The media knows that bad news sells. Rolling coverage of terrorist attacks, natural disasters and, of course, more recently Covid 19 makes people more likely to buy newspapers (yes, they still exist) or consume news electronically or online and maybe even pay for some of it.
Humans may be a bit “hard wired” to be alert for and react to “negative stimuli”. Historically, a keen sense for possible danger may have made the difference between survival and death.
So over the last 12 months we have been provided with ongoing “disaster waiting to happen“ stories. Effectively a year down the track how many doom and gloom predictions came to pass?
Australia was going to run out of ICU beds in early April 2020. Cricket at the SCG was going to be a super spreader event. Even illegal gatherings at places such as Byron Bay and protest gatherings such as we saw on Australia Day have not led to any cases.
There is very little coverage of positive developments.
But there IS good news.
In Israel it was reported that there was a 94% drop in symptomatic COVID-19 infections among 600,000 people who received two doses of the Pfizer’s vaccine. A study published in The Lancet showed an 85% reduction in symptomatic COVID-19 within 15 to 28 days with an overall reduction of infections, including asymptomatic cases detected by testing, of 75% after one dose of vaccine in 7214 Israeli hospital staff.
The Wall Street Journal reported on February 18 that cases in the USA were down 77% in the preceding six weeks. As of that week, 15% of Americans had received the vaccine, and it is estimated that 250 million doses will have been delivered to some 150 million people by the end of March.
It also made the (currently) unpopular point that the reduction in infections likely had another driver too. To quote Marty Makary; “… natural immunity from prior infection is far more common than can be measured by testing. Testing has been capturing only from 10% to 25% of infections, depending on when during the pandemic someone got the virus. Applying a time-weighted case capture average of 1 in 6.5 to the cumulative 28 million confirmed cases would mean about 55% of Americans have natural immunity”.
Maybe an overestimate and maybe not.
Let’s be blunt. Viruses spread in a viral fashion. Corona viruses in general spread far and wide as they are usually quite contagious without being that serious. Thus it is virtually certain that the number of recorded cases is far less than the number of people who have come into contact with the virus, had no symptoms and unbeknownst to them (or anyone else) have immunity.
In Australia the average age of death from Covid 19 is 82, also the average life expectancy. ABS data released on 28 October, showed that 72.7% of the 682 people who died of the coronavirus in Australia up to 31 August had at least one pre-existing chronic condition listed on their death certificate.
The fact is we are not all at equal risk of serious infection or death. We know who to protect.
On February 21 Scott Morrison was vaccinated alongside 86-year-old Jane Milysiak. Necessarily Twitter went berko about the PM “jumping the queue”. Anthony Albanese had one a few days later. The same people jumping up and down on social media must have missed the previous day’s anti-vaccination protests. In most countries, leaders, including Joe Biden, had a shot publicly to demonstrate that it is not a big deal, not to get in first.
Remember too, every pandemic in history ended!
Greg Hunt was reported as saying that we were “on track” to return to normal once everyone was vaccinated.
This is the key point. So far politicians have been quick to stop us living our lives. There has been no indication as to what criteria need be met to give us our normal freedoms back. It is time for politicians (especially certain state premiers) to do this.
Falling cases internationally and a vaccine program mean we are entering the home straight. The days of masks, not seeing loved ones, knee jerk lockdowns for a single positive test and having our every movement tracked need to be numbered.
It is time for positivity to rear its head!
Medical Doctor, author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, Dr Joe Kosterich wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life.
Joe writes for numerous medical and mainstream publications, is clinical editor at Medical Forum Magazine, and is also a regular on radio and television.
Joe is Medical Advisor to Medicinal Cannabis Company Little Green Pharma, Chairman of Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association and sits on the board of Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA. He is often called to give opinions in medico legal cases.