Wuhan virus: We can’t wait for a vaccine that might never come to reopen

coronaIf Canada is waiting for a vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic before returning a semblance of normal, we’re going to be waiting a long time — a very long time.

There are, of course, plenty of people who believe a vaccine can be fast tracked, produced and administered in a reasonable time frame.

Two assumptions there that need to be examined.

First, is a vaccine even possible?

Some researchers think they may be able to develop one. There are trials going on right now.

Skeptics are dubious.

After all, if a vaccine were possible, we’d have one for the common cold which can be caused by the coronavirus.

We don’t have cold vaccine because there are hundreds of different strains.

Well, there are different strains of the Wuhan virus too.

Some researchers believe that there is a particularly lethal strain is floating around Europe and a milder version floating around in the United States and Canada (with the exception of New York.)

Will the medical community come up with a vaccine that provides immunity to all the different strains?

Will the vaccine even work?

There are studies that suggest that people who have been infected are not immune and can contract the virus again.

None of this is very encouraging.

Waiting for a vaccine before reopening our economy is not acceptable. We cannot have the country shut down for 18 to 24 months. The costs are simply too high.

What we do know so far is that the vast majority of deaths occur among the elderly in nursing homes.

So in terms of a public health policy, providing these folks extra protection is mandatory.

This is not rocket science. The pandemic has revealed horrendous flaws in the treatment of the elderly – everything from housing conditions to health protocols. We can do better. We must do better.

The other thing we can do is enact legislation protecting people who are ill from losing their jobs or having their wages cut if they take time off for illness.

Sick people should be quarantining themselves. That will stop the spread of all types of viruses. That is a direct benefit to all of us.

Companies, too, should be required to assess the health of their employees before starting a shift. Some are already taking temperatures of their employees. It’s not a bad idea.

What we need now is better sampling of the populace. Blood tests of a sufficiently large number of people would tell us how many have already been infected and recovered without even knowing they had the virus.

We need some planning.

So far our provincial and federal leaders have not articulated any. They need to get cracking.

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