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I have been concerned by reports of excess deaths correlating with Covid vaccine administration. I haven't looked into it enough to evaluate the claims but they worry me. This is, after all, a new kind of vaccine without a long track record. (To anyone about to attack me here, I am a strong advocate of other vaccines.) However, your excellent piece is making me seriously consider getting a booster. Not sure it will do much despite my age of 60 since I recently had COVID for the first time and it was milder than a cold. But the long-term effects are disturbing, especially if they exceed post-viral syndrome for other viruses.

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author

Hi,

Recently I saw data showing there are still excess deaths although they are declining, fortunately.

A booster definitely can't hurt. It won't lower infection risk but can help your immune response. Obvioulsy space it out. If you had COVID-19 recently, than wait 3-4 months.

Glad to hear your case was mild.

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From my experience, a COVID reinfection and a Moderna 1st and 2nd vaccine produced the same result. A severe chronic fatigue that takes around 6 months before returning to the pre-condition level of activity.

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Apr 2Liked by Dan Elton

The IQ drop sucks, because I feel it. My mind is complacent almost uninterested in this reality. I have to force myself to reengage with this reality and that takes energy. I had to get a subscription to Grammarly, to bug me about grammar, because I could not care less about spelling or grammar. This was not always the case, but it's how my mind has changed.

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I have noticed a cognitive decline. I think exercise, sleep, and eating well are the most important. I have been finding new ways to engage myself mentally. Since I got Long COVID I've developed a broader range of intellectual interests and have been exploring art, fashion, and history. I also go to board gaming events and am trying to read more.

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Apr 1Liked by Dan Elton

anti masking has turned into an emotional claim.

regardless of your analysis, masking should be a mathematical expected value decision.

odds of saving one from COVID/flu/cold/etc via masking, multiplied by the expected cost of each such infection, Vs the cost of masking.

shouldn't be an emotional ideological issue

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Apr 3·edited Apr 3Author

I agree...

Masking is small cost and benefit still seems large enough to offset the cost. It doesn't just prevent COVID-19 either, it prevents all colds ... someone recently shared this website which is pretty logical : whyareyouwearingamask.com

However emotions do come into play a bit. Some people have higher risk tolerance, and I think that should be factored in. I think this is often from genetic or hormonal origin and hard to change (ie testosterone increases willingness to take risk). Such people probably should still mask -- however it may feel more forced to them and they may have a slight negative emotional response to it -- in other words it may lower their quality of life a bit more than the average person.

Other people have very low risk tolerance and higher baseline anxiety and for them masking can help reduce their anxiety (a type of negative emotion) and I think that is a fair factor to consider also.

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That logical website promises that the infectious aerosols "can be blocked with 50¢ of fabric" then recommends 9205+ masks that cost $3.50.

It claims that "the average person falls ill 2-4 times a year." WebMD says "Children have about 6 to 10 colds a year.... Adults average about 2 to 4 colds a year.... On average, people older than age 60 have fewer than one cold a year." A cost of avoiding exposure may be failing to acquire immune response during healthy years that help protect during more vulnerable elderly years.

Assuming they work!

Cochrane review: "The pooled results of RCTs did not show a clear reduction in respiratory viral infection with the use of medical/surgical masks."

Logical website: "there is a lot of uncertainty."

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Cochrane review has issues. Medical/surgical masks are useless. See Scott Alexander's article. There are very good reasons from a physics perspective to think that N95s are highly effective.

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Is this a purely logic based belief?

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personal preferences can be tastes.

but "does this make sense, it is it crazy" must involve logic.

if someone uses safety belts whole driving saying it reduces death risk, and it does, can you mock him?

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> but "does this make sense, it is it crazy" must involve logic.

False, watch this:

"does this make sense, it IS crazy"

"does this make sense, it IS NOT crazy"

How could I contradict myself if logic was *required*?

> if someone uses safety belts whole driving saying it reduces death risk, and it does, can you mock him?

It is possible to mock someone with zero *or even negative* (ie: irony) justification.

Now, back to my question: Is this a purely logic based belief?

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Apr 2·edited Apr 2

> What should we be doing in response to all this? Probably many other things — let me know in the comments!

We could:

- wonder what we should do (what is most optimal?)

- wonder what is true (as opposed to what seems to be true, because we believe it to be true, perhaps because we have been told it is true *in persuasive stories*, and do not have a means to overcome the psychological effects of that)

- wonder if we have the ability to do either of these two things with a high level of competency, and if not, wonder why that is

- wonder if I have missed anything in this list

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author

Sure

Everyone should take what I say with a grain of salt. The research is far from settled and remember that many studies do not replicate.

I do not wish to cause people excess anxiety with this post. However, I think awareness raising is called for right now. Most people seem to be of the mindset now that COVID-19 is not something that needs to be worried about at all. As evidence for this, I was recently at an event with 300-400 people in a stuffy room and only myself and one other person were masking (https://x.com/moreisdifferent/status/1774785061310628328).

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> Everyone should take what I say with a grain of salt. The research is far from settled and remember that many studies do not replicate.

Everyone should do the same with what "The Experts" tell us as well, because they do not do the things I have mentioned above.

> I do not wish to cause people excess anxiety with this post.

I'm like the opposite: I hope people experience anxiety when they read what I write, because we should be anxious that we are flying largely blind, and haven't a clue. Our insistence on feeling good all the time is just one potential source for our downfall.

> Most people seem to be of the mindset now that COVID-19 is not something that needs to be worried about at all. As evidence for this, I was recently at an event with 300-400 people in a stuffy room and only myself and one other person were masking (https://x.com/moreisdifferent/status/1774785061310628328).

Heck, I will sat it explicitly: I will remain unconcerned (if not worse) about the risks *to Westerners* due to COVID for as long as Westerners continue to be unconcerned about other quantitatively similar forms of risk that they do not experience, both domestically and internationally. "Revenge is a dish best served cold" or something like that.

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The WHO didn't announce that the pandemic is over. They announced the end of the PHEIC status, i.e. the end of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern. This is a state of emergency announcement, not an announcement about the end of the whole pandemic.

They went on to say that we are still in a pandemic and they haven't yet announced that we are not.

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Yeah thanks for this correction. It's such an important point I have issued a correction in the post.

What I was getting at was my personal observation that after the WHO's announcement (and Biden's anncouncement a week or two later), that's when everyone stopped masking, social distancing, and testing. In other words, life reverted back to how it was "before times". How much was from WHO vs Biden vs general trends, I can't say, but I suspect the two announcements had a big effect.

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