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Coronavirus: Beating COVID-19 without vaccines

With over a million people infected around the world – and thousands of deaths and counting – and, and a vaccine that would only be available in 12-18 months…

Who needs a vaccine then?

After all, many would have already died. Besides, once it’s out in the market, who and how many could actually afford it? Not to mention the corrupt hands it is likely to go through before it could get to you – if ever. Hey, it’s even a benison already that a vaccine for COVID-19 is being developed. If not for being widespread that it has affected the global economy and the elite, the vaccine would have surely taken a back seat.

Ever heard that vaccines do even take at least 10 years before it’s publicly available? Well, we do not exactly buy safety and toxicity tests, clinical trials and FDA approval as the reasons. These could logically be done in less than two years – if there’s prioritizing, if you’re highly imaginative in studying and predicting (where testing becomes shorter yet very accurate, thus, affecting all other processes) the virus, and if there’s proper delegation among researchers.

To the well-off and those feeling entitled: Think hard about this image – and act on it with no propaganda or breadcrumbing. Now.

And no, certainly, not because scientists do not want to make vaccines but because Big Pharma sees vaccines as not profitable. High risk and low reward so to speak. They would rather make medications for diabetes and hypertension that would rake them millions and billions – than fund vaccines that would just be less profitable.

Talk about capitalism.

Still, if they make the vaccines more affordable – then many could buy it, yet again, it would be for lesser profits.

Then why don’t these scientists just make them without Big Pharma? Funding. Obviously. Scientists that are only supported by government institutions and universities would not go very far. We’re not even talking about illegal or unethical behavior here that could further hurt funding. Anyway, a collaboration between scientists and Big Pharma would only end up having a product that is to the dictates of the pharmaceutical industry.

A product that is less effective. A product that you have to ‘keep buying’ for one’s health maintenance and for Big Pharma’s pockets.

How to beat COVID-19 without vaccines

The decision then falls on us. On humans not known as Big Pharma or elites. Our health is our responsibility – and you should know that by now.

Stay healthy. Eat healthy. Live healthy.

That’s how you beat COVID-19 without vaccines. That if ever you get infected, you would recover faster. As we keep saying, focus on strengthening your immune system. Align your treatment if you are sick. Be responsible.

And do not wait for the vaccine anymore.

Did you know that vaccines do not really work well on the elderly and those with compromised immune systems? This means, whatever your social status or age, you could still get infected and die from COVID-19 if you got a weak immune system.

A vaccine only triggers our immune system to go to work. To prevent infection on ‘healthy’ people.

If you got a strong immune system, age would not matter. Notice that there are even elderly people who have recovered from coronavirus? It is because they got a strong immune system.

Repurposed drugs?

Even the kitchen sink has already been thrown here. From cancer drugs to HIV drugs to SARS drugs to even hair lice drugs. But these are only in hopes of finding a cure – not to shield you from infection. Drugs, in this case, are curative in purpose. It’s not a supplement for strengthening and prevention.

COVID-19 may sound scary because you don’t see it, because you see its effects. But if you know you can do something about it – it’s not so scary, after all.

It’s just that speed is of the essence here and repurposed drugs could jump start the process. However, scientists should just be quick to see the possibilities. Like, viral mutations – not just spotting differences between drugs and diseases. Like, don’t wait for the virus to react or what. Make it react. Be smarter than the virus to speed up vaccine development and not rely on quick fixes, otherwise, very conservative action.

Antibody treatment?

Convalescent plasma therapy can only do so much. Think about this. Plasma from a recovered patient can only potentially be given to 2-4 infected people. Potentially – not ‘surely’. And how many has recovered (compared to those infected) anyway? Do the math. More so, 6 percent of patients who recovered do not develop antibodies which even lessens the number of possible donors. So don’t rely on antibodies, too. Even if they use humanized antibodies. It may reach you, it may not. Besides, their effects do not last as long as vaccines do. Thence, better use antibodies on healthcare workers to protect them instead.

As for humanity, just stay home. Wash your hands. Wear a face mask. Observe social distancing. It’s the age of COVID-19, so cooperate to flatten the curve. But before all those – watch your health, your diet, your lifestyle. That’s how you beat COVID-19 without vaccines.

