It is now been roughly a year since the Covid-19 pandemic started to affect most of our lives, having been spreading since late 2019. Sebastian published our first piece mentioning the virus on January 20th last year (access here).
It is now exactly a year when I had to change my flights and get into Japan three days earlier to enter before the country started to require quarantine (I made the cut-off by an hour), and later in that March they closed the border for most non-national arrivals.
Today, many western countries are vaccinating their citizens and it appears that most will be vaccinated by late summer or early fall this year.
It will take much longer, however, to get the world’s population vaccinated. The Economist assumes that this won’t happen before early 2023.
It is still unclear how vaccination affects the spreading of Covid-19, namely can vaccinated people still spread it, and if the current and near-market vaccines will be completely effective against known and future variants or will they require further further tinkering.
Here are three scenarios I can think of:
1. The world population gets largely vaccinated, and Covid-19 is wiped out
2. The world population gets vaccinated, but Covid-19 keeps mutating and becomes one of the rotating viruses like influenza.
3. We get a nasty version of Covid-19 that wipes out 30% to 40% of the world’s population as the plagues did in past history.
I think that the number of 2 is the most plausible one.
There are millions of preventable deaths every year from tobacco and alcohol use to obesity and lack of physical activity. The chart above is from a DCPN and WHP study back in 2001 (access here).
There are about 50,000 deaths per year from opioid abuse in the United States alone. Considering the totality of these numbers and that these diseases are largely preventable, I wish we paid as much attention to them as we do for Covid-19.
Here’s our first Covid-19 article from January 2020:
We need to take every reasonable measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and unnecessary fatalities. Still, I feel that we have come to the point where countries try to outdo each other, and we should do more to combat the different causes of fatalities within our control.
My friends that have stayed put have started to feel Covid-19 fatigue and are slowly venturing out traveling again.
I fear that when this Covid-19 pandemic is mostly past us, and it may have become one of the rotating viruses, the world will be quick to close down immediately whenever there is a new outbreak of any kind.
And I believe that nothing good will come out from the central banks who are essentially printing money to keep things going for now. Eventually, it will lead, as it always has, to some horrific consequences (think 30’s Germany) with runaway inflation.