I haven’t written about the pandemic in a while; perhaps I’ve been numbed out like many of us. But first, note its day 324 since I started writing about it. What hasn’t happened? We still can’t get an N-95 mask. That seems simple, doesn’t it? Why not? Because the previous administration never had a plan for this. We’re only a couple of weeks into the new administration but I’m seeing worrying signs in the midst of a turnaround in the government response.
We knew there would be mutations of the original virus. That happens in a pandemic. But as we slowly roll out vaccines (my wife and I are hoping for April, maybe???) we’re also seeing variants of COVID that are more contagious. Also, one that seems to be more serious. The new Johnson and Johnson Vaccine that should be rolling out soon isn’t as effective against the new South African variant of COVID-19. That’s troubling.
We’ve lost half a million Americans to COVID (officially 434,000) and I really believe that number is on the low side. Lots of bodies found alone in homes and apartments that haven’t been autopsied. Lots of secondary deaths due to triage and medical appointments and checkups canceled. There are third level deaths from suicides and financial hardships. Overall, it’s been the worst health disaster in the United States since the 1918 Flu. And it’s still peaking. We’re not in a second wave. We’re still climbing the first wave.
The map above is pretty stunning. We’re getting better at treating COVID and keeping the fatality rate down, but it’s spreading like wildfire.
A distressingly high percentage of our population still has willful ignorance of the threat and refuse to change their lifestyle. Or wear masks. Governors are still floundering and in some cases making extremely stupid decisions, such as re-opening indoor dining. Seriously? People can’t do take out? It’s so important to actually sit in a restaurant and eat?
We are in a race against time with the vaccine. Can we get enough people immunized to turn the numbers positive? Much more worrying to me, and why I titled this post the way I did, is whether we might see a COVID variant that won’t be stopped with the current vaccinations, causing us to go through the entire process again? On top of the current variant? What if one develops in reaction to vaccinations that is much more deadly? Every time a new variant pops up, it’s never isolated. Within a week it’s all over the world. I don’t know what fatality rate would cause a panic, but I suspect even a 5% mortality rate would cause a significant breakdown in society. I’m not saying its likely, but I’m picking up a lot of worrisome vibes from experts in the field. It’s what they’re not saying that concerns me. Many economies are already fragile and people are numbed out. Not just by deaths in the hundreds of thousands, but also a year of constant stress.
Hard as it might be, now is the time to get prepared for the possibility of things getting worse. Essentially we’re living downstream from a very large dam and the water is flowing over the top. Hopefully the level will go down and the dam will hold. But there are two frightening possibilities: the water will pour over the top or, worse, the dam will break. And if it does, things will happen fast.
Prepare now. Survive later.