18 September, 2021

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The Virus, Vaccine & Task Force Politics

By Rajan Philips

Rajan Philips

The doctors have been saying it daily. Vaccine alone is not enough to stem the spread of Covid-19, especially the Delta variant. Doctors have been calling for greater isolation, lockdown, and even a curfew. “An immediate curfew will prevent at least 1,200 additional deaths within the next 20 days,” Prof. Suneth Agampodi, Rajarata University, is reported to have predicted. This is based on a forecasting model he has developed with two Sri Lankan colleagues at Harvard and MIT. At the present death rate there could be 3,000 deaths in 20 days. The government seems to think otherwise, and apparently believes that rapid vaccination alone is enough to achieve national immunity and end the pandemic.

Lockdowns and curfew can be measures of last resort – that is the official government position. When is that going to be? Doctors seem to think it is already time for last resort. But – trust the vaccine, spurn the doctors – seems to be the governing motto. Quite apart from the fact that you need to trust your doctor before you trust the medication, the evidence of mounting infections, deaths and hospital admissions clearly gives credence to the worries and warnings of our doctors. Why distrust them now? Why not trust the doctors, even err on the side of caution, and stop pretending to be firm in spite of evidence?

The economic argument against a total lockdown is a necessary consideration but not a sufficient reason to reject the Doctors’ pleas out of hand. The economy has been deteriorating and living conditions have been worsening owing to a whole host of reasons in Sri Lanka, and another period of restrictions is not going to make a huge difference especially if that is the only way to SAVE LIVES as the ‘WHO expert group’ in Colombo has reportedly suggested to the government. Whatever restrictive measures are imposed they could be selective by time and place based on area-specific data and advice my medical professionals. In any event, vaccination has to continue even under a lockdown. Not that the Doctors are not aware of it.   

The government’s strategy to rely solely on the vaccine would have worked any time last year, when Sri Lanka was a rather fortuitous beneficiary of low infections and even lower death rates. But there was no vaccine last year. There is no question, Sri Lanka’s current vaccine rollout is truly impressive in spite of initial hiccups and political cockups. Achieving 250,000 to 500,000 doses a day is indeed remarkable. But the fact of the matter is  that even if Sri Lanka were to deliver one million shots a day, that will not be enough to overtake the virus spread, let alone stop it.

Vaccine and the Virus

At about 350,000 shots a day, it will take about two weeks to fully vaccinate 10% of the population. So, optimistically it will be end of the year or early next year before Sri Lanka can achieve maximum and effective vaccination. That is a long interval to expect to keep the virus down and keep the unvaccinated out of harm’s way.

While vaccines are for the weeks and months ahead, the spread of the virus has been gathering speed over days, weeks and months gone by. While it will be some time before all adults receive their first dose, there will be time lags between the first and second doses, and additional time periods before vaccine efficacy clicks in even after full vaccination. But the virus is not going to take a break during any or all of these time intervals.

The current surges in infections and deaths are believed to have started in May/June, nearly two months ago. Mid last week, the official death total was rising to 5,500, and the infections were rising to 345,000. Some Epidemiologists are fearing that the death total may climb to 20,000 by the end of the year with daily totals reaching as high as 300. The current trends are pointing in that direction.

The daily death total has been exceeding 100 for more than a week and reached 150 by the weekend. Daily infections have remained high between 2,500 to 3,000. These are the official figures. The actual figures are considered to be three to four or five times higher. Doctors have been complaining that hospital admissions are higher than the infection numbers put out by the Ministry of Health. Discrepancies have been reported in the Gampaha District and in the Eastern Province. So, regardless of the rate of vaccination, deaths and infections are going to keep increasing. And hospitals are going to be overwhelmed, leaving both Covid-19 patients and other patients who need hospital care to stay home and fend for themselves.

There is also the question of vaccine efficacy even for those who are vaccinated. There are six authorized vaccines (AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Sputnik V, Pfizer, Sinovac and Moderna) in Sri Lanka, but mostly four of them have been used so far. Sinopharm from China is the most widely used vaccine followed by Oxford-AstraZeneca from India, Japan and the WHO. Sputnik V (Russia) has been used in limited quantities and the use of Pfizer (US and EU) started recently. A supply of Moderna is also expected from the US.

The different vaccines have different levels of efficacy – after the initial dose and the second dose. There are also differences when the same vaccine is used for both doses, and when two different vaccines are used. With the rise of the Delta variant (and the newest Columbian variant) – the concern is about the longevity of vaccine efficacy even after the two doses have been completed. All of the vaccines are known to have shown varying levels of success in minimizing the severity of illness, avoiding hospitalization, and virtually eliminating deaths due to Covid-19. But none of them are as successful in protecting the vaccinated from getting infected or from becoming sources of virus transmission.

As well, in the US, over 90% of current hospitalizations and deaths are among the unvaccinated, whereas in the UK as much as 30% of hospitalizations have been found to be among the fully vaccinated owing to the Delta variant. This is the background to the push for a third dose of vaccine in countries that have money to buy, and by vaccine manufacturers who want to keep selling to rich governments. Israel, Germany, France and lately the US have announced that a third dose of vaccine will be given to targeted groups among their citizens.

The WHO is opposed to this medical prodigality of the rich when only 1.2% of the people in low-income countries have received even a single dose. There is, however, a medical justification for a third dose for immunocompromised people (e.g., those with transplants). Doctors in Canada have indicated that a third dose is not needed in Canada and that the Canadian government should give away its surplus vaccine supply to needier countries. There is also criticism that some of the vaccine-rich countries are holding on to their vaccines for too long and are then using the vaccine-poor countries as dumping ground for vaccines that are nearing their use-before dates.

Task Force Politics

For Sri Lanka, it would be irresponsible to talk about a third dose. But political headline grabbers are already on to it, musing about third doses. The medical profession, on the other hand, is pleading in unison for stronger measures to ensure isolation and social distancing. The World Health Organization (WHO) expert group has warned that trends in Sri Lanka indicate a potential “health crisis of unprecedented proportions,” and called on the government to implement stringent measures similar to those imposed in April-May to “SAVE LIVES.”   

The government remains unmoved. As reported by the Daily Mirror, at “another crucial meeting” held on Friday between “President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Presidential Task Force on Prevention of COVID-19,” the President reportedly “was not ready to impose an island wide lockdown but opted for tougher travel restrictions.” Speaking before the meeting, the Head of the COVID-19 Task Force General Shavendra Silva had indicated that the purpose of the meeting was to enable “the participation of ministers, Director General of Health Services and several other experts to discuss the current developments and further decisions to be taken related to the coronavirus pandemic in the country.”. He went on to opine, “though experts had made statements to media over a lockdown, not a single formal request had been made to the COVID-19 Task Force.”  He added, “however, the matter is likely to be noted at the meeting today.” But the President is not ready to listen to the Doctors.

It is fair to ask why the Task Force did not invite the medical experts making statements to the media to attend the “crucial meeting” on Friday. Put another way, why is NOT every shade of medical expertise appropriate to Covid-19 included in the Task Force? Then these experts and their professional organizations will have no reason to run to the media to make statements. Equally, what do the supposedly medical experts currently on the Task Force have to say about the statements by other experts calling for lockdowns and curfews? Come to think of it, the government will be doing everyone in the country a transparent favour by releasing the names of all the members of the COVID-19 Task Force and the specific expertise and skill, other than patriotism and presidential loyalty, that each one of them brings to the task force forum.

It is not my purpose to pick on the army, inadvertently or otherwise, unlike Ranil Wickremesinghe. There is nothing to blame the army about for what it has been doing on the Covid-19 front. The army would have done what it did without a Task Force. Not surprisingly the task forces have hurt the GR presidency more than they have helped it. Even as the task forces and advisory cabals have sidelined cabinet ministers and their administrative machineries, they have also isolated the President from the structure of government of which the President is the civilian head even as he is the commander in chief of the armed forces. This has led to an artificial situation where there is nothing meaningfully mediating between the President and the 6.9 million voters who voted for him in November 2019. Other than his frequent reminders that he polled 6.9 million votes and his (not anymore) monthly village visits, there is nothing that is keeping the President connected to his larger constituency.   

