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Again, the issue in many ways is not the virus. It’s our inadequate illness response system, world-wide. How did it get this way and is it going to remain inadequate?
If we’d had sufficient Personal Protective Equipment, quarantine facilities, better housing options for Seniors and other vulnerable populations and an adequate national food supply system, we could have easily outlasted CoVid-19.
And remember, CoVid-19 is just one of a number of new viruses that we will be facing.
We are regularly coming in contact with viruses for which we haven’t developed an immunity nor a vaccine. Plus the viruses are doing what all living things do, they change (mutate) over time. So we need to focus on what we can do to better manage the next one.
People are talking about Herd Immunity. Well, that’s not the simple process it is being touted to be.
Some viruses are like Chicken Pox where once you’ve had it, you aren’t likely to get it again. Now that there is a vaccine, fewer people get it the first time, apparently because there may be less of it to get. Scientists are trying to figure that one out.
Viruses like the Flu, you can get many times.
Other viruses like the bubonic plague wipeout the majority of the population before general immunity begins. Small Pox killed off up to 95 percent of the native populations in North America.
The biggest problem with the Herd Immunity idea in the short run is, again, our inadequate resources. Just testing for the virus takes up medical care resources.
We were barely managing our kncoown illnesses before the new CoVid-19 arrived. If we significantly increased the CoVid-19 cases, by attempting an experiment in Herd Immunity, we would definitely overwhelm our emergency and front line services, resulting in more deaths. And CoVid-19 may not be like Chicken Pox, so lots of people would have died in vain.
And if CoVid-19 does fade away on its own, that doesn’t mean the next one will or that an old one won’t mutate. The plague actually still exists, centuries later!
Now I like conspiracy theories as much as the next person. However, we’ve had pandemic type outbreaks from several places in the world in the past couple of decades. That the current virus was first identified in China doesn’t explain why we weren’t ready for something that we have known was coming for over 30 years.
So I keep coming back to our inadequate illness response system, world-wide. How did it get this way and is it going to remain inadequate?
And I’m not looking to blame anyone at this point. There is lots of blame to go around, but who cares? I’m looking for solutions so that we are ready, truly ready next time.
We need dedicated illness response resources to get us through the long haul. So let’s get started.
If you want to understand how China and most world governments reacted to the initial threat of CoViD-19, watch the movie “Jaws”.
And then realize that there was a “Jaws 2”.
Okay so, I’ve spent the day researching the connection between animals and Corona Viruses like SARS, MERS, H1N1 and CoVid 19 and like the AIDS/HIV and Ebola viruses.
Apparently, these viruses start with animals. Then, if we come in contact with a sick animal and have some cell receptors that are similar to the host animal’s cell receptors, the virus can jump from animals to humans.
Is this the quintessential Vegan Victory or what? Stay away from meat!
Not so fast, celery breath!
Animal/virus research may tell us about which animals to avoid or at least to not eat uncooked. (Wash your hands, cough into your elbow, keep a safe distance and stop eating raw meat!)
And it may tell us about the contribution of unhealthy livestock handling to the spread of viruses.
And it may tell us which countries need to be subject to serious travel restrictions if they continue to not avoid these animals or don’t adopt better food safety regulations.
However, although “Contact-tracing” can leads us to the first person or persons who was in contact with an infected animal host, that doesn’t in itself explain how vulnerable we are to these viruses.
People have been in contact with some of these animals for centuries.
What is making these viruses so deadly to so many? Is it destruction of natural habitats which creates greater exposure to virus carriers? Are we somehow strengthening and/or facilitating mutation of these viruses? Is it the conditions in which we are keeping these animals? Is it the conditions in which we are keeping ourselves?
Or have we always been this vulnerable?
I read where in the 1300’s within the short time that sailors stumbled off their plague-riddled ships in Sicily and alarmed officials sent them right back to their ships, the Black Plague pandemic was off and running throughout Europe for decades to come.
And viruses are tough buggers to kill. The plague is still around. Small pox, another viral pandemic from Europe, which killed about 90 percent of native North Americans starting in the 1600’s, was finally deemed extinct in the 1940’s.
So what do we do now?
The solution to these historic plagues? – self-isolation and better community hygiene until they developed a vaccine. Sound familiar?
