So we have a vaccine. In fact, we still have a few and possibly a few more to come. From my most pessimistic friends, who have followed the detailed scientific detail, they say this coronavirus fear should be everywhere by June (and there have been a lot of it).
There has been a lot of speculation about how effective a vaccine must be to work, but as Stephen Bush of the New Statesman pointed out, BCG injection was only 80% effective and has more or less obliterated TB as a killer and the end of quality of life Squashers. Here I support Robert’s emphasis on slow and fast thinking.
I already stated in April: “The international cooperation is about fast test techniques so that we can get more precise information in the short to medium term about who has the virus and who had the virus and in the long term a vaccine.”
That’s not much of a compensation for those who don’t make it (it’s far from over if I give the impression to the contrary), but we are sitting well before the gritty coverage of March and April. It turns out that we are capable of effective collective action and that our well-being depends on more than the sum of “us” as individuals.
This is good for us to recognize and learn from. Oxford Astro Zeneca’s vaccine was a huge expensive and speculative venture, but it was a really strong partnership between public and private research resources. Much of the internationalized learning came from the public higher education systems of many countries.
Much of what has fallen into disrepute reminds us that cooperation does not always require formal agreements that come at the rate of tar melting, but that multilateral cooperation is capable of producing massive public goods.
This is in contrast to an often stupid public debate in which individual data points have been promoted to Articles of Faith, often depending on your own sense of mortality or susceptibility to the ravages of a fairly extreme and relentless disease in its most extreme form.
As Tim Hardford notes in his article for Prospect Magazine:
It turns out the truth is complicated. But there is no way to win a screaming match that is complicated. If we are to understand the virus – and everything else in a complex world, by the way – we must first give up the illusion that the public “debate” is about more than cheap issues that are inevitably the cost of the whole truth .
See also Ed Straw’s distinction between systemic and systematic approaches:
Supported by RedCircle
This stuff doesn’t seem to matter in the short term, but one of the ways the Covid crisis has given us is to reconsider Miyamoto Musashi’s advice from our original study on unionism: “In strategy, it’s important to do distant things that way see as if they were close and to have a distant view of nearby things ”.
The numbers in the south of yesterday indicated there were no new deaths (what Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan warned may have been a glitch as few new numbers were collected over the weekend). This suggests the south should be heading for a level 5 dip.
Then, perhaps, the southern government will finally be allowed to take responsibility for implementing its aptly named framework for living with Covid without its own advisors putting hasty pressure on the brakes on public order when the evidence is already on stage 3 were having an effect.
The truth is complicated. As guest blogger The Dissenter demonstrated while looking at the test regime in our apartment buildings, perhaps the best way to influence the government is not to scream but to get the job done and make a picture as clear and emotionless as possible and to leave others are free to choose.
And as we’ve seen, those who shout the loudest are the first to break their own rules, be they journalists or politicians desperate to attract attention when necessary measures are more important than those who make the headlines. So we have to take long forms of story gathering.
Photo by Anna Tarazevich is licensed under CC0
Mick is the founding editor of Slugger. He has written articles on the impact of the internet on politics and the media and is a regular guest and speaker across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty