WORDS: 2,180 — I am talking entirely about the Covid pandemic here. That’s not to imply that all the other factors currently affecting our national stress levels are not causing some effect on top of that. But right now the worsening pandemic is taking center stage… and the signs are piling up that things will be getting worse medically and socially. How, you ask?
I am expecting a nasty scenario due to the Delta variant and the unvaccinated population to include continued deaths, continued rise in infections sucking up health care resources in general resulting in normal necessary and elective care declining, and specifically the problem of space and ICU beds to treat the infected. Equally as important is the very strong possibility that another variant will take hold that will nullify all current vaccines, thus exposing the entire population yet again. The resulting social impact will be an immediate perception of blame directed toward the unvaccinated whose failure to get vaccinated “is the cause” for the entire country’s new medical woes. Loss of loved ones of all ages, previously vaccinated, will amplify the national grief to the point where the stress will boil over to the political divide in that the demographic for not vaccinating are “Trump people”.. and violence in the form of retribution of various kinds will increase. Governments, state and federal, will like entertain shutdowns again and will take hold of the economy, only worse this time. Again, this added stress will amplify violence.. and chaos in populated areas will increase as our distribution system slows down.
How Am I So Sure Of Any Of This?
Well, first off, nothing would make me happier if I am all wrong here and events, science, and our public responses in the coming weeks managed to avoid all this. Let’s start this with my own experience. I got my Moderna shots this last March, as soon as it was available, and without any hesitation. As the nation started coming out of the lockdowns in reaction to the positive downward trends and the various CDC announcements suggested some improved data… and Biden declaring some level of “mask” relief to those vaccinated.. I had some entirely unsubstantiated gut feel that the public was reacting a bit too quickly to all this. This unsubstantiated gut feel was whispering a warning that this all seemed a bit too driven by public desire and a bit rushed (I will get back to this unsubstantiated gut-feel thing later). As this feeling within me came out I mentioned to a few people in my little sphere of life… “This isn’t over and it’s coming back.” It seems it has, and with a vengeance among the unvaccinated.
No.. this isn’t a “I hate being right.” bravado nor am I claiming some clairvoyance with the alignment of the planets, or having some divine connection with long dead sages of the past. Again.. more on this later. For now I mention this simply to add a chronology to what I am currently perceiving as possible upcoming worsening national trauma. Now, I’m not the only one with this possible cautionary tale. The following is a report from CNNHealth regarding a published analysis from a British government advisory group.
London (CNN) An analysis by British academics, published by the UK Government’s official scientific advisory group, says that they believe it is “almost certain” that a SARS-Cov-2 variant will emerge that “leads to current vaccine failure.” SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes Covid-19.The analysis has not been peer-reviewed, the early research is theoretical, and does not provide any proof that such a variant is in circulation now. Documents like it are released “as pre-print publications that have provided the government with rapid evidence during an emergency.”
The paper is dated July 26, and was published by the British government on Friday.The scientists write that because eradication of the virus is “unlikely,” they have “high confidence” that variants will continue to emerge. They say it is “almost certain” that there will be “a gradual or punctuated accumulation of antigenic variation that eventually leads to current vaccine failure.”
[The entire article can be read HERE.]
There are, what I perceive to be, certain signs that the above possible scenario could come true. By that I mean, to imagine a variant to evolve from the existing Covid variants is not impossible or even improbable. The evolution of the Delta (India) variant and it’s more potent effects over Covid-19 is an example of what can be possible.. What I am alluding to is the setting, the stage, if you will, of our national preparedness, political environment, vaccine development, leadership, etc. all adding to some level of a national vulnerability. The following is a short list of what I see are important signs of what might be coming.
As of this writing (8/2/21) the CDC is reporting a provisional total deaths from Covid at 605,547 and it’s climbing.. again. Given what we are now experiencing with the Delta variant, and the unpredictable threat of at least one new strain, could we reach another 400 thousand… one million total…. deaths by the end of the year?
Sign #1 – In spite of the miracle speed by which science developed the vaccine, Covid-19 and its variants remains, after nearly 18 months, a social and political “unknown”. By that I mean, no one has experienced any of this before hence anything and everything we do, from simple mask wearing up to economic shutdowns, is an attempt to keep our “normal” lives going while trying to contain the spread of Covid. A great influence to the social, and political, chaos of all this has been that Covid hit smack inside the politically divisive turmoil splitting the nation, and a general election for a new president to get us through all this. I allude to the idea in a previous post (HERE) that a democracy is not such a great thing when trying to muddle through a crisis of need and survival. We don’t have one person taking control but 50 different people doing 50 different things. Very little has improved regarding leadership and command and control. A sign.
