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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Buy The Uninformed Voter on Amazon and Barnes and Noble