COVID-19 control and the new matters arising
On September 16, 2021, The Guardian Newspaper published my article for a generic lay audience on what everyone should know from a specialist public health, preventive and social medicine (otherwise also called community medicine) person like me, concerning the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The summary of that article was that COVID -19 is one of the emerging flus, with obviously more sickness and death burdens than in the past.
However, it remains a flu – a wet aerosol-borne disease transmitted through close hand and face (nose, mouth and eye mucous membrane) contamination by wet breath and cough out products from sufferers or carriers of the virus. These aerosols do not travel for too long from their producers.
So, the hierarchy of prevention and control of the disease are: staying and working from home as possible for the time; maintaining physical distance of 3 to 6 feet from everybody; avoiding large crowd events as possible; wearing face masks properly outside your house or when people visit your house; maintaining hand and face hygiene of avoiding touching any others’ hands or common objects, and washing such hands often with soap and running water, or cleaning them with high alcohol containing hand sanitizers; and availing of COVID -19 tests very early on experiencing any scientifically known signs or symptoms of the disease. In such instances, when infected by only a few COVID -19 viruses as yet, a personal home or institutional isolation and well guided care will help such a person to develop the needed natural immunity against the disease.
Vaccines are wonderful tools for preventing, controlling and eventually eradicating any infectious disease. But that is, when a true and properly effective vaccine has been developed for the disease. If it is a true vaccine, with high immune conversion rate, of long lasting duration and with minimal side effects, it will be the No 1 option for the control of any disease. But if it lacks those properties, its place in the prevention and control of a flu illness will be anywhere from the very rear of the control measures to as high up as it can ever get. However, it will never honestly be in the top of the measures for doing so! They will not be treated as top priorities in that regard.
In general and up to date, flu vaccines belong in these latter categories because the immune-conversion rates have never been very high nor the duration of such immunity in the face of the rapidly ever mutating virus. However, until the tail end of 2021, no such vaccine (dead pathogen, live-attenuated pathogen or cell wall antigen only, of the pathogen) had been widely developed for COVID -19. What had been produced is what may be properly referred to as a genetically modified organism-like biological agent which stimulates some “spike proteins” to modify the human response to the virus infection.
The long term effects of such genetic material interference is not known and will not be known till perhaps some hundred years from now – like the non-sustainable development now, over 250 years since the industrial revolution causing it started!
However by the end of 2021, three countries (China, India and Cuba) have been able to produce a proper vaccine for COVID -19. People who decided clearly not to take the genetically modified organism-type “COVID -19 vaccine” but to await these other real vaccines while maintaining all the non-chemical prevention practices with their hierarchy of application, were widely abused by many politically motivated or indoctrinated people. They dumped them in the class of so-called “vaccine hesitant” or more insultingly “anti-vax” people; or such other names. They also called them ignorant, bigoted or un-scientific! Those in actual political positions actually legislated to force everybody to take those “vaccines” or lose their public or other jobs; or even to be jailed or lose all human privileges that are fundamental human rights for asserting those rights.
Unfortunately, while all these politics were taking place, scientists were unable to give people the united, hierarchically correct and strongly presented instruction on the control of this pandemic, and many lovely people have died unnecessarily (either ways) from the confusions and inconsistencies and argument, open and otherwise! What a shame?
For this reason, some of these very ethically sound scientists took these people, primarily in the UK (where this nonsense was very high and when the governments refused to talk to them), to the International Criminal Court (ICC) where these were found to be truly criminal acts. At once, some of the key politicians started to reverse those erstwhile obnoxious behaviours in ways that appear to me like playing to the gallery. All that the ICC decisions required was to stop mandating “vaccination” of people with this erstwhile non-vaccines as original science knows to be; and to administer the “vaccine” as approved as for an experimental drug, with a documented informed consent. Those previously violated like that could take those violators to court now, if they choose to do so. All the other control methods however remain valid. But Boris Johnson, as one of these political performers, even asked that all the other control measures be abrogated! Yet the pandemic is still here with us; even if apparently appearing now to be ebbing in some places.
Some medical colleagues have since been asking why other medical scientist should take their colleagues, drug companies and the politicians that had been doing all these erstwhile forcing people to do what scientifically and ethically they know is not good for them to the ICC; even trying to politically impose their own less holistically scientific and less moral values on their more gentle colleagues. My reply to them is that violence begets violence; nothing more, nothing less.
The lesson of all these is that people should learn enough of scientific reasoning and basic facts so that nobody will pull a so-called scientific wool over their eyes. Secondly, we all must learn to listen to one another and always seek the win-win pathway in all human endeavours. Finally, as scientists, politicians and other professionals, we must learn to listen well to one another, respect everybody’s opinions and legitimate choices in life; for a united front always!
Finally, I personally advise every one of us to learn to check whatever politicians are telling us, especially on scientific and professional matters. Same with professionals and scientists who are partisan politicians. Their professionalism and science may very easily become contaminated by partisan politics.
Let everybody avoid any panic responses. Let them do their best to stick with the sound principles of the control of this pandemic, whether or not they take the earlier genetically modified organism-like “vaccine” or the true vaccines that have been finally developed and may soon be available universally. The problem with this latter will also be most likely political. Will America allow the true COVID-19 vaccine produced and perfected in Cuba (China or India, as “third world” or “enemy countries”) to be popularized and used over them, in their country, or all over the world that is to them, most obviously, their private company? May God Himself save us all from all these political manipulations! Amen.
Asuzu is a retired professor of public health and community medicine, currently at the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo.