spreading Covid infections

Setting Limits on the Treatment of Covid 19

Setting Limits on the Treatment of Covid 19                                                                                                                   

Robert A. Levine

Vaccinations have been a major medical advance, preventing many deaths and disabilities in various illnesses in the last two centuries. In today’s world, it defies belief that so many people refuse to accept scientific data and get vaccinated against Covid 19, particularly when they have already received so many other vaccines..

The conflict over Covid 19 vaccine mandates between the federal and state governments could be settled by physicians and nurses. These health care providers constantly put themselves in harm’s way to treat patients with Covid 19. In fact, many of them have been hospitalized after being infected with the disease and have died. From now on, doctors and nurses should refuse to treat any patient with Covid 19 who has not been vaccinated. Children who have not received the vaccine under parental guidance is another story and deserve accepted treatment if they are infected by Covid.

Physicians are supposed to treat any sick patients regardless of financial considerations, political or religious differences. However, physicians are also obligated to maximize public health and do what is proper for the greater good. With a highly infectious virus causing a pandemic and responsible for well over 600,000 deaths in America, it is incumbent upon physicians to see that their patients are vaccinated against this virus and also encourage patients to wear masks.

People who are not vaccinated are a danger to others in their communities as well as to themselves. Not obtaining the vaccine is a mark of selfishness and ignorance, not of freedom. Those who are unmasked in indoor settings are also a threat to public health and themselves, but masking cannot be sufficiently monitored to stop treatment of these people. Aside from causing unnecessary deaths and illnesses in other people by infecting them with Covid 19, and driving up the cost of health care, the unvaccinated also prevent patients with different illnesses and accidents from receiving necessary care. This occurs because unvaccinated patients who are sick use up limited resources such as ICU beds, ER beds, physicians’ time, ventilators and so forth. Why should physicians waste their time, effort and medical resources, and place themselves in danger to treat patients who did not care enough about other people to take the proper preventive measures themselves. It is also strange that unvaccinated patients who refused to be vaccinated are willing to be treated when sick with monoclonal antibodies.

There are some physicians who will disagree with this stance and say they are ethically obligated to treat any sick patient. But they are also obligated to consider the public health in the measures they take and this means pressuring unvaccinated patients to get the vaccine. Government alone will not be able to force the one third of the population that remains unvaccinated to be vaccinated. They need to be pushed by all health care providers refusing to treat patients who have not taken the proper preventive measures to maximize public health and end this pandemic. It is a necessary step to take to help the community at large, the unvaccinated themselves, people with other serious illnesses who cannot receive treatment, and the hospital staffs. Aside from health concerns, the economy will also be bolstered if the vast majority of the population is vaccinated.

Covid 19, Vaccines and Mitigation

Covid 19, Vaccines and Mitigation                                                                                                                                                                                     Robert A. Levine

With the Covid 19 pandemic remaining a major world problem, many people who accept misinformation and believe conspiracy theories refuse to be vaccinated or wear masks, though these measures have been shown to significantly reduce the spread and severity of the disease. The reasons they give for their lack of compliance with measures that have been scientifically proven are senseless and based on misinformation, bizarre conjectures and their political alignment. They claim that they should have the freedom to choose what should be done to their bodies (though many of them will not agree to give women the choice of whether or not to have abortions). These holdouts also reveal selfishness in their unwillingness to protect their families, others in their communities as well as themselves by taking the necessary measures. The persistence of the Covid pandemic and its mutated variants are largely the result of their lack of acquiescence to the standards set by government health care regulatory bodies established by scientific data. Though new agents have been developed by pharmaceutical companies to combat the virus such as Paxlovid, vaccination remains the most important way to prevent severe cases of the disease. Paxlovid, if taken early after the onset of symptoms, reduces hospitalizations and death by 88 percent in clinical studies.      

 However, it has been shown that vaccination is not as effective against the Omicron variant as it has been against delta, beta and other variants. While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were found to be about 90 percent effective against previous variants, against Omicron the effectiveness is reduced to 30-40 percent. Fortunately, a third booster dose increases its effectiveness to 70-75 percent raising the immune system’s response to Omicron. It also appears that while Omicron is more contagious than other variants, it generally tends to produce milder disease.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   The time has come, however, for nations to accept that Covid is going to remain a fact in our lives. Hopefully, with vaccines, mitigation and new treatments, Covid 19 and its variants will become endemic instead of a pandemic and will be controlled for the most part. This means that we will be able to live our lives as normally as possible, taking the presence of the virus into consideration. Testing for the virus should be able to be done at home with tests paid for by the government. This would allow schools to stay open and large gatherings to take place, while those infected could be treated quickly. Vaccinations should be continued with boosters when necessary. And we should be ready for periodic surges with new variants of Covid.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Though many Americans and Europeans have refused to take any of the Covid vaccines, it is not because the vaccines are unavailable. However, in the poorer nations of the world, vaccine usage is at a low level because they do not have sufficient vaccines for their population, even if people would be willing to take them. There are also problems with infrastructure and the ability to get the vaccine to their entire population. This is obviously not good for their nations, but also for the remainder of the world. Because large numbers of people in these impoverished countries remain unvaccinated, they are a continuous reservoir for the virus, as they can become infected over and over with different variants and spread the disease to others. And the more people that are infected, the greater chances there are that the virus will mutate, with the possibility that new mutations will be more contagious and more lethal and be able to evade the vaccine and antibodies. It is not purely charity but in the advanced world’s interest that the vaccines be distributed to these Third World countries to help keep the virus under control.                      

