I’m a liberal, no doubt about it. I have often written that conservative and crazy are not synonyms. There are times even liberals should think and act conservatively and when it comes to the coronavirus this is one of those times.
My regular readers know that I closely follow the 14 day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases. I also largely discount weekend numbers. Over the last week or so the number of new cases has continued to climb but the rate has somewhat slowed. You have to remember the base is now much larger than it was a month or so ago so the decrease in velocity isn’t as good a news as it sounds at first consideration. Daily new cases well into the six figures are the norm and that is not good.
My contention is the primary reason the news isn’t much worse is because the most vulnerable, senior citizens, are largely vaccinated and therefore unlikely to become infected. My observation is that more than any other age related demographic senior citizens are likely to take other prudent self-defense measures. Part of why that is possible is because most senior citizens are retired and have more flexibility about avoiding crowds and limiting exposure.
There is a lot of disinformation out there. In addition, this is a dynamic situation. The emergence of new variants of the virus and new legitimate information is constantly becoming available. Even for those with legitimate information sources and the time to follow developments it can seem confusing and overwhelming.
Here are a few things we do know (unless you believe in right wing mythology and disinformation).
The vaccines are well over 90% effective in preventing the disease from becoming serious in the rare situation where you get a breakthrough infection. The bottom line is very clear – get vaccinated!
Masks alone appear to be somewhere between 70 and 80% effective. Not as good an odds as the vaccine but still well in your favor.
We know this virus is transmitted via the air. Therefore, social distancing is also a safeguard. If it doesn’t touch you, it can’t infect you.
Vaccines are far and away the best protection but adding the other measures help increase the odds in your favor. (When your base is 90%+ any increase gets you pretty close to 100%.)
If you observe a group of senior citizens – the majority of which statistics would lead us to believe are fully vaccinated – in a store they are largely masked (regardless of mandates) and try to keep separated thereby limiting interaction at close quarters. That is typical of my personal behavior. I don’t like wearing a mask and limiting social interaction. However, I certainly don’t want to be a rare breakthrough infection and more importantly realize that I have a moral obligation to help protect the less than 2% who cannot get vaccinated due to a medical condition in addition to the children under 12 for which we currently do not have a vaccine.
I don’t have the time and space to dispel all the disinformation but I would be remiss not to take on one argument here. Many anti-vaxxers are using the excuse (I’d hate to believe they were really that foolish) that the vaccine isn’t fully approved so therefore it is somehow dangerous. We currently have well over 100 million Americans who are fully vaccinated and the overwhelming majority of them (like me) are doing just fine. Final approval is based on the results of clinical trials few if any of which ever have a sample size reaching let alone exceeding 100,000. Just do the arithmetic and shut up!
Without the skeptics (I’m being kind in my choice of words) getting vaccinated we are in danger of a spike in cases and the real danger is that a variant of the virus that the current vaccines are not effective against emerges. The opening of schools without vaccination (where possible) and masking is simply begging for trouble. It’s similar to stepping into the batter’s box without a bat and expecting to get on base. The chances of success are extremely slim.
Perhaps it is because my first real job was in banking and I remember The Prudent Man Principle from my business law classes, but I equate conservatism with caution. The safe, prudent and moral things to do are get vaccinated, wear a mask and practice social distancing until we get enough people vaccinated worldwide (that is another aspect of this challenge for another day) – America is our first priority but cannot be our only one if we want to ultimately be successful!
Left, right, center or simply not interested; get vaccinated then practice mask wearing and social distancing at least in the near future. This is a time that calls for true conservative action.
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