On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. By then there had been 121,500 infections and 4,000 deaths in 114 countries. At that time, very few could imagine that a year later the death toll would be 35,000 times higher.
The official COVID-19 figures are shocking: 137 million infected and almost 3 million dead. But the real numbers are much worse. The most probable estimates indicate that to date today there could be at least 183 million infected, of which around 5 million would have died.
Humans have a hard time getting an idea of what those large numbers mean. A few recent words from Joe Biden, the President of the United States, help us better understand the severity of this pandemic: “COVID-19 has already killed more Americans than World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined”. And it’s not over yet.
It is enough to maintain these measures until the infected rate reaches zero. Of course the key is not to relax these measures when the infected drop below 50 cases per 100,000.
Some countries followed this sensible recipe and managed to control the pandemic with very little cost in lives and economy.. It was achieved by rich, technologically advanced countries with a great capacity for innovation like south korea. But so did some of the poorest, most backward countries with the least health infrastructure like Ghana.
That is why it is difficult to understand that countries that are scientifically and technologically advanced, with a high degree of development and with a well-developed health system such as the European Union, the United States or the United Kingdom, carried out such a disastrous management of the situation.
A first wave was followed by the second. Not content with tripping twice on the same rock, we had a third wave. Now we’re on our way to the fourth wave.
Chen after great efforts we lower the rate of infected, we open our hands prematurely as if, concerned about the extinction of the virus, we insisted on a conservation policy to give SARS-CoV-2 a new chance.
Is our strategy really vaccination?
Given the failure to apply epidemiological restrictions, at this point the European and North American leaders bet on mass vaccination as the only solution viable.
It’s another way to beat the virus, but …
In view of decisions as absurd as the doubts that were sown about the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, based on the supposed risk of blood clots for those vaccinated, nothing makes us think that the management that our vaccination politicians will make will be less disastrous than the one carried out by applying classical epidemiological measures.
It may even get worse, as the recent North American suspension of the Janssen vaccine shows.
The data leaves no room for doubt. So?
Relying on procedures and bureaucracies suitable for periods of normality, our leaders have shown that they are ignorant of the most elementary of the mathematical theory of costs and benefits.
The bad thing is that after having administered 7.2 million doses, there were 6 cases of thrombi supposedly produced by the vaccine, of which 1 person died.
In the United States, about 31 million people were infected with COVID-19, of which about 565,000 died.
It is good that we have very strict regulations on the safety of medicines and health products. But when it comes to applying it It is not the same that an anti-wrinkle cream causes problems in one in a million people who use it, that this problem occurs with a vaccine that protects against something as catastrophic as COVID-19.
The accounts are resounding: for each person sent to the hospital for a thrombosis with the vaccine, more than 1,000 will be spared ending up in the ICU.
And now despite the enormous improvement in the hospital treatment of COVID-19 patients still just over 20% of the people who come to the hospital die.
Let’s not forget: we are facing an exceptional circumstance. We have to apply exceptional measures. This is no time for timorous regulations and bureaucracies costing millions of lives.
The father of modern pathology was already warning us
The giant of medicine Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902), considered the father of modern pathology, and whose pioneering work saved millions of lives, hit the key to pandemics more than a century ago.
He wrote masterfully that “Epidemics are above all social phenomena that also have some medical aspects.”
Virchow thought that medically speaking, pandemics were not a difficult problem to solve, even with the limited resources of the medicine of his time.
I knew that the classic measures of social distancing, contagion tracking, isolation, hygiene and restriction of activities in closed spaces, applied urgently since rates of 5 infections per 100,000 inhabitants were reached and maintained continuously until the extinction of the infectious agent were enough by themselves to keep pandemics under control.
But he was extremely suspicious, with good reason, of most politicians. The great Virchow he was convinced that politicians in general ended up being the best ally of pandemics by using them as a weapon against their adversaries.
His words were prophetic. 16 years after his death, a flu pandemic devastated the world, causing 50 million deaths. Unfortunately in light of what is happening today, Virchow’s argument remains flawless.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.