Sunday May 16, 2021
Two articles I have read about the pandemic are illuminating.
One was in Wired magazine, the other in Time.
Wired pointed out that the thinking of WHO and the CDC was that the virus spread via sneezing, coughing and touching one another. The recommendation was to keep six feet apart and to test and wipe down surfaces. None of this was really helpful. Therefore the virus spread.
What they failed to realize was that the virus was airborne and that’s how most people became infected. If they had started by insisting everyone wear masks and had they done things to improve ventilation systems the results would have been hugely different.
The crazy thing is they were told. By scientists! But they ignored them. Why? They knew better, or so they thought.
Even when presented with evidence they ignored it. The people who knew and understood how the virus spread had to go on a campaign to convince the CDC and WHO. Finally, both organizations relented and posted on their websites to wear a mask. No big press conference, no giant announcement, just a change on the website. They did this only recently!
Why? Why not make a big deal and tell everyone? Out loud, big and imposing? I’ll tell you why. They are human.
Doctors and experts can be particularly hard to convince of something if they’ve been taught something else. And they were told something else. For years.
It turns out that this virus can hang in the air for a long time and travel a great distance from the source. Also it’s small enough to get past most of the body’s defenses and then lodge deep in someone’s lungs.
That first sentence in the above paragraph “that this virus can hang in the air for a long time and travel a great distance from the source” is what they didn’t understand. They pooh-poohed and ignored those who were trying to tell them differently. Why? They knew better. At least, they thought they did. They were wrong. And the people telling them weren’t in the inner sanctimonious circle.
I can think of many times when this has been the case. Remember ulcers? Yeah, doctors said to drink milk and there was nothing else to do. People were having all kinds of problems with stomach ulcers. Then a guy figured out that it was actually something else and an antibiotic would take care of it.
Or how about Watson and Crick? Linus Pauling did most of the work on the DNA molecule but he couldn’t get it to fit together. Either Watson or Crick’s wife was a sculptress and she started to make the now famous model. Then the two said, “What if the valence of one of the elements was wrong?” Wrong by one electron. Bang! The whole thing fit together. The chemistry books had been wrong. Wrong for decades and decades.
This kind of thing happens all the time.
Remember bleeding and being bled? No, of course not, that was the 1700s.
Or germs and baby doctors? Women knew that if they went to the hospital rather than see a midwife at home it was more likely their baby would die. Why? The doctors weren’t washing their hands or changing their clothes after examining cadavers. Germs.
Or The British Navy and scurvy? Captain Cook ordered his ship kept clean and everyone was to eat a lime, lemon, or orange at least once a week. The result? None of his men died of scurvy. The accompanying ship did not do that and they died like flies. ( dropped? ) So what did The British Navy do based on the evidence? Nothing, for seventy years. Tradition you know.
Okay the other article was the interview with Michael Lewis. He’s got a new book out. This one on the pandemic. There were these doctors who had evidence of what was causing the virus to spread, different than the ones mentioned in the Wired article. They were ignored. Thought to be fringe. But they were right. His point, or at least one of them, is that we don’t really have a national health care system in this country. At least not a coordinated government coordinated system. He asks the question if we were invaded by say Russia would we ask Alabama and Mississippi to do their best and let us know how they made out? No, of course not. Yet, that is what Trump did.
Imagine if WHO and the CDC had listened to the scientists that knew instead of saying they knew better based on a false narrative that had been circulating since the 1930s? Imagine if we had a Federal government that was run by competent individuals, career people, not some political appointee who blows in for eighteen months or two years? Imagine if we had had a national and International response immediately like someone did when ebola was blowing up in Africa. What was his name?
Link to the Wired article:
Kathy Goodwind says
Another problem in the whole scheme of things, there weren’t enough masks to go around. Now who was it that shut that department down?
Whenever a new virus hits the scene, especially one that was transferred from an animal to a human, there is not much to fall back onto. They did not know the etiology of this virus.
We are fortunate in many ways that the virus hit at this time when we had the internet and computers to collect data rapidly. That allowed the vaccines to be created in record time.
When I worked in a clinical lab in the ‘70’s we were computerized but nothing like we have now.