Sunday, August 27, 2023

Targeted Protection

If we can figure out that most accidents involve, say, red cars, then instead of everybody wearing a seatbelt, we could just get those people who are vulnerable to traffic accidents to wear seatbelts. Then the rest of us can be free to drive unharnessed. Imagine being able to lean forward without restraint! 

Clearly the problem with that is that, even if most people who are seriously harmed in collisions are in red cars, those accidents affect the rest of us. Many of us also get hit (or do the hitting), and the lack of seatbelts on anyone else will increase the number in the hospitals which increases costs of healthcare, increasing wait times, and which comes back to the taxpayer when taxes are increased to pay for it all - or when our corrupt government uses it to convince people that we need to privatize healthcare!

We can't ignore the fact that we're all interconnected. Even if we try to, that reality will come back to bite us in the butt. 

Yet, we're still trying to do that with Covid. 

Some public health ads tell people to mask if they're sick, ignoring all asymptomatic transmission. Slightly better is when they say to think of the people around you who might be immunocompromised. That works to get more people to wear a mask in public, but it also ignores the important bit: everybody is vulnerable to this disease. Elite athletes have succumbed to Covid. Nobody should feel like it's worth the risk to themselves or the perfectly healthy looking people around them. 

A recent article argued that we're all developing various levels of immunity to Covid, and things are better than the Delta days, so we have to do a cost/benefit analysis to any type of mitigation: 

"Decreasing the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections would be highly beneficial. . . . But it's not a goal we can afford to pursue at any cost. There is a range of healthcare needs competing for limited resources, so any measures need to be cost effective."

I've read that article over several times and still can't figure out what they're getting at. It feels like a sub-tweet that I'm not in on. Is offering N95s to nurses blowing the budget?? Or do they mean we should stop researching for better vaccines?? Who knows.

But their main premise, that we're all developing some immunity from getting the disease and being vaccinated - hybrid immunity, has been dramatically countered by other studies, like this one just published in The Lancet, reported on in The Star

"A new Ontario study has found that retirement and Long Term Care residents infected during the first Omicron wave were 20 times more likely to get reinfected by the virus than those who avoided a prior infection."

It's like the virus hacks the immune system to open a backdoor to make it easier for future variants to wreak havoc. (Kinda like with HIV). 

Back in November a study published in Nature made it clear that people who were infected two or more times were twice as likely to die for any reason, and three times more likely to need hospitalization, have cardiovascular problems, have a blood clot, or have lung problems.

Once you've been infected once, you are immunocompromised.

We're all driving red cars now.

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