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Listening to the Experts was a Mistake

Listening to the Experts was a Mistake

Since the Covid-19 Pandemic began, we were admonished to “listen to the experts … the doctors … the scientists.”  I took that advice because I thought it was the best way to proceed.  We know that the politicians and the press do not FOLLOW the facts, they SPIN them.  So, I focused on the scientists and raw data for my information.

Well let me tell you, following the experts has not been all that it was promised to be.  For sure, it was still better than heeding the interpretations of the political class and the Fourth Estate – but not as beneficial as one might have hoped – as I did.

It has been a bit of a rollercoaster. And there appears to be two reasons for that.  First, the information coming from the media was distorted and conflicting.  But more importantly, the nature of the advice changed as we learned more about the Pandemic.  That led to Dr. Anthony Fauci first saying the virus would not impact on the United States to any serious degree.  (Yes, he said that, and the video is on the record.)  He also advised us that mask wearing was not necessary unless a person showed symptoms.

In those early days – based on what the leading scientists were telling us — I did not worry too much about Covid-19.  I did not have symptoms and I did not go around with a mask.

Then we were told by those television doctors that the infected needed to wear masks, but that the face covering was not effective in preventing contracting the disease. But because of the impact on older folks with serious complications, the experts advised them to wear masks virtually all the time – indoors or out.  So … only the sick and frail needed to wear them.  I am one of those older folks and I do have some of those underlying conditions, but I am not frail.  Therefore, I did not go around wearing a mask.

Then the shutdown started.  Indoor masking, social distancing, washing hands continuously and warnings to not touch your nose, mouth or eyes — and wipe off every surface touched by a human with muriatic acid.  (I exaggerated to make a point.)  Well … then the scientists said that actually, the virus does not spread from surfaces.  Even touching your face or skipping that 100-times-per-day handwashing was not a significant preventative because you needed to inhale “vast amounts” of the virus to overcome your immune system.  That was what Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel told me over the tube – and others confirmed.

For a while, seniors were subjected to a form of solitary confinement.  Remember all the grannies pressing against the window as they watched the kids and grandkids blowing kisses from the front lawn?  I was not one of those.  I did not have Covid and I did not think it likely I would get it – or that it would kill me if I did — so I traveled about as much as I could without a mask, considering there were a lot less places to go.

After suggesting universal masking – indoors and out – the scientists changed again.  They said that being outdoors is not only safe, but it is good.  Some even said safer than staying at home if you allowed family and friends around.  We should go out into the fresh air as long as we did not mingle in crowds.  Catching Covid by passing an infected person on the street is virtually impossible, sayeth the scientists.

Of course, we closed the schools to protect the kids – even though they were not getting sick in significant numbers. Then the scientists determined that schools were actually safer environments than the home – and the kids would not continue to suffer the terrible outcomes of NOT being at school.  That debate between doctors and the school unions is still going on.

Folks on the ground did not ever follow the masking outdoor requirement, I have to say. Of the thousands of people I saw over many months — walking, jogging, bike riding, playing tennis or shopping in open-air malls — rarely did I see a mask.

Indoors was quite different.  Most places that re-opened required masks – although with restaurants it was only to gain admission.  One does not eat with a mask on.

All this time, I watched the official statistics for the nation and for my area – and I judged my response accordingly. 

Then came vaccine and the scientists told us that it was 95 percent effective in preventing me from getting Covid.  That meant the Pandemic was over for me because I got the vaccine.  I could go about without fear of contracting the disease or spreading it, they said. 

I think those who refuse to get the vaccine for no valid reason are foolish.  But that is on them because they cannot infect me with Covid – at least it is EXTEMEMeLY unlikely.

Yes, there have been some rare cases of what they call “breakthrough” infections in vaccinated folks, but those cases are very mild or completely asymptomatic.  There are no significant numbers of hospitalizations and no deaths recorded among the vaccinated.  Wearing a mask to prevent getting a mild chill for a day or two was an unreasonable burden, in my judgment.  So, I continued to go around maskless unless required to do so in some indoor venues, such as hospital and airports.

But now those same scientists and doctors want me to mask up again — and maintain social distancing like I did when the Pandemic was at its peak and before I got the vaccine.  They say I could still contract Covid and still spread it.  WHAT?  That is exactly the opposite of what they have been telling me since the vaccines started getting into people’s arms.

