Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Religion

“V-gasm”? A confused antivaxxer likens COVID-19 vaccines to sex and religion

Recently, a longtime antivaccine activist likened the reaction of vaccine advocates to getting the COVID-19 vaccine to an orgasm (a “v-gasm”) and the vaccine to religion. What does this say about antivaccine thinking, or is this just a really confused analogy?

I debated whether to write about this or not, for the simple reason that I always wonder if it’s a good idea to give such fringe, “out-there” posts a boost, even as modest a boost as this blog provides, even while commenting negatively on an idea. However, when I came across the post and the idea being promoted, I was just so struck at how it resonates with previous antivaccine posts that I deconstructed long before the pandemic began that I thought it was worth a brief mention, even at the risk of readers reacting with a hearty, “Why did you waste your time on this?” I’m referring to a recent post that I inadvertently stumbled across on that loony antivax conspiracy site that’s even loonier than the average antivax conspiracy site, BolenReport entitled Was the V-Gasm Good for You?, complete with a photo of a woman apparently in the throes of an orgasm.

BolenReport, you might remember, is the blog and website run by Patrick “Tim” Bolen, an antivaxxer who got his start as a promoter of Hulda Clark‘s cancer quackery way back in the day. Some of you might remember Hulda Clark. She claimed that all cancer was due to a liver fluke and that her “zapper” (which looked suspiciously like a Scientology E-meter) was the cure. For those of you who don’t remember her, here’s what she said back in the day (as in 16+ years ago) in her book The Cure for All Cancers:

All cancers are alike. They are all caused by a parasite. A single parasite! It is the human intestinal fluke. And if you kill this parasite, the cancer stops immediately. The tissue becomes normal again. In order to get cancer, you must have this parasite…

This parasite typically lives in the intestine where it might do little harm, causing only colitis, Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome, or perhaps nothing at all. But if it invades a different organ, like the uterus, kidneys or liver, it does a great deal of harm. If it establishes itself in the liver, it causes cancer! It only establishes itself in the liver of some people. These people have propyl alcohol in their body. All cancer patients (100%) have both propyl alcohol and the intestinal fluke in their livers. The solvent propyl alcohol is responsible for letting the fluke establish itself in the liver. In order to get cancer, you must have both the parasite and propyl alcohol in your body.”

You get the idea. Anyway, Bolen used to be known as Hulda Clark’s bulldog, as he would attack and issue legal threats against anyone who had the temerity to question her claims to be able to cure all cancers (and HIV/AIDS, too…no, make that all diseases) with her little E-meter Zapper. As for Tim Bolen, all you really need to know about him was gloriously described by Australian skeptic Pete Bowditch when he documented Bolen’s antics dating back to the 1990s and posted a link to a hilarious video of Bolen trying to dodge answering where his address is. In any event, after Hulda Clark’s death, Bolen rebranded his website to be primarily an antivaccine conspiracy site, and a while back he was joined by an expat from that retched hive of scum and antivaccine quackery, Age of Autism, named Kent Heckenlively.

You remember Kent, don’t you? I first encountered him when he was a member of the merry band of pseudoscience-worshiping antivaccine warriors over at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism. What attracted my attention was how what he did to his daughter to try to “cure” her of her autism opened my eyes wider to the lengths to which antivaccine parents will go and how far into quackery they will delve in order to “save” their child. In Heckenlively’s case, he hit is daughter’s grandparents up for $15,000 to take her to a dubious stem cell clinic in Costa Rica for “stem cell” injections directly into her cerebrospinal fluid. Not surprisingly, it didn’t work. For some reason, he left AoA a few years back and landed on BolenReport. It was not a step up. It wasn’t even a lateral move.

Kent was the author of the V-gasm post. Get a load of what he’s laying down. First, he has to land a little swipe against teachers:

It’s really been tough holding my tongue at work this past week as my fellow science teachers have been driven into a state of ecstasy at the prospect of getting their COVID-19 vaccine.

This is how our teacher’s union is getting it done. Apparently, there’s a “code” that teachers in my district can get, then they can make an appointment at the Oakland Coliseum for their drive-by injection.

Remember, these are California public school teachers, the kind of people that if Donald Trump was lying in the middle of the street, they’d push the pedal to the metal of their Prius in order to run him over, then back up, rinse and repeat.

Now, do my fellow teachers worry about “equity,” or is it simply just a mad dash by a bunch of panicked twenty and thirty-somethings who were never going to come down with any complications if they got COVID? You know the answer.

Personally, I have no problem with teachers being one of the groups next in line after frontline healthcare workers, the elderly, and those with serious comorbidities. After all, there is a huge push to open the schools (much of it for good reasons, although COVID-19 deniers love to point to schools going virtual as massive overkill, because, you know, to them COVID-19 isn’t dangerous and isn’t spread in schools, meaning that schools should reopen. Obviously, the issue is a bit more complicated in that the risk might not be as high as previously feared, but it’s likely not nearly as low as the “don’t worry, be happy, open everything” COVID-19 crank contingent likes to portray it, and there are real consequences for children’s learning and mental health from keeping schools virtual. Of course, Heckenlively himself is a teacher; so one wonders if he’s one of those eligible for the vaccine, not that he’d ever take it given how antivax he is.

Here’s the key part, though, where he introduces the “v-gasm”:

That’s why I’ve coined this new expression, “the v-gasm.”

It’s like your traditional orgasm and also involves a prick entering your body, but it’s not the pleasurable kind. And yet, it is the sacred sacrament of the church of science.

And yet, they’re all now scheduled to get their shot this week and experience the inevitable “v-gasm,” which comes when you believe that you’ve been saved as if the Big Pharma gods are Jesus Christ, Himself.

I must admit that my first reaction to Mr. Heckenlively’s “v-gasm” was laughter. It’s just so foolish, and he can’t seem to make up his mind what metaphor he wants to use. Moreover, he soon veers into antivax tropes about the COVID-19 vaccines, including the claim that RNA can cause long term problems (it can’t) and that the vaccine causes “pathogenic priming,” a term generally only used by antivaxxers (indeed, it was coined by James Lyons-Weiler) to describe a phenomenon called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). ADE describes a phenomenon observed with some vaccines in which vaccination can result in a second infection being much more serious than the first. It’s thought to result from the binding of suboptimal antibodies that result in the virus being able to get into cells easier. When COVID-19 vaccines were being developed, ADE was a concern, and a not unreasonable one, but large phase 3 trials did not report it, and it hasn’t been demonstrated after tens of millions of doses having been administered. Basically, it’s a non-issue. Then, of course, Heckenlively also invokes the bogus claim that mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines are not really vaccines at all. (They most definitely are.)

Then, of course, he cries persecution:

When I mentioned this to a half-way sane friend of mine they asked, “Kent, aren’t you going to try to convince them not to get it?”

I thought for a moment and recalled what happened at school when I published my first book, PLAGUE, and in my naivete, mentioned it at a staff meeting and asked the Sunshine Committee if maybe they could have a little celebration for me like they do for teachers getting married, having a baby, or even earning an advanced degree.

For only the second time in my life, I was brought into the principal’s office and reprimanded.

With a dose of petulance:

“Ah, I think I’m just going to let them get it,” I replied. “Then maybe next year there will be a lot more new science teachers.”

Nice, Ken. A persecution complex and contempt for his fellow teachers. No wonder they like him so much. Yes, frighteningly, Mr. Heckenlively is a science teacher.

But back to his concept of “v-gasm.” Notice something about the “v-gasm.” You might not have noticed, but I did: “It’s like your traditional orgasm and also involves a prick entering your body, but it’s not the pleasurable kind.” Is there a kind of orgasm that’s not pleasurable? See what I mean about how confused Mr. Heckenlively is?

Or maybe he isn’t. There is a very dark, very nasty, very misogynistic analogy that antivaxxers sometimes use about vaccination. I’m referring to rape. I’ve written on many occasions about the “vaccination/rape” analogies that antivaxxers have used, going back several years. Seriously, here’s an example from Marcella Piper-Terry that’s still posted on Facebook:

And here’s Piper-Terry’s “defense” after she received a lot of criticism (all of it justified):

It gets even worse than that. I’ve seen antivaxxers compare vaccination to pedophiles raping children and child grooming.

Could it be that, the “v-gasm” analogy in which a “v-gasm” in response to the COVID-19 vaccine is like an orgasm, only not the pleasurable kind, is a not-so-subtle metaphor in which COVID-19 vaccination is rape? I think that’s entirely possible, given what I know about how antivaxxers in general (and people like Kent Heckenlively in particular) think. It’s also made all the more creepy by his likening Pfizer, Moderna, and other companies making COVID-19 vaccines to “gods” and ” Jesus Christ, Himself.”

Of course, antivaxxers have long tried to liken the science that shows that vaccines work and are safe and effective to religion, even as they try to weaponize religion as an excuse not to vaccinate by claiming vaccines are against their religion. It’s a common tactic among cranks, because if they can portray science as just another religion then they can elevate their conspiracy theories and pseudoscience to the same level in the eyes of those who accept that comparison and thereby make their choice not to vaccinate seem like just another religious preference, like any other.

Still, think about what Heckenlively is saying. Maybe I’m overthinking (and I’m sure you’ll tell me if I am). However, to me his whole “v-gasm” concept is basically not-so-subtly likening COVID-19 vaccination to rape again, just as generations of antivaxxers before have likened other vaccines to rape. Notice again: It “also involves a prick entering your body.” That’s definitely referring only to the female perspective (if you’re hetero, which Heckenlively is), with the female receiving the vaccine, like a, well, prick. Then, in his analogy, the woman does not find the “v-gasm” pleasurable. Then, if you go a bit further, it sounds as though Heckenlively is implying that it’s Jesus himself who’s raping the woman, leading to a religious rapture.

Again, maybe I’m reading way too much into this, but I wonder. Based on having delved so deeply into the swamp of antivaccine social media, I’m not so sure. The only plausible deniability (and maybe real deniability) that Heckenlively has is that, as is the case with so many of his analogies, his “v-gasm” is just so confused. I mean, is Heckenlively liking COVID-19 vaccination to rape or to women wanting to have sex with Big Pharma Jesus? Or both? It’s not clear, and, whatever Heckenlively meant, “v-gasm” definitely creeps me out.

Maybe I should have just left this one alone. Oh, well, the good thing about blogging is that tomorrow is always another day. Finally, why shouldn’t people be happy after getting a life-saving vaccine that is highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death due to a disease that is causing a global pandemic and has killed over a half a million people in just over a year in just the US alone? Leave it to an antivaxxer to try to make a normal human reaction of rejoicing feel dirty.

Now I feel the need to shower.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

94 replies on ““V-gasm”? A confused antivaxxer likens COVID-19 vaccines to sex and religion”

Sometimes sceptics need to laugh at anti-vax nonsense even though we understand that it is harmfully misinforming the public:
A few notes on Kent-
— he used to be a lawyer but switched to teaching ( isn’t it usually the other way around? Teachers/ baccalaureates acquire advanced/ professional degrees?)
— he models his heroic campaigns on Aragorn
— he is related to Martin Luther
— he believes he is the numero uno anti-vaxxer
— they pay him to teach science to kids?

Yes, it is truly disturbing indeed that Heckenlively is a high school science teacher. Seriously, that’s an even bigger “WTF?” than anything he’s ever written.

After reading his nonsense, I am both horrified he teaches science, and happy he doesn’t teach English. His metaphor is so tortured it violates the Geneva Convention.

Can you imagine some poor kid having him in high school and Hooker in college?

Can you imagine having this guy as your coworker?
First, he thinks you’d gladly murder someone in cold blood (Trump).
Second, he thinks you’re a wuss for not wanting to get a terrible disease (and his weird ageist thing against his younger coworkers, but also pretending that there aren’t any teachers over 40).
Third, he though you should throw him a party for publishing an anti-vax book and is mad that you didn’t.

And fourth, knowing that the science teacher is an anti-vaxxer. Like, how much confidence can you have in your school system to pick qualified teachers if the science teacher hates science?

He says in his post he isn’t going to try to persuade the other teachers to not get vaccinated (in the hopes they’ll die of the vaccine, gross), but I have a feeling either he was banned from the topic at work (maybe) or he’s been dropping not-even-slightly-subtle “hints” for months.

He’s a one man toxic, and possibly hostile, work environment.

Yuck. I feel sorry for his entire school system.

@ JustaTech

First, he thinks you’d gladly murder someone in cold blood (Trump).

I’m indeed skeptic even half-insane Californian hippies teachers would drive over Trump, in cold blood or otherwise.
For starter, due to the sudden elevation, the car engine may stall.
Not to mention having to clean the pneumatics and undercarriage afterward.


What a nasty scenario. We do what we must; I would have drove around him if I had enough gas.

You know, I don’t care if I have enough gas:

President Donald Trump told The Wall Street Journal that he believes some Americans are wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic to express their disapproval of him and not as a preventive measure.

Mmmkay, Nero.

I’ll just let the insurance company handle the undercarriage.

Kent’s the “bugs in my daughter’s body are turning stuff into metal” guy, right? It’s not surprising that he doesn’t understand sex either.

Wasn’t he offering his surrender to the good guys a few years back? No, wait, I lost track. He was demanding the surrender of every one who cared about children’s health, and threatening dire consequences for anyone who resisted his call to spread diseases.

He’s pitiful, but I’ll reserve most of my sympathy for people who have to be near him

The nerve of people: wanting a vaccine against a dangerous, widespread disease and being happy when they get the vaccine. Why on earth would they feel that way? It’s a mystery!

It’s incredibly misogynistic to turn the whole gamut of human’s experiences through this whole mess into a metaphor for a woman’s orgasms. It not only implies women are stupid but that women’s orgasms are stupid.

I hate it when a woman says “If you orgasm before I do, I’ll slit your throat.”

Apparently, “not stupid” or, at least, not underrated {by single-minded womankind}.

I do believe not only is Mr. Heckenlively a few sandwiches short of a picnic, but he’s also missing the chips, plates, napkins, and the drinks cooler.

Surprising that Kent isn’t concentrating on flogging his latest co-authored book attempting to revive interferon as a miracle therapy. Must not be selling remotely as well as his prior efforts with co-loon Judy Mikovits.

As creepy as this latest diatribe is, it’s not quite as disturbing as Kent’s “I Will Accept Your Surrender” rant, in which he crowed about the “CDC Whistleblower” affair as though it had vindicated antivaxers’ nutty claims and in which he urged the pro-immunization medical/scientific community to come clean in exchange for possible mercy. Yet here we are 6 years later, with not only no mass confessions, but the development of Covid-19 vaccines showing success and widely viewed as a critical step to resolving the pandemic. It must be a bitter pill to swallow.

Like much of the nonsense they spew, comparisons of vaccine advocacy to religion and sex are just more examples of massive antivax projection. These are people who experience a physical release when they erroneously link death or injury to a vaccine.

Are they thinking the COVID vaccine are made in the same fabrication line of Viagra?

Gee, I’m surprised Kent didn’t take on the rectal swabs being used now in some countries for SARS-CoV-2 testing, given his penchant for portraying health professionals as violent, marauding orcs in his twisted LOTR delusions.

On Facebook there is a VGASM group, but it’s 1.4K vegans, and their ecstasy derives from cooking the perfect vegan meal. Maybe they copyrighted the phrase.

Is Heckenlively liking COVID-19 vaccination to rape or to women wanting to have sex with Big Pharma Jesus? Or both?

Definitely both. I read it as an intentional mixed metaphor, executed a bit clumsily. The key is the order:

It’s like your traditional orgasm and also involves a prick entering your body, but it’s not the pleasurable kind.

This first line is his voice, his view. The prick of the vaccine entering the body is, to Kent, a rape. (The clumsy part, as Orac notes, is associating “orgasm” with ‘un-pleasure’. He should have used a different term for intercourse, saving the use of “orgasm” for the metaphorical payoff.)

And yet

Transition, signaling a shift of point-of-view to be explicated.

it is the sacred sacrament of the church of science…

Indicates which point of view will be referenced next.

the inevitable “v-gasm,” which comes when you believe that you’ve been saved as if the Big Pharma gods are Jesus Christ, Himself.

Indicates what Kent takes the point-of-view of the ‘science church congregants’ to be.

So he saying his co-workers — who are not even half-sane after all — are so insane they have orgasms while being raped, metaphorically, of course.

Charming guy, that Kent.

Yes he is, and I didn’t even mention his fantasizing about accepting our “surrender” or his seemingly looking forward to a Reign of Terror-like retribution.

Is Kent Heckenlively on a terror watchlist yet? He needs to be. He certainly shouldn’t be within 100 yards of anyone’s children. Basic precautionary principle. Deviant murder fantasies → school shootings; it’s not a long or complex line to follow. CPS visits and a psychiatric review would not go amiss either.

Meanwhile Christine, Aelxa, &co expect us to take them seriously while they still embrace people like Heckenlively in their cult? Can’t even clean their own house but, sure, it’s us that’s the problem. Lunatics and abusers, the lot of them.


I get the feeling that you are an editor and/or documentary film maker. Are you… dun dun dun… Werner Herzog’s spawn?? Or, perhaps, Werner Herzog?

I just want to know how somebody got it into their head to make an “updated” movie version of Berlin Alexanderplatz. The original is in the Criterion Collection for a reason, although I can’t afford it.

a hilarious video of Bolen trying to dodge answering where his address is

Pattimmy would never have fit into that P.O. box anyway.

Well congratulation to all of you who have favored lock downs etc.
Some people predicted this back in April 2020.
but the realities are starting to come back into focus and the end of the pandemic is in site, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. 512,000 excess deaths just from not seeing a doctor?

“What Happens When People Stop Going to the Doctor? We’re About to Find Out
A year of missed preventive medical care is endangering minority communities.”

I can’t see the opinion piece you linked to. Do you have something that isn’t behind a paywall?

Minority communities are at higher risk of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19.

I saw my GP twice for standard checkups during “shutdown”. Fun fact! Even during “lockdown”, “shutdown” or “stay at home”, everyone was explicitly allowed to seek medical care.

You know why my MIL’s hip surgery was delayed a month? It wasn’t because of a shutdown, it was because the ICUs were full. Because the shutdown was lifted.

That trick doesn’t seem to be working any more. I can copy and paste it if there’s demand.

“That trick doesn’t seem to be working any more.” Hmm. I can’t seem to get it to fail using Pale Moon I allowed all scripts* and dropped ubo. I then allowed the site to set cookies — still works.

To be fair, it is also working without the dot so maybe it has been set to free?? {didn’t NYT state back early 2020 that all coronavirus articles would be free?}

*OMG ads all over the place and it nearly crashed the browser; 100% CPU and took some time for responsiveness to come back just to be able to close it. is less intense; NYT has a nasty bit of bad borking up somewhere on that page.

“It’s nagwalled”

I just can’t get this to happen. Wouldn’t it be interesting if some geo-fence triggers it?

The VPN I have is crap for choosing a particular region* out of the thousands of servers without using their app {I just plug a config into OpenVPN} or I would try that just for shits and sux to be you.

*It’s just you, bruh

Nothing in that op-ed references lock downs. It describes the ripple impact of a pandemic. E.g.:

“In January, I operated on a patient with pancreatic cancer who had the highest levels of jaundice I had ever seen. He told me that he didn’t seek medical attention earlier because he had been apprehensive about coming to the hospital during the pandemic.”

Also, the 512,00 includes people who died of COVID. “While that excess-deaths figure both includes and suggests an undercount of deaths from Covid-19….”

Come back when you have sources you don’t have to lie about.

“He told me that he didn’t seek medical attention earlier because he had been apprehensive about coming to the hospital during the pandemic.”

Ie. it make the case worse. what part of that didn’t you understand.

You even posted what I was referring to. Put simply, you scared the people into not going out. This is the tip of the iceberg.

I would like other doctors to comment on the numbers drop in their hospitals because people delayed treatment, until it was very serious/life threatening.

to justatech, there is no paywall. but here is some other evidence.

squirrel please post the links to your evidence on the 8 states.

He wasn’t locked down. He stayed away voluntarily because he was afraid of the pandemic. Pandemics are bad for people, yes.
Public health efforts help mitigate their harms.

I’ve been tracking the progress of the Covid-19 pandemic since last spring and have seen several lists like this one.,_2020

Seven states—Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming—did not issue orders directing residents to stay at home from nonessential activities in March and April 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The 43 other states all issued orders at the state level directing residents to stay at home except for essential activities and closing businesses that each state deemed nonessential.[1] Read more about those stay-at-home orders here.

Only one of the seven states that did not issue a stay-at-home order did not require any businesses to close: South Dakota. All seven states also closed schools to in-person instruction.

I had added Oklahoma to that list because it only issued a partial stay-at-home order last spring.

I updated my spreadsheet from the most recent numbers on the New York Times website or Wikipedia.

It’s rather chilling when the number of cases has to be rounded off to the nearest 100,000 people. But it’s even more chilling to see the increase in the number of people dead from when I last updated it a few days ago.

Those eight states averaged 10,910 cases per 100K with a CFR of 1.2%

The rest of the U.S. averaged 7909 cases per 100K with a CFR of 1.85%

So the case load in the states that started protection early was 28% less than in the states that held off, even though many of those states had very low case counts in the early months and later imposed protective measures.

There are a lot of differences in CFR from state to state. States that were hit hard early before we learned effective methods for treating this disease in its various stages have a higher CFT. Those include New York, Louisiana and Michigan. The Navajo Reservation was hard hit because many people still live in family dwellings without electricity or running water. Those facilitated disease spread while the remoteness made it hard to get medical care. Reservations in North and South Dakota, Wyoming and elsewhere may have been similarly affected. McKinley County in New Mexico is still one of the hardest suffering counties in our state.

Utah has an especially low CFR, even better than Israel.

But that initial resistance set the tone for subsequent responses and the numbers show the impact on the residents.

to justatech, there is no paywall

For this?

It’s nagwalled: “Create your free account or log in to continue reading.” I can bypass this, but don’t assume that anyone else is going to bother with the comparatively low-return effort.

@Sophie, You’re going to have to prove that it’s measures like lockdowns and masks that are scaring people into staying home and not, you know, the massive amount of illness and death. I also notice you’re dodging the fact that you lied about the fact that 512,000 excess deaths are mostly COVID deaths, and not just deaths from not seeing a doctor

@Sophie Amsden: Close to a MILLION Americans have now been hospitalized and HALF A MILLION ARE DEAD. Many more will suffer significant sequelae for months or even years to come; some for the rest of their now-shortened lives. (And let’s not even mention how many will be bankrupted by medical bills.)

And some fraction of these deaths and injuries are thanks to you psychos convincing them it’s perfectly safe and healthy to go out and about as normal, and that reasonable safety precautions (masking, handwashing, distancing) are for loooosers.

Damn right medically-vulnerable people are afraid of going into hospitals: you absolute turds have filled them all with killer disease. That suffering is on you too.

There is a reason I call your sort Disease Perverts. It encapsulates perfectly what you truly are.

That is a valid concern. We’ve run up against it here. Even though the person is vaccinated and, presumably, the hospital workers; I keep getting that they can’t go into the hospital. I think her old horse doctor is more than a little bit confused or some other piece of information is being witheld.

She is claustophopic and would have to be put under to get one but I think she needs it to rule out a tumor possibly pushing on her amygdala or pituitary. Standard assays for Cushing’s would be problematic because of all the steroid shots for pain.

And the beat goes on, “wa wa wa I gotta pee”, and the beat goes on.

My apologies to “her old horse doctor”.

She fessed up when dad did not: It is not that she can’t be admitted, as advised by said horse doctor, but that she refuses.

Great. I’m caught between “she’s faking it” and “she’s got a rapidly growing brain tumor”… So, then I just went out and started hand-casting $90 bucks worth of clover seed around. What a mess. I hate bermuda lawns; Life-sucking maintenance for a deadifying, green desert. Lovely. It lets the realtors turn over the properties faster and supplies lots of work for Sling Blade type dudes that take pride in monoxide-pumping noise machines. Bring it, HOA; It’ll stay under 3 inches.

I’ll give you a couple quotes.

While that excess-deaths figure both includes and suggests an undercount of deaths from Covid-19, it is also a sign that more people are dying from other causes, and people of color are disproportionately affected. Last year, excess deaths increased 14.7 percent for white people, but 44.9 percent for Latino and 28.1 percent for Black populations, according to the C.D.C. Just as the pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color, this hidden crisis will target the same minority populations, which have higher rates of diseases like hypertension and diabetes, and less access to quality health care.

The health care industry should also invest more in patient outreach, communication and education. Patients should not be required to fully understand their health risks and navigate complicated systems to receive the care they need. Nor should they have to travel far for it. We must create more convenient opportunities for patients to receive health care, especially for those who can’t take time off work or afford transportation. We should expand telemedicine efforts, which are still inaccessible for many minority communities that lack consistent access to the internet. We should also bring mobile health care services into low-income communities, just as we have set up coronavirus testing and vaccination sites across our cities.

And it references this study.

So, the pandemic exacerbated systemic biases in the level of service that already existed.

Fixing those problems will take a lot of intentional work and probably some expenditures.

And the eight states which resisted lockdowns the longest had 40% more Covid-19 cases than the other 42 states per 100K. And those came with proportionate deaths and a percentage of long term symptoms.

“In sight” or “on site”?

Anyway, the linked article fails to provide any statistics on how many preventable deaths occurred or may occur because people failed to seek preventive medical care.

I wonder how many more Covid deaths there would have been without lockdowns. Not to mention the people who die because of Covid caused ward closures and staff shortages.

Trust an anti-vaxxer not to look at all the factors in question.

My thoughts exactly.
What if we didn’t have lockdowns at all?
Early on in the pandemic, we had a near total shutdown for 6 weeks, then slowly, re-openings because the spread was out of control in March and April ( I watched Rt and other measures nearly daily). Whenever these measures increased, re-opening plans were paused, often, the steps are tiny e.g. restaurants open to 25% capacity increased to 35% and sporting events only at 10% both recently.
About 2500 died in a county of one million.

A little search will reveal graphs and rates: ( see Wikipedia Covid death rates by country) to compare all countries: UK, Italy, US all had rates over 150 per 100K with shutdowns.


Ok, pick your state, lock down or no lock down.
Bell curves all look similar, some state got to peak infections faster and higher then dropped off faster, other states that took longer to get to peak but stayed at peak longer.

to your first question “I wonder how many more Covid deaths there would have been without lockdowns. ” all you have to do is look at states without lock downs vs states that locked down.

I did include references in my previous post on the numbers of deaths because people who were too afraid to go see a doctor because of Covid and died. And why do people on this site quote/reference Wikipedia, would you use Wiki in a research paper? why not go to the source for your citing material.

OK, Sophie, I compared Washington state and North Dakota.
It is very clear that the area under the curve for North Dakota is much, much, much larger than the area under the curve for Washington.

Washington has had lockdowns and restrictions. North Dakota has not. The ICUs in Washington got an influx of patients from ND, SD and Idaho after their hospitals filled up.

North Dakota clearly had more cases relative to their population than Washington. Thus, I would conclude that Washington, which had some of the first COVID-19 cases, took better action to prevent the spread.

So, lockdowns and mask requests work. Thanks for the link to prove it!

Can you please cite your reference to people who were transported from North Dakota to Washington (a distance of over 1,000 miles, at least) or is that just a WAG.

As to your point. North Dakota is dropping in numbers ( less than100 per day) the herd and vaccines are doing their jobs. The numbers in Washington state are still around 800 a day. On some days they are over 1,500, the numbers are higher then they were during most of the summer.

Lock down don’t stop the virus only vaccines and herd immunity stop the spread.


Washington had one of the best performing responses in the U.S., with only 4418 cases per 100K. That is a little over have the U.S. average case rate and 1/3 the rate of North Dakota.

And North Dakota had the worst hit county in the worst hit state in the worst hit country in the world.

And North Dakota cases are rising 88% in the last 2 weeks, whereas Washington cases are dropping, although that decline has flattened out in the last 9 days.

They are still lower than Nebraska and Iowa and much lower than Oklahoma and Arkansas, for instance. Perhaps the general population learned something from the bad experience last fall.

Hi Sophie: I’m sorry, I mi-remembered, it was Idaho, not North Dakota. ( And Idaho wasn’t nearly as bad as North Dakota.

While you might think that is a very long way to transport a patient, Western Washington (Seattle specifically) often receives patients from the surrounding states as well as Alaska and Hawaii for specialized care that isn’t available in remote and low-population states. A nurse from Alaska spent several weeks in Seattle on an EMCO for COVID, because it wasn’t available at any hospital in her region.

As to your statement about North Dakota having less than 100 cases per day while Washington has 800 – you must be talking about total cases, and not cases per million residents. If you normalize to the state population both states are neck-and-neck at about 100 new cases per day per million residents. Except that Washington hasn’t had as many (proportional) cases as North Dakota, so it can’t be immunity from having survived COVID.

So, again, the data shows that restrictions on gatherings and requests to wear masks work to prevent COVID cases.

Sophie, my maths and familiarity with US states wouldn’t let me compare states accurately. Sparsely populated vs densely populated. Lockdown vs no lockdown. Level of lockdown. How closely the population followed the lockdown rules. Probably a rake of other factors too.

There’s a difference between saying lockdowns don’t work and lockdowns don’t work because they aren’t followed or implemented correctly. It’s like saying seatbelts don’t work because people don’t wear them.

I compared the 5 Upper Midwest states without lockdowns (NE, ND, IA, SD, WY) and they are remarkably similar, and as noted, have a much larger area under the curve than the states with the most comprehensive lockdown measures. I also noted that the other three states squirrelelite mentioned (AR, UT, OK) have a very similar curve to each other, though UT and OK have an additional blunted spike that corresponds to the Upper Midwest spike (Sturgis, anyone?). Looking at states around OK and AR, there’s a similar curve, but smaller in magnitude, with the blunted Upper Midwest spike growing smaller the farther away from Sturgis you go.

Bell curves all look similar

Leaving aside the (unwarranted) assumption of normal distributions, I take it that Sophie’s familiarity with the concept of integration is rusty, at the very least.

On the contrary, it’s the people who took such joy in subverting every measure to reduced the spread of disease who deserve congratulations on their success. Not for a century have hospitals been so dangerous that people avoid them if at all possible, but they did it, with every unmasked breath of spittle they spewed, ever Spring Break party they attended, and every health protest they held

I would suggest that Spring Breakers and COVID hoaxers should all be sentenced to burial duties until this pandemic ends, but even the dead deserve better than them.

“An Urban Institute report found more than one-third of US adults ages 18-64 years have delayed medical care or gone without care during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 32.6% of that group said delayed or missed care has worsened one or more conditions or affected their ability to work or do daily activities. Russell Phillips, M.D., director of the Center for Primary Care at Harvard Medical School, said he thinks delays in diagnoses, screenings and management of chronic illnesses will lead to lost lives…”

From AAFP…I think this was the original source study.

When I mentioned this to a half-way sane friend of mine

I am somewhat surprised Kent has any half-way sane friends. I rather suspect any half-way sane people who ran into Kent would respond by saying “Man you need your Chakras realigned”.

As to Kent’s most recent scholarship, it is no better than his last effort. I have stopped trying to interpret the meaning of anything Kent writes, it is all fantasy anyway and I suspect Kent doesn’t even know what he is doing. I get pointing and laughing, but man there is too much.

I am somewhat surprised Kent has any half-way sane friends.

I strongly suspect that the use of “sane” is open to interpretation in this case.

as my fellow science teachers have been driven into a state of ecstasy at the prospect of getting their COVID-19 vaccine.

Yeah, no reason at all to feel happy about the thought that soon, you will be able to get yourself a bit of the pre-2020 social life back.

Granted, the vaccine may only be protecting, not sterilizing. So a good point to be made is that, even vaccinated, we will have to keep social distancing.
Actually, even so. Any distribution of vaccines is a step toward a return to normality.
Trust a antivaxer to want it both ways. Lockdown and the other measures have a toll on our mental health, but we shouldn’t be happy at seeing steps taken to get back some more freedom.

In other news, I reactivated my profile on a dating site. Tired of being alone. I had recurrent dreams recently of the last time I was in a relationship. (No, not that type of dreams)
Except now I’m trying to figure out, how I am supposed to meet in person, in a date. We have a curfew, driving to a big city to meet strangers is exactly a good recipe to catch and spread diseases, etc, etc.
You betcha I will be very ecstatic when I learn I’m about to get vaccinated.

@ Heidi

I confess I may have been aware of a few baits left in my wording.

But then I thought, reasonable people will get my meaning and antivax nutjobs will just ignore whatever they don’t like anyway.

Maybe we could turn this foolishness around using the famous scene from “When Harry met Sally”:
“I’m having what she’s having!”
(in this case a Covid-19 vaccine …)

Has Heckenlively ever had sex? Because, uh, I shouldn’t have to explain this to a science teacher, but it isn’t at all like getting a shot. (Maybe there’s some kind of needle fetish, but it isn’t widespread.) If he’s getting anything like an orgasm from shots, I hope he’ll let us know who his provider is; all I ever get is a quick poke and occasionally some arm soreness.

One can’t help but wonder whether the analogy between a needle and a certain male body part applies too closely to Mr. Heckenlively.

“It’s not the length nor gauge, it’s the motion of the oce…”… Who am I trying to kidd?

I follow the Faces of Covid account on twitter. It’s painful, but I think we owe the victims our attention.

There were many teachers and school personnel who died from COVID. Mr. Heckenlively should find better things to do than peeing on the graves of his colleagues.

Well, he sure as shoot can’t be teaching science so I guess that leaves him with too much free time.

Wait–Heckenlively might be on to something. The Washington Post didn’t go as far as “V-gasm,” but it did comment on “The Joy of Vax.” Maybe the charming Mr. Heckenlively can crow about that to his middle-school colleagues that he wishes dead.

As for me, I’m happy–but, you know, not that happy–that my wife and I are both two weeks past our second injection.

In the book “Confederates In The Attic”, the author and a friend go on a “Civil Wargasm”, “a week-long journey to various battle sites in Virginia and Maryland, remaining in authentic uniform and sleeping on the battlefields”.

We could organize a “Vaccinegasm”, traveling to Covid-19 vaccination sites around the country, wearing authentic 18th century inoculator costumes and staying in upscale motels.*

*sleeping on the ground doesn’t have much appeal for me anymore.

