Patterico's Pontifications


Entire Conservative Media Ecosystem Pushes Dangerous COVID Lie

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

Yesterday the CDC director reported the results of a study that showed the amazing efficacy of vaccines in preventing severe outcomes and deaths from COVID. Citing a recent study of people who had been vaccinated, she noted that 75% of the deaths of that population had been of people with at least four co-morbidities. You could hardly imagine a more stirring recommendation of the vaccine.

Within hours, due to poor editing by Good Morning America and the viral spread of misleading tweets by prominent “conservatives,” this pro-vaccine message had been transmogrified into a claim that 75% of all deaths from COVID were of people with at least four comorbidities. Conclusion: this has always been a disease that attacks only the very sick, and government has been exaggerating the danger, including with vaccine mandates! Like the Scientologists, they took a message and flipped it on its head to make it seem the opposite of what it actually meant.

Compare the video in Clay Travis’s virally misleading tweet spreading the disinformation:

to the unedited video:

Seemingly everyone on the right spread the edited disinformation. Trump Jr. did it. Ted Cruz did it. Tucker Carlson did it. Countless Fox News personalities did it. Ted Cruz has deleted his angry retweet of Travis’s tweet, but the Web Archive still has it.

Screen Shot 2022-01-11 at 8.30.04 AM

Allahpundit at Hot Air — still my favorite blogger — deserves a lot of credit for identifying the issue and spreading the truth, and he gets some credit from Philip Bump at the Washington Post:

Except, as HotAir’s pseudonymous writer Allahpundit pointed out Monday afternoon, this isn’t what Walensky was saying. She was referring to a study that evaluated the deaths of 1.2 million adults who had been vaccinated, only 36 of whom died of covid-19. It was among those 36 vaccinated individuals that three-quarters (28 in total) had four or more comorbidities.

Follow the link to Allahpundit’s post for more; I have just given a summary here. Then subscribe to Hot Air.

P.S. I have my own Substack out this morning but I thought this was important. More on the Substack later today.

64 Responses to “Entire Conservative Media Ecosystem Pushes Dangerous COVID Lie”

  1. The two people who died that I was close to, both had one or maybe two comorbities (obesity in one case and an auto-immune condition in the other), both in their fifties. There was no vaccine at the time. From what I gather, the most common morbidity was age, which comes with ancillary conditions.

    That someone as smart as Ted Cruz can be this stupid indicates a certain amount of effort.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  2. I fell for that.

    The messaging on COVID has been clear at times, and weird at others.
    I don’t think it would have been a big shock to find the overall deaths from COVID are highly influenced by the number and type of co-morbidities

    steveg (e81d76)

  3. I’d vaccinate anyway. I get a flu shot because I don’t like having the flu, not because I’m afraid of dying. Maybe way back in my mind I might wonder if I’ve got some unknown co-morbidities that the flu or COVID might expose.

    I’d like to tell you how much I want to remember to respect the loss of people who were clearly very near and dear to your heart. In the back and forth of things, that gets lost.

    steveg (e81d76)

  4. This is semi-related, but I’ve been saying that Leonhardt has a way of making meaning of the numbers, and he does so with his comparison of NY and Seattle, in terms of cases and hospitalizations involving the vaxxed and un-vaxxed, and it’s meaningful because it mostly involves Omicron.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  5. I don’t think it would have been a big shock to find the overall deaths from COVID are highly influenced by the number and type of co-morbidities

    And certainly they are, particularly age-related ones, but the vaccine makes the distribution bi-modal. There’s a bell curve with vaccine, and a another one, towards “more deaths”, without.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  6. Thank you steveg. I think that many of us have lost a friend or a relative through this.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  7. The message is vaccine[s] chasing a mutating virus which require 2,3,4 whatever “boosters” every three months after initial inoculation lacks efficacy and is a cash cow for Big Pharma. And multiple vaccine/boostered individuals still experience breakthrough cases. In addition, it is mid-January and Biden Administration still has not signed the contracts to get the ‘free home Covid tests,’ touted before Christmas.

    Yes, the message is clear: these screw-ups could a park a car in an empty stadium parking lot.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  8. Still flogging that crap, DCSCA. Did you even read this post? Why are you so determined to be wrong on this subject?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  9. My brother is in the hospital with pneumonia and Covid, according to his wife, but his voice sounds very strong. I had been wondering what was happening the past two days.

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  10. ^Yes, the message is clear: these screw-ups could a park a car in an empty stadium parking lot.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  11. I thought it was his father-in-law, but he is OK.

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  12. @8. ‘Crap,’ Kevin? Grab your spoon; here’s a plateful for you to swallow:

    10 Health and Pharmaceutical Companies Fighting the COVID-19 Coronavirus

    ‘Coronavirus fears have triggered volatility, a correction and ultimately a bear market in U.S. stocks in 2020. Many companies have suffered massive price drops, but a handful of stock picks have seen their prices hold up – and in some cases even soar. One such cluster includes pharmaceutical companies and other health care stocks that are in the race to develop COVID-19 coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics.’

    FDA authorizes Merck’s COVID-19 antiviral pill

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  13. What is the equivalent number for the unvaccinated? If well below 75% then sure vaccines are great. If not then vaccines don’t seem to matter. If they don’t have number , why not? Seems important.

    kaf (375fe0)

  14. What is the equivalent number for the unvaccinated?

    Haven’t you heard? This is “the pandemic of the unvaccinated” – not the fault of a butter-fingered Chinese techie. Just as obesity, world hunger and rickets are the fault of American kids not drinking their milk and cleaning their plates.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  15. @7/10 ‘could’ = ‘couldn’t.’ Typo.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  16. Absolutely appalling. The lies from conservatives about this issue just never seem to stop.

    Time123 (121447)


    5% of the deaths are reported COVID alone, with the caveat from the CDC that those 5% likely had co-morbidities, the co-morbidities just didn’t get entered onto the reporting form.

    The number of co-morbidities on the average was 2.6 for all deaths but that number is old. I’m not smart enough to figure out how to solve for the current number using the CDC data spreadsheet

    I don’t blame Cruz, Travis etc for misunderstanding, because even back in 2020 we knew that people were dying from COVID with at an average 2.6 co-morbidities on board so 75% at 4 isn’t that big of a stretch.

    The good news is that 75% of the deaths with vaccine onboard are with COVID but from a combination of 4 other causes, but the other news is that the unvaccinated (before vaccine) were dying with/from COVID and 2.6 other causes in 2020. COVID seems to relish bringing those things together and being the final straw

    Takeaways for my own thoughts would be that as we age, we seem to have more co-morbidities than we realize and to plan accordingly, and part of that plan should be a flu shot, because the most common co-morbidity is the flu/pneumonia.

    steveg (e81d76)

  18. they didn’t misunderstand. This isn’t a disagreement about nuance or a hard to parse statement. They took her statement out of context and used it to assert that she said something completely different then she said. That’s not a misunderstanding that’s a lie.

    Time123 (121447)

  19. DCSCA, you would have socialist drug development then? Or have government set the price of drugs? I have trouble separating your position here from Bernie’s.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  20. we knew that people were dying from COVID with at an average 2.6 co-morbidities on board so 75% at 4 isn’t that big of a stretch.

    Uh, yes it is. If they said “The average family has 2.6 kids, but 75% have 4 or more” you’d see why it’s stupid.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  21. What is the equivalent number for the unvaccinated?

    You’re chances of dying are strongly correlated with co-morbidities. The healthier you start out the better your chances which should be common sense. There is also some overlap, i.e. it’s possible for a vaxed person with co-morbidities to be at higher risk than an unvaxed person without.

    If well below 75% then sure vaccines are great. If not then vaccines don’t seem to matter.

    This might be a going a bit to far. The question really should be what gives an individual the best chance given their conditions. If the vaccine improves an individual’s odds, or lowers their risk, it matters.

    If they don’t have number , why not? Seems important.

    kaf (375fe0) — 1/11/2022 @ 10:29 am

    Well, that’ll be the fun part of this little exercise. This is largely a pandemic of the co-morbidities that can be mitigated by the vax. This recent misquote doesn’t really change that. But it will be interesting to watch the back and forth. Soon the people upset about this misstatement (many of whom aren’t at all upset about the misstatements in the SCOTUS oral arguments) will be using it to misstate the co-morbidity risk.

    frosty (f27e97)

  22. 2. steveg (e81d76) — 1/11/2022 @ 9:23 am

    I don’t think it would have been a big shock to find the overall deaths from COVID are highly influenced by the number and type of co-morbidities

    They said that the first week!

    The replacement hosts for Rush Limbaugh today claimed that

    1) We are being gaslighted, in that the CDC & Fauci etc are trying to pretend they never said vaccinatons would prevent spread, but this was the messaging that got out..

    2) When the correct something, they are pretending they just learned it – the example cited was that anybody who dies with Covid is counted as a Covid death. (the co hosts also claimed the critics of officialdom were right, but many of the criticisms were off the wall)

    But, as I said long ago, deaths were also being underestimated, and the thing to use was excess deaths (said by a lot of people, but not officially tabulated. This way outnumbered the deaths counted as Covid deaths that truly weren’t.

    Just think, if at most 1 in 120 people in the spring of 2020 had Covid at the same time (as I heard recently) incidental Covid hospitalizations should have been only about 1% of patients.

    They’re noticing it now with Omicron because everybody going into a hospital is tested for Covid and the rate of infection for Omicron must be very high.

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  23. The average hospitalization for Omicron is 1.x days [I don’t remember the last significant digit] while for Delta it was 4 days.

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  24. @13, Depends on the area. Most places are running over 60% vaccinated. Google will show you the breakdown. Plenty of research and data that all points to the same thing; Vaccination greatly lowers your chances of catching Covid and lowers the chances of being hospitalized / dying even more.

    Time123 (6f9608)

  25. Why is Joe Biden wearing a mask outdoors in Georgia?

    Per his own CDC:

    “In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings. In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.”

    Perhaps, per his own CDC, this is why:

    “People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.”

    So what meds is POTUS on? Tell us– Vlad. 😉

    … and Putin smiled.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  26. @26. I’m always impressed when he keeps track of it. If that were a college drinking game kids would be going to the hospital.

    frosty (f27e97)

  27. @27. Yes, ol’Joe has the messaging skills of a Coke bottle resting on a telegraph key atop a window shade in Australia. [See ‘On The Beach’ – 1959, w/Gregory Peck for details.]

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  28. For those of you using the word “vaccine”, I do not think it means what you think it means when applied to anything that is mRNA based. For some very smart people on this site, I can only shake my head in amazement as to how you bought into the propaganda.

    Horatio (47545f)

  29. The average hospitalization for Omicron is 1.x days [I don’t remember the last significant digit] while for Delta it was 4 days.

    Yes and no. Omicron patients have an average stay of nearly three days while Delta patients had an average stay of nearly 5.5 days.

    1. Patients with omicron infections versus alpha or delta were significantly less likely to be hospitalized. Of the 862 total symptomatic patients with sequencing data available, 15.5 (percent) of individuals with omicron required hospitalization, compared to 54.5 percent of individuals with alpha and 43 percent of individuals with delta infections.

    2. Compared to patients infected with either alpha or delta variants at Houston Methodist, omicron patients had a significantly shorter median hospital length of stay. Omicron patients had a median stay of 2.8 days, compared to 5.4 days for delta patients and 5.1 for patients with alpha infections.

    3. Compared to patients with either alpha or delta variants, omicron patients were significantly younger. The median age at hospitalization was 38.9 years for omicron patients, compared to 50 for the alpha variant and 48.2 for delta.


    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  30. For those of you using the word “vaccine”, I do not think it means what you think it means when applied to anything that is mRNA based.

    The FDA and CDC literally call the vaccines vaccines. But if you changed the names of the mRNA vaccines to something else, say Late For Dinner, what difference does it make?

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  31. @27. He called her ‘President Harris’… again.

    What meds is he on????

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  32. OMG. More Atlanta Follies… The WH is in Florida, Joe???

    Memo to Vlad. Roll those tanks, kid.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  33. This is terrifying. EVERYBODY Joe keeps referencing in his Atlanta speech… is dead.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  34. Anthony Fauci calls Sen. Roger Marshall ‘a moron’ during tense committee hearing on COVID-19

    Pope ‘I am science’ Fauci has spoken.

    “The Moon’s A Balloon.” – David Niven [1971]

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)


    They must have changed the story or the headline after the article was created.

    In Europe, a Jarring Omicron Forecast

    WHO expects 50% of the population will be infected with COVID over next 2 month

    This is not necessarily accurate but it indicates that the people following this – whose job is to follow this, think they should predict this.

    That bit of news is came from CNBC.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  36. In the same article they want to tell people they shouldn’t think they should catch Covid to get it all over with.

    The Wall Street Journal has a dissenting opinion. It had an Op-ed piece today saying that spreading Omicron should be government policy.

    The Omicron variant is spreading across the globe, but so far the strain appears to be less deadly than its predecessors. That’s good news, but here’s a risk that policy makers in every country should appreciate: Policies designed to slow the spread of Omicron may end up creating a supervariant that is more infectious, more virulent and more resistant to vaccines. That would be a man-made disaster.

    I think this is a made-up worry. It’s highly unlikely anything could arise that will outcompete Omicron Unless it has a different method of transmission.

    To minimize that risk, policy makers must tolerate the rapid spread of milder variants. This will require difficult trade-offs, but it will save lives in the long run. We should end mask mandates and social distancing in most settings not because they don’t slow the spread—the usual argument against such measures—but because they probably do.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  37. Yesterday they had an article saying that the vaccine is of very little use against Omicron, and in fact, three months after getting the vaccine, the benefit of geetting vaccinated with the old vaccine turns into a net negative (this may be irrelevant as Omicron may not be around in 3 months, and neither may the old vaccine

    …As of Jan. 1, Omicron represented more than 95% of U.S. Covid cases, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because some of Omicron’s 50 mutations are known to evade antibody protection, because more than 30 of those mutations are to the spike protein used as an immunogen by the existing vaccines, and because there have been mass Omicron outbreaks in heavily vaccinated populations, scientists are highly uncertain the existing vaccines can stop it from spreading. As the CDC put it on Dec. 20, “we don’t yet know . . . how well available vaccines and medications work against it.”

    ….But mandating a vaccine to stop the spread of a disease requires evidence that the vaccines will prevent infection or transmission (rather than efficacy against severe outcomes like hospitalization or death). As the World Health Organization puts it, “if mandatory vaccination is considered necessary to interrupt transmission chains and prevent harm to others, there should be sufficient evidence that the vaccine is efficacious in preventing serious infection and/or transmission.” For Omicron, there is as yet no such evidence.

    The little data we have suggest the opposite. One preprint study found that after 30 days the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines no longer had any statistically significant positive effect against Omicron infection, and after 90 days, their effect went negative—i.e., vaccinated people were more susceptible to Omicron infection. Confirming this negative efficacy finding, data from Denmark and the Canadian province of Ontario indicate that vaccinated people have higher rates of Omicron infection than unvaccinated people.

    This is not an absurdity. Although the article doesn’t have it. There is a plausible scientific reason for this: Production of antibodies gets tilted toward what previously infected you. As the total amount of antibodies ready declines, the fact that some the wring antibodies are promoted begins to predominate, so that at vaccination + 3 months, a person newly infected with Omicron is slightly worse off than somebody who was never vaccinated.

    This is the pre-print:

    This gives a clue as why the effect of vaccine will decline even below zero.

    ` A 2016 paper in Science found that your birth year, more than your age, determines your risk of severe disease from a given influenza permutation. As an example, the 1918 pandemic was disproportionately lethal for young people, possibly because the HA proteins for the virus were different from those of the flu viruses circulating during their childhoods; the same cohort fared much better during the 1968 pandemic, caused by a virus that may have matched their early exposure. It’s still a mystery how this imprinting works, but figuring that out will very likely be key to getting a universal flu vaccine that works well for most people, according to Fauci. “There are still a lot of unknowns,” he says.

    It follows that getting a wrongly targeted vaccine could, after the initial booster effect dissipates, make it harder for the body to fight the virus.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  38. Does Ted Cruz secretly hate his constituency for leading him to debase himself the way he has? I wonder.

    nk (1d9030)

  39. 54. This is video on YouTube of Kamala Harris’ and Joe Biden’s speeches in Atlanta.

    It was boycotted by Stacey Abrams nd others because they say this all is not going to accomplish anything and he’s going to lose the Senate vote to advance the bill.

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  40. It follows that getting a wrongly targeted vaccine could, after the initial booster effect dissipates, make it harder for the body to fight the virus.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146) — 1/11/2022 @ 4:40 pm

    Maybe. My Branch Covidian cousin and his wife, who have been hectoring everyone on social media to get their Magic Coof Juice injections, both came down with Omicron this week. So did my boosted sister-in-law (who hates these arbitrary, inconsistent dictates as much I do) and her kids. My sister-in-law said it was the same as getting a regular cold.

    Meanwhile, my otherwise-vaccinated, non-MCJ wife has yet to catch it since the pandemic started.

    Or, it could also just be that it’s cold and flu season, and people are already susceptible to begin with.

    Factory Working Orphan (2775f0)

  41. Does Ted Cruz secretly hate his constituency for leading him to debase himself the way he has? I wonder.

    He’s Canadian by birth. 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  42. As usual:

    “I did not walk in the shoes of generations of students who walked these grounds, but I walked other grounds,” Biden said in a speech on the grounds of Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University on Tuesday, joking, “Because I’m so damn old, I was there as well.”

    “You think I’m kidding,” he continued in remarks at the historically black Atlanta colleges. “It seems like yesterday the first time I got arrested.”

    Biden has previously claimed to have marched in the civil rights movement as a student in the 1960s and said Tuesday of the struggles of activists in the South, “They’re the ones that opened my eyes as a high school student, the late ’50s and early ’60s.”

    He made similar assertions during his failed presidential bid in 1987.

    “I came out of the civil rights movement. I was one of those guys who sat-in and marched and all that stuff,” Biden said at the time.

    But he later disavowed the claim, clarifying his involvement after leaving the race and stating that he was “not an activist.”

    “I was not down marching. I was not down in Selma. I was not anywhere else. I was a suburbanite kid who got a dose of exposure to what was happening to black Americans in my own city,” he said.

    Biden reprised the claim during the last presidential election, however, and said that he had also been arrested, including once while visiting with Nelson Mandela in South Africa….

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  43. 42. Factory Working Orphan (2775f0) — 1/11/2022 @ 5:49 pm

    Or, it could also just be that it’s cold and flu season, and people are already susceptible to begin with.

    I know someone who was out with the flu (a food server in a school. Not a cook – the food comes ready made and only needs to be frozen or heated)

    The claim that the vaccine hampers refers to the period three months and later after the vaccine and might only mean the speedup is slower.

    Cross-immunity matters to a coronavirus cold virus helps, so sutely a vaccine to an old version of SARS-2 should.

    Sammy Finkelman (c49738)

  44. The head of the CDC really should do better in presentations to flesh out the numbers with context.
    When she refers to comorbidities, she should filter the results for us. The virus causes respiratory issues per the downstream effect. Is she including those in her count of 4? Did any of those 4 comorbidities appear due to a virus that broke through vaccination? She vaguely alludes to pre-existing comorbidities that “the people were unwell to begin with”.
    If she doesn’t want to be misunderstood, she should have said 75% have 4 pre-existing comorbidities

    Dr. Justin Lessler MD Epidemiologist Johns Hopkins in 2020, when the CDC bungled communication and then saw social media go nuts just like this time.:

    “it’s important to understand that some of the comorbidities listed are actually downstream effects of COVID-19—meaning they are symptoms. For example, respiratory failure. Someone could have on their death certificate that they died of both COVID and respiratory failure, but that probably means that COVID-19 caused the respiratory failure, which caused them to die. It’s impossible for us to know the individual scenarios from death certificates, but the prevalence of respiratory factors [in the CDC findings] are consistent with being downstream conditions.”

    steveg (e81d76)

  45. @31 you sound like Humpty Dumpty

    “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    Horatio (47545f)

  46. SCOTUS opinions tomorrow. Mandates?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  47. So I done went and axed Mr. Google “Is the mRNA vaccine a vaccine?”

    And you know what? Mr. Google did not even bother to laugh at me. It just went on to talk about “mRNA vaccines”. On and on and on … binders full of talk about “mRNA vaccines”.

    So, do pray tell, Horatio: If the mRNA vaccine is not a vaccine, what is it?

    nk (1d9030)

  48. To be exact, the mRNA shots contain the blueprints for making antibodies to a virus, not the example virus (or part thereof) for the immune system to train on. Is it a vaccine? That depends on whether your lexicon is stuck in park or not.

    Here is a clear and accurate description of what is going on, as a cartoon:

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  49. Misspoke. The mRNA shot contains the instructions for making the spike protein, for the body to use to make antibodies, not instructions for the antibodies themselves.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  50. The mandates are unconstitutional. Doesn’t take a court to tell me that.

    NJRob (549e7c)

  51. Now that we know that the vaccinated can transmit the disease, I also see the situation as “Live And Let Die”.

    nk (1d9030)

  52. That’s why I asked if Ted Cruz, who is doubtlessly fully vaccinated and boosted, along with his family, hates his constituency.

    nk (1d9030)

  53. RIP Ronnie Spector. Be My Baby.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  54. #51 Kudos to Kevin for correcting that error. (I didn’t because I was pretty sure he would see it — and has enough integrity to correct it himself.)

    Jim Miller (edcec1)

  55. @31 you sound like Humpty Dumpty

    You didn’t answer my question, Horatio.
    Here’s another one: What’s your point?

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  56. The mandates are unconstitutional. Doesn’t take a court to tell me that.

    The general employer mandate certainly is. Providers in the Medicare and Medicaid systems, OTOH, agree to a lot of terms and conditions for that money that covers their overhead. I suspect those mandates will be upheld.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  57. @58-
    Also the mandates on federal contractors are probably constitutional. That mandate covers a pretty wide swath of the economy, especially when you include subs.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  58. It’s not whether it’s Constitutional per se, the question before the Court I mean, but whether … dare I say it? … it’s ultra vires. In other words, sure, Congress can delegate the OSHA authority to a senile figurehead of a President who is aware of his surroundings for only a couple of hours of the diurnal cycle and dimly at that, but did it?

    nk (1d9030)

  59. Actually, the issue before the Court is not the constitutionality of the mandates, but whether a stay should be issued while the litigation percolates in the lower courts.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  60. Call it a stay or a preliminary injunction, the main consideration is still probability of success on the merits.

    nk (1d9030)

  61. On an equally important note when talking about “excess deaths” CA has drug overdoses exceeding “expected” by over 40%

    steveg (e81d76)

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