Work out, exercise!

Coronavirus: The Case between Crozier, Modly and COVID-19

Especially in times of emergency, if you don’t cooperate and coordinate – you lose – and everybody involved loses, too. And that’s what happened to Crozier and Modly amidst this coronavirus pandemic.

You know the story.

When Capt. Brett Crozier requested for assistance in evacuating the sailors and disinfecting the virus-infected aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly castigated then relieved Crozier of his duties as the vessel’s commanding officer.

Why?

Because Crozier’s email to ‘over 20 people’ was leaked to the press. For Modly, it was a case of ‘unnecessary’ alarm on the ship’s operational readiness (it’s national security we’re talking here, so) and the undermining of the Navy’s chain of command.

This latest Navy exposé is actually more than just seeing it as a 6 or a 9 – it’s about who wrote the number.

Consequently after severe pressure and negativity, Modly resigned from his post.

A skaky Navy leadership

As we see it, this controversy is more than meets the eye as ‘questions’ just puzzle us beyond what’s been reported.

First. We have to note that both sides made their point – except that Modly should not have ridiculed Crozier and the latter should not have used an ‘unclassified’ email system.

Second. If Crozier used an unclassified email system, then something must be wrong with the organization. He may have been traditional at first but perhaps he was ignored which is why a ‘discouraged’ Crozier skipped the chain of command. This could even mean hierarchical issues within the Navy. Investigate.

Third. The entity that gotten hold of Crozier’s email was The San Francisco Chronicle. Isn’t that an American press? They could have been a little more patriotic in this case by not publishing the content. Not to mention the ‘questionable’ persona of the person (whom Crozier sent the letter to) that sent the copy of his email to the press.

Captain Brett Crozier might have opened a can of worms within the organization.

Obviously, ‘capitalism’ won over patriotism here. As in, headlines over national security.

Fourth. With the statement of Joint Chiefs chairman Mark Milley last Thursday, the organization is clearly shaken.

“Don’t test us, we have not been weakened.”

“We’re still capable and we’re still ready no matter what the threat.”

“I wouldn’t want any mixed messages going out there to any adversaries that they can take advantage of an opportunity, if you will, at a time of crisis,” he added.

“That would be a terrible and tragic mistake if they thought that.”

Definitely, we say the Navy is still capable but if you keep barking, you see potential danger. You need help.

As we know, the Navy’s leadership has just been shaky recently. After two crashes that killed 17 sailors in the Asia Pacific region in 2017, then came the firing of the Navy’s last secretary over his handling of the case of a Navy SEAL convicted of battlefield misconduct. That was just last November.

Good leadership can beat firepower. And so especially if this COVID-19 pandemic drags on, better do your homework to avert any opportunistic raids.

Coronavirus: The Floating Vectors of COVID-19

There’s just something concerning with the handling of virus-infected cruise ships. Not to mention, repatriated citizens, expats and overseas workers as well.

Yes, we have heard of several stories and it’s just a wonder why it keeps happening. Like, why do people still go on cruises? Aren’t they aware of its danger in this coronavirus time – or is it just stubbornness that they still push through? Oh, they are already at sea – or there’s just no refund? What about governments, if they could close borders, ports and airports – why can’t they do something about these tours?

Moreover, when passengers are hit by COVID-19, how come governments still do not know what to do? Or do not realize that their current system of managing these virus-infected cruise ships may open up to more transmissions?

How to handle cruise ship passengers and repatriated citizens

While having some kind of sanitary cordon sounds good, like, letting the cruise ship dock then immediately transporting the passengers to the airport before flying them home, the biggest concern (given that the bus driver and everybody involved in the transfer are protected) here would be – their destination.

Okay, these passengers go into health procedures and all upon arrival; but medical professionals get infected, too, despite their protection and it’s due to overexposure. Thus, the healthcare workers that should receive and care for them are those that has the least exposure – as in dedicated personnel, else, you know what could happen.

Any data on the infection spread of cruise ship passengers a week after disembarkation? See, you can’t overwhelm your locale and healthcare system with new cases that could have been brought and treated somewhere else considering these people were not in the country when their infection were confirmed.

As we see it, having quarantine tents within the terminal, port or airport area to receive them would be the second best thing.

And where would that ideal treatment area be?

With more dedication and less burden on healthcare workers, you may see less of this sight on ‘quarantine island’ than on the mainland.

On an island.

If your country has islands other than its mainland, use one minimally inhabited island to at least place all citizens coming from other countries (or cruise ships) for quarantine and treatment. As for medical facilities, there’s what you call ‘preparation’ and just doing it. This way, those in the mainland that are healthy would not get infected due to ‘saturation’. Mind you, infections spread more on the mainland than on smaller islands. This is obviously because there are more people on the mainland and one has to cross the sea just to infect someone else, after all, COVID-19 is about human-to-human transmission.

Even Australia used Christmas Island (though they could have utilized an island closer to its mainland) for that purpose; but special case or not, that’s the way to go. Hey, we have even talked about ‘quarantine island’ already.

This is social distancing par excellence!

Coronavirus: The Issue on Face Masks once and for all

To wear or not to wear? That is the question. Yes, we are talking ‘face masks’ here. Are we to ask the CDC? WHO?

Actually, you don’t need to ask anyone if you have been following facts about COVID-19 – and us. This is all just common sense.

What’s the argument again, to ‘not wear’ a face mask? Because you’re not infected? Because you’re not the one attending to the infected? Because there’s not much face masks available?

Now, what’s the contention on wearing a face mask this time? To protect oneself from ‘silent carriers’ or asymptomatics? Actually, the assertion on now wearing a face mask is kind of funny. Why only now? Like, they only realized it now?? Because of ‘silent carriers’? We say one should be wearing a face mask regardless if one is asymptomatic or showing no symptoms at all. Why?

COVID-19 respiratory droplets stay in the air for at least three hours or so after it has been discharged by an infected person (symptomatics take at least three days to show symptoms, thence, he can not be classified as a ‘silent carrier’) who may likely not even be in that area anymore. Thus, if you happen to be in that area within that timeframe, you are likely to get the virus…

Unless you have, at least, protected yourself with a face mask. Even a homemade mask will do. Just choose a denser cloth for better filtering.

Breathing or talking could spread coronavirus? Of course! The virus stays at least three hours in the air!

See, people are instructed to clean this and that. Disinfect here and there. Because the virus stays on surfaces like copper for 4 hours, cardboard for 24 hours and plastic and stainless steel for 2-3 days. But how could the CDC and WHO miss out on droplets that’s airborne for 3 hours or so? Hmm.

The problem here may be more than just realizing the risks posed by silent carriers, the problem lies in ‘pride’. Like, officials and health authorities do not want to be advised by others. They want to be the ones to dictate the protocols – which is understandable. Then again, they should also realize that there’s this ‘exception to the rule’ where an infinitesimal of humanity may understand stuff even more than they do. You want this virus (or anything for that matter) beaten faster – drop your ego – listen, acknowledge and hire who has this understanding.

More than just the obvious of touching one’s face or holding often held surfaces, what contributed to the COVID-19 spread is that 3-hour portal made by symptomatics (remember, symptoms take at least three days to show up) who were not wearing face masks yet.

Now for worries that social distancing might become lax because of face masks, that’s more of a culture thing. Because people only thinks of themselves instead of being ‘socially responsible’ as shown by those spring break partiers in Florida.

A paradigm shift is needed here. To be more responsible. To be more caring.

People need to understand that we are human. Whatever race you are, we do experience life’s ups and downs. No need to hide it or be ashamed of it. Be authentic. Do not be too engrossed with the Instagram lifestyle – just as LinkedIn members should not shy away from connections suggesting assistance in this trying times.

We are all in this together. Do not take advantage of people but help.

One final note and reminder here for ‘the healthy’ would be two-pronged: face masks could shield you from accidentally touching your face, at the same time, it also protects you from infectious droplets that’s been like ‘airborne’ for three hours. Especially when irresponsible people are still out there.

Coronavirus: Effective Social Distancing Measures

Whether it’s social distancing or physical distancing, it’s the same banana as everyone who has heard of social distancing understands that it actually means physical distancing.

So, what’s the brouhaha over this COVID-19 term? Let’s get to business!

So long as you keep yourself two meters away from the next human; so long as you cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze; so long as you stay home especially when you do not feel well – then you got the basics of distancing covered.

The future would be bleak if the world is left to irresponsible people.

If there’s no human to pass on the disease to, then you have succeeded in slowing down the spread of COVID-19.

Current Measures

Among the steps governments have taken to amplify distancing include:

  • Quarantine Pass. An ID pass that a designated household member has to possess whenever he gets out of his home to buy essentials.
  • Military or Police Posts. To make sure people only goes out for essentials and that distancing is done by those on the streets or the places they go to.
  • Lining Up. From supermarkets to pharmacies, people are to line up to get in the store (in batches) when purchasing. The problem here would be ‘wet markets’ where people just flock. Here is definitely a distancing failure. Moreover, not all wet markets are spacious aside from having the same entrance and exit points. Can ‘lining up’ work in wet markets? Possible if every batch are given, say, 20 minutes to buy their goods with vendors reminding their customers of social distancing and exits are different from entrances. Well, they just better have temperature checks at the entrance for assurance.
  • Cellophane Cover. Pharmacies and bakeries have placed cellophane barriers at the counter (or point of contact) to separate customers from the attending staff.
  • Senior Citizen Time. Grocery stores have the first three hours open only to senior citizens.
  • Passable Roads. This would reduce the areas where motorists and people ply, thereby, cutting places to monitor. Then again, reducing travel paths could also make social distancing ineffective as those who walk may have lesser room for distancing.
  • Cellphone Tracking. Though basically advanced countries would do this, tracking of this kind is simply to make sure that COVID-19 patients do not ‘mingle’ with anyone other than his caregiver. Thus, cellphone tracking should only be used on confirmed patients as well as the people they have been with. Privacy should be respected and maintained by the government and telecom companies.

However, these steps are still wanting in terms of ease in government implementation and public acceptance – as most people are simply uncooperative. Thence, to better social distancing efforts and more, the following should be applied as well.

Scheduling would ease crowded wet markets.

Market Day. Every locality should have a specific market day to control the number of people going to wet markets. Areas not scheduled for wet markets should be scheduled for groceries and pharmacies. This should be done in rotation with adjacent locales.

Use Influencers. Social media has its benefits. Collaborate with those who has tons of followers or subscribers and ask them to tell their followers to observe social distancing.

The use of influencers is like hiring a celebrity for product endorsements. However, no matter how popular the influencer, messages may fall on deaf ears as humans are social beings and most of them just lacks discipline. Besides, not all their followers are from one country or area. Even so, it’s still worth trying.

Hire Leaders. Okay, villages already have their chieftains – why not them? Village chiefs and alike are only good for villages and ‘market days’. Meanwhile, leaders are needed for a wider spectrum, like, regional or national in scope. And for exceptional ones, their logic – unless discriminated (or evil-eyed where credit is not given but even stolen) – would be acknowledged globally.

So, how about existing government leaders? Politicians just got to their posts due to a weak electoral system. Some may be qualified but that’s just on a traditional front which ordinary minds created. As in, the possession of diplomas or even their so-called ‘track record’ which is only due to customary barriers – but having nothing when it comes to grey matter and character. Most of the time, just a popularity contest.

Organizations seek ‘great’ achievers but scan with ‘traditional’ eyes, isn’t it ironic?

Thus, hire empathetic leaders and make them primary advisers at the very least. Real leaders who are critical thinkers, non-conformists and decisive. Leadership is about eloquence and vision, hence, these are those who ‘fights’ for the right principles, those who have years of sensible leadership blogging or podcasting instead of just yelling aimlessly in rallies. These are those who has solutions even for, like, stranded groups and migrant workers that poses distancing issues among others.

Real leaders are disrupters – and COVID-19 needs disrupting.

Coronavirus: Why are Countries Struggling against COVID-19

In our previous article, we talked about the methods currently used to contain the pandemic; and for this article, we get into why countries are still struggling against COVID-19.

What, no vaccine yet? Nahh. We know that vaccines take time to produce, so move on. Then, it’s because it’s an ‘unseen enemy’ that we are up against? Can’t be. That’s only applicable at the outset. It’s been months already, you should already know the ‘tricks’ that COVID-19 uses. Else, there’s no way governments could beat the coronavirus.

Then why the struggle?

Dissect our previous article. You will see that it’s simply because of speed and decisiveness. Thus, what impedes this is what made the struggle.

Overcoming COVID-19 Struggles

First. Pride. Remove that complacency that your country would not be affected because it’s advanced or that this would just disappear or that you just might be overreacting. Sure, you are the country’s elected leader but that does not mean you are the smartest – so, listen to your ‘smart’ advisers. Smart, not narcissistic advisers who only boasts of their alma mater (or position) when all a school has are facilities. Listen to ‘smart’ people whatever their social standing. These are the real leaders you need. Acknowledge them. Hire them. After all, it’s the smart who created civilization – it’s just that those who could really make a difference are prejudiced by impractical qualifications from ordinary minds or leaders who doesn’t understand ‘exception to the rule’.

Second. Prejudice. Don’t waste your energy finger-pointing. Cooperate. In times of emergency, support is what’s needed. If you are to blame or file charges of negligence or something on people or states, then just let two out of your 10 people do it. Not nine of them goes after the culprit, then only one would fight the virus. That would be a sure loss. Humans are smarter than any virus but learn to prioritize.

And never demean or take any race for granted like how the Ebola virus was treated. Like, richer countries didn’t immediately respond because they were not affected by the disease. Understand that the ‘tree’ you have is just the result of someone who planted it 20 years ago which may not necessarily be done by ‘yourself’. How much more if we talk about a thousand-year civilization?

Third. Involvement of the Rich and Powerful. Elites have the resources to help, then help with all your might. If you have 80 billion dollars and just donate 100 million, that’s nothing. See, you could even help the world if you really pour in your funds. So, don’t breadcrumb – and utilize your businesses and facilities to assist in any way possible. Remember, you became rich because of the people. You have nothing to invest if you didn’t have anything to begin with.

If you are a public official, don’t hide but be at the frontline. You are a public ‘servant’, you’re not a master. You are at your post because of the people. Don’t violate rules yourself but help the most vulnerable first.

Fourth. Protect Healthcare Workers. Imagine these medical workers even need to make their own PPEs? How could that be when just about every country even has a millionaire in the midst? Healthcare workers are very important in the control of COVID-19. Thence, provide them with all the supplies, equipment and support they need.

As we keep saying, your immune system speaks louder than testing and vaccines – work on it.

Fifth. Mix It Up. While there are three approaches to COVID-19, don’t stick to one. As we’ve said, lockdowns are only good especially if you lack the resources but it would not succeed if you don’t act with urgency. And if you don’t follow up with, say, strategic testing and tracking ‘patients’ through their cellphones.

If you still don’t have testing kits, no problem. Testing does not cure, it is only to know if one is infected. Without testing kits, treat everyone like a patient. Keep them home and just make sure to supply your people with ‘healthy food’. After all, food is why people work – first and foremost. Hence, if they have food, they don’t need to get out of their homes in COVID-19 times. Don’t just drown them with canned goods and ‘ready-to-eat’ processed meals, these are processed food that could harm their health after the coronavirus is long gone.

And if anyone in the household is ill, you know the drill. Self-isolate blah blah blah.

At the end of the day, while everyone is locked up and people are tested, speed up the vaccine and promote a lifestyle change to a healthier one. Mind you, it’s your immune system that really protects you. A vaccine only tells your body how to react to the virus. Without a functional car, your gasoline is useless.

Coronavirus: The Best Approach to Contain COVID-19

Two months into the coronavirus outbreak – governments are getting jittery, businesses are starting to crack, people are in panic and medical practitioners are overwhelmed as scientists scramble to create a vaccine, a cure.

