Welcome, my post-apocalyptic survivors.
Today I want to discuss a few interesting developments with regard to the “pandemic we were afraid of, but now, not so much”.
1) The Spanish Flu
Thanks to my brilliant friend Kathy for this observation.
If you speak with people who lived through the Spanish flu epidemic, you’ll note that it didn’t really stand out in their minds, versus the World Wars, or the Great Depression.
I thought about this for a bit and then realized that in 1918 dying from an infection was pretty common.
Other than the small pox vaccine, used since 1798, there were no antibiotics and so many people died from diseases we have since conquered.
In fact, it was well known that the most common cause of childhood death was infectious disease.
So, ironically, we literally shit our pants (Thus the run on toilet paper, another mystery solved.) at the thought of dying from a viral infection.
What I find yet more amusing is how the anti-vaxxers have weirdly sought to promote their agenda by saying don’t get the Covid vaccine, assuming we ever get one.
Thus, they have the opportunity to live like those in the olden days and watch kids die of preventable diseases.
I’ve often wondered if they took antibiotics, since those are also chemicals, made by Big Pharma.
At any rate, humankind has survived innumerable pandemics (See “Black Plague” which killed about 25% of Europe.) and we will survive this one and the inevitable next ones.
And get vaccinated, please.
Ah, yes, the mystery drug that has caused all sorts of consternation.
Now, I will not discuss what Trump did, because I do try to avoid politics.
The story here is that the 2 articles printed in Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) today were retracted, because the data used to say that the drug was ineffective and dangerous was highly suspect.
What I’d like to focus on is the NEJM.
Having studied at Harvard, as I have nauseatingly mentioned innumerable times, the NEJM was considered the most prestigious medical journal in the world.
It still is.
However, what I have observed over time, is that it has occasionally become somewhat of a “Media Whore”, to put it politely.
There has been, over the years, a rush to print very timely articles on hot topics, knowing it’ll generate a ton of press.
So, when an article is retracted, one (or at least me) cannot but help to question where did the system break down.
The study came from a relative nobody, not in infectious disease, who heads up a somewhat mysterious company.
Why this paper was accepted is beyond me.
The problem with this error, however, is not simply that they published bad data, but the country became insanely divided over the use of this stupid drug.
Now, all the people who were made fun of for pushing for it can say to the other people who called them idiots for ignoring science, “See? It was bad science!”
Not that they knew that, of course, but no matter.
It does serve to further denigrate faith in science, which has taken a pretty big hit lately.
Lastly, I have an opinion about the protests and riots.
Wile the horrible death of George Floyd served as the spark, I firmly believe that the reason for the magnitude of this explosion is because people had been cooped up too long.
It is important to realize that the initial quarantine served to relieve the burden on a health care system that was overwhelmed and about to collapse.
And we succeeded.
However, in my humble opinion, we waited too long and were too cautious on reopening.
Had we opened up in May, yes, we would see a spike in cases, so instead, we will see it in June.
The sole hope is that it won’t be as large as the initial spike.
However, taking people’s livelihoods away, when the economy was doing well, had to have sent many, who felt they were getting somewhere in this world, into abject depression as they saw their sources of income dry up.
Suddenly, you went from being financial independent to not being able to make ends meet.
Furthermore, your place of business either went bankrupt, or was destroyed in the riots.
Maybe I’m wrong and this would have happened anyway, but I’m not so sure it would have been to this extent.
There are many lessons that we can learn from all that has occurred so far in 2020, and I sincerely hope we do take time to reflect on them and plan for the future better.
In the end, anyone who tells you they know more about the disease or it’s treatment or it’s effects, for God’s sake-STAY SKEPTICAL!
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Filed under: Health Care