The rules around COVID prevention have been literally and figuratively “all over the map.” In many areas of the globe, groups have used their power to do what they believe is right — to protect the population from mass death, or to protect it from economic collapse, to name only two possible motives. Point being, the responses to the still very-much-alive pandemic vary wildly, and usually in ways that some other faction can reasonably challenge.
Prior to COVID, it was a lot easier to coast along on the sentimental and comforting belief that if something monstrous happened — if the Earth were to be invaded by creatures from outer space, or threatened by the approach of an asteroid — our differences would be set aside, and all of humankind would work together in harmony to prevent the disaster.
Things fall apart
Childhood Obesity News mentioned an article that appeared last year in The Lancet, presenting five major arguments against the relaxing of anti-COVID policies. At the time, the World Health Organization was saying that everybody, even the vaccinated, should be masked indoors. Other respected international organizations urged increased attention to ventilation and air filtration indoors, strict border quarantines, and some widely-neglected practices like testing and tracing.
Last July, Great Britain’s Fifth Wave moved The Guardian‘s science editor Ian Sample to warn that hundreds of thousands of younger people might be left with long COVID. He quoted Imperial College immunology professor Danny Altmann about a significant study:
From every version of Covid we’ve ever seen on the planet, we’ve got a rule of thumb that any case of Covid, whether it’s asymptomatic, mild, severe, or hospitalised, incurs a 10 to 20% risk of developing long Covid, and we haven’t seen any exceptions to that.
Back in the USA, more than 20% of new COVID-19 cases were pediatric. The California public health authorities ruled that K-12 students must be masked inside their buildings or be barred from the premises. In San Francisco (known for its high vaccination rate), although 76% of the residents age 12 and over were fully vaxxed, a goodly number of people were still masking in stores. Nevertheless, daily new cases multiplied by a factor of four. In Los Angeles, UCLA announced a vaccination requirement for students who wanted to return for fall classes or use campus facilities.
Last July, 20% of U.S. COVID patients were concentrated in Florida. In late summer, Missouri hospitals were full of unvaccinated people in their 20s through 40s, a lot of whom died. In Louisiana, the school-age child demographic accounted for the third-largest number of new infections. Texas Children’s Hospital reported increasing numbers of kids, some in ICUs and even on ventilators. In Tennessee, where children’s hospitals were almost full, a political “leader” threatened to sue officials who dared to require masks in schools. In St. Louis, doctors observed an increase in COVID-19 among pediatric cancer patients.
By autumn, there was talk internationally of a quite credible “monster variant” that would be able to effortlessly mow down younger adults, teens, and children. Through social media, caring and cautious people shared stories of their own experiences, and what was going on in their areas. So did people with less clear motives, like this anonymous contributor:
In Colorado, you draft a letter to the school board telling them you object to vaccination on philosophical or religious grounds, and your unvaxxed children can go to school. In Kansas, it has to be a religious objection.
At any rate, the belief that young and/or fit people were safe was a myth long overdue for busting.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “Mass infection is not an option: we must do more to protect our young,” TheLancet.com, 07/07/21
Source: “Delta surge ‘could leave hundreds of thousands with long Covid’,” TheGuardian.com, 07/13/21
Image by Philippe Put/CC BY-SA 2.0