As clinical trials have begun, this gave the planet some ray of hope that stopping this “unseen enemy” is not far behind. Then again, clinical trials do take time – especially if every nation that’s developing a vaccine wants to be the hero.

Competition instead of cooperation – and blaming instead of resolving.

Yet while the world awaits, different approaches have been tried to flatten the curve – with two obvious methods being done the world over and a third one thought to have been considered early on.

Herd Immunity

This approach is rooted with the thought that COVID-19 would become kind of a seasonal infection. Meaning, once you got (previously) infected, you would become immune to it.

Meaning, we would just all go about our lives as the virus makes 60-70 percent of the population sick to a point where its spread becomes limited. This is the approach that the UK first thought of to the dismay of many for it delays urgent action instead of saving lives. So, it was a no-go.

Don’t let age dictate your fate, build a stronger immune system and you would fare better against viral infections.

We say, more than this, the herd immunity is something like a “survival of the fittest” and it’s only applicable if the populace has no elderly or people with compromised immune systems where deaths would almost be nonexistent.

But here’s something to think about before you become nonchalant, even if you survive a COVID-19 infection, your lung function may no longer be 100 percent. So, be wary.

Lockdown

This method controls people’s movement within a restricted area. And it’s essentially good for governments that are unprepared and for those that lacks the medical capability and resources.

However, there are three important factors that lockdowns or community quarantines need in order to succeed.

One. Speed. Borders should be shut as soon as there are reports of neighboring countries or areas’ first infections. Mind you, infections are easier in countries or places that has a large, “unbroken” land area compared to locales divided by water. Thus, travel should be banned in and out of the lockdown region as in flight bans and closing of ports and borders. More so, all measures that contribute to spreading should be taken with tracing suspected carriers, social distancing, hygiene and lifestyle changes as the priorities. After all, prevention is better than cure.

While China took control, indecisiveness and complacency would make many lockdowns too little, too late.

Two. Communication. Any organized effort would struggle without open and fast communication. This is from information campaigns to tracing suspected carriers to reporting cases to carrying out orders. With all these running about, the public should remain calm and not panic. Politicians should make sure basic services are still out there – at the same time, enforce price controls and ensure goods are delivered by uninfected people. Meanwhile, businesses should not allow hoarding by anyone even by politicians, celebrities or personal friends.

Three. Discipline. This is probably the most difficult to have if you never had it in the first place. Desperate times require desperate measures, hence, the local administration should maintain control with no favors, prejudice or complacency while the public should truly cooperate. Any unruly or rogue behavior could trigger the start of a mega-infection. Thence, sustained effort is key and violators should be penalized.

It is important to note that Italy may have failed in these factors and so, they are having a hard time controlling COVID-19.

Aggressive Testing

While the world is looking up to South Korea as the model in this fight against COVID-19, aggressive testing would not really work for every nation. Why?

One. Supplies. You need to have enough testing kits, so, aggressive testing is not ideal especially for poor countries. And if your country has self-serving politicians or business leaders, they would have themselves and their families tested first even when they do not really have symptoms. Who knows, they may even have reserve testing kits put away for future use – just in case. Besides, if we have to buy (or pay for) one, can ordinary people afford it?

Two. Quarantine Facilities. If you test a lot, where would you put those infected? Placing them in an island for treatment is ideal until they get well, else, they should be housed in a single, faraway facility. This is especially helpful to contain the spread, moreover, so health workers could properly attend to them while replenishment of supplies would not be staggered. This would be like, all roads lead to “quarantine island.”

Didn’t China even build a dedicated hospital in 10 days for COVID-19 patients?

South Korea’s phone booth testing: Protecting health workers without losing testing efficiency.

Still, more than testing kits, what made South Korea’s aggressive testing seemingly successful is their use of “satellite technology” to track COVID-19 and the “phone booth” testing to minimize infecting health workers themselves as well as for easier disinfection.

Now, if all you have are “testing kits” – no satellite technology, phone booths or drive-thrus – then use aggressive testing on people within the 5-mile radius of the epicenter, no later than 2 days from the outbreak to succeed.

In the end, the best approach to contain COVID-19 relies heavily on speed – that is decisiveness.