Bishop in Arkansas .... can someone square this circle?
  • davido
    Posts: 891
    Is stay at home helping? Are the preventative measures helping?

    The virus is small enough to go through all but the n95 masks.
    The death counts in PA and NY include the nursing homes where the governors sent covid positive patients into the most covid susceptible environments. That has to skew the numbers.

    The official line is that the preventative measures are preventing infections and deaths. But officials would have to say that since they instituted the measures.
  • pfreese
    Posts: 147
    To play devil’s advocate, even if the actual Covid death count is half what is official, that’s still around 250,000 excess deaths in a 12 month period, which is over 11 times greater than the most recent “typical” flu season. Of course the error could also be in the other direction. Gov. Cuomo infamously undercounted nursing home deaths by around a third in New York State, and he’s on the side that would supposedly gain from overcounting. Then-President Trump also admitted in an interview that he intentionally downplayed the severity of the pandemic to improve his image going into his re-election campaign.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 502
    real problem is that all the statistics and data we have on COVID are politically driven
    Typical US problem? ... over here our statistics indicate that 60% of the current IC unit capacity (90% of pre-2020) is now occupied by covid-19 patients... (sorry for getting more off-topic)
  • Yes - unfortunately I said the word "flu" in my post :)

    That is not to say that "COVID is just like the flu"; but rather to point out that we are dealing with a difference of degree, not of kind. Even if "only" 50,000 people die of flu in a year (CDC estimates are about 12k-60k annually since 2010), that's still a lot of innocent lives. And we had no moral obligation to stop Mass then, but some would say we do now. And then when is it ok to re-start Masses in the course of the pandemic? And can we possibly justify singing in church or choirs if it might lead to more innocent lives lost? And do we have a moral responsibility to require the vaccine of choir members, as the bishop from Little Rock suggests? These are very practical questions, and the wide range of episcopal responses, all under the heading of "moral responsibility" causes, I think, a real dilemma for ordinary Catholics of good will.

    It's important to think through all this, as best we can, charitably and rationally, because this pandemic is far from over, and there will absolutely be more new viruses and scares in the future.

    Thanked by 3CharlesW CHGiffen Elmar
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,023
    also, one can find flaws in basically all of the counting, etc. and think that the virus must be taken seriously, particularly as it seems obvious to everyone but politicians and their closest friends that we needed to prepare for either a second wave or returning back to normal, or both.

    That hasn't happened in many places (I'd argue almost everywhere).
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  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    "Then-President Trump..." indeed said that he tried to keep heads level and not start a level of hysteria which the rest of our politicians decided to fully push for.

    Dr. Fauci also "downplayed" all of it, and said people shouldn't be wearing masks everywhere. Now he's saying everyone should wear 2 masks anywhere, and definitely should consider wearing a mask, even after being fully "vaccinated" for "covid."

    Nancy Pelosi and other such politicians suggested everyone go out in the street and "hug an Asian," at the beginning, when Trump had been closing entry flights from certain countries.
    I'm sure there was no spread there.

    "largest stay at home campaign..."
    Which had the largest number of continuous massive protests, which politicians encouraged, and the news kept telling us wasn't at all contributing to any infections...

    But don't go to church! Those are "super-spreader events!"

    Sure, the numbers are only somewhat skewed.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,219
    According to CDC there were 22,000 deaths in the US attributed to the flu in 2019, whereas there were over 500,000 in the deaths due to COVID in the first 12 months of the pandemic.

    Remarkable how Flu-A and -B bowed out of the picture to favor COVID, no? Almost all the deaths from -A, -B, and COVID are due to pneumonia, in any case. Distinction/Difference problem here. Yes, there are some deaths which resulted from hospital treatment of the symptoms (respirators.)

    A more hard-bitten skeptic might say that the numbers are being manipulated for the benefit of hospitals and certain high-ranking Government "health" "experts."

    Regardless, the 99.8% survival rate cannot be disputed. Further, to claim that 'masks' and 'distance' have saved the US from an extinction event is not falsifiable, given that NEJM published an article flatly stating that masks are useless unless N-95, and those under tightly controlled conditions (May 11th, IIRC). Further, there is absolutely ZERO scientific evidence for the 6' "distance" protocol.

    The common flu was never bad enough in the recent past where hospitals ran out of room in South Texas and North Dakota and patients literally died in hallways waiting for care, or where city parks in New York City were requisitioned as temporary burial grounds with morgues not being able to keep up with over 1000 excess deaths per day during the first wave.

    Those claims were largely debunked but if you have documentation, by all means show us. NYC, as I recall, encouraged people to continue using the subway and we all know about the Cuomo problem. You might not want to use NY as part of your evidentiary claims.
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  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,773
    The people who SHOULD be taking precautions are those in the higher-risk categories: the overweight, the 70+ crowd, those with high blood pressure, serious heart conditions, and perhaps diabetes.

    So another logical way to look at it is this: THEY have the obligation to remain isolated or to wear double-masks, keep "social distance", etc. The other 90%? Not so much.

    I'm in none of those categories myself, but have too many friends who are not to want them to have safe access to hospitals, dentists, grocery stores and caregivers.

    And, fwiw, obesity in the US is about 40%, which calls the above math into question.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • The problem is that only priests can anoint, confess, and, for about 90% of things,

    How is this a problem?

    The real problem is that all the statistics and data we have on COVID are politically driven

    [Neon, florescent purple bold] Wait... you mean people aren't following the science? [off]

    in protecting natural life, we endanger supernatural life by cutting off access to the sacraments.

    Is that rather like saving the city by burning it to the ground, or improving the music program by burning all books of Gregorian chant and exiling or murdering all the musicians?
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • pfreese
    Posts: 147
    “ NYC, as I recall, encouraged people to continue using the subway”

    Thank you for inadvertently proving my point. Even with no systematic lockdowns to substantially reduce person to person interactions during swine flu epidemic or past flu seasons, both resulted in a fraction of the deaths/hospitalizations compared to Covid, but if you have authoritative documentation to the contrary, by all means show us.

    Regarding Texas, here are just a few examples of what you get when you type “ texas hospitals covid” into Google:

    And North/South Dakota:

    “ Almost all the deaths from -A, -B, and COVID are due to pneumonia, in any case. Distinction/Difference problem here.”

    As someone who reviews life insurance death claims as part of my day job, that’s why we distinguish between primary and secondary causes of death. While your statement is technically correct, Covid has no less relationship to an immediate and proximate onset to fatal pneumonia than a bullet wound to the chest causing someone to bleed out. If you want a good medical examiner to explain this to you, I know a few you could call.

    And before someone brings up the misdeeds of Pelosi,
    Fauci, Whitmer, Newsom, or your Democrat boogieman of choice, I won’t defend their cognitive dissonance re Covid for reasons everyone here is probably well aware, but none of that refutes the idea that Covid is a beast that, while existential dread isn’t an appropriate response, should nonetheless not be taken lightly.
    Thanked by 2a_f_hawkins Elmar
  • pfreese - furthering the rabbit hole and drawing the ire of those who object to the discussion of this issue, I'll just respond to one of your examples, as a resident of the hardest hit county in South Dakota. (And in saying this, I don't disagree that COVID is a serious issue/threat, and should be taken seriously, btw): This is taken from following local news and updates from hospital staff, and talking the hospital doctors and nurses of my acquaintance.

    In spring of 2020, Sioux Falls (main population and healthcare center of South Dakota) emptied its hospitals, moving departments (e.g. cancer doctors) out to other facilities around town, so that the bulk of hospital capacity could be open and available for COVID. Then, we had very few cases in that period, the emergency capacity was not needed, and the hospitals were losing money fast. During the summer the emergency plan was rolled more or less 'back to normal'. Still no surge of cases. Then, in October-November-December, we experienced a big surge of cases, along with the rest of the upper Midwest. However, in the judgment of the hospital administration, there was not a need to move back to the emergency measures that, ironically, we implemented in the spring when there was no surge. So the hospitals got very busy, and at a few times actually up to capacity, and in some cases patients were moved around or flown to less busy places. But the judgment of the administrators this was preferable to moving back to the logistically and financially devastating emergency plan of the springtime. The hospitals in fact weathered the surge, and the surge has since subsided, so it looks like they knew what they were doing.

    Why say all this? Because it's easy to throw out an article, but the article can easily give a skewed perspective on reality. The idea of flying patients around gives a scary picture of emergency and overflow, while the reality is that the surge plan worked, and our hospitals never needed to move back to a true emergency footing, with all routine surgeries and procedures canceled and the hospital departments emptied out.

    And that's just one situation that I'm personally familiar with, which is part and parcel of the whole problem with the media and its influence on all of our perception of the situation. Another problem is that many on this forum will be annoyed at my getting into the weeds/rabbit hole on this topic. So the media perspective is either accepted as gospel, or the person who pushes back, even gently, on it is accused of being obnoxious/divisive/introducing tangents, etc.

    It takes all of the above to discuss just one article you posted, but the discussion is irksome and inappropriate for this forum. But the practical and moral decisions we need to make are based on our individual perspectives, which are an aggregate of personal experience and countless other articles, but which should not be discussed. It's all rather dispiriting...

  • dad29
    Posts: 2,219
    Still waiting for someone to reference the Catholic moral teaching that requires Catholics to be guinea pigs taking experimental "vaccines".......and for documentation of the "New York Parks Cemeteries" claim above.

