While enjoying the Venice beach sunset I contemplate the new virus that entered our lives. We don’t know yet from which animal and how, but it has been spreading rapidly worldwide, causing death under the elderly population. For 98% of the population, the virus is like the flu, a day at home and back to work.
Two percent of the population, mainly people 70 years and older, suffer from the virus and it can be a nightmare. For this group, the virus is hard to treat, and the hospitalization time is long, putting severe strain on the health system. Therefore, regular operations have been delayed making space for the people with the virus.
The political reaction is to stop people from seeing each other until there is a vaccine. The search for quick and cheap alternatives is sidelined. Vitamin D has proven to be a lifesaver for many people, still WHO doesn’t recommend taking extra vitamin D. The economic cost of closing the economy is estimated to be over 12 trillion dollars.
This policy is narrow-minded. What do we do when the next virus hits us? The big problem is that there are not enough trained people and hospital beds to provide proper healthcare. So then obviously best solution is to train more people and provide more hospital beds.
In the 1990 ties, a privatization wave flooded the world, resulting in a steady decrease in hospital beds. In a rich and well-organized country like the Nederland, intensive care beds almost halved. As a result, Dutch patients with the virus were sent to Germany during hospitalization peaks.
More hospital beds and personnel come at a cost, but much lower than the cost of closing the economy. Besides more doctors and nurses are urgently needed to deal with the ever-growing waiting lists for operations.
Vitamin D and Vaccines
Vitamin D has proven a very powerful solution, saving lives. The case was strong enough for the UK government to freely distribute vitamin D. You wonder why other countries, notably the European Union don’t follow suit. People with high levels of vitamin D recover quicker freeing up beds for other patients. This social thought fits the typically more socially orientated Europe.
Are vaccines the holy grail, or is the truth more complicated? Some vaccines have only been tested on people under 55, leaving the group most in need, the seniors, in peril. South Africa stopped administrating some vaccines because they didn’t work, questioning the effectiveness of the vaccines. The CEO of Pfizer stated that annual re-vaccination is necessary. According to vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and BioNtech, a third jab is required to really be safe against the virus.
Vaccinated and transmitting the virus
Probably the biggest problem with vaccines is that vaccinated people can still get infected and transmit the virus to others. A survey showed a clear behavior change after vaccination. Prior vaccination people avoid crowds, for example going to a bar. After vaccination, the same people would go to a bar and potentially get the virus unknowingly and transmit it to others who are not yet vaccinated. The very same people telling youngsters to stay at home and be responsible are planning their trips overseas to Rio the Janeiro.
The fact that vaccinated people can still transmit the virus makes it hard to understand why young people should be vaccinated. All of them are asymptomatic without vaccine and will be asymptomatic with the vaccine, with the risk of nasty side effects from the vaccine. The long-term side effects are unknown, potentially affecting people at a much later stage in their lives.
Instead of administrating a product with uncertain results, unknown long-term consequences and potentially reducing our immune system, it makes more sense to build healthier people that do not need a vaccine.
Distributing vitamin D for this virus, and in general, tax food that has negative health effects. The WHO’s list of classified foods by health effects is a good starting point. Taxation is a common instrument to influence consumer behavior. The automotive and tobacco industry are good examples.
Now a vaccine passport is introduced to make travel possible again. It will take at least 6 months before a significant group is vaccinated to allow summer holiday travel. That makes for a gloomy economic outlook, especially for the tourism sector. Pre-virus times, the tourism sector provided work to 10% of the worldwide workforce. We are going into uncharted waters, but one thing is sure, a vaccine passport will not protect us from the next virus.