Time for tea /t:/ : Immunity

Time for tea /t:/ : Immunity

I sometimes reflect on the events of the world around us over a mug of tea /t:/ and so I’ve challenged myself to write on any subject that ends in /ti/.

 

Today’s topic is Immunity

 [ɪˈmjuːnəti]

 

According to The Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of immunity is:

situation in which you are protected against disease or from legal action:

The vaccination gives you immunity against the disease for up to six months.

He was granted immunity from prosecution because he confessed the names of the other spies.

 

 

With the massive rollout of the different Covid vaccines worldwide, the whole subject of immunity is very much at the forefront of most people’s minds right now.

https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/so-who-is-immune-to-covid-19-and-how-can-we-tell-1.4234236

When Covid19 became a real threat to the whole world, and not just something that was happening ‘somewhere else’, there was much speculation as to how best to protect the world population.

Unbelievably, there was much protracted debate on the efficiency of wearing masks and face coverings, even on a scientific level, and yet their efficacy seemed so obvious.

 

 

During those vital first months, due to inaction and the reluctance to take unpopular precautions, the virus was allowed to spread unchecked. Quite simply the wearing of a mask, combined with frequently washing our hands and social distancing, have since proven to be the most effective measures to defend ourselves against the virus.

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, as it turns out, the fate of the citizens of each nation depended on the decision-making skills and the leadership of each of their political leaders. Some leaders opted for closing all their borders to non-resident travellers, and legally imposing two weeks’ quarantine to those residents who were returning from a trip abroad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the time, these restrictions seemed overly excessive but, with the passage of time, they have proven to be the most successful in curbing the spread of Covid.

Despite the fact that the virus was a completely new entity, and even though there was no existing vaccine to curtail the spread of it, there were other political leaders who opted to tell their citizens that it was just another form of flu:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These leaders believed that the best way to achieve widespread immunity against Covid 19 was actively to go about everyday life, as though nothing out of the ordinary was happening, and insisted that their citizens did the same:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And some even boasted about their lack of apprehension, or real precaution, when face to face with the Covid victims:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In retrospect, and with the hindsight afforded by a greater knowledge of the mechanics of the virus, this approach to tackling the disease

(which was actively adopted by nations such as The UK, The USA and Brazil) now seems like complete madness. On the world stage, these countries have been hit the hardest and are sadly suffering the consequences of these leadership decisions and attitudes towards the virus.

It seems that citizens may also require immunity from their political leaders’ decisions, but there isn’t a vaccine for that.

To protect an entire nation from a particular disease, the objective is to achieve ‘herd immunity’.  This means reaching a point where the majority of the population (at least 70%) have developed antibodies to the disease, either by having the illness, or by being vaccinated against it. Thus, to eradicate the virus, the sooner everybody has antibodies, the better.

When the efficiency of the new vaccines was first announced a few months ago, the whole world heaved a sigh of relief. We felt we were beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and there was much jubilation.

What we failed to completely understand is that in the same way our bodies would change to develop antibodies to become immune to the virus, so the virus would mutate to become immune to these antibodies. There are now new strains of the virus that will again need to be thoroughly researched and the good news is that the current vaccines appear to offer immunity against at least one of the new variants.

These vaccines will, no doubt, be the cornerstones of future vaccines but, for those lucky enough to get them, they only have an expected efficiency of less than a year.

This means that they will give us a brief breathing space while we try to work out a definitive solution. We’re quite literally buying time.

Speaking of buying, it seems that there’s no immunity against greed either. Those nations that can afford to buy up more vaccines than others have done so. Canada has bought sufficient doses to vaccinate each citizen FIVE TIMES, leaving other nations without any vaccines to vaccinate their citizens even once.

 

While the whole world struggles to become physically immune to Covid 19, there’s no doubt that attaining emotional and psychological immunity to the devastation it’s caused will probably be impossible.

When even trained professionals are struggling to cope with their psychological well-being, very few of us will be able to go  unscathed by the catastrophic impact of this pandemic.

Until we have herd immunity life continues, and we must continue to adapt to the existing circumstances as best we can. Apart from working online from home, distance schooling, home shopping and food delivery services, some people are creating  different ways to adapt to ‘The New Normal’ while life goes on…

 

 

 

Extra reading

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-55797312

 

Extra watching