Sign #2 – In addition to the above in #1, we can toss onto that mess the real and perceived communication from those that are leading the science effort. The messages are confusing, the nearly weekly shifting messages are confusing, and again… no single person is communicating the science to the public. Science has to have a single voice to explain itself to the public… and another voice, voices, to communicate to the scientific and medical communities, The NIH people, the CDC, the talking head doctors and scientists on the networks spinning their interpretations, the media reporting on medical news from other countries… all of it adding to the noise and confusion in trying to understand even the simplest of preventions we should take. Half the public already suspects a conspiratorial government trying to control everyone and circumvent our Constitutional rights. This pandemic communication just plays into those suspicions. Very little has improved here. A sign.
Sign #3 – The medical staffs around the country that have performed well beyond the call of duty over the last year, are NOT in the same level of readiness (as if they were the first time around). As the vaccine took hold and the cases were reducing, many staff support, and front line doctors, finally took some well-deserved time off. Many of the “veterans” of the first battles, taking advantage of the hopeful vaccine reductions, having fought the good fights, also left the profession, subjects of burn-out, career re-alignments, emotional fatigue.. name your reason. We are NOT prepared any better than we were when this all started, and because of leadership complacency in rushing to return to a normal world, we are even worse off. A sign.
Sign #4 – The entire public in general is NOT united to work through the pandemic. Nearly half the population accepts the fight and is willing to comply to some sort of leadership… nearly the other half doesn’t take it seriously at all and shrugs it all off as political, conspiratorial, emblematic to the loss of personal freedoms to those who desire power and personal gain, and fight pandemic containment policy with each announcement.. even to the point of vilifying the scientists themselves. A sign. (Those that refuse taking the vaccine are either doing it for political reasons, or are waiting to see approvals from the FDA. If/when a new variant comes forth that nullifies the vaccines, this will become the impetus for future violence against the non-vaxers for causing the variant.)
Sign #5 – The Delta variant currently initiating a second go-round of Covid, is reportedly 1000 times more virulent. than the original. It’s also more debilitating when infecting, and considerably easier to spread widely. Doctors, in trying to encourage taking the vaccine, have indicated that if a person remains unvaccinated it’s not a matter of “if” they catch it (like the original strain), but rather “when”. One doesn’t need to be a viral scientist or a brain surgeon to understand the concept of viral biology as a basic form of natural life.. and the speed of viral evolution and reproduction. A typical lab class in high school biology teaches that. It’s all about survival of the fittest.. all living things must adapt or die. The virus is following a natural programmed routine to survive as a species as its environment changes. Our success as humans is that we’ve evolved to be able to reason. It appears our problem as a species is the same.. we can reason… and our diversity allows us to trip over ourselves as we try and reason ourselves out of these jams. Delta is here, killing a lot of us who were reasoning their way out of the risk. There is NOTHING in the way to encourage more variant adaptations. Right now the Delta variant is feeding off those refusing to take the vaccine. There’s also a UK and South African variant that has been watched for some time but is apparently not as virulent. As of this writing it seems an unofficial variant is hitting already devastated Florida. Initial thought it came up from Columbia. No info yet on how virulent. The point being is that this bug is mutating and that this is no joke on what could be around the corner. An interesting “wake up”… check out this link to the CDC’s site showing all the current Covid sub-classes of variants already in existence… HERE. A big warning sign.
Defining My “Unsubstantiated Gut-Feel”…
The rest of my “prediction”.. economic chaos, civil discontent, violent retribution, all that is relatively simple to predict because those are human reactions not uncommon in such social and political crisis situations. In that I have some limited knowledge. But what about this “gut-feel” nonsense that has led me to do this entire post? Predications being right or wrong are simply nothing but chance and percentages. I did NOT “get lucky” with my prediction that we had not seen the last of Covid a few months ago.. I am sure there were likely thousands if not millions who had the same “shudder” gut feel. Having qualified as to why this matters at all I simply bring forward to present that there might have been subliminal signs. This short list above another person could easily add to, based on their own life experiences. On the other hand, I am NOT suggesting that the doom and gloom I am predicting ends up being the end of times, the end of the country, a zombie Apocalypse, or the end of American democracy as we know it. While any of that is possible if things go completely amok (well, ok, maybe not the zombie thing)… the sad part is that as the deaths increase our unified attention will become more focused. We just don’t know what the number is before we start acting together and focusing rather than bitching. We are seeing a sample of this as vaccinations have increased in the last couple weeks as people simply become fearful enough in the possibility of not only getting the variant but also in dying from it. The hundred bucks inducement and paid time off work doesn’t matter at that point when the bug is coming down your street.
The Title Of This Post Did Suggest… “Unless…”
I can’t predict intervening events or the effects of such events on society, our politics, our economy, or the determination of any variant that pops up. Humanity got VERY lucky that our current technology was at this precise moment in time to afford the creation of the vaccines, in the speed at which they were created. Our political moment at this precise moment in time has overshadowed the success of applying the vaccines. An irony of time and place… and ignored opportunity. Will an event intervene in my prediction from becoming someone’s reality? I surely the hell hope so!