- Virus– a type of germ that consists solely of a bit of genetic material (DNA or RNA) wrapped in a protein coat. The coat gets the genes into the target cell where the genes force the cell to make zillions of new viruses (genes and protein coat), and on it goes.
- Variant- also known as a mutation, a variant strain of a virus is the same species of virus but with a change in the genetic code. The change is minor if it has no impact on contagious the new variant is, or how deadly it is, or if it allows the virus to neutralize our vaccines. Variants that substantially increase harm are now listed by Greek letters, the most troublesome one now is Omicron.
- Coronavirus– a species name of a number of different viruses. Called corona because its protein coat is studded with spike shapes that form a crown, halo, or corona of spikes
- SARS-CoV-2– the specific name of the new coronavirus
- COVID-19-the name of the illness that the new coronavirus is causing
- Endemic– an illness always present in a region. One could say strep throat is endemic in the US
- Epidemic– a sudden burst of an illness that comes and goes over a limited time
- Pandemic– an epidemic that bursts across the world not just one region
- Spreadability– how contagious is the disease, how many people will end up infected
- Symptoms- the experience of being ill, for example- fever, cough, headaches, loss of smell etc.
- Asymptomatic– literally means “without symptoms”. For COVID-19 it refers a person infected with the virus but has no and will have not symptoms
- Presymptomatic– This is a person who was infected with SARS-CoV-2, and will feel sick, but hasn’t yet
- Severity– what harm does the disease cause, in terms of how sick you get and how many it will kill
- Mask- a mask is a loose-fitting cloth or textile that covers the mouth and nose loosely. A surgical mask is a mask used in surgery
- Respirator- for the purposes of the COVID-19 pandemic and other respiratory illnesses, a respirator is a mask that fits very snugly or tightly to the user’s face. An N95 mask is a respirator.
- PCR Test– swabs the nose to detect the genes of the COVID virus. The genes if detected are almost certainly there, but they can persist long after contagion ends. Very few false positives, positives can be trusted.
- Antigen Test (the home kit)- swabs the nose to detect the proteins on the coating of the COVID virus, the spike proteins. If it does not detect those proteins, you are almost certainly not infected, negatives can be trusted. These proteins are also on the coating of many common cold viruses, so one positive test may indicate you have a cold rather than COVID. Two positive home tests though reliably indicate you have COVID.
- Vaccine Terms
- Vaccine or Immunization– a dose of a substance that activates your immune system, as if you have the actual infection you are hoping to prevent, leaving you in fact protected from having that infection.
- Efficacy– the percentage of people immunized with a particular vaccine who will not get infected if exposed to the target infection. For example, a COVID-19 vaccine will be said to be 95% effective if 95% of people immunized with that particular COVID-19 vaccine will not get COVID-19 if exposed to COVID-19
- mRNA– DNA works by dictating exactly which proteins your cell will make. The message on how to construct each protein is delivered to the cell machinery that makes proteins by a piece of genetic material called messenger RNA, or mRNA
- mRNA vaccine– an mRNA vaccine places a small bit of mRNA code that makes your cells make a protein that is the protein from a virus that alerts your immune system and activates it to make protections against you being infected
- Viral vector vaccine– a viral vector vaccine takes a harmless virus that is known to infect people reliably and places that weakened virus in a person where that virus will in fact infect the person. The virus is not only weakened, but also attached to a set of genes that makes your cells make a protein that is the protein from a virus that alerts your immune system and activates it to make protections against you being infected.
When I began posting articles on the COVID Pandemic in February of 2020 for Real Answers, I never dreamed that in just over 2 years I would be writing to report on the hard to comprehend loss of 1 million lives of our fellow Americans, or that our nation would achieve the saving of another 1 million lives, or that the fate of 2 million Americans hung on the one decision all 2 million made.
1 Million Lost
At every 100,000 of us who have died, Real Answers has stopped, has paused, to take a moment and pay tribute to the catastrophic loss of life that our decisions imposed on our national community.
I clearly remember the profound sadness, the anger, the deep sense of catastrophe on learning that our inability to unite in opposition to a virus known to kill led to the needless deaths of 100,000 of us.
And then we posted the same story a total of now 10 times, each time adding the grim news that another 100,000 of our friends, of fathers and mothers, of sons and daughters, had died again.
Only one nation on the planet has lost 1 million of its people to death by COVID, and that would be us.
Readers of Real Answers are long familiar with why this happened: people chose actively to not protect the nation or themselves from this virus. Prior to the development and availability of the vaccine, the nation suffered nearly half these losses from failing to simply identify who was infected and isolating them, like many nations in East Asia did quite well. After the vaccine became available the choice to actively not protect focused more in individuals who decided not to get vaccinated.
Together these choices led to the vast majority of the million Americans now dead from COVID.
1 Million Saved
In a moment most likely unique to human history, at the same time our nation chose to let 1 million of us die, the nation chose to save 1 million lives.
The saving of 1 million lives, the acts that it took to provide the vaccine to everyone eligible, and the choice millions made to live are 100% of the reason that evidence proves that without the vaccine, another 1 million of us would have been killed by COVID by the end of 2021.
This did not just happen. A group of people over the last 30 years invented a new approach to vaccinating, namely the use of genetic code to direct the body to create the immunity to the target germ. That work came to fruition just as COVID hit, and so COVID was the first disease to be stopped by the mRNA vaccine.
There is no other way to say this. People invented an astounding treatment to stop COVID from killing so many. Not only did it work, but it may be the first idea humans invented that can claim to have saved 1 million members of one nation from dying within months of it being made available.
It also means that today, there are 1 million Americans alive, caring for each other and/or their children, only because so many of us listened to the simple fact that those who got vaccinated were many, many times less likely to die from COVID.
The One Simple Decision
And so today we can hang our heads and consider, one simple decision determined forever the fate of 2 million of us in America: should we act on the facts, or not?
In 2020 the nation’s leaders and enough of the nation, joined forces to stop the United States from slowing the spread of the virus using identify and isolate strategies.
In 2021 through today, every American had to choose, protect their lives by getting the COVID vaccine, or shun the facts and expose oneself to a deadly infection.
In both years, decisions to shun the facts led to the United States having to now mourn the death of 1 million of us. It is hard to fathom, to present, and will take years to comprehend, if then. But there is no doubt, had the US identified cases and isolated them early on, and if all eligible had agreed to vaccinated, we would be talking about COVID killing nowhere near 1 million of us, maybe as few as 10-20,000!
The power of accepting facts, of making choices based on them is on evidence from the fact that for those who chose to so, the COVID vaccine saved 1 million of us from dying.
- By the end of March of 2022, the United States, all of us, are forced to be crushed by the fact that our choices led to 1 million of us being killed by COVID.
- By the end of 2021, those who chose to be vaccinated saved 1 million lives who would have died without the vaccine.
- Both the loss of 1 million, and the saving of 1 million can be almost completely traced to one decision: would you act on fact, or shun the facts. Those who acted saved 1 million lives. The shunning of facts cost us all the deaths of nearly all 1 million.
My One Takeaway Sentence:
Aren’t the fates of 2 million of our lives enough good reason to act on good facts and not shun them: GET FULLY VACCINATED NOW.
To your health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin