Friday, November 19, 2021

Booster; Unpublished Comment

      Yesterday, I got a COVID-19 booster.  This morning, I'm pretty achy and drifty.  Added to my sore shoulder, it's no fun at all.  If my reaction is like the aftermath of the second shot back in April, it'll take a day or a little less to get through.

*  *  *

      The vaccine and boosters for it remain contentious and at this point, if you have decided that's something you want to avoid, nothing I can say is likely to change your mind.  I wish you good luck, because it is now nearly certain that people will either get the vaccine or the virus, if not both.

      However, there's a difference between making your own choices for preventative medicine and falling prey to BS, woo and quackery.  As a general rule, any "lone voice shouting in the wilderness" is probably alone for good reason.  When it comes to modern medicine, the boring, mainstream opinion is right just about all the time.

      So when a comment came in consisting of links to the Thalidomide tragedy and the Tuskegee Experiment -- which were among the things I was obliquely referring to in mentioning a past history that has driven modern rules, laws and medical ethics that put human testing under a harsh and unforgiving microscope -- I was wondering just what the commenter was after saying.  His third link told me: it led to a report by an osteopathic physician who is infamous as "chief spreader of coronavirus misinformation online," alleging a whole host of spurious claims about the SARS-CoV-2 virus, vaccines for it and Dr. Anthony Fauci.

      The overwhelming majority of osteopaths (D.O.) are darned good doctors, with a tendency to be a bit less full of themselves than the average allopathic physician (M.D.).  In the U.S., they get their medical training at medical schools accredited by the same body that accredits all other medical schools.  But there is a little bit of woo to the discipline: it also includes a 19th-Century notion of the treatment of illness by bodily manipulation.  Not every osteopath does this; many (probably most) study it in school and never think about it again.  But any time you encounter a high-profile osteopath hawking "alternative medicine," it should warn you that there may be more flash there than substance, and you ought to keep one hand on your wallet.  In the case of the fellow linked to (you can find him by searching for "chief spreader of coronavirus misinformation online," by the way), he has a long history of pushing homeopathy (utter bunkum), alternative medicine (usually useless) and questionable dietary supplements long before the COVID-19 pandemic.  He was also spreading the false claim that regular vaccines cause autism, and appears to still be doing so.  He has shifted his wild claims into high gear during the pandemic.

      If he told me the time, I'd check my own watch.  This is not someone you should trust -- and certainly not someone from whom you should take medical advice.

      Have your own opinions.  But don't fall for grifters.  Exciting, world-shaking news that will set the famous low and raise up crazy notions is nearly always spurious, so much so that you will come out ahead if you always bet that it is.

No comments: