As as scientist and a front-line worker (EMS), I too am completely tired of the half-truths and flat out misinformation being spread. Even more tired of the people who "have questions" but when answered, demonstrate that they absolutely don't have "questions" but positions and use said questions to passive-agressively dismiss the mainstream science/thought.
That said, here's my thoughts/advice on the various topics. All based on the latest understanding/consensus of the scientific evidence. If you have questions, I'll answer them, but I'm not going to debate - you want to go about life unmasked, unvaxxed, partying and believing you are invincible...well, go with God.
MASKS ABSOLUTELY WORK. Period.
Short version: Masks are like condoms. They work very well when used EVERY TIME and PROPERLY. Don't wear it once - and it only takes once - and you can get COVID (or pregnant).
I'm a materials scientist/chemist who spent 5 years of my professional life developing filtration media, including N95/100 level materials. (It was hilarious when I had friends of friends tell me I didn't know how masks work and that they were useless)
Mask efficiency is cloth < surgical < N95 < N100. Only N95/100 are useful for providing complete protection for the wearer. All others are better than nothing, but do provide significant trapping of virus when worn by a sick person.
Contracting COVID (or any disease) is about viral load. Everyone has a threshold, and once that is exceeded, you'll get sick. Viral load is a combination of dose (cough in your face vs in the room) and time of exposure (one cough or two? 5 min or an hour?) The point of a mask is to lower the viral load you are exposed to by either minimizing the dose or extending the exposure time needed (or both).
Just because you wore a mask six and a half days a week, but not on that one trip into the gas station - still means you can get COVID.
I was in the Pfizer trial. I'm triply vaxxed. They work.
That said, they are clearly less effective at PREVENTING DISEASE from the variants due to the mutations that the virus has undergone, but they are still very effective at preventing serious illness (hospitalizations/death). The exceptions are for those who are already weakened due to chronic illness (the comorbities) and/or age.
"Natural immunity" - Yes, you get some protection, but what you don't know - and can never know - is what the level of immune response you got based on the viral load you were exposed to. The greater the viral load, the greater response.
But guess what? If you got the same viral load dose as is simulated by the vaccine, you'd probably be dead. Or at least spent a few weeks on a vent.
There are very few SERIOUS side effects that have been reported (feeling like crap isn't a "serious" side effect) - like less than 1 in a million; and even fewer deaths. Any claims that there are vast numbers of people dying from the vaccine is BS.
The only treatments that (mostly/sort of) work are remdesvir, dexamethasone, monoclonal antibodies and some anti-viral drugs.
The ones that don't work: Hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, urine...and any other snake oils being peddled by "doctors" that claim 95% (or 100%!) effectiveness. News flash: No drug is 100% effective at treating disease; even aspirin isn't 100% effective at treating headaches.
For those that think (peddle - looking at a certain governor) that the vaccines are dangerous because they "don't know what's in them," or that "they are too new, on an 'emergency use authorization'," but think MCAs are the cure all...well, that's the very definition of intellectual dishonesty (or just willful ignorance).
Here's pro-tip: Preventing disease is always easier, less costly and much preferred to actually getting sick and treating said disease. Get vaccinated.
General Science/State of Knowledge
Vaccinated people still get covid, so what's the point?
This statement drives me nuts. So much ignorance all rolled into one statement.
First of all, the number vaccinated people getting sick, going to the hospital, dying - whatever measurement you want to use - are significantly LESS than the unvaccinated. Best estimates are about 75% of people getting sick are unvaxxed, 90-95% in the hospital are unvaxxed, and dying are 98+% vaxxed.
Finally, the "why bother"...Really? Do you play in traffic on an interstate as well? Do you just do 100mph on local streets without a seat belt because...well, people die in car accidents, why bother?
COVID is overblown
Almost a 1M extra deaths. Hospitals jammed packed with the sick. ER wait time of 4-6 hours for COPD patients. STEMI (heart attack patients) placed in a hall way...
All because COVID is tearing through and causing nurse, doctor attrition because people can't get vaxxed, wear a mask, don't crowd into bars...
Yeah, COVID is overblown....Get the fuck out of here with that.
I don't know who to believe...It's all become politicized
Listen to the people who have been treating disease their entire lives AND are in line with the mainstream. If you have have to search the recesses of the internet to find someone that says something you REALLY agree with - or it from a politician that says "the scientists don't know what they are talking about" - then it's YOU who are politicizing it. YOU are part of the problem.
Also, if YOU are going to question the consensus views, YOU better have impeccable credentials. You better be a scientist or a doctor who has significant experience with statistics, doing research studies. And THEN - you better not be selling something, or just being contrarian (with the goal of getting speaking gigs). If you are an MBA (or worse), and think your "research" that you read on the internet is better than the people who do this for a living and have done it for 20+ years, please, do the world a favor and STFU.
Last thought: The EMTs/paramedics in the field and the nurses, doctors in the ERs, ICUs, COVID wards have been real heroes in this. But they are tired of hearing from patients the bullshit they are hearing on FoxNews or the internet, but completely dismiss our knowledge. All while telling us they don't have COVID and it's a conspiracy - when they are struggling to breath, burning up and coughing.