I appreciate your paper and its coverage of local issues and respect you want to maintain some political balance on your opinion page. To that end, Matt Grocott makes a somewhat entertaining and certainly pugnacious foil.

I am disappointed you would publish his dangerous and largely unfounded anti-vaccination views to include, “Seems you’d have a better chance of getting hit by lightning [than dying of COVID-19].” Well, 17 Americans died of lightning and 365,221 Americans died of COVID-19 in 2020 and so far in 2021 there have been no lightning deaths and 221,979 COVID-19 deaths in the United States through June 6.

Of the more than 300,000,000 COVID-19 vaccines that have been administered in the United States, there have been no deaths causally linked to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and a handful of deaths due to blood clots linked to the J&J vaccine. This is according to the CDC and the National Weather Service.

The COVID-19 vaccines are overwhelmingly safe and COVID-19 still tragically kills several hundred Americans every day. I’m sure each of them would have preferred taking their chances with lightning.

John Dugan

San Carlos

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(18) comments


Thank you for this thoughtful response and sharing the link to the actual data.

Terence Y

Actually, Mr Dugan, if you (or anyone who actually believes you) take the time to search VAERS data, you’ll see there have been over 330,000 adverse events associated with COVID vaccines, including over 4700 deaths. I don’t know what math you’re using, but 4700 is much higher than 0. And if reimbursement rates for attributing deaths to COVID are up to 3 times higher than rates for a normal death, of course medical establishments are going to boost their COVID death count. There are stories of people dying in vehicle accidents being listed as due to COVID. BTW, where’s your outrage at not using HCQ in treating COVID patients? Thanks to Fauci and medical quacks, the death toll was much higher than it should have been. And what about Cuomo stuffing COVID-afflicted folks back in nursing homes to pass the virus to other folks? Maybe standing out in a field during a lightning storm would have been safer than Cuomo’s nursing home death sentence?


From the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/adverse-events.html

Reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination

CDC uses the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to closely monitor reports of death following COVID-19 vaccination.

FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS.

Reports to VAERS of death following vaccination do not necessarily mean the vaccine caused the death.

CDC follows up on any report of death to request additional information to learn more about what occurred and to determine whether the death was a result of the vaccine or was unrelated.

CDC, FDA, and other federal agencies will continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

Over 285 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through May 24, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 4,863 reports of death (0.0017%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. CDC and FDA physicians review each case report of death as soon as notified and CDC requests medical records to further assess reports. A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines. However, recent reports indicate a plausible causal relationship between the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and a rare and serious adverse event—blood clots with low platelets—which has caused deaths. Get the latest safety information on the J&J/Janssen vaccine. CDC and FDA will continue to investigate reports of adverse events, including deaths, reported to VAERS.

Terence Y

Mr. Dugan, I’ll let you explain the non-causal relationship to the 4763 souls, as of the last update, who were alive before the jab, and then soon after, were no longer alive. I’ll let you explain the non-causal relationship to the rest of the 330,000 souls, who before the jab, weren’t experiencing adverse events, and then after the jab, were experiencing adverse events. BTW, were the 580,000 souls who reportedly died from COVID verified to have died due to COVID? Or reported as having died from COVID due to the presence of COVID. After all, reporting adverse events is free, whereas reporting a COVID death is worth much more money than a regular death. Here’s a saved link to a COVID vaccination request (you’ll need to agree to some disclaimers): https://wonder.cdc.gov/controller/saved/D8/D172F503


Terence, I feel no need to explain anything further to you or anyone else. I believe in science and trust the CDC. I personally find that a much better way to go through life. I save my skepticism for things and people who have not earned my trust.

Terence Y

Mr. Dugan, if you trust the science and CDC, does that mean you wear two masks (why not 3 or 4?) as per a CDC study? Do you believe non-pneumonia deaths (as through vehicle accidents, homicides, gunshots, poisonings, etc.) should be added to COVID death totals, as the CDC has done? Do you believe the CDC when they say the unapproved vaccine does not prevent COVID (maybe that’s why people aren’t getting vaccinated)? Do you agree with the CDC’s decision to not use HCQ to treat patients with COVID? Resulting in many more lives being lost? BTW, supposedly, Fauci is a man of science, but have you read his emails vs. his public stance? Guess he’s not too fond of letting science speak for itself.


Lots of statements Terence but where are the facts and your references? Drawing whatever conclusions feel good to you is quite the opposite of science.

Terence Y

Mr. Dugan, so you cite the CDC in your letter and when I also cite the CDC, you don’t consider CDC statements and data to be facts or a reference? I can understand if you want to cherry pick references to push your claims, but cherry picking references from the same “authority” and only believing a confirmation bias reference? Sorry, you can’t have it both ways. Or are you channeling your inner Fauci and saying one thing while evidence, and science, point the other way?


I cited the CDC and provided the reference. In my experience that's the only way to be convincing.

Terence Y

Mr. Dugan, so you cite one reference and you assume others not citing any references are not convincing? Here are a few references for your reading pleasure. Please let me know if you’d like more. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/types-of-masks.html; https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvss/vsrg/vsrg03-508.pdf; https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/04/24/fact-check-medicare-hospitals-paid-more-covid-19-patients-coronavirus/3000638001/; https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/fully-vaccinated-people.html; https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/556891-media-continues-to-lionize-anthony-fauci-despite-his-damning-emails

Wilfred Fernandez Jr


There are those among us that believe what they are told by sources they trust. That they are ill prepared to question what they believe to be true is immaterial. For them, critical thinking and going against the tide is verboten.

Terence Y

Great insight, Wilfred. Unfortunately, many misguided souls trust untrustworthy sources while anyone with critical thinking skills can easily point out flaws in peddlers of fake news and lies. Funnily, there's a cottage industry of supposed fact checkers. But who is checking the fact checkers? Hint, hint, Wilfred? Ray or Dirk (if either read this comment)? Your past comments are your portfolio. Happy Flag Day (apologies to some folks, only the US flag that unites us as a country) and coincidentally, President Trump's birthday (the America First President).

Matt Grocott



Please don't confuse Matt with the facts, John! He has a hard enough time dealing with his own "reality".

Matt Grocott

Why people like you, Mark, feel the need to attack others for sharing their views, I will never understand. So often, those who call for acceptance, tolerance, understanding and open-mindedness, seem to be the ones with the least of any of those characteristics.

Ray Fowler

Hello, Mark

Numbers aside... I think we can trust our intuition and safely say that someone somewhere had an adverse reaction to the vaccine and died. The apprehension surrounding that possibility may be a driving factor for those who choose to not vaccinate. It wasn't for me... I got vaccinated.

Would you deny those folks taking a pass on the vaccination the opportunity to make that choice? If so, would you compel vaccinations? How would suggest such a policy of mandatory vaccinations be implemented?

Tommy Tee

Good letter, Mr. Dugan. Spot on about Mr. Grocott's inaccuracies. He has a habit of throwing "facts" out to see if they stick.


Thanks John, Well said!

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