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Op-Ed: How smart is it to just blunder along chasing every strain of virus?

The only real reason for the mismanagement of the pandemic was political stupidity, ignorance, and time-wasting.

High rates of vaccine hesitancy are holding America back from herd immunity—and much of the blame lies with the “Disinformation Dozen,” researchers say. — Photo: © AFP Prakash SINGH
High rates of vaccine hesitancy are holding America back from herd immunity—and much of the blame lies with the “Disinformation Dozen,” researchers say. — Photo: © AFP Prakash SINGH

As the Delta, Delta plus, Epsilon, and Lambda strains of the pandemic emerge, it’s time to face the obvious. This could be an endless process.

The new strains of the virus are appearing in a semi-vaccinated environment. At the moment, the current vaccines are believed to be 90% effective against the new strains. That’s pretty good, but obviously, the next strains will have survived and evaded the vaccinations.

Unless the virus can be actually wiped out, this will be the pattern for the future. It seems to have taken an ungodly length of time to get to this point, and this is only 18 months after the onset of the pandemic.

A purely political pandemic

Time is a major issue with managing this virus. Time doesn’t give refunds, or give back lives. The only real reason for the mismanagement of the pandemic was political stupidity, ignorance, and time-wasting. Everybody else was doing their job; the politicians in many cases didn’t. The result was the spread of the virus across North America and many other parts of the world.

(This pandemic has been so bad it will probably go into folklore. It will be a story of ignorance for children. Somewhere between Chicken Little and the Babes in the Wood, a cautionary tale. Of course, you’ll need to name the players in the story, and also name the disease.  If the virus was called “Trump Disease”, how inappropriate would that be? “Once upon a time there was a very little man who didn’t know anything about anything…”)

Folksy ponderings aside – If all the whining, groaning, and brattish political tantrums hadn’t interfered, all the necessary things would have been done sooner. Creating a vaccine for those things might help, too. How allegedly “educated” people can behave like that is anyone’s guess.

That’s part of the foreseeable future problems. Despite quick research and hard work, the major obstacle was the complete lack of understanding of the basic nature of the pandemic. That inexcusable lack of comprehension and basic intelligence has killed millions of people.

It’s still a risk. In fact, it is the major risk to the future management of the pandemic. Nobody else screwed up. Future management of the pandemic needs to be systematic, global, and ultra-efficient. That means no politics and stuffing about with rhetoric. One thing we have learned is that rhetoric does not stop pandemics. It just kills everybody else.

How is this future management to be achieved? By pure cynicism.

Ironically, better future management can be easily managed by exploiting the best survival skills of all politicians – Avoid all issues at all costs.  

It’s simple:

  1. Call in the experts so you have someone to blame. (Standard best political practice; even the dumbest politician should know that.)
  2. Get your useless pseudo-educated worthless selves, particularly your ignorant mouths, out of the way of everything that needs doing.
  3. Do not allow people with far less intelligence than the average Kleenex into any position of authority.
  4. Try to figure out what your own responsibilities are; if you’re not sure, you could at least ask, and try and understand the answer.
  5. Remember that every politician on earth could easily be replaced by a chat bot.
  6. Remember that every human being on Earth hates your guts with good reason for this murderous total shambles. Either that, or bring back to life those 4 million+ dead people where you found them.
  7. Be as ridiculously elitist as you like; your delusions are as irrelevant as you are, but nobody feels like dying for them. Get that straight, now.

If by the merest coincidence this little shopping list happens to remind people how little anyone needs politicians, so be it.

Meanwhile, back on a less irritating topic…

Future management of the pandemic and its likely descendants is going to have to be based on artificial intelligence to some extent. The sheer amount of number crunching required to predict and manage genetic variants is likely to be a long, thankless task.

New research indicates that it is possible to completely stop viral replication. That is the obvious magic bullet, but there is equally obviously a lot of work to do. If this type of research can be accelerated, preferably with something more meaningful than the usual chickenfeed in funding, it will pay for itself many times over. The inherent value to general immunology alone will make it worth it.

Chasing every possible viral strain simply isn’t an option. There is a lot that can be done to finally put an end to this mess. There’s a lot of useful biology and technology which can do wonders if it’s not obstructed. It doesn’t have to take a long time, and it can be done very efficiently. Just keep the ignoramuses out of the mix,

Written By

Editor-at-Large based in Sydney, Australia.

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