surface with understanding of any of this. The first thing out of every fertility researcher’s lips should be “we don’t know, but” because there is so little research done (most of it is done in animals) and as you say, so many confounding factors. It’s just plain weird how any expert acts as if they have any corner on the sum of knowledge given how little we know.Report
One minor quibble – women’s fertility is NOT well understood (as I like to say, we’ve taken but the first step onto a strange new planet that is understanding reproduction, and it’s just that doctors like to think they know what they’re talking about) but you’re right in that men’s fertility is even LESS well understood.
But otherwise we’re in full agreement here – I too think this is remarkably overblown. There are a lot of markers for sperm health, and in many cases, we are seeing couples panicking over one marker being a little off when they’ve always gotten pregnant just fine.
In short, I am suspicious that what we’re seeing here is not so much dire news, but more data, and in more data you’re going to have subsets OF that data that change what we thought we knew. There’s way more variation than people understand – men can make 10 million sperm or 100 million sperm per shot (and that’s underestimating it) and both of those can end in pregnancy (though 10 million is less than we’d like to see). And the very same guys can go in for another analysis and the one guy will have 100 mil and the other will make 10 million!
I have had some pretty dire cases with male infertility – one guy even making only 1 million sperm – and with some pretty easy lifestyle changes, he fathered a child. And beyond that, there’s a great help in ICSI (which is def. not the case with female infertility – nothing equates to ICSI really in terms of a simple fix) where a few sperm cells is all you even need to conceive with. It’s just a clickbait teapot tempest.Report
Thanks for weighing in. Long time no see!Report
Glad you weighed in, Kristin! Not to get to into the details, but my experience on the patient side … let’s just say it comports with your notion that sperm counts can vary DRAMATICALLY over a very short period of time. One of these days, I’ll share our horror stories with you. 🙂Report
Everybody that is infected is an opportunity for the virus to mutate into something our vaccines don’t cover.
Which is why refusing vaccination is an anti-social act, and the governors of Florida and Texas remain objectively pro-virus.Report
Refusing vaccination is indeed an anti-social act.
Please let me know when there’s a true vaccine,
and not a “non-sterilizing treatment” folks insist on waving a magic wand and calling a “vaccine.”
Non-sterilizing vaccines have a horrible track record (worse than no vaccine, when properly studied in chickens — and over a half dozen in situ studies in Human Populations).Report
Non-sterilizing vaccines against Bacteria MAY have a bad track record, but they do well against viruses. Or so our Flu experience tells us.Report
Don’t rain on his parade. he learned a new medical term that he’s happily deploying without any understanding of context or applicability.
I guess “non-sterilizing vaccine” was the “conspiracy word of the day” in his desk calendar.Report
60,000 Americans dead in a year is a good track record?
Oh, yes, please do tell me more about how well the flu vaccine is doing…
38% effectivity is a good number?
(Yes, I damn well AM cherrypicking the dates. Pull the other ones yourself if you want to make the counterargument).Report
As compared to over 598,000 since COVID started 18 months ago? You bet. Especially since the mRNA vaccine technology in the COVID vaccine works differently the flu vaccine.
Now, we need to work as hard on developing an mRNA vaccine for the flu and see if it can get to covid’s numbers.Report
Do you mean the “we scrubbed the patients to make our numbers better” numbers? (Pfizer’s is especially egregious in this respect, but the others specifically did not test on people who’d already been infected with COVID19 — “unexpected side-effects” are rather predictable when you don’t test on a significant fraction of the population).
If the influenza vaccine has the same issues with early spontaneous abortions (apologies if I’m mis-terming this, I know we have experts around here) as the COVID-19 vaccine, we ought to be doing a cost-benefit analysis…Report
Is this the new talking point? Because we had this discussion above and there was no evidence shown that the vaccine is non-sterilizing or that it would be a bad thing. So far, all variants have emerged in unvaccinated populations and countries with high vaccination rates are seeing case-loads crash. We have other non-sterilizing vaccines and they work just fine. Polio, for example, is almost eradicated.Report
Well, the discussion above got cut off.
At time of release, no one was calling any of the vaccines sterilizing.
Whenever you see “we may need booster shots,” you can read that as “because this isn’t sterilizing.”
This virus hates Humidity, Heat and Sunlight. Infections crashed riiight about this time last year too, to “near negligibile” rates.
Look at the CDC excess death charts if you don’t believe me.Report
Wrong on all counts:
1) No one said it was sterilizing because we didn’t know. We have more information now and vaccinated people do not appear to contract or pass the virus
2) booster shots means a variant might come up. Again, we don’t know. But indications are they will be less frequent than feared.
3) Last year the virus peaked in April and slowly declined while we were locked down. This year it has fallen off a cliff. Down 80% even though lockdowns and mask mandates are being removed. In Israel and the UK, it has followed the same pattern.Report
You know what else is non-sterilizing? Having COVID-19.
Man, you spread COVID-19 like crazy when you have COVID-19. it gets to replicate and mutate wildly inside your body, passing itself on to other people, where it gets to do that as well.
“Oh man, this vaccine doesn’t protect me 100%. COVID-19 might infect me and when replicating mutate. I guess I should do nothing, which protects me 0% and fills me full of COVID-19 which replicates and mutates.”Report
Yes. It does get to mutate. But we have some damn good evidence already, that without using a vaccine, the incentives and mutations trend towards “spreads easier and is less deadly.”
AKA: This isn’t the same COVID19 as we saw in Wuhan. Or Italy or Ecuador.Report
You’re just making stuff up now. The evidence we have is “spread easier and is equally or more deadly” from the UK and India variants. The idea that viruses naturally mutate to be less deadly is a discredited 19th century idea.Report
It’s more that there’s a Red Queen’s Race going on.
“This virus is barely deadly at all now!”
“Yes. To the 3 billion remaining and their descendants who share similar genetic makeup.”Report
Please, please, please bear in mind two things:
1) Death Rate of this disease is still FAR less than 1%.
2) The people labeled as “Dead from COVID19” are primarily extremely old, or extremely obese, or African American.
Red Queen’s race is a good explanation for why the Black Plague is significantly less lethal than it used to be.Report
“Red Queen’s race is a good explanation for why the Black Plague is significantly less lethal than it used to be.”
the black plague is no less lethal than it was, we just figured out what the vectors were and took steps to eliminate themReport
50% mortality without antibiotics, for the Black Plague. (Earlier iterations of the Black Plague were substantially more deadly). Western Europeans have a pretty substantial resistance to the Black Plague.
Which is routinely contracted by hikers in the Rocky Mountains, where a natural reservoir exists within the mouse population.Report
I don’t know what’s going on with Long Covid.
If this is one of those things where everybody gets Covid in the future, it just knocks 25,000 miles off of everybody’s expected lifetime mileage, we’re going to have one heck of a housing surplus.Report
I don’t know where the idea that the death rate is ‘FAR less than 1%’ comes from.
I understand the death rate to be over 1% – given good medical care is available.
But when huge swathes of the population is infected, health care facilities cannot cope with the influx. Then the death rate jumps to a 4% easily.
And that is without taking into account the effects of ‘long covid’ – people that have recovered from covid, but have serious long term health problems.Report
I’m counting death rate per population, moreso than “death rate per infection.”
If people are proving “immune” or “asymptomatic” in large numbers, we can expect the number of exposed to be quite a bit larger than as defined by ELIZA. (If the virus can’t replicate, the odds of your immune system noticing it are low indeed. And we know how to prevent viral replication).
Over the course of this pandemic, our treatments have improved radically. Worldwide, round the clock medical research. If you had a 5% death rate in Wuhan, and a 1% death rate after the D614G mutation…. we’ve cut that again, by a lot.
We don’t even need a vaccine to treat you with monoclonal antibodies, if you wind up in the hospital.Report
Yes, yes, it’s all rolling dice.
The game theory approach says that some dice combinations survive and propagate better than others. The more advanced theory discusses humans co-evolving with viruses. The expert theory involves the Chinese and coronaviruses in specific.
Variants are NOT what the hell I was talking about. Last year, around March, there was a worldwide mutation. Less deadly, more transmissable. Again, article in Nature. Go read it.
D614G. If you want to call a lucky roll a miracle, I will not stop you.
Also, I’d appreciate it if you’d bother to read what I’m writing. When I deliberately mention Ecuador and not India, it might be a flag that what you think I’m talking about isn’t what I actually AM talking about.Report
“The game theory approach says that some dice combinations survive and propagate better than others. ”
That’s…not what “game theory” means. Yeah, I see how you’re using it, but that’s not what it means.