    In Wisconsin, hospital usage topped out at 85%. We paid for 1,000 extra temporary-bed field hospitals and they treated a total of 16 people. A 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship in NYC treated <100 individuals during its 6-week stay there.<br />
    These stats are meaningful: Influenza cases in the USA, 2016-2017: 29 million
    2017-2018: 45 million 2018-2019: 36 million 2019-2020: 38 million
    2020-2021: 0.0015 million.

    Covid is more lethal to >70-year-olds, but flu spreads its lethality over wider range of ages. On balance, Covid is marginally more lethal in total, but less lethal than the Russian, Asian, or Spanish flu.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw ServiamScores
  • Dad,

    No one has taken you up on the offer because there isn't such a thing. The nearest anyone will come is "Greater Love hath no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends". John Ireland's setting is a tremendous piece of music, but I can't build a case for being a guinea pig in a lab experiment as a moral requirement.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,392
    dad29 No statistics are meaningful without at least a definition of terms, so - What is an "influenza case"?
  • Elmar
    Posts: 502
    Still waiting for someone to reference the Catholic moral teaching that requires Catholics to be guinea pigs taking experimental "vaccines"
    Seconding Chris; if you put it this way, you'll probably never get an answer.
    On the other hand I'd certainly appreciate some guiding in this question that goes further (my German-protestant thinking running havoc...) than what the pope and our bishops say.

    NB. As for the EU, we are in the lucky situation that the vaccines have gone through the normal approval procedure (with the side effect of a 2 month delay with respect to the US and UK), no idea whether this is relevant to the ethical question from a catholic perspective.

  • Elmar,
    Thank you for your support, but I think you misunderstand my point. It's not merely a matter of asking the right question to get people to demonstrate the impossible. He has already asked the right question, and there is no requirement in the moral law to make yourself a guinea pig.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,219
    "Influenza Case": flu-like illness which could not be transformed into Covid case no matter how many cycles the PCR ran. Unlike Covid, "influenza" does not include fatal bullet wounds, motorcycle crashes at 60++MPH, or coronary arrest.

    Does that help?
  • Dad,

    [Off topic: Do you mean that there's not a vaccine against gun shot wounds, motorcycle crashes and coronary arrest?]

    You're right, so far as I know, that there's no moral requirement to become a guinea pig for a preventative approach which has such a high survival rate. Now, if someone came up with a vaccine (a real one) against the Bubonic Plague, which carried off something like a third of the population of Europe before it ran its course, there would still not be an obligation to get this vaccine if it were produced by unethical means.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,219
    As to "moral obligation," we have CDF's 12/2020 declaration:

    “It is evident, in the light of practical reason, that the vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and must therefore be voluntary,” adding only that if the common good so indicates then “it is good to permit recommendation of vaccination, in particular to protect those who are weakest and more exposed.”

    .....Rachel Maddow notwithstanding.....
  • Elmar
    Posts: 502
    OK Chris, I don't think I misunderstod you ("Waiting for someone..." of course was meant retorically) so my question:
    Does it make a difference to the moral argument for us over here in the EU that the vaccine is regularly approved? (so that the 'guinea pig' thing, which I think was a strawman anyway, isn't relevant)
  • Elmar,

    In this country, there is an emergency approval and a normal approval. Emergency approval skips all sorts of steps (which usually lengthen the process by several years).

    Directly to your question: unless the EU has such a process, you can't fall back on that argument as such but there certainly may be other arguments.... such as the fact that it isn't actually a vaccine, and it's previously untested technology/methodology. There are other reasons to resist this.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,392
    During the COVID-19 pandemic, EMA's {European Medicines Agency} conditional marketing authorisation is being used to expedite the approval of safe and effective COVID-19 treatments and vaccines in the EU.
    This is in line with EU legislation which foresees that conditional marketing authorisation is used as the fast-track authorisation during public health emergencies to speed up approval and save lives.
    It allows regulators to grant a marketing authorisation as soon as sufficient data becomes available to demonstrate that the medicine's benefits outweigh its risks, with robust safeguards and controls in place post-authorisation.
    In a public health emergency, it can also be combined with a rolling review of data during the development of a promising medicine, to further expedite the evaluation.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Hawkins,

    Are these
    robust safeguards and controls in place post-authorisation.

    actually there?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,392
    I would say, yes. Initial authorisation of the Oxford/Astra-Zeneca vaccine said there was insufficient evidence of efficacy in older age groups. When this became available, the authorisation changed. There is a strict reporting system which showed a very rare problem of blood clotting, with the same vaccine. A pause was made for evaluation, and an assessment that the risk (~1 death per million first doses) is much much less than the risk from contracting the virus. The public find this confusing, but the EMA sticks to its careful methodology.
    [Incidentally this is an actual vaccine, a modified adenovirus]
    Thanked by 1Elmar