I recently read in The Economist that the official death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic is in the order of 4.5 million people. The estimated unofficial number is 15-18 million and counting! This global challenge is not going away anytime soon.
There are some people who say they do not believe in the existence of Covid-19 and/or believe vaccination is dangerous. They are, of course allowed to their own opinions but they do not have the right to their own facts. Many of these same people shelter behind a so-called right to individual freedom to refuse to get vaccinated and/or wear PPE of any sort and even go so far as to vocally and aggressively encourage other people to follow suite.
You could put these people in the Australian Outback for a month with no water, no food, no transport, and no other people to support them, they can be totally free to do as they wish but they won’t last long because humanity survives and prospers because of cooperation, collaboration, and acceptance of social responsibility. That’s what separates us from other animals that are free but struggle to survive out of the familiar environment that they have adapted to thrive in.
There is absolutely no point suggesting to these people that with the right to freedom comes an obligation of responsibility. There’s no point suggesting this because they are either too selfish or would not be smart enough to understand what it means.
Australia has done quite well dealing with the pandemic until recently when unbelievably poor decisions have been made by state and federal politicians in pursuit of their own personal political agenda which has been un-Australian and divisive. It seems a pandemic, like some wars, is good for the government of the day to pontificate about how it’s acting responsibly in the best interests of its constituents. Let’s not be fooled, these so-called leaders are driven totally by their own self interest.
It’s obvious that it will be (is) impossible to rid the country of the virus. The best we can hope to do is live with it like we do with influenza and other serious infectious diseases. The key to that we’re told on the advice of people who really are experts – these are people who publish their work in peer-reviewed journals not in Facebook posts – is to wear PPE and get vaccinated. That will ultimately lead to a situation where the viral spread will get under control and public medical services will be better able to cope. This in turn will result in dramatically lower mortality rates and greater economic and personal freedom.
With that in mind it’s interesting to take a look at some factual information that supports the experts’ recommendation. The following graph is from an article McKinsey & Company: Health Systems and Services August 23, 2021, When will the COVID-19 pandemic end?
You would only need to be marginally smarter that the anti-vax imbeciles to conclude from the graph in the McKinsey article that it makes sense for you to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.
The Delta variant of the original COVID-19 virus (called the ancestral variant) and is much more serious in that on average an infected person spreads it to 5-8 others, it is between 1.5 and 2 times more likely to lead to death, but vaccination will significantly reduce the seriousness of illness. However, early research indicates it provides only moderate protection against infection and once infected you can still spread the virus. In other words, vaccinating dramatically reduces your suffering and improves your chance of survival if you get the virus but it will not give you immunity so other forms of protection such as face masks, social distancing, cleanliness, self-isolation of ill, and testing etc need to continue.
What’s particularly concerning about the delta variant is its high degree of transmissibility which effectively means herd immunity will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve unless there is a 100% vaccination rate … once again thanks to the anti-vax imbeciles that’s not likely so their search for freedom means that everyone’s freedom will be curtailed.
I’d like to share a graph (US) from another the peer-reviewed Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases, 15 October 2001. The article is titled “Observations on Mortality during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic” by Luk, Gross, and Thompson.
Here’s a quote from the article: “It is estimated that the influenza virus that caused the 1918 pandemic killed 20 million people worldwide from the fall of 1918 through the spring of 1920. One of the unique features of the pandemic was the high mortality rate seen among healthy young adults aged 20–40 years.”
The pattern shown in the graph above is very similar to the pattern we are now starting to see with hospital admissions today and unless something changes, in due course it may sadly become the pattern for deaths too. Researchers posit three reasons for this pattern. First, this age group tend to believe they are so healthy they face little risk of infection or death believing they have a more robust immune system so they’re willing to throw caution to the wind; second, they are intensely socially active and highly mobile; and third, the 20 to 45 year age cohort is the dominant employment group accounting for about 80% of total employment so they’re in close contact with co-workers and customers which is where so much transmission occurs.
In relation to their belief in their own immortality some researchers hypothesize that the 20-40 age cohort may be more at risk than healthy people in the 60-85 age group because the older cohort may have had past exposure to a strain of influenza which has given them greater immunity – the jury is out on this hypothesis but who knows?
The above graph and commentary relates to the 1918 US Spanish Flu pandemic and should be cause for concern to people in the 20-45 year age group which I’m sure would be well represented by the anti-facemask, anti-lockdown, anti-vax freedom fighters we see protesting by marching on their weekends while chanting inanities and punching police horses and their riders.
Maybe there’s a silver lining here in that covid might rid society of those who choose not to get vaccinated themselves and prefer to risk their own life and that of their family, friends, and others they come in contact with in pursuit of their “right” to self determination.
I believe a case could be made for the introduction of a vaccination passport (with provision for legitimate exemptions) which, in addition to being required for travel, employment, and attendance at public events, might also be a requirement for admission to public hospitals for people seeking help for a viral infection. That way someone else who needs medical attention will not be rejected because the facility is at capacity saving the life of some jerk who refused to act in a socially responsible manner in the first instance.