I hope that all of you who read this - and all those you care for - live long, fulfilling lives. I fear that many will not live to see 2030, and those who do are increasingly likely to endure a painful, limited existence as a result of the mistakes we have made.
I never wanted to feel like I should write a blog post about all of this, but here we are 😩
Ten things we know so-far
- SARS-CoV-2, the virus that generated the global COVID-19 pandemic, is airborne.
- SARS-CoV-2 infections currently have a one in five (20%) chance of generating long-term, disabling side effects - and a guaranteed (100%) chance of increasing heart health risks.
- COVID-19 vaccinations and antivirals currently reduce risk of death, but do not reduce transmission rates or risk of long-term, disabling side effects.
- SARS-CoV-2 continues to mutate in a direction that is increasingly virulent and capable of evading the immune system, leading to increased risk of reinfection.
- Studies of SARS-CoV-2 suggest that the evolution of increasingly virulent strains will eventually be so potent as to become fatal.
- Monkeypox, which generated just a few thousand global cases in the last 30 years, has generated over ten thousand global cases as of July 13th, 2022.
- Monkeypox has been observed as mutating at a rate twelve times faster than anticipated, has a high prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms, and comes from a virus family known to transmit via airborne particles; It is infecting populations not previously considered at-risk.
- Viral transmission rates are being egregiously under-assessed, and therefore under-reported.
- Universal (high quality) masking, robust PCR testing, air ventilation and filtration to reduce CO2 levels below 1000 parts per million (ppm), isolation after testing positive, and testing negative to exit quarantine or use public transit - when used together - reduce the reproduction rate (R0) and viral spread for any airborne virus.
- Elected officials in Western Democracies - as well as appointed officials in Western Institutions - continue to act in the interest of corporations, rather than their citizens.
We 🤬ed around, and now we’re finding out
Staff shortages are wreaking havoc across multiple industries, and the ripple effects are just starting to be felt. This is only the beginning of the “long covid” avalanche we’re all watching slowly collapse in front of our eyes. The complaints about a “worker shortage”, and its impact on service industries, are all-over social media; I have some unfortunate news for you - it is only going to get worse.
Due to a lack of leadership from our elected and appointed officials in Western countries, in the coming months we can expect substantial delays in product manufacturing, introducing further strain on global supply chains. The impact of these delays is likely to mean continued and increasing inflation - largely due to corporate greed, as evidenced by reports trumpeting record profits.
Likewise, travel will continue to be severely disrupted - and is likely to be further constrained by a lack of healthy, capable staff at airports. Moreover, large in-person events lacking vaccination and universal (high quality) masking requirements - along with poor air filtration and ventilation - are predictably going to turn into super spreader events, seeding further waves of infection and viral evolution globally.
While elected and appointed officials are busy re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic, thousands more will die and millions more will be disabled due to a void of leadership and collective inaction.
What happens next is up to us
As SARS-CoV-2 strains continue to become more virulent and infectious, we are going to witness an increasing rate of (re)infections and people suffering from “long covid” - unless something changes. That “something” is collective action on the part of governments, institutions, and communities to adopt and enforce practices that reduce the reproduction rate (R0) and viral spread.
Specifically, the collective action required to exit the COVID-19 pandemic will need to include prolonged universal (high quality) masking, frequent and robust PCR testing, isolation after a positive test result, a negative test to exit quarantine and use public transit (planes, busses, and trains), as well as high quality air filtration and ventilation to reduce CO2 levels below 1000 ppm indoors.
Vaccines and antivirals will help us further reduce strain on health care systems, but will not help us reduce R0 without the other practices - and will certainly not reduce “long covid” risks. Practicing the collective actions cited above might also help reduce R0 for the rising Monkeypox pandemic, as well as future airborne pandemics we should anticipate as a result of climate change.
Short of taking these collective actions we can expect further propogation of pandemic viruses, causing further economic strain and societal decline as people - human beings, our friends and family members - become permanently disabled, or die. Why our elected and appointed leaders have allowed us to get to this point is beyond my ability to comprehend.
Surviving the Pan-decade
In future installments of this series I will be sharing practices, frameworks, and technologies others can adopt to avoid falling victim to what comes next - or at the very least, reduce the impact to quality of life. While I’m not a scientist, I strive to be well-informed by those who are. As a common citizen in this regard, my hope is that others who share my lack of expertise in this field can utilize the same practices and frameworks I use to keep myself and my family safe.
Like I said at the beginning of this post - I want all of you who read this (and all those you care for) to live long, fulfilling lives. I don’t believe in miracles, but at the rate things are going it feels like we’re going to need one.
Keith // securingdev
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