We’re asking the wrong questions; we’re having the wrong conversations. It’s not when the lock down will end; it’s not when to relax social distancing. The question is how. This is not a weather disaster that subsides and clean up starts. The “models” discussed are when the outbreak will peak, who will be impacted and where are the hot spots. How does lock down successfully end? What’s the model for that? The Zombie Apocalypse¹. Shelter in place (aka lockdown) is hiding from the Zombies; a way to slow the number of zombie attacks. Loosen the guidelines and the zombie attacks increase. Nothing changes until there is a way to detect zombies and isolate them, reverse zombism and defend against zombism. In COVID19 terms, testing to isolate, cures to reverse and a vaccine to defend.
The timeline for a vaccine is 12 – 18 months; 2021. A vaccine that everyone needs is another nightmare scenario fraught with quality control, logistics, distribution, economic disparity and opposing beliefs that will resist. What about those with antibodies? Great, but those can’t be determined without testing. Scientifically², there are 4 things in play.
- Testing to identify who is sick. Availability and reliability are issues. Tests are improving to return results in hours versus days. Because of limited supply, everyone is not being tested. People are told to isolate who have the symptoms. The impact, number of infections is higher than reported. Status: In limited use.
- Testing to determine antibodies. Antibody tests provide epidemiological data and identity who has been exposed and recovered. Status: FDA approved under emergency authorization last week.
- Cure. What medicines work to cure or effectively reduce symptoms. Status: Nothing
- Vaccine. Status: In research; projected availability 2Q 2021.
America First! Check. The USA has highest number of COVID19 deaths than any country in the world.³ Logically, the new normal cannot begin until there are 3 out of 4 of the above. Production can’t get ramped up to meet the demand for much needed ventilators and personal protective gear (PPEs) for health care workers – masks, gowns and gloves, things we know how to do. Stop the magical thinking that a cure will be found in a few days. The AIDs virus resurfaced with a vengeance in 1981, the first cases were in 1969; it took 50 years for an effective treatment and there is still no cure. A COVID19 vaccine will not be mass produce until the second half of 2021 and that is with countries skipping animal testing to expedite. China is “opened up,” but new cases have started to increase again. So, how do we do this for the next year?
When you pull a muscle or break a bone, there is always that recovery period. Figuring out how to do something when you are unable to lift your arm or how to maneuver in a cast. That’s where we are now. My post corona outfit I purchased while stress shopping on Amazon will not be seen outside my condo this spring. There is before corona and after corona. This week, consider, how do you balance life during corona, your new normal.
¹ The Zombie apocalypse is a genre of fiction in which civilization collapses due to a large number of zombies overwhelming social, law-enforcement, and military structures. Typically, only a few individuals or small bands of survivors are left of the living.
Note:I was part of a coding challenge last year to design an app for a natural disaster, our team used the Zombie apocalypse as a model. Eerily, many the questions we used to train and model our AI are appropriate now.
² I am not a scientist. My early aspirations to be a scientist and my Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering do not give weight to my observations on this topic. I just offer my views.
³ Per capita the leader is Switzerland, however, with the reported numbers, the US is higher in per capita dates than China.