What is next with the COVID-19 story? Most of the world is still unvaccinated, but progress is being made. 41% of the world has received at least one dose, but only 1.9% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose. It is in unvaccinated regions where the variants to the virus develop, whether it be Tanzania, Columbia, or Northern Idaho. Will a virus that is immune to the vaccines and deliver a deadly dose develop? It is possible. That is why, I believe getting the vaccine to everyone as quickly as possible is very important. We need to stop this virus before it mutates into something worse. (The delta variant is already worse than the original virus. What is next?)
Right now the COVID’s fourth wave has hit America hard, but things are different for this wave because many of us are vaccinated and that is making a difference. However the difference is not big enough because we do not have enough vaccinated people for herd immunity. The risk is lower for me since I have been vaccinated. The people I hang around with are vaccinated too, but we still need to be careful not to spread it. Unfortunately, the unvaccinated are catching the COVID virus and hospitals are filling up. What does America need to do? Is mask wearing needed? Is a lockdown needed? Mandatory vaccinations? Right now it is mostly up to the individual, to companies, or to the local governments. I do not have the answers.
People have different comfort levels. Some feel the need to wear face masks and others don’t. (And there are a few, mostly elderly, where a face mask makes it more difficult for them to breathe.) I am comfortable without a mask, but I respect those who differ and I am willing to wear a mask if it makes the individual comfortable. I am also willing to wear masks if the store or the local government requires it. It is a small price to pay to keep the peace and maintain relationships. And I believe that masks do make a difference. There are many studies that show face masks do help reduce the risk of infection.
There are conspiracy theories out there that are convincing people that the vaccines are bad for them. Yes, I consider these stories to be conspiracy theories. The evidence is missing, and the story requires large numbers of knowledgeable people to be lying. I cannot believe that a falsehood requiring so many knowledgeable people to lie can continue without being fully exposed. Here is an article debunking many of the myths. I ask you to look around and ask yourself, “How many people who I know have had lasting ill effects from the vaccine?” For me it is zero. The vaccine does not harm people. It is a very rare case when it causes problems.
The vaccine is effective at protecting you from the virus. If you are vaccinated there is a one in 5,000 chance per day of becoming infected, and it may actually be a one in 10,000 chance per day. Unvaccinated people are about five times more likely to become infected with the delta variant of the COVID virus than vaccinated people. They are now ten times more likely to be hospitalized, and 11 times more likely to die of COVID than those vaccinated. The vaccine works. One alternative treatment touted by conspiracy theories is a potential antiviral drug, ivermectin. Current results from the studies show that ivermectin is not effective against COVID-19. (There are some more studies in progress.) Those considering ivermectin should be very careful, because ivermectin is dangerous to take, especially in large doses.
Should we be getting a third shot, a “booster shot”, when many in the rest of the world do not have their first shot? The head of the World Health Organization says, we should wait, and there appears to be a question of whether the third dose is really needed. The rich countries have promised 1 billion doses to the poor countries, but only 15% of the promised amount has been delivered. Should we focus on helping poor countries get vaccinated? It would help prevent new strains of the virus from developing. Or should we first protect America’s vulnerable with a third shot? I am not certain if it is an “either/or” question. I think both can happen. I believe that we need to get the world vaccinated, the faster the better. The vaccines need to get to poor countries quickly, but only if the logistics are in place to get the people vaccinated. Logistics can be a problem. And I think third shots can happen too, but they should be the extra doses that are not going to be used by those getting their first and second doses.
With all that is happening, as Christians, we can be rest assured that our God is good and loving and in control. We need not fear. In the end, heaven awaits, where everything will be made right for us.
2 thoughts on “COVID Thoughts”
My uncle and I just had another of our discussions and round of e-mails about the COVID virus, which he has always been extremely concerned about. Last Sunday he sent me this:
Here is some information on the Delta variant.
>> From CDC:
>> From NPR:
>> Alabama heart patient dies after hospital contacts 43 ICUs in 3 states.
In the first article, the last paragraph under “Infections and Spread” says:
“Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others. However, vaccinated people appear to spread the virus for a shorter time: For prior variants, lower amounts of viral genetic material were found in samples taken from fully vaccinated people who had breakthrough infections than from unvaccinated people with COVID-19. For people infected with the Delta variant, similar amounts of viral genetic material have been found among both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people. However, like prior variants, the amount of viral genetic material may go down faster in fully vaccinated people when compared to unvaccinated people. This means fully vaccinated people will likely spread the virus for less time than unvaccinated people.”
Here’s my take:
Although the CDC is hedging their bets by recommending everyone wear a mask in all public spaces whether they’ve been vaccinated or not, the paragraph above actually does not mention anything about vaccinated people who’ve not had a breakthrough infection spreading the virus to others. They said at the end of the previous paragraph that the “CDC is continuing to assess data on whether fully vaccinated people with asymptomatic breakthrough infections can transmit the virus,” but even in that case, they’re still talking about ‘invisible’ breakthrough infections that could only be detected by testing everyone every week, which is just not practical.
The second article, under the heading “If I’m vaccinated, can I get sick with delta?”, says:
“Though the CDC only tracks breakthrough infections that lead to hospitalization or death, some states are keeping track of every case. According to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, among states that track the data, the rate of breakthrough cases among fully vaccinated people ranged from 0.01% in Connecticut to 0.29% in Alaska.”
Those rates range from exceptionally small to very small. My guess is that the Colorado’s average breakthrough rate is closer to the rate in Connecticut than it is to the rate in Alaska, because the fully vaccinated rate in Alaska is currently around 48%, whereas in Colorado the full vaccination rate is currently 58%.
I think this uncertainty and the evidently very tiny chance of vaccinated people who don’t have any breakthrough infection passing on the Corona virus is one of the reasons why many states and counties have not re-issued mask mandates … in addition to the other facts that this ongoing partial shut down of our economy is wrecking a lot of businesses and people’s personal finances (including all those now facing eviction), and that the mental and emotional isolation is having an adverse effect on substance abuse and suicide rates, and has also had a generally negative effect on kids’ educations. There’s also the ongoing debate about whether any local, state, or federal government actually has the Constitutional authority to coerce or force the injection of anything into anyone’s body, because there are some potentially really ugly precedents that could be set here for the future. A number of Republican governor’s are taking Biden’s vaccination mandate to court. That should be interesting.
Near the end of the second article, it asks and states:
“Should I turn down invitations to weddings and other large gatherings?”
“Many public health experts say it’s safe to attend if you’re vaccinated, but keep the variant in mind, especially if you’re somewhere with rising cases.”
Here they’re talking about large gatherings, not small group gatherings in homes of just a few people. Yet attending even large gatherings is not being prescribed against as long as you’re vaccinated.
Ultimately, with the FDA’s full approval last month of the Pfizer vaccine, and full approvals of other vaccines probably only months away, followed by approvals for children of lower and lower age brackets to get vaccinated, I think this whole thing will significantly fade away through the coming fall, winter, and spring, although I don’t think it’ll ever go away entirely. I think it’ll become like a new, ever-present, ever-mutating flu virus, against which we can choose or choose not to get vaccinated each year … although if the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate is upheld by the Supreme Court, then we will no longer have ultimate authority over what gets injected into us. I think that’s an extremely dangerous precedent given the moral and spiritual direction our country is moving in now.
Note vaccines are required for children for school and licensed child care in Colorado. Colorado and other states have these mandates.