Aimee Stephenson: Pandemic pushback – Vermonters should speak up now before it’s too late

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Aimee Stephenson, of Burlington. She has a doctorate in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from the University of Vermont.

As Vermont begins to re-open, I am hopeful to see more of my friends beginning to relax. Fear is a funny thing. Similar to our perceptions of risk and safety, fear is deeply personal. Getting over fear and moving toward a feeling of safety again is something each individual must reconcile within. But what will help us along the path to getting over our fears? For me, there are three things I find helpful. The first is learning more and gathering additional information to rationally and logically assess a situation. The second is knowing I am not alone in the conclusions I draw. The third is doing something with these ideas, which usually entails communicating with others. That is what I am attempting here.

Although it was only a few months ago, it seems like a different world when our political leaders justified their executive orders with phrases like “flatten the curve” and “abundance of caution?” Armed with only erroneous models and absolutely no real data, they declared a state of emergency to grant themselves enormous power with incredible latitude to exercise it. They claimed a “data-based approach,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Even now, with their models disproven, there is little attention given to the data we actually have from the pandemic. If our political leaders are earnestly taking a “data-based approach,” then why is it OK to ignore this data, and in doing so subject us to irrational and absurd precautionary measures that continue to strangle the economy and demoralize society?

Wikimedia Commons

Across the board, regardless of age, 93% of all COVID-19 deaths have been in individuals with an average of 2.5 pre-existing medical conditions. This is an incredibly telling statistic.

So what is the real data from the pandemic telling us? As tragic as the situations were in New York and Italy, we now know that 70%–80% of COVID-19 deaths occur among those over 70. This same data also confirms that the risk of death for the population under 50 years of age is close to zero. Yes, I am very aware there are some heart-wrenching stories about younger individuals succumbing to COVID-19, but these cases are extremely rare.

The stark reality is that across the board, regardless of age, 93% of all COVID-19 deaths have been in individuals with an average of 2.5 pre-existing medical conditions. This is an incredibly telling statistic. Even with the older population, deaths are predominantly among those who are quite sick already, or at the very least, those who cannot be deemed healthy. If you are under 50 without health issues, you do not need to worry about the coronavirus any more than you worry about getting in in your car every day.

Yet the media and our political leaders would have you believe the opposite — not only is infection both imminent and probable, but if infected, death is almost a certainty. We have the data now to know this is an extremely unlikely scenario for the 71% of Vermonters who are 50 or under. While it is not clear how many Vermonters have pre-existing medical conditions, it is probably safe to assume many are healthy and would be unlikely to die from COVID-19.

There is a whole other side of data from the pandemic that relates, not to COVID-19, but to the economy and society. The unemployment rate has skyrocketed higher than it has been in nearly 100 years, millions of Americans are struggling financially, businesses of all kinds are at risk of closing, and our personal freedoms have been taken away and are severely threatened moving forward. We are at the mercy of a very small number of people hoarding enormous power, and as a result of their policies, suicide and child molestation rates are on the rise. And unlike COVID-19, the economic and societal fallout from the pandemic is both universal and pervasive. No one, not even the very rich, have been able to escape these impacts.

What’s even more horrifying is how little some around me seem to care about what we have lost and the real damages we have suffered as a result of the incredibly disproportionate and inappropriate reaction to the pandemic. I’m astounded by the complacency, and even more so, the willing submission in the hopes that the government will protect us from the coronavirus. Our government can no more protect us from an airborne illness than they could protect us from Hurricane Irene. Vermonters need to realize it is not the virus we need protection from but our own government. The evidence and despair are all around us on a daily basis, and no mask or 6-foot rule will save us from these policies.

Perhaps my situation is incredibly rare, but I don’t know a single individual who has had COVID, much less died from it. But I can say that 100% of my friends, co-workers and acquaintances have been impacted, some staggeringly so, by the economic fallout of the government edicts we are living under. Pointing to the incredible inequality in this country made starkly worse by the pandemic, Margaret Atwood recently warned that a “French Revolution” scenario is inevitable if the American political system does not change. Well I, for one, feel the proverbial heads should roll. Are there other rational and logical Vermonters who feel the same? We need to stand together and make our voices heard by the very few who are currently micromanaging our lives with what seems like an endless stream of dictatorial executive orders and addendums.