While the reluctance to follow scientific guidelines remains a problem with Covid, it could be devastating if new pandemics arise that are even more contagious and lethal. In the United States as of December 2021, the number of Covid deaths were reported to exceed 800,000, though the true numbers were undoubtedly much higher because of uncounted deaths from Covid attributed to other causes. Deaths have continued to increase and are likely to pass a million in the U.S. in the near future. Throughout numerous nations in Europe in November 2021, mass demonstrations occurred objecting to government restrictions because of Covid 19, including mask mandates, vaccinations needed to access certain indoor venues, and some lockdowns. These objections are mainly from right-wing groups, ignoring statistics such as a tripling of Covid deaths in Austria in November and early December 2021. T

There is also a possibility that at some point in the future, nations may resort to biological warfare, unleashing novel lethal organisms against an enemy that does not have appropriate defenses manufactured and ready, and mitigation efforts are dismissed by the populace. The Covid pandemic can be considered as a dress rehearsal for a more lethal virus that could attack mankind in the future, and thus far if the play was ever produced it would likely be a flop.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     www.robertlevinebooks.com                                                                                                                                                                                                  Buy The Uninformed Voter on Amazon and Barnes and Noble                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Who Pays for Those Unvaccinated

Who Pays For Those Unvaccinated                                                                                                                                                                                        Robert A. Levine

We do. The entire population of the United States pays the price for those who are unvaccinated. The payment occurs in several ways. Those who are unvaccinated and become infected with Covid 19 can be hosts in which the virus can mutate, producing more variants which can be more deadly and more contagious. This is what happened with the delta variant which fortunately appears to be blocked by vaccinations. Thus those who are vaccinated appear unlikely to catch the disease and transmit it to others, though it still may be carried in the nasal passages by some. Unvaccinated individuals besides getting sick can also spread Covid 19 to those who are immune compromised and are impaired or unable to make antibodies to fight the disease. And in the future, it is possible that a mutant variant may override vaccination protection.

We also pay financially for those who are unvaccinated, catch Covid 19 and have to be hospitalized. Whether they are in the ICU or on the wards, their hospitalizations can be extremely costly, hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. If they have Medicare or Medicaid, the government pays the hospital bills for these patients with taxpayer dollars, yours and mine. If they have Medicare and supplementary insurance, the latter kicks in to pay some portion of the bills. If the patients have private health insurance, either paid for privately, or through their employer, the insurance will pay most of the bill aside from the co-pays and deductibles which may be quite expensive. This means that to remain financially solvent, Medicare and insurance companies may have to raise their prices in the future to cover the costs of Covid in those who are unvaccinated.

And many hospitals will lose money and possibly need federal support if their Covid patients are not covered by any insurance. Hospitals have also lost money by stopping elective procedures and surgery during the Covid pandemic when everything was focused on caring for Covid.

Since large swaths of the nation remain unvaccinated and that is their right, the rest of Americans should not have to bear the cost for them when they are sick and see a physician or are hospitalized. Perhaps legislation is needed, but it would certainly make sense for Medicare and private insurance companies not to pay for Covid or Covid related expenses in those who refuse to be vaccinated. They are certainly free to remain unvaccinated, but why should taxpayers have to foot their hospital bills and why should insurance bills increase for those who have taken proper precautions and been vaccinated. 

Science has shown that vaccination can prevent serious Covid 19 infections in about 95 percent of recipients. Why should those who disregard science for one or another reason be given a free ride if they are stricken with Covid and have to be hospitalized?  Why should the government and insurance companies pay for their desire not to be vaccinated and protect themselves and those with whom they are in contact? State legislatures or the federal government should act on this issue soon and perhaps the possible financial burden will encourage more people to be vaccinated than did protecting their health and regard for those around them.                                        www.robertlevinebooks.com                                                                                                                       Buy The Uninformed Voter on Barnes and Noble or Amazon