IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

COVID-19: Bad News, Good News on South African Variant

COVID-19 will be with us forever!

I think people should get the thought that once we have a majority of people vaccinated (herd immunity) that the pandemic as we've known it will be over. The coronavirus is staying one or two steps ahead of us as nations struggle to contain the spread of the virus and come up with new medical treatments to prevent people from contracting the disease and to treat those who do. 

I picked up two things from the same Washington Post article. One is that Israel has found over 40 people who had previously had the coronavirus and became re-infected with the South African variant. This is the bad news.

The good news, for now, is this:

"Last month, U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech released results from lab tests that, while not yet peer-reviewed, showed that their joint vaccine is effective against the N501Y mutation that is found in both the British and South African variants. In a statement, the companies said the preliminary findings “do not indicate the need for a new vaccine to address the emerging variants,” but they are “prepared to respond” with updates to their shot if necessitated by new strains. Another vaccine, co-developed by Oxford University and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, proved to be only minimally effective [more bad news] in preventing mild and moderate forms of covid-19 caused by the variant first identified in South Africa."

I'm trying to think of the right word to describe what is going on. The first word that comes to mind is "dynamic." We are not in a "set piece" battle where we know all the facts and numbers and we can war game out our strategy. The virus keeps evolving and when we add the human dynamic to what we are trying to do to counter the disease, we just don't have "control of the situation." What we know keeps changing and thus we are having to continually adapt to those changes. We all know how much people like change!!

While science will struggle with the above, likely our hardest challenge will be the human element in all of us who want to get on with our lives — prematurely. 

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
Special Projects
Sponsored Articles