“When I deliberately mention Ecuador and not India, it might be a flag that what you think I’m talking about isn’t what I actually AM talking about.”
“the incentives and mutations trend towards “spreads easier and is less deadly.””
Nope. That’s literally just another thing you invented.
Just like your Pfizer conspiracy.
I’m surprised you haven’t gotten to mRNA shedding and Bill Gates’ microchips yet.Report
Million Dollar Idea:
Yoga Studio that offers EMP bursts. (Not recommended for people with pacemakers or silver tooth fillings.)Report
“Less deadly” is something that folks were less willing to stand on initially, but if you talk to researchers, they’ll say less deadly now (they did last June, in fact, on record from a large non-profit)Report
Most vaccines are non-sterilizing. Measles might be one that is. That doesn’t mean that the vaccine cannot suppress transmission. These have been shown to do so with the T-Cell response.
And, in cited examples here, the vaccination process didn’t work as desired:
Please note that immunity to specific parts of the virus is being flagged as an issue. (The more antigens you use, the more difficult it is for the virus to mutate ALL of them).Report
Why it is generally a bad thing to incentivize the “more deadly” versions’ replication.Report
Let me put this as succinctly as I can:
SO FECKING WHAT?!
The current vaccines are non-sterilizing and there is a potential (not a guarantee, merely a potential) that COVID could mutate in people whose vaccinated immune system does not kill off the virus 100%.
And your point is? What are we supposed to do with this information? What public policy directives should we be supporting to address this concern?
I mean, did you know that there are millions of rocks crossing the earths orbit every year, and thousands of them enter the atmosphere and impact the earth! It’s only a matter of time before one wipes out a city, or the world!!
Sounds terrifying doesn’t it, and it’s all true! Now, if I was having an honest argument, I would explain the probabilities involved, explain what we are doing to mitigate the threat, and perhaps argue that we should also be doing X, Y & Z to further mitigate the threat.
But if I was a fearmongering sh*t stirrer, I wouldn’t bother with anything in that last paragraph.
So, put up or shut up, what the heck are we supposed to do with your concerns?Report
We could start with an evaluation of our options.
You know, put all the options on the table, including “Do Nothing.”
[The standard model for novel infections is that they get less deadly and easier to spread. Invoking the standard model may not be valid in this case, of course… for reasons of faulty assumptions.]
(There are a host of other treatments. We have gotten much better at treating this illness).
This is not the WWI Influenza Pandemic. Evaluation of “who is dying” and the cost to our society in terms of “years of life lost” is also prudent.
A reasonable evaluation of how many people are dying from the vaccine would also be helpful, of course. Care to look at Israel’s death rates (post-vaccination), as they did a mass vaccination?
Your skin melting off isn’t a picnic either, nor is the substantial loss of birthrate.
And one person’s blood clot is another person’s Cerebral Brain Hemorrage.
Put Up: Stop treating Vaccines (particularly leaky vaccines) as if they are a Magic Bullet. Do the math, first, before you say “This is Obvious!”Report
Actually, Nature’s got an article about a worldwide mutation of covid19 to spread more easily, and be less deadly. So the “standard model” is provably occuring in this case, regardless of viral origin (aka “Cheap Chinese-Manufactured Virus”)Report
You assume too much. You assume the people with the PhDs did none of this. You assume the people with the Statistics PhDs weren’t involved?
How many PhDs do you have in these fields, or are you just skimming some articles?
I don’t pretend the vaccine is a magic bullet. What it is, is armor. Any armor can be defeated. Any armor has weak points that can be exploited. Any armor at play long enough motivates the development of ways past it.
I’ll take imperfect armor over a lockdown any day. And like I said, the armor buys us all some time for your ideal sterilizing vaccine to come into being.Report
Yes, I do believe that the PhDs were involved.
At the point where surgical masks became a “Must Have Item” like crucifixes, we stopped having this be Science, and made it into Religion.
Can you discuss alternatives to the vaccine?
Treatments for those who are ill, rather than for “everyone”?
Can you discuss why some people get “mild” COVID and others do not?
If you cannot discuss the currently available treatments, for both the disease and the subsequent immune overreaction, then you cannot discuss whether this vaccine is a good idea or not.
We knew enough to know that a lockdown was an overreaction after Georgia “opened up” last summer. We knew even more after the BLM protests.
Can you explain why we don’t vaccinate against the common cold?Report
Let’s start with the last one. The common cold is not caused by one virus, it’s caused by a whole host of viruses, of at least 3 or 4 different types, which each have dozens, if not hundreds of strains in circulation at any given time.
We don’t have the ability to create a generalized enough vaccine to take care of the common cold, and unless you are immune-compromised, the cold isn’t dangerous. At worst, it’s annoying.
Here’s all the known treatments for COVID. I fail to see your concerns or point here. Given that the vaccine significantly reduces the impact of COVID, my guess is by short-cutting the cytokine storm since the immune system has something to work from, but I’m not an immunologist.
Wait, are you? You have a PhD in virology or immunology? Or maybe stats? Or did you just read some crap on the internet?Report
Nah, you’re missing the point. We don’t vaccinate against the common cold because our immune systems are designed to be fighters. Without having something to fight, they’re much more likely to start fighting innocuous stuff (causing allergies) or our own bodies (causing autoimmune responses).
How dangerous do you think COVID-19 is? If it is merely killing immunocompromised people and the extremely old and frail, do you still feel like we need to vaccinate?
Please bear in mind that the vaccines have their own risks, including causing similar immune responses to that of COVID19.
You’re missing a few (not that I’m alleging that all of these have had nice double-blind studies), but it’s a decent list. If you take the prophylactics on the list, how likely do you think you would be to contract a “severe enough to land you in the hospital” version of the illness?
I’m not the PhD in the household, no. Neither am I just reading crap on the internet.Report
No. Covid is not just killing the immunocompromised and the extremely old and frail.
My friend’s cousin was a very active 45. My friend was 50, she was running an after care. My sister’s mother-in-law was 78 – and still mowing her own lawn, cleaning her own house and having the family over for dinner every Sunday.Report
Honestly, why bother arguing with someone who is still deep into “COVID-19 wasn’t that dangerous” with 600,000 dead Americans?
I’m sure the response will be deflection, ignoring the question, or explaining how they didn’t die OF COVID, they died while HAVING COVID and how all the stats are skewed, blah, blah, blah.
As best I can tell, COVID-19 put the fear of mortality into a lot of people who otherwise don’t think of it. It spread readily, and while it’s fatality rate was low in an ordinary setting, during a pandemic it spiked higher due to strained healthcare resources. Further, it could kill the young and healthy as well as the old and frail.
Why do you think people flip out about other people wearing masks? It’s because that mask makes makes them think of COVID-19, of the fear they’re actively denying, and so they react with unreasoning rage.
A world where a pandemic could spread through their country, pretty much unchecked, and 8 months before decent protocols were devised (mostly to avoid the cytokine storm), over a year until a vaccine, and 600,000 dead Americans? That’s not a world they want to live in. Because what if the next one is worse.
No, that’s too much. Bury your head in the sand. Repress, deny, argue. The reality of COVID-19 can’t be true.Report
I’m predicting the next one will be worse.
It’s an easy prediction to make.
The WWI Influenza outbreak was concentrated among twentysomethings. If that was so for the next outbreak, we’d have REAL issues. It wouldn’t just be grandma that we’d have to worry about.
We did not blockade New York City and let everyone in there fend for themselves, with National Guard sending in regularly scheduled food deliveries.
[Plans On The Books. We have it all ready to roll.]
Do the math, JS, and use the Government numbers, if you insist (It remains difficult to fake a death certificate). This is about four times as bad as a bad influenza year.
Influenza routinely kills more children than this virus does.Report
Are we sure this isn’t Kimmie?Report
My very first thought!Report
What the hell are you smoking? That is not why we don’t vaccinate the cold.
How dangerous is it? Dangerous enough. Even if it wasn’t fatal, the long term impacts are enough that I want some armor against it. When I do something dangerous, I wear safety gear, not because I am afraid, or an idiot, or a clutz, but because I’m not stupid enough to decline stacking the odds in my favor.
You keep acting as if the vaccine is somehow touted as the be all end all in this, and it’s not (except perhaps by idiot pundits). It’s merely a helmet for this particular motorcycle ride.
Whatever other blather you are going on about is the ravings of someone looking for a demon to slay and swinging at shadows.Report
We have helmets already, without the vaccine.
This virus, in particular, depends heavily on opening calcium channels inside the cell membrane, and subsequently having the calcium inside the cell, in order to complete its replication.
Wouldn’t it be great if we had a prophylactic way to lower serum calcium levels, so that your body would hardly notice COVID-19? (May not even get an immune response, as the virus can’t replicate).
Well, turns out we DO have a method of reducing calcium availability (for COVID-19, at any rate). Good ol’ fashioned Vitamin D3.
People who have known Vitamin D deficiencies (and some particular issues with blood) are the non-elderly, non-obese folks that are dying of this.
Within the last month, I have been exposed to 800 people. I have not caught COVID-19, in detectable quantities.
Yes, goddamn wear a helmet. Drink water before going into a sauna.
And ask yourself about how dangerous the vaccine needs to be to be NOT WORTH IT.
(Note: I am emphatically not assessing “risk versus reward” for the vaccine, based on “Skipping 15 years of medical research.” That has substantially more benefits to weigh against the “steady” risks.)
Thought experiment time:
If you have a less than 1% chance of being hospitalized (with, say a 1% mortality rate -of- the hospitalized), and the vaccine has a 1% chance of killing you — do you take the vaccine?Report
Maybe, but the COVID vaccine death rate is 0.0017%, so thanks for playing Vax Panic, please try again.Report
Cite your sources?
Placebo vaccines are not included in my “these are dangerous” argumentation. I’m pretty sure you’re aware which ones are placebos.Report
I don’t know why I keep bothering, but:
OK Elin, you and MidWit and whatever other sockpuppet accounts you have, watch this
Claim: there is no Brown Lung outbreak.
See, I make a claim, and I provide some kind of evidence.Report
The common cold is something like 200 hundred different viruses, about a quarter to half of which are rhinoviruses.
There’s certainly no vaccinating against that. Even if they had a common vaccine target so you could take large swathes of them at a time, it’s not worth the investment to anyone.
Flu is (and they’re still trying to nail down a common flu target) because it is considerably more dangerous than anything called “the common cold”.Report
I said that, didn’t I? Let me check my math…Report
I misread you. 🙂Report
In unrelated news, Fauci’s tendency to think of himself as the personification of Science becomes even more absurd. I’ve rarely criticized him on this site, but we’re at the point where he’s got to go.Report
What the heck are you talking about?Report
In an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, Fauci said:
“A lot of what you’re seeing as attacks on me quite frankly are attacks on science because all of the things I have spoken about from the very beginning have been fundamentally based on science.”Report
Navarro accuses Fauci and CNN of having ‘blood’ on their hands after study shows effectiveness of hydroxycholorquine
Former Trump adviser Peter Navarro slammed Dr. Anthony Fauci and the media after a new study showed the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine against the coronavirus, accusing the immunologist and journalists of costing people’s lives by opposing the drug.
“I had 60 million tablets of HCQ that Tony Fauci and @cc wouldn’t allow the American public to use because of their Hydroxy Hysteria,” Navarro tweeted Thursday. “Blood on @JohnBerman @cnn and Saint Fauci’s hands. More than 50,000 Americans would be alive today.”
.@JohnBerman and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro clash on hydroxychloroquine and President Trump’s praise of a doctor who has said demons caused illness.
Chip, please understand: All I was doing was answering the question about Fauci saying “attacks on me quite frankly are attacks on science”.Report
So as a scientist I’m glad he stood up for science. We don’t all have the platform he currently has. A nd he’s right – attacks on him do indeed include and are part of attacks on science. Its like Jen Psaki saying attacks on her are attacks on Biden. Which they often are.Report
I think that it’d be like Jen Psaki saying that attacks on her are attacks on Democracy or The First Amendment.
Do I think that the attacks on Fauci were politicized? Hell, yeah I do!
Do I think that that means that they were attacks on Science itself?
I do not.Report
Jen Psaki saying that attacks on her are attacks on Democracy or The First Amendment.
If Mike Schilling wrote this, I would take it as brilliant sly humor.Report
That should be the default assumption.Report
Fire him immediately and replace him with someone who takes every criticism of his performance personally.Report
It’s not just for Californian prisoners anymore.Report