Skip to main content

Star Tribune Op-Ed

By November 12, 2021Commentary

Here is the text for those of you who couldn’t find it.  Note that the Strib put a different headline on it, which I liked.

And I want to clarify when I said I don’t read comments I meant on the Strib website.  Readers know I read every comment here and reply to many of them or reply to emails that are sent to me.  I have said this before, and I will say it again:  I appreciate every reader, I view you as customers in the best sense of that word, and I will do my best to give you a good product.


Many people must now be wondering how the CV-19 epidemic ever ends. The approach adopted by the current federal Administration, and echoed in Minnesota, relies on demonizing the unvaccinated and doubling down on largely futile actions. There is no reason to have confidence in this approach, as it fails to address the underlying problem, which is the vaccines failure to meet inflated expectations. Misinformation provided by governments has also created an inaccurate picture of the epidemic and of the steps which likely do create a rational and reasonable exit strategy.

Our current problem is not that large numbers of people aren’t vaccinated, but that notwithstanding extremely high levels of vaccination, we see ongoing significant numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths and renewed epidemic waves in different regions. Governments emphasize the unvaccinated as the source of transmission, and we frequently hear that it is now an “epidemic of the unvaccinated”. This is not true and we are actually headed toward an epidemic, if it even remains an epidemic, of the vaccinated.

In Minnesota and other states a high and growing percent of cases, hospitalizations and deaths are among persons who are fully vaccinated. The research clearly and uniformly shows rapidly declining vaccine effectiveness against infection after a few months. More alarmingly, effectiveness against hospitalization and death in the most vulnerable—our frail elderly—similarly is greatly diminished. As I have noted before, nothing is surprising about this in regard to a respiratory virus vaccine, although the speed of the decline in effectiveness is disappointing.

The Minnesota Department of Health is slow to identify and report breakthrough events and the data it does present is misleading and incomplete. The Governor stated on October 18 that “the highly effective vaccines….in almost every instance will keep you away from death”. In response to a question regarding fully-vaxed General Colin Powell’s death from CV-19, the Governor said “it is a very rare occurrence for someone to die (after being vaccinated)…I am willing to bet …. Of those 111 deaths over the last four days there won’t be more than one or two that were vaccinated.”

This is simply not true. Since October 4, the Department of Health has announced 671 deaths in its regular reporting and 323 of those have been in fully vaccinated persons, including 111 announced this week. This is 44% of all deaths announced in this time period. And over 7000 new breakthrough cases were announced in this week’s report. Despite government messaging to the contrary, the public is aware of the inadequacy of the vaccines to prevent transmission or serious illness, as now everyone either knows someone with a breakthrough infection or has read of their occurrence in sports figures, politicians and other prominent figures.

In light of this current reality that vaccines are not performing as we were told they would, an exit plan that ends our coronavirus obsession must primarily be attitudinal in nature. The true state of the epidemic and the damage being done by our misguided and fruitless efforts to suppress a virus which cannot and will not be suppressed must be acknowledged. We have seen several European countries take the more enlightened approach that all epidemic restrictions must end and the total wellbeing of all citizens must be the primary concern, not a monomaniacal focus on preventing CV-19 cases, which cannot be accomplished in any event. We have done what we can, it is time to move on and accept this as yet another pathogen which we will live with.

Some specific steps that would be part of a more rational approach include:

1. Either stop the incessant reporting of every event related to the epidemic, which only serves to maintain a high level of attention and anxiety, or provide the public with complete and accurate information about the epidemic, including more details about who is getting infected, and what actually causes many hospitalizations and deaths.

2. Stop over-testing. It serves no purpose to constantly test people who are asymptomatic. The result of excessive testing is large proportions of false and low positives which overwhelm contact tracing efforts and lead to unnecessary quarantines.

3. Stop quarantining children and adults who have not tested positive. Only symptomatic persons who have tested positive or who suspect they may have been infected should isolate themselves. Asymptomatic or presymptomatic transmission is actually low. Most transmission occurs from a few persons who are symptomatic, have large viral loads and substantial contact networks. Forced isolation disrupts education for children, hinders parents ability to work and damages business operations.

4. Stop wasting money on ineffective contact tracing. Minnesota has spent tens of millions of dollars on contact tracing and still can’t identify the vast majority of transmissions. This experience occurs everywhere.

5. Refocus public policy on overall public health and well-being. The restrictions put in place and the campaign of terror around CV-19 have severely damaged educational and social attainment for children, led to financial stress for many, imperiled our public finances, led to increases in serious illness and deaths due to missed health care, increased rates of drug and alcohol abuse and overdose, and caused large rises in mental illness. The threat posed by the virus to our total social wellbeing is far less than the damage done by our ongoing ineffectual actions to suppress it.

6. Most importantly, declare the epidemic over, declare victory if you are a politician and need that win, and celebrate that we survived this epidemic.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Grace Heitkamp says:

    Mr. Roche – I can’t thank you enough for your commentary in the StarTribune yesterday. I have been sending articles pertinent to your points to Jeremy Olson, the reporter for local covid news, for months to no avail. The coverage in the Star Tribune seems to reflect the capture that Big Pharma and Big Medicine have on our state. Your points were excellent. Thank you again.

    Grace Heitkamp, Lonsdale, MN.

  • Jan Werdin says:

    How about trying to treat it early with the cheap drugs (ivermectin for humans and hydroxychoriquine) CDC says are ineffective. They been used in other countries and have proved to be very effective if given early in the course of the infection. Stop politicking and start treating the patient, what a novel idea!

  • Grace Heitkamp says:

    Jan Werdin – exactly my thoughts!!!

  • Tom Malone says:

    I’m not sure it’s allowed any more to talk sense like this.

Leave a comment