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by David Osborn, MH, L.Ac
Sunday, December 12, 2021

This article serves to update my readers on my evolving opinions on the COVID pandemic, and the COVID vaccine, based on my personal experiences as well as what I have seen in the news, and in the mainstream media.

Personal Experience versus the Evening News

Every night on the news, we are constantly bombarded with messaging telling us about the horrors of the COVID pandemic – for the longest time, the mounting death toll, and the mounting case numbers – official, at least – were up there on the screen for all to see.  Then came the big lockdown – a lockdown so drastic and draconian that many great local businesses had to close their doors for good and go out of business.  Meanwhile, others, like Jeff Bezos of, were making out like bandits, since those who were locked up at home were buying more and more stuff online; the lockdown seemed to be tailor made for him, alright.  The media messaging was all over the place that this was the pandemic of the century, every bit the equal of the great 1918 flu pandemic.  But was it, really?  The evening news was bringing the horrors of the COVID pandemic into our living rooms night after night, but was their messaging really congruent with our personal experience, or what we were seeing of the pandemic in our everyday lives?  When making that personal assessment for myself, I would have to conclude that, if anything, the horrors of the COVID pandemic have been overplayed, or overblown, and that the constant media messaging does not square off with my own personal experience.

And it seems like I am not alone in that assessment.  A good friend of mine and I were having a frank and candid conversation about the pandemic one evening, and he came out and told me that he had personally not seen or heard of one of his friends or acquaintances dying of COVID, but he personally knew of two who had died from adverse reactions to the COVID vaccine.  He told me that he himself had gotten vaccinated, primarily to satisfy the desires of an important client of his, but that he had not felt quite right ever since he got the vaccine.  He also offered me his frank opinion that, in his estimation, the lockdown was way too drastic, and far in excess of what was merited by the actual circumstances on the ground, and that way too many great businesses were forced to close or go out of business as a result.  I then got right to the point with him with my next question:  “Do you think that this whole COVID pandemic, and the terrible lockdown that followed, was just another sick stunt engineered by the super-rich to ruthlessly grab more money and power for themselves?”  My friend didn’t offer any verbal reply, but merely chuckled loudly.

I must admit that I have my gripes about the mainstream media, which many have dubbed as “the lamestream media” – and that one of them concerns their handling of various disasters, like hurricanes, terrorist attacks, etc…  I remember Hurricane Katrina, for example; the moment it hit New Orleans, there was nonstop coverage of nothing but Katrina on all the major news networks, and all other programming was canceled.  The same scenes of the flooded streets of New Orleans, with the people wading in the water, or getting around in boats, the same helicopter rescue operations and shots of bloated, waterlogged bodies, ad nauseam.  And this doesn’t seem to be an exclusively American phenomenon, either:  I remember the BBC’s coverage of a terrorist bomb attack in London while I was living in Romania; what aired was the same old tired footage of a bomb damaged car being loaded onto the back of a tow truck, again and again, ad infinitum, with all regular programming being cancelled.  Perhaps the main message that the mainstream / lamestream media wants to communicate to us is this: You gotta be afraid!

Biochemical Individuality and the COVID Pandemic

From what I have seen, the COVID 19 virus, and people’s reactions to it, vary – and vary widely.  On the one hand, I don’t deny that this virus has been very serious, even fatal, for a great number of people.  And here again, squaring off what is reported in the evening news with what I have seen and heard personally, the reactions to the COVID virus – and then the COVID vaccine – have been many and varied, and literally all over the map.  The general rule of thumb has been that those who are older, as well as those whose immune systems have been compromised by various chronic diseases or co-morbidities, are those who are at greatest risk of having a serious or even fatal case of COVID 19.  Yet, during the January 6 attack on our nation’s capitol, a 72 year old congresswoman who was a breast cancer survivor got infected with COVID and tested positive, but she reported only relatively light, flu-like symptoms.  And being vaccinated, it turns out, does not prevent you from catching the COVID virus:  During the recent exodus of Democratic legislators from the state legislature in Texas to Washington DC in order to prevent a quorum on a bill that would have severely restricted voting rights, a couple of these visiting lawmakers, who had been fully vaccinated, were tested for COVID, and tested positive.  And this was also reported on the evening news.  What?  The COVID vaccine doesn’t prevent you from catching COVID?  Apparently, it doesn’t, although hopefully, it reduces mortality rates.

Shifting back again to the world of my own personal experience, the reactions of my various friends and acquaintances to the COVID virus, as well as to the vaccine, have varied widely, and are all over the map.  I had one friend, for example, who got infected with COVID and had troubling respiratory symptoms, but through timely medical intervention, he survived.  But then, when the vaccine became available, he took it, and got a severe outbreak of an inflammatory skin rash as a result.  As far as I can surmise, in his case, his immune system did what it was supposed to do during his initial COVID infection, and vigorously produced antibodies to fight the virus – which he was able to overcome, by the way.  But then, when he got vaccinated, the COVID antibodies that were artificially injected into his bloodstream clashed with the antibodies that his immune system had already produced, which resulted in the inflammatory skin rash.  Yet another friend of mine told me that he had gotten infected with COVID, and had almost died from it; yet he went on to get the vaccine, and had no adverse reactions from it.

So, what can I conclude from all this except that the way that individuals, and their immune systems, react to both the COVID virus as well as the COVID vaccine can vary greatly?  This is the phenomenon of Biochemical Individuality, which the classical Greek Medicine of Hippocrates codified into the Four Temperaments, or basic bodymind types.  My first friend, quite frankly, had a predominantly Choleric temperament, and an immune system that reacts quite exuberantly to pathogenic factors, favoring fiery febrile and inflammatory reactions.  My other friend, it seems, had more of the watery, sluggish Phlegmatic temperament in his overall constitutional makeup, which was, at any rate, much more mixed than that of my first friend.  So accordingly, he was spared the severe inflammatory reaction that my first friend had.  Different strokes, and clinical outcomes, for different folks.

In my musings on the COVID virus, and how widely people’s reactions to it can vary, the analogy to an allergy readily presents itself.  In other words, those who are very vulnerable to the deleterious effects of COVID 19 could be likened to those who have an allergy towards a certain food or substance.  Well, yeah, you may say, but isn’t that rather trifling and dismissive of the seriousness of the COVID virus to compare it with – of all things – a mere allergy?  However, I must remind you that the nature, and the severity, of allergic reactions can vary just as widely as people’s reactions to the COVID virus can vary – and of course, severe allergic reactions can be fatal.  It is a known fact that many people who catch COVID can be asymptomatic, or develop only relatively light symptoms that could be mistaken for those of a cold or the flu.  And of course, the numbers of official COVID cases that were up on the TV screen every night were only of those who went out and got tested – and tested positive.  How many light or asymptomatic cases of COVID have fallen under the official radar?  The COVID virus could be much more widespread than we are willing to admit, and with a greater population of infected people, the mortality rate, percentage-wise, also goes down.

So – what the heck are we doing forcing everyone to accept a single, straightjacket, one-size-fits-all approach to managing this pandemic when the truth is that people’s individual reactions to the COVID virus, and its vaccine, can vary so widely?  I’m sure that that’s the big question that Hippocrates, the Father of Greek Medicine, must be asking himself right now as he looks down on us all from a better place; truly, he must be rolling over in his grave.  People’s organisms, and their immune systems, vary widely as to how they react to any given pathogenic factor, including the COVID virus.  The biggest battle zones of the human organism, immunologically speaking, are those of the respiratory and digestive tracts, which are the most open and vulnerable to the influx of exogenous pathogenic factors.  COVID is a virus that mainly attacks the respiratory system, and through it the heart, circulation and what Greek Medicine would call the Vital Faculty, which governs the vitalization and oxygenation of the Blood or Sanguine Humor.  As for me and my immune system, the digestive tract has been my personal karmic weak spot, with my respiratory tract quite strong and resilient; all my life, I have used my lungs to great advantage as a singer and a flutist.  But that’s just me – you may be different.

