This is a phrase I’ve heard all too often during the last 2 years of the Covid-19 pandemic. The problem with that phrase is that science doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t tell you what to do. It doesn’t warn you. It doesn’t support you. It just exists. The data from trials/experiments are just information. It is PEOPLE who make decisions, and they try to bolster their argument with “science”. Like any other debate, it is easy to manipulate data to support “your side” of an issue.
I believe that Covid-19 was a big deal. I believe that many people died unnecessarily. But I also believe that if we are following the science, then we need to adjust our approach.
On the January 26, 2022 episode of “The Daily” podcast from the New York Times, David Leonhardt was on with Michael Barbaro speaking about a survey that was done asking Americans about how they feel about different aspects of the pandemic. There was one part that I think was particularly interesting:
…But the idea that unvaccinated people continue in many cases not to express much concern, and that boosted people continue to express high levels of concern in many cases — not everyone, of course, but in many cases — that’s really remarkable. I think it’s important to focus for a second on just how small the risk is for most boosted people in the case of Omicron.
We’re still waiting for the data to confirm this, but there’s a lot of indication that if you are boosted, Omicron appears to present less risk than the flu. So if you think about yourself, if you’re a boosted person — I’m a boosted person — and you think about what you are going to do today and the risk you’re going to expose yourself, by my calculation, looking at data on how many people go to E.R.s and die, I almost certainly expose myself to more risk by setting foot in a vehicle today — vehicle crashes kill about 40,000 Americans every year — than Covid presents to me.
But that’s not how boosted people are thinking about it. They’re not thinking, ooh, this morning when I get up, there’s a small risk that I might choke. There’s a small risk that I might be in a car accident. They’re focusing overwhelmingly on this tiny Covid risk.
So, there are people who are following the science and getting vaccinated, but then they aren’t following the science about the risks after they get vaccinated. That is what is driving me crazy! Fine, if you are unvaccinated, you should go into a restaurant. I understand that way of thinking. Now that I am vaccinated and boosted, why can’t I go into a restaurant to eat? Why has the Ontario government closed restaurants when boosted individuals are safe? I fully support reasonable restrictions when the data shows that there are sufficient risks, but to “punish” us all because there are people who are unvaccinated is absurd. Our government leaders need to do better!