They admit it would be very rare, but still POSSIBLE.  Well POSSIBLE is not good enough for me.  Every moment of my life it is POSSIBLE that something bad will happen to me.  If I lived my life out of fear of the POSSIBLE, I would have to be an older version of the “bubble boy” – confined to my highly sterile environment wondering what is safe to eat.  I would be like that granny experiencing the world through a window.  And even then, it would be POSSIBLE something bad would happen.

For months, during the worst of the Pandemic, kids were mostly resistant for some reason.  The statistics confirm that.  And now we have the reversal on the kids.  So, we closed the schools and imposed a dangerous hardship on America’s students – and their parents.  Now they say kids are highly vulnerable to the Delta variant.  The numbers of kids getting sick is rising, they say.  But are they?  Is it the numbers that are rising or the percentage rising? 

I have seen reports that say that “a higher percentage of kids are getting infected.”  That could be because the vast majority of the older folks are now vaccinated or immune by virtue of having had Covid?  Different scientists answer that question differently.  The issue is not clear.

The move to going back to pre-vaccination masking is now getting a negative response from those of us who got the vaccine or are otherwise immune.  And why not?  According to the statistics, my chance of contracting Covid is tiny, tiny, tiny.  And my chance of spreading it is ever tinier.

The key to the future is to get more people to get the vaccine.  I am all for that.  But the scientists cannot even agree on the number of unvaccinated.  President Biden bragged about having 100 million Americans vaccinated in his first 100 days.  You also will recall that Biden called for 70 percent of all Americans should be vaccinated by Independence Day. 

We watched the numbers of vaccinated increase every day.  As we approached the Fourth of July, the numbers in the corner of our television screens keep rising.  Would Biden reach his goal or not?  At one point, the total percentage of Americans with at least one shot was in the high 60 percentile or about 220 million citizens – just short of the Biden goal.

Have you looked that the numbers in the corner of those screens lately?  At one point, they dropped to about 55 percent vaccinated.  And now I see that only 49 percent of Americans are currently fully vaccinated.  That is approximately 160 million of us.  That would suggest that 60 million Americans got un-vaccinated in the past month. 

In the face of all this controversy and chaos, I am sticking with the basic facts that have not changed over time.  Since my vaccine is 95 percent effective – and if I got Covid, it would be very mild – I am not donning a mask unless required to do so in individual settings.  I am not avoiding crowds.  I am willing to hug, kiss and shake hands with others who are equally willing.  As far as I am concerned, I am passed the Pandemic – and I am passed being jerked around by the scientists, the politicians and the media that cannot get their act together.

My recommendation is for our experts and authorities to myopically focus on the problem and get more people to get the vaccine for their own good – and forget about all the extreme masking proposals.  It does not matter to me personally if people get the vaccine or not.  They are not a threat to me.  But I say to the unvaccinated, for God’s sake get the shot.  Except in extreme and justified cases, your excuses are … sorry to say … just stupid.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

18 Comments

  1. frank stetson

    Basically, your post here is spin, not even gonna bother correcting all the non-factual revisionist history and misinterpretations. Perhaps sourcing would help, or at least give a chuckle. Ever hear that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? By the same brilliant deduction that you are OK because you did what you did; I did everything and came to the same result. Who’s right based on that? Neither of us Larry; anecdotal data, personal experiences, just don’t prove anything Larry. But you know that…..

    I just can’t see how wearing a mask is that important or such a huge inconvenience to you, and even how your combined fear and loathing, while seeming paramount to you, would tip the scales again donning the face cover. Larry, based on your picture alone, you should wear a mask whenever in eyesight of another human. Maybe in eyesight of puppies too.

    Larry, you live in Florida perhaps the last place for anyone today to bespeaking of their expertise in covid research and facts having screwed the pooch so bad as to be 20% of US cases lately becoming the epicenter of how to do things as wrong as you can do them. Fix your state and then tell us what to do, what to think.

