I survived Biden’s winter of death and discontent
But the CDC says I may not survive the spring without getting vaccinated
Uplifting President Biden told the unvaccinated Americans in December that we were all going to die. His intent was to scare us into getting a COVID shot for the winter. But instead, we all mocked his morbid messaging.
Well now that we are a few days into spring, instead of celebrating our survival, we are faced with the CDC telling us to get vaccinated or die.
CATCH UP: I wrote in my story “I'm an Unvaccinated American facing a winter of death and discontent,” that Biden was so dramatic that he quoted Shakespeare. The president said that, “For unvaccinated, we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death.” “Now is the winter of our discontent” is a line from the play Richard III.
If you are a new reader, I am not “anti vax.” I was the Assistant Commissioner for Media Affairs for the FDA from Aug 2021 to Jan. 2021. It was quite literally my job to promote the COVID-19 vaccines. I believed that the elderly and those with severe underlying conditions should get vaccinated to avoid the unlikely but terrible chance of being hospitalized or dying from COVID's early variants. However, I see no good reason for the young and healthy to get vaccinated. Feel free to disagree with me in the comments.
CDC spring scare
The CDC has a big social media push this week to reinforce the message to the unvaccinated that they are more likely to get hospitalized and die from COVID. The CDC posted this death graphic on Instagram (below):
On Facebook, the CDC is going after your fear of being put on a ventilator:
This tweet is scary about hospitalizations for unvaccinated:
UNVACCINATED IN HOSPITALS
As you’ll remember from this story I wrote about CDC statistics, they like to use rates of death or hospitalization as opposed to actual numbers because it’s more alarming. So I always look for numbers of people affected to put their fearmongering in perspective.
The CDC’s tweet above about rates “12x higher” is based on its new study looking at hospitalization and deaths during Omicron to compare what happened to the vaccinated and boosted to the unvaccinated. I looked at the study (linked at the bottom) to figure out what “12x” was in real numbers.
This is what the study says overall:
Although hospitalization rates increased for all adults, rates were highest among unvaccinated adults and lowest among adults who had received a primary series and a booster or additional dose. Hospitalization rates during peak Omicron circulation (January 2022) among unvaccinated adults remained 12 times the rates among vaccinated adults who received booster or additional doses and four times the rates among adults who received a primary series, but no booster or additional dose.
This tells us two things:
The CDC is not advertising the rate for unvaccinated hospitalizations to vaccinated because it’s 4x which doesn’t sound nearly as bad as 12x. They are picking the data that fits the argument to get vaccinated.
The CDC is not advertising that just 44% of Americans have gotten booster shots. And only 64% of Americans are “fully vaccinated” (two doses). These stats don’t work well on social media because they discourage people from getting vaccinated at this point in the pandemic. (Link to stats at bottom.)
After reading the study on hospitalization of boosted compared to unvaccinated, I still didn’t know what exactly is 12 times more? Is that 12 times more people? Or is it 12 times more likely based on the overall population?
The CDC says
So I asked the CDC media relations for help. A spokeswoman emailed me back:
I’ll save you time because if you click on those links above from the CDC, you’ll find more data by rates. Argh.
So I called her cell phone. I said to her, these questions shouldn’t be that complicated: How many people were hospitalized and died during Omicron? How many of those people were not vaccinated?
The CDC spokeswoman said she will have to ask “the team” and get back to me. I told her I’ll update my story when the CDC can answer those questions.
Until then, I can just use what seems to be the basis of their 12x scary social media message. The study is a dense document and buried in it is this:
Clinical information was abstracted for 5,681 adults with COVID-19–associated hospitalization during July 1, 2021–January 31, 2022
That means this study is not based on actual data, but on 5,000 people they have surveyed. (This is probably why the CDC spokeswoman can’t find it.)
Then it says that they are only looking at 829 people who were hospitalized during the Omicron period (Dec 19–Jan 31). Of those people, 409 were unvaccinated and 248 had two or three vaccine doses.
I’m not a statistician at the CDC, and I’ve tried all kinds of calculations, so if you can figure out where their “12 times” comes to play, leave it in the comments.
The Instagram death graphic of vax vs unvaxxed doesn’t even have a link to back it up, so I also asked CDC to give me the source of the data to get to “15 times.”
The CDC death watch also tweeted yesterday this prediction of how many of us will die of COVID before Tax Day.
People are still dying of COVID but are 900-2,900 a lot compared to other ways to die? The CDC tweet included death graphics showing the increase overall (below, right right) which is actually leveling off, and then the "new weekly deaths” (below, left on the left) which show deaths are going way down.
Who is the CDC targeting?
It feels like everyone is vaccinated and that those of us who decided against it are in a tiny minority. But that is just the perception from the government spending on social media and paid media. The facts are…
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