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We Must Have This Controversial Conversation


By Jo Vaccarino, CCT, LMT, MLD-C


government in a perceived public health crisis. First, shouldn’t we have some criteria that establishes the need for extreme inter- ventions? And second, who can we trust to provide the evidence based information we need to make sensible decisions?


I


When the 2020 statistics are in, it’s quite likely we’ll learn that the knee-jerk reactions from bureaucrats and politi- cians will have produced a far greater toll on human life than the pandemic itself. For over two months, cancer screenings, pain therapies and other “non-essential” medical services were put on hold. People who were afraid to go to the ER waited too long to address heart attack and stroke symptoms, suicide hotline calls exceeded the previous twelve months and people are still waiting in food lines because they can’t feed their families. We cannot deny that the econo- my is intricately related to public health. During hard financial times the potential for health neglect, malnutrition, suicide, physical abuse, alcoholism, drug abuse and overdose is significantly increased.


Many small businesses won’t survive


this year, many jobs will never come back, fear and isolation are causing severe men- tal anguish, graduates will be starting their new lives in a recession, parents are won- dering what kind of schools their children will return to – and all of this is for a virus that will never compare to the number of deaths from heart disease, cancer or even as the 2018 John Hopkins study suggests, medical errors.


t will be uncomfortable, but it’s essen- tial that we have an honest, informed conversation about the proper role of


“If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are


always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?”


- Frederic Bastiat, The Law


Without engaging in a war of statis- tics or arguing that hindsight is 20/20, let’s examine the evidence we have thus far and begin talking about sensible ways to go forward. We have over six months of data from around the world, and CDC statistics from the past three months in the US pinpoint exactly which populations are vulnerable and which are not. The natural laws of virology have not changed, only the politics have. Since a virus must run out of hosts before it “burns out”, why prolong the potential for natural herd immunity for an infection that is benign for an estimated 97-99% of the population? Whether from natural antibody building or vaccination, the principle is the same – the vulnerable are best protected when herd immunity is high. So, how can we protect the vulner- able in the interim and let the rest of the world return to normal; and what if there is still potential for a major outbreak?


For starters, let’s be honest about the


arbitrary shuttering of medical and com- merce activities. Very few of us were able to completely isolate ourselves for the entire two and half months of “lockdown” in FL. It is likely that our heightened aware-


ness and changes in personal hygiene habits helped us reduce our viral loads or avoid contagion more than any mandated “social distancing measures” did. Even masks are a topic we must logically explore from all angles. For the first four weeks of lockdown we were still being told not to wear masks and yet, mask-less essential workers survived those weeks without a major outbreak among them. So, just from a common-sense observation, how much benefit might masks offer? Is it possible that masks might even be dangerous for many people? Epidemiologists, doctors and respiratory therapists have expressed their concerns. Some tweaks to public policies are still in order, but most “social distanc- ing” measures for the general population still have no concrete data and probably never will. It’s just not one of those things that can be accurately measured or com- pared because of the arbitrary applications and the variances in human behavior.


If future outbreaks are a concern, we should identify and designate COVID centers so that the bulk of our hospitals and medical facilities could continue uninter- rupted. We could implement better sanita- tion practices such as Air/Surface Scrubbers in nursing homes, medical centers and even businesses. Proven effective technol- ogy exists and is quite affordable, even to a small business. We could eliminate the need to shutter medical and commerce activities by continuing to protect and isolate the vulnerable with sensible but not draconian measures. For instance, stores could continue to have dedicated hours for senior shoppers, and restaurants could have dedicated sections that are set up for


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