Your voice is urgently needed now so we don’t go any further down the “abundance of caution” rabbit hole. The re-opening restrictions are so severe, it’ll be a wonder if businesses of all kinds survive this unnecessary prolonging of the crisis. I am also appalled by the changes being discussed for schools in the fall, all in the name of “accommodating COVID-19 safety precautions.” School in shifts or entirely online, insisting kids wear masks, keeping desks 6 feet apart? These are completely absurd, irrational and pointless guidelines. And lest us not forget, before it is too late, that these are currently “guidelines,” not outright laws. I fear legislation is right around the corner. Now is the time to speak up.

While I am hopeful my friends are relaxing, I am even more hopeful to see many of them shift toward anger and indignation over the current situation. More and more they are realizing there is little to fear about COVID-19, but there is a lot to be angry about. Our political leaders have perversely taken advantage of the power provided through “state of emergency” statutes. If anything productive comes out of this crisis, let’s hope it is a reform of these laws. Governors in other states are being sued over their stay-at-home orders, and many are losing — look at Wisconsin. Whether our political leaders honestly believe they are protecting Vermonters, or their egos are too big to admit their mistakes, they have painted themselves into a corner and this whole situation is an atrocity. The media and the political class are the ones we truly need to fear and the ones we need to protect ourselves from.

Images courtesy of Public domain and Wikimedia Commons

34 thoughts on “Aimee Stephenson: Pandemic pushback – Vermonters should speak up now before it’s too late

  1. I agree with Mike on addressing this chest thumping “I am independent and I am invulnerable” BS. What about those of us who are in the 70-80% fatality group? You who still believe yourselves immortal and invincible and who will mingle merrily spreading this deadly contagion among yourselves will also provide safe harbor for the continuation of the likelihood of others contracting it and, for those of us over 70, the very real danger of dying from it. There have already been over 100,000 deaths from it, and if history serves us well, the more than likely possibility of a 2nd, deadlier wave is waiting like a gorilla doing push ups in the back yard waiting for its time to have at it. It’s a contagious disease people. Why give IT free reign? Can’t you curb you appetite for self-indulgence long enough to let this thing pass without trying to reseed it? If this was polio without vaccine would you still swim in the pool with everyone else, come what may?

    • We have a right to own opinion but not own facts. For an illness which is less prevalent w/fewer deaths than common cold or flu fearmongering histrionics ring hollow. What chest-thumping sir – strawman much.

      Could it be that there are ppl – author included – who have brains enough to recognize this as the fraudulent Constitution and Bill of Rights-destroying massive hoax that it is…an attack on the US – essentially an act of war and clearly at least a shot across the bow courtey of the Chinese Communist Party.

      Interestingly breaks down to another polarized partisan position w/the usual suspects – Democrat and other leftwing bullies demanding all obey their unending commandments – w/typical virtue-signaling empty platitudes such as selfishly declaring as ‘we do this for each other’ and other assorted piles of bs.

      If anyone wants to wear a mask *do it already* and kindly leave the sane normal ppl alone. Argument is now over. But oh no – thats too easy bc the bullies don’t want a solution but are control-freaks who demand everyone obey their foolishness. Nor wish to stand out for who they are. Such persons by their own logic of magic-mask myth – are ‘protected’ or protected if one prefers. And can avoid crowds, or stay home.

  2. Thank you for this Aimee! I was starting to lose hope in Vermont and then someone shared this on Facebook! I think it’s a great time for all like-minded folks, here in Vermont, to get organized and take Vermont back. We all seem to be scattered here and there but if we all had each other’s e mail and formed our own “Take Vermont Back” group, we could do things in unison and have a larger voice to those not willing to hear. My e-mail is in case anyone is interested in forming a “Take Vermont Back” e-mail list.

  3. What Aimee Stephenson is saying, whether she knows it or not, is that the First Shots Of The New Revolution Have Already Been Fired By The Government., and NOW IT IS UP TO VERMONTERS TO STOP THEM.
    There are too many, “liberals,” and people that are afraid because they have been taught to be afraid, that WILL NOT FIGHT BACK.

