Sacrificial offerings for the greater good

An unexpected announcement came up while shopping for groceries today. For the people in the store at the time, the pharmacy would provide Covid-19 vaccines on a first come first served basis. This was odd because two days earlier the in-store pharmacy had a sign saying they had no vaccine, and even if they did, it would require an appointment scheduled well in advance. Now it was a give away for the people who happened to be in the store at the time.

I went about my usual shopping and left. I don’t know if this happened all day long, but shortly after the announcement there was a line at the pharmacy. It seemed like a lottery type event to me.

This may become a new enticement for people to visit the store. They may get lucky and be in the store when the pharmacy hands out the next batch.

I understand that some of the vaccines require very expensive storage. Maybe the store hands them out quickly once they arrive in order to avoid having to store them. It may work something like the following. The pharmacy schedules a number of vaccinations, but it must order a batch containing more doses than they have appointments. They serve the appointments, and then give away the rest to whoever is in the store, and until the batch runs out.

I am just guessing, of course. The situation seemed very odd to me. Normally, the medical profession, and certainly the pharmacy doesn’t offer give away promotions. I understand that this may be normal for this particular pandemic season with this particular offering of what they call a vaccine. The government is intent on vaccinating everyone, and the government has already agreed to pay for each one, so it is free. The way to do accomplish rapid thorough vaccination is to give them away as soon as they are available.

The other day, I was shocked to get an emergency broadcast message on my phone. This was at about the time I was about to join a conference call so I was concerned there must be another Trump rally in DC or something that required everyone to stay home until it blows over. This emergency message that everyone 16 and older was eligible for the vaccine. I still can’t comprehend how this would be an emergency. Associating that message with the loud alarm sounds and the emergency icon makes it seem like this itself was a insurrection against civilization. That certainly was not the intent, but it was how I reacted.

The vaccines have a qualified approval of emergency use. The trials are not done to determine whether the product is safe for general use. Yet, here we are using every means possible to encourage everyone to take the product that the government is not willing to say is safe for general use. If something bad does happen, the government gets away with the excuse that they never said it was safe. They just said it is available for emergency use.

The emergency apparently applies to the entire population. I don’t understand what the point is for the delay in approving the safety. There remains the potential of bad results in making people more susceptible to bad outcomes during the next flu season, or in making people acquire some incurable and disabling chronic illness. By the time government figures this out, everyone would already have suffered the consequences.

At the same time every means possible is used to encourage people to take the shots, the government is explaining that any consequence is necessary for the greater good. That was once the excuse used by corporations that produced dangerous products. The products provided a benefit for most who received them and that resulted in improvements in overall standard of living or in less expensive products. It was unfortunate that a few people suffered bad outcomes, including death. When measured over the the entire population, the greater good outweighed the bad consequences. That argument did not work for corporations. It works for government.

There are reports of major adverse effects from the vaccines. People are experiencing major medical problems and some people are dying from the vaccines. Many of these are people who were enthusiastic about getting the vaccine. Even after experiencing the bad outcomes, many state that they do not regret their decision. They blame their outcomes on their own personal bad luck. That bad luck would not have played out if they did not get a vaccine, but that’s just the chances that people must take, for the greater good.

People are told that they need to take the vaccine not for their own benefit. They need to take it for the benefit of others. The initial explanation is that the vaccine will help prevent the vaccinated from asymptomatically shedding virus to infect others. The opposite is true for these vaccines. These vaccines are not designed to stop the virus. Instead they are designed to lessen the clinical symptoms of being infected. In other words, the vaccine specifically makes more people who are infected with the virus become asymptomatic spreaders. Given that inconvenient truth, the government offers a second explanation that taking the vaccine will encourage more people to take the vaccine. This is good because the vaccine will lessen their symptoms, but only if they take the vaccine.

The odd thing is that this second explanation encourages people to take the personal risk of adverse affects of the vaccine itself, including the possibility of death. Their sacrifice would benefit everyone by providing the example of courage that others would follow and most of them would not suffer adverse effects, at least not immediately. The country needs people to set examples of showing courage to encourage others to follow suit. Having some adverse effects and still approving of the decision is a demonstration of courage. People don’t want to be seen as cowards.

I continue to. believe that this pandemic is not an emergency for young people. They do not need this vaccine. They certainly don’t need to enter a lifelong program of semi-annual vaccine updates for the new variants or for boosters to imperfect vaccine. Young people do not need to be social distancing or even wearing masks. Meanwhile both the vaccines and social distancing are imposing a high sacrifice on young people. There is the direct impacts of vaccine adverse reactions and of lost opportunities due to social distancing. There are longer terms dangers of as yet undiscovered bad consequences of the vaccines, or of missing out on opportunities that are only available when young. I especially fear the long term consequences of these vaccines on young women’s reproductive health. Unfortunately young women are the among the most enthusiastic to get their shots, to show that they are not anti-vaxxers. Vaccinated status is a fashion statement.

While I was walking home from the store, I was looking at trees. This is about the midway point of spring where trees have their young leave out but they have not yet fully filled out and not fully darkened with chlorophyll. If you are not familiar with the different types of trees, some trees look more sickly than others. I am among the ones not familiar with the different species. Some trees definitely look very ill.

Upon closer inspection, the trees were very definitely dying. These are trees planted along a recent construction, or at least recent enough that I remember them being planted. That may have been 20 years ago, but that is still young for a tree. It was not just one tree dying, most of the trees along that block were dying. They were near the sidewalk and I imagine perhaps they could not take all the watering by dogs.

At that point, I thought of a scary scenario. What if the trees were dying as a result of the same virus. I have never heard of a virus that would jump between plants and animals. In fact I never heard of viruses that affect trees, but I guess there must be some plant viruses. The scenario I imagined is that the SARS-Cov2 virus managed to find a way to replicate within a tree’s leaves. When replicating in this environment, it creates copies that can only infect other trees. For example, the tree replicated virus would lack the specific protein that would bind to human cells. It would however cause at least a sickly appearance in trees, especially during spring time. This variant of the virus would spread by hitching ridges on the fur of squirrels or on the feathers of birds, guaranteeing is wide dispersal.

I imagine a second stage that occurs when the leaves more fully mature and at the same time get exposed by direct mid-day light. The abundant UV radiation would affect the replicating virus within the tree to produce a human-infectious version, perhaps just one such virus per 1000 replications. The tree has a lot of leaves, that is still a lot of viruses. These human-infectious variants would have no place in the leaves and so the plant would shed them. I imagine this shedding would peak in the late afternoon or early afternoon. At this time, being near such a tree would almost guarantee that a person would get infected with this virus.

Again this is a just a science-fiction fantasy, but if this were to happen, how would we react?

I am pretty sure trees can’t be vaccinated.

For the greater good, would we accept killing all the trees? After all they are just trees. We could have some test that would detect the tree variant of the virus and just kill that tree. We may also exterminate the birds or tree mammals so that they don’t spread the virus to trees near humans. These are just animals. Humans are the greater good.

I would like to think this is a ridiculous reaction. We would kill the planet to protect humans. I am not sure any more. Given the current hysteria, I would not be surprised.

We accept sacrificing our young people’s freedom, well-being, and future for the greater good. A planet without trees and animals may not be that great a sacrifice if they were implicated in spreading COVID19. Alternatively, maybe humans don’t belong on this planet. For the greater good, humans need to get off this planet.

This current talk consists of encouraging young people to show courage in taking a vaccine that has a greater chance of harming them than does the virus. Their courage and even expressions of no regrets if bad things happen to them will encourage everyone to get vaccinated, including the older population who supposedly would more likely benefit from the vaccine.

I mentioned before the pressure we place particularly on young girls and women who have the most to lose. These vaccines could also risk their future ability to have children. The evidence increasingly points in this direction. For some reason our society has chosen to put the burden of proof on this being a possibility and we demand very clear proof before conceding that this is a proven risk. That kind of conclusion is years away. If this is a true risk, by the time we prove it, we would have already lost the fertility of many women, and maybe most. This may be the answer to getting humans off the planet.

The entire scenario reminds me of stories of ancient civilizations sacrificing the lives of young women to appease the gods into granting good fortunes for the greater good. This bargain only worked when the most prized, and most healthy young woman were offered. She would be required to show courage as she entered the ceremony that would end in her death.

The vaccination program may turn out to be the modern equivalent of this sacrifice. But as all things modern, we will do it on mass-production scale. We’ll readily sacrifice an entire generation for the greater good.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s