What Are we Trying to Accomplish?
After nearly six months of coexisting with Covid-19, it's time for Americans to step back and ask the question, what are we trying to accomplish? If its to eradicate the coronavirus, according to Dr. Bruce Aylward, that won't happen anytime soon. Only one virus in the history of humanity got eradicated, which was smallpox last seen in 1977, and that took 3,000 years.
To date, there are seven types of coronavirus, none of which have a vaccine. The four considered mild (229E, NL63, OC43, HKU1) have been around since the mid-1960s, occurring annually. The other three are considered more severe. SARS and MERS had respective mortality rates of 10% and 34%. COVID-19, the most recent coronavirus, has a mortality rate of .2%, as confirmed by the CDC.
When it comes to the flu, there are four types (A, B, C, and D), with vaccines existing for only A and B. Though there are 131 subtypes of A and B, the vaccine does not protect all subtypes. And even though the mortality rate for the seasonal flu is .1%, there's still a 60% chance of you seeing a doctor or going to a hospital for flu-related issues.
The coronavirus has the same seasonal personality of the flu, with a mortality rate nearly as low. So why are there restrictions on COVID-19, but not the flu? If the main reason is to wait for a vaccine, at the end of the day, the mortality rate won't get much lower, and the virus will still come back, just like the flu. So what are we trying to accomplish by waiting? If its to get cases and deaths down to some deficient number, even if that were to occur, once restrictions get relaxed, the numbers will build back up, vaccine or no vaccine, just like the flu.
Questions That Need Answering
This epic struggle with COVID-19 has been a perpetual sea-saw of events. There are days where it appears the coronavirus is losing the war, only to have days where it seems the virus is making a comeback, and possibly more potent than ever. But waiting for the vaccine won't make the infection go away, it will only suppress COVID-19 for some duration time. And what happens when the virus mutates, rendering the vaccine useless? Are we to turn things on and off like a light switch, doing a Karate Kid version of 'Wax on, Wax off", every time the virus changes course?
And who's best qualified to lead the charge against COVID-19? Currently, it's the governors of each state. It seems our fate is in the hands of the very people keenly focused on winning their next election. Though their decisions should address three areas in the process:
- the financial health of the state
- people's health and safety
- social and emotional health
It appears that only the number of cases and deaths dominate the decision strategy.
So if not the politician, then who is best qualified to lead in the battle against pandemics? Is it scientists, doctors, or maybe fortune tellers? We are making decisions based on mathematical models, probabilities, and current headlines of the day, whose information may or may not be accurate. This country is living day to day on trending spikes for both deaths and cases, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. But is this the right approach for all involved?
Man is a Social Animal
Aristotle said, "Man is by nature, a social animal." This trait is not only essential but critical to the current and future development of humanity. And with this, one of the most basic needs for humankind is his/her 'freedom,' which is essential for human development.
The only agreed-upon plan of attack to this point goes against human nature. The current program consists of wearing masks, 6-foot distancing, and lockdowns, all restricting the freedom necessary for a social animal, thus causing "negative psychological effects, including confusion, anger, and post-traumatic distress," just to name a few.
And with the suppression of critical social events such as church-going, sporting events, concerts, theater, movies, schools, air travel, boat travel, amusement parks, etc., the psychological effects could be causing more damage than the disease itself.
Where Do We Go From Here?
I would understand the need for restrictions if it weren't for the fact the mortality rate for COVID-19 is .2%, which means the survival rate is 99.8%. The mortality rate for the flu is .1%, and that's with an existing vaccine. One has a better chance of dying in a car accident (.6%) than from COVID-19. So the question remains, what are we trying to accomplish? Even if a vaccine existed today for Covid-19, the virus only needs to mutate, and then all bets are off. Then what, do we lockdown again, is this now the new norm where anytime a new virus scares us, we lockdown the world? As silly as that may sound, that's where we are today.
So America, it's time to come to grips with our current situation and make a decision, are we full in or full out? There's no more being on the fence since if we were to shut everything down again, the moment things open back up, the virus will come back, and people will die. The other option, since mortality rates are low, would be to open everything up and work through this pandemic. Yes, by opening things up, cases will climb, and deaths will rise, but the people will be free. Freedom comes at a cost, it always has, so let the people choose for themselves to wear masks, distance themselves, or do self-imposed lockdowns. People need to be free; they are social animals. So where do we go from here, are we in or out?
