My COVID – and a thank you to our scientists and our government
Steve Kelman says he owes a debt of gratitude for a relatively mild encounter with the coronavirus.
After dodging the COVID-19 bullet for close to three years, I have now tested positive. I think I probably caught it from my wife at a wedding we both attended, where she was just a bit less cautious than I in masking.
My symptoms are pretty mild—a mild sore throat and an intermittent cough (by intermittent I