It's been some time since I last posted but remarkably I have actually had a degree of work and have been shooting around many states of the US once again. On those travels, I don't take my laptop with me because, well, it's too darn heavy. I have my iPad (in fact I have to travel with two) but researching and writing on them is not the best form for convenience or your neck and posture. Anyway, enough on that. I have had a few things on my mind that I wanted to get out and finally, I'm in front of my laptop to getting them down.
The US is undoubtedly on a knife's edge right now, but like him or hate him, President Trump's "Operation Warp Speed" seems to have a number of suitable vaccines developed and is now planning the mass distribution of it to the populous. Many other countries are now also prepping for the same tasks, including Australia. This is great regardless of your political persuasions. This apparent pandemic has caused mass personal disasters and tolls to multitudes of people. From being separated from families, loss of jobs and/or financial pressures. Then add the weaponisation of this virus from a political perspective in that "you are with us or against us" and the loss of mass Civil Liberties. Have we not forgotten the mass government overreach that has occurred to our lives in this period of time? We are now told that we can only see certain friends, can't dance at a wedding, can't mourn our love ones properly and now even have rules to how a brothel can operate in a COVID safe way. Yep, insanity isn't it? Therefore a vaccine and an end to this whole affair should be applauded. But here's the thing, I won't be taking the vaccine.
Now I'm not an anti-vaxer. I'm all for vaccines and have had many vaccines over my years on this mortal coil. I will eventually take this jab, but I won't be first in line for it, that's for sure. Like many, I have concerns over this vaccine and the reason for that is simply to look at the statistics of COVID and the history of vaccines.
First off is the Rona really as deadly and serious as we thought? After a year I don't believe so. As of November 21st, these are the stats:
Total Cases: 58,376,322
Therefore out of all cases to date, 2.3% have sadly lost their lives. 69.2% have recovered. Now yes that sounds bad that 28.5% of cases are still inflicted with this. Well time to break down that 28.5% of active cases.
Active Cases: 16,585,469
Serious or Critical Condition: 102,324
Mild Condition: 16,483,145
That is only 0.6% of people inflicted with this bug are in a serious state.
Ok so what's the point here, cases are skyrocketing again so this is serious is it not? Ok, so lets look at it. Two months ago I posted the same statistics up and these are the rates as of September 8th 2020:
COVID Cases - 27,457,298
Deaths - 895,848
Recovered - 19,500,325
So worldwide in September, we had a mortality rate of 3.2%. A recovery rate of 71% with a remaining 25.71% of them still infected and are being treated. Out of that, there were:
Mild Condition: 7,000,865 (or 99.2%)
Serious or Critical: 60,260 (or 0.8%)
In just two months there has been an increase of 30,919,024 COVID cases or over DOUBLE the cases in just two months!!!!!!!!!!
Yes, it's cause for panic . . . or is it?
I mean after all, if the cases have doubled in just two months, so must everything else right? Well in September to now let's look at the changes.
September the Mortality Rate: 3.2% and now it's 2.3%;
September the recovery rate was 71% and now it's 69.2%
Now that last point would be a concern and suggest that the virus is starting to get the better of us. However, yes active cases have doubled but broken down we see a similar percentage rate:
September the active cases in a mild state was 99.2% now it's 99.4%
September the serious cases was 0.8% and now it's 0.6%.
Therefore worldwide you could effectively say that the rates are holding steady.
If anything the explosion of cases is in the Northern Hemisphere is nothing more than the fact that the majority of the World's populous is there and we are entering winter. So it's about time to start protecting the healthcare systems. I get it. Therefore as the WHO says lockdowns are used for those reasons, once again "flatten the curve" but for me, I see this more in that people are aware of the illness now. When we started this, people weren't taking it seriously.
Like any serious illness out there it's about awareness and I think people have that now. We have seen certain cancers be "beaten" because of early interventions due to awareness and testing. Breast and Prostate Cancers as well as Bowel Cancer are prime examples of what mass awareness can do to beat or have a damn good fighting chance at beating a serious disease. COVID now is no different, people frequently check their temperature, use hand sanitizer and wear masks in areas of mass gatherings. People are socially distancing and doing the right thing. Ultimately we are finding ways to live with this virus and when we get sick we are staying home and if we meet the symptoms are getting tested. These are all good things and is the reason why I feel the recovery rates not just improved since the start of the year but are holding steady now. It's about early intervention. Effectively a COVID Vaccine is a good thing because we might be able to return to normal lives and the health systems won't be stretch. Yes, I agree but let's look at the history of vaccines.
The first, of many. epidemics of Polio in the US was in 1894 and it would not be until 1908 that the makeup of the disease was finally discovered. In 1935 a vaccine was finally developed and put to trial, but it was ended as it became a disaster with several participants dying of polio, ending up paralysed or becoming seriously ill from a reaction to the vaccine. Finally, in 1950 another vaccine was developed and was tested on children, in 1952 another option of a vaccine was put to trial. That same year it was announced that a mass trial of the vaccines would be undertaken. In 1955 these vaccines in the trial were suspended due to 11 deaths and a multitude of people who ended up paralysed. It was not until the 1960s (or late '60s) before vaccines were developed that were effective and safe. Some of those forms are still used to this day. So effectively for Polio, this vaccine took at least 27 years for the development of a vaccine and a further 23 years on top of that before a safe vaccine was available.