Modern Vaccination versus Traditional Therapies for Managing Respiratory Infections

Why is the vaccine solution – or seeming solution – to the COVID pandemic being pushed so heavily by the modern medical establishment?  The full answer to this question requires a study into the history of medicine, and the path that modern medicine chose in the nineteenth century as their preferred method of choice for handling infectious diseases, which is that of immunization, or vaccination.  Briefly put, the two opposing characters who squared off in this choice or decision were Louis Pasteur, one of the heroes of modern medicine, with his germ theory of disease, versus Dr. Beauchamp, who emphasized the importance of host immunity, or the biological terrain, in overcoming infection.  It seems as if Louis Pasteur was the most savvy and successful in the marketing of his ideas and theories, and he was able to convince the medical establishment of his day that invading germs or microbes were the primary agents or causes of disease – with the host organism, and its biological terrain and immunity, being forced into the background as simply a passive receptacle or battleground for the fight against invading microbes with antibiotics – and vaccines.  There was also a prominent marketing angle to this approach: For every new threatening microbe that made its appearance, a new drug or vaccine could be developed and marketed to doctors and the medical consumer.

To sum up things so far, Pasteur and his germ theory emphasized the pathogenic microbe as the primary causative factor in infectious disease; conversely, the immunity and biological terrain of the host organism was shoved into the background, and all too often viewed mainly as the passive battleground on which the war against microbes with specific inhibitory drugs and vaccines was fought.  Beauchamp’s model saw the host organism and its immunity as being an active agent, and ultimately the deciding factor in this battle.  After a lifetime of unprecedented success in marketing his ideas to the medical establishment, Louis Pasteur is said to have proclaimed on his deathbed: “Beauchamp was right!” – but that’s a story for another day.  Far from being a passive receptacle, host immunity is always active, and reacting to all changes in the external and internal environment of the organism.  And traditional Greek Medicine sees the physician’s role as being primarily that of a servant and facilitator of Mother Nature, and the immune system that She endowed us all with, in its fight against infection and disease.

Although there has been a lot of sensationalism raised by those who have been rabidly opposed to vaccines, my main problem with vaccination is this:  Vaccination is a highly artificial and invasive way of stimulating the immune system and provoking an immune response, which bypasses all the natural protective immune defenses of the organism.  Now – rather than trying to unnaturally bypass all these natural, protective immune defenses of the host organism, wouldn’t it be better to try to utilize them constructively in the fight against respiratory disease and infection?  That, in a nutshell, has been the main approach of Greek Medicine, as well as most other traditional healing systems throughout the world; in other words, provoke or stimulate these natural protective and cleansing reactions of the organism in a smart and timely manner to aid in the fight against respiratory infections, including, but not limited to, COVID.  Please note that I am NOT touting this approach as a cure or panacea for COVID, or any other serious respiratory infection, for that matter; they are simply valuable tools or weapons in the toolbox of therapeutic modalities used.

What are the main protective immune responses of the host organism that are utilized or provoked by the traditional healer in the fight against respiratory infections?  They include the following: sweating to break or disperse a fever; expectoration to help the lungs and respiratory tract expel excess phlegm congestion; antitussives to calm or pacify excessive coughing and to aid in keeping the vital airways open; anti-inflammatories to reduce or modulate inflammatory responses in a beneficial and constructive manner; antivirals and antimicrobials to inhibit the growth of viruses and other pathological microbes; immuno-stimulants to bolster the host immunity; and adaptogens to enhance host vitality and the immune response.  And the main therapeutic agents for provoking these beneficial cleansing and healing reactions in the organism have traditionally been medicinal herbs, with their innate biological intelligence.  Frankly speaking, it is a shame that the natural way of provoking and utilizing these protective immune responses of the organism are not more widely known and accepted by the American mainstream.  COVID would not be quite the killer it has become known to be if these natural therapies were more appreciated, accepted and used, I feel.  And all this in addition to the general stimulation of immunity as a preventive measure to ward off disease.

