Mike McCarthy. (Photo provided)

Mike McCarthy. (Photo provided)

Point of View: COVID -19: How does a person know what to believe?

Over the past year relatives and friends have given me COVID-19 information that when researched has proven to be inaccurate or even false. I have combined my personal knowledge gained from five weeks of traveling through much of Italy this past September and October with research of pandemics historical and current.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS CoV-2, and all variants are still a virus. All viruses are equal opportunity diseases that can infect Democrats, Independents and Republicans at random. There is an overload of information and misinformation out there. So how does a person know what to believe?

The late U.S. senator and diplomat Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

Facts:

COVID-19 is one of the 10 worst pandemics in the world, going back to the Black Plague of the 14th century, which killed an estimated 30% to 60% of Europe’s total population and lasted 50 years.

The COVID-19 virus is the deadliest respiratory virus pandemic since the 1918 Spanish flu, which lasted two years and killed an estimated 50 million people. Both of these viruses are transmitted through coughing and sneezing (Ohio State University, History Milestone: The 1918 Flu Pandemic).

Intense community transmission is continuing to occur and is causing significant illness, death and demand on the world’s health care system.

Comorbidity: COVID-19 can trigger a patient’s death when combined with preexisting conditions such as cardiovascular heart disease, hypertension, pulmonary disease, diabetes and obesity.

The delta variant is more transmissible than the initial COVID-19 variety.

The United States has the most confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population at 46,860,883 cases and the greatest number of COVID-19 deaths at 770,000 in the world.

New Zealand has the least number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population at 10,176 cases and only 40 COVID-19 deaths. (New Zealand mandated a nearly 100-day lockdown and has nearly 90% of eligible adults vaccinated.)

The COVID-19 vaccine does not protect 100% of the recipients from contracting the disease, but it has an efficacy rate against infection in the 90th percentile or higher. It means some people are still going to become infected and potentially transmit the virus to others. The vaccinated certainly reduce the spread by a large amount. Vaccinated people are significantly less likely to contract the virus in the first place.

In Tennessee, 90% of the hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.

On Nov. 15, Austria’s Chancellor Schallenberg ordered a nationwide lockdown for all non-vaccinated residents. A maximum fine of 1,450 Euros ($1,660 US) was invoked for violation of the lockdown.

He said, “It’s our job as the government of Austria to protect the people.” He also stated, ”There are only two ways for countries to slow the spread of COVID: build enough immunity or limit contact between other people.” (“Austria’s mandate says societal safety supersedes peoples’ individual right to say no, Reuters, Nov. 22, 2021).

On Nov. 22, Germany’s Health Minister Jens Span said, “By the end of this winter everyone in Germany will either be vaccinated, recovered or dead; 100,000 people will die from COVID-19 if nothing is done to halt this aggressive fourth wave.”

There were 30,643 infections in 24 hours, 7,000 more than a week ago. This is among the highest in the world (BBC News, Nov. 11, 2021).

According to BBC News, COVID-19 is continuing to spread around the world, with nearly 260 million confirmed cases and 5.1 million deaths across almost 200 countries. The United States, India and Brazil have the highest number of confirmed cases (BBC News, Nov. 22, 2021).

Some say wearing masks and mandatory vaccination is an infringement on their liberty and freedom of choice. This is wrong-minded thinking, because the preponderance of evidence supports public health restrictions over individual choice. For the sake of your families and your community, get vaccinated as soon as possible, because even though you have the right to get COVID-19, you don’t have the right to give it to others.

Michael McCarthy is a longtime Homer resident who holds a B.S. degree in Geology from Portland State University, 1970 and a retired registered geologist in Oregon. He also holds a M.S. degree in Administration of Justice from University of Portland, 1980. He is a retired police officer and detective with over 22 years in the criminal justice field in Oregon and Alaska.

More in Opinion

Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships. (logo provided)
Point of View: How can we make healthy, positive changes in our lives?

Use ‘8 Dimensions of Wellness’ tool to start making changes.

Michael O'Meara's cartoon for Jan. 13, 2022.
Letters to the Editor

Don’t fall for the lies Dear Editor, In last week’s paper, the… Continue reading

Charlie Franz.
Point of View: Election integrity is not anti-democratic

Shortly after reading the “Fight for Democracy” Point of View in last… Continue reading

Michael Gavillot. (Photo provided)
Point of View: TRAILS program thrived during pandemic thanks to community support

Dear Editor and Homer Community, With 2021 behind us, we at TRAILS,… Continue reading

Bjørn Olson (Photo provided)
Point of View: Homer Drawdown moves forward with climate-change solutions

A decade ago, it would have been forgivable to not appreciate which… Continue reading

Photo provided
Point of View: Fight for Democracy

How is your hangover? We don’t mean the one that you might… Continue reading

Michael O'Meara's cartoon for Jan. 6, 2022.
Letters to the Editor

Foundation support for softball appreciated Dear editor, With the arrival of spring… Continue reading

Point of View
Point of View: 2021 proved that Murkowski has abandoned Alaska

As we enter 2022, it’s time to examine the record of Alaska’s… Continue reading

Point of View
Point of View: Feds should clean up contaminated ANSCA lands

Walt Disney drilled for oil in Alaska in 1938. He and his… Continue reading

Most Read