The majority of the population in North America and Europe seems to be going along happily with being imprisoned inside their own homes, and laid off from their jobs or forced to close their businesses. The strict measures seem reasonable in the face of a viral threat that is overwhelming medical facilities and killing people quickly. Nonetheless, the fear is causing people to surrender their critical faculties and refuse to listen to dissenting opinions about the interpretation of statistics, the various causes of the deaths observed, and the policies that have been adopted. The virus poses a conundrum for which there are no perfect solutions, just less bad solutions. Instead of facing the inconvenient truths about the virus and choosing the less bad solutions, governments chose the “stay home” policy, and it may come to be seen as the worst choice. It bought us some time to prepare health care systems for an increase in the number of severe pneumonia patients, but after a few weeks of lockdown, what’s the plan?
Many dissenting experts are raising concerns about these issues:
A. It is the declining health of certain populations, weakened by lives of poverty, stress and environmental contamination, that is the underlying cause of the deaths from pneumonia. It is less a matter of the strength of the virus and more a matter of people’s weakened defenses.
B. The social cost of the “stay home” policy will be greater than people so far realize. The impact will start to be felt in a few weeks or months. This view does not involve a disregard for the people who will die because of the virus. It involves a concern for the people who will suffer and die from a ruined economy and social fabric.
C. Natural immunity is the only way to beat the virus over the long term. For each individual, it is not pleasant to contemplate one’s eventual infection with a dreaded virus that will inflict one of four results: no symptoms, light symptoms, horrible sickness, or death. That’s a roulette wheel that no one wants to spin. But we may just have to face up to this reality. The virus is here. The wave is going to hit at some time, so brace yourself for it. There has never been a vaccine for any of the viruses that cause the common cold (which include corona viruses). Despite the promises being made by so many experts and so many amateur billionaires, a vaccine is unlikely to work. However, if people are gullible enough to believe a vaccine will give them immunity to Covid-19, there will be billions of profits in it for pharmaceutical companies. It is strange that so many authorities and medical experts are inflating hope about a vaccine being ready by the end of the year if we can just hang in there and “flatten the curve” for the next few months.
Item A was covered in previous blog posts. Items B and C are covered in the three quotations that follow.
Reed Stevenson, “Michael Burry [M.D.] of ‘The Big Short’ Slams Virus Lockdowns in Tweetstorm,” Bloomberg, April 7, 2020:
Universal stay-at-home is the most devastating economic force in modern history, and it is man-made. It very suddenly reverses the gains of underprivileged groups, kills and creates drug addicts, beats and terrorizes women and children in violent now-jobless households, and more. It breeds deep anguish and suicide… I would lift stay-at-home orders except for known risk groups. We already know certain conditions that are predictive of severe disease. Especially since young healthy lungs tend to be resistant, I would let the virus circulate in the population that is not likely to get severe disease from it. This is the only path that comes close to balancing the needs of all groups. Vaccines are not coming anytime soon, so natural immunity is the only way out for now. Every day, every week in the current situation is ruining innumerable lives in a criminally unjust manner. When it comes to vaccines, coronaviruses are not known for imparting enduring immunity, and this will be one big challenge. It seems the genetic code is relatively conserved, and this will help the development of the vaccine. But we’re still looking at the end of the year.
Qvortrup Geisling: Mange flere danskere skal smites (Qvortrup Geisling: Many more Danes need to be infected), DR (Danish Broadcasting Corporation, 2020/04/03:
The Danes have, to say the least, lived up to the orders of the authorities. And now it seems that there are so few infections that it will take years before so many are immune that we can talk about herd immunity. And it is unthinkable that the community can be shut down for so long.
DR (formerly Danmarks Radio, officially, in English, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation), is a Danish public-service radio and television broadcasting company. It is Denmark’s oldest and largest electronic media enterprise.
If 50 years ago, at my exam of pharmacology, I had told my examining professor—who was one of the most knowledgeable pharmacologists of the time—something like that [a plan to make a vaccine for a corona virus], I would have been thrown out the door. For only an incompetent can imagine a vaccine against a virus that does not give immunity and has no chance of being effective. We are talking about a virus that mutates at very fast speed and we cannot possibly run after [its mutations]. [Covid-19] is a virus somehow similar to the cold virus, whose family it belongs to. You can’t vaccinate against the common cold because the common cold does not give immunity. In the course of a life, a person can have a cold 200 times, and at no time will that cold give immunity [against the next cold]. It is a colossal fraud. We are close to 8 billion people forced to be vaccinated and it will be an unimaginably enormous business.