Sometime in late 2019, the first case of COVID-19 made its appearance in Wuhan, China, with its official name being COVID-19, indicating it is a COrona VIrus Disease that was discovered in 2019. Because the world at large was not notified of the disease’s rampant person-to-person spread—until it had made its way from China to the rest of the world, our president nicknamed the disease the “China Virus.”
Since the epidemic rapidly spread from one country to another it was labeled a “pandemic,” and, as I write this, there are approximately 75 million cases worldwide, and 17.5 million cases in the United States alone. Using the formula of population (328 million) divided by number of cases, it is estimated that one out of every 17.4 Americans has contracted the disease—a 5.33% rate of infection. Using that same formula, it would be fair to say that China, with its population of roughly 1.439 billion, has approximately 76,698,700 citizens infected with the virus. Yet that figure is a far cry from the reported estimate of roughly 87,000 cases of the disease on Mainland China.
Because so little is really known about this disease, officials from state to state have varied in their approaches to containing the virus. Some states have imposed draconian measures, such as closing down all restaurants, whether they offered dine-in, take out, or curbside dining. This has caused tremendous hardships among business owners. Similar measures have been imposed on selected businesses such as gyms, hair and nail salons, and bars. Despite evidence that these particular businesses have not contributed significantly to the spread of the disease, they have, nevertheless, been singled out. In the meantime, big box stores, department stores, and other giant retailers such as Walmart have gone unregulated to a large extent.
Then, there is the matter of schools. Most schools across the nation are closed, even though the science has shown that youngsters, grades K-12, are in little danger from the virus, and measures can be taken to ensure their safety. Children are suffering terribly from a lack of interpersonal contact, their daily routine having been reduced to sitting in front of computer screens to obtain what schooling there is available.
Next, there is the controversy over masks. Should we wear masks? Do masks really work? What kind of mask is best? All legitimate questions. The answers are as diverse as the types of masks available. There are designer masks, with pro sports logos, the efficacy of which is open to debate. There are cloth masks, paper masks, neck gaiters and balaclavas, as well as the medically approved N95 masks worn by medical professionals. Some health care officials praise the wearing of masks; others maintain that they are worthless. Who do we listen to? It’s hard to know. The most visible spokesperson these days is Dr. Anthony Faucci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He is the current “go to” guy. Yet even he has been on both sides of the issue of wearing masks.
Lastly, there is a widely held belief that there is a vast conspiracy afoot, that all the controls imposed by governments are part of a well-organized plot to control citizens’ behavior, a precursor, if you will, to a broader imposition of behavior modification. This has led to a revolt by some individuals, most notably those professing libertarian beliefs, who steadfastly refuse to wear masks, and who insist on opening the doors of their various retail establishments, especially gyms, bars, and restaurants, leading to arrests and lawsuits.
And that leads us to the vaccine(s). As of November 24, 2020, there were large-scale (Phase 3) clinical trials in progress or being planned for five COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. As of today, there are three vaccines that have been developed, one each by Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca, the latter of which has yet so seek approval by the FDA. The other two have been approved. Are they safe? The science says they are. Will you take it? Most are unsure. Who will take it first? Most sources agree that frontline medical workers should be first in line, and, as of this writing, inoculations have already commenced. Will it stop the spread of the disease? Most medical experts expect that while the vaccines may not stop the virus in its tracks, it will at least lead toward “herd immunity,” which will allow life as we know it to get back to normal.
Personally, I do not subscribe to the conspiracy theory, especially as it relates to the federal government, or even state governments. I do not believe there is a huge plot to control America’s citizens. We are too independent minded for something like that to succeed (at least I hope so). My opinion is that the only true conspiracy is the one perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party in its deliberate failure to notify the world of the highly communicable nature of the Wuhan Virus, and its anticipation of the devastating effect it knew it would and has had upon the rest of the world. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!
Oh, and do me a favor, please. Wear a damned mask when you’re around me and my family. Call me stupid, but I just feel safer when I see them, which keeps my blood pressure in check. And that’s a good thing . . .