Kentucky COVID: End Game

Andy Beshear has often said that this is the new normal until there is a vaccine or we achieve the ‘white house guidelines per their new color coded map. Our strategy seems to be one of hiding from the virus as much as our Governor can reasonably enforce at all costs for as long as it takes for the hope of an effective vaccine to become a reality or the virus to vanish.

Hope is not a strategy. 

If it’s too ‘dangerous’ now, what is ‘safe’? And how to you determine that? All the data is crap at this point. How they’re measuring positivity rate is awful but that doesn’t even matter because PCR tests are spinning out bad data by the truckloads and what we call a ‘case’ is highly in question. They are overstating some things and understating others and entirely incomplete on many of the most important facts. It is indescribably terrible leadership of all involved that after 6 months they cannot give us a reasonably accurate view of the data behind the decisions for limiting life or the thresholds required to return to a full life.

Isn’t it past time to realistically ask–how this can this end?

Vaccine

The flu vaccine has been around for 60+ years. In that time of meteoric medical and pharmaceutical advancement, the vaccine works less than 40% of the time and in some age groups less than 30%. Here is the CDC data from last Flu season:

The highly anticipated COVID-19 Vaccine is the fastest development of a vaccine—ever. It took 60+ years for us to get the Flu vaccine to work less than 40% of the time and this new vaccine is about to become available after 6 months clearing a fraction of the clinical hurdles with the hopes of being the fix to this mess we are in. Seems a little ridiculous.

There is very little chance of this working at scale, having a real near-term impact or not causing its own side effects. It’s also fascinating to see how many people petrified of long-term implications of COVID are lining up to take an unproven vaccine, but hey…2020 and all.

Then we see the inevitable politicization of the vaccine. VP Candidate, Kamala Harris, was quoted as saying she wouldn’t take a vaccine created under the Trump Administration. As though he and Jared Kushner are in a lab somewhere with sinister laughter mixing the cocktail that will kill only democrats. Same is true for Trump who is already taking credit for the development and execution of the vaccine. There are real heroes pushing hard on the vaccine front, you’ll never know their names and they’re not politicians–kinda like the nose and defensive tackles that shutout the opposing offense, but the Quarterback with 3 turnovers and 50 passing yards gets all the media attention for the win. 

If in January a vaccine emerges and by March and we’re rapidly back to normal—to me—that’s near admission of fraud. They chose a path so harmful to the citizenry that even after the data began to disprove it they had no choice but to double down on the strategy less implicate themselves for the harm delivered. And they just use the deployment of an unproven vaccine as a ‘get out of jail free’ card of sorts for politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Could a vaccine lead us out of this? Sure. Hell, I hope the cure the damn thing. The Flu vax doesn’t even work half the time after over 60 years of development, it’s pretty unlikely a COVID vaccine saves the day in the next year.

Treatment

Does HCQ and Zinc work or not? There are tons of bad reports out there for either argument. But HCQ has been in wide use for a variety of things for a very long time, now all of a sudden it is deemed very dangerous from side effects and physicians are being banned from using this even for non-COVID things. C’mon, that doesn’t make you question things a little? There are steroid treatments that may be promising and maybe there will be some miracle treatment emerge, but again, hope is not a strategy.

Virus Burn Out

This is probably our best chance of getting back to normal. At some point, this thing will burn out for a while. It has in Sweden (that never locked down), Netherlands. NY and is starting to in TX, FL, AZ and other places that went through a spike in activity. And when it burns out and deaths are 1,2 or 3 per day, do you think your way of life will be restored? Just ask New Yorkers. They are through this and still have more restrictions than we do. The good folks in New Hampshire are seeing less than 15 people in the hospital a week and are still under restriction. Once you give someone absolute power, they won’t release it easily. Further, this WILL COME BACK. In Kentucky we have hid from it so much that when other areas get this again they will fare better than us, because their population has more antibodies to fight it. Hiding from this may only prolong it along with the damages from these prevention measures.

Election

“All this will be over November 3rd.” Then explain Ireland. Australia is an absolute horror movie right now of dystopian controls with around 50-70 cases per day.The UK. Germany, Spain, France and other countries are massively frustrated by lockdowns and questionable data. They don’t vote November 3rd. As arrogant Americans, of which I am proudly one of, we often forget there is a big world out there we are not the center of all the time. This is about more than Trump.

Kentucky General Assembly

I’m hopeful that our system of checks and balances will arrive in January champing at the bit and at least requires legislative process before choosing to limit our way of life while pointing to recognizably inaccurate data as a reason. While my confidence in politics to save the day feels a little empty, I am hopeful–but hope is not a strategy.

Money

If this continues so long that the pain of State financial issues start affecting the people so seemingly willing to give up their full lives, then there will be fewer people so incredibly eager to be in lockdown. But money is likely to be more of a reason to keep us here longer than set us free. If Dems win the White House and Congress, Andy will likely get all the bailout money he needs to keep us in the box as long as he wants. I recently wrote on this in ‘The Mess and the Money.’

Civil Disobedience

What if all restaurant owners in Lexington and Louisville opened at 100% all at the same time? What if 40,000 people tailgated outside Commonwealth Stadium (I won’t do Kroger Field) while the game with limited seating was going on? What if we just took back what was ours? It may get to that, but I think most people—even if they disagree—just keep their head down and meekly do what they are told regardless of the giants it brings to their front doors.

The End Game

Freedom is hard to win and easily surrendered, but isn’t the well-being of our kids worth the fight? The people at risk in KY are overwhelmingly 70 and older. What 70 year old would want to see kids harmed so they can avoid a <2% chance of dying of something that there is a <2% chance of getting in the first place? How many people eagerly surrender their life choices to a politician who says things are scary and then even admits the data he uses to define scary is flawed? What I have discovered since beginning this blog is that most people are either in the “protect me at all costs” camp or the “I’m mad but not gonna say or do anything about it” camp. And so, we sit here–indefinitely asking: What is the end game? 

Who knows? And maybe that’s what you need to fear, not COVID-19.

All data sourced through the State’s COVID website, the COVID Tracking Project, the CDC or the articles linked through the piece.