The best way to minimize the painful disruption of extreme measures to control exponential growth in infections is for everyone to follow the recommended public health measures.
By Michael Nabert
Published July 14, 2020
People who are angry about public health measures in response to the pandemic tend to focus on the relatively low outright mortality rate to falsely imply that it somehow isn't a big deal. This is despite the fact that the overall mortality rate is at least an order of magnitude higher than influenza.
It also ignores the fact that, of Covid-19 patients who have required hospitalization, 45 percent will need ongoing medical care, four percent will require inpatient rehabilitation, and 1 percent will permanently require acute care for the rest of their lives, with concerns including lung scarring, heart damage, and abnormal blood clotting.
Progressively more evidence is emerging that indicates Covid-19 can also have frightening effects on the brain.
UK neurologists have published accounts of Covid-19 patients who only had mild symptoms but turned out to have developed serious or potentially fatal brain conditions.
And while it is tempting to hope that herd immunity will protect us from further infection, the evidence thus far indicates that antibodies in people who have survived Covid-19 are short lived, and may leave survivors of SARS-CoV-2 susceptible to reinfection within weeks or months.
It is becoming increasingly clear that you can get Covid-19 more than once and that subsequent infections may be more severe than the first one.
A study recently published in the Lancet suggests that herd immunity, as we understand it, may simply be impossible to develop in response to this virus.
Certainly Sweden's experiment in crossing their fingers and hoping to develop herd immunity has been a colossal failure, leaving the country with 40 percent more fatalities per capita than in the US, 12 times more than Norway, seven times more than Finland, and six times more than Denmark, with no economic upside to gambling all those lives.
Now we are learning that there is also evidence of airborne and aerosol transmission.
Taken together, this all means what we thought might not have turned out to be as big a deal as we first feared might end up being here for decades, returning to whittle away over and over again at the health and wellbeing of people who are fortunate enough not to be killed outright by it.
So what can we do about it?
It turns out that, unsurprisingly, countries that got their populations to wear face coverings were far more successful at limiting the spread of the infection than those that didn't.
The evidence is increasingly clear: widespread mask wearing is a major component in protecting people from getting infected with this frightening disease.
As the evidence gets stronger, more and more public health agencies are recommending making face coverings mandatory. On July 10, Hamilton's Board of Health voted to make face coverings mandatory in enclosed public spaces, effective July 20.
The best way to minimize the painful disruption of extreme measures to control exponential growth in infections is for everyone to follow the recommended public health measures: wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, maintain at least 2 metres of physical distance from people outside your bubble, disinfect high-contact surfaces, and wear a face covering when you are in an enclosed public space.
Those places where lots of angry people refuse to wear a face mask despite the world's epidemiologists recommending it are going to suffer the most infection, illness, permanent injury and death as a result.
Good luck out there.
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