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Hand-wringing over the holidays

AllAccessSportingNews

AllAccessSportingNews

September 19, 2020

Eyeing the holidays (with COVID on my mind)

      My family has already started discussing how our traditional Thanksgiving will look this year with COVID-19 still around. We learned that many Texas businesses would be allowed to open to 75% capacity starting Monday. We're moving in a positive direction, but like so many of you, I have my guard up.

The positivity rate across the community is dropping, but this virus is still a clear and present danger.

Talk of a vaccine "very soon" is simply political bull shit. It takes years to develop a proven vaccine. We may get rev. 1 distributed to the elderly and immuno-compromised soon, but if you're a healthy 50-year-old, are you willing to blindly take a vaccine developed in record-time - under intense political pressure, then carry on your life as if everything was back to normal? Who knows what the long-term issues will be that may come along with it or even how long the vaccine will last? This virus has only been on our radar for nine months.

"The harsh reality about this virus is that we're going to be contending with this virus for a long time. I hate to say this but we may be talking years. The reason for that is, once a vaccine is available it's going to take an amount of time to get enough vaccine out in the community for everyone that wants to be vaccinated to get vaccinated," said Dr. David Persse, the Health Authority for the Houston Health Department, per ABC13.

"The more people that are vaccinated, the more immunity that's in the community, that's the idea behind herd immunity. But, if not enough people get the vaccine or immunity isn't effective we'll have another issue. If we don't get to that level, then the virus will continue to linger," said Persse.

But there is still the issue of how long the vaccine will protect you from infection. Many deadly viruses have been around for years that we don't have a vaccine for... they happen to not spread in the manner that COVID-19 does, so they don't pose the immediate risk. There are so many unknowns. 

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The following is straight from the World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/initiative/detection/immunization_misconceptions/en/index2.html

 It is true that in an outbreak those who have been vaccinated often outnumber those who have not — even with vaccines such as measles, which we know to be about 98% effective when used as recommended.

This apparent paradox is explained by two factors. First, no vaccine is 100% effective. To make vaccines safer than the disease, the bacteria or virus is killed or weakened (attenuated). For reasons related to the individual, not all vaccinated persons develop immunity. Most routine childhood vaccines are effective for 85% to 95% of recipients. Second, in a country such as the United States the people who have been vaccinated vastly outnumber those who have not.

How these two factors work together to result in outbreaks in which the majority of cases have been vaccinated can be more easily understood by looking at a hypothetical example:

"in a high school of 1,000 students, none has ever had measles. All but five of the students have had two doses of measles vaccine, and so are fully immunized. The entire student body is exposed to measles, and every susceptible student becomes infected. The five unvaccinated students will be infected, of course. But of the 995 who have been vaccinated, we would expect several not to respond to the vaccine. The efficacy rate for two doses of measles vaccine can be as high as >99%. In this class, seven students do not respond, and they, too, become infected. Therefore seven of 12, or about 58%, of the cases occur in students who have been fully vaccinated."

As you can see, this doesn't prove the vaccine didn't work — only that most of the children in the class had been vaccinated, so those who were vaccinated and did not respond outnumbered those who had not been vaccinated. Looking at it another way, 100% of the children who had not been vaccinated got measles, compared with less than 1% of those who had been vaccinated. Measles vaccine protected most of the class; if nobody in the class had been vaccinated, there would probably have been 1,000 cases of measles.

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I've attended a funeral where half the people didn't wear masks. I've traveled to National Parks where many people in the surrounding towns didn't wear masks. I've seen people in Costco who are wearing so much protective gear you'd think they worked in a BioLab, so, I don't know. How would I feel if I was asymptomatic - gave the virus to a friend - who gave it to their elderly parents - who in-turn, died from it? Horrible. But that's the reality of what could happen.

So, I don't know how the holidays are going to develop at this point. Mask? Distancing? Maybe theye will be a cheap 5-minute test kit available by then.

Check back. Let me know what your thoughts are.


AllAccessSportingNews

AllAccessSportingNews

Ran DeBord - All Access Sporting News

 Follow @AASNSports on Twitter, or me, @RanDeBord

Attributes; WHO; ABC13


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