Of all the vital organ systems of the human organism, the immune system is definitely one of the most complex and multifaceted; it has even been postulated that there is virtually no part of the body that is not a part of the immune system, which is one of the most subtle and pervasive organ systems of the body, in some way.  Reaching deep down into the bloodstream, which could be seen as the vital core of the immune system, to artificially introduce antibodies and immune factors could be likened to trying to penetrate a very complex and sophisticated alarm or security system, or to reach deep into the foundation of a complex building or edifice to rearrange it without upsetting or compromising the overall viability or stability of the whole structure.  Vaccine technology, it seems, has been advanced and refined to the point at which a large number of people, or even the majority, are fine with it, but when you are dealing with a system that is so subtle and sophisticated, there are bound to be certain individuals in whom the delicate balance of Nature, which is the human organism, is upset or disordered in a major or significant way that can be quite debilitating.  Again, each individual human organism is unique, due to a multitude of factors and conditions, some constitutional and some acquired.

COVID on Both Sides of the Border – and Merry Christmas!

The COVID pandemic has been a global phenomenon; in other words, many different countries have had to respond to the public health threat that the novel Corona virus posed, and each country has had to wage its own battle against the disease.  In addition to infecting many different individuals, it could be said that the COVID virus has also infected nations and their body politic, with each country responding in their own way, according to the particulars of their own society and culture.  In the United States, the COVID pandemic was badly mismanaged in its initial stages by then president Donald Trump – and the initial stages of a pandemic, if they are handled well, and managed quickly and decisively, can stave off a lot of suffering and death further down the road.  But the initial stages were mismanaged, things got out of control, and there was the ensuing draconian lockdown as a result.  And Mexican president AMLO’s handling of the pandemic wasn’t much better than Donald Trump’s, and the pandemic got a lot worse than it could have been.  But in both Mexico and the United States, there is a high level of individualism within society, and the masses are loathe to adopt restrictive, regimented measures that curtail their individual liberties to any significant degree.

The COVID pandemic could be subdivided into two parts: pre-vaccine and post-vaccine.  I spent the pre-vaccine, initial lockdown phase of the pandemic living mainly in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the United States; I have spent the majority of the post-vaccine period of the pandemic so far in central Mexico.  Then, at the end of July this year, I returned to the United States, to southern California, because an old and trusted mechanic friend of mine had found me a new used car to purchase, which gave me a set of wheels, which is pretty much essential for doing anything north of the border.  After I got my car, one of the first things I did was to take a long road trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota, which I have always wanted to visit, due to my fascination with Native American culture and spirituality.  On the way, I planned to visit an old lady friend of mine in Santa Fe; in fact, she had invited me personally to a home cooked dinner at her place, an invitation that I gladly accepted.  I was really looking forward to dining with her, but in our phone conversations to set up the dinner, I revealed to her that I was unvaccinated – when she found that out, she dropped me like a hot potato!

There she was, age sixty but basically healthy and fit; she had also been fully vaccinated, and had all the immune protection against COVID that the medical establishment could offer her.  When I was her housemate in Santa Fe in the pre-vaccine era, she and I got along just great.  There she was, fully protected, but still some kind of irrational paranoia had taken hold of her, souring what had formerly been, just a few short months ago, a great and happy relationship.  But I had been warned of this when I visited my dentist in Ciudad Juarez, across the Texas border from El Paso, for a checkup on my way back to southern California.  Another patient of my dentist had warned me that a big pitched battle was shaping up over vaccination – and in the body politic of the United States, the battle lines were drawn between Democrats, who were big vaccination advocates, and pushing for universal vaccination, and Republicans, who were much more resistant to vaccination, and much more inclined to view it as big government over-reach and the denial of medical free choice.  He himself fell more on the Republican side of the big vaccination divide, and was afraid that the Democrats, led by their new president, Joe Biden, would be sending their Gestapo shock troops to his door to raid his house, or the like.

When I got back to southern California, I found that my best friend and new landlord, who was the owner of a local health food store and vegetarian café, was also unvaccinated like myself; when I asked him his reason for refusing to be vaccinated, he merely said that he was fearful of the possible deleterious long term repercussions of the vaccine on his health.  I also met again, after several years away from southern California, a Hungarian organist friend with whom I used to give Pan Flute concerts at his church.  Personally, he was more on the Republican / libertarian side of the divide; he told me that if it had been strictly up to him, that he wouldn’t have gotten vaccinated, but the church at which he worked demanded COVID vaccination as a condition of employment – so what could he do?  And on the news, there was President Biden, enacting tougher and tougher vaccination regulations, mainly by making vaccination mandatory for all federal employees, and similar measures.  And as I experienced with my lady friend, it seemed as if the COVID vaccine had actually done nothing to allay people’s fear of getting the disease; in fact, it seems to be driving a deep wedge into our body politic as quite a touchy, hot-button issue, further dividing and polarizing the nation, and alienating us from each other.

Back in Mexico, things had not been nearly as tense and polarized as they were in the United States regarding the COVID vaccine; you can chalk that up to the more relaxed and laid back attitude and lifestyle of Mexican society and culture, but it also seems that they may have more respect for individual liberties and freedom of choice in personal and medical matters.  I hate to have to say it, but there seems to be something in the gringo mentality that is much more prone to jingoism and a strict, regimented approach to things, in spite of our public posturing as a nation that treasures freedom and liberty.  The local cowboy types in the Black Hills of South Dakota when I visited there wore their “don’t tread on me” libertarian attitude on the cuff, led on by their Trump-supporting governor, but in the more liberal, Democratic parts of the country where I usually hang out, vaccination is very much favored.  Another memorable sign I saw in my travels through rural America this summer was against wearing masks; it proclaimed, “Get your ideology off of my face!”

But in Mexico, people seemed to be a lot more accepting and supportive of individual discretion and free choice when it came to matters like vaccination; certainly, I was not aware of any actual or impending vaccination mandates in Mexico like there were north of the border.  Both of the brothers who ran the hostel at which I stayed had gotten vaccinated, and one of them confided to me that frankly, he had done so because he was quite scared of catching COVID and dying from it – and there are probably lots of others in Mexico who are in the same boat as him.  Yet, when I went down the hill to the local chocolate store, the sales lady there told me quite frankly that she wasn’t vaccinated, and didn’t want to get vaccinated, either; she told me that her cousin had gotten vaccinated, but had gotten severe headaches as a result.  Her fiancé, who was a staunch believer in modern medicine, she told me, was strongly urging her to get vaccinated, but she made it clear to me that she would continue to stand her ground, even against her betrothed.  Public opinion about COVID vaccination in Mexico, it seems, is as diverse as it is in the United States, but the big difference seems to be that down there, it is not such a politically polarizing issue, but more of a personal choice.

Here, back up north of the border, I have joked with my landlord that when it comes to COVID vaccination, one should adopt a policy that was similar to the one that former President Clinton adopted when it came to gays serving in the military: Don’t ask, don’t tell.  That’s how touchy of an issue COVID vaccination is up here.  I went on Facebook a couple of months back and received a message from my old landlady in Bucharest, Romania:  “I don’t care what they say; I’m not getting vaccinated,” she told me.  So, there are others who think like me and my landlord, probably in many different countries around the world.  The other day, with Christmas rapidly approaching, a massage therapist friend of mine who frequents the health food store showed me something outrageously funny on his phone feed.  It was a picture of spherical Christmas tree ornaments floating in mid-air in the shape of a Christmas tree, but with the central Christmas tree missing.  The caption below it read:  This is a Christmas tree for the unvaccinated – full of balls, but with no needles!