Controlling Covid 19

Posted on 12/04/2020. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

Every day we hear of the glum and doom associated with the covid 19 epidemic that has the United States in its grips. We are going through the third and worst surge the United States has experienced since March of 2020. The virus has never been under control at any time since its initial spread in this country. It has waned and surged at different intervals during that time. The current and third surge is being felt more widely and is more deadly than earlier surges.

Covid 19 was first detected in the city of Wuhan China in December of 2019. China did a hundred percent shut down of the city and surrounding area and was able to contain the virus to that location. Since that time China has maintained control of covid 19 in that country. When any new cases were detected, they were controlled by testing, contact tracing, maintaining social distancing, wearing masks. With adjustments in behavior it was possible for economic and social activities to return to near normal levels.

How could it be that the United States that believes it has the best doctors, scientist, researchers in the world, has not been able to control the virus. The United States has more cases, more deaths because of this virus than any other industrialized nation and most third world nations. Sectors of the economy are shut down, businesses are closing their doors, permanently. Laid off workers are unable to afford food or housing. Schools are unable to provide the education and services our students need.

This did not need to happen. You don’t need the best doctors, scientist to control this vires. What you need is leadership, and the support of all the nations citizens to do what they need to do to control convid 19 until a vaccine becomes available. China with its 1.6 billion citizens was able to do this. The United States leadership and its citizens have not been able to do this.

Soon the United States will have a Vaccine. Our leaders are boasting we are doing the impossible, developing a vaccine in months that normally takes years. The President has taken full credit for making it happen. The government calls the United States effort, Warp Speed, the program that has made this all happen.

What are other nations doing. Well, many nations are developing vaccines and are on a similar schedule as Warp Speed. They are not making a big deal out of it. China for example has four versions of vaccines that will soon be completing clinical trials.

China took a different approach in their vaccine development than was taken by the United States. The United States choose to develop vaccines using a recently developed technology. China chose to use a technology that dates back to the 1930’s for developing  coronavirus vaccines. One advantage of the approach is that the vaccines can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures, not -71 degrees. China had a sample vaccine within two months. However, they had a problem. They did not have enough covid 19 cases in China to conduct efficacy trials. The Chinese turned this problem into an advantage. They brokered deals with fifteen other countries on five continents to run the trials. They will be getting trial information that will include most of the earth’s populations. They are playing a global game by pledging to send vaccines to countries running the trials or share the technologies behind the vaccines if the countries are willing and able to produce their own vaccines. For example, Mexico one of the countries running the trials could decide to produce vaccines for their own use and compete with U.S. companies for market share.

China has taken a risk that would not work in the United States. They have been using the vaccine before the trials have been completed. Over a million vaccinations have been completed including those given to the Chinese military and Chinese and the United Arab Emirates leaders. They must have been certain they would be doing no harm, but also not sure if they were doing any good.  

The United States has been that bright light on the hill, leading the world in many fields of technology and practices. That light has been growing dimmer recently.   

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