Despite the extraordinary — though legally questionable — efforts by the Biden administration and selected state governments to force American citizens to accept vaccines for the COVID-19 virus, approximately 70 million Americans remain unvaccinated. And many, if not most of those citizens, are resisting such efforts.
Moreover, vaccine and related mandates are being actively opposed by certain states. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, for example, recently called for a special legislative session to consider measures to counter the federal vaccine and mask mandates.
It is important — if not vital — to understand why this resistance has emerged, despite growing evidence that vaccination does decrease the rate of hospitalizations for COVID-infected patients.
Otherwise, the country risks irreparable harm to the credibility of its entire healthcare establishment.
Not that the distrust is completely unwarranted. Despite high levels of expenditure on healthcare in the United States, including the rapid development of the vaccines, this country ranks as one of the worst among the major developed nations.
What is causing this phenomenon, something nearly unprecedented in American history?
One possibility is the disingenuousness of leaders of the medical establishment during this emergency.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has insisted on several occasions that he only accepts double-blind studies on which to base his policy decisions. That is as it should be.
The double-blind approach, in which neither the test subject nor the researcher knows which treatment or procedure is being administered (such as a test medication or a placebo), has been standard procedure for nearly two centuries. It is meant to screen out possible biases in the results.
All well and good. But has Dr. Fauci faithfully applied the double-blind approach to deal with the COVID epidemic? In a word, no.
Take his advocacy of the widespread use of masks ostensibly to prevent the spread of the virus — even outdoors. To date, neither Dr. Fauci's NIAID nor any other federal agency has conducted a major double-blind study to prove their efficacy.
Likewise the widespread and hugely disruptive lockdowns. Yes, there was one small study at the beginning of the pandemic that suggested staying at home would decrease infections and deaths.
But contrast those results with what happened in Sweden, whose population has fared much better than other European nations even though the Swedish government never imposed lockdowns on healthy patients and never made masks mandatory. Which outcome should we believe?
The problem is not exclusively federal. Some states have aggravated public mistrust.
When former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo discovered higher COVID infection rates among those he required to stay at home in his state than for those unrestricted by the lockdown, the rational thing would have been to end his edict. Did he? No.
Instead, Cuomo continued the mandate, ignoring the erosion of confidence in his leadership.
Then there was Dr. Fauci warning people not to use the medication ivermectin, exclaiming recently on national television that, ''There's no evidence whatsoever that it works,'' meaning as a treatment for COVID infection.
Worse, the Food and Drug Administration, on Twitter, actually declared, so disrespectfully, ''You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it.''
Both the FDA and Dr. Fauci seem to have forgotten that 1) ivermectin is in fact an FDA-approved treatment for certain human diseases, and 2) there are differences between the ivermectin prescribed for humans and the version used in animals.
Moreover, Dr. Fauci either forgot or neglected to mention that when India followed the World Health Organization's advice against using ivermectin, rates of COVID deaths skyrocketed in that country. Then, when the Indian government reversed itself and offered ivermectin to its entire population, an immediate and significant decrease in deaths occurred.
It was a stunning turnaround. COVID deaths in India dropped from about 5,000 per day back in May to 500 daily by mid-July. Deaths from the disease in India, with its billion-plus population, have since dropped to 230 per day.
Last year, the British medical journal The Lancet had to retract an article criticizing the use of hydroxychloroquine for treating COVID. The journal took the rare action in response to protests from doctors who provided proof that the Lancet article contained major flaws.
In the United States, the federal government continues to maintain that hydroxychloroquine is ineffective in preventing the disease — ignoring demonstrated cases that treating infected patients with the medication has been effective.
Public mistrust has been further abetted by the government's insistence on the public receiving vaccine boosters. This effort, as portrayed in the media, promotes the idea that COVID antibodies tend to disappear from the blood of vaccinated individuals.
The problem is, high antibody rates do not persist after vaccination, no matter the medication. Instead, vaccination creates what are called memory cells, blood components that react to counter new exposures to the pathogen, even years later.
Basing booster shots on low blood antibody content is, to put it simply, faulty reasoning. The process should have been explained in a better way.
There is also the long-standing contention — by certain government officials assisted by politicians and a compliant media — that hydroxychloroquine is ineffective against COVID.
This contention ignores research of reputable medical hospitals, such as the Henry Ford Health System, showing conclusively that hydroxychloroquine has cut death rates significantly in COVID patients.
The same for another substantial study, published in the American Journal of Therapeutics, showing ivermectin is highly effective in treating COVID patients.
There are other examples unrelated to COVID issues. Witness the recent declarations, following years of the opposite recommendations, that the popular antacid Ranitidine has been linked to cancer, and that taking low-dose aspirin daily causes more harm to patients than benefits.
Science should always be a self-correcting process. The problem is, in this current environment of suspicion, such revelations only worsen public mistrust, particularly when the long-term side effects of COVID vaccines remain unknown.
Some simple but relevant questions: Why are our medical institutions so often wrong? Why haven't there been, by now, serious, large-scale studies on the risk/benefit ratio of using potentially helpful medications against COVID?
Particularly disturbing, regarding ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, is the fact that these two drugs are so cheap that it makes them undesirable to hospitals and Big Pharma as treatments?
Yet another: Why has the very effective COVID medication Regeneron,which significantly decreases the rates of costly hospitalizations, gone largely unused by hospitals as the need soars?
Given all of these developments, it is no wonder public resistance to the vaccines and related mandates has stiffened.
Who can blame those who think politicians and government agencies — and even hospital systems and Big Pharma — have abandoned honest leadership and practices, and have therefore become untrustworthy?
And who can blame anyone who suspects the big social media arms are complicit in what has become a national crisis in credibility?
In a sane world, medical science is all about rationality, logical analysis, the use of single standards for evaluation, doing pilot studies before making major decisions and, above all, allowing free, rational and civil discussion.
Based on what I have witnessed, however, those fundamentals have been abandoned by our leaders.
The real crisis with COVID is not only the virus but also the abandonment of scientific thinking.
Dr. Tawfik Hamid (aka Tarek Abdelhamid) M.D., Mlitt (Edu), has testified before Congress and before the European Parliament. Dr. Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad: How Radical Islam Works, Why It Should Terrify Us, How to Defeat It." Read Dr. Tawfik Hamid's Reports — More Here.
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