HomeStories & WritingIs America A Failed State? A Look Into The Lockdown, Herd Immunity & Treatments! [The Dispatch]
Is America A Failed State? A Look Into The Lockdown, Herd Immunity & Treatments! [The Dispatch]
The United States saw states open back up and the economy tried to kick back into the same gear of mediocrity it was at before the Pandemic. If you looked at the streets of most American cities it would seem as if we have defeated the virus and the vaccine wasn’t really a vaccine, but instead just a whole lotta commerce! But that’s not entirely true. America, as it’s enjoy it’s beach vacations and outdoor dining, is seeing a rise in the number of SARS-CoV-2 cases.
Since there’s been an increase of outdoor & indoor large group activity the number of cases are rising in virtually every state. Vacationing Americans went to more liberally open spaces and return to their own states. Now this meant that there are more people getting tests and and that is going to mean there are going to be more positive results. And look after you spend a week in Florida you should get tested for more than just SARS-COV-2! We haven’t figured out what causes people to become Florida-people yet. We don’t need another pandemic, especially a Floridian one.
Now Trump has been rather verbally aggressive about defeating this virus! He claims that we’re going to turn this virus into dust! Hear that microscopic life-form with no ears? Trump also said we should stop testing so we don’t see a rise in positive cases and make America look bad. Testing isn’t making America great, you guys! It’s making America look like what we actually are! Over nationalistic, greed driven, vapid, piles of human hubris that no one wants in their countries! By botching the response this pandemic the Trump Administration and the neoliberals have turned America into the newest ‘shithole’ country! Now with all these statements, Trump currently holds the record for saying the least amount of scientific statements in one month! America’s gonna be breaking all kinds of records with this pandemic!
America had bungled the pandemic even before this thing began. Take a look at Governor that’s garnered so much fame from this pandemic, Andrew Cuomo of New York. Cuomo became famous for his daily press conferences and reports of the virus. But he’s one of the reasons that the state of New York got hit by the virus so hard. Cuomo not only claims that this was a bad flu but also cut Medicaid, removed hospital beds and slashed the budgets by $400 million! But because he can complete a sentence without stumbling into a racial epithet, Democrats swoon over him like he’s the lead in a romantic comedy. And he is. He’s the lead in a romantic comedy about a genocide.
Part of the obsession with Cuomo is that people think he’s got sex appeal, so they’d like to vote for him. This is why America’s elections are failing, because people are voting with their genitals instead of their hearts, minds, and conscience. Besides if that was really the case, Tom Selleck and Jessica Alba would’ve been President years ago and we’d be trying to figure who’s hotter Ryan Reynolds or Ryan Gosling! Fuck it why not a double team of Ryans with a Reynolds/Gosling 2020 ticket! And if that IS the case then I think America has worse daddy issues than we though because voting with our genitals has led to a lot of older, wrinkly white dudes and one black guy that wage never-ending wars!
America is also in the very beginning of a massive eviction epidemic too! In the beginning of the pandemic plenty of states put a moratorium on evictions. But there was no rent freezes or cancelations so this set rent and mortgages all across the country to get backlogged. Over 1/3 of Americans weren’t able to afford rent in May and the numbers are only going up from there. We are now approaching the 3 month period and most states are opening back up, these moratoriums on evictions are being lifted.
This means Americans who haven’t been able to make anywhere close to their full amount of income, barely received any assistance and only made $1200 in the past 3 months have to pay up a lot of back rent. This means more Americans will be out of their homes and living in shelters or cars. And living in cars is illegal in America, which means they get to ramp up the police brutality problem with the increased homeless population that is due to come out of this. This is going to be the summer of injustices!
This has already started happening as families are being evicted out of their homes and apartment for not being able to pay rent. And if they take these cases to the court, it either gets locked in trial, which means they lose their homes anyway or the courts side with the landlord EVEN during a pandemic. This is an economy run on callous greed. If this is the greatness of America, your greatness is about to have some major pushback. The only thing that people can now do to ensure that we don’t increase the homeless population, which will for sure increase the rates of coronavirus cases, is an organized nationwide Rent Strike.
With every part of the American economy determined to eliminate logic out of its society, the cure of commerce will turn this nation into a failed state! The lack of health, homes and food, the American economy is stripping its people of their basic needs. This is a manufactured crisis and it’s about the only thing that’s manufactured in America.
Now only if America had a few places that could be beacons of light on how to work through a pandemic with logic, compassion and efficiency rather than hubris and our sex drives. Japan didn’t lock its citizens down and so far has seen less than 1000 deaths from about 15,000 cases. They did this not just by telling it’s citizens the same social distancing and masking guidelines as America did but they also have a healthcare system that doesn’t depend on a cash flow. They were able to curtail the hours of a lot of bars & restaurants, while ensuring that large crowd spaces like concerts and karaoke bars would remain closed.
Japan works off a Universal Healthcare model. It is required by law the you have healthcare either from work or from a National Health Service. If you don’t want either, you’re free to pay out of pocket. Medical expense are kept pretty low because the cost of equipment and drugs is regulated to ensure that there’s no price gauging. If you’re considered among the low income, government subsidies pay for your doctor or hospital visits. With this in mind and their citizens adhering to the masks and social distancing guidelines, and it’s contributed to their low death rate. While in America, there were protests about masks in areas where you couldn’t socially distance and dire need for haircuts so our freedoms don’t get besieged by hippies!
Now Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is facing criticism for decreasing the direct payments to Japanese citizens to float the market out of a recession but has ensured that households will be protected. Citizens received less than a $1000 in April to get them through and as they move forward in the Pandemic, more radical economic plans have to be put into effect. Shinzo Abe recommended that Japanese citizens take care of each other during this time. Basically he’s admitting that government can’t financially help and to lean to the power of mutual aid. Now in that sense, the question has to be asked why have an economy like that in the first place if it can’t help out its citizens, but the solidarity of mutual aid can!
New Zealand is a nation that has completely eradicated the virus from its borders. In 75 days, using strict social distancing and lock down measures, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has virtually eradicated the virus from her country. She locked down her borders and immediately set up a way for small businesses to stay afloat through the months ahead. Mix that with comprehensive research and widespread testing New Zealand made their way through this pandemic with less 25 deaths! Basically when you have strict measures in place and buffer that with economic incentives and a testing regimen, you might be able to contain a rapidly spreading virus.
Now New Zealand is a small island who doesn’t seem to be talking about how they’re the best all the time, while being 108th in critical thinking skills, like America, so it is possible that they’re an outlier. But Denmark is a bigger country and they’re seeing their light at the end of the tunnel too! Denmark was one of the quickest countries to react to the crisis. They made sure their citizens got a stimulus and instated social distancing and lock down measures. They restricted gatherings to 10 and had widespread testing. By the end of March they saw deaths nearing 600 and taper out.
Denmark and, its neighbor to the North, Finland are looking to open up schools again for the fall. They’re going to implement strict rules to ensure the virus won’t spread, like staggered student drop off, washing tools twice a day, washing hands ever 2 hours and more. And this is coming even after knowing that kids don’t particularly spread disease as quickly despite being gross little monsters that pull out every tiny insecurity you have about yourself and putting it on display for all to see. Kids…they are the future…just a mean, honest…future.
Denmark did start opening up back in Mid-April as they saw their numbers decrease, but they didn’t do what America did by opening all the bar, beaches, restaurants, comedy clubs and virtually everything. Denmark did a slow and deliberate opening with a bunch of restrictions in place to ensure there won’t be a resurgence in place. It’s like dating. If you fuck in the parking lot after the first date dinner, there’s a good chance you’ll catch something! If it’s not genital related it could be tetanus from the banging inside a GEO Metro! But if you get to know each other and learn what the other person’s into and grow, your sex life can be awesome and involve a bed…and if you’re feeling kinky like a kitchen countertop.
But there is one country creating a large amount of controversy around their extremely laissez-faire approach to the virus! Sweden is now seeing their experiment come to an end. Sweden’s Epidemiologist decided that locking down the whole country doesn’t particularly make sense, so they put restrictions on large gatherings and encouraged social distancing much like they did in the States. They encouraged folks to work from home if they can, and even suggested that college kids do the same. They were testing a lot in the beginning but then decreased the frequency after a few weeks. They predicted that this virus would take about 4000 lives. And in the beginning I was interested in what they were trying to do as it could be a way to move forward even for the States. It seemed like logical measures rather than hyper-fear based measured that were being taken everywhere else.
As we approach the 3rd month of our efforts to eradicate the SARS-CoV-2, Sweden has seen about 5000 deaths, a major decrease in testing and tracing and a country that is divided in their outlook of their nation. Most of the deaths in Sweden is coming from Nursing Homes, which they didn’t protect too well. They figured if these old folks were walking uphill to and from school they must be tough as nails and can whether a pandemic specifically designed to destroy the lives of the elderly! During all this Sweden’s economy did well because the people were still out and about spending money like they normally would, but the death toll and lack of testing has proved this to be a failed experiment.
Sweden’s approach was to achieve herd immunity and build anti-bodies in their citizens to prevent a second wave in the Fall. Herd Immunity is the idea that most of the members of a species would develop anti-bodies and immunities to a particular pathogen through exposure. In order to make this work and really use this method to decrease the spread of a virus there are many factors to consider and understand. It’s not like we can come out and yell ‘HERD IMMUNITY’ and everything opens back up and we enter a new world of immuno-darwinism. And let’s be honest, America isn’t ready to be responsible with this idea without strict guidelines considering the lock-down protesters were coughing on each other as an act of protest. America is a country that needs a lot of hand holding when it comes to scientific understanding.
In order for Herd Immunity to work effectively at least 60% of the population needs to be infected and develop immunity to protect the rest of the population from the spread of the virus. That’s roughly 4.2 BILLION people globally. And in order to make that work that means a lot more people need to be infected. So on a global scale that’s roughly 5-6 Billion people would have to infected and a bunch of those folks would have to die in order to protect the rest of the 1-2 billion people and future generations. Sweden’s result of 3 months of no lockdowns to try to get herd immunity only got up to 6.1% population with anti-bodies. For the Americans listening, that’s lower than 60%. That’s one tenth of what was needed!
But those aren’t the only factors to consider! Herd Immunity also has to take into account the spread of this virus. SARS-CoV-2 spreads very quickly. We saw how one woman in South Korea had infected hundreds upon hundreds of people without even knowing it. This would mean that not only would we need widespread testing but also contact tracing. The issue there is what happens to the data after this pandemic is taken care of? Do the phone companies then sell our data to medical insurers or Big Pharma or even Big Generic!? The pattern would suggest yes, because in Capitalism, even altruism has been sold to the next highest bidder.
The next factor to consider is how long does the immunity last. Right now we’re not sure. There are reports coming in saying that people that got the virus back in the winter and spring are not going to be immune in the fall because the anti-bodies don’t last as long. Not only that but if the virus mutates then this plan definitely won’t work. The WHO has also come out to say there is a possibility that asymptomatic folks aren’t really spreading the virus as much as symptomatic people. So that brings up the question about whether or not asymptomatic people have anti-bodies to the virus! That is a new variable to consider before we can think about how to implement a Herd Immunity plan.
Because of this uncertainty of immunity, we have to think about what happens when there is a resurgence in cases. This would be like the post-credit scene of pandemics and yes we have to wait till all the credits are over and done because Key grips are important too. Once the virus returns, what are the measures we’d have to take? It’d come to down to more testing and a treatment plan. This means that you’d have to create specific areas where COVID-19 patients are being treated. Again there would have to be a plan put in place to ensure that everyone regardless of identity and socio-economic status can be taken care of.
And that’s the major part of implementing Herd Immunity; a plan! This definitely isn’t a fuck in a GEO Metro in an Applebees parking lot situation! In order for Herd Immunity to work as a society we’d have to agree to put Capitalistic gains aside for the greater good of the species. That means testing, treatment and scientific research would be the top priority. Big Pharma and the Health Insurance mobsters can’t try to turn a buck over a rapidly spreading disease. If you do, congratulations, you’re worse than the disease itself!
In order for Herd Immunity to work, if you test positive you enter lock down measures for a minimum of 2 weeks. If not, then you continue to maintain social distancing when you can and limit your contact others. So if you want to see your friends, it’d mean getting tested and a doctor’s note. I know that sounds childish, but so does coughing in someone’s face as a form of protest and arguing about wearing a mask in crowded indoor spaces. Herd Immunity will fail without a massive paradigm shift in the way we think and if we can’t let go of a profit motive.
