The Diffusion of Innovation, identified by E. M. Rogers in 1962, showed how new ideas and innovations spread through populations. According to writers such as Malcolm Gladwell, this is what makes the difference between non-starters and fire-starters and is how new trends have spread at least since the Agricultural Revolution.
It doesn’t even have to be a good idea to spread but it has its place if Early Adopters have had a chance to test, provide feedback and make suggestions before the new idea is filtered through the early and late majority.
Unfortunately, none of this has happened or been possible since the outbreak of COVID-19. This has left society in a fragmented and fractured mess.
Governments and corporations – money – has warped and distorted the measures, predictions and messages delivered to entire nations. To me, “Flatten The Curve” immediately sounded like an ignorant and bad idea, which I thought was doomed to fail.
How can we control a virus? It doesn’t matter how it was made, it has behaved naturally. So has the vaccine, which has at least been not as dangerous as some people feared. If it had been a “leaky” or “imperfect” vaccine, like Marek’s Disease in chickens, the virus would have become more virulent and killed unvaccinated individuals. However, that has not happened, which is a huge relief. However, a quarter of those who have had 2 vaccine doses have caught and become ill from COVID-19. Is there no information on natural immunity from other coronaviruses? Science seems to provide snapshots, which contradict each other.
Sadly we have not been able to vaccinate against stupidity or ignorance. It would also be good to vaccinate against bias, opinion stated as fact and cognitive dissonance. Other factors, which muddy the pie include conflicts of interest in public health, industry interests, lobbying, poltical ideology and corruption in healthcare.
Wherever interests collide and conflict, we end up with a tangle of information, opinion, propoganda and agenda. We are not hearing about recoveries, percentage of mild versus severe cases or the settings these emerge from. We are getting a total lack of detail or study of the data.
However, to recognise the threat, analyse our own individual risks and to take precaution, we need to know what we are dealing with. Conflicting views, even amongst medical and science professionals, have added to the general confusion. One minute we are told that 80% have antibodies and the next day those who have recovered only have immunity for 3 months. The various reports do not add up to one whole picture and cause cognitive dissonance.
Therefore, what do we know?
Catching COVID-19 is not pleasant.
25% of transmission has taken place in healthcare settings such as hospitals and care homes
Studies show that most transmission happens inside, particularly where there is no fresh air or good ventilation.
Staying outside, avoiding crowds and washing hands between touching surfaces and your face would reduce possibility of transmission.
Coronaviruses cause some common colds, which are distinct from rhinoviruses. There are at least 7 coronaviruses and over 200 rhinoviruses in regular transmission in the UK.
Coronaviruses tend to attack the respiratory tract, gut and organs. Rhinoviruses are more of a “head cold”, which affect nasal passages, ears, sinuses and glands.
Symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, fever, runny nose, nausea and fatigue are the immune system at work trying to fight off the virus. It would be better to avoid medicating against these.
Anti-biotics are not antiviral. Taking anti-biotics too often would increase your resistance.
Symptoms such as gastro-intestinal, loss of voice, smell, taste and appetite and headaches are the virus at work. As they say “feed a cold and starve a fever” which means eating nutritious food would help your body fight off the virus, which wants you not to eat by removing your sense of smell and taste.
Clinical trials are not reported by demographic and we do not know if the vaccine dose is correct for men, women and different ethnic origins. The dosing seems to be rather a broad sweep. Often products are designed mostly for white men, such as seatbelts.
Recovering from a virus would provide some immunity. Cases of reinfection are low, however many people have had symptoms following infection from COVID-19 for months. Long COVID is a post-viral condition, which would require extra stimulus to get the immune system to fight off the infection or to stop fighting it once the virus has gone. Many people developed ME after viruses in the late 80s, which greatly under-served and not sufficiently studied, acknowledged nor recognised.
Pharmaceutical companies stop being concerned with their customers once they have bought the product. Unless a class action is brought by enough people to prove a drug has caused harm, many illnesses and conditions, which might be linked to medication are brushed aside.
This article has since been retracted because, despite all the information presented, there was an objection based on the conclusion drawn that deaths after vaccination were caused by the vaccine. That itself has not been proven, however the overall article provides much needed information to help anyone assess their own personal risk from avoiding, catching or avoiding and vaccinating against COVID-19. The Safety of COVID-19 Vaccinations — We Should Rethink the Policy – June 2021 Walach et al.
On use of masks, there is no cut and dried rule. However, I asked a friend in South Korea at the beginning of 2020, when and where he wore masks. He said “on the train, in crowded streets and shops”. To me that makes complete sense and if I were travelling to work in London with a virus spreading, I would wear a decent mask on public transport. It doesn’t guarantee safety, however.
“…wearing a mask prevents you from touching your mouth or nose directly and infecting yourself with viruses picked up from contaminated surfaces.”
We also need to consider:
“Face gear also need to be changed regularly to avoid contamination: a particular potential problem in poor countries, where people lack the means to buy new masks or clean old ones. The protection’s effectiveness can also fall away with repeated washing.”
FT “Lifesaver or false protection: do face masks stop coronavirus?” 3, April 2020.
“Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water,” WHO said.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said despite there being no evidence for self-protection, covering the mouth and nose can trap infectious droplets that are expelled when the wearer is speaking, coughing or sneezing. That is, face masks are designed to protect people from the wearer.”
Al Jazeera – Which countries have made wearing face masks compulsory? 17 August 2020
The FT have written an article on avoiding risks as lockdowns end here:
Overall, I would like to see presentation of facts and data, open discussion with responses from diverse experiences and perspectives. We cannot find the truth if facts and data are drowned out by opinion and uninformed or narrow judgments. We need to hear responses as well as statements. We cannot police what others are saying because we do not agree. We must stop name-calling, blaming, accusing and labelling.
Things are what they are. Humanity has lived through much worse than COVID-19 but the only way we go forward as individuals, populations or as a species is to work together, discuss, listen and respond honestly. It is not about good, bad, better, worse, right or wrong. We need to all be on the same page, which means sharing information as broadly as we can and to let it filter through populations, starting with a diverse cross section of demographics of those who take the time to listen, understand, inquire, ask questions and process the information available before distributing the message that more people need to hear.