Covid creates a heyday for shamers. But to maximize their results, people who get their jollies from bossing and obeying must broaden their target to include the media and government. With great power comes great responsibility, yet both those institutions have been lax, risking lives unnecessarily. Mainstream media do not report medical breakthroughs and governments do not fund nor fast-track them.
Media inform the public about electric cars, the latest phones, and 3-D printed houses—and repeat “covid” hundreds of times daily—but nary a whisper about cutting-edge ways to defeat covid. However, in peer-reviewed medical journals, the news is encouraging.
Remember that scene in Apollo 13 when engineers had very few resources to solve immediately a life-threatening problem? Such can-do attitude! Imagine vaccines not available. How could creative medical “engineers” save us? With their extant innovations:
1 Tests that reliably do 100 people in seconds. Governments could set them up wherever people gather—supermarkets, stadiums, airports, etc. The positives could be ushered back home to quarantine.
2 UV lamps that hit the sweet spot—don’t harm humans but kill viruses, covid being the easiest to kill with UV. Governments could set these up, too, in crowded public spaces like airports and concert venues. They’re cheap. Hospitals already use them to disinfect ORs. BTW, the ozone layer—what’s left of it—protects us from the sun’s harmful UV wavelengths.
3 If you catch covid, nanobodies that pose as lung cell receptors, seduce covid, keeping it off the cells. Not all covid invaders fall for the deception but those who don’t are so few, your immune system can easily handle that viral load. Patients inhale the nanobodies, which is painless and works better since covid also enters via nasal passages and some still linger there. Like UV lamps, nanobodies are cheap to make, last long without refrigeration, and don’t need reformulating for each mutated variant.
4 If you do get sick from covid, realize that the overwhelming majority of stricken people get well at home. If an outpatient needs it, they could take a monoclonal antibody. That’s a manmade copy of the same protein that your immune system manufactures to kill covid.
5 If you do get sick from covid and go to the hospital, it could be from not having enough nitrogen. While nitric-oxide smog harms humans, even makes us susceptible to covid, nitric-hydride in food hampers covid's attempts to enter cells and replicate. Patients who took nitrogen (available via foods, supplements, or medicine) walked out of the hospital in half the time of patients who didn’t take nitrogen.
While conventional media blacks out effective weapons against covid, it hypes outbreaks. That news scares us. Yet media fail to remind us that fear turns off our immune systems.
Media could report the low percentage ending in death, or compare that number with other causes of death, like cancer or car crashes, something the law has addressed with seatbelts, etc. And urge people to add vitamin D et al and subtract covid’s favorites—cholesterol and excess poundage.
On occasion the media cites a death toll for covid which includes people who were already dying from something else. However, the media does not cite the collateral damage from government policy. That’s people who:
* don’t get treated for other illnesses since the medical establishment won’t pursue outpatient care for covid victims.
* commit suicide or homicide due to loneliness from the distancing and lockdown. “Quit living to keep living” is not healthy for humans, endowed as we are with social and emotional needs. And …
* who’re not dead yet but will die prematurely due to addiction brought on by governmental-induced depression.
Is this swollen death toll avoidable?
To explain media bias—they frame viruses as potent, not vaccines as weak—a conspiracy theory about an evil elite is not needed, although evil elites exist as do evil poor people; human nature is at least that universal. Instead, note the media rarely dig deep into anything. Excusable, since the public-at-large rarely tunes in deeper truths, enjoying more what titillates.
Like the media, government too is pretty useless, especially in times of trouble. Given the plethora of good ideas, why does government limit itself to only telling you what to do, like a schoolmarm or playground bully? “Mask yourself. Distance yourself. Get injected.”
Of course, these breakthroughs above being cheap is a strike against them in the eyes of Big Pharma, and Big Pharma has clout. They even get the FDA to approve drugs that kill patients then suffer no negative consequences. Government rarely if ever stands up to Big Business, so there is that.
And there’s more—normalcy bias and incompetence. Vaccination—even though not too effective against covid and totally ineffective against AIDS—has been the default response for decades. Plus, people who seek power are not more moral or competent than the rest of us.
In league with politicians, medical professionals protect their turf, enjoy being called experts over and over, and resist novel ideas. Remember when doctors would not let nurses give aspirin, had police arrest chiropractors, and refused to wash their hands between operations?
Many civilians need to believe the powerful take care of them. They don’t think outside the box; the reality of medical progress never crosses their minds. Other normal people—who object to governmental pushiness and medical establishment arrogance—resist masking, distancing, and vaccination.
To win cooperation, experts and officeholders could talk to them as if they assumed doubters were intelligent, more than a dumb mass that needs cattle-prodding. And try humility. Humble people seem more honest. People in power could admit to their mistakes.
The National Institute of Health has admitted to a likely mistake. It paid the Chinese Wuhan Institute of Virology to make more infectious a coronavirus for biowarfare. They succeeded in making a bat coronavirus increase its numbers by at least 10 times. I bet that burgeoning population of coronavirus couldn’t wait to leap into a new host. The NIH, however, claims that their bat virus and the one that caused the pandemic are not the same.
Covid won’t be the last deadly virus. Ideally, government will learn from this pandemic so to prevent future ones. Politicians—and their echo-chamber media—could be doing so much more.
If a problem is serious, and assuming the government wants to save lives, then don’t limit, in advance, all strategies to just two or three. Lift more than a finger—via funding—to make underfunded breakthroughs a feasible reality.
* While eliminating subsidies for junk foods and cattle ranchers (no more cheap cholesterol), pass out “free” (tax funded) vitamin supplements. Invest in nanobodies, plus hasten testing.
* Since most victims are old, and old music revives old people, promote old hits in all media and Zoom concerts and elder-care visits.
* Since most victims are poor, pay a Citizens Dividend. That’s a share of the socially-generated annual value of land/locations and privileges like corporate charters. Use taxes and fees to recover such social surplus. Use a public trust to disburse the revenue earmarked for everyone.
Your job, besides laughing and loving, is lobbying. Win geonomics. Do feel free to shame reporters and politicians.
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JEFFERY J. SMITH published The Geonomist, which won a California GreenLight Award, has appeared in both the popular press (e.g.,TruthOut) and academic journals (e.g., USC's “Planning and Markets”), been interviewed on radio and TV, lobbied officials, testified before the Russian Duma, conducted research (e.g., for Portland's mass transit agency), and recruited activists and academics to Progress.org. A member of the International Society for Ecological Economics and of Mensa, he lives in Mexico. Jeffery formerly was Chief Editor at Progress.org.