What A Difference!

Today I’d like to take a look at the state of the pandemic in America. Simply put, what a difference a functioning federal government led by a real president (not one playing one in the reality TV show in his alleged mind) makes.

One of my fears in recent months is that a significant portion of the population will refuse to get vaccinated and therefore we will not stop the virus from both spreading and more importantly mutating before we reach community immunity. That is still on the horizon although some recent numbers seem to indicate that the risk may be surmountable if in fact it does materialize.

In America we have two extremely effective vaccines in the products from Moderna and Pfizer that have not shown any significant side effects. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was actually paused for about a ten day period but is back in use with a warning label. More than 8 million doses have been given in America and 15 cases of blood clots have been discovered. Interestingly, they have all occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 49. To my mind, at 15, the sample size of afflicted is too small to derive serious conclusions as to susceptibility. However, the sample size of over 8 million is more than sufficient to conclude that the vaccine is safe. Allow me to play with some of those numbers a bit in the next two paragraphs.

The chances of having a blood clot problem as a result of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is about .000188%. By comparison the chances of being stuck by lightning during an 80 year life is .00006536.  If you are afraid of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine I suggest you do not go outdoors until after your 80th birthday. In plain English the fear of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is irrational (and I’m being polite in my choice of words).

Now let’s compare the vaccine to the disease that it protects an individual against. Using data that is a few days old, the chances of contracting COVID-19 in America are about 9.4%. The chances of dying from it are about 1.8% and I still contend that the death numbers are underreported.

As to the “I will never get vaccinated” crowd’s impact; if polling is to be believed it may be surmountable. The problem is almost exclusively white, Republican males. The percentage of the population that self identifies as Republican is about 25%. It is safe to assume that about half are male. Now we are down to 12.5% of the population. Of that about 40% (or 5% of the population) are the never vaxers. Admittedly these are rough numbers but you can see that 5% will not stop us from achieving community immunity.

The recent surge in cases wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared. In fact it looks like new cases have plateaued in recent days with the 14 day rolling average actually in negative territory as of this writing. Many factors account for that but none larger than the fact that the Biden administration has managed to coordinate a program which has administered over 200 million doses to date. (Remember their original goal was 100 million does in their first 100 days in office which won’t occur until later this week.) That happened despite the J & J pause.

Getting vaccinated is easier for some than others. I’m retired, healthy and have a car; a lot of other people don’t have those advantages. Whatever your situation – with the important exception of a health problem that prevents you from getting vaccinated – it is your moral responsibility to get vaccinated! My degree is in management not medicine so perhaps I should not be giving medical advice. Let me give you some sound advice based on my education; this is a simple cost/benefit, risk/reward decision.

While I’m on the management kick let me just point out the value of competent management. Under Biden we have America on the cusp of controlling the virus – in this country anyway, more about that another day – under Trump a year ago his bright idea was introducing bleach into the body. Following one might just save your life; following the other was suicide. Like I told my barber the other day, “What a difference a President makes!”

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