The case for (some) COVID optimism
One weekend in the summer of 2021, I was at a McDonald’s with a few friends. We were getting ready to do some political canvassing. One of them asked about getting McDonald’s breakfast, and I said they don’t do it all day anymore.
Me: “The pandemic put extra strain on fast food workers so they quietly stopped serving all day breakfast. It’s really the worst thing that happened due to COVID”.
Obviously, I don’t believe that, but it got a few guilty laughs. Millions of deaths worldwide, long-term health issues for people who have severe infections, supply chain disruptions, an exposure of the fragility of our health care system, more social isolation and loneliness among the elderly, immunocompromised, and the disabled. The list of horrible consequences could keep going.
No more “All Day Breakfast” trifles in comparison to the grand scheme of things, even though their breakfast sandwiches are better than their burgers, fries, etc. In my humble opinion, they should drop the burgers and solely do breakfast sandwiches all day.
Despite all the grim issues of a global pandemic, I still try to look at the positives and hope for the future. I know saying “I do my own research” is a meme to tease the moronic anti-vaxxers of the world, but I read regularly, and there are some bright spots for the future. I am by no means an expert on the subject, I am not a scientist or medical professional, and I am absolutely willing for someone to tell me why I am wrong if I am wrong. Let me have it.
For starters, while dire, the Omicron variant is supposedly going to infect everyone eventually. The symptoms are mild compared to hospitalization and death, breakthrough infections are more common, and the extreme transmissibility pushes hospitals over the edge. On the other hand, the more people who get infected AND receive a vaccine will have “super immunity.” Scientists are trying to find out why people who have previously recovered from COVID-19 have a more robust immune response after being vaccinated than those who were never infected. More super immunity means that cases and severity of the diseases will decrease substantially once the peak is over. The infection rate will push COVID into an endemic phase rather than a pandemic. Once the virus is endemic and everyone develops some immunity to it, life really should get more back to normal.
Second, the Army epidemiologists at Walter Reed’s research institute are on the path to developing a “pan-coronavirus vaccine.” Their new vaccine will teach the body’s immune system to respond to all present and future coronavirus variants. If this is the case, and I’ll believe it when I see it, we wouldn’t have to worry about variants anymore. I had my two shots and a booster in October, but they don’t work well on the Omicron variant. The vaccine is currently in phase 2 human trials, and if it passes, a few good things will happen.
The military wouldn’t try to earn a profit over their breakthrough. Without any intellectual property issues, the vaccine could be developed overseas. We could give the recipe away. This factor would make it easy for low-income countries to buy and distribute to their citizens. Second, the new universal COVID vaccine doesn’t have issues with storage. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both require frigid temperatures to store.
Companies like Pfizer and Merck have also developed COVID treatments in pill form that, if prescribed at the right time, can reduce the severity of the disease. While supply is relatively limited right now, it’s still a good sign that cheap treatments are showing promise.
New information comes out every day that should give some comfort. According to my doctor, pharmacist, and two small medical studies, people who had bad reactions to their first COVID shot were infected with COVID. If you had a bad reaction to your first shot and didn’t remember having COVID, that means you likely had it and were asymptomatic. Fluvoxamine, a cheap antidepressant commonly prescribed for OCD, has been shown to reduce the need for more severe treatments. Marijuana, when consumed in liquid or pill form, has also shown some promising anti-inflammatory effects on the lungs for those suffering from COVID-19. While all three of the past articles should be viewed with some skepticism since they haven’t been studied long enough to come to proper scientific conclusions, there’s more evidence for them than ivermectin or drinking bleach or urine as treatments.
I’m not saying the pandemic is over, that I’m an expert, or that we can all sit back and relax. Many people who contract COVID are asymptomatic and don’t know it, so it’s best to wear masks in crowded places and spend time outdoors when doing activities with others. I mentioned several negative consequences of the pandemic. One of the worst aspects, in my opinion, has been the reduction in socializing. People enjoy their lives when they have good relationships. To quote the television show, “The Good Place”: