The White House Needs New COVID Advisors
The current cast has made too many mistakes
Political leaders rarely know enough about complex biomedical topics to make judgments. Instead they rely on experts they trust. Trusted experts are not the best scientists. They are the most loyal ones. The ones who routinely cheerlead the administration in civilian life and the ones active politically and drawn into public health advisory roles.
The current cast of characters-- Jha, Walensky, Fauci, Murthy and others- were chosen for these reasons, and are simply not good at thinking about medical evidence and policy. They must be replaced if the administration wants to turn around COVID. And let me be honest--I am giving this feedback as a Democrat, who hopes Dems do better at covid policy and holding the Pharmaceutical industry to task.
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Let's start with what they don't get: they fundamentally do not understand that boosters have different risk benefit profiles based on age/ sex/ and prior infection of COVID-19. This has relevance both for the new bivalent booster and for kids primary vaccination.
When it comes to boosters, a 95 year old nursing home patient who never had Covid is different than a 25 year old college man who just had BA5.
When it comes to kids vax, a healthy 6 year old kid who just had covid is different than an overweight 11 year old with diabetes who never had Covid.
Yet even when these facts have been repeatedly pointed out to them, they refuse to admit it. Watch this video clip.
Is it so hard to admit that data for boosting someone who just had the virus is non-existent? And it's even worse for a healthy kid who had covid19.
Why are these advisors so hellbent on vaccinating people who we simply do not know if their is net benefit? Any why provide misleading rhetoric to achieve that pyrric aim?
Are they also unaware that no matter how high booster rates go, the virus will continue to circulate forever? Dampening transmission ever so slightly for a few weeks is pointless in an ocean of replications that will last thousands of years.
Scientists around the world can see the obvious. The US advisors are incorrect. One e.g.
On a number of issues the current cast of characters is entirely aloof to EBM and sensible policy.
They don't seem to understand masking toddlers has no data and is actually pretty stupid and probably harmful and unethical and will age poorly
They don't seem to understand that telling a quadruple vaccinated adult to wear n95 is a deranged policy that might at best modestly delay the inevitable moment they get Covid, at the cost of pointless disruption.
They don't seem to get that evidence for long COVID is extremely poor. If you are very sick then convalescence can be long, but the idea you will have a mild infection and then your brain will shrink is prima facie highly incredible and unlikely and thus evidence must be extraordinary, which it is not.
The current cast do not understand the need for randomized trials measuring clinical endpoints. Not surrogates
The current cast are so committed to giving Pfizer a huge market share — I mean simplifying the message-- that they appear indifferent to the fact that there may be some actual human being—most likely young men—who may even have a net negative effect by participating in an endless booster program. This would be a catastrophic error, which they refuse to acknowledge.
There are plenty of democrat medical doctors who would not make these errors. These errors are not necessary or integral to the democratic party platform. They are just foolish policy choices. The only reason they persist is that the political figures that sanction these choices are getting bad advice.
I can only speculate as to why the advice is so bad, but these likely include: groupthink, a desire to play nice with Pfizer and Moderna, whom many of these people will consult for very soon, and the tragic fact that none of these figures have made a career on the principles and ethics of evidence-based medicine. Unless you really internalize those principles, you can find yourself the victim of fear, and irrationality may take hold.
The Biden administration needs to clean house with its COVID-19 team. I suspect that they do not feel the pressure because the polls do not condemn them. However, polls can be notoriously unreliable. And the gap between the policy and what the average American is doing on the street is so wide, you could fit the Grand canyon in it. The status quo is bad.