Boring news: We still don’t know much directly about the influence of the mind on COVID, nor about the placebo effect of COVID vaccinations. The world of science is unfathomably silent.
June 5, 2021
This time of the year, as last year, in Belgium, the atmosphere is one of ‘huge relief after doing the right thing.’ This time around, the vaccinations are part of the exuberance. We’re out of the woods!
I genuinely hope so… mostly. Let’s compare numbers. As a first reminder, at the same day last year, a total of 427.307 people had died from COVID. We are now at +/- 3.3 million more deaths, officially. In reality, we should probably double this amount. People keep telling me that this is not enough to provoke a fundamental mind change.
7-day average COVID deaths at the 3rd of June
Last year compared to this:
Is this evolution positive or negative?
Noteworthy, going one year back and five days forward in Belgium, we were at 13 deaths per day. That’s the same as today. Does this say anything with certainty? Hm.
Taking a few other European countries, same day of same month, 7-day averages:
A lot has happened over the year. Second waves. Third waves. Despairs following reliefs after despairs. Worldwide, millions have died. And, of course: the vaccinations.
I remember that last year, the drop around this time of the year came as a surprise. This year, same thing. That is not a good sign. To me, it’s worrying since it fits in a dangerous scheme. [see: “COVID Whirlpool“]
What is the placebo effect of COVID vaccinations? What is the total impact of the mind on COVID? Where would we be without vaccinations? Where would we be with a proper use of specific mind-related interventions?
These are difficult questions.
Whoever knows the answer is a fool.
Including me. I don’t know the answers. I can only guess after trying to get the most relevant facts together.
Like everybody else, I can see that after the vaccination campaigns – in countries doing well on these – numbers of deaths have dropped dramatically. That is excellent!
But what is the cause?
Let’s look at the data from some other countries, 7-day averages:
This doesn’t prove to me that the vaccines don’t work. These numbers also do not prove they work. Much depends on circumstantial factors. Mainly: how well do people comply with viral hygiene?
And, of course: how does the mind fit in? What with hope – or, on the other side, despair – in the mind frames of many people concerning COVID and other factors?
The hope through the vaccinations themselves has been built up with immense power.
Also, can there be a ‘regression to the mean’ involved in, for instance, Mexico? Simply, after a big surge, one can expect a big drop. This happens frequently in medicine, with many diseases. In Mexico, with a vaccination degree of 13% at this time, the search is on for an explanation of the huge drop. What researchers come up with is tentative (compliance, season, good luck, herd immunity, proximity to the US). It looks to me like ‘anything goes.’
My tentative explanation: With regression to the mean, the COVID whirlpool gets relaxed, leading to a drop that is (much) bigger than expected.
Let’s hope my tentative explanation is not correct.
Looking at vaccinated people
[From: “Effectiveness of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Vaccines Against COVID-19 Among Hospitalized Adults Aged ≥65 Years – United States, January-March 2021” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33956782/]
Among 417 hospitalized adults aged ≥65 years (including 187 case-patients and 230 controls), this shows vaccination effectiveness of 94% after full vaccination. The 95%-confidence interval (49%-99%) is huge, bringing its own uncertainty, but let’s say the success of vaccination is 94%. Does this prove that the vaccines are very effective or that the placebo effect of getting the vaccines is huge? In theory, both are possible. [see: “Vaccine or Vaccination?“]
The more you would know about placebo, the more you would find it likely.
But, the initial big studies?
Following this last link, you find some other links to posted – by me – rapid answers in the British Medical Journal concerning the initial vaccine studies. These studies are far from evidently straightforward. The placebo concept has been mismanaged thoroughly.
Of course, to not-know is not the same as to know-that-not.
At present, we know little. Even the vaccine-induced antibodies in the blood bring no certitude. It is a very complex domain, in which I am no expert but I can read what other experts say in openness. All good science depends on the latter.
But placebo/nocebo – worldwide – so many people – seriously?
That’s probably the main question. Is this at all possible?
If the question is whether so many domain experts can look right through it without seeing it, then that is certainly possible. I’ve had more than my share of practical experience regarding COVID and other healthcare issues.
Many much weirder things have been debunked in the story of humankind. For instance, the history of medicine has been termed the ‘history of placebo’ by top-level researchers in the domain, with many thousands of different pills and potions etc. that all were popular some day and meanwhile have been unveiled as 100% placebos. The least one can say is that people are prone to this. [The powerful placebo: From ancient priest to modern physician, 1997]
Even now, the placebo plays a much heavier role in entire Western healthcare than most people imagine. [see: “Studies Show: Placebos as Effective as Treatment“] I don’t see it being different in other parts of the world.
It’s challenging to compare the placebo effect of medication to that of vaccination ― especially as we are witnessing now at a grand scale.
In both cases, the placebo can also be seen as a diminishment of social nocebo. In mass vaccinations, probably more. This can play an immense role in the present conundrum. [see RG: “The Role of Social Nocebo in COVID-19“]
This depends on the mind’s influence in the first place. Therefore, it should not be transposed to many other vaccinations, which are pretty certainly very efficient.
COVID is different. Lots of elements point to the influence of the mind-brain, in this case, the COVID whirlpool. [see: “COVID Whirlpool“]
The COVID future is still uncertain.
Worrisome: seasonality, viral shifts (variants), an almost certain drop in vaccine efficiency, the non-global reach of vaccination campaigns, demotivated people, long-term side effects of vaccinations, ‘long haulers’ (people keeping symptoms) after infection.
Hopeful: development of vaccines that work increasingly well ― keeping up with variants, the effect of herd immunity.
Winter in America (and Europe), cold again?
Hypothetically, next winter in the West, we will see a new substantial COVID wave in which the mind will play a crucial role ― again. As usual, the mind will be massively discarded, and thus, so will its influence in the COVID whirlpool.
Meanwhile, the virus keeps on shifting and drifting with certainty. Of course, not seeing the mind, ‘new variants’ can be put forward as the cause of the wave(s). With certainty, this will be possible and backed up by laboratory data, but doing so will not, therefore, be most sensible or correct. Data may be accurate and excruciatingly incomplete. As I see it, this is ‘the history of scientific medicine.’ What will be the future view on this?
Not the science is wrong, but the scientists, time and again, concerning the mind in health and healing. That is a provable fact.
I started a research group on ResearchGate months ago.
This has little success until now. [see RG: “Minding Corona“]
If you are a researcher, you can join. The intention is to foster scientific research concerning mind-influences on COVID, so that, at least, we know more about it, independently of the outcome of the research. Of course, we should do this as objectively as possible. With a group of ten, we can go for it. The free-for-always app that I developed one year ago can be used in this research. [see: ” Free App to Relieve COVID“]
Still worthwhile +++
Looking at the above numbers and this graph (from https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/), the world is still very much under the spell of COVID. Also, even in vaccinated countries, there is the continual threat of terrible variants. The more new infections, the higher the chances. Remember that it probably all started with one infection.
Minding the mind will always remain vital in COVID.
Also, looking at the post-COVID future, we should keep going.
We, human beings, are much more interesting than we pretend to be, even though individuals – in their superficiality, NOT as total persons – may be the subject or object of dislike.
If we don’t learn this lesson – not even by an event causing millions of deaths – by looking through our ubiquitous cognitive illusion [see: “The Basic Cognitive Illusion“], the future is very bleak.