Why Athletes Matter

A couple of you have raised questions like this, so I want to explain why I am pushing these stories about the heart – or undisclosed – problems that top professional athletes are suffering.

The writer is correct. These are stories. Even if the players are confirmed to be vaccinated, each case is an N of 1.

Why should we care?

All kinds of reasons.

Maybe most importantly, stories matter.

We know – not think, know – that Covid vaccines can cause serious heart complications in many young men. The potential for heart inflammation significant enough to lead to hospitalization is probably somewhere between 1 in 3,000 and 1 in 6,000 men under 30. Israeli doctors offered this estimate six months ago, and it has held up nicely.

If anything, these estimates may underestimate the risk, because not all cases of side effects are sent to VAERS, the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, or similar European databases. We don’t know what percentage are reported, and frankly cannot even make a good guess – maybe as many as 50 percent for unusual and serious problems that are receiving a lot of attention (such as lethal clotting disorders in young women), as few as 10 percent for more routine side effects.

So a significant number of healthy young men are suffering serious side effects after being vaccinated – far more than are at serious risk from Covid.

Remember, three weeks ago, the New York Times – not Fox News, the New York Times – wrote that “for children without a serious medical condition, the danger of severe Covid is so low as to be difficult to quantify.” (Severe basically translates into “requiring hospitalization” – and the risk for adults under 30 is little different than for children and teens.)

But many people still have no idea just how tiny Covid’s risks are to young adults or children.

Why?

Because the people pushing extreme measures against Covid have pushed the news media to write about the tiny number of children and young adults who become very sick or die, usually without acknowledging their underlying health conditions. Sometimes these efforts have backfired badly, as last month, when the top public health official for the Canadian province of Alberta was forced to admit that a 14-year-old she had claimed died of Covid actually died of brain cancer.

Yet these efforts continue.

Why?

Because the people pressing them know that stories and symbols can defeat data. They have counted on this fact, and the aid of the media, since the very beginning of the epidemic. Britain’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies wrote on March 22, 2020:

A substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened; it could be that they are reassured by the low death rate in their demographic group… The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging. [emphasis in original]

The effort to keep people frightened is almost certainly why public health authorities have pushed so hard for masks, despite their obvious and repeatedly proven uselessness (I know I am going to have address the ridiculous Bangladeshi paper one day, and I will). Masks spell emergency.

It’s also probably why they they tried to keep people inside for most of 2020, long after researchers proved Covid was almost never was transmitted outside.

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