On this episode of the podcast, Terry and Bob discuss the triumph of the forthcoming Covid-19 vaccines, which are on the cusp of development just nine months after the Covid-19 disease was sequenced. Unfortunately, they point out, the media is engaging in unprecedented fearmongering over the vaccine even though testing is following every normal safeguard. All par for the course, though, from a media that has given up all pretense of objectivity in favor of clicks and profitability.
They discuss the numerous unintended consequences of the national Covid-19 response. The economic consequences of Covid restrictions have been immense. Tens of millions are out of work. According to a recent study by Yelp, more than half the small businesses that had to close due to the virus will never reopen. Each of these stories represents broken business dreams and indescribable financial stress. No surprise, then, that substance abuse, domestic abuse, mental health problems, and suicides have skyrocketed.
Then there’s the consequences of closed schools. The virtual schooling experiment has been a nightmare for parents and students. The consequences have been particularly pronounced for the most vulnerable, including minorities and the disabled. As Terry points out in a recent op-ed:
The pedagogical, psychological and physiological side effects of closed classrooms are well-documented. According to a study by McKinsey, Hispanic, Black and low-income students will respectively lose 9.2, 10.3 and 12.4 months of learning if in-person schooling doesn’t resume until January 2021. For many children, schools are the only place to get a nutritious meal and exercise; nearly half of students nationwide rely on school for free or reduced-price school lunches.
Children with special needs are perhaps the biggest victims of school closures. Virtual learning is hard for all kids (and parents), but especially for those with disabilities. According to a Pew Research study, this population has a far lower comfort level with technology.
Countless Americans have also missed out on preventative cancer screenings and treatments, the full effects of which won’t be known for years. Terry describes how her sister in law found out she had Stage IV colon cancer from a routine screening and how such diagnoses are threatened by fewer people seeking care during the Covid-19 era. Even the WHO has now come out against more broad lockdowns.
Bob interviews Dr. Hugh Rosen, Professor of Molecular Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute’s California Campus and Chairman and President of ActivX Biosciences Inc. He highlights how there are lessons to be learned from Sweden, which never closed school and have seemed to achieve herd immunity without excessive morbidity and mortality. He admits that restrictions have slowed the spread of the disease but at tremendous costs.
The triumph of Covid-19 has been in the development of therapeutics and vaccines, states Dr. Rosen. Remdesivir is a great success but is misunderstood because it’s only effective in the viral load phase. Expecting it to work during the inflammatory phase of the virus is like closing the barn door after the horse has left. He points out how a vaccine is about to be developed in just a quarter of the time as normal. This is a remarkable accomplishment that the media should be triumphing, not fearmongering over.