Will Our Response to Covid 19 Result in Superbugs?
It would be great if tomorrow someone came out and said, COVID is cured and has permanently disappeared! That’s just not realistically going to happen. As a society, we have come to this realization. The problem is here, and it’s here to stay. It is going to stay much longer than we’d like, it is going to have long term effects on our society, and we are not going to be able go back to the way things were.
Covid-19 has become the dominating issue of our lives
News outlets and social media have inundated us with images of people zealously cleaning and spraying their businesses, in an effort to attract customers. They are wiping, spraying, disinfecting, and re-wiping, re-spraying and disinfecting the same areas over and over again, in an effort to stay open/profitable. Many of these businesses have been shut down for over two months, and are desperate for revenue.
Keeping your business clean and sanitary, is (and should remain) a high priority when risk of infection is so high, but as a society, we have to ask ourselves a few important questions:
- Are these actions actually working or are is it more of a placebo effect?
- Are we doing more harm than good?
- Is there a better solution to this problem?
Answering the first question is extremely difficult. Covid 19 is similar to the flu, in that it’s a virus and the way it spreads (But, it has a much higher infectious rate than the flu). But how effective would it be for us to try to fight the flu in the same manner as we’re fighting Covid 19? The preventative instructions we’ve received from health officials have been pretty much identical: wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, wear a mask, keep distance between yourself and others, and stay home when you’re not feeling well.
Constantly disinfecting the same surfaces over in over again (in this case, on a global scale) may do more harm in the long run
We are currently willing to acknowledge. Superbugs (“Super bacteria”) are classified bacteria that are resistant to current antibiotics. For many years, doctors would repeatedly prescribe antibiotics for any and every condition, regardless of its effectiveness. Over many years, this “shot-gun” approach to medicine, has led to stronger and deadlier bacteria. We simply don’t know if our clean everything approach is actually working. Spraying the same disinfectant over and over again, may give bacteria the chance to adapt and evolve, which may in turn lead to bacteria that are unaffected by current medical treatments.
We also have natural bacteria on our skin and in our gut that protect us against outside invaders. The constant sanitization of our skin, kills the “good” bacteria and allows opportunistic bacteria to come in and take root in our bodies.
Are we doing more harm than good?
This is a difficult question, because the long-term consequences of what were doing now will not be known for some time. But there are certain unpleasant truths we have to acknowledge. For instance; we do know that the U.S. has the highest levels of Covid in the world. We do know that not everyone (especially young people and people in the Southern States) are following the protocols of health officials. And we do know that other countries have had a much greater success rate at containing the virus than we have.
The Results are Mixed
Many of states shut-down as a response to the outbreak, which was successful in “flattening the curb.” But the result was many people lost their jobs, the economy tanked, and most major public gatherings (like sports) were and continue to be cancelled. Where we seem to have failed, where other countries have succeeded, was the whole point in the shut down was to do mass testing for isolation and containment. We didn’t do that! So, while we try to re-open without a clear understanding of who has it and who doesn’t is forced to come to the conclusion that we are in fact doing more harm than good.
a"If you were at the beginning of a zombie apocalypse, wouldn't your first step be to Find out whose been bitten?"
Let me put it this way: If you were at the beginning of a zombie apocalypse, wouldn’t your first step be to find out whose been bitten? Which leads me to the final question; Is there a better way? We do know that other countries have had a greater containment success than the United States. Those countries have implemented a more aggressive approach and have implemented common strategies, and many of these strategies do not include mass disinfection.
- One of the first keys, these countries have implemented, to successful virus containment is testing. You first have to know who’s infected and who’s not, and then separated the two groups.
- The second successful tactic is called contact tracing. Contact tracing means identifying people who are infected and contacting and isolating people who they have come into contact with. The U.S. has taken a more voluntary approach than other countries, which could explain some of our higher infectious rates.
- A third step toward successful containment has been government stimulus.
People who don’t have to worry about how they’re going to pay the rent, tend to stay put in their homes. In the U.S. most citizens were given one $1,200 stimulus check, which may take months to arrive. This amount may pay for one month of rent, but it’s not enough for food, gas, and electricity. Not to mention, we are currently at month 4 of lock-down. Canada (our neighbors to the North) is giving its citizens $2,000 per month for up to 4 months (Villarrael 1). Germany is paying 67% of net wages with a max of 6,700 (Villarreal 1). If we really are the richest country in the world, then giving our own citizens for basic survival shouldn’t be that hard. At the very least, we shouldn’t be so low on this list.
As we try our best to combat this virus, we need to remember that nature is very good adapting to circumstances. We need to do what we can to fight the Corona virus, but we need to do it in a smart way. The United States has always been a place where different cultures and different ideologies can come together and learn and grow from each other. There’s no reason we can’t take the successful ideas and plans from other countries and implement them to use here.
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- Villarreal, Daniel. "Here's How U.S. Coronavirus Stimulus Package Compares To Other Countries Around The World". Com, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/heres-how-us-coronavirus-stimulus-package-compares-other-countries-around-world-1497360. Accessed 29 June 2020