(I may have lost a comment, so sorry if this repeats some of it)

How can we differentiate reasonable speculation about science from outright ventures into anti-vax and woo?
Education is important but we see Kent, RFKjr, Blaxill, Kuo, Wright**, Handley, Rossi, Dachel and many others with university backgrounds, all in. Personality is also important as synopses by Douglas and Van Prooijen show and I’ve discussed..

Since RI is a RL lab of sorts that illustrates what goes wrong ( trolls) and what goes right such as commenters here who can handle life science research despite backgrounds in mathematics, software, physics, engineering and undisclosed areas: life science is not necessary to see through alt med BS. So how are these people different? I’d like your ideas.

** for running florid speculation about autism research see @KatieWr31413491


I should note:
my SO managed to get himself a Pfizer vaccine yesterday** and so far, no death, collapse ( he’d better not, he’s too big to lift off of the floor), pain, fever. chills or anything – in fact, you can’t even see a mark.

** but long lines early, he had to go back in the afternoon, total wait time 5 hours.

I am 13 hours away from 3 weeks since I got my second dose of the Pfizer shot. Kent Fuckenlively can blow goats. Some shoulder soreness, some general malaise, and a temp elevated by about half a degree Fahrenheit (since I run low, that means low 98.x). Since my wife is in multiple high-risk categories, (and because I am not a sociopath) I’ll gladly take that minor inconvenience.

“Kent Fuckenlively can blow goats.”

Yes. Yes, he can.

My own folks got their first dose of the AstraZeneca earlier the month (dad was a bit sore for a day; mother just rocked it) and my sister got her first AZ this week too (proper miserable for several days, but she’s in a higher-risk category so will damn well take it like a trooper). .

Meanwhile yellow press and antivaxxers have put the wind up the Germans, so Dog knows how much of the AZ is stuck there currently going off:

Be a couple more months till I get mine, and when I do I will wear my big-boy pants and take it like a trooper. Because while I may be a toxic personality I am not a murderous messianic jackhole like Kent and his buddies, burning down our world just to be kings of the ashpile.

Slightly OT – it’s about autism

A French physician who pretended to “cure” autism using antibiotics, antifungals and other biocides got disbarred by the French Ordre des Médecins, following a complaint – and the publication of a book – by the association SOS Autism France. (article in French).
The physician is also part of the chronic lyme disease trend. When all you have is an antibiotic hammer…

I won’t say it’s a first for the Ordre des médecins to take action against a physician a bit too free in prescribing drugs, but I think it’s a first where autism is concerned.

@Athaic: I’m sure our friend F68 will be pleased to hear. Small steps. Let’s have lots more of those.

In other news of, um, slightly flawed science:

A JAMA journal has retracted a study claiming to find association between non-ionizing radiation (i.e. from cellphones and microwaves) and ADHD:

So this paper joins the junk pile of other retracted papers attempting to link EMFs to pain, cancer and other maladies. Studies purporting to show that cellphones and like devices cause autism through mechanisms such as “sperm fragmentation” are not yet marked by the scarlet “R”.*

*my favorite is the 2018 paper in Medical Hypotheses** which speculates that by paying too much attention to their cellphones and other devices, parents are contributing to the development of autism in “a vulnerable subgroup of infants”. In other words, it isn’t the Refrigerator Mom, it’s the iPhone Mom.
**it’s difficult to imagine the editors of that illustrious journal ever being sufficiently moved to retract an article.

I love this idea that only now in the time of cell phones are parents not paying full attention to their children at all times, as though people in the past weren’t out farming, keeping track of the rest of their kids and worrying about the next Viking raid or whatever.

There was a fun little Twitter bot (MedievalDeathBot) that tweeted out how people died from the English coroners reports from the Middle Ages and there are a lot of children who died of falling into a fire or a ditch or from pulling over a pot of boiling water on themselves.

The idea that parents (and let’s be honest, they mean mothers) must or should spend every single waking moment paying full attention to their child is extremely modern and highly unrealistic.

Mothers. pfft. I got this; I told her, “stop chasing your little brother around with those scissors in hand.” Dad-job done… back to browsing YT reviews of which tv outputs the most nits.

There’s still a link to the article on the Millions of Imaginary Health Freedom Fighters Facebook page, only it leads to this:

“Oops! That page can’t be found.”

@Liz Ditz: Did Kent Heckenlively say something too disgusting for even Tim Bolen to stomach? The mind boggles.

Weirdly, Kent has an article up on Bolen For Crazies that hypes his book “Inoculated” as being published February 16, 2021, and which is supposed to provoke the Pharma-Media-Gummint vaccine conspirators into a full-scale rage.

The only problem (well actually, one of many problems) with this scenario is that this book came out 8 years ago and virtually no one gave a rat’s ass about his maunderings then. Hard to see how changing the publication date (or at best writing a new intro) will be a “game-changer” (antivaxers love the idea that flogging a study or book that repeats the same tired old antivax tropes will be a “game-changer”).

Kent has a very tenuous grasp on reality.

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