Vaccine, Grateful and Temper Tantrum
by Doyle Ranstrom on Feb 14, 2021
My wife and I were able to get our first Covid Vaccination. I was very brave and did not require a sucker. We are very thankful for all the research scientists, health care professionals, distribution centers that made this possible for us and millions of other Americans. The time frame from the beginning of the pandemic to the rollout of multiple vaccines is a tribute to American ingenuity, education, and most of all perseverance.
For anyone who knows me, it would be no surprise to find out I throw temper tantrums. I have been told by my older siblings, I used to lay on the floor and pound my hands and head into the floor in a subtle protest of my current personal circumstances. No, this was not last week, but supposedly when I was a toddler. It may explain my poor performance in elementary school years later.
As I got older, not necessarily smarter, I still occasionally throw temper tantrums, but in private, as I have matured somewhat. I threw one this past week. Most of the time when thinking about the pandemic and its personal and economic consequences, I get sad. But this time I got angry.
We are approaching 500,000 deaths due to the pandemic in the US. As of 2/13/2021, it was 473,699 according to the CDC. According to Statista, a global provider of market and consumer data, of 152 countries listed by per capita death rate per million of population, the US was 147 out of 152. Yes, that's right, 147th, at a total death rate per million of 1441.73 as of 2/13/2021. The US was just behind North Macedonia and in front of Portugal. For the record, there were 70 countries whose death rate per million was less than 100.
I just read a fascinating article from the February 10th, 2021 of The Atlantic entitled "The Unlikeliest Pandemic Success Story" which is the pandemic story of Bhutan, a small country located in south-central Asia. What caught my attention is Bhutan had its first Covid death on January 7th, 2021, a 34-year-old man with pre-existing kidney and liver conditions.
- From the article, "On December 31, 2019, China first reported to the WHO a pneumonia outbreak of unknown cause. By January 11, Bhutan had started drafting its National Preparedness and Response Plan, and on January 15, it began screening for symptoms of respiratory ailments and was using infrared fever scanning at its international airport and other points of entry."
Being poor does not make a country dumb, and being rich does not make a country smart.
When thinking about all this, I got angry and threw a tantrum. I did not lay on the floor and pound my head. Though I would suggest some of our previous and current National leaders should do so.
I believe the following:
- The pandemic is not a failure of government, with their hands often tied behind their backs, by Nationally elected politicians, they have done their best in the fight against the pandemic.
- Nor is it a failure of the health care community, they have been our rock stars and angels.
- It is not a failure of science. Medical science and research accomplished the unbelievable in record time.
- It is not a failure of education. Education has been the foundation for fighting the pandemic at all levels, including public health, scientific research, and all levels of the practice of health care.
It is a complete and total failure of many former and current National politicians. This is especially true for those who have been in Congress for years but never really served their country. As I have written about before, the coronavirus was inevitable, the pandemic a choice.
- During President Bush's Administration, in 2006 the Homeland Security Council prepared the "National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan". which warned of the potential of a pandemic and its consequences.
- According to a May 17, 2020 article in "STAT", in 2009 President Obama asked members of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, or PCAS how to prepare for an influenza pandemic? Years and much work later this resulted in the National Security Council [NSC] issuing in 2016 a 69-page playbook on fighting pandemics.
- In 2020, a prominent Senator said there was no playbook left for the Administration following President Obama's. When provided with proof of the playbook, he admitted he was incorrect. In addition, the global health unit of the NSC was disbanded in 2018 by the same Administration.
- In addition, many anti-science and anti-healthcare members of Congress consistently voted against having a coordinated comprehensive state and federal health care system. For years, many in Congress wasted considerable time and expense trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act when they should have been working on developing a National health care system which among other things, would have had an organized response to a pandemic.
This ineptitude by current and former National leaders has led to the loss of life for hundreds of thousands of our citizens along with economic disaster for many households and companies and finally trillions of dollars of deficit spending.
In writing this, I am so angry again I had better go for a bike ride or have a bourbon. Since it is before noon, the bike ride is a better option, for now. As I ride, I will also be thankful and grateful for all the talent and dedication we have in our scientific community, distribution community, and health care community. We need more of them to run for public office.