We heard about the Twindemic that was forecast this past winter for the United States. COVID-19 was going to surge along with seasonal influenza. We know that seasonal flu nearly disappeared this past season. Some say that the airborne flu virus was controlled by face masks and social distancing – the same protections to coronavirus.
Regardless, no seasonal influenza this 2020-2021 season. What about COVID-19? Will it become seasonal?
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/. In mid-January 2020, there were around a quarter of a million daily cases (seven-day rolling average) at the peak of the last coronavirus surge. Jump ahead ten weeks, and the rolling average is between 55,000-60,000 new cases daily – about the same as it was in mid-October, early August, and early July. The current trend line is stable.
The real number to watch is the daily deaths. This week the rolling average is below 1,000. Deaths from COVID-19 lag new cases by two weeks. The last half of January saw a rolling average of over 3,000 daily deaths. The trend is continuing to decrease.
Is the spread of the virus slowing down? It appears so. Are vaccinations going to keep the transmission of the pandemic virus under further control? One would hope so. There are a few who throw their thoughts into the ring and predict dire consequences, such as the return of the virus every year.
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00728-2. I read that the vaccines protect against symptomatic cases of COVID-19, but some scientists do not know if the vaccine protects against asymptomatic transmission. Why would someone offer that opinion?
The vaccine either works, or it does not. When it prevents symptomatic cases of the virus, it prevents the asymptomatic ones also. This is a current thought process to tell us why herd immunity cannot be achieved. Blame it on the vaccine.
A virus is a virus is a virus. Get sick, and you will have symptoms, or you will not have symptoms. The degree or severity of symptoms is more dependent on your immunity than the vaccine. Yes, vaccines are not 100% effective, and people vaccinated can become infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Herd immunity is determined by the population’s ability to thwart the spread of the disease. When you have been sick with the virus, your innate immune system protects you. Vaccinations provide a similar remedy. A layer of protection extends inside a population that makes it increasingly difficult for the virus to pass from an infected person to a non-infected and non-vaccinated person.
Vaccine Potency Duration
https://www.verywellhealth.com/length-of-covid-19-vaccine-immunity-5094857. Nearly every article tells us that no one knows how long the vaccine will be effective against COVID-19. That is true. It could be six months or six years. Why assume that coronavirus will require an annual vaccination to thwart this virus’s seasonal outbreak each year?
If every person in the United States were vaccinated within 30 days, herd immunity would be immediate. Measles vaccines are good for life. Seasonal influenza vaccines are suitable for a year. Every virus is different.
Will a two-year-old vaccine reduce the transmissibility of the pandemic virus? Will a two-year-old vaccine inhibit the severity of the disease? Remember, the survival rate is around 99%.
Is this something to fear at Christmas of 2022? Yes, I agree that there will always be a portion of our society with health challenges, and those people may continue to take adequate precautions against infection.
Vaccine Program Distribution
https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/inside-the-mammoth-undertaking-of-global-vaccine-distribution. Another predictor of gloom tells the world that vaccine distribution is uneven. If the vaccine rollout had been evenly spread out worldwide, we could have controlled the disease.
Protecting one country allows the infection to fester and mutate in other countries, making herd immunity impossible. Therefore, it is impossible to kill the virus in its tracks, and we will have seasonal outbreaks of COVID-19 like seasonal influenza.
Israel has achieved 50% two-dose vaccinations for its citizens. Britain is still in the low single digits. The United States and Serbia are nearly equal in completed two-dose vaccinations. Every country has its approval process for vaccines. The market sets the price and availability.
Israel resembles the coronavirus culture of the United States. Early vaccinations were given to front-line healthcare workers (as it should be), and the older population followed. The younger Israeli population is not frightened of the virus and is not waiting to get vaccinated. Malaise? Misinformation? Who knows?
I have my doubts about mRNA vaccines. The technology is new, and I will wait for a more traditionally developed vaccine before entering the tribe of the vaccinated.
Vaccines were developed quickly. There are around 130 vaccines developed or being designed to combat this pandemic virus. A year from now, there may be two or three dozen vaccines available. I do not hear anything about an increase in vaccines within the next two years to bring the global pandemic under control.
The Herd & Mutations
https://reliefweb.int/report/world/two-thirds-epidemiologists-warn-mutations-could-render-current-covid-vaccines. A question was asked to 77 virologists, epidemiologists, and infectious disease experts from 28 countries (out of around 200 countries in the world)
about the likelihood of mutations rendering vaccines impotent. Two-thirds believe that mutations will, in fact, no longer be effective by this time next year.
Yes, I agree that mutations will occur. Mutations can make a virus worse, leave it the same, or weaken it. Do people always assume the worst-case scenario? The belief is that there are not enough vaccines available to poorer countries, and the disease will spread, mutate, and come back again as a new coronavirus more virulent than SARS-CoV-2. Is that a reasonable belief?
I see that many people have opinions; many of them learned people experienced with viruses and treatments. Where were these people a year ago? New vaccines and other treatments are coming out every month. A year from now, the current mutation of COVID-19 will be a memory, and a new variant will spread doom and gloom.
What if a nasty variant developed and the death rate doubled? Ninety-eight percent of people would survive. What happens if a more impoverished country has an infection rate of over 60% without a vaccine? Does that provide some level of herd immunity protection? I think so. Yes, the deaths among older adults and those with challenged immune systems should not be dismissed.
I hear the argument that Country A may have 75% vaccinated and Country B has 10%. Travel will cause the virus to surge again. Anyone from Country B traveling to Country A will probably have a negative test result or proof of antibodies or vaccination. That will not spread the disease. And, vice versa, traveling in the opposite direction will not cause a new outbreak.
Well, what if a guy from Country B goes to Country C and creates havoc with their healthcare system? We can play ‘what-if’ games all day long. There have been many lessons learned, and we are continuing to learn more every week. Pass those lessons on to other countries. We must still protect the most vulnerable regardless of where they live.
Current measures are adequate to protect large groups of people, as we have seen for the past twelve months. As we have improved our knowledge of the virus, more effective treatments and protections have kept the numbers of deaths low.
If COVID-19 becomes seasonal, I do not fear that we will return to the dark ages of late Spring and Summer of 2020. Too many things are in the mill and will be available six months and a year from now, which will take up the slack that we see around the world today.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com