Covid-19 and Common Sense

We don’t know where COVID-19 came from, or how it arrived. COVID-19 may have been made in a lab, and if so, probably in China since that is where it first emerged (we think), possibly with partial funding from the US government. China is refusing to provide information or access that might help clarify this, so we don’t know for sure.

Also, the CDC and other public health experts and government officials gave conflicting, misleading, and incorrect recommendations and findings, on the value of masks, social distancing, etc. Remember when they wanted us to wear gloves? They later found out that COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be spread on surfaces. But it was cautious advice based on the experience with other transmissible diseases, and the cost and problems with wearing gloves was very small.

It’s been a mess from the beginning, but the greatest problem is that common sense was forgotten. That is what happens when we are faced by a new unknown danger. The public is scared and angry, and they want answers, they want certainty. Everyone in power wants to take their ideas to the public, even if they don’t really know. But this is an experiment, and it takes time to get accurate results from experiments. For that reason, the “correct” answers will change as we learn more, and “experts” and leaders should therefore be careful what messages they give out. Also, they should avoid pushing “one size fits all” recommendations, and tailor advice to situations (such as for those who may have acquired immunity from having COVID-19). The public need to understand that the “experts” are learning as the experiment goes on.

But in the mess, common sense was forgotten by some people. Unless we abandon the germ theory of disease, there are some simple things we can do. Reduce the transmission of the virus. Avoid contact with people who are sick. You may not know who is sick, so be cautious, even paranoid. Masks will protect you (despite what the CDC said in 2020) to some extent. Some masks are better than others, but any mask is better than no mask. Maintaining distance between people and yourself will help. If you don’t need to go out and expose yourself to others who may be sick, stay home. If you must go to work, protect yourself, your coworkers, and your customers as much as possible. Avoid superspreader events.

Actions that public health agencies and governments should take include:
– education
– common sense advice
– accelerated production and delivery of PPE
– research
– development of tests
– development of vaccines
– accelerated production and use of tests
– quarantining of the sick
– accelerated production and delivery of vaccines.

Our government (both administrations) have fallen down on many of these. But the Trump administration pushed the development of vaccines, and the vaccines will be one of his greatest legacies. They work. Trump now encourages everyone to be vaccinated and boosted. He himself, despite having had and survived COVID-19, has been vaccinated and boosted.

For your own actions, I do not say that you have to accept all official advice for yourself. But do not endanger others by discouraging taking common sense precautions. We are no more experts at this than others. We have done no direct research and therefore have no basis to contradict the advice of others. Giving bad advice, you could kill someone. Remember your personal responsibility.

And we should all be humble and realistic in your opinions of ourselves.

© 2022 Bruce Merchant

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