    • larry Horist

      Frank, I recall your claimed devotion to civil and intelligent dialogue. Well, your current fact-challenged screed and you gratuitous insult have revealed the man behind the mask — figuratively speaking. Your comment on my appearance is a deep would since that photo is a bit flattering and the image has aged — or I should say I have aged. I am sure you would be concerned that my current appearance would scare the children, too. It sometimes even frightens me when I look in the mirror in the morning. I was thinking of updating the photo, but now I dare not. And you completely misrepresent my position. I am not loath to wear a mask, I simply do not see the necessity, I do not criticize those who do for any reason. And I am all for vaccinations. Your ugliness is unwarranted, so I will simply disregard you future rebuttals.

    • Art

      Larry,
      Your opinion is your opinion. Sharing it is as it ever has been, that is it is up to you.
      And, we , the readers are free to opt out and fore go reading. In the case of your personal opinion and your stance as a stalwart conservative, it represents a case study of one conservative white person’s mentality dealing with present day issues and problems . Issues and problems that are real everyday experiences in life lived in the work a day world.
      Armchair Generals are in the main non-essential baggage to people making life decisions impacting their future possibly for decades. Many choices are of consequence negative personally and for other persons known and unknown.
      Being vaccinated is ag good and thoughtful decision. Those choosing to remain unvaccinated delay indefinitely the time we all may return to some manner of pre-COVID normal existence. The hold outs refusing the shot shots are giving the virus ample time and bodies to mutate and developed into variants just as the Delta variant has done. The mutated strains are usually more lethal and faster spreading.
      The unvaccinated who have had COVID-19 donor have antibodies for the Delta strain. They are doubly at risk. Surviving COViID-19 in the first round gives partial immunity to the original virus and none for the Delta strain. COVID-19 survivors should take the vaccine for themselves and for community public health.
      It’s not OK for someone opining to say people should vaccinate as if it’s only affecting the decision maker and not other unvaccinated persons they come into close contact with. As a general rule unvaccinated persons are not observing other precautions either.
      Experts were felt a complicated hand with this “unprecedented” phenomenon and attempted leading us through it using the data evolving day by day. Given what expertise you may think you have in your area from which your living was made. How close where you in predicting outcomes and counseling paying clients?
      Your opinion not shared by others is an example of freedom of voice. As long as your voice causes no one I’ll or harm you may believe they’d no foul. But, the same defense is used by some elected representatives that the assumption is, no one is that ignorant that they belief It was serious. So, when does one know someone is on the level believing in their own talk, or are they just joking. The former President often used this dodge of responsibility after a stupid unscripted beingTrump moment. His press secretary would give cover each time. Who gives you cover after a Larry’ moment.

      • larry Horist

        Art … I wish when you respond to one of my commentaries, you read it first. I am vaccinated — and therefore the chance of me getting Covid is extremely remote… a .0077 percent chance according to the scientists. My chance of getting hospitalized is .004 of those getting breakthrough Covid. My chance of dying is virtually zero. That is what the experts say and that is what even CNN and MSNBC report. I see no need for me to wear a mask. AND I do not criticize those who are vaccinated and wear masks. That is there choice. I think folks who do not get vaccinated should wear masks when appropriate. I strongly encourage people to get vaccinated. So, why are you so honked off because I personally see no need to wear a mask.

  2. MikeyParks

    We’ve been fed faulty information only by a select few “experts.” A host of other credentialed experts were hushed by the MSM. This kind of information manipulation is unprecedented in my fairly long lifetime.

  3. WildMann9

    Covid 19 was started as a Bio -Weapon in the U.S.A.! It was discontinued here, because Bio-Weapons are illegal in the U.S.! Then some Genius decided to send it to China! Fauchi needs to be publicly executed for his pat in this deadly fiasco! Notice that the EVILChinks isolated the Virus to the city of Wuhan, and then Exported it around the Free World!

  4. Ray Tapia

    Hi Larry ,
    Thank you for making sure my wife and I know how stupid we are . In 78 years no one has made it so apparent to me , how much the govt and the paid shills care about me personally , as well as you have .

