Now that Nighean Dhonn has restarted high school, we are getting the now-familiar round of e-mails: campus updates, newsletters, "opportunities for students" - all the things that fill my mailbox and I have to remind myself at graduation to unsubscribe from.
We are also almost daily getting notifications of The Plague.
This should probably not come as a surprise; after all: packing in hundreds of children and young adults into an enclosed space with not a lot of social distancing and The Plague still being active will lead to this sort of thing. And in a perhaps not-unrelated note, notifications of confirmed cases from my employer have also been on the rise - driven, no doubt in some part, by the aforementioned returning school children.
From what we are continuing to find out, the vaccines issued under Emergency Use Authorization are not nearly as bullet proof as they were originally advertised: at best now, they seem to modulate the severity of The Plague, not prevent it entirely. It is as if we were hoping for a titanium answer and got a copper one instead: still metal, but much more malleable and much less enduring.
Which makes me posit a question: are we just all going to get it anyway?
I know this is heresy in certain circles, the suggestion that sooner or later we will all end up with a virus that we are supposedly in the process of defeating. But reality seems to be that we are not nearly as far along as we thought we were.
(And yes, to be fair, there are still those nagging questions about the reproductive studies and long term safety studies the companies are going to get to here "any day now". By count, in the recent Pfizer extension letter, they had committed to another ten. And that was still without full approval. Moderna and JNJ are not scheduled to complete their trials until Summer 2023.)
I know there are varying opinions of The Plague, even here; as is also widely known, at least here, I have lost two aunts to it as well as had a number of cousins come down with it. It is not - from everything they have conveyed and the literature suggest - just the Flu. And I would be the first in line to state that the initial "two weeks to flatten" was the most damaging thing I can think has been done to an economy since maybe 2008 and the "Shovel Ready" support package, if not the Stagflation of the Carter administration. So anything like that is a non-starter (and, it seems, even government authorities, who are often in love with their grandiose "emergency powers", seem to not be suggesting that again).
But at what point does the plan change from "complete destruction" which seems impossible to "mitigation"? There is some data that suggests that natural antibodies are far superior and longer lasting than chose generated by the vaccines (which again, should not surprise anyone); some enterprising young graduate student might make their name by performing a study tracking those with acquired immunity versus those with vaccinated immunity over the next five years and see what shakes out.
Is the strategy just to continue to let The Plague mutate until it becomes attenuated? If that is the strategy, it seems a rather poor one: I would imagine it could just as easily become stronger instead of weaker.
Am I calling for the equivalent of Chicken Pox Parties? Hardly. Any disease affects the individual quite differently and what I may shrug off, you may die from. But we still seem to be stuck in this paradigm that we can completely prevent some portion of the population from ever getting The Plague. My question is, knowing what we know now, is that still an actual or potential possibility or do we simply begin managing towards a different goal?