Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Doctor Government

Doctor Government
©2019  Ross Williams

New York has proposed a law, or has just passed a law, requiring measles vaccines be forced upon all people who don’t have a medical excuse.  This would impose the measles vaccination upon religious groups such as the Amish and Mennonites, the Christian Scientists, and Hassidic Jews.  Religious exemption, nationwide, is about 1% of the population, though it is likely significantly more in certain parts of New York affected by this law.  Anti-vaxxers who actually refuse to vax are an even smaller group.

All because there’s almost a thousand cases of measles currently popping up.  Four years ago there were 8.000 cases of measles in southern California and Arizona arriving in the luggage of a foreigner visiting Disneyland.  One death was reported from the 2015 epidemic.

I mentioned at the time that the transmission rate of measles among the vaccinated population in the US was virtually identical to the transmission rate among the never-vaccinated populations from which such measles outbreaks start.  CDC and NIH data bears this out, both talking about “waning immunity” by 10-15 years post-inoculation, and an extremely conservative “at least 5%” vaccine failure rate, that is much closer to 10%.

Almost one-tenth of those vaccinated will have no immunity, even temporarily, after vaccination.  Within five years another 25% will have lost any immunity they had, and in the next decade four-in-five will have lost immunity.  Simply put, measles vaccine is not as effective as medical propagandists and politicians are trying to convince everyone it is, nor is the disease − in the United States − as dangerous.  It is exceptionally rare to die from measles when in the presence of modern medicine.

Epidemiologists talk about exposure, transmission rate, and morbidity/mortality rate of disease.  Exposure is how many times a person comes into contact with the disease over a period of time; the transmission rate is the likelihood that the exposure will lead to infection, and the morbidity/mortality rate is the likelihood that the disease will kill or permanently damage the one who is ill.

Prior to measles vaccine, three to four million Americans got the disease each year, and 3,000 died from it, with another thousand developing encephalitis. That’s a low transmission rate and relatively low morbidity/mortality rate.

Because of vaccination, the exposure to measles in the United States is vanishingly rare.  We usually require a foreigner to bring it to us.  That’s commonly how it happens.   Because of the nature of our immigration system, those foreign carriers are nearly always “undocumented”.  But because the vaccine is largely ineffective after a very short time, the transmission rate of the disease, once established in the US, is the same as it is anywhere else on the planet.  And because our medical system is superb, despite Obamacare boosters’ claims to the contrary and despite Obamacare attempting to make it less so, almost no one dies or suffers permanent injury from measles in the US.

This all points to measles currently being a whole lot of worry about almost nothing.  It is certainly not an issue that requires mandatory vaccination programs in excess of what already exists.

In comparison, the exposure rate to food poisoning in the US is astronomical, while the transmission rate is miniscule.  The mortality rate is − statistically − virtually zero.  With the exception of those who are still breastfeeding, every man, woman and child is exposed to the various bacteria that cause food poisoning − rebranded as “food-borne illness” because ‘food poisoning’ is too succinct for our modern taste in euphemism − every day of their lives.  That is 325 million exposures, 365 days a year.  Almost 120 billion exposures in the US. 

The CDC estimates that almost 50 million people actually get food poisoning; I would estimate it’s more than that.  The CDC estimates this because the only true statistical source they have is reports from doctors and hospitals about patients who seek treatment.

Because the symptoms of food poisoning are gas, bloating, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, most people self-medicate with over-the-counter remedies and wait it out.  These are also the same symptoms of a sudden change in diet from too much dairy, too much fiber, too much greasy food, too much spicy food, or too much alcohol.  Relatively few people actually seek treatment for these symptoms given the prevalence of them, and only 3,000 nationwide die from ingesting the bacteria of food poisoning each year. 

Those who die are almost entirely confined to the extremely old, the extremely young, and those whose immune systems have been compromised by other diseases.  Three thousand deaths out of 120 billion exposures is nothing to get all governmental about.  You don’t find a significant digit in the math until 6 or 8 places to the right of the decimal point.

Yet, as a nation, we spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually in the food inspection business, at all levels of government, to waylay food poisoning.  And for all that money, the transmission rate and mortality rate has not changed by a single decimal point, no matter how far to the right you wish to carry the calculation.

Food poisoning largely isn’t acquired through food in any event.  The most common source for ingesting the bacteria responsible for food poisoning is by putting your hands to your mouth after they’ve touched something germy and before you washed them.  The average person puts their hands to their mouth 5,000 times a day.  There’s a reason 80% of your immune system is in your gut; most of the reason for needing immunity is because of what goes in your mouth.

In further comparison, influenza is a disease which effectively exists only from November through April.  The exposure to it is all 330 million of us Americans, dozens of times during “cold and flu season”.  Let’s say 16 billion exposures.  Most people self-medicate the flu as well, thus causing the CDC to estimate that fifty to sixty million cases of flu occur during the half-year that it rampages.  And despite it only being seriously active for six months a year, thirty thousand people die from it, on average, each year in the US.  The 2017-18 flu season was particularly deadly, killing almost 80,000. 

Fun fact: The rate of morbidity from influenza today is the same rate of morbidity from measles prior to the measles vaccine.

Flu vaccines are largely quite effective, given the highly mutable nature of the influenza virus.  Yet despite influenza killing, on average, 30,000 people each year, the government has not mandated flu shots for all.  Vaccination is left as a completely voluntary medical choice.

Measles is a disease that, in the United States, has mandatory vaccination.  About 2% of the general population is exempted because of medical reasons, about 1% is exempted for religious reasons, and about 0.5% refuse vaccination out of sheer obstinacy.  It should be pointed out that undocumented aliens who likely imported the disease in the first place are not required to vaccinate because doing so would alert immigration officials to their presence, and thus prevent a clear Virtue Signal to be broadcast on their behalf.

The measles vaccine received by more than 95% of the population has a very high failure rate and a very low long-term efficacy.  Even so, when the disease is contracted it has almost no morbidity or mortality.  And this vaccine is being pushed on the religious objectors and the reluctant at the point of a sword.  It is simultaneously being unimposed on the carrier population.

Food poisoning exposure is rampant, but when contracted the disease is trivial in all but those with compromised immunity and it causes statistically few deaths.  Yet we annually spend approximately three-quarters of a trillion dollars nationwide to address it, but haven’t affected it one iota.

Influenza hits about one-fifth of us a year and kills tens of thousands.  Effective vaccines are available, but addressing the disease is left up to individual choice.  The government has, as it were, washed its hands of it.

om a purely public health perspective, the authoritarian sturm und drang pointed at measles is pointless; forcing another 1.5% of the population to get immunized and ignoring those who brought the disease here because it serves a “progressive” political agenda is not simply stupid, but fuckingly so.  The trillions of dollars devoted to food safety over the years has been more wasteful than simply mounding cash in a city park and setting fire to it.  At least a fire would cook the e Coli out of the burgers.

If government wants to defy their Constitutional limitations and keep their people healthy despite those peoples’ wishes, all the authoritarian energy devoted to measles fretting, and the trillions of dollars dumped into the futile effort to make a dent in food poisoning should be redirected at making influenza vaccination mandatory.  It would actually save lives. 

…that is, if the medical propagandists and politicians were actually concerned about saving the lives of their citizens.

If all they really want to do, though, is increase government power without making a difference, then they should stay the course.