The positive steps we are taking to prevent disease might have a negative side effect.
- A new study out of Princeton suggests that measures to prevent COVID-19 are also preventing certain other diseases.
- The nature of seasonal diseases means that people who avoid them this year may just be putting it off, leading to a large wave later.
- These estimates don't mean we should be less preventive now, only that we must be sure to take care in the future.
Why you should still wear a mask<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDc3NDYzNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMzc1ODM1Nn0.UNIHh2X2AtR6fq_fhAwejphFKIOY9J3lGFWgDf-R6oE/img.jpg?width=980" id="d681e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1dc1e7ee8c2f01ac128b4b48c1675510" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="960" data-height="1280" />
A chart from another study on the effectiveness of masks and lockdowns. The grey line in the bottom two marks when mask mandates were imposed.
Credit: Zhang, Li, Zhang, and Molina<p><br>Again, before you decide that this means mask mandates are just delaying some kind of reckoning, we can look at the numbers. Several <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/07/coronavirus-deadlier-than-many-believed-infection-fatality-rate-cvd/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">sources</a> agree <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/flu-vs-covid19.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">that</a> the <a href="https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-disease-2019-vs-the-flu" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">coronavirus</a> is <a href="https://www.livescience.com/covid-19-vs-flu-deaths-hospitalized-patients.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">deadlier</a> than <a href="https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/flu-kills-more-people-covid-19/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the </a><a href="https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/flu-kills-more-people-covid-19/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flu</a><a href="https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/flu-kills-more-people-covid-19/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">.</a> We also don't have a vaccine for it yet, unlike for the flu, and keeping yourself and others from getting sick now remains extremely important for keeping people alive. </p><p> A friend of mine remarked at the beginning of the pandemic that certain events in society leave marks on the people in it, much like growth rings on a tree showing years of drought decades after it occurred. If the findings of this study are accurate, then COVID-19 will leave rings visible in seasonal outbreaks over the next few years alongside the slew of others it will create. <br></p><p>Given what this study shows us and the hard-learned lessons we have about what happens when you don't listen to scientists, maybe we'll do a better job at controlling those potential epidemics.</p>
A measles comeback is not the sort of return our children deserve.
- The percentage of children under 2 years old who haven't received any vaccinations has quadrupled in the last 17 years.
- In 2016 in Europe there were 5,273 cases of measles. One year later that jumped to 21,315 cases.
- Discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield's false study linking vaccines and autism still influences parents, two decades later.
A medical worker injects a baby with a measles-rubella (MR) vaccine at a health station in Banda Aceh in Aceh province on September 19, 2018. Photo by CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN / AFP<p>The CDC <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6740a4.htm?s_cid=mm6740a4_e" target="_blank">notes</a> that coverage was lowest among the uninsured and children covered under Medicaid. A free, federally-funded <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/index.html" target="_blank">Vaccines For Children</a> program exists, causing <em>The </em><em>Washington Post</em> to speculate that at least part of this issue might be education. </p><p>Yet really, this entire debacle is indicative of a lack of education. Vaccine researcher Peter Hotez, whose daughter suffers from autism, has published a book detailing the issue, in which which he <a href="https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/10/16/17964992/vaccine-autism-book-peter-hotez" target="_blank">explains</a>: </p><blockquote>From my experience, a majority of vaccine-hesitant parents are not deeply dug in. They've gotten misinformation from anti-vaccine websites and social media, or they've heard something unsavory about vaccines from friends and relatives… Then there's another group, maybe 10 to 20 percent who are deeply dug in and believe all of the fake conspiracy theories. Those individuals are really difficult to reach.</blockquote><p>For most of history, disease was ambiguous, random, metaphysical even — there is no dearth in literature relating sickness with gods and demons. It was long thought karma was the reason you fell ill or died. We know better today, yet too many people refuse to recognize this basic fact, placing their faith in biological mysticism. This is child abuse, yet sadly this is akin to smartphone addiction: we're simply not ready to label it as such on a societal scale. </p><p>Vaccine science is not perfect. Each year, the efficacy of the influenza vaccine is an educated guess. However, just because researchers haven't nailed every facet of disease does not mean we should write off the science. Millions of lives have been saved due to vaccines. Now, if current trends continues, millions more will be put at risk.</p><p>The majority of American children are vaccinated. I've heard complaints by a number of friends whose children are put on a rigorous schedule from birth; their skepticism of the validity of this approach is warranted. We should debate courses. We should not, however, debate basic science, such as vaccinating children for measles or polio. Parents putting their children at risk due to their own lack of common sense is not only unfair, it's dangerous.</p><p>--</p><p><span></span><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.</em></p>