    • I hear you. I’m looking to leave this state. The only one running for governor who has any guts speaking up is John Klar and they are censoring him in the election. Vermont is completely corrupt.

  4. Aimee,
    I can’t tell you how much this article helped me today. I’m always up for fighting the good fight, but after weeks and weeks of this circus I was feeling defeated. Thank you for standing up and inspiring the rest of us who refuse to cower in fear.

    • This part has been my nightmare – turning independent Vermonters into sheep…..

      Mellisa writes, “What’s even more horrifying is how little some around me seem to care about what we have lost and the real damages we have suffered as a result of the incredibly disproportionate and inappropriate reaction to the pandemic. I’m astounded by the complacency, and even more so, the willing submission in the hopes that the government will protect us from the coronavirus.”

      I organized a pop-up memorial Day parade after authorities forbid the parade. My rebellion
      This goes way beyond a “panic” – it looks international – But Americans are becoming the best sheep.

      • That’s great you organized! We all need to be more organized and have each others e mails so that when this continues we send out an e mail to all to meet up and protest in numbers. Our group could be called “Take Vermont Back!”

    • Same here. I’m one of those Vermonters refusing to play along with the lie and I refuse to wear a mask. From the beginning of this scam I watched Del Bigtree (producer of “Vaxxed” and “The Doctors” tv show) of “The Highwire” on You Tube and he called out the padding of stats and the whole psy op being played out. I also watch Ron Paul of the Liberty Report who also has called this out from the beginning. What seems to be the problem is that too many are still listening to main stream media and those affiliates (VT Digger, NPR, Democracy Now) who follow the “script”. Even ‘Front Porch Forum’ is censored! I was told by FPF to fact check through “Snopes” and “Politifact”. That’s when I knew Vermont was done.

  5. Very well said what our Government has done is a fear campaign, they know that Fear = Control which what this is all about. Why did they put sick people in nursing homes that have no isolation ability? That is where the majority of deaths have occurred. What happens the next “FLU” season do we just shut down the world again. Many of the initial steps taken (flights from areas of high covid) and some of the social distancing. But from there it went crazy. Taking away your rights under a Governor’s order. Whats next we suspend the Constitution just because it sounds good. Enough is enough open up the economy before it is to late.

  6. Thank you, Aimee, for publishing my own thoughts. I have met this entire
    Covid shutdown idiocy with anger and indignation from the get-go, even though 2 relatives contracted it (and fully
    recovered). Well done. Hopefully your voice will spark some action.

  7. Other voices are speaking up:

    “Especially with regard to the, in our opinion, completely excessive measures to contain the ‘COVID-19 pandemic’, which, according to the findings of the renowned Prof. John Ioannidis, Stanford University, is comparable in its dangerousness, reflected in the ‘mortality rate’, with a viral flu caused by influenza viruses, our request to speak is more than necessary to reassure and educate the people in our respective countries.” Medical Professionals and Scientists for Health, Freedom and Democracy

  8. Thank you for this commentary.

    We have to face facts: this looks like a world-wide agenda to create fear and panic and then have whole populations assent to digital immunity passports, which can be subsequently linked to all types of digital information on individuals. Then a system of surveillance and control can be set up and dissenters can be tracked. Couple this with censorship, which is already emerging under the guise of “keeping us safe,” and violations of privacy and sanctions against those who don’t cooperate can quietly take place. Everything will be fine so long as all everyone does what they’re expected to do: tyranny.

    Conspiracy theory? All of this unwarranted fear and panic only makes sense if the purpose is to push us all toward that mythical vaccine that’ll save us. Then when your microchip tattoo imprint is scanned, which will be part of the requirement for your digital immunity certificate– this isn’t science fiction, the capabilities are already here– you’ll find that if you don’t have that vaccine, you won’t be able to get into airports, ball games, concerts, libraries, schools, restaurants– you name it.

    The real danger, the one just over the horizon from the unwarranted lockdown, is throwing out informed consent to these measures: the past has taught us well that once we throw out informed consent, good things never come of it. With the rapid advances in technology, we could be facing a world we can hardly imagine now.

    Informed consent to medical treatment should be sacred. Yet we’ve been pushed for years into removing that consent, and no doubt fear and panic further that agenda. This truly is my biggest fear and unless we say “no,” we’re heading into a world of mandatory medical treatment and surveillance (for our own good!) with frightening implications.

    I disagree with my friends who say this is about communism. I believe it’s more sinister than that: tyranny is an equal-opportunity scourge, and it’s fully capable of uniting the left and the right for “the good of us all.” To combat a terrible virus, for example, that’s supposedly going to kill everyone.

  9. This is what the judge said in his ruling about the governor of Illinois.

    Judge McHaney:
    “Before I rule, I’m advising everybody in this room, no public outbursts or displays. The court is still in session until you are told otherwise.

    Since the inception of this insanity, the following regulations, rules or consequences have occurred: I won’t get COVID if I get an abortion but I will get COVID if I get a colonoscopy. Selling pot is essential but selling goods and services at a family-owned business is not. Pot wasn’t even legal and pot dispensaries didn’t even exist in this state until five months ago and, in that five months, they have become essential but a family-owned business in existence for five generations is not.

    A family of six can pile in their car and drive to Carlyle Lake without contracting COVID but, if they all get in the same boat, they will. We are told that kids rarely contract the virus and sunlight kills it, but summer youth programs, sports programs are cancelled. Four people can drive to the golf course and not get COVID but, if they play in a foursome, they will. If I go to Walmart, I won’t get COVID but, if I go to church, I will. Murderers are released from custody while small business owners are threatened with arrest if they have the audacity to attempt to feed their families.

    These are just a few of examples of rules, regulations and consequences that are arbitrary, capricious, and completely devoid of anything even remotely approaching common sense.

    State’s attorneys in this state, county sheriffs, mayors, city councils and county boards have openly and publicly defied these orders followed by threats to withhold funding and revocation of necessary licenses and certifications unless you obey.

    Our economy is shut down because of a flu virus with a 98 percent-plus survival rate. Doctors and experts say different things weekly. The defendant cites models in his opposition. The only thing experts will agree on is that all models are wrong and some are useful. The Centers for Disease Control now says the virus is not easily spread on surfaces.

    The defendant in this case orders you to stay home and pronounces that, if you leave the state, you are putting people in danger, but his family members traveled to Florida and Wisconsin because he deems such travel essential. One initial rationale why the rules don’t apply to him is that his family farm had animals that needed fed. Try selling that argument to farmers who have had to slaughter their herds because of disruption in the supply chain.

    When laws do not apply to those who make them, people are not being governed, they are being ruled. Make no mistake, these executive orders are not laws. They are royal decrees. Illinois citizens are not being governed, they are being ruled. The last time I checked Illinois citizens are also Americans and Americans don’t get ruled. The last time a monarch tried to rule Americans, a shot was fired that was heard around the world. That day led to the birth of a nation consensually governed based upon a document which ensures that on this day in this, any American courtroom tyrannical despotism will always lose and liberty, freedom and the constitution will always win.”

    We need judges like this in Vermont. Our court system does need a boost.

  10. Mail-in voting has been on the Vermont Dem/Prog agenda for years.
    Here comes along a golden opportunity: THE OVERBLOWN VIRUS SCARE

    Interviewed Town Clerks, who prefer to remain anonymous, say, if there is fraud, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO KNOW IT.

    No wonder Condos has been saying there is no fraud.
    He does not know, and neither do the Town Clerks.
    Only the most egregious fraud cases end up in court.

    Requiring recent PHOTO IDs, etc., is not voter suppression.

    TSA and airlines require a photo ID before they check you in, and allow you on board.
    Voting is far more important than taking an airline trip.

    Part of the PAPER TRAIL is not just the ballot, but also the copies of valid/up-to-date documents on file at Town Clerk’s offices, such as: 1) a Photo ID, and 2) Copy of Citizen Papers (which likely have an old photograph), and/or 3) Birth Certificate


  11. How does this happen? Aimee Stephenson’s commentary seems to address a different planet than the one I hear reported on National Public Radio and its affiliates VPR and VTDigger. It’s one thing to understand the balanced opinion of reason. Another, entirely, to be barraged daily by the often-misleading gloom and doom of NPR and its over 1000 taxpayer subsidized affiliate radio stations and digital news media outlets across the nation.

    While Covid-19 is the specific concern today, that “Our political leaders have perversely taken advantage of the power provided through “state of emergency” statutes”, propagandized by the largest radio network in the country and its VTDigger collaborators, should be a greater worry. At the very least, the non-profit status of these so-called non-commercial communication empires should be eliminated.

  12. I’ve never seen so many child-like, brainwashed adults, begging their daddy-o to keep them locked home until it is safe to come out. It’s incredibly pathetic and makes me worry about our future as humans on so many levels. Still worse though is that we’ve been lied to endlessly on this virus and it just baffles me that folks cannot see that there is a much bigger agenda here playing out.

    • Every year we shutdown the United States and Vermont for the Flo season because the normal flu season kills more people than the Chi Comm Wu flu the insanity continues this is where we are headed.

  13. Finally, an erudite voice for sanity.

    This whole virus brouhaha is grossly overdone.

    Bureaucrats are over regulating for CYA purposes.

    I am surprised a race car driver, our governor, is not displaying more sanity, daring, and realism.

    The Media is having a field day “proving” its relevancy, whereas, in fact, it is making things worse by spreading, instigating, inventing fear out of nothing.

    The world will not come to an end, if we do not have indiscriminate mail-in voting, which some self-serving bureaucrats and legislators are advocating, come hell or high water.

    In Vermont, the virus is a non-event, a minor hick- up, but Lord, oh Lord, damnation is coming, if you don’t wear a mask and keep your distance.

    Other states are reducing the size and budget of government, but not a peep about that in Vermont.

    In fact, increases in taxes are coming to further suck the well-off dry, levelize them to the common denominator, because they have had it too good for too long.

    As under Communism; the government owns/runs everything, everyone gets the same share, but the leaders get special treatment.

    It did not work in Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, etc., and it will not work in Vermont.

    • It makes everything unaffordable in a country, does that ring a bell for Vermonters?

  14. Amiee, I can only say thank you for speaking truthfully, it is so refreshing to hear your wisdom in a world consumed with fear and misinformation. We are combatting a structure of manipulation here and though it seems unorganized it is really very sophisticated. I became aware of it in 2017 when our local municipality was working with our regional planning commission to recertify our town plan.

    What I learned was astonishing, since then I have been trying to explain what I am seeing to anyone that will listen, but it is difficult to see or make people understand what has happened to the structure of our governance. Your article bring clarity and credibility to my mission of creating awareness.

    Thank you Again!

    • Based upon Aimee’s assessment, she certainly must be one healthy lady. Question – which bus will she select for tossing those less fortunate under it. Be interesting to note what percentage of Vermont’s population is over 50 or 60. The real problem in my view is that too many folks believe they will never get the virus. It’s always going to be someone else. Read this morning that the second wave, yes I stated SECOND wave, coming in the fall will be far more devastating and will spread considerably faster than the first. We’ll see.

      • Mike, the “second wave” is part of the campaign for fear and panic. It’s not real, but when it’s manufactured it’ll likely be painted as the deadly pandemic and our only savior will be the kind and caring hands of our benevolent government to watch over and care for us. Beware.

      • In that case we should open all the way up now, so people like Mike can complete their underground bunker.

        What’s it like being fearful of everything you read?

        • Frank, Someone needs to change Mile’s diaper. What is he doing here anyway? His comments are more appropriate for vtdigger where all the mask wearers reside. Hey Mike, Free people need to be free. Do you worry this much when you drive your Prius. Maybe we should ban cars, trucks, motorcycle and airplanes they are responsible for many deaths per year. If you are this afraid stay home under the bed and let the adults go back to their lives.

  15. My feelings exactly, well said. I have been waiting for weeks to hear voices of reason. Just now starting to hear or see some. Thank you!! Spread this message!

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