The insurance against possible non-contagious conditions may not deliver what was promised if a contagious event occurs, and the medicine for contagious diseases do not promise a very impressive recovery rate. With COVID19, we learned that our health care premiums do not guarantee access to health care when we need it.
Going back to 1986, the situation at the time was a declaration of urgency by the vaccination industry that threatened to discontinue their production (and research capabilities) unless there was some kind of immunity from lawsuits. The urgency was further justified by the science at that time that vaccines are especially effective as controlling epidemics when applied to large populations of healthy people. The only ruling available to government is a permanent one that basically says from date forward to infinity vaccines are an essential part of life on earth so that any risks involved must be accepted.
The absolute and accumulated numbers are only important for political gains for electing parties and politicians. A government by data and urgency has no such politician elections so these numbers are not meaningful as long as the survival rate is sustainable. From an operational perspective, what matters is maintaining sufficient capacity to handle the new cases.
The biggest failing of science in the current COVID situation is its inability to react to new evidence that its original conclusions were wrongly decided, and the assurances to governments were incompetent. We implicitly accept that any initial science-based decisions attains some law-like status that is automatically presumed to be true until there is overwhelming evidence that it is wrong. In particular, such decision making does not permit a simple apology for making a mistake following new data that clearly disproves the original science.
We are investing a lot of effort in developing and testing a vaccine that we hope can stop the spread of this disease. Realistically, we might find a vaccine that simply reduces the number of vulnerable people. A similar outcome might be achieve more quickly by simply reducing the anxiety and fear about this disease. The disease could become something we do not need to fear by convincing ourselves that it is something that we do not need to fear.
We once had a medical system that can competently manage epidemics. We discarded it to make room for the managed-condition healthcare system we have now. Our system has proved that it cannot tolerate an epidemic, something that history tells us is a fact of nature. As a result, when an epidemic appears, we have to stop everything until a vaccine can make it go away.
It may be beneficial to reevaluate our approaches for treating contagious diseases especially those associated with epidemics. We have technologies we never had before with automation, communications technologies, and with miniaturization and mass production of highly reliable consumer appliances. We could plan for future epidemics around a near total at-home treatment path instead of following the historic practice of collecting patients into hospitals.
In the case of COVID19, we demand extraordinary evidence before accepting the normalcy of this pandemic. This sets a major precedence for all future novel diseases. From now on, we need to accept that anything new is an existential threat to humanity until evidence conclusively proves otherwise.
The enlightenment-inspired government has a biased view of casualties. Casualties from science-backed human-directed actions such as vaccinations is preferred over casualties from nature. We can tolerate magnitudes more casualties from science than the number of casualties from nature.
We know more about this threat and how to deal with it. Many people are thinking “thank you very much for bring this to our attention, we now now what to do, now leave us alone”.