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The Peter Attia Drive

COVID-19: Current state of affairs, Omicron, and a search for the end game

Description

In this episode, Peter sits down with Drs. Marty Makary and Zubin Damania (aka ZDoggMD), both previous guests on The Drive. Marty is a Johns Hopkins professor and public health researcher and ZDoggMD is a UCSF/Stanford trained internist and the founder of Turntable Health. This episode, recorded on December 27, 2021, was in part inspired by some of the shoddy science and even worse messaging coming from top officials regarding COVID-19. In this discussion, Marty and ZDoggMD discuss what is known about the omicron variant, the risks and benefits of vaccines for all age groups, and the taboo subject of natural immunity and the protection it offers against infection and severe disease. Furthermore, they discuss at length the poor messaging coming from our public officials, the justification (and lack thereof) for certain mandates and policies in light of the current evidence, and the problems caused by the highly politicized and polarized nature of the subject. Themes throughout the conversation include the difference between science and advocacy, the messaging which is sowing mistrust in science despite major progress, and a search for what a possible “end” to this situation might look like.

NOTE: Since this episode was recorded over the holiday and published ASAP, this is an audio-only episode with limited show notes.

We discuss:

  • Comparing omicron to delta and other variants [4:15];
  • Measuring immunity and protection from severe disease—circulating antibodies, B cells, and T cells [13:15];
  • Policy questions: what is the end game and how does the world go back to 2019? [18:45];
  • A policy-minded framework for viewing COVID and the problem of groupthink [24:00];
  • The difference between science and advocacy [39:00];
  • Natural immunity from COVID after infection [46:00];
  • The unfortunate erosion of trust in science despite impressive progress [57:15];
  • Do the current mandates and policies make sense in light of existing data? [1:02:30];
  • Risks associated with vaccines, and the risk of being labeled an anti-vaxxer when questioning them [1:18:15];
  • Data on incidence of myocarditis after vaccination with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines [1:26:15];
  • Outstanding questions about myocarditis as a side effect of mRNA vaccination and the benefit of boosters [1:35:00];
  • The risk-reward of boosters and recommendations being ignored by policy makers in the US [1:40:30];
  • Sowing distrust: lack of honesty and humility from top officials and policy makers [1:43:30];
  • Thoughts on testing: does it make sense to push widespread testing for COVID? [1:52:15];
  • What is the endpoint to all of this? [1:58:45];
  • Downstream consequences of lockdowns and draconian policy measures [2:05:30];
  • The polarized nature of COVID—tribalism, skeptics, and demonization of ideas [2:10:30];
  • Looking back at past pandemics for perspective and the potential for another pandemic in the future [2:20:00];
  • What parents can do if their kids are subject to unreasonable policies [2:25:00];
  • Voices of reason in this space [2:28:45];
  • Strong convictions, loosely held: the value in questioning your own beliefs [2:32:15];
  • More.

View the Show Notes Page for This Episode

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