Perhaps the biggest barrier to ending the pandemic and its related interventions and theatre is the irrational fear that many people still have of the virus, a fear that ironically (though not surprisingly from a psychological perspective) grips the vaccinated much more than the unvaccinated. John Tierney in City Journal has crunched the numbers to help people come to a rational assessment of their risk.
It’s obviously not easy to give up fear of COVID-19, to judge from a recent survey showing that the vaccinated are actually more frightened than the unvaccinated. Another survey found that most Democratic voters are so worried that they want to make it illegal for the unvaccinated to leave home. But before you don another mask or disinfect another surface, before you cheer on politicians and school officials enforcing mandates, consider your odds of a fatal Covid case once you’ve been vaccinated.
Those odds can be gauged from a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, published by the Centers for Disease Control. They tracked more than one million vaccinated adults in America over most of last year, including the period when the Delta variant was surging, and classified victims of Covid according to risk factors such as being over 65, being immunosuppressed, or suffering from diabetes or chronic diseases of the heart, kidney, lungs, liver or brain.
The researchers report that none of the healthy people under 65 had a severe case of Covid that required treatment in an intensive-care unit. Not a single one of these nearly 700,000 people died, and the risk was miniscule for most older people, too. Among vaccinated people over 65 without an underlying medical condition, only one person died. In all, there were 36 deaths, mostly among a small minority of older people with a multitude of comorbidities: the 3% of the sample that had at least four risk factors. Among everyone else, a group that included elderly people with one or two chronic conditions, there were just eight deaths among more than 1.2 million people, so their risk of dying was about one in 150,000.
Those are roughly the same odds that in the course of a year you will die in a fire, or that you’ll perish by falling down stairs. Going anywhere near automobiles is a bigger risk: you’re three times more likely during a given year to be killed while riding in a car, and also three times more likely to be a pedestrian casualty. The 150,000-to-one odds of a Covid death are even longer than the odds over your lifetime of dying in an earthquake or being killed by lightning.
John goes on to note that “studies have shown that natural immunity is much stronger and longer-lasting than vaccine immunity”, and while the threat of Covid is greater for unvaccinated adults, the case for vaccine mandates is obsolete “now that it’s clear that vaccination doesn’t prevent reinfection and transmission”.
Worth reading in full.
Profanity and abuse will be removed and may lead to a permanent ban.