Home > Uncategorized > Let the vaccinations begin…

Let the vaccinations begin…

Let’s start to vaccinate as many people as possible as soon as possible. This will, together with other technological solutions like air purifiers, UV-C lamps as well as large scale fast testing, enable us to escape the cycle of alternating lock downs. It will also enable us to at least pursue a policy of total eradication of Covid-19. Lock downs work – for a while. They can buy us time. But the economic, social and psychological consequences are immense and we will have to rely as much as possible on other means. Vaccinations are one of our best weapons in this fight.

No. Vaccinations are not a cure-all. Hepatitis, HIV. The flue. Despite vaccines we have not yet eradicated these murderous diseases. But vaccines can be a miracle cure. Look at Polio. Smallpox. Measles. What do Polio, Smallpox and Measles have in common? Unlike Hepatitis, HIV and the Flu our bodies are able, even when especially in the case of Smallpox they are not always fast enough, to fight and eradicate these viruses, acquiring lasting immunity in the process. Covid 19 seems to be in the same league. It’s a killer, especially for the old (say, 55+). But our own bodies are amazingly good at fighting it, albeit now always fast enough. It might do lasting damage – we’re not sure yet about the amount of lasting damage and the prevalence of ‘long Covid’ but it does exist and it’s at the least not extremely rear. So, we have to fight it. Fortunately, our bodies do. And most people acquire long term immunity in the process. Vaccines enhance these amazing powers of our bodies – which is what we want. Resilience, not cures. And surely no lock downs.

Trusting and using technology fits in a ‘left’ tradition. A nice book about this: “Austerity ecologye & the collapse-porn addicts. A defence of growth, progress, industry and stuff” by Leigh Phillips. In a world with ever more people and billions which need better houses, better health care, better education, better clothes and whatever, we can’t combat a new virus by the lock down policy of doing less or doing nothing and restraining the young from partying, studying, travelling or, shorter, living. Ultimately, lock down policies will lead to everybody getting infected. Instead of doing nothing and waiting, we have to do things. We can do things. The technology is available. We already have Chinese and Russian and German and USA vaccines. Indian vaccines are coming. High quality air purifiers – ideal for schools and households – are a proven and cheap technology. UV-C lamps are a newer but also, when it comes to killing the killer, a proven technology. Mass testing using cheap, fast tests can make the difference.

There are no silver bullets when it comes to this virus. We’ll have to use the shotgun approach. Fortunately, the gun can be loaded. Relying on lock downs will, in the end, lead to everybody getting the virus which, as in countries with western demographics around 1% of people infected will die, will lead to tens of millions of victims (estimates of the IFR, the infection fatality rate, differ but I do not see credible estimates of below 0,7% and some estimates are still as high as 1,5% – again, for countries with many elderly). What we need is total eradication. Meaning we can focus attention, again, on eradicating other killers like HIV. Let the vaccinations begin. The sooner, the better.

  1. November 27, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    I agree. Vaccinate. I understand the Russian vaccine is 95% effective. That’s the one I’d like, Sputnik V is being used in Russia, Venezuela and other countries.

    By the way, Venezuelan government form inventor Hugo Chávez can be read directly referring to his Afro-indidenous autonomous democracy here; Either we invent or we err.

    Click to access The-Blue-Book.pdf

  2. Ikonoclast
    November 27, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    It’s not an “either-or” situation. It is or should be a “lock-down AND search for the vaccine(s)” strategy. Australia has locked states down (when necessary) to achieve near eradication of the virus nation-wide. Nations like China, Taiwan, South Korean and New Zealand have also shown what can be done. The strategy of locking down to near elimination was and is the correct strategy. Absolute elimination is impossible with lock-downs alone of course. That is where the safe and effective vaccine(s), if proven technically feasible, will come into the equation.

    What lock-downs do achieve, even before any vaccine, is a near complete re-opening of business afterwards. There are some adjustments but these impede business relatively little. They are more of the nature of “keep your distance and cleanse your hands after touching public surfaces). There is even very little mask-wearing in Australia, except during specific lock-down periods.

