Covid-19 and the idiocy of the human species
Virus interference: Did the 2019 Influenza vaccination program coupled with other campaigns leave people more exposed to Covid-19? Read on...
In early January, when we got the first news of the novel Coronavirus (n-CoV-2019) I predicted exactly what would happen. And it has.
This is not to gloat over a spot-on prediction because anyway it was not that difficult to predict. One only had to see the approach of the planet's health authorities to the Influenza A H1N1 outbreak in 2009 and the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa between 2013 and 2016 and apply the "more of the same" rule.
The World Health Organization's website was already out of date some days in January and the approach was "business as usual" but to be "vigilant". Translation: stand back and watch as the virus spreads through the six phases from local event to worldwide pandemic and then wait a few weeks before some giant pharmaceutical company Hey presto! Lo and behold! Surprise, surprise! comes up with an effective anti-viral and a year later, a vaccine!. Now WHO would have expected that?
The measures being taken today are risible. Companies are putting into effect the policy of "non-essential travel bans", as if the virus chooses between non-essential travel people and essential travel people. Actually it is a way to get rid of the top executives first or at least put them in quarantine for two weeks. Maybe companies will now run better.
Secondly, the two-week quarantine is not enough. It should be 4 weeks, the maximum time registered for an incubation phase. So imposing a two-week quarantine is delaying the outbreak for another two weeks, after which chains of human-to-human transmission will appear again. Then eighty per cent of the population is infected.
Thirdly, restricting access to supermarkets, allowing only so many people to browse. Then what? They are all crowded together at the check-out. Great way to propagate this stupid virus. Measuring temperatures at airports: the virus can be active without any symptoms at all.
OK for those calling me a smart-ass and asking me what I would have done better, that is the question: So what should they have done and what should they do next time? Imposing an immediate lockdown on the region where this appeared and also the country where it appeared would have been far more effective. Nobody enters or leaves Wuhan city or Hubei province, nobody enters or leaves the People's Republic of China. Ah but the economic impact, people would say. OK what about the economic impact now?
There is a theory that an approach to let Covid-19 permeate through the community would give many people a natural, community-based resistence as immune systems come into contact with the new boy on the block and react. This is also condemning 20 per cent of the population to a hospital visit or stay and some 2 per cent to an early death.
The other approach is to try to stifle the chains of transmission through a lockdown, which many countries are doing at present, closing schools, public meetings, bars and restricting access to restaurants, distancing clients. For two weeks. That is not enough, however. Those working still use the Metro, they still use the bus. And as I said, it's four weeks to be safe, not two.
So the conclusion is that Covid-19 joins AH1N1, other Influenza viruses and other Coronaviruses as pests we will have to live with in a world in which the widespread use of antibiotics sees bacteria grow stronger, alongside the multiplying viruses. Antibiotics treat the former, anti-virals treat the latter. And speaking about the bottom line, diseases and illnesses sell stuff, called medicines, called products. So someone is going to make a fortune out of this. Let us see the first Pharma giant to appear, then let us check the video cameras around Wuhan Wholesale Market around December 13, 2019.
That aside, I want this piece to be further-reaching than raising a conspiracy theory banner about pharma lobbies and the WHO and the new disease that appears every ten or so years.
First off, the healthcare systems. In some countries, your access to a ventilator in a hospital dictates whether you live or die. So you can do what the system wants you to do, study, work, pay taxes... but if the lottery of life's roulette wheel spins wrongly for you, you're screwed. Welcome to Planet Covid 2020. We can do better than this.
Secondly, the world's economic system, based on the monetarist free-market Friedman model, simply does not work. Liberalism is dead. Every time there is a crisis, the State has to step in and now we see that the social economy is in fact the only model that works. Either services are provided by the State or else they are provided by volunteers when the State cannot meet the requirements. So the Social Terrorist model, with people paying for healthcare or else dying, with the State selling, rather than providing, public services, works only in certain circumstances and always it is the poor who suffer. The current system cannot provide work for all, it cannot provide homes for all, so it does not work properly. Neither can the current system handle tens or hundreds of thousands or millions of newly employed. This socio-economic model is flawed, as we see.
This is here to stay, just imagine those managers looking at the bottom line of their Excel sheets. Hey guys why do we pay for an office if we can rent a beehive room every once in a while? So thirdly, many countries have stated that they will respect the right to work at home or for parents to stay at home and look after the kids and will guarantee a percentage of the basic pay.
Social security and the Institutions
A percentage of basic pay?? Like what the F**** is this? When will this be paid? Months later? And why a percentage? Who lives off their basic pay? Will the Institutions take into account the possibility of people to pay mortgages, rents, their fiscal obligations? Or will they act as if nothing has happened? Will people lose their homes because of Coronavirus? I can just imagine the letter: Dear Mr. Smith you are hereby notified that you have one month to vacate your property because you have not paid the mortgage. Yes, because he got this virus, lost his wife to it, possibly a child and doesn't have a job!
The system as it is, is totally unprepared, economically and socially, for the reality posed by this international crisis.
Solutions and the Post-Covid-19 world
I believe articles should not be diatribes but should offer something in terms of added knowledge or solutions.
Those responsible for drawing up public health policies have to understand that sooner or later, something nasty is going to appear, and probably from a reservoir which harbors a virus or a bacteria. Covid-19 is bad enough. They also have to understand that sitting back and watching is like watching your son get kicked to death outside the grade school playground by a bunch of thugs and taking notes. Hmmm, that was a powerful kick, it probably ruptured his spleen. Like Hell! These days notification identifies a new incident quite quickly and so as said above, you isolate the city, the province and the country immediately. Ask Italy what the policy of free travel and being vigilant has meant for countless families. By the time they realized what they were facing, they were already swamped with an unusually high percentage of pneumonia cases. Especially in Bergamo and Brescia, see more below.
Let us pretend that this is not a virus otherwise they will not provide enough money. Let us pretend it is a bank, then suddenly trillions will appear from thin air. It is inconceivable that the fiscal authorities will demand usual contributions from taxpayers at the same rate as they would in a regime of "business as usual". Watch this space, the State will have to take up the slack. There are ways and means, many of them. It is also inconceivable that people will be expected to pay mortgages and rents as usual as they would when things are running normally because this thing will not last a fortnight and just disappear.
In some countries people start the workday going around the office and sometimes up and down the stairs shaking hands with and kissing everyone, before they all go out for a coffee, before starting the work-day. Well, that is going to change, isn't it? We have already witnessed the "How ya doin', Jo?" virtual handshake with both hands held palm-outwards at shoulder level, with a stupid expression on the face, shaking like some player on a Vaudeville stage with an elbow (into which we are supposed to sneeze) outstretched, or else the character defying gravity while holding out a foot. To kick?
The question is, we all know now about hygiene and washing hands and alcohol gels (except you can't get any because the system has allowed those with cash to stash the lot). We all know about toilet paper shortages because when the equation which constitutes the human being has a constant factor, the word "asshole". Like what has viral pneumonia got to do with taking a crap? The second question is, it takes one single mistake to get the virus, touching the points of entry (which includes broken skin apart from the eyes, nose or mouth) after coming into contact with the virus on a table, door handle or elevator button. Or some uncivilized bastard who sneezes at everyone in the Metro. Personal hygiene will be something we learn from this for years to come so maybe it will protect us against something worse waiting to lunge out of the Amazon because Bolsonaro's government wants to grab its resources (sorry, those pulling the strings of Bolsonaro's government).
Even if that means practising genocide on the indigenous peoples living there. Being isolated they do not have documents and so they do not exist, officially. J
We may not be able to go around kissing each other or shaking hands so regularly but we can have a laugh inventing pseudo-post-Covid greetings and saying things like Hey was that a post-Covid greeting or are you just being an asshole? We can still interact with one another, and especially remembering the old timers in our families or others in the community who do not have anyone to care for them. They will be frightened, depressed. So we can still volunteer, taking them things to eat, buying their medicines for them, looking after the animals they cohabit with. Probably not hugging them for a while until this wave passes. But being there for them so that they feel supported.
As the Romans said, Seize the Day! Take the opportunity. Challenges like these affect all of us, family, loved ones, friends, acquaintances and even foes. It is the Earth-born invasion from Mars that brings us all together, whatever our race, color, creed, nationality, sexuality or politics. If you feel like writing a poem, get it written. If you feel like drawing something, draw it. If you feel like taking up a hobby or sport, take it up. Maybe Covid can force us not to kiss each other so often but perhaps it has shown us a new way forward, to create some leisure time, to value our leisure and family time, to find time and space for ourselves and to be happy. So thank you, Covid, you son of a bitch, you just made us more human.
Oh, and how about banning the trade in wild animals? A blanket ban with the heaviest of Draconian penalties for those who transgress. A ban on whole animals, meat, horns, skins...
Final thought for further research. Why is the epicenter of this virus in Bergamo and Brescia, in Italy? There is a rumor, which needs to be checked out, that the 2019 Influenza vaccine campaign together with other campaigns (some refer to Poliomyelitis and others to Meningitis) which caused what is known as Virus Interference (1) in part of the population, rendering them far less resistant to Covid-19, check out the report (below): "Vaccine derived virus interference was significantly associated with coronavirus"
Photo: By Niklas Jansson - Android Arts, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48906232
Caption: Oil painting in the style of "The Creation of Adam" by Michelangelo (which shows Adam reclining and reaching out to touch God), but instead of God there is the Flying Spaghetti Monster; two large meatballs wrapped in noodles, with eyes on stalks which are also noodles, all floating in mid-air