WTF Wednesday

Today’s first topic was suggested/inspired by a direct Twitter comment to me by Dominic Chu of CNBC.

The FDA decision to pause use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is a WTF moment, in my opinion. I was going to express my objections, but I’ll let someone far more qualified do so, Nate Silver:


“6 cases out of 7 million people. What a disaster. This is going to get people killed. And it’s going to create more vaccine hesitancy. These people don’t understand cost-benefit analysis. They keep making mistakes by orders of magnitude.”


Not to pick nits, but since apparently only women developed the blood clots it is closer to 6 cases out of about 3.5 million people, or about 1 in 600,000. That is a mere 1/200th of the frequency with which women taking oral contraceptives develop blood clots, granting the blood clots may not be exactly of the same type. Oral contraceptives are still being sold.

As to whether or not this decision will create more vaccine hesitancy, I believe the vast majority of adults have already decided whether or not they are going to be vaccinated, but on the margin Nate is right. I will also opine that those who choose not to receive a vaccine are clearly on the wrong side of the facts and will clearly be on the wrong side of history. I will, once again, quote Louis Armstrong and Isaac Asimov:


“There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them.”


“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”


Oh, the extreme libertarians are wrong a lot and so are those who have blind faith in government.


While running errands yesterday I saw a “carcass” of one of these being transported on a flatbed truck:


See the source image


From Barrett-Jackson a picture of a 1955 Studebaker Speedster. That was the only year the Speedster was offered and it was introduced as a top of the line model with “upgraded” chrome and brightwork. I consider it a bridge between the original Loewy coupes and the Hawk line that began in 1956.

I have to admit I almost drove off the road trying to ascertain the car’s identity and again when I realized what it was. Of course, since I was driving I could not get a picture. The car was in rough shape, though.

Obviously, I hope the car was being transported to someone who will begin restoring it. Only 2,215 Speedsters were produced.


Let this fact sink in:


More than half (54%) of the 1.7 million unemployed workers age 55 and over are long-term unemployed, according to AARP, an advocacy group for older Americans. (Economists consider long-term unemployment to be a period exceeding six months.)


Of course, I fit in that category as a 55 and older long-term unemployed. Age discrimination is very real, but very difficult to prove. I will once again write that it is absurd that someone with my skills and experience was unable to find a fulfilling and interesting work situation after my baseball career ended. Now, I am in the “discouraged worker” category, I guess.











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6 thoughts on “WTF Wednesday

  1. In the words of Annie Lennox, “Who am I to disagree?” But let me offer some points for discussion.
    I heard one of the reasons for the pause was not to prevent rare cases of clotting, but to prevent morons who haven’t read a medical journal since graduating medschool-and there are many-from treating this type of clotting incorrectly. You see this form of clotting is associated with a low level of platelets. The common way to treat clots is with heparin, when the platelets are normal. If you use heparin in clots associated with low platelets, you get leaks everywhere vs a clot in a specific place, aka a “Bozo no no” in medical parlance. Apparently the FDA wants to send out “Dear Bozo/Dear Doctor” letters to educate practitioners re the issue and to make them aware of proper treatment protocols. This means that the vaccine will probably be reinstated as the comfort level improves.
    The country also seems to have enough vaccine to make up for the temporary loss of J&J’s vaccine in the chain. Pre clot vaccine hesitancy was high enough that appointments for Pfizer/Moderna are going begging. And the availability and utilization of therapeutic drugs is increasing, cutting down on morbidity and mortality. So overall IMHO, an ounce of concern is worth six ounces of bleeding out. Of course wearing of masks, social distancing within reason, and not licking hand rails is worth about 48 ounces of cure.


    1. Thanks for the informed offering, Doc. Of course, I defer to your medical knowledge. Sad that it’s the incorrect treatment of the clots and not really the clots themselves that is the issue.


      1. To your earlier point, the number of “clots” is one in a million; it’s my understanding that the powers that be don’t want to make a bad thing worse.


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