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Paul Kozma (author) on July 19, 2020:
I see you are very passionate about this subject matter. I hope you share the article with others so we can get people thinking on their own and as opposed to being told what to do. Thx, P
CHRIS57 from Northern Germany on July 19, 2020:
Paul, until now testing in G. is still done the same way as it started in January/February. No antibody testing for confirmed Covid19 infection patients. But anyways, i agree with you that Covid19 is affecting mostly elderly, with a fatality increase of almost 300% for every 10 year age cohort. That means 30 years younger and mortality is at 3,5% of respective value for older people.
There is a preliminary study on economic impact of Covid19 from the United Nations: https://www.unido.org/stories/coronavirus-economic...
The study comes to the conclusion that cost and effectiveness for containing the virus is not associated to drop in industrial output or trade. To some extent this makes sense with respect to the highly interconnected world we live in. If demand drops in one region of the world because of Corona, if supplies are missing from one region because of Corona, this will have impact on other regions as well, no matter if affected by Corona, doing lockdowns or doing nothing. If you look at some charts, you will find the US and Sweden quite comparable and close to together
And then there is an other virus, an economic virus, that has haunted the world for some time now. This virus i would call "cheap money". This virus has infected whole industries worldwide, creating Zombie corporations and Zombie markets only surviving from cheap money blood. As priorities shift to keeping basics afloat in Corona times, Zombie companies will have to die. Imho this is overdue and Corona has initiated this.
The ethical question is: How much is a country willing to invest into saving the lives of their people. In answering you don´t get very far with common sense.
Ken Burgess from Florida on July 19, 2020:
Sweden, no lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic 15,000 cases and 1,700 deaths from the virus so far.
Norway, which has half as many people as Sweden, has seen 7,500 cases and 200 deaths.
Rounded the numbers to make a clear point.
Norway lockdown: 'Strongest-ever peacetime measures' see schools and restaurants closed, all new arrivals quarantined and sporting events banned, etc.
The price of "saving" 1,500 / 2 = 750 people was a total shut down of life in that nation.
That shut-down here in America comes at 50 MILLION people losing their employment, 25 MILLION or more of those jobs are gone for good.
Businesses bankrupt, economic destitution for the country on the horizon, a possible collapse of the dollar which would have such a painful impact on the American economy that violence and suicides would skyrocket.
What we have really done here in America and throughout most of Europe is not save lives... we have DESTROYED lives, we have DESTROYED economies, and the repercussions for these "lock-downs" will be felt by low and middle income people for a decade or longer.
This has opened the doors for international war on a global scale, as desperate nations that are on the verge of losing control of their populations often resort to drastic measures to ensure they maintain control.
Less than half of working age Americans are employed right now, and young adults have no opportunity ahead of them, the troubles to come for the idiotic lock down measures over a flu like virus are going to be at least tenfold as harmful as what the virus would have done.
Paul Kozma (author) on July 18, 2020:
At the end of the day, the testing in Germany was duplicated in many other places with similar results. What we also know is many deaths under the category of COVID-19 have been classified incorrectly. To this day, I know of no one personally who has had the virus, no less died from it. This is not an 'end of the world' scenario, just a mild flu. Over 85% of all deaths are people over 65, over 93% in Italy. This virus is not like the Spanish Flu, which impacted ALL ages. It's mostly elderly and people with pre-conditions, which is similar to the flu, with almost identical percentages by age for deaths. Take care as always, Paul
CHRIS57 from Northern Germany on July 18, 2020:
Paul, certainly i know the Heinsberg/Gangelt study about antibody relied infection rate in the county of Heinsberg, just about 300 km away from my dwelling. The problem is: This study did not stand scientific scrutiny. Apparently Corona antibody testing was not specific enough to target only Covid19. While i am writing this, criminal charges were brought up against study team leader. So .. not a good reference.
Of course you can blow up infection numbers and thus diminish case fatality rate. One German state (Nordrhein-Westfalen) wanted to follow this idea to open up early but was ruled in by federal government (Angela Merkel).
Result is by mid July: very low fatality rate of between 2 and 7 deaths per day (population 83 million, active cases 6.000).
The dire situation in the US displays, what happens if you open up too early. Also, if i may say: the US has no clue of how to hunt down the virus. Too much politicising. How is individual contact tracking done? What is the testing strategy or is there a testing strategy?
Just to give an example: Close to our city a local outbreak in a meat processing factory was detected. Immediately all employees and contacts were tested. Then all family contacts were tested. From an initial outbreak of 20 infected, some 200 tests were initiated. In G. you don´t wait in line to get tested. Local health authorities order the tests. This does not stop with elderly. 1 school kid was tested positive because his grandfather worked in the meat factory i mentioned. Immediately school was closed, all classmates, teachers were tested. School was reopened after tracing gave a full picture.
2 stories from my personal experience:
The fiancee of our son had a blood test done. They found Corona antibodies. Didn´t mean anything. Nobody with direct contact got sick. Probably was only a serious cold. (Antibody testing questionable).
I was called in April by local health authorities because my mom (98 years old) had contact to a carer who had tested positive. Immediately quarantene was commanded for my mom and all indirect contacts were recorded.
All those measures work. Active cases are reduced to less than 10% of peak.
I am sorry to say but the US is far away from this. Active cases are rising, death rate is at best constant and statistically noticable, in total almost 10% of natural mortality in the 4 month outbreak period.
Things went wrong in March and have not been corrected since. What a tragedy, high cost of lives and what a tremendous economic fallout.
Paul Kozma (author) on July 18, 2020:
Good points, I can tell you what I believe based on the data. 85% of all deaths are people 65 and over, so schools will have very few issues since most kids will never know they had the virus. Close business makes very little sense and the wearing facemasks makes even less sense. Read my article on dor facemasks, social distancing, and lockdown works. The data says they do not. Thanks for the comments, hope you enjoyed the article, and glad to see your thought process is deep and reflective. Regards, Paul
Ken Burgess from Florida on July 18, 2020:
Good article, asks some "common sense" questions.
I got a couple.
How is it this virus is so dangerous that we have to shut down restaurants and meat processing plants....
But they want us to send our kids to school next month?
Too dangerous to go out to eat... but its OK to send my kids to school and be exposed to hundreds of other people in relatively close and confined environments.
Are you &^(*)_ serious?
Or how about Sweden, that did absolutely NOTHING to prevent the spread of the virus, no lock downs, no shut downs... and they have better numbers than most nations in regards to corona.
How is it they did nothing, and are no worse off for it than all the lock-down idiocy we have been doing?
Ever wonder what is really going on?
Global unrest and an economic collapse is a certainty due to how we have disrupted businesses and supply chains.
And it is something that could have been easily avoided, if we had just acted like Sweden and carried on with life as normal.
Think about that next time you listen to a politician preach about how its necessary to shut down your state to "save lives"
Save lives for what?
So we can all be homeless and hungry?
BTW Chris's numbers are totally bogus, its not 4% its .2% as you noted, the numbers and links he has, like most things people read, as so much BS.
Paul Kozma (author) on July 17, 2020:
If you click on the hyperlink, you'll see the data came from the CDC a few weeks ago. The mortality rates are relatively close. If you are familiar with the antibody testing done in Gangelt Germany a few months, they came out with similar numbers as well. Thanks for the feedback, and be safe. paul
CHRIS57 from Northern Germany on July 17, 2020:
I can follow most of your ideas. Much seems to be common sense to me.
Only, where did you get the Covid19 mortality rate from? I get some other numbers, also in comparison to typical seasonal flu, something must be a little off.
According to this link: https://www.passporthealthglobal.com/2019/08/how-b... typical seasonal flu takes some 36.. 61 thousand deaths. This is roughly 1/2 to 1/3 of Covid19 deaths. At first look that is almost comparable to your Covid19 vs flu relation. But the 0,2% mortality?
Lets look at Covid19 case mortality: Today: 4%, at max in May: 6%. Means: of those who got infected between 94 abd 96% survive, 4 to 6 % die.
According to CDC in 2018/2019 some 38 to 42 Million got infected. Fatal outcome was some 0,1% as you rightly pointed out (some 40.000 / 40.000.000) = 0,1%. That is flu case mortality.
Covid19 case mortality is 40 to 60 times higher. Even if we take into account that infection numbers are until now only 1/10 of flu (due to lockdown, social distancing...), the mortality is still 4 to 6 times higher than flu, not only double.
This Covid19 is much more agressive than typical flu. And Covid19 doesn´t know what a season is. It is still around and spreading in midsummer.
You have to understand the character of the beast to be able to fight it. Never underestimate the enemy. Just saying...