    Could you please send me 2 yellow stars of David . We want to be prepared .
    Maybe a refresher study of 1930’s Germany , or a study of ” rules for radicals ” is in order . But being the well informed and highly intelligent person you are why would you even consider anything a worm like me would write .. Ray

  5. Mike

    Larry, Much of this post is dealing with the changes that occurred early in the pandemic, and there were many changes at that point, simply because this is a new disease, and the experts did not yet understand the transmission of the virus. By April of 2020, masking was recommended for everybody, because the experts realized the virus could spread whether a person was symptomatic or not. It was recommended that the population (particularly the elderly) avoid contact with large crowds of people until a vaccine was developed. That information did not change after April 2020. When vaccinations began, the current Delta variant was not prevalent in the US, the variants that were here were not nearly as transmissible as what we are currently seeing. Unfortunately, the vaccines are not as effective against the current variant, and some fully vaccinated people are becoming ill. You say you are willing to get Covid now because you are vaccinated, and believe that you will not become seriously ill. That may be true, however, I personally prefer not to get Covid, because the long-term effects of the disease are unknown. Rates are going up again, because the latest variant is much more transmissible. The concept that you seem to overlook in your take-down of the experts is that A) this is a new virus, and the knowledge of the virus is constantly growing, hence recommendations will change, and B) the virus is not the same as it was a year ago, it is much worse, so what worked against the earlier variants does not work as well now. As your hospitals are filling up in Florida again, some additional precautions need to be taken, in addition to educating the people that have been listening to the experts on Faux news (and other conservative outlets) who have been downplaying the need to get the vaccine (case in point-the fools that cheered at CPAC that the US did not reach the 70% target that BIden had set for July 4th…) So there tis…

  6. Ben

    Larry, life is not a script. It doesn’t go according to what we will it to be. Why are you surprised that there were issues that even the experts didn’t see coming? This opinion piece seems like one long rant that not everything went according to what you were told.
    It is a foolish man that doesn’t adjust their opinions and actions when presented with new evidence. It’s a lot like parenting. I have a pretty good idea of how to handle things, but as the years go by, I’ve learned more and more and adjusted my parenting style. It’s no different than this virus. What you think you know one day, may evolve and change the next day. You have to adapt accordingly. And sometimes the experts are just plain wrong. I mean trump said it would be gone by May, that drinking bleach would be a good cure and that soon our numbers would be zero. You take the info you have and make the best determination on how to proceed. I think for the most part, scientist and public health officials have tried to act in the best interest of the public.
    Unfortunately, the public has chosen not to heed the message as demonstrated by Florida’s surging COVID cases.

    • Dan Tyree

      Ben the commiecrats are colluding with China again. And you posted about parenting. What a joke. So go ahead and raise your kids to be good little comrades

  7. Ben

    As a great example, last week you wrote,” listen to the experts”, this week you write,” listening to the experts was a mistake”.
    Things evolve, data and evidence should prompt one to adjust their beliefs. You demonstrate that well in the articles you have written on the subject.

    • larry Horist

      Ben … Sorry you missed the irony in the commentary. If you more carefully re-read the final graphs, you will see that I DID choose to listen to the scientists in making my judgment regarding the wearing of a mask. I was more or less mocking the pseudo-scientists and those who have given conflicting advice at different times. My decision is based on bedrock science that has not changed over time. Sorry it went over you head.

      • Ben

        Larry, not over my head, I just get bored with your long winded rants. I really make it all the way to the end. I force myself to at least read 3/4 of your long winded opinions.
        I will give you props though. Unlike most of your articles, have been fairly open minded and “normal” concerning COVID. I’ll give credit where credit is due. And it’s a good thing you have, because your Republican Governor is running neck and neck for the most COVID cases due to his COVID policies.

  8. frank stetson

    How’s your plan panning out in Florida? Seems like you’re breaking your own records for hospitalization and cases. Seems like Floridians are either getting some really bad information, behaving badly, taking little restrictive actions, really immune compromised, incredibly friendly close talkers or all of the above. Think you are responsible, with Texas, for 33% of America’s cases, and Florida alone holds 20% of the nation’s cases.

    Fix your own state before you dare to tell the rest of us what to do. Let me help….here’s your Big Problem, the Big Liar.

    DeSantis seems DeStupid as his press flack says: “We recognize that cases and hospitalizations have shifted to a younger demographic because we have been so successful with vaccinating seniors.” No shit, Sherlock, but you seem to be oblivious to the fact that your freakin numbers are through the roof. What’s next — well the young don’t die as much? Well, it appears in your State of Oblivion, they certainly die enough. One hospital reports 50% of it’s covid patients are under 55 years old. So, flack guy is right, one could claim vaccination good. However, the hospital is oversubscribed, meaning it’s both MORE patients as well as YOUNGER patients. Florida is losing the battle, may lose the war.

