I hope to have about a dozen posts here, each with this same introductory statement of a few paragraphs before I get to an idea presentation. My position is that each side of the reopening issue has valid points. On the one hand, the more in which close, interpersonal contact takes place in a reopening (even with masks, which are flawed), the greater is the prospect of a resurgence of Covid-19 and an increase in deaths. And such a resurgence would lead to another drive for shutdowns. On the other hand, the country will simply fall apart if we do not begin to reopen or, if upon reopening, we were to again be forced to comply with a drive for new shutdowns as a result of a resurgence. Many lives have already been ruined and there is only so much that the economy can take.
Of course, we would not be facing such a dilemma if we had a vaccine or a cure. In such a situation, a reopening would be rapid and there would be no turning back. But we don’t have a cure or vaccine, leaving us back with our uncomfortable choices.
Despite the flaws that can be seen in both paths, I believe a new path should be aggressively pursued, one which would actually take into account the concerns of both sides. This path would have two prongs: (1) greatly reduce the prospect of the contact transmission and airborne transmission of Covid-19 by exploring some existing technologies from a new angle; and (2) exploring ways in which people could be made less susceptible in having a severe outcome if they got infected. In other words, I believe there are far more effective ways in which to protect people from Covid-19 (and future pandemic organisms) than the standard ones of hand washing, standing six feet apart, setting up acrylic barriers and wearing masks (tactics which should be maintained). In fact, I believe there are ways in which substantial protection can be provided concurrent with the closer contact between people which will inevitably come with a reopening, even in restaurants and on airplanes.
I will admit that some of my ideas would cost a tidy sum to implement. There is no way around it. However, in a world where trillions of dollars have already been allocated, I think these concepts, in totality, would be among the few that would directly apply to Covid-19 and would have the greatest impact on it.
Please not that in the following idea I have simply made an observation and expanded upon it. I hope you will find that I have presented a concept which is rational and logical. Of course, there may be flaws of which I am not aware, but we should work on overcoming them and not throw out the baby with the bathwater.
The idea follows.
If a person has contracted Covid-19, it would be ideal if a person’s body could fight it off and not progress to a severe illness. The body relies heavily on the thymus in this regard.
The thymus has a major role in the immune system. However, as a person ages, it gradually decreases in size, contributing to the difficulty which older people have in fighting off infections. Furthermore, its status of a defender against infections is significantly impaired if a person had contracted CMV (Cytomegalovirus) at some point during their life. Unfortunately, the majority of the population fits into that boat.
The following links discuss the tremendous damage which CMV does to the thymus and how, as a result, the body’s defense against infections, (which would logically include Covid-19), is significantly weakened.
The instinctive action to take with CMV is to develop a vaccine against it. Such efforts are in the works, but nothing has been finalized yet. See the following: https://thenativeantigencompany.com/where-are-we-at-with-cmv-vaccine-development/ ; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X18302883 ; https://investors.modernatx.com/news-releases/news-release-details/moderna-completes-enrollment-cytomegalovirus-cmv-vaccine-mrna ; https://www.contagionlive.com/news/cytomegalovirus-vaccine-candidate-found-to-be-safe-and-immunogenic-in-first-in-humans-trial ; https://themedicinemaker.com/discovery-development/the-bumpy-road-to-a-cytomegalovirus-vaccine
If a CMV vaccine came on the market today, it would not make much of an impact on Covid-19 in 2020. But the sooner one is developed, the sooner people in the future will be able to obtain protection and, as a result, maintain their thymus function at a higher level than would a person who had become infected at some point. Therefore, when the next pandemic comes around, a larger number of people in the general population will have significantly stronger immune systems to fight off an infection if they had the opportunity to receive a CMV vaccine.
In light of the strong, indirect effect which a CMV vaccine would have in future pandemics, I propose the following: (1) Research whether or not there are other infectious organisms which can cause the degree of damage which CMV does and if any, its degree of prevalence in the population; (2) Conduct labwork on current hospitalized Covid-19 patients with respect to their CMV (or other organism) status; (3) Have the Federal government devote a significant amount of resources toward a vaccine against CMV; (4) Once a vaccine is available, perform an intense campaign for people to get vaccinated.
Again, this will not have any current effect against Covid-19, but it should pay us back in the next pandemic with fewer severe cases.