Is There A Right Way?

The question is, are we going about tackling the virus in the most efficient way or are well trying to juggle too many priorities at once?

AND Obligatory MasksThe Health Committee belonging to the Junta will announce this evening any changes produced by the new figures, which indicate a drop in contagion.

The question is, however, is the opening up and shutting down of municipalities the best way forward, or is it, politicians taking the easiest rather than the most effective measures? No, this is not a cheap shot at politicians but rather an attempt to stand back and examine.

The present system of using 0.5% and 1.0% of 100,000 inhabitants as a guide seems unfairly balanced against small villages where just a couple of cases pushes them over the 1,000 per 100k figures, yet it must be remembered that it only takes a couple of people to recover or there to be no more cases within 14 days for the village concerned to instantly pop back out of the lockdown.

But is this opening up each time the figures go down really effective, or is it more about protecting the economy? Is this tactic like ‘pumping the brakes’ rather than ‘slamming on the anchors’ to avoid losing control as we race up towards the wall of hospital overload?

Two things are obvious:

A) Our economy depends on tourism and the hostelry/hospitality sector is bleeding to death.

B) The Central Government does not have the money to pay for a house-confinement like in March; you can’t prevent people from working and then continue to charge them their Social-Security payments, for example. There certainly isn’t enough money to pay every autónomo 671 euros during a 4-week total quarantine.

Conclusion: the Government has to keep the tourist sector ticking over even if it is only on half gas.

What many experts (doctors, virologists etc) are warning is that regional and national administrations permit mass mobility (summer & Christmas) when they know that it will create another wave of infections; even now some politicians are pushing the idea about opening up for Semana Santa this year.

Squaring the circles: protect the economy and combat the virus.

You can’t park all the blame at the door of politicians because ultimately controlling the spread of the virus depends on us as individuals, perhaps more so.

This weekend past, for example, there were 247 illegal parties in Madrid; crowding, no masks, shouting in each other’s faces to be heard over the music. If you want an international example, the US Super Bowl yesterday.

The reason that the hostelry sector is considered a prime focal points, despite all the efforts of business owners and staff, are the customers. People still think that you take your mask off when you walk in the door and don’t put it on again until you’re walking towards the car after leaving. You take a look at any bar and hardly anybody wears a masked once they’ve parked themselves on a chair.

Is this the fault of the bar/restaurant owners or staff? Certainly not; a waiter is not a policeman. Mention to a customer that they should be wearing their mask between courses (when not actively drinking or eating) and you are liable to get sarky comments at best or punched in the face at worse. Is a waiter going to put his job in jeopardy, if not backed by the proprietor. If you’re the business owner, you’ll want all the custom you can get and not risk turning customers away by asking them to put their mask on.

The Vaccine

The EC has proved to be a giant with feet of clay. Whilst some applaud the EC erring on the side of caution where vaccine approval is concerned, others have pointed to the efficiency of the UK, the USA and other countries getting the various vaccines to their populations, whereas Europe trudges in the rearguard throwing its weight around.

The fact is that the development and testing of these vaccines is unparalleled in history as far as speed goes, which is both inspiring and a source of concern. The reported reason that testing has been so speedy is that the time elapse between subject-number tests has been reduced so that stage two (larger number involved) was initiated whilst stage one (small numbers) was concluded, which is not corner cutting as far as safety goes. However, we will not know until a couple of years or more down the line the true, after effects. That’s the problem.

In times of urgency R&D is rushed – during WW2 some new aircraft, fighting-vehicle and ship types were rushed into service hoping to iron out faults with feedback coming from theatre of action where they were deployed; in other words, knowing that service personnel might die because of these design faults was put in second place to getting the product to the right hands in the shortest time possible.

Are we at war with the virus, therefore?

Another question is that for all the speed that development & deployment of vaccines is handled, is the virus mutating faster? Are we ‘shooting directly at the rapidly moving target instead of in front of it?. Of course, we don’t know the trajectory of the virus beforehand; there are no tracer rounds to lead onto the target.

We can only keep our fingers crossed that the mutations popping up remain within the effective capacity of the vaccines. One thing is for sure; if the virus turns highly lethal then we won’t have to worry about people not taking it seriously; they will remove themselves from the gene pool.

(News/Editorial: Tackling The Virus)

  7 comments for “Is There A Right Way?

  1. Jeremy
    February 10, 2021 at 5:59 pm

    Tomm: Actually, a virus has been eliminated: smallpox. Via vaccines. BUT, no virus with an animal reservoir has been eliminated. They keep coming back to us via the animals.

    Of course the young take risks and ignore their elders. That is built into them. If they didn’t take risks or ignore their elders then society would not advance.

    From a purely evolutionary viewpoint, we don’t need us oldies. The future IS the young and strong.

    The ‘me only’ attitude is coming more from the older generation who expect to destroy the youth’s mental health and future so the oldies can live a few more years.

    The young pay our pensions and will pay back the loans we have taken out over the last year. Probably for decades to come, long after I am 6 foot under.

    A little less old vs young would help us all.

  2. February 10, 2021 at 10:59 am

    Tomm: I agree whole heartedly!

  3. Tomm sanford
    February 10, 2021 at 8:04 am

    What no one is concluding is that no company, institute has ever managed to eliminate a virus in fact the best we can do is yearly inoculations. Plus I believe we have learned from our past that applying methods to reduce the spread of any virus comes down to the populace.

    We all have seen from history and more recently that the young especially those between 18 to 25 seem to feel they are immune to everything and due to the fact that they have never been thru anything like the Spanish flu of 1918, they can’t seem to comprehend the damage to not just themselves but their entire families and others.

    For this I blame society and the ‘me-only’ attitude that is pervasive. We only care about ourselves and our pleasures, more so it certainly appears that unless you take off your mask and drop dead on the spot than the virus doesn’t exist. None of these irresponsible people have been to hospitals or morgues where the bodies are piling up so what you don’t see for yourself doesn’t exist.

    We also have the rhetoric responses from various political parties calling all this some sort of hoax.

    Everyone realizes lockdowns are no fun and what we have had to give up is against our everyday lives. No kissing n hugging no handshakes it’s driving everyone to an uncomfortable brink where we start to defy the rules and travel anyway.

    But we need to be strong and fight thru our desire because this won’t last forever. Covid will be with us for decades to come. Our science and medical professionals simple have never been able to eradicate any virus. We can make it easier to deal with and reduce deaths but we can not eliminate it, Mai lay because it continues to develop new forms making it tougher to battle against.

    People need to understand we will have to all be vaccinated around the world to be truly safe. Why? Because as we have already seen, testing is nowhere near where it should be, people are still going to airports to travel when sick and so they expose millions by that simple flight.

    If the virus could be a purple mist we spread everyone could get a visual picture of it and take proper precautions but it’s not. We all need to be smarter about how we handle things.

    Look, Spain should be 75 % vaccinated by September which means another year of only local tourism. Yes, it will hurt the businesses and we will feel this for years to come but the government does have a solution.

    Interest on money is zero or negative for a few years now so the government could borrow enough to take care of every small business and person in Spain. Yes, the amount would be staggering for most to see but we would save so many people and businesses which are so vital to our tourism. Due to no interest, we would probably take approximately ten years to pay off but it’s the cheapest approach out there, while the professionals continue to tweak and study the vaccines.

    With the use of CRISPER technology we can tweak the vaccine much quicker than ever before so finding solutions will come quicker in the form of booster shots.

    I, for one, would like to simply see the government health people come out and continue to be honest about where we are, the strength and killing power of the virus, the testing procedures we have in place and how effective they are, constantly update on the vaccines, utilize the football stadiums as huge inoculation sites and insist however you need to that no one escapes getting vaccinated.

    We all want Spain and Europe to return to normal or a new normal without restrictions.

  4. February 9, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    Darren: Thank you for your in-depth reply and interesting links.

    Concerning WW2 rushed aircraft design with fatal flaws, the Avro Lancaster had a deadly design fault which was never correct, which accounted for nearly 75% of all Lancaster crews; the escape hatch. This problem also existed with the Avro Vulcan but for a different reason: speed: the pilot and co-pilot had ejector seats whereas the rest of the crew had to get out through a small escape hatch, which was difficult to use in practice exercises on the ground in full gear, let alone hurtling along in a jet bomber.

    The B-17 had the flaps and landing gear next to each other and easily confused by an exhausted pilot – they would make it all the way back with holes all over the place but still flying and then seemingly inexplicably, plough into the ground because the flaps had mistakenly been activated instead of the landing gear. This wasn’t discovered until after the war.

    The B-29, owing to it being rushed into service, had poorly designed, engine, cowl flaps that had to be almost constantly fully open to stop the engine overheating but the drag that they caused made it almost difficult to take off if deployed and even in level flight, if opened (which was a necessity) it could even stall the bomber. It wasn’t until a B-29 made an emergency landing on a Russian base on the Pacific coast that the fault was discovered – Stalin ordered the captured plane to be reversed engineered to copy the design and produce their own heavy bomber, the TU-4. The Soviet engineers discovered the problem. Around 65% of all lost B-29 was due to this design fault. Most crews didn’t make it back to tell the story.

    The Spitfire‘s fatal flaw was the gravity fed carburettor on the early Merlins. It’s counterpart, the BF 109 had direct fuel injection. It took a little brass ring to sort that out later in the war.

    That’s just the allied aircraft, without considering Axis aircraft, nor any fighting vehicles (the ‘Tommy-Cooker’ Sherman) for example. 😉

  5. February 9, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    Mike: many thanks! 😉

  6. Darren
    February 9, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    Since the pandemic started the choice has always been “which apocalypse do you want? Viral or economic”; the solutions to each being mutually exclusive. Spain being so reliant on tourism is in a particularly bad position for balancing these out. Given that and how badly we were hit at the start, Spain hasn’t done badly, all things considered. Some other countries without the tourism disadvantage (notably the UK) have managed things considerably worse; and that shows in the figures:
    https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

    I don’t think that the comparison of vaccines with WWII planes is entirely fair; as far as I know, there have been no safety compromises whatsoever. There are a lot of reasons why the vaccines arrived to market a lot quicker than usual; and they mostly boil down to the fact that covid is everybody’s problem, so everyone was motivated:

    *Money ceased instantly to be a problem for research and equipment

    *There was a lot of previous groundwork laid down for mRNA vaccines

    *The bureaucracy didn’t lessen; but was given top priority

    …and two factors that don’t usually happen, but were big factors in the speed of delivery in this particular case were:

    *There was no shortage of volunteers for large scale clinical trials. This is normally a problem; but almost everybody was prepared to take one for the team in this instance

    *Companies started manufacturing without waiting for 100% clearance first. This doesn’t usually happen because if the vaccine fails trials, you have to write off the lot. But money wasn’t the only priority in this case and there was enough money being thrown around to underwrite the loss in the event of failure. So when the vaccines got cleared, the factories were already rolling and pumping out product.

    There’s a couple of other reasons here:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/26/ten-reasons-we-got-covid-19-vaccines-so-quickly-without-cutting-corners

  7. Mike Wright
    February 9, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    Your comments in your report are “spot on” especially with regard to the vaccines.
    Thank you for a bit of realism, we will have to live with this virus for some time to come, how long should be known over the next two years, when trials have been completed on the vaccinated population

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