Or wait until the virus kills off huge portions of the population, leaving only those who managed to survive the infection and built up an immunity.
Seems like we have gotten faster at developing vaccines. However, hundreds of thousands of people would still die before a vaccine was developed. And, considering how many viruses there are and that the CoVid 19 is a new strain, how many vaccines are we going to need?
These plagues seem to be connected to globalization. There is a direct historical link between plagues (pandemics) and international trade/travel. Maybe that two-week trip abroad is going to mean 2-weeks of quarantine before and after? And consider yourself lucky because the word quarantine comes from the Venetian word meaning 40 days.
And maybe we need to seriously strengthen our immune systems.
I don’t know what the solution is going to be.
What I do know is that Crocodiles feed on Wildebeests. The Wildebeests don’t fight back. Viruses feed on people. We fight back.
This is the second of two posts on accountability.
Okay, so back to Chinese misinformation. It would be a disservice to the Chinese people if the world didn’t hold the Chinese officials accountable. They didn’t cause the pandemic. It was already coming. They did contribute greatly to its spread, domestically and internationally.
Having said that, it would also be a disservice to the “democracies” if we allowed our governments to deflect responsibility away from their actions or lack thereof. The rest of that story is that, when provided with warnings a week or so before those “crucial 6 days”, our governments took many of the same approaches as Chinese officials did.
Autocrat and democrat alike. They all seemed to be singing from the same songbook! And the title of the song seems to be “Don’t tell people the truth.”
Now if we really want to learn something that will help us in the future, studying this dynamic will help much more than blaming one country or another, or one party or another, or one leader or another.
I know we all have our opinions on this “hide the truth” dynamic. These usually center on the greed and corruption of those seeking power plus fears of creating panic and/or economic collapse.
Even if this is all true, and okay it is, I think there is more to the dynamic than that.
Certainly, in the “democracies”, there is a belief that people don’t want to hear the truth.
Ask yourself, if the government had tried to impose the measures they did before the body count started to rise, would we have accepted them?
I admit I was skeptical until a few weeks into self-isolation. It took a while before I got it. This isn’t all about the virus itself. It’s just as much about our underfunded health care systems world-wide. It’s about changes that are becoming necessary in our comfortable global-economy supported lives.
And maybe that brings us to the first line of accountability. Maybe we are responsible for our lives and not the government, here and in China. Maybe we got the government we asked for and the pandemic that went along with it.
Think about it. Did we give those seeking political office the impression that we didn’t want to be inconvenienced, didn’t want to know the whole truth?
After all the sacrifices which we have made, going forward, are we going to hold ourselves accountable?
For more writing from Kevin Alan McGill
I am going to break this up into two posts. The posts are about accountability or the lack of it.
I’ll start with the Information Media.
In my first post, I mentioned that, in my opinion, a headline or news clip won’t give you enough information to make a reasonable decision.
And unfortunately, a case in point, is the headline “China withheld information for 6 crucial days”. I say this because, further down, the story provides a different picture than that headline and the first paragraphs present.
Now, this is not to let Chinese officials avoid responsibility for bungling their response to their domestic Covid 19 crisis and their other abuses of power. I’ll get to this in the next post. So stay tuned.
My present concern is if that headline is more misinformation than information, who holds the media accountable?
Sure you can change the channel or cancel your subscription or write a letter to the editor. However, that doesn’t correct the error. Somebody else may not recognize the misinformation for what it is and act accordingly.
The Media is fairly quick to hold others accountable. Who does the same with the media? If a “news story” contributes to a war getting started, or even if funds are diverted to the military that could be better used elsewhere, the media needs to be held accountable.
It’s a tricky area.
From what I can see, freedom of the press is so important to a democracy that the press gets a free ride. I personally think censorship is more dangerous than the alternative.
However, in the interests of checks and balances, maybe we need to have a body that is set up to confront media misinformation from all sides of the political spectrum.
Because like this pandemic, if a war starts, we’re all in it together.
(Continued on Post 2 (b)
For more writings from Kevin Alan McGill
This is the start of a number of posts as I try to make sense of this situation for myself. The information may change as we learn more about the virus and about our efforts to contain it.
The first couple of points are more about people than the virus itself:
Now back to the virus:
Stay safe. History show that we will get through this.