“Marcus Welby, M.D.” was a popular TV show that first aired in 1969 and ran until 1976. Robert Young portrayed this ever-lovable, caring, and compassionate general practitioner who drove a Chevy Impala (later Chrysler sedans) to make house calls. He had a young physician as his assistant, Dr. Steven Kiley, played by James Brolin (Josh Brolin’s father), who rode a Triumph Bonneville motorcycle.
While Welby was the elder experienced physician, he was always going against the established medical practice of the time, with young Kiley wanting to go by the book. Welby somehow always saved the day before the 60-minute episode was done, all the while teaching young Kiley the importance of being open, honest, listening to your patient, and practicing outside the box. So I ask, Marcus Welby, M.D., where are you?
I have been double vaccinated against COVID-19, received my booster vaccination, and stand six feet from the next person, even if I’m alone. Okay, I exaggerated about the six feet. But I do wear masks, even though I’ve openly questioned and written about the validity of existing mask policies.
And despite all of this, I contracted COVID-19 a few weeks ago. It started as a sore throat—and quickly developed into the worst sore throat that I can remember—and also included achiness, swollen throat, congestion, and just feeling lousy as symptoms. I quarantined for five days, since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that I no longer need to do so for 10 days. Good old science based on necessity, rather than facts. Thank God my wife, who has super immunity (which she gives credit to her grandmother, “Bubbie,” for providing), took care of me. We’ve all heard those jokes comparing a wife with a husband when they’re both sick. I’m one of those men who like being pampered when I’m ill. My wife is the strong one who never complains. My COVID-19 was like a bad flu—a really bad flu. I still have a cough, now bronchitis, and I’ll probably have one for several more weeks.
The problem I see now, really since the onset of this COVID-19 pandemic, is the lack of trust in our health care thought leaders, let alone our political ones.
It’s almost impossible to contain a pandemic of a respiratory virus. This is like closing the proverbial barn door after the horse has escaped. This COVID-19 virus, which started roughly two years ago, comes in waves. What I find almost amusing is that every time a peak wave subsides, the government and mainstream media outlets are claiming victory for their perceived effective policies in clamping down on the virus. “Masks worked,” “closing schools worked,” and “social distancing works”: It’s like claiming victory over winter every spring because of some new rule (mandate) about having to wear sweaters.
Seasonal respiratory viruses are just that, seasonal. For the most part, masks aren’t effective in preventing someone from getting COVID-19. Well-fitted N95 masks and some surgical masks may reduce infection, but cloth masks are virtually useless.
Where is Welby when we need him? It’s OK to not know the answer to everything. As a physician, it’s vital to be honest with our patients.
We should be clear that this isn’t simply a virus of the unvaccinated. I can attest to that personally. And for those who have already had COVID-19, why are we telling them to get the vaccine?
There are a few national physician thought leaders who do speak truth to power. Dr. Marty Makary out of Johns Hopkins is one. Dr. John Ioannidis out of Stanford is another, and there are many more.
Makary wrote a Washington Post article published on Sept 15, 2021. He quoted an Israeli study of 700,000 people that showed that those who had prior COVID-19 infections were 27 times less likely to get a second symptomatic COVID-19 infection versus those who were vaccinated.
Makary also wrote that there are 15 studies that demonstrate the power of immunity acquired by having the COVID-19 virus. So why do government officials continue to express their belief that immunity conferred by vaccines is superior to that of natural immunity? The vaccines and booster doses didn’t help me and thousands of others from getting COVID-19. It may have helped in reducing the severity, but we really don’t know for sure.
Adjusting statistics to complete a predetermined narrative isn’t science: It’s propaganda. Hospital admissions from COVID-19 aren’t the same as with COVID-19. Having our medical licenses threatened by medical boards and hospitals for questioning the government-approved health narrative leaves us with nothing but old Soviet-style health care propaganda.
I’m still a firm believer in vaccines, such as those for measles, chickenpox, shingles, smallpox, and polio. They’ve saved hundreds of thousands of lives. However, we have to recognize the value of such vaccines, as well as their limitations. HIV/AIDs is caused by a virus, yet there’s no successful vaccine against HIV. And yet people with HIV can live a full, normal life because of therapeutics, not because of any vaccine.
When I’m operating, I have a game plan. But when something arises, such as dense scar tissue or bleeding, I alter my plan to address the situation.
Given the fact we’re well past the point when vaccines should have made a significant difference in the prevalence of this virus, it’s clearly time to update our pandemic plan as well. The doctors on TV do it all the time, and that kind of insight and adaptability shouldn’t just be make-believe.