For the unvaccinated, the ‘inevitable’

By: Ma. Ceres P. Doyo - @inquirerdotnet - Columnist/Philippine Daily Inquirer | August 05,2021 - 08:00 AM

 

Dr. Luis Medina-Garcia, an American infectious disease expert based in Nevada where there is a steep rise in COVID-19 cases, says that “for those who have not had the vaccine, it is not a matter of if but of when they will contract the virus.”

MSNBC News headline: “Doctor: If you’re not vaccinated, getting COVID is inevitable.” This can very well be said here in the Philippines.

That is not scaremongering. The threat is real with the coronavirus having mutated into the so-called Delta variant with “enhanced transmissibility,” while the Epsilon and Lambda strains are already waiting in the wings. All Greek letters are on standby. Infectious disease experts explain that mutating is the virus’ way of surviving and extending its “life.” (It is not a living organism, we are told.) It will not fade away while it has hosts.

Inevitable. This refers to getting infected with the coronavirus and its deadlier Delta variant that has health experts, scientists, number crunchers, and virus trackers scrambling for solutions while health frontliners suffer exhaustion and ponder the seeming endlessness of it all. Many unvaccinated people are impatiently waiting to be vaccinated while authorities promise more vaccine supplies. President Duterte, who pays obeisance to China, revoked his earlier move to throw out the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US after three million Moderna vaccines arrived from the US.

But there are those who have no plans to get jabbed or are still hesitant to get their jabs for various reasons: fear of adverse effects, doubts about the vaccines’ efficacy, or they have their own alternative beliefs on how the pandemic should be managed. Also count in those who are hooked on conspiracy theories put forward by anti-vaccine advocates who have an axe to grind against Big Pharma. Like those who believe the moon landing was a hoax.

Cases are showing an “exponential rise” in the National Capital Region and environs, so the enhanced community quarantine is again to be imposed in these places for two weeks starting tomorrow. Countless people will be out of work and families will go hungry. There is not enough for a new round of ayuda from the national government.

The Inquirer’s headline yesterday: “Anxiety over paltry aid: ‘We will die of hunger.’” Prominent above it was the banner photo of Olympic silver medalist in women’s featherweight boxing, Nesthy Petecio. A silver lining, indeed, in these dreadful times.

We are between a rock and a hard place. We go on hard lockdown to prevent a steep rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths, but what about the hunger factor that can also cause death and disease? I often find myself wondering whether people in extreme situations, like say, a war, can survive without food for two weeks or can subsist on very little. What was it like in Manila during World War II?

Here is a doctor’s lament, written by ICU physician Thanh Neville for the Huffington Post:

“I am angry that the tragic scenes of prior surges are being played out yet again, but now with ICUs primarily filled with patients who have chosen not to be vaccinated. I am angry that it takes me over an hour to explain to an anti-vaxxer full of misinformation that intubation isn’t what ‘kills patients’ and that their wish for chest compressions without intubation in the event of respiratory arrest makes no sense. I am angry at those who refuse to wear ‘muzzles’ when grocery shopping for half an hour a week, as I have been so-called ‘muzzled’ for much of the past 18 months.

“I cannot understand the simultaneous decision to not get vaccinated and the demand to end the restrictions imposed by a pandemic. I cannot help but recoil as if I’ve been slapped in the face when my ICU patient tells me they didn’t get vaccinated because they ‘just didn’t get around to it.’”

Those who refuse to be vaccinated for whatever reason will have to wait for the time when the rest of us can provide them herd immunity. That or the inevitable, whichever comes first.

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TAGS: Anxiety over paltry aid: ‘We will die of hunger, Doctor: If you’re not vaccinated, getting COVID is inevitable, herd immunity, Medina-Garcia, MSNBC, unvaccinated

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