U.S. should approve a saline injection as a Covid-19 vaccine?

As a nation, we can’t admit our mistakes. We have never apologized to the Vietnamese for our role in the pointless and destructive Vietnam War. We have never apologized to the Russians for supporting the jihadis fighting them in Afghanistan (ultimately, of course, we fought a 19-year (so far) war against those same jihadis). So it seems safe to say that we are never going to apologize to Americans, especially to young Americans, for shutting their schools, jobs, and social life down in a futile attempt to modify the trajectory of coronavirus (against the advice of the former chief scientist of the European CDC and his colleagues in the Swedish government).

Coronavirus has already killed quite a few of the Americans who are easiest for a virus to kill: the old, the sick, those who live in ideal virus breeding grounds (New York City and Boston), etc. When the virus comes back in the fall, as Dr/Saint Fauci says it will, rather than admit that shutdown was a dumb idea, born of panic, how about the following strategy:

  • approve a saline injection as a “coronavirus vaccine” and say “like the flu vaccine, this Covid-19 shot isn’t 100 percent effective”
  • tell people “you should expect coronavirus to be a little worse than a bad flu season, perhaps killing 100,000 Americans, but also many of these will overlap with what would have been flu deaths”

Schools can stay open, social life can proceed more or less normally, businesses can run except those that depend on mass gatherings, and the American people and government never have to admit that they made mistakes in the past.

Update: Facebook friend’s comment on this post… “If a bandana is effective PPE for Covid, then a saline injection is surely an effective vaccine.”


  • 1957-58 flu (killed as many as 116,000 Americans, equivalent to about 225,000 today given that the population has nearly doubled since then)
  • 2017-2018 flu (killed an estimated 80,000 Americans)
  • “Chasing Seasonal Influenza — The Need for a Universal Influenza Vaccine” (NEJM, in which Dr. Fauci is an author): “Influenza A (H3N2) viruses predominated [in Australia], and the preliminary estimate of vaccine effectiveness against influenza A (H3N2) was only 10%.” (i.e., if we still love the flu vaccine when its effectiveness may be as low as 10 percent, why not a saline injection whose effectiveness is 0 percent?)
  • “Charlie Baker can’t admit he blew it” (Boston Herald, by 68-year-old Howie Carr): You have totally blown it with your hysterical overreaction to a crisis that was largely of your own creation. Just admit it — you panicked when you realized all those nursing-home deaths were going to be on you, and in a pathetic attempt to change the subject, you needlessly shut down the entire state. And now, like the buck-passing bureaucrat that you are, you have no idea how to climb out of this hole that you’ve dug for yourself and 6.7 million innocent citizens. … Let Maskachusetts be Massachusetts again. … Deaths among people under the age of 50: 104. Unemployed since the lockdown began: 1 million plus.

21 thoughts on “U.S. should approve a saline injection as a Covid-19 vaccine?

  1. Obama always said if you like your police force… too bad you cannot keep it!

  2. I feel so sorry for Howie Carr being about to die in a horrible freak accident involving a liquor truck, a cop on a horse and 6,000 pounds of N95 masks. Whitey Bulger couldn’t didn’t get him but PPE will.

    Being in charge during a public health crisis means never having to apologize, unless you won’t take a knee in response to the simultaneous social justice crisis.

  3. After all the lunar landing conspiracy theories, alien conspiracy theories, flat earth conspiracy theories, a conspiracy theory about a vaccine being a placebo would tie up Americans feeble brains forever. Millennials would have to protest & riot over that, too. The lost brain cycles would be worse than just shutting down all the businesses.

  4. Admit they were wrong, that is asking too much. Let’s just hope they don’t excessively double down on their stupidity.
    Soon everything will be “… held in Peaceful Protest of Injustice and Inequality Everywhere.”
    Worked for these guys https://www.wral.com/coronavirus/car-race-draws-thousands-after-dubbing-itself-a-protest/19134052/
    One of these days I need to get a haircut in peaceful protest of injustice and inequality everywhere.
    We should have a BBQ in peaceful protest of injustice and inequality everywhere.

  5. Who cares what anyone in Europe thinks? That’s where all the worst outbreaks are. The real travesty that Massachusetts should be regretting is reporting 319 times as many deaths per capita as China. If China had experienced the same number of coronavirus deaths per capita as Massachusetts, they would have had 1,478,483 deaths. Americans would be going on and on about how China is a third-world shithole country that doesn’t value human life.

  6. Not clear that supporting the Jihadis against the Ruskies was a bad idea. That was one of the factors that led to the collapse of the FSU, which liberated about 350m people. We also don’t know if the territorial ambitions of the Ruskies would have been satiated if they had been successful in Afghanistan. The Jihadis are a minor annoyance while the Ruskies captured about half of Europe. And which Vietnamese should we be apologizing to — the ones stuck in a corrupt dictatorship, the ones who run and profit from the corrupt dictatorship or the ones who were able to emigrate to the US when Saigon fell? And while we are at it, why not apologize to Pol Pot who murdered about a quarter of his country’s population?

  7. Ha. Brilliant.

    When I wear a mask, it is as a placebo to make the people around me feel comfortable, so why not a placebo vaccine? At least the placebo will do no harm.

    With any luck, doctors are soon going to find themselves as trusted as the cops and politicians who they want to carry out their orders.

    Reminds me of the Pelletier family from Connecticut who had their daughter imprisoned in a Boston hospital for over a year because they wanted a second opinion.


    The case is still going on.


  8. Philg, your crystal ball about the copper was right! — but you’re in Massachusetts and as such, you just don’t get California marketing, because you didn’t imagine a mass-market product that everyone could carry in his/her/zir pocket. $24.95, allegedly Made in El Segundo, CA, USA.


    As far as the saline vaccine idea goes, it might wind up being better than anything Moderna comes up with. Has anyone heard a peep about their mRNA Phase II and III trials?

    If they come up with nothing for the $428 million the Feds gave them, we can augment the saline-and-safetouch with healing stones and see if we can get a wholesale deal on anything from Goop by Gwyneth Paltrow. She has a truly amazing assortment of wellness products, at Holy Grail prices. Like $16 for 3 ounces of seawater-inspired mouthwash ($682.66 a gallon!) and 5 days worth of “food” in little tiny boxes for just $249. Or $495 for a vibrator!

    “The meal kit is designed to mimic the effects of fasting while providing you with some essential macro and micronutrients.” It “mimics the effects of fasting” because, for $249, you basically are fasting. If people can spend that kind of money on goop, they should be willing to accept a 0%-effective vaccine for free!


    • Ha! This was all great! I’m starting my fast (sans meal kit!). Maybe Coronavirus doesn’t like malnourished individuals nearly as much? If not, maybe SALE-ine is the way to go? While I do love copper (sometimes as downspouts, but mostly as wiring, since the aluminum kind often tried to burn down your house) and maybe copper kills Legionnaire’s microbes in an appropriately configured (not so hot solar) water heater, maybe not so fast with the key tool? [though it’s handy if you’re always misplacing that bottle opener (even the fridge magnetic ones seem to hide at times ;)]


      P.S. We need vote up/down thumbs for comments here? Maybe the posts have to be dictatorial though — no voting? Or maybe add a “Call the (defunded) Police” button? 😉

    • Jim: When it comes to coronaplague, we are leading Brazil, according to https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200608-covid-19-sitrep-140.pdf?sfvrsn=2f310900_2 , with a substantially higher death rate! (but white privileged journalists, of course, can print that Brazil’s rate is “soaring) Keep in mind that we spend more than 10X on our health care system than Brazil does.

      If you visit https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus you’ll find that deaths charted in the U.S. and Brazil don’t look that different, despite the hysteria and dramatic actions taken here.

    • I don’t get what you’re saying, Phil. Simple questions: Did the the entire world (except Sweden) overreact to the virus? What does “white privileged journalists” actually mean (you’re white and privileged, after all)? And, should we now just carry on as if the virus never happened.

    • Jim: Good question. I don’t think the entire world overreacted. The U.S. tends to be one of the worst-governed wealthy countries due to a generally hysterical population. So we overreact to almost everything. Are there some poor people in our neighborhood? We are so upset by this that we make welfare more lucrative than work at the median wage (https://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/the_work_versus_welfare_trade-off_2013_wp.pdf ). Is there a single parent struggling to afford a comfortable house? We’ll make having sex with a dermatologist more lucrative than going to medical school and working as a primary care doctor (works best in Massachusetts and California! http://www.realworlddivorce.com/ChildSupportLitigationWithoutMarriage ). Did we hear someone say something unkind about people with certain characteristics? Let’s roll those characteristics into a new victimhood group and give them preferences in college admissions, hiring, etc. There are some dangerous neighborhoods in a city? Equip the police with enough tanks and machine guns that they could fight off an attack by a small country’s actual army.

    • Jim: We probably underreacted in some ways New York City and Boston. We should have locked down nursing homes and staff (see https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2020/05/16/plague-proof-the-u-s-with-nursing-home-and-hotel-pairings/ ).

      We almost certain overreacted in a lot of states. Why were schools ever closed in Alaska, Hawaii, and Montana?

      We’re almost certainly overreacting right now in nearly every state. The typical European country shut schools for 4-6 weeks, right? We said “shut down in March; maybe start back up in September”. That’s extreme compared to France or Denmark!

    • Jim: What should we do now? Probably acknowledging our incompetence would be a good way to start. In light of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilot-induced_oscillation it seems unlikely that we will ever react sensible to a problem where there is a multi-week delay between action and effect (i.e., between infection and death). So I think we should probably stop trying, especially given all of the deaths that we cause via shutdown (interrupted regular health care; unemployment and poverty leading to excess deaths; interrupted clinical trials for new medicine; interrupted medical training for new doctors, reduced education for children, especially the poorest American children, leading to worse lifetime health outcomes, etc.).

    • Phil…that seems to be going on now. I live in the Los Angeles area and folks are acting like there is suddenly no virus. Parties are getting larger…no masks…restaurants and some bars open. Little by little all the safeguards are being discarded.

      I guess we’re going to go the route of herd immunity and see what happens.

  9. The infamous article by Lancet/Surgisphere/Harvard “scientists” on dangers of hydroxychloroquine was finally retracted:

    The journal’s editor, Richard Horton, said he was appalled by developments. “This is a shocking example of research misconduct in the middle of a global health emergency,”

  10. Phil:
    I am surprised you have not had a field day explaining to us how the Covid-19 virus mysteriously becomes rendered ineffective if you decide to participate in a BLM rally. Tens of thousands of people can gather together in complete safety in the knowledge that the Covid-19 virus has decided to cease to act if you are engaging in righteous activity.

    • Mr. Truth: It is tough to make fun of people who are themselves parodies!

      “We should always evaluate the risks and benefits of efforts to control the virus,” Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist, tweeted on Tuesday. “In this moment the public health risks of not protesting to demand an end to systemic racism greatly exceed the harms of the virus.”


      What can one do with that? Denying children an education, denying lonely people a social life, denying working class people a job… none of those are “harms”. But not going out to protest the very city government that one intends to vote back into office at the next election… serious “harm”!

      If these public health experts did not exist we would not be able to make them up!

  11. Saline solution sometimes works. The placebo effect rate is growing and no one knows why. Then there’s this:

    Jorge Montoya is a Cuban accountant in Miami who started smoking when he was 12 years old. In Miami, he was consuming two packs of cigarets every day. Jorge knew that he should quit. He tried everything: hypnosis, nicotine gum, will power. Nothing was effective, nothing could stop the craving. Then he heard, through a friend, of a physician who offered a treatment that was guaranteed to cure the addiction. The catch was that the treatment was very painful. Jorge was desperate and made an appointment. “The only way,” the doctor said, “is to inject this nicotine-blocking chemical into your neck. Unfortunately, it’s very painful.”

    Jorge decided to go ahead with the treatment. The doctor brought out a huge hypodermic and showed Jorge the needle. When the needle broke the skin, Jorge screamed, it was that painful. Afterwards, Jorge went home and slept. When he woke up, to his surprise, he didn’t reach for a cigaret. He didn’t want a cigaret. He didn’t need a cigaret. Even more surprising, the smell of the ashtray on the nightstand turned his stomach.

    Jorge never smoked another cigaret.

    A few years later, Jorge was astonished to learn that his doctor had lost his medical license. The “nicotine-blocking chemical” he had been injecting into his patients was merely a sterile saline solution. The hypodermic needle was unnecessarily large, and worn, adding to the patients’ pain. The Florida Medical Board had determined that there was no scientific proof that the injection of a saline solution cures addiction to tobacco. The doctor did not agree, but he had no peer-reviewed studies to back up his clinical experience, which was discounted as “anecdotal.”

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