Patterico's Pontifications


Dr. Trump Corrects CDC Director

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:26 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The director of the CDC said today that, if one does not get immunity from the vaccine, wearing a face mask will provide protection:

Face coverings are “the most powerful public health tool” the nation has against the coronavirus and might even provide better protection against it than a vaccine, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told lawmakers Wednesday.

“We have clear scientific evidence they work, and they are our best defense,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said. “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine.”

Redfield told the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies that a potential coronavirus vaccine, which will likely be available in limited quantities by the end of this year, may only have an immunogenicity of 70%.

“If I don’t get an immune response, the vaccine’s not going to protect me. This face mask will,” Redfield told lawmakers while holding up a blue surgical face mask. He urged Americans, particularly those between 18 and 25 years old, to continue wearing face coverings, reiterating they could help bring the pandemic under control in a matter of weeks if people wore them universally.

Renowned infectious disease expert and virologist Dr. Donald J. Trump was compelled to correct the director:

At a White House press briefing later on Wednesday, the president said Redfield might have “misunderstood” the question by lawmakers, adding that masks are not as important as the vaccine. Trump said “perhaps” face masks help.

“I hope that the vaccine’s going to be a lot more beneficial than the masks,” Trump told reporters. “As far as the mask is concerned, he made a mistake.”

Though certainly not at the top of the list, among my reasons for wanting to see the pandemic end asap, is that arguments about the efficacy of masks will cease. Yet, more importantly, we will no longer have to hear Dr. Trump stupidly opine about masks and their lack of effectiveness.


38 Responses to “Dr. Trump Corrects CDC Director”

  1. Is there nothing Trump doesn’t know more about than any other human being??

    Dana (292df6)

  2. Haven’t you herd? His mentality is the best.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  3. Trump blames blue states for the coronavirus death toll — but most recent deaths have been in red states
    For months, President Trump has been scrambling to deflect criticism for the breadth of the coronavirus pandemic toward whatever target might be available. During a news briefing Wednesday, he returned to one of his favorites: Democratic leaders.
    “This was a prediction that if we do a really good job, we’ll be at about 100,000 and — 100,000 to 240,000 deaths, and we’re below that substantially, and we’ll see what comes out,” he said. ….

    For what it’s worth, we are not below 240,000 deaths substantially. Instead, the country has seen at least 193,000 deaths, a figure that is probably an underestimation. For example, there have been 263,000 more deaths in the United States in 2020 than would have been expected based on the past several years. If those are attributable to the novel coronavirus, we’ve already moved out of good-job territory.
    “So we’re down in this territory,” Trump continued, “and that’s despite the fact that the blue states had had tremendous death rates. If you take the blue states out, we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at. We’re really at a very low level. But some of the states, they were blue states and blue state-managed.”
    Over time, though, the percentage of total deaths that have occurred in blue states has dropped. The most recent data, through Tuesday, indicates that about 53 percent of deaths have occurred in blue states — meaning that 47 percent have occurred in red ones.
    Why has the ratio of blue-state to red-state deaths shifted? Because most of the newly occurring deaths are happening in red states. Since mid-June, a majority of the new coronavirus deaths each day have occurred in red states. Since mid-July at least 70 percent have.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  4. Don’t worry, I’m sure he’s just trying not to panic us.

    Nic (896fdf)

  5. Trump will never understand face masks as they only protect other people, and what’s the point of that?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  6. Is there nothing Trump doesn’t know more about than any other human being??


    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  7. He’s got solipsism down pat.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  8. Thanksgiving is coming up. Someone should talk him into a National Live Turkey Drop.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  9. Thanksgiving is coming up. Someone should talk him into a National Live Turkey Drop.

    He can play the bullseye in the frozen turkey round.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  10. “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine.”

    1. Hypothetical: Once a vaccine is available, you can choose between being on a flight where everyone else is vaccinated or everyone else has a mask on. Pick one.

    2. If masks are better, then that would apply to the flu as well. (Or, why not?) Except the CDC hasn’t been saying that.

    beer ‘n pretzels (27da31)

  11. if masks are really better than a vaccine why in the @#&$# are we still locked down?

    What are the rules for getting back to normal?

    kaf (0ff60d)

  12. 1. Masks, for sure.

    2. I think flu vaccines are much more reliable at generating immunity than the first CV vaccines are expected to be. I don’t think the incidence of asymptomatic infection for the flu compares to CV either. Even so. in east Asia it’s considered polite, and routine, to wear a mask if you might have the flu or a cold.

    Dave (1bb933)

  13. “If you take the blue states out, we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at”
    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8) — 9/16/2020 @ 5:32 pm

    If President Galaxy Brain keeps killing off his followers, all the states will be blue states. When you take the blue states out then, his COVID numbers are going to look amazing.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  14. Went for a Covid test today. Nasal swab. Drive through. Free. Provided by the State of Illinois. At a formerly car emissions test site where I used to take my cars. Whole thing from “Enter” to “Exit” took maybe five minutes. Which is when I wore my mask too.

    Truck your President Fump. Emphasis on “your“. He might be your President where you’re at, but he’s nothing here. Our Governor and our mayors are running things.

    nk (1d9030)

  15. Thank you very much, Mr. Dave.

    nk (1d9030)

  16. So, all these years when we’ve been told to get a flu vaccine, what with the possible side effects and the hit or miss nature of the strain, and we should have been wearing masks because they are more effective than vaccines? Do we have new experts that just figured this out or is this the same group of clowns that a couple of months ago were telling everyone masks weren’t effective.

    frosty (f27e97)

  17. The director of the CDC said today that, if one does not get immunity from the vaccine, wearing a face mask will provide protection:

    No he said it was better than a vaccine, and he didn’t say might

    That actually might be somewhat true, as someone might get a mild case of the disease which would amount to a vaccination. (immunity

    WEDNESDAY, Sept. 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The world is still waiting for a safe, effective coronavirus vaccine. But new research now suggests that billions of people may already be using a crude vaccine of sorts: face masks.

    The theory — and it remains largely a theory — is that by filtering out airborne coronavirus droplets and thereby lowering the dose of SARS-CoV-2 a person inhales, infections have much less chance of producing symptoms.

    I said it here first. You couuld look it up, although that;s abut difficult.

    Sammy Finkelman (96f386)

  18. “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine.”

    That doesn’t say much for vaccines.

    I think his idea is that a vaccine may be only 50% to 90% effective but a mask will prevent it better. Easy to say when he knows no one will ever demand a clinical study before anyone can legally promote masks.

    But why not? Isn’t a face mask here a medical device? Already legal, yes, but off label.

    Sammy Finkelman (96f386)

  19. Yes, yes, attenuated virus vaccines are truly a revolutionary concept in immunology. (That was sarcasm.)

    nk (1d9030)

  20. @8. It’s been done. Tune-in to WKRP in Cincinnati for details.

    Trump doesn’t plagiarize.

    “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.” – Arthur Carlson [Gordon Jump] ‘Turkeys Away’ aired 10/30/1978 – “WKRP In Cincinnati” CBS TV 1978-1982

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  21. Vaccines are much more well establishec scoence now were in the argument clinic. (No we arent)

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  22. Trump doesn’t plagiarize.

    1. Well, sure, you can’t plagiarize something you haven’t read.

    2. That’s Melania’s job.

    3. He just creates alternative facts.

    4. Says who?

    nk (1d9030)

  23. “I hope that the vaccine’s going to be a lot more beneficial than the masks,” Trump told reporters.

    Trump is only avoiding absurdity, and echoing all the advice he’s been getting.

    “As far as the mask is concerned, he made a mistake.”

    Trump’s being kind here.

    That’s not a mistake, it’s a lie.

    Unless he either believes masks are 95% effective (and what study anywhere proved that? *) or any vaccine will probably not immunize a significant fraction of people.
    Chinese Communist propaganda doesn’t count. And they didn’t even pretend to have studies proving that it prevented anything.

    Sammy Finkelman (96f386)

  24. nk (1d9030) — 9/16/2020 @ 6:43 pm

    He might be your President where you’re at, but he’s nothing here. Our Governor and our mayors are running things.

    Holy flaming balls Batman. This is a new concept we’ve never heard before. Quick name it and you’ll be famous. I suggest something with an ism but short and catchy.

    frosty (f27e97)

  25. This is the same CDC that told the coronavirus task force back in February (probably before Mike Pence was appointed to lead it and before he brought in Deborah Birx) that they could keep Covid-19 from becoming endemic in the United States:

    …And what CDC officials were relying on and telling the coronavirus task force was that there was no spread of coronavirus in the United States in February, they were telling them that because they were looking at what we call the influenza-like illness surveillance network, basically a surveillance network of who’s presenting to hospitals with flu-like symptoms. And they said that they’re seeing no spike in people presenting with respiratory symptoms, therefore, coronavirus must not be spreading. And they were adamant about that. I was talking to White House officials over this time period. They were adamant about that. And I suspect the president was being told as well that this virus wasn’t spreading in the United States. And that may have impacted what he did and didn’t say and his willingness to, you know, as he said, talk it down a little bit because he was of the perception that this was not spreading here in the United States…

    Sammy Finkelman (96f386)

  26. So, if masks are better than a vaccine, does that mean we have to wear masks even after a vaccine is available to everyone? Count me out.

    norcal (a5428a)

  27. 26. Federalism.

    Sammy Finkelman (96f386)

  28. It goes beyond federalism. Governor Pritzker made sure we had test supplies (and PPE), whether Jared Kushner doled out some of “his” (remember that?) or not. In the Governor’s own words (more or less): “I’d welcome any help from the federal government, but I don’t really expect any.”

    nk (1d9030)

  29. 28, norcal (a5428a) — 9/16/2020 @ 8:22 pm

    So, if masks are better than a vaccine, does that mean we have to wear masks even after a vaccine is available to everyone? Count me out.

    They’re coming close to saying that. Until maybe a second generation vaccine.

    … The F.D.A. has said that approval will require a vaccine to show that it prevents infection or reduces its severity in at least 50 percent of those who receive it. Antibody results themselves wouldn’t suffice, according to F.D.A. guidance, because it isn’t yet known which antibodies at what levels are protective. [like as if you couldn’t know easily]

    ….The major American vaccine candidates, which focus on the coronavirus’s spike protein, might not give you as rich a complement of antibodies as those produced by someone who had actually been infected with the virus; the virus is more than its spikes. And acquired immunity doesn’t just arise from the antibodies in our serum; it involves white blood cells, such as killer T cells, that have been, in effect, trained to deal with the threat. As my medical colleagues remind me, recovered Covid-19 patients might be expected to have levels of cellular immunity that some vaccines may not trigger. (A few vaccines, notably one for HPV, may produce a better immune response than natural infection does, but usually it’s the other way around.) Going by available data, one well-funded vaccine candidate seems to produce only a weak cellular response… And what’s expected of a good vaccine is that it would reduce your odds of infection (albeit in ways that, once vaccination is widespread, could lead to herd immunity), not that it would eliminate them.

    Even if your optimistic assumptions were borne out, though, you should still join others in wearing a mask in public places. After all, people aren’t going to know why you aren’t wearing one. They may infer that you’re antimask or fear that you might pose a threat to them. At the same time, you would be eroding an important social norm. Whatever your personal risk profile, wearing a mask signals your support for a practice that can save lives; it helps maintain a public realm in which all of us do our share to contain transmission. For the same reason, you should continue with social distancing in public places. {It’s security theater, in other words]

    Don’t give up on hand hygiene, either. At least in theory, your hands could transfer the virus from a surface to someone else’s hands. So regular hand-washing remains a good idea. (With additional benefits as we come into the usual season for colds and flu.)

    Sammy Finkelman (96f386)

  30. 15. nk (1d9030) — 9/16/2020 @ 6:43 pm

    Went for a Covid test today. Nasal swab. Drive through. Free. Provided by the State of Illinois.

    A test is not complete until you get the results. And if t get the results takes as long as to get election results in 2020 what you should get is an antibody test which will tell you if you had it anytime from several months ago to two weeks ago or so.

    And why are they still doing nasal swabs? They should do saliva tests, like professional sports does, or other tests with almost instant results. The saliva test doesn’t pick up on minor infections, but infections that low grade are almost entirely not contagious.

    Sammy Finkelman (96f386)

  31. The Flu season in the southern hemisphere starts in May or June. So far this year it’s been very mild. That could be because it’s just a mile flu seasons, or it could be the the measures put in place for CV19 have been helping to reduce the spread of the flu.

    I think this is another data point that the masks and social distancing we’ve been talking about are effective in reducing the spread of air born disease.

    Time123 (7cca75)

  32. nk (1d9030) — 9/16/2020 @ 8:26 pm

    It goes beyond federalism.

    gives as an example

    Governor Pritzker made sure we had test supplies (and PPE)


    frosty (f27e97)

  33. 12. kaf (0ff60d) — 9/16/2020 @ 6:35 pm

    What are the rules for getting back to normal?

    Who said anything about getting back to normal?

    Stop Expecting Life to Go Back to Normal Next Year

    Americans will need to take pandemic precautions well into 2021 — yes, even after a vaccine arrives.


    It is completely understandable that many are tiring of restrictions due to Covid-19. Unfortunately, their resolve is weakening right when we need it to harden. This could cost us dearly.

    The unrealistic optimism stems in part from the fact that people have started pinning their hopes on a medical breakthrough. There have been promising developments. Remdesivir holds potential for those who are hospitalized. Convalescent plasma might do the same. Antibody treatments might improve outcomes for some or prevent infections in those at highest risk.

    But most cases don’t benefit from these treatments. [?!] Further, none of these therapies can prevent infections or hospitalizations on a broad scale. The concern over an unflattened curve isn’t just about death, although that’s certainly a concern. It’s also about an overwhelmed health care system where so many beds are filled that we can’t get care for the many other conditions people experience. Untreated or undertreated heart attacks, strokes, cancer and more will also cause a spike in morbidity and mortality.

    Americans are also overestimating what a vaccine might do. Many are focusing on whether approval is being rushed as a campaign ploy, but that’s almost beside the point. It seems likely that a vaccine will be approved this fall and that it will be “effective.” But it’s very unlikely that this vaccine will be a game changer.

    All immunizations are not the same. Some, like the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, provide strong, nearly lifelong benefits after a few doses. Others, like the influenza vaccine, produce limited benefits that last for a season. [Because the influenza virus constantly mutates! Are you trying to make people believe you don’t know that?] We don’t know yet where a coronavirus vaccine will fall, although something along the lines of a flu shot seems more probable. [Liar! It’s been established right from the beginning that it mutates a lot less] We don’t know how long whatever immunity it provides will last. We don’t know whether there will be populations that derive more or less benefit. [it would be highly individual. Few populations are now s immunologically distinct. There;s nothing like Americaan Indians in 1492. Tis is more of his pretend ignorance]

    Because of all these unknowns, we will need to continue to be exceedingly careful even as we immunize. Until we see convincing evidence that a vaccine has a large population-level effect, we will still need to mask and distance and restrain ourselves. Too many of us won’t. Too many will believe that the vaccine has saved them, and they will throw themselves back into more normal activities.

    Even this assumes, of course, that we can distribute the vaccine widely and quickly (which is doubtful), that most people will get it (many won’t) and that we will succeed in prioritizing distribution so that those most at risk will get it first (flying in the face of decades of disparities in the way health care is distributed). [This last is almost a tautology. Whoever gets less quality health care will get less quality health care and not get it first.]

    The approval of a vaccine may be the beginning of a real coronavirus response; it certainly won’t be the end.

    It is much more likely that life in 2021, especially in the first half of the year, will need to look much like life does now. Those who think that we have just a few more months of pain to endure will need to adjust their expectations. Those thinking that school this fall will be a one-off, that we will be back to normal next year, let alone next semester, may be in for a rude awakening.

    As Dr. Fauci told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, “If you’re talking about getting back to a degree of normality which resembles where we were prior to Covid, it’s going to be well into 2021, maybe even towards the end of 2021.”

    We wasted our chance in the spring to get a better summer. We wasted our chance in the summer to plan for the fall. We’re wasting time again now. Next year isn’t that far away. [And what would he have done? Better lockdowns? Israel did it. And then let go and now they are in for a tougher lockdown maybe. Lockdowns amount only to treading water. They can freeze the situation or reset the clock. But turning the clock back to March 5 or February 13 just sets you up for a repeat of what happened the first time.]

    We still need to figure out how to live in this new world, now, and that means embracing, finally, all the strategies for fighting the virus that many of us have resisted.

    It’s not too late to invest in testing both symptomatic and asymptomatic people. [??!] Back in the spring, I estimated that we might need a million tests a week to manage the virus. That estimate assumed that America would drive the prevalence rate of the disease into the ground, much as other countries did. [Prevalence was almost zero on January 31. Was that a solution?] We failed in that respect. We left shelter-in-place too early, letting cases grow once again….

    …We need to normalize mask-wearing. It’s a tragedy that this has become politicized and that this simple, safe and effective measure is in dispute. It’s about protecting others even more than ourselves. That such an action is now viewed as weakness is horrific….

    ….Too many are relaxing because they think that salvation is just around the corner. That’s possible, but certainly not probable. It would be better to prepare for a difficult 2021 and be surprised by its being easier than to assume things will be easier and find life is still hard.

    This is a marathon, not a sprint. Both, though, require running.

    NYT says:

    REDDIT AMAAaron E. Carroll will be answering your questions on living with the pandemic at 12 p.m. Eastern on Thursday on Reddit.

    Sammy Finkelman (fe9fb2)

  34. Federalism implies some federal relevance. In this instance, Trump might as well not exist at all.

    nk (1d9030)

  35. By contrast, Wall Street Journal Op-ed:

    How to Live With Covid, Not for It

    If reason finally prevails over panic, policy makers will reopen schools and focus on the vulnerable.

    By Joseph A. Ladapo

    …………Policies forged in fear and panic have wrought tremendous damage in exchange for benefits that were attainable at a much lower cost. Over the past six months, we have managed to sow vicious conflict over health mandates among people who would otherwise be cordial; erode age-old social customs, like visible smiles and human touch, which are critical to social cohesion and personal well-being; and condemn millions of Americans to financial instability, depression and even domestic violence.

    The collective goal of this new phase should be to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past…We have the opportunity to choose differently this time.

    Some signs point toward institutions shifting away from fear-fueled decision making. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance last month that contacts of persons with Covid-19 “do not necessarily” need testing if they are asymptomatic. Early testing among those infected with the virus may yield false negatives, and testing vulnerable adults and their contacts is far more valuable than testing healthy young adults. The CDC now recommends focusing tests where they are likely to yield the greatest public-health benefits. [And that’s been attributed to the supposedly malign influence of Donald Trump.]

    The good sense of this recommendation is so plain, it is almost stupefying. Where is the controversy in placing disproportionate energy and attention on populations that are disproportionately at risk for harm from Covid-19? Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities—who represent less than 1% of the U.S. population—have comprised nearly half of deaths from Covid-19. A recent study in Annals of Internal Medicine reported that the infection fatality rate in noninstitutionalized persons under 40 was 0.01%, compared with 1.7% among people older than 60—a nearly 200-fold difference. Sensible policies focus special attention on populations facing the greatest harm. [If Joe Biden was interested in sensible policies, he wouldn’t be a Democrat. Not that many Republicans are either.]

    The criticism the CDC has received underscores the determination of too many leaders and health officials to continue choosing fear-fueled policy-making. [Fear drives voter turnout] Consider the facts: The average Covid-19 transmission rate to close contacts is roughly 10% or 15%. The actual number of infections may be six to 24 times the number of reported cases, according to a July study in JAMA Internal Medicine. It would be impossible to close the wide gap between detected and undetected cases without resort to authoritarianism. It’s clear that testing low-risk contacts is a low-value activity. [And not necessary to get R0 below 1.0. If it gets to and remains less than 1.0, the virus will gradually disappear or almost disappear. And it eventually gets below 1.0 with every epidemic, o mater what, even the Black Death. The danger then is that there may be a reservoir in wild animals.]

    But critics of the CDC’s new recommendation subscribe to the belief—knowingly or not—that all attempts to stop Covid-19 transmission are worthwhile, no matter how small the benefit or how high the cost. Increased public recognition of—and scientific support for—sensible policies will steer us away from destructive decisions fueled by fear. [I don’t think it’s actually fear. It’s right to life.]

    ….Placing disproportionate focus on Covid-19 transmission in low-risk populations leads to unwise decisions that do more harm than good. A wiser investment would focus on protecting vulnerable populations, including older teachers, family members and essential employees, by directing testing and personal protective equipment to them and their close contacts. Early outpatient therapies for Covid-19 may also prevent serious illness in these populations, as described in a recent American Journal of Medicine article. [Take that, New York Times Op-ed piece writer, Dr. Aaron E. Carroll]

    The point of life is living, and everyone is better off with policies that focus on protecting the most vulnerable populations. That doesn’t take universal rapid testing or never-ending mandates. It requires only abandoning fear, being sensible about who is targeted for testing and protections, expanding treatment capacity and therapies—and choosing to live with the virus, rather than to live for it. [I; think I’d rather live without the virus, and this can happen after a few years]

    Sammy Finkelman (b1f8c4)

  36. 26. nk (1d9030) — 9/17/2020 @ 7:40 am

    Federalism implies some federal relevance. In this instance, Trump might as well not exist at all.

    The most important federal role here is collecting and promoting scientific research, or, as the case may be, blocking medical progress. Which it does a great deal of.

    It also nowadays supplies money and equipment and tries to compensate (when not caught up in partisan deadlock) with the economic effects of the measures taken to deal with the virus.

    It also can regulate foreign commerce and travel.

    Sammy Finkelman (b1f8c4)

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