How to deal with COVID without vaccination? There are four options

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Much of the world continues to grapple with the COVID vaccine dilemma. With data showing that vaccines significantly reduce the case fatality rate COVID is around 0.3% and at the same time, vaccines have proven much less effective in stopping transfer Due to the virus kindness of the delta variant, – dare I say – there is some sort of controversy on both sides.

All of this is happening against the backdrop of a northern hemisphere winter that will inevitably lead to a significant jump in transmission of respiratory viruses – and COVID remains the only game in town.

Governments basically have four options. One: imposing soft restrictions (such as travel) on the unvaccinated – this was the UK and until recently the European approach. Two: making vaccines completely mandatory, like in Austria, or semi-mandatory, removing most freedoms, as in Victoria or France. Three: to impose some form of financial punishment on the unvaccinated, An approach taken in Singapore and recommended by health economist Luke Slawomirski inside crikey last week. Or four: do nothing but provide free vaccines and educate people about their benefits, as seen in eastern and southern European countries such as Croatia.

Let’s focus on two more controversial approaches: powers and financial penalties. While attractive, both methods have significant disadvantages.

Vaccination instructions are not new. In Australia, the “no injury, no play” mandate requires Australian children (the campaign was actually promoted by News Corp newspapers in 2013) to be vaccinated to attend childcare or kindergarten.

The rationale for the authorization is logical because children can contract a deadly measles infection in preschool before they even have a chance to be vaccinated. The problem though, aspect Protector Australia notedwas that the policy did not appear to have a significant impact. Australian Journal of Medicine According to the study’s findings, “there was no major change in the vaccine opposing group with the ‘no hurt, no play’ policy… but on the positive side, a significant number of people caught the vaccine, resulting in modest increases in overall vaccination coverage. coverage”.

Children are indeed at risk of death from measles or mumps, although the mortality rate is For people who are not elderly or have significant comorbidities, COVID remains infinitely small.

There’s also the issue of enforcement – ​​the “no ban no game” rules are monetary (technically fit into the third category). Austria’s moves forcibly vaccinate people or by Victoria essentially to people Choosing between vaccination and unemployment It’s a much bigger step.

We’ll see exactly how a mandatory vaccine could happen without the serious threat of imprisonment, which essentially protects the patient from serious illness, which doesn’t make much sense. It is also likely to cause significant civil unrest, which is already showing some degree of influence. There’s also the problem that if 20% of the population refuses to be vaccinated, it’s impossible to imprison that many people (and there’s likely to be a major revolution before that point).

Then there is the financial path Singapore has adopted. This has its own problems. Singapore, a well-governed autocracy with very high levels of government trust, can avoid paying fees. COVID patients for their stay in intensive care, this is much more difficult for almost any Western country. There is also the issue of governments choosing what people should pay for their own treatment. It doesn’t make much sense to blame someone for not vaccinating. COVID but possibility of serious illness, eg not smoking COVID (for a healthy 30-year-old person) is likely less than 0.01%. 67% of smokers who die from smoking-related diseases.

The Medicare tax surcharge plan, while seemingly softer than the Singapore method, has even more flaws. Those at serious risk COVID disease is the elderly – same cohort that is sick in almost all cases zero taxable income Courtesy of our gerrymandered tax system. A higher Medicare fee does almost nothing to reduce it Reduce COVID-19 deaths or ICU use. This is because those who will bear most of the cost of a Medicare surcharge plan are the unvaccinated people aged 25-65 – that is, people who have a very low chance of hospitalization and a very small chance of death.

While Australia does not provide this data, England anyway. In the past week, only six per 100,000 people aged 25-64 in the UK were admitted to hospital with COVID (despite 35,000 daily reported infections). For those over the age of 85 (ie those who will not pay anything because they have no income), the rate is 41 per 100,000.

Note that this is hospital admission, not intensive care unit admission. Only 20% of those hospitalized COVID patients need intensive care unit. Also, some of these people in the hospital would already be grafted onto “breakthrough” cases. So, using UK data as a guide, we’re looking at several thousand intensive care unit admissions per year in Victoria and NSW of unvaccinated people who, in the worst case, are likely to pay higher Medicare taxes.

With vaccines on the verge of being destroyed by an even better life-saving technology, anti-viral therapies, the vaccine arguments are likely to be proven soon anyway. three weeks ago Pfizer announced Paxlovid was able to reduce deaths by 89% in a clinical trial when taken after 3-5 days. COVID symptoms begin.

Merck had announced a week ago that Molnupiravir was around 50% effective in trials, and India was expected to issue emergency approval in a few days. These (not yet peer-reviewed) results are truly game-changing and COVID is less deadly than the flu, even among the unvaccinated.

Forcing people to get a vaccine they don’t understand (even if it largely benefits them) is unlikely to improve vaccination rates and instead leads to civil unrest and further fragmentation of communities. Of course, let’s continue to educate and encourage the unvaccinated about the benefits of vaccination. But with the arrival of antiviral cavalry, threatening to imprison the unvaccinated or imposing a bizarre tax is as stupid as a slow vaccine rollout.

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