    With one side of his face, Destupid says: “get vaccinated.” His actions like threatening to cut school funding for mask and then signed his unmask mandate executive order to do just that. He also signed into law that state or local governments can not ever close businesses or have students with out of in-person instruction, except for hurricanes. He also capped all local emergencies at seven-day increments because we all know that the Lord created the Earth in seven days. He also signed into law his ability to override ANY locally declared emergency because not only does the State know better, but DeStupid knows more than God. It’s good to be King.

    In other words, DeSantis ends all local restrictions unless he mandates them. Basically, the man has taken zero proactive measures beyond suggesting that you might want a vaccination but has taken numerous legislative actions to end any proactive actions taken on the ground, close to the source, by the people responsible for protecting locals areas and local schools.

    The proof is in the pudding. Florida sucks, less than 50% of the population is fully vaccinated.

    • larry Horist

      Frank … you seem to have the same reading comprehension problem as Ben. You refer to “my plan” regarding Florida. I have been consistent and forceful in my urging people to get vaccinated. What, pray tell, is my plan that is impacting on Florida? And I see you are now fully engaged in sophomoric — no childish — name changing pejoratives. Should I call you Frank Stinkson? Does that work for your intellectual level? LOL

  9. frank stetson

    One thing I learned early on about writing is that comprehension difficulties usually lie with the writer. Now, if you have numerous people with the same comprehension problem, consider the source :>)

    Since I am a very bad writer, it happens to me all the time.

    On the rest, let me clarify. You have your plan. You live in Florida. I realize you believe in vaccination, I have applauded. DeSantis has said he does too but his actions prove differently, he is a liar. “What, pray tell, is my plan that is impacting on Florida?” And that was my point. I concluded: “Fix your own state before you dare to tell the rest of us what to do.” I mean, how dare you Larry. I’m from NJ, what to hear what I think about fixing your nursing homes? Consider the source. And then I attempted to explain how DeSantis is the problem making covid cases and death worse for Florida. You’re a State’s right guy: fix your state before you go national with the ideas you can’t even get your State to implement.

    Meanwhile, on the name calling. You can attempt to call me what you like, free speech. My personal ground rules are no name calling in all discussions with others. Usually I am pretty good, you caught me before when I got pretty close, oh hell, I was over the line and I apologized.

    I am not having a discussion with DeStupid. He is a public figure, and has chosen to enter that arena where name-branding, calling is fair game given free speech. Usually I let others get away with it too. That’s my line and I try to stick with it. Hope the clarification helps. If you want me to desist, no problem, it’s your stories, your show, and I can live with that.

  10. fra

    On second thought, you are right, I am wrong, I will desist in the name calling for public officials, even one’s like DeSantis that are doing really stupid things.

  11. frank stetson

    On second thought, you are right, I am wrong in the name calling, my apologies, and I will desist going forward. Thanks for pointing it out. I will stop even for DeSantis who is doing really stupid things, taking really stupid actions, he’s actually helping the virus kill Floridians, younger ones every day. Think you hit about 140 dead yesterday in the Sunshine State as they hit their third wave and Desantis blames Biden for letting variants in across the Southern Boarder. Three days of Florida hospital records. Does Ron really think illegal aliens would migrate to Florida today? You got 7% of the US population and 20% of the covid cases. Who in their right mind would go there unless forced? Your seven day case rise is over 700%. A new daily case record of 21,600 on Saturday. Soon, elective surgeries will stop and then, if it continues, health rationing. That’s the mandate Desantis is heading you for. And he will just blame someone else.

    We in New Jersey thank Florida for hiding our shame through the actions of your glorious Governor as he continues to forget Florida in lieu of forging ahead on the national stage as he pursues his goal of becoming Trump II. We have dropped to number 10 in total cases with number 4’s, Florida’s help and now we are number 6 in death as Florida edges us out in the number 4 position.

    No, Larry, I will take any covid advice from a Floridian with a huge grain of salt.