The Task Forces were an unnecessary invention to sideline the cabinet of ministers and render irrelevant the parliament of Sri Lanka. If the Task Forces have worked even partially, the task force system would have been acclaimed as a presidential stroke of genius. But they were doomed to fail as indeed they have. Political societies did not labour over centuries to create institutions like parliament, cabinet, taxation, banks and systems of law and order, for the dubious genius of one individual or a family of individuals to simply jettison and replace them with whatever contraptions that are found to be most convenient for wielding power. What may have come as a shock to some, however, is the level of incompetence associated with the otherwise predictable failures of the government’s unorthodox enterprises in the arenas of the state. On the other hand, it would be a tragedy for everyone if the efforts to stop Covid-19 were to fail owing to political incompetence in spite of professional advice.   

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Latest comments

  • 7
    28

    Lockdown will kill many people by destroying their economies. in the US we can see how many of the businesses have been destroyed. The Drs have no problem during the lockdown they can be getting their private practice in. What about the poor people who have to pay them?

    • 19
      4

      Time to declare victory!

      Prabakaran has won the war!

      Prabakaran has won the war …….. from beyond the grave.

      The Rajapakses have finished the little Prabakaran left unfinished.

      You ugly bastard …….. Prabakaran you beauty!!!

    • 2
      1

      Good morning 14455,
      Your point is well taken and has some validity.
      The Government Hospital is available and free. Lock down truly will affect only the self-employed and casuals (daily wage earners) I am sure they will be paid ‘Lock down pay’ for them to sustain.
      Lock down is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of not, single individuals but the larger community from infection of the virus by minimising movements and contact.
      Please don’t forget, though Doctors have short comings which I agree, but stick their neck out to make them available for consultation, treatment and prescribe medication and provide healthcare, whatever the disease – communicable or otherwise. That is an occupational hazard that they encounter and a very great sacrifice they make being Doctors.

    • 8
      1

      Part 1
      Lockdown:
      Even if STUPID average see it different, LOCKDOWNs have undoubtedly saved thousands of lives from COVID-DEVIL across the globe. Yes, it s a huge problem to those who earn their daily wages, but the state and rich fractions in the country could protect them during the 2 weeks. The problem of Incumbent govt ist hey have not imposed „lock downs“ properly. People were told, Gota would do the job well, but his has now fallen way deeper to that of SPINELESS Sirisena.
      We as a small island nation, with all ground systems established regionally, vaccination programs are part and parcel of lanken health care structures; not at all new to srilanka. IT IS TO NEW TO EUROPE AND NORTHERN AMERICA. Please check the information of WHO.
      If Biden-Harris govt did NOTcome, the numbers of COVID deaths would have passed few more millions in US during the last few months alone.
      https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/herd-immunity-lockdowns-and-covid-19#

      TBD

      • 8
        1

        Part II
        The Corona reality and Economic Reality are a challenge for President, Prime Minister (Parliament – Government – Opposition), Military, Scientists, Doctors, People.
        We had a war in the past and we knew it will bring death to people, it will affect the economy of the people but our choice was to go far a war which would have avoided if their was an interest in the part of Government and Opposition, President and Prime Minister and Military. Finally we end of with deaths, suffering, destruction to the people and country but some benefitted specially politicians. Now we have another war with Corona. Of course we should have minimised but the impact of war on economy and residues of war and negligence of the impact of enemy made it impossible and threaten further destruction of economy and death of people. Yes, we can say this is an international problem but the truth is that the President, Prime Minister and Military have worsened it.
        Of course the military did a good job in vaccination programme but not in everything. It may be because the top level of Military are happy to serve politicians interest than the peoples interest.

        TBD

        • 8
          0

          Part III
          It is public secret that Island nations managed it to their best, due to natural isolation and easy practicability of control of infectants into the country regardless of the multiplicity of factors cause onset oft he disease and its spread in each country/region.
          Those leaders that ignored the basic regulations pushing innocient people to crocodile mouth , let them be dead like cats and dogs are mlechcha criminals no doubts. And today, it has become auto-litmus tests in current scenario, revealing the real leadership abilities and wholeheartedness. Fake public perception no different about Kelaniya Temple-fake relics and about Hasthirajaya of Nandungamuwa temple could easily manipulate the average mindset yet today in SL. If another CONCOTION WOULD BE telecasted by Hiru TV and stinky Derana TV, people incl. MBBS holders from local Unis would line up tot he very same manner you could not make your eyes, recently at the crowds visited in DHAMMIKA pani maker.
          That they have in their blood (genes)- becoming easy pray of any vicious politicians and fraudsters of diverse nature.
          The best examples are now being produced by none other than SRILANKEN -Pakse Regime. Alleged high criminals break all hitherto crime records, if anyone would closely study their profiles going back to war-end-phases and immediate-post-war scenarios.

          TBD

          • 8
            0

            Part IV
            International community warned them several times; UN resoultions were set on our country several times since brutal war is no longer there. But racism, facism, millitarism, sinhala buddhism and various other srilanken cultural/social mythos painted the picture in favour of their comeback. Strengthening our predictions, consequences are before the eyes of the very same voters, that passed the ball on to „ cirminal men“: People should have been sitting on their heads to have brought them back – this was added by one of REGULAR visitors, an eruoepan (visited srilanka 30 times or more) to srilanka, whom I met in Berlin few months ago.
            No doubt to anyone with some sanity, GOTA-MR govt should be charged for their calculated crimes on innocient citizens in Shangri-La of european tourists.
            Sensitive leaders do care about their own peoples. They respect their people not making differences with their own families. Best examples produced by NZ young leader, Germany’s Dr Merkel, Australia’s Morison and few other leaders displaying their big heart. All these are not praised in our so called buddhists-dominated country for some unknown reasons. Leaders should come with „fingerspitzegefühl- sure instincts to their own politics“ especially at a disaster of pandemic nature.

            • 9
              0

              “What may have come as a shock to some, however, is the level of incompetence associated with the otherwise predictable failures of the government’”
              It was only because of the (sometimes exaggerated) failings of the last government that we are saddled with this utterly incompetent regime led by a stubborn narcissist who believes he knows everything from agriculture to economics. Sadly, the 6.9 million fell for the story of his superhuman qualities. Now it looks like Mr Ten percent is in a tussle with Superman, judging from the contradictory gazettes flowing out of high places.
              Do we have a government or a one-man comedy?

    • 9
      1

      Doctors are also divided in to several groups. So are the Lawyers. In teachers# struggle, all profesisonals should come to roads to show their angers. This is typical srilanka where STUPID masses would not shake even if their mothers would have been raped and murdered by Rajapkshes and their criminals.
      :
      Even if people would fall dead every minute today, they would not have guts to stand against brutal criminal politicians. My wonder is even if thousands count to the deaths, not a single peron belong to Rajapakshe circles is caught yet to the fate. Really unbelievable !!!
      :
      Ironically, these professionals would not have earned their degrees, if TAX PAYERs did not allow them free education. Sinhalaya have no repay qualities.

    • 1
      0

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  • 18
    1

    I have converted to Buddhism.

    The best pirith I’ve ever heard https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bn3iezGnHfQ

    Buddha’s pristine truth …….. explained in a language even an uneducated pleb like me can comprehend.

    Wish, SJ could explain Mao to me in such language! ……… so I could convert to Maoism ………

    Double conversion in a single day ……………

    • 3
      14

      hopefully you will be excommunicated and exterminated soon

      • 10
        1

        “hopefully”

        They say, living in hope is what kills us all in the end. :))

        I feel your pain buddy!

        Ye made my day!! ……. now let ye twin the other Einstein, EE, show his face to take it to the next level!!! :)))

        This is fun …….. what say you brother SJ? …….. Life’s little pleasures …..eh? :))

        • 2
          3

          I just noticed you brother eel.
          What is haunting you now?
          Memories of Joe MacCarthy?

    • 8
      2

      Lanka has too many true believers!

      Some believe in the Rajapakses ……. some believe in Ranil and the UNP ……. some believe in Sajith and the BJP …… some believe in the JVP …… Some believe Buddha is the salvation ……… some believe Christ is the salvation ……. some believe Vishnu is the salvation …….. some believe Allah is the salvation ……. Prof David believes Marx is the salvation …….. SJ believes Mao is the salvation ……

      I believe in no one (well, except when some gals told me they loved me) …….. not even in myself ……

      Why do I feel I’m right …….. and always been right …………. :))


      It’s simply that ……… belief requires the suspension of disbelief …………

    • 13
      0

      Buddhism is not a religion that you can be converted into. It is a philosophy that you accept and live by, in this your only life. There will be no reward in another life. Gautama Buddha preached anattā, the doctrine of “non-self”. This means living beings have no unchanging, permanent self, soul, or essence. You die and go into nothingness, nirvana. That is what we all must accept.

      • 5
        0

        Thanks. It’s a very good explanation.

        This might sound conceited but true …….. I try to find my own way. Any mistake I make is my own …… I take full responsibility for them …….. and try not to pass on the responsibility to some religious entity/figure.

        “In the absence of God man is CONDEMNED to be free.”

        Is man bold/courageous enough to be free ……… without using religions/gods/philosophies ….. as crutches?

        Can man find his own way himself …… and take full responsibility for himself?


        If “man’s existence precedes his essence” …….. shouldn’t man himself define his essence? ….Or should he leave that to religions/gods/philosophies?

        If he leaves that to others …… isn’t he avoiding responsibility?

        • 5
          0

          continued

          “There will be no reward in another life. Gautama Buddha preached anattā, the doctrine of “non-self”.”

          That’s Buddha’s Buddhism ……. my comment was within the context of “Buddhism” “practiced” in SL …….. which I’m sure you know are not the same.

          We can arrive at the same destination taking different routes …….. and that destination is truth.

          This Buddhist priest spoke the truth in colloquial language that all Lankans can comprehend ……… but for many Lankans his language will overshadow the truth he spoke ……

          He practised true Buddhism by speaking the truth ……. but majority will focus on his language …….. that’s how Lankan’s minds are trained to be duped by not focusing on the truth ….. but on some superficial ……..

      • 3
        0

        Sarath,
        .,
        Buddhism is though recognized as a religion, it is not a religion.
        :
        Religio meaning:

        Within the system of what we would now call “Roman religion (in the modern sense of the word), the term religio originally meant an obligation to the gods, something expected by them from human beings or a matter of particular care or concern as related to the gods, “reverence for God or the gods, careful pondering of.

        Buddhagama Meaning not real buddism based on true teaching of Lord Buddha.
        .
        Buddhagama which is practised in SL is a LIFE STYLE form. We should be ashamed to see ” even pattapal horagediyas wear a thickened bands of PIRITHnoole around their wrists”- best examples is being displayed by MAHINDA MLECHCHA RAJAPAKSHE. In that bunch, almost everyone is wearing it but none of them seem to respect ” five precepts”.

  • 10
    6

    Racist Royal Aanduwa is not ready accept 3,000 infection a day. But a professor (Sandima Jeevendra) at SJPU is saying that experts’ evaluation is, daily about 30,000. Come Jehan PhD, Can you give a helping hand to save the Rapist Army’s record one more time. . Can you get in touch with Lord Neasby to dispute this number? He could find some documents lying in British parliament to save the Rapist Army head Savage Indra.

  • 5
    5

    When people are immersed in the fear of the corona virus, it is not a question of finding solutions to it. According to Hinduism ‘the Lord who creates the problem will also provide the key to solve such a problem’. Today science has grown to such an extent that man thinks there is nothing beyond science. Therefore, treatment for certain diseases can be classified as medical therapy and spiritual therapy. Medicines are usually found in plants and trees called herbs created by God. With the advancement of science, chemists have been able to extract active substances from natural sources to create more powerful drugs. Yet man fails to realize the wonders of some other tree which has medicinal properties that are beneficial to mankind. But Hinduism responded to these fears with positive comments to allay such fears. Hinduism reminds us that there is a reaction to every action. Hinduism teaches that along with herbal trees, the concept of meditation and yoga should be introduced to treat such viruses in natural ways. The Rudraksha tree is one of the herbal trees of Hinduism. According to Hinduism, Rudraksha acts as a neutral source for excessive harmful changes in the body. It has the power to drive away any viruses up to 100 meters away from the wearer.

  • 7
    0

    State Minister Fernandopulle while saying that her opinions did not matter, joins many other health professionals to advise the public not to go out, stay home. If workplaces are open, employees must attend, clients visit and no point in advising stay home. Only an idiot cannot understand this simple theory. With overflowing hospitals and mortuaries, is like somebody is adamant on punishing the helpless people.

  • 11
    0

    “Political societies did not labour over centuries to create institutions like parliament, cabinet, taxation, banks and systems of law and order, for the dubious genius of one individual or a family of individuals to simply jettison and replace them with whatever contraptions that are found to be most convenient for wielding power.”
    That is one of the gems in this article. Just sit and think about it for some time, dear readers!

    • 5
      2

      Dear CM.
      ……”Political societies did not labour over centuries to create institutions like parliament, cabinet, taxation, banks and systems of law and order, ……and replace them with whatever contraptions…….. to be most convenient for wielding power.”…..
      If we accept this, without exception, this implies that we have reached the pinnacle of a system which will not lend itself to further improvement or growth. May be then we have attained a Utopia.

  • 4
    0

    Is it the Economy or Death…….
    This is the current debate.
    The same scenario faced by Hamlet; To be, or not to be?

  • 4
    11

    The doctors have been saying it daily.
    ————
    I too have been saying it daily. This pandemic is a hoax

    • 12
      1

      “This pandemic is a hoax”

      I’m sure you would have been one of the first to line up for the Pfizer ……. like all the Lankan pols and their sidekicks!

      Put your body where your mouth is ……. walk into a hotspot of Delta without the vaccination and show what a hoax it is! :))))))

      You guys are beyond pathetic.

  • 10
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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  • 17
    0

    Gota wanted to hog all the glory for himself by appointing task forces and sidelining the cabinet and the Parliament. But he never knew what was waiting to unfold as he began his term. Now he’s like the proverbial monkey that meddled with the wedge.

    • 2
      7

      Enough evidence around of patients who have received the first two vaccines dying of covid and with over 2000 odd covid patients who were receiving treatment at the Ayurveda Hospital in Rajagiriya being discharged after being treated successfully with not a single fatality so far.

      • 3
        0

        Harishchandra,

        Please dont spread lies, those who died despite the fact of full vaccination are reported to have history of various other health problems.
        :
        Ofcourse it takes some times to form antibodies in our body after being injected with the jab contents. In europe, there are some total ignorants that would never wanted to be injected with vaccines. Percentage wise they are over 30% . Some of them known to me are just hospital attendents and paramedics. THey would not want to listen to the efficacy and safety of the vaccines. Let them be fallen even deeper. But I maanged to help some those who are really in need (among 60-80 age groups)… after explaing to them they thought it is always better to get vaccinated in today s context.
        Anyway, I am also against forcing any individual to get vaccinated.

        Do the vaccines protect against variants?

  • 4
    7

    This is based on a forecasting model he has developed with two Sri Lankan colleagues at Harvard and MIT
    —————
    Absolute nonsense!
    These freemasons simply look at mortality caused by various factors (other illnesses, old age, road accidents etc) and then claim they all ‘died of covid’

    • 3
      0

      Rajash,
      .
      thanks for the link.
      :
      Where had you been ? Long time no see :)
      .
      Rajapkshes has done anything and everything to work ” DOMINO EFFECT ” on COVID deaths in SL…. this is what I predicted long before they returned to power. I am not a astrologer, nor am I a fortunesteller.. but my healthy conscience proved that Rajapakshes are the all high criminals I have ever experienced in my life. They have been actiing.. their real faces are not yet clear to our PUNNAKu drinking majority.

      • 2
        0

        leelagemalli – I am good – temporarily reducing my social media activities.
        what do you think of this news item.
        https://menafn.com/1102628536/Taliban-assures-Sri-Lanka-on-security-of-Buddhist-sites

        The people of Afghanistan were clinging on the the planes that took off from kabul and ropped like flies and died are dropping off the planes that

        • 2
          0

          ….sorry about the typo i pressed the return key prematurely …
          the fact is people of Afghanistan are fleeing for their life
          and Sri Lankan news media publish that they received assurance that Taliban is not linked to the dead tiger and Taliban will safeguard the Buddhist sites…

          Please Daily Mirror tell me this is fake news…

  • 5
    2

    The doctors have been saying it daily. Vaccine alone is not enough to stem the spread of Covid-19, especially the Delta variant.
    Increase gas price
    Increase oil Price
    Survival was put into difficulties, Teachers are on strike
    None of them should have happened during this time
    Lockdowns and curfew can be measures of last resort, Humor is one of the best ingredients of survival The first priority of survival is getting food Vaccine alone is not enough

  • 4
    1

    The Corona reality and Economic Reality are a challenge for President, Prime Minister (Parliament – Government – Opposition), Military, Scientists, Doctors, People.
    We had a war in the past and we knew it will bring death to people, it will affect the economy of the people but our choice was to go far a war which would have avoided if their was an interest in the part of Government and Opposition, President and Prime Minister and Military. Finally we end of with deaths, suffering, destruction to the people and country but some benefitted specially politicians. Now we have another war with Corona. Of course we should have minimised but the impact of war on economy and residues of war and negligence of the impact of enemy made it impossible and threaten further destruction of economy and death of people. Yes, we can say this is an international problem but the truth is that the President, Prime Minister and Military have worsened it.
    Of course the military did a good job in vaccination programme but not in everything. It may be because the top level of Military are happy to serve politicians interest than the peoples interest.

  • 5
    0

    What the country needs to alert itself to, is the public role the military is subtly taking on. The gullible and the panic stricken public are beginning to praise the efficiency of the army personnel in the current vaccination campaign. The Presidential dream of the task Force’s hidden agenda might be for it to gain public confidence. The cabinet of ministers and the parliament of Sri Lanka has to be sidelined and made irrelevant to serve this purpose. Mr Ranil Wickramasingha’s point was this. His call for a meeting of the party leaders is also in the same vein. Being a sharp statesman he sees this danger.

  • 7
    5

    Author,
    Any thoughts on Ivermectin, reportedly a success story in much of India.
    More puzzling is the said hostility to the drug and reports of news of success in the global media.
    *
    The impact of lock down is not the same everywhere. It can hurt more than the virus can in many places.
    Cannot a strategy be developed to protect the really vulnerable sections (we know well who are now) as a priority, and let the disease take its course among the more secure sections of population, but monitor signs of infection?
    .
    After several infection waves less than than 10% of the population has tested positive in most countries. Infection rate is more in the Americas and Europe than in Asia and Africa. How is that over 90% of the population ducked infection even before vaccination took significant effect?
    I have in mind the cases of Sweden, Venezuela and Nicaragua for COVID-19 control. Are there no lessons for us?

  • 5
    0

    What is your point if there are any Professor SJ. 1) Strategy to protect vulnerable was to vaccinate them ASAP, where Lankan government vaccinated active people thinking of reopening country soon and not saving the vulnerable. They also vaccinated their kith and kin , supporters and even GMOA joined hands doing so. 2) “only 10 % ” says Professor SJ which is apparently negligible numbers for him. Do you know any public health issue that is 10% in a given period of time. Infection rates are more in America and Europe than Asia. Do you have any numbers to support that. 3) Over 90 % population ducked infection even before vaccination. In Lanka what we see now is after successful vaccination ??? What do you think would have been the case without vaccination ??? take a guess ??. 4) Why don’t you solve Lankan puzzle before we move to Sweden Venezuela and Nicaragua ??? In India out of desperation not just Ivermecetin but many others were tried, but none were a success story. Hostility to drug and reports ?? May be people consider confronting fake news as hostility if not it is called paranoid delusions.

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      There are lessons to learn from other experiences.
      If one is unwilling to learn and repeat the establishment’s mantra’s that is his/her problem.
      A person who can draw conclusions from the examples I referred to likely to be a little more scientific than others.

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        I think that you haven’t the foggiest idea of the 10% figure.
        A virus passes through whole countries, where levels of protection vary.
        But hardly 10% are ‘touched by the virus’.
        What does it mean?
        That was the issue I raised.
        I raised questions that any reasonably informed layman is entitled too.
        They deserve honest answers.

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          Sweden had stabilized around 10% without lock down or vaccination.
          *
          Israel is the most populous Asian country to touch 10% positive cases. Most Asian countries have much less than 3%.
          *
          Europe has a few small countries and a few with a little 10 million population touching 15%.
          Several border on 10-11%. But most are far below. Germany & Russia around 4.5%. No lock-down Belarus 4.9%
          *
          North America much like Europe. But Nicaragua stands out at 1.5%
          South America too, with Venezuela sticking out with 1.1%.
          Cuba now hovering around 5% — thanks to a serious slip around April.
          Africa is very low but for a few countries around 4-6%.
          *
          Do your own sums to work out what could have been the case without lock-down or vaccine.
          *
          Meantime, I can do without fatwas about what I shall and shall not do.

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            SJ, for your information Sweden vaccinated more than 55 % of population. I never recommended lock down as a measure in pandemic management. Lock down helps in buying time only when things are out of control, otherwise it does not help in pandemic management. Just like any other infection Virus too has a graph where significant up rise is followed by a plateau,only to return back more virulent and resistant. That is why we now have 3 rd and 4 th wave which means the Virus is not done it. In India the 2nd wave caused much more infection and death in a short period compared to lengthy first. It is a battle of hide and seek between we human and the invisible virus ,only way to break this cycle and get some control over virus is, by vaccinating and taking all necessary precautions. Do not be like Namal to claim victory even before the battle is over. As long countries you have mentioned Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Africa are concerned people do not travel to those countries as they often they do with rest. Because of international travel restrictions even tourist who wanted to visit these places would have been severely restricted. The Virus need human or other living carrier to transmit across oceans. Also the infor provided by many are as credible as Lanka. (there are many more reasons to explain).

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              It is not just foreigners who bring infections all the time. Once it is there on a significant scale it spreads.
              Was Peru a great travel centre?
              *
              “Peru imposed one of the earliest and strictest lockdowns in Latin America back in March 2020 – before the UK and some other European countries.
              This lasted until the end of June 2020.
              The county’s borders were shut, curfews were imposed, and people could only leave their homes for essential goods – but infections and deaths continued to rise.
              A second lockdown was introduced in January this year in the capital Lima and nine other regions following a wave of infections which brought hospitals close to collapse.
              Experts say Peru’s healthcare system was underprepared, and lacks sufficient funding.”
              (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-53150808)
              *
              All I said was there are things to learn from others.
              From Peru too.
              *
              Sweden follows

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                You give the latest vaccination data for Sweden at more than 55 % of population. Let us look at the data for the duration of infection waves in Sweden.
                Vaccination started near end of 2020 at a slow pace using two dose vaccines to date.
                Doses administered per 100 of population:
                Early April: 20 (equivalent to 10% full vaccination)
                Early June: 60 (equivalent to 30% full vaccination)
                *
                Infection rate dwindled by June 2021 (to about a tenth of either peak).
                Death rate in April was a fifth of the peak values; less than a tenth in May; and near zero by end of June.
                Are we to conclude that with 30% vaccination infection rate collapsed (and, with even less vaccination, death rate approached zero ).
                Their refusal to lock down did not do any more harm than elsewhere in Europe.
                Yielding to pressure to vaccinate was another matter.
                But was it vaccination that did the trick?
                *
                Compare this with more fully vaccinated and face masked countries.
                UK infection rate had dwindled by March 2021 before vaccination picked up.
                In France the first wave passed in 2020. The second was at its peak in April when 25 doses per 100 were administered. Infection was way down from the peak in May with only 40 doses per hundred.

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                  The point is that the vaccine helped, but came in well after the second infection wave was on its way down.
                  *
                  Glad that you are not a lock-down loyalist.
                  My debate was not with you.
                  You commented on my observations addressed to the author. Did I make an issue of vaccination, but for a passing mention?
                  I suggested a strategy desirable for contexts where vaccines were in very short supply and a severe drain on resources.

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                    SJ, I am not going to get into a discussion related to your last two comments. 1) I never supported lock down as a measure in any of my comments. 2) regarding vaccine there is no point in discussing when it was administered because it became available only at the end of first wave. 3) When you compare countries who vaccinated and recommended face mask policy, it does not mean all citizens were strictly following recommendations. Other than face mask social distance , personal hygiene and super spreaders too matter. Even today there are few in U.S including law makers who oppose,resist and even advise public against wearing face masks. So the policy alone is not good enough for any comparison but practicing/following matters. 4) There are countries where citizens follow such measure voluntarily without being told with very good outcome. 5) What is clear to us now is, overall vaccination has helped in blunting the curve. 6) last but not least I could have avoided taking this matter elsewhere in CT.

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                SJ, you are wrong. For a country which is miles away the infection has to be introduced by a carrier from outside.( either foreigner or local who have traveled to an infected country) . Even that can vary depending on the numbers and the viral loads they carry. Other than that food and other consumables can carry the virus but to much lesser extent. In short free movement of people between countries , will play a major role in infectivity. That is the reason I said people who travel to Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua are much less compared to those affected countries. Compared to these yes Peru is much popular travel destination, at least among westerners. I am now ready to move away from this subject.

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    Out of the frying pan into the blazing fire . Rambuk is new health minister replacing Pavithra. Truth doesn’t even exist in this man’s vocabulary. Another person is govt mouth piece Dr. Herath who makes it up numbers as he goes.

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    The man so sick he lept from the balcony.

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