ZDoggMD on the Delta Variant

Tagged: COVID / SomebodyAskedMe / Statistics

Somebody asked me what I thought of ZDogg’s explanation of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant. My first thought was “ZDogg who? Is that a rapper or something?” My final thought was that the guy’s eminently reasonable, eloquent, and kind.

Getting past the name “ZDogg”

ZDogg? Really? Isn’t that some rapper? Why should I listen to a rapper’s opinions about COVID-19? (Nothing against rap itself: it’s not to my taste, but then it’s not trying to be to my taste. If it’s to your taste, then by all means enjoy.) My first thought here was: there is little point into listening to this, unless it’s just for the surrealism of it all.

And I’m a sucker for surrealism.

So I watched the esteemed ZDoggMD’s treatment of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2. [1]

And I am delighted to report that I was utterly wrong! (That’s when you learn things, when you admit you were wrong.) The gentleman in question, one Zubin Damania MD, is a former hospitalist at Stanford who occasionally makes videos about what really goes on in healthcare and several other subjects.

I haven’t plumbed the depths of his YouTube channel, but I’m very favorably impressed by his analysis of the Delta variant: calm, evidence-based, thinking like a scientist… and just a bit of sarcasm. (And occasionally more than a bit profane: that’s a generational thing where I’m more sensitive to language than the youngs. So just never mind me on that subject.)

As to my prejudice (and let’s face it, my reaction was prejudice) about his chosen nom de Tube: I’m old, he’s young, and elders have been grumping about youngsters forever. For example:

“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.”

— attributed to Marcus Tullius Cicero in 43BCE, but almost certainly apocryphally so, as nobody cites a particular source, and some give other authors dating improbably back to 4000BCE. [2]

Still… style points for quality snark?

While it’s doubtful Cicero ever said that, being the curmudgeon that he was, he probably would have said it if he’d thought about it. So I promise to stop being a curmudgeon about ZDoggMD and listen to what he has to say.

So, ZDogg, whatta ya got for me?

Some thoughts about the video:

  • From the summary: “Delta variant… explained by a doctor with precisely 97.5% less drama”. Oh, yeah. I’m in already!
  • “Man, every time I think I get to stop talking about COVID, they keep pulling me back in.” I haven’t seen The Godfather part anything, but… yeah. I’m tired of COVID, tired of writing about COVID, tired of the knuckleheadery around COVID, and want to write about almost anything but COVID. Starting to like this guy ZDogg.
  • Then he does a nice 2 paragraph explanation of what Delta (aka B.1.617.2) is, how evolution works, and why you should care. Masterful public science communication.
  • The most important bit: “First of all, you shouldn’t panic about Delta, period. … So you’re talking like 88%, 94% against hospitalization, with Delta variant and Pfizer …”. Yes: if you’re vaccinated. Which you should be.
  • “Are you gonna die or be hospitalized? And the answer is, probably not. In fact, with the vaccine, there’s a, it’s really unlikely. Most of the people who are hospitalized and dying currently are unvaccinated…” Absolutely! So… get vaccinated! Please don’t die.
  • “… but here is the bottom line about what to think about Delta. Don’t think about it if you’re vaccinated.” Yes: the sheer mental stress relief alone is worth the vaccination, but the part about not dying is a nice little bonus, no?
  • “Any adult who can be vaccinated, in my mind, should be, but if you have your own reasons for not being, I don’t think anyone should shame you or force you.” Ok, gonna disagree here. People who have medical reasons for not being vaccinated are exceptions, and all the rest of us should care for them to preserve their lives. But if shaming people who are unvaccinated for reasons of superstition, ignorance, or conspiracy theories gets them vaccinated, then that saves a life. And since pikuach nefesh, literally “watching over a soul”, is the highest principle in my personal version of my religion, shaming is an appropriate tool here if it saves a life.
  • The summary: “Variants, shmariants, get your vaccine, and relax. Or don’t, and decide whether you wanna relax or not. But I don’t wanna hear about it anymore, okay?” I literally could not have said it better myself.

So: ok, a couple points of disagreement, but that’s normal. He’s a very sensible fellow!

Let’s see what he’s got to say about his decision to get his family vaccinated. Short & sweet, to the point, and… a bit profane in spots. But I’m an old guy, so ignore me on that. Pay attention to the rest.

Again, yeah: thumbs up from me. Enough to make me subscribe to his channel, anyway. We’ll see how the rest of his stuff goes down.


Notes & References

1: Zubin Damania, “Healthcare’s Unfiltered Voice”, YouTube, retrieved 2021-Jun-30.

2: Quote Investigator, “Ancient Tablet: The World is Speedily Coming to an End. Everyone Wants to Write a Book”, Quote Investigator, 2012-Oct-22.

Written Wed 2021-Jun-30

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