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Blog 12 – In Times when a Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing


We have all during the Covid epidemic acquired a little bit of brand-new “knowledge”. And we have meanwhile clean forgotten how a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

We now know what a “variant” is, for example, before we know exactly what a “virus” is, of which there is the variant. That is one new noun, “variant”. We now know “Omicron” – in passing we have also now learnt it is the letter “O” in Greek – is a variant “of concern”. So we have picked up a bureaucratic adjective “of concern”, meaning the WHO is looking into it with urgency. We’ve even got a new verb to go with “variant”: “sequencing”. And we are such Misye and Madam Konn-Tu by now that, if the Health Minister mis-pronounces “séquençage”, we laugh at his ignorance. We know all about gene sequencing, before we are sure what a gene is. Let alone what is being sequenced. The Minister is a mere psychiatrist, while we look down on his ignorance from our pedestal of having become genetic virologists.

We now know what “co-morbidities” are, before we know what the medical term “morbidities” means. We happily treat “co-morbidities” as if they are “stand alone” items. 

And as for statistics, we have gone “stone loco” with our new knowledge of this branch of mathematics.

We can compare numbers of Covid deaths in ICU, when, as a percentage, 45% had previously been “vaccinated” against Covid, while 55% had not and deduce wild things from this. Narain Jasodanand, journalist now expert in Covid, does. From this, the new statistician gaily deduces, in yesterday’s  L’Express, that we get “un ratio donc de seulement 45%-55% en faveur de la vaccination.” Vaccination is hardly, he is saying, worth taking. A dangerous statement. From a little knowledge of statistics. The ratio is not “en faveur de la vaccination”; it is merely the ratio of patient deaths in ICU. He has, poor man, fallen right into “the Xavier Luc Duval trap”. The Opposition Leader invented this logical trap in Parliament on 9 November. These pearls of his are now inscribed forever in Hansard. That should really suffice to put an end to the man’s political career. He just sat there, going on and on with his insanity that the more you vaccinate, the more people die of Covid (sic). 

But, let us get back to the ICU patients. Let us use the actual figures journalist Jasodanand quotes. There were a total of 348 Covid patient deaths in ICU, of whom 156 were vaccinated and 192 non-vaccinated. He fails to mention that the 156 come from a huge pool of some 910,000 adults right now already vaccinated. The 192 come from the remaining little pond of unvaccinated of less than 90,000, making the ratio “in favour of vaccination”, in reality, around a multiple of 12.4 times more “favourable” than if not vaccinated. If you were effectively vaccinated, your chances of dying of Covid in the ICU at the moment of those figures, were 1 chance in 5,833. Slim indeed. Whereas if you were not vaccinated, your chances were 1 chance in every 469, or you were 12.4 times worse off.

This is why we step up for vaccination. This is why those who do not, are making a mistake. But, it is not just a mistake that affects only the person making it.

Let us look at why a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. 

Imagine, for a minute – since the important thing is to protect our health services workers from burn-out and to protect our health care system from being overwhelmed or from, lord forbid, collapse – how many patients would have died in the ICU if the 156 vaccinated patients had, instead, not been vaccinated. That is the important figure. The total would have been 156 x 12.4 = 1,934 + (the originally unvaccinated whose figure would have stayed the same at 192) = 2,126. So, without vaccination instead of the 348 patients dying in the ICU, there would have been 2,126. There would have been SIX times more patients dead in the ICU at that moment. This is logically deduced from the figures M. Jasodanand uses.

Is it not then dangerous for him to suggest that it is “seulement” a small ratio in favour of vaccination? 

So, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing where epidemics are concerned. 

And a little celebrity is a dangerous thing, too, when we look at the harm done by people who do have a lot of knowledge like Dr. Henrion-Caude who has become known in France as “the muse of the Covid conspirators”. She was an MSM nominee on the EDB, and is now much pumped up by Week-End newspaper, while also claiming the more you vaccinate, the more people die of Covid. 

Lindsey Collen, for LALIT.