Let’s say you wind up talking about the vaccine. (I know, what are the odds?)
And let’s say the folks you’re talking to are not crazy vaccine fanatics who think the only problem with Australia’s interment camps is that they don’t go far enough. They’re reasonable people. Maybe they’ve even been vaccinated and are not sure about boosters, or what to do about their kids.
They’ve heard nearly all Covid deaths in Britain are in vaccinated people. But they’ve also heard about the Centers for Disease Control report that the unvaccinated are at much higher risk. They’ve heard about the new variant too, of course.
So many numbers. So much science! And despite the last 20 months, they still believe the public health authorities wouldn’t exaggerate the threat of Covid or manipulate data to scare them.
They are legitimately confused. And you have about five minutes before halftime is over to help them understand the truth.
What do you do?
First, don’t talk about all-cause mortality. We don’t know yet what’s driving that (though I have some upsetting charts to drop soon), and it’s just too weird and scary for most people to consider.
Second, don’t overwhelm them with detail. Marek’s disease, antibody-dependent-enhancement risk, healthy vaccine user bias, age stratification, clinical trial design manipulation, unadjusted confounders, declining titers, B-cell maturation, booster schedules, anti-idiotype antibodies, spike protein migration, vaccine induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia - don’t go there.
Even trying to explain that the CDC changed the definition of a vaccine - and yes, the CDC sure did change the definition of a vaccine - may be tough.
Instead, try one simple question. The simplest possible. The public health equivalent of Ronald Reagan’s, Are you better off today than you were four years ago?
The question is this: If the vaccines work, what’s going on?
Remind them: We are almost a year into mass vaccination campaigns. Even before they began, public health experts and media and politicians explicitly and repeatedly promised that vaccines would end the epidemic if enough people took them.
Now the United States and especially Europe have vaccinated vast numbers of their citizens with mRNA and DNA vaccines that appeared hugely effective in clinical trials. In many European countries, over 90 percent of all adults are vaccinated.
Yet not only has Covid not disappeared, many of those same countries, like Denmark, are now seeing record levels of infections.
And deaths are soaring too - deaths in Germany trail only last winter’s peak.
If the vaccines work, what’s going on?
And if they don’t, why on earth would anyone not at very high risk from Covid agree to participate in further rounds of this failed experiment? Much less allow their kids to be vaccinated?
One question. One that leads to a hundred more.