When it comes to the Mumps this virus was isolated and its makeup was discovered in 1945. It took just three years to develop a vaccine which was discontinued in the 1970s simply because it was only a short-lasting. It would be a late 1960s version of the vaccine that is effective and still used today. Therefore, here it took at least three years to develop at least some sort of protection that was widely effective and safe but 20 years or so for a longer-term option to be discovered.
This form of virus goes go back as far as the 17th century, It wasn't until 1954 that the makeup of this virus was discovered and it took until 1958 before a vaccine was developed and starting testing. It took another decade before a suitable vaccine was used on mass. So about a decade here for something to be developed.
Took about a decade to develop a suitable means to develop annual vaccines. It was the 1930s where it was discovered how influenza effectively operated as a virus and it was the 1940s that the US Army started developing vaccines. By 1945 it became available to the public.
Started as early as the 1980s when it was discovered that HPV was a leading cause of Cervical Cancer and in the early 1990s work on a vaccine was starting to develop. The vaccine was first developed in Australia (yay Aussies!). Although it wasn't until the early 2000s when it started to be issued to the public with young girls and later boys.
Now here is the thing. I am not against vaccines. I also get here that most of these viruses and vaccines were developed during times when our technological advances aren't what we have today. I also don't doubt our abilities to develop massive advances in medicine and technology if we put our minds and finances towards it. Look at the Manhattan Project and the Space Race.
Here we have a virus, allegedly discovered only in November 2019, and it causes mass economic damage then, yes, I don't doubt that with massive Government finances and attention to developing a cure or vaccine is out of reach. But when it comes to vaccines they take years to develop and to study the effects and effectiveness. When it comes to this though, we are told that all this was developed and good to go to the masses within 12 months? This is where you have to ask yourself, really? So I am not against vaccinations but I think I'll wait a couple of years before getting the jab.
Even President Trump stated on the announcement:
"The average development time for a vaccine can take 9-12 years, but we are doing it in less than one year"
The United States isn't the only place that has vaccines being developed. Other Government's have enacted similar processes with many companies around the world that have developed a vaccine within 12 months. So call me Irish but I'm a little sceptical at getting a jab for a vaccination that was developed in such a short time frame and no studies on the long terms effect of it. Let's remember too that this is a virus that has a good recovery rate if treatments are done with early intervention. Our body's immune system seems to be able to battle this quite well, with certain other drugs combined in the treatment. Therefore it's fair to say that those who have comprised immune systems and those most at risk are first in line for the vaccine.
The bigger problem though is not Governments potentially issuing mass and mandatory vaccination programmes. Although it's likely a degree of restrictions might be placed on those who don't take the vaccine, such as limitations on travel and possible Government welfare payments. I see the bigger threat being private companies that could demand a mandatory vaccination for COVID to remain employed. Now before you think . . .
Ticketmaster has already announced plans to build a system to ensure those who attend an event either have a negative test or have had the vaccine. So effectively before seeing your favourite band or team play a game you will need to have a letter from the doctor in some form.
Companies could also require their employees to have the vaccine if they "deem it necessary" because their employees are at risk and thus could result in lost production if employees are sidelined. Schools and Universities could also demand it for their students. Governments could demand the vaccination through programmes such as "if you want to travel freely you must have had the vaccine" or "you need to go on unemployment, well you aren't allowed to until you get the jab." If there is a will there is a way to enforce this vaccination on the masses. Each person has a breaking point.
Some of my colleagues and I have stated that if we are told that we need to have the vaccine or resign then we'll probably take the resignation. Certainly, if I'm told that then it will be the end of my "American experiment". A friend of mine who I was Zooming with the other day has not seen his wife and young family since January. At last with Australia's state borders starting to come down he is able to see them next month, assuming those borders remain open. He himself has stated that he doesn't want to take the vaccine but knows that he's breaking point would be his family. If a jab means he can frequently see his family then he will take the jab.
My breaking point and biggest concern would be if the Australian border demands it. Although I now call the US home I was frequently flying back to Australia to see family and friends (even go to the footy). That has already been taken from me due to the quarantine requirements on entering Australia and the financial cost that incurs. Therefore it's simply a case of "I ain't going home until I lose my job as I can only afford one quarantine". But not being able to return home freely as before would probably be my breaking point. We will all have one and this is how this vaccine will be issued whether immediately or over time.
As I have said, I am not against vaccinations and the eradication of viruses. But this vaccine due to its nature and development, as too the fact the virus isn't really as bad as we thought it was going to be then why is this going to be a mass vaccination? Could you imagine the amazing health care systems we could be developing right now if expensive Government welfare programmes to support people in lockdown were turned to our Health Care systems? That is the better option right now. Essentially this vaccination should be treated just like the flu vaccination. A matter of choice, not enforcement.
People we can live with this virus, do the right thing, social distance, wear a mask in areas were you can't social distance, stay at home if you're sick (even if it is a normal cold) and keep up personal hand hygiene. These are the simple tools that should be used to ensure that we keep our health system in check and protect the vulnerable. As for me and the COVID jab? I hope to only see you in my bloodstream in three-five years and by my own choice, not via enforcement/blackmail policies.