Welcome to the the most Foolish edition of Berkshire Whole Health’s Member Bulletin

We sure do experience our fair share of foolishness on this earth.

On this April Fool’s day, I want to begin by saying that I honor the purity and innocence in the mind of the beginner, the unlearned, the fool. Today, dear reader, I honor not just any part of us, but the pure fool in us.

In addition, today I am in acknowledgement of another type of foolishness, one we must continuously endure because it’s of epic proportions right now. It’s the type of foolishness that would make one say that the world has gone mad.

But we can’t say that, because it hasn’t. No. It hasn’t gone mad because it just is mad. It’s been mad for some time. Long before you or I were born. The most intense April Fool’s reality is that we.. live.. full… time… on this crazy earth. That’s no joke. It’s quite startling if you really let it sink in. It’s actually like a slap across the face, and slaps in the face are actually a thing right now.

I mean, really! What is our story? We have so many lessons to learn but no idea what the facts are.

  • We don’t know in what ways our approach to the pandemic was a success or a failure. For example, I question if we giving enough attention to the studies revealing the catastrophic harm to a generation of children from lockdowns — significant motor and cognitive declines and a mental health crisis? I’m not confident we honed a game plan for future challenges.
  • And what about the origins of things? I read the recent Nature paper making a case for a non-lab origin, presenting the next round of evidence. It wasn’t a smoking gun by a long shot, IMO. What are we learning about our scientific procedures and modus operandi? Why do we choose to study some things and not others? I remember the moment I read the scientific argument that the pandemic originated from a lab. My head has wanted to spin off a few different times over that topic.
  • Fast forward to when we fired the people with natural immunity who refused to get the vaccine. Studies show we fired those least likely to spread the infection.
  • Then there’s this: judges appear convinced we had a coup attempt… in America… and we weren’t even sure that it was going on.
  • And finally, we are lucky if debates even exist. Because there are anarchists amongst us debates are not easy. Censorship is putting free speech on the chopping blocks. Why did we want free speech again? Oh yeah, so we didn’t turn into a fascist country. There really isn’t a Bill of Rights for the metaverse yet. In any case, what was worse? Trump kicking reporters out claiming they were fake news? or Big tech censoring scientists for posting a paper that doesn’t align with government policy?

I don’t blame us. I know that it’s impossible to make a good decision in a pandemic. I realize you try to pick the “less bad” choice.

But, I’m also now convinced there’s no such thing as April fools day, where we switch things around, where up is down, where truth is deception, where good is bad. We live in it every day. 

And I want to be clear that I don’t find despondency in the fact that we live constantly in this territory. I take it as a challenge. I take it as a task: to shine a little light into the darkness. It’s just how I’ve trained myself how to think. A clear head is essential. That’s my advice: train yourself for mental clarity. I don’t see how drugs or alcohol can fit for this. It will become clearer as you start meditating for a few minutes every day. Start today.

Booster Two-ster?

First, we should realize we are boosting with the vaccine built against the ancestral strain. Where is the variant specific booster that was supposed to be ready in March? Isn’t that the promise of mRNA technology? — you can swap out the genetic sequence to modify as you go. Why are we offering the antiquated version of the vaccine? That’s the first question.

In the current analysis, with the data we have, the gain from the second booster isn’t robust and makes sense only in the higher risk categories. Age is the line most countries are drawing, whether it be above 60 or 70 or 80 years old. We are offering it to the largest population, 50 and older.

Data is limited, but the decision to move forward with the second booster is based on the following. The data shows COVID survival with 1 booster: 99.90% of cases survived with 3 shots. With the second booster mortality dropped from 0.10 to 0.03.  So that’s 99.97% survival. That’s preprint data from Israel, not a randomized control trial.

So it’s worth noting that even for people over 60, the added protection of an additional booster shot, is small in absolute terms. People who got the first booster already have a very low risk of dying from COVID.

Should we wait for a updated version, maybe in the fall, because the rates are low now? I think it’s a valid question. It depends on your risk and your exposures. It makes sense to me to keep watching the local numbers and use them in your matrix.

Are there downsides to priming again against the same antigen? Is there some sort of immune fatigue from this technique? I don’t know if we can tell for sure. Again it depends on your risk. People with elevated age and co-morbidity are the ones to give it strongest consideration, but it’s reassuring that the first booster delivers a lot of protection.

COVID headlines and round up

News from the week:In Mass the 7 day average for the entire state rose slightly to 800 cases per day on average, up from 500-600 cases per day range last week. 

  • Berkshires cases are still low but just about doubled last week to 19 cases per 100,000 population per day (seven day average) over the last week up from 10 cases per day last week. Columbia county remains low, below 8 cases per 100,000 population seven day average.
  • US as a whole is dropped further to 27,000 cases per day on average, down from 30,000.

That’s all I have for you! Thanks for tuning in! I pity the fool who doesn’t remember Mr T’s famous line about pitying the fool. So as a April Fool’s reminder of how odd it can get down here, I’ll send you off with this beauty: