Living With a Virus

I see that Andrew Sullivan has settled on the view of COVID-19 not unlike the one I encouraged more than a year ago:

Living with a virus — rather than defeating it — is not emotionally satisfying. It does not, in our minds, remove the threat. But the truth is: humans have no choice but to live with viruses. We always have. I’ve lived with a potentially fatal one buried in my bone marrow for almost 30 years. I still test HIV-positive. Almost certainly, I will die HIV-positive. But I will not die of HIV. And that’s ok. As long as I can prevent it wreaking havoc on my immune system, and ruining and ending my life, I’m content to live with it. We’re almost friends at this point.

These viruses challenge the psyche, and the trick, it seems to me, is not to deny their power and danger, but to see past them to the real goal: the living of your life. If you are not careful, this one viral threat can crowd out all other perspectives, distort your judgment of risk, and cause you to be paralyzed by excessive caution and fear. But defeating a virus often does mean living with it. We already do this with the flu. There’s no reason we can’t do it with Covid as well.

which is consistent with the view expressed the other day by the editors of the Wall Street Journal:

But let’s be clear, unlike the CDC: The virus will never be eradicated. It will eventually become endemic, and the public-health goal is to protect people from getting severely ill.

For the info from the Centers for Disease Control to which they are both reacting see here.

Be responsible. Take prudent action. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is prudent even though we don’t know the vaccines’ long term effects, especially if, like me you don’t need to worry about the vaccines’ effects 30 years down the road. Wearing a mask in a store or office building is prudent, too. Big cities look a lot less prudent than they used to. Presently, Lollapalooza, a large four-day music festival is under way in Chicago. IMO not cancelling the event was not just imprudent on the part of city officials it was cynical.

A six week lockdown a year ago was prudent under the circumstances. A 20 week lockdown was less prudent. A restoration of lockdowns would be darned hard to justify. Refusing to enforce the lockdown or, worse, enforcing it on some but not on others was grossly imprudent.

Based on the best information we have available right now “herd immunity” against COVID-19 is beyond our grasp for the foreseeable future. That will be true as long as vaccinations do not convey immunity. We’ve been spoiled by the experience with smallpox and polio, even measles. We need to learn to live with SARS-CoV-2 and its descendants.

14 comments… add one
  • steve Link

    It is beyond our grasp because of the people who wont get vaccinated. Everyone else is at risk because of them. The vaccines do grant immunity to most people, but just like nearly every other vaccine you can have breakthroughs. You cite smallpox. That vaccine was 95% effective. (WHO says 90%-97% effective.) However, we got everyone vaccinated. The m-RNA vaccines are effective in the 90%-95% range.


  • Grey Shambler Link

    Wouldn’t encouraging covid vaccinations be the province of the insurance companies?
    That is if it’s going to be here a while.

  • It is beyond our grasp because of the people who wont get vaccinated.

    It’s one of the factors but not the only factor. The difference between the COVID-19 vaccine and the smallpox vaccine is that people who were vaccinated didn’t get smallpox. That people who are vaccinated still get the disease means no herd immunity. Even if 100% of people were vaccinated the virus will continue to circulate and evolve.

  • steve Link

    Dave. That is not true. The smallpox vaccine was only 95% effective. *You could still catch smallpox but would have a milder version of the disease. Also, in some people the full effect waned lasting only 3-5 years but if you were more vulnerable to catching smallpox you still had a milder version.

    Here in the US we managed to eradicate by vaccinating a high percentage of people, though there were some we deemed too risky to vaccinate. In other parts of the world they eradicated with fewer people vaccinated by using a surveillance program.

    The reason we could eliminate smallpox was multifactorial. First, we actually wanted to do it. No one was running around saying it was a hoax. Next, there was no pre-clinical (asymptomatic) stage when it would still be contagious and the prodromal stage was almost two weeks. Last, it was not very contagious. It took very close and often prolonged contact.

    So if we had maintained vaccinations at the same rate we did at our peak we really could have been approaching what we would hope to be herd immunity levels. We dont really know that percentage. There are reports of Delta being transmitted with very minimal contact, people just walking past each other, What we could maybe have had a realistic shot of achieving is making it as uncommon as measles, a very contagious disease. we average a few hundred cases of measles every year. The vaccine is a bit more effective at 97% but once the effectiveness is over 90% getting people vaccinated is the issue.


    * You may be thinking of polio. With 3 or 4 doses it is considered to be close to 100% effective.

  • steve Link
  • Next, there was no pre-clinical (asymptomatic) stage when it would still be contagious and the prodromal stage was almost two weeks. Last, it was not very contagious.

    All of which support my point that we’re not going to eradicate SARS-CoV-2. And the WHO has in effect given up on its program to eradicate polio. Despite energetic programs and widespread immunization there are still outbreaks.

  • jan Link

    For those who cite the current experimental vaccines as the COVID silver bullet to by passing this virus, I would refer them to Dr. Robert Malone and his analysis of these pharmaceutical products. He has been involved with vaccine technology for most of his professional career, including the creation of these messenger vaccines. Despite Malone’s expertise, and more than average knowledge, his views are being derided and/or suppressed. Consequently, open discussions about the abnormally high deaths and severe side effects are seemingly rationalized or avoided. The number of break-through cases of COVID are also being minimized.

    Some questions to be honestly answered:

    Where does antibody dependent enhancement ever enter the picture in questioning how beneficial these “injections” really are? Why are some of the more highly vaccinated areas (UK, Israel, Iceland) of the world realizing the highest break through cases? Why are children being coerced to take the vaccine, as a means to go back to school, when they are the least likely demographic to be harmed by the virus – less than 400 deaths in the under 18 year olds for the duration of time we’ve been exposed to the virus? Why has the definition of herd immunity suddenly been changed to exclude those who have already achieved natural immunity (a much broader kind of immunity than a vaccinated one) by having the virus? Why has there been such a reliance on PCR testing when even the inventor of that test asserted it was not an appropriate diagnostic tool – having upwards of a 90% error rate of false positives? Why were the cycle threshold rates of this erroneous PCR test raised early on, reflecting higher case numbers, and then conveniently lowered once the vaccine came on line for distribution?

    Lastly, why is it so dastardly to question medical doctrines and mandates when a person’s own body and health are at risk? Is authoritarian medicine where we are headed?

  • steve Link

    “Despite Malone’s expertise, and more than average knowledge, his views are being derided and/or suppressed. ”

    Because the data dont support what he claims and he has a history of lying about his accomplishments. Other than that I guess we should take him seriously. He could be the one guy who is correct and millions of other people are wrong. That is usually what we see in cases like this. So you are correct. Believing what 99.9% of the profession believes is clearly authoritarian.


  • jan Link

    Steve, unfortunately you discredit almost everyone who disagrees with your own understanding of “truth.” You would fit well in the “Ministry of Truth” department. However, there are thousands of medical sources and voices who question the efficacy and benefits of these unapproved injections. Many have cited the spiked protein as more of a toxin than antigen. As for Dr Malone, his contributions to Ebola, the development of messenger approaches to vaccinations is far more substantial than your own credentials.

    As for that 99.9 figure you came up with, it resembles the “settled science” affirmations of global warmists. As in the global warming community, who disallow publications, grants which cite conflicting evidence that elevated CO2 is destroying the planet, the same is true of the physicians, scientists, virologists who see lots of red flags in the assertions of Fauci, TV doctors, an often wrong CDC and WHO who say these vaccines are safe, and should be universally distributed without further cautionary measures or studies.

  • steve Link

    jan- This is what I do for a living. If Malone was right I would do, we would all do, what he suggests. Malone lies about his m-RNA credentials. He has admitted that he lied. Since you dont follow medical literature you have no idea what is going on. The anti-vaxxers/skeptics have pretty free reign to publish as there are plenty of outlets for them. There is no pier review on a lot of the sites that get sorted a lot like med rix which are not even edited. That is why papers like the abysmal ones on hydroxychloroquine were published. Every crackpot idea by anyone gets published. Malone has zero difficulty in getting his ideas out for people to read. Please note I am not asking that he not be allowed to publish, I am just saying that he has low credibility since he lies a lot and published data do not support his claims. Plus all of the clinical experience we now have.


  • steve Link

    Also, this repetitive thing you and other conservatives do is tiresome. If you disagree with my ideas or experts I quote I am quite happy to debate based upon data and merits of the ideas involved. You guys resort to these weird claims about ministries of truth ands similar nonsense.


  • jan Link


    “Dr Malone brings more than 20 years of management and leadership experience in academia, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology with deep expertise in regulatory and medical strategy for global clinical product development. Dr Malone is an internationally recognised physician and scientist for his work in the areas of clinical trials, vaccines, gene therapy, biodefense, and immunology and specifically as one of the original inventors of DNA vaccination and multiple non-viral gene therapy technologies (RNA and DNA).”

    Above is one of many illustrious descriptions of Dr. Malone’s background and contributions. He was engaged at the Salk Institute, his work being attributed to a variety of vaccine projects including the Ebola and Zika vaccines, and of course the inventor behind the mRNA technology, which he now has many concerns and reservations as to it’s overall performance. I personally think you are very prejudicial in your opinion of this man, Steve, especially because he has been showcased on conservative media, which makes him an instant medical heretic, in your mind.

    As for other antivirals, which you have slammed as having no credence – hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin – there have been an array of smaller studies done showing both their effectiveness and infrequency of side effects, especially when taken at the onset of symptoms. Many doctors throughout the country have had equal success, when they are able to get their prescriptions filled without repercussions to their licensing. I think you are far too encapsulated in a medical bubble, which only draws within the lines of supposed gold standard care, rather than on-the-ground care that is demonstrating positive results in real time.

  • steve Link

    Notice you dont cite any of those studies. You dont dare because they will suck. It is also total BS that people face licensing issues if they order ivermectin or HCQ. Ifany doctor is having success then they should publish it, but that has not happened.


  • jan Link

    Steve, I am an RN who still has an active license, but doesn’t work in the medical field. Instead, I run a small business with my husband. Nonetheless, I have had strong interests in medical advancements and issues since I was a kid. I am basically curiosity-driven in how people can maintain and service their health through all avenues – Western, Eastern, traditional, alternative. Consequently I pick up information that is distributed in all these diverse venues of medical practice, through articles, live interviews, discussion groups. Much is verbally transmitted by practitioners dealing with real patients in ongoing practices – unlike a Fauci type who has had no hands-on experience for decades.

    If I cared enough, I could tediously take the time to supply links for you. In fact, I used to do that here and much earlier for others at OTB. However, the publications never seemed to meet the standards set by professional progressives, and were usually dismissed because it was linked to (horrors) some conservative source. I remember you always cited Lancet as the gold standard medical journal, but said little when they had to retract an article, touting a study throwing shade on the efficacy of HCL, that proved to be erroneous. Dr. Fauci, like you, always goes with big gold-standard studies too, while other practicing physicians feel multiple smaller ones render a far broader and more accurate analysis of a drug’s performance.

    As far as intimidation towards doctors prescribing certain anti virals – it’s a common occurrence. Here in CA, where physicians mostly abide by the medical orthodoxy of progressives, it’s nearly impossible to find someone filling a prescription for certain anti virals. Recently a friend of mine drove to TJ to buy HCL and ivermectin for his mother. Another friend’s niece, who asked for and received a medical waiver for her 9 year old son from getting vaccinated, is concerned that waiver may be denied as her doctor is now “under investigation,” as are a number of others involved in giving similar waivers. I find this distressing. However, such incidents as these are but a few of many other authoritarian tactics being rolled out and implemented during the last 6 months of the new administration being in power. I really believe, though, if this were a Trump-like figure abusing people’s civil rights over their own health choices, people like you would be howling with indignation, and calling for impeachment!

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