    Australia, and the other nations who locked down early and controlled the virus early, have had very few resurgences and thus very little need for yo-yoing lockdowns. Most minor outbreaks are dealt with by contact tracing and selective quarantining and isolation, not more mass lock-downs.

    Personally, I get annoyed by one-sided claims about the economic costs of lock-downs. Yes, there are some costs. But the the “let infection rage” strategy and the mere “flatten the curve” strategy both incur enormous human and economic costs. These costs far outweigh initial lock-down costs. The old and vulnerable who are dying have been found, by studies, to be losing on average, another 11 years of life. That is a large number of life years. Many productive people and eusocially useful grandparents and relatives are lost.

    Economists and epidemiologists (with rare exceptions) advocated right from the start of this pandemic, the “lock down to near elimination” strategy. They have been proven right by empirical outcomes. Lock-down countries have vastly outperformed stricken countries economically. There’s a recent study showing that. I will track down the link again as soon as I can.

    In my home state of Queensland, there has not been a single case of locally acquired COVID-19 in over 60 days. We are a large, decentralized state of just over 5 million people. Admittedly, we have the advantage of a low population density overall but our capital city conurbation area still houses 2 million people with another strip of 0.5 million just to the south. There are a few cases in our quarantine. These are people who have returned from overseas, from countries where COVID-19 is now endemic.

    There is actually no excuse for the USA and EU to have fallen so badly to the COVID-19 pandemic. China did not and it is more densely populated and not as developed across the whole nation. The failure, the egregious and stupendous failure, of the USA and EU is directly attributable to neoliberal capitalism. This is the system which preaches that the needs of business and staying open trump all other considerations and that the lives of all the vulnerable are worthless. That strategy is now exposed as the most grotesque and indefensible failure at both the humanitarian and economic levels. The USA now faces its own internal humanitarian crisis. Because they refuse to lock-down, even now, they will face an horrendous explosion of COVID-19 in 2021 and their health system will fail nationwide. Excess deaths will skyrocket. That is my prediction based on the facts and clear epidemiological projections. The egregious failure of Western neoliberal capitalism has to be called out for what it is: a greedy, cruel, exploitative system which kills people in a (futile) effort to maintain profits for the rich elites.

    Neoliberal capitalism cannot deal with the crises we now face, from zoonotic pandemic outbreaks to climate change. Neoliberal capitalism is systemically incapable of meeting these challenges. Its failures prove that its time as an acceptable economic system is well and truly over. We need a socialist revolution in the West. However, we need to maintain our democratic systems. Authoritarian rule subverts true socialism. True socialism and true democracy are really one and the same and the only system with any chance of saving the planet and the human race.

    • merijntknibbe
      November 28, 2020 at 8:53 am

      Thanks for the comment, totally agree. I’m writing from a European perspective.

      In my country, the Netherlands, there is a de-facto herd immunity strategy – let the young get it, as much as possible considering the ICU capacity.

      Which indeed leads to ‘yo-yoing’ of lock down measures. One point: a herd immunity strategy using lock downs to prevent calamitous outcomes lacks a clear goal – or in fact in has a dual goal. Which in combination with the unknowns about the virus leads to time inconsistent measures. In some circumstances measures are taken to get infections down (closing down the entire hospitality business) while other measures actually aim at promoting infections (I’m not kidding) like not testing and isolating when a primary school kid is sick. Leading to the worst of all outcomes: perennial business close downs, widespread protests an a virus on a killing spree (when it comes to the elderly) and a high prevalence of the virus. Another point and I’m surely not the first one to make this: the best way to protect the elderly is to eradicate the virus. The ‘second wave’ largely originated in the young – but recently the highest rates of infection were in the 90+ demographic category. Also, available technology like masks and filters is either not used or used to late or in a haphazard way. It’s a mess.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.