And it won’t end once we realize that at least 60% of the population has immunity either. We’ll have make sure the rest of the population isn’t getting the virus again so we have to keep the strict measures and massive testing protocols in place for safe keeping. Now I want to reiterate that this won’t work unless we let go of the profit driven system we have in place. This will mean that as a global society we implement a reasonable Universal Basic Income, Medicare For All and ensure that those can’t work because of their contact with the public are financially secure during this time. Herd Immunity would also mean that during the time of major testing and treatment protocols, all debt be cancelled. If not you’d have people trying to go to work when are carriers of the virus and continue spreading it around. I feel like this is basic knowledge about pathogens we learn in high school but in America too many people were dreaming about how to fuck Tom Selleck! The answer is mustache rides…an abundance of mustache rides.
A natural way of achieving Herd Immunity is a long process and would take just as long as coming up with a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. But I can confidently tell you that thanks to Gilead Science, we are in no way shape or form ready to try any kind of Herd Immunity measures. In the States, Gilead Science has created the first approved method of treating the disease COVID-19, called remdesivir. Clearly this was developed by a fan of D&D and has gained 10 charisma points by doing so!
It costs $3,120 to receive the treatment of remdesivir. The drug takes about $10 to make all six of the needed treatments. That’s an over 30,000% in profit margins! Gilead could charge $100 for the treatment and still come out on top, but they didn’t because America’s greed driven Capitalistic cancer means they won’t be able to buy a super yatch next year to punch an octopus on international waters…something literally nobody needs to do! But that’s what happens when you have that much money, you forget how your basic humanity works.
Look even if you say that people with insurance will be able to cover the cost of the drug, there’s still the high cost of going to a hospital and the ambulance ride. Even people with private or workplace insurance end up with large amount of medical debt. But lets say you’re one of the lucky few that doesn’t, what’s to say that all of a sudden your premium and monthly insurance payments go way up the next month so the cost of remdesivir is covered by you? Not good goddam thing. Price gauging is legal in America and your health is another way this Capitalistic cancer will keep us impoverished.
So based on the fact that evictions, unemployment, debt of all kinds and even COVID-19 cases are on the rise in America, is this a failed state? According to Noam Chomsky, a fail state is “the concept as a country with a weak, non-existent or dictatorial government, where elections, if they occur at all, are farcical.” We have members of both major, corporate declining any sort of logical financial assistance to the people or small businesses in America, declining a universal healthcare measure and any sort of debt relief all for the sake of corporations to turn a profit and thrown some on the back end of things! How many Americans can really say this administration and the two-party system in power has helped them out? I can’t.
I can say that my dear friends, family, fans and supporters have kept me alive over the years and especially during this pandemic. I can say that power of mutual aid, generosity and kindness have ensured that I’m not sleeping in the streets or without food. And I bet that’s the same for a lot of Americans out there.
At this point America is very well on it’s way to become a failed state. Daily protests – which by the way are not the reason for the recent spike in cases, but rather indoor seating at cramped bars & restaurants who needed to open to stay afloat – those protests are calling for a change to what has been exposed in this system. A corrupt, broken and weirdly sexually charged government system that is more concerned about money than its people. And that’s where the problem has lied in the US and Sweden. The choice between the economy and safety.
What we can learn from the nations that are seeing a decline in cases and starting to see a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel is that they chose to help their citizen with an economic stimulus and incentivised social distancing and lock down measures. They also used their strengths to increase testing and tracing to make sure they can contain and treat the infected. Neither of these things have been done by the United States government and there are currently no plans in place to do so. America is now on it’s way to become a failed state, but at least we have some sex appeal while do it. Somehow I doubt COVID-Mustache rides sound sexy to people right now.
Krish Mohan is a socially conscious, Indian standup comedian and writer who regularly tours the country. He performs at small theaters, bars, comedy clubs, colleges, DIY and house venues. With his quirky attitude, charming personality, and intelligent humor, Krish captivates and engages audiences of all backgrounds, tackling hot button topics like race, religion, war, immigration, while adding an optimistic, philosophical & sociological twist!