Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Dissecting the Dr. Dan Stock Video

One of the saddest parts of the pandemic is the number of trained physicians that have divorced themselves from their training and exploit their credibility to motivate action on an agenda. In my study of the social dynamics of the pandemic I'm finding more and more physicians that promote politically acceptable views of their community over published science. 

As I continue to gently persuade and address concerns in social media I frequently get a video or podcast thrown at me.

"Well what do you say about THIS, plant scientist!" they say. 

The assertion is that just because someone completed medical school (or maybe didn't lots of folks call themselves "doctor" and do not fulfill accredited training) they have some special forcefield of infallibility. 

But they are fallible, and dangerous. The credibility of the title matters, and is being wielded at local events and school board meetings to influence critical public health decisions. 


Indiana sort of health guy Dr. Dan Stock misinforms a school board about COVID19 and it takes a plant molecular biologist to sort it out. 

One video I was sent by FOUR separate people is at the Mt. Vernon, Indiana school board meeting.  A guy dressed like John Boy Walton introduces himself as Dr. Dan Stock, expert in "functional medicine". 

Red flag #1.  "Functional medicine" is a red flag tagging dubious alternative medical practices like reiki and energy field manipulation. Most of the disciplines used are bogus, unlike I guess non-functional medicine, the stuff that works. 

The evidence presented was a Gish Gallop of false claims, starting with the Indiana Board of Health and the CDC fail to "read the science". Then he says, "everything recommended by the CDC is contrary to science."  

The CDC is operating contrary to science. Riiiiiiiight. 

The first time I watched it to 45 seconds when he claimed masks don't work. After the second person to send it to me wanted an analysis, I went through the whole thing, painfully. 

Here we go: 

Claim 1.  "all respiratory viruses are spread by aerosol particles which are small enough to go through every mask"

Fact- viral particles are highest in the fine particles that come from deep in the lungs.  They are smaller than 5 um and most projected from taking, singing, yelling (Coleman et al., 2021). These are significantly attenuated by an N95 mask and even a basic surgical facial covering (Leung et al., 2020). 

Claim 2.  Respiratory viruses time infection for the "immune system to get sick through the winter"

Fact- This makes zero sense. His contention is that the virus is always there, human immunity drops and then it takes over. There is substantial evidence against that, namely the huge spike we're seeing the USA now. And the huge spike during our winter, but in Brazil, where it is their summer. There are seasonal variations in some respiratory viruses, but they are due to other factors, mostly people concentrating indoors. 

Claim 3.  Vaccines make your immune system "deranged...  cause symptomatic disease"

Fact-- the vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective.  There are rare cases of myocarditis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (a specific clotting in the brain), along with anaphylaxis reported.  However, the fact that these are identified as a handful of doses in 160,000,000 vaccines shows that the vaccine is safe and that the side effects are being carefully monitored.  


Claim 4.  Vaccines can't work because the virus is in "animal reservoirs" and goes on to name a number of other viruses, like influenza. 

Fact- Flu and SARS-CoV2 are very different viruses. Influenza viruses undergo genomic shuffling to vary their genetics and presentation to the immune system. While SARS-CoV2 variants exist, they are slow to emerge and evade vaccines, which work quite well and were very effective against the original variants. He talks about respiratory scintitial virus (RSV) as being zoonotic, when there is no evidence for that. 

Claim 5.  Vaccines "go wrong" because of antibody dependent enhancement, "worse than it (infection) would be if fully vaccinated".  He mentions the incidence of COVID19 among the highly vaccinated Provincetown outbreak. (Draws applause)

Fact-  The folks in Provincetown were 99% vaccinated, so almost all cases (we know the vaccine isn't 100% effective) will be in vaccinated people.  If everyone is wearing red shoes, the odds are that everyone with COVID19 will be wearing red shoes. 

There is also ZERO evidence of antibody dependent enhancement (ADE) with respect to SARS-CoV2, the phenomenon where vaccination leads to worse symptoms upon actual infection. It is a real problem with some vaccinations, like the early versions of Respiratory Scintitial Virus (RSV) vaccine.  It has never been an issue with others, like measles. Clearly the least vaccinated counties have the highest incidence of symptoms/disease, the exact opposite of if there was ADE. 

Claim 6 - "No vaccine prevents you from getting infection"

Fact - not true. HPV works great. Well established. 

Claim 7 - "vitamin D, ivermectin and zinc, not a single person that has come near the hospital" 

Fact-  he treated 15 people. Odds are that out of 15 infections most are unlikely to need hospitalization. I wonder how many of his untreated control group were hospitalized?  Oh, he didn't have one. What dose did he use?  How did he determine it was safe and effective at that dose? He just took a wild-ass guess.  There are no clinical good clinical data on ivermectin and zinc for COVID19, so he's doing his own experiment on his patients based on beliefs, taking a guess at levels needed to treat a novel virus.  Ethical?  

Claim 8 - "patients that recover from COVID19 have no benefit from vaccination." 

Fact-  the CDC has looked at this (Cavanaugh et al, 2021) and there is significant reductions in reinfection after vaccination following natural infection. 

Claim 9 - "suffer 2-4 x  side effects if vaccinated" 

Fact - There is no evidence to support this. 

He then says that the board is wrong because they aren't scientists and listen to the NIH, CDC and Indiana Board of Health... but then says that he should "listen to the people in the audience" as the average person in rural Indiana is certainly a better source of infectious disease information than our nation's infectious disease brain trust. 

He then offers to be an expert for free if they are sued.  (Applause)

The bottom line is that Dr. Dan Stock is making unfounded assertions that placate the political rejection of science resident in his community.  While a school board has a responsibility to protect the health of children, the community will follow guidance that fits their beliefs, even if it is wrong. 

Dr. Dan Stock just used his authority to affirm their beliefs, beliefs that vaccines don't work, masks don't work, and that the virus is treatable with bogus nostrums. 

First, do no harm Dr. Stock.  First do no harm

This is dangerous, and explains why his community will soon be a twisted little red pixel on the Indiana map, suffering from the spread of a completely preventable pathogen.  When licensed physicians deceive the community they serve, shouldn't there be some repercussion?  

I guess if they want to be deceived he's in the right place.