Week 27 of the Quarantine
SAN MARTIN, ARGENTINA – Bloomberg reported yesterday:
The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc have restarted a U.K. trial of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine after it was halted over concerns about a participant who fell ill.
The U.K. Medicines Health Regulatory Authority recommended that the study resume after an independent review of the safety data triggered a pause on Sept. 6, Oxford said in a statement. It declined to disclose details about the volunteer’s illness.
While temporary halts are common in vaccine trials, the interruption to the closely watched Astra-Oxford study had raised concerns about the viability of one of the fastest-moving experimental shots seeking protection from the pandemic. The race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine has compressed what is normally a decade-long process into a matter of months, with data from final-stage trials expected as soon as next month.
Help us! Save us! Oh, SCIENCE! Wherefore art thou?
Poor Castor and Pollux. The two elephants from the Paris zoo were slaughtered in 1871. Help didn’t arrive on schedule. Desperate Parisians – after four months of a lockdown – ate them.
Fancy restaurants developed consommé of donkey head and kangaroo stew. The common people, though, had to make do with dog cutlets and rat sausage.
The Parisians were locked down by the German army – or, to be more precise, the armies of Prussia, Saxony, Württemberg, Baden, and Bavaria; Germany did not yet exist – besieging Paris.
Here in Argentina, we’ve been locked down for six months, surrounded by the COVID-19 virus.
We arrived in March and planned to leave in April. Then, the borders shut. We postponed our departure to June… then July. And now, we’re aiming for November.
Fortunately, we have hundreds of cattle, sheep, and goats; there has been no need to slaughter household pets.
But last week, the noose got tighter. We’re no longer getting supplies from Salta City.
The strategy here was the same as in the U.S. – keep the virus at bay by closing up shop, putting on masks, staying home, putting the economy on pause, and hoping a “vaccine” is discovered soon so we can all go back to normal.
This has proven to be a popular strategy, but not a very effective one.
A virus can wait. Closing the doors leaves a vulnerable population, virgin to the virus, locked up inside… and ready to be ravished.
You can’t stay locked up forever. And as the doors open, in comes COVID… like the drooling Huns marching into Paris.
After opening up… gradually… hesitantly… and then all of a sudden last week, a rash of cases were reported in the regional capital city, Salta.
People went back into panic mode. Roads were closed again. In the city, you could go out… but only every other day. And here in our remote bolthole in the Calchaquí Valley, no visitors from the city are permitted.
Alas, the farms here depend on the city for fuel, tractor parts, seeds, chemicals… veterinarians – everything. Throughout the last six months, we were able to keep a crew working on our new barns… clearing fields… and putting in irrigation. But last week, the work came to a halt.
“We need cement… and wire,” explained the foreman. “And we’re not getting any deliveries from Salta.”
On Friday, a surveyor somehow slipped through the siege and showed up at the house. He was sent to prepare a map of the irrigation system.
The locals – who know from six months of non-stop TV coverage that the virus is a ruthless killer – went into a panic.
“He’s got to leave,” said one of the local women.
“Well, he’s working out in the fields… by himself. He won’t cause any trouble,” we replied.
“Well, don’t invite him to lunch.”
“But we have to give him something to eat.”
“Maybe he could sit at a table by himself… outside.”
In the end, we compromised. He sat at a separate table, but within conversation range.
“Oh… I know everyone is so scared of getting the virus, they don’t want me to come near them,” the leper explained. “But I’ve already had the coronavirus. It was nothing. Just a cold.”
Colds come and go. And sometimes, they kill people. Vulnerable individuals can protect themselves – by staying away from other people. But for most people, life goes on.
The death toll in Sweden, which let life go on more or less as normal, is now at 578 per million.
And the U.S., with all of its lockdowns, lockups, and hysteria? About the same – now at 599 per million.
The death toll here in Argentina, whose lockdown was among the strictest in the world, is only half that level – 251 per million.
But now… having held the gates so tightly shut for so long… as soon as it opens them a crack… the virus comes to call.
Based on the data from the last seven days, the U.S. average daily death rate from COVID-19 is around 750. In Argentina (with only one-seventh the population), 213 people die from the virus every day.
And in Sweden, which let the virus do its work already? Only one person per day dies from COVID-19…
So far, the best bet for a person wishing to avoid the virus was to move to Thailand, Vietnam, or Burundi. Almost no one has died from the virus in these countries. Or in Papua New Guinea. Or Tanzania. Have these countries followed “science” with their state-of-the-art health systems? We doubt it.
Two of the most dangerous places – in terms of dying from COVID-19 – are Peru and Belgium. The two have very different public health services. And yet, the results are about the same.
American presidential candidate Joe Biden says he will shut down the whole country if that’s what the “scientists” tell him to do.
But the UK, France, the U.S., and the Netherlands must have the best scientists in the world. And yet, their COVID-19 death rates are higher than those of Russia, Iraq, Egypt, Nicaragua, and Bangladesh.
All we know, after six months of viral attack, is that science is almost irrelevant. The virus does what it wants. And if the feds had done nothing at all, the results might be about the same.
But many people believe that if you lock down… and stay locked down long enough, like Paris during the Siege of 1870, the relief column will arrive.
Yes, we are awaiting SCIENCE! to come to the rescue. Like an avenging angel, or the French Army south of the Loire, it is expected to slay the terrible COVID-19 and save us.
The subject is on every pair of lips. There are sightings reported in the press. “Pfizer is getting close.” “AstraZeneca has renewed its trials.”
The president periodically informs the believers that a vaccine should be here by summer… No, by election day… No, by early 2021.
But how likely is that?
A vaccine is not impossible. But there’s never been a successful vaccine developed for a coronavirus. And those under development seem a long way from producing proven, reliable results.
Besides, even if they were proven to be safe and effective… how long would it take to give a shot in the arm to everyone who wanted it? Having misled the public into believing that we are all at risk, how could the feds restrict the new vaccine to only those who really need it?
Meanwhile, the cost of the siege is getting higher and higher. Rations are getting short. The natives are getting restless.
Government tries to hand out fake bread – like its money, made from wood pulp – but there’s no nourishment in it.
And most likely, like the Parisians in 1870, we’ll be eating the animals in the zoo before we get an effective vaccine.
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