The Omicron variant of the COVID virus appears to spread more easily than either the Wuhan or Delta mutations but also seems to be far less lethal. Despite CDC estimates that over 70 percent of the infections in the US today are from Omicron, there has yet to be a single death attributed to Omicron. In the UK, where the Omicron variant has been around longer, it has been blamed for only twelve deaths.
The track record, so far, of Omicron raises the fundamental question: At what point do we stop considering COVID 19 a deadly plague that we must fully mobilize to hold in check and start seeing it as an illness, perhaps more burdensome than the common cold, but not lethal?
The public health leaders in our country would doubtless like to keep us all masked, fully vaccinated and locked down to stop us from getting the flu. But we refuse to live that way and accept the inherent risk in not doing so. Most get flu shots each year, but a great many do not and we can live with that. At what point should we let the unvaccinated follow their conscience and move on?
As we ponder this question, the emphasis on COVID must shift from prevention to treatment. Monoclonal antibodies, which Trump was castigated for touting, are proving to be an effective treatment. But they take a while to make and are in short supply.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis said, on December 17th that the state had only 3,100 doses of AstraZeneca’s Evusheld, an antibody combination intended to prevent individuals from contracting COVID-19 on hand. But Florida reports a seven-day average of 7,068 new cases each day.
We gave the Biden Administration $1.9 trillion for COVID relief but somehow, we don’t have the money for monoclonal antibodies.
They are hard to make and, without a crash program — like Trump’s incredibly successful Operation Warp Speed — we won’t have enough of them. A National Academy of Sciences document from 1999 explains the complexity and difficulty of the process:
Commercial mAb (monoclonal antibody) production requires more than the culturing of large batches of cells or their injection into large numbers of mice. It requires considerable preproduction effort to ensure that the cell line is stable, can produce commercially appropriate quantities of a stable antibody, and can produce an uncontaminated product. Commercial production also involves building a high-quality facility for in vivo and in vitro production and for processing of the antibody. There is a need for quality control and quality assurance departments to meet the requirements of good manufacturing practices that are required for commercial products. Product-lot testing is necessary to ensure product reproducibility. Production-process verification and documentation are necessary to protect the consumer and are required by FDA in its regulatory “Points to Consider in the Manufacture and Testing of mAb Products for Human Use” (FDA 1997).
But Biden, ever behind the curve, is still touting masks to prevent the disease while he persecutes, and attacks those of his constituents (including large numbers of blacks) who refuse vaccination. He even threatens their jobs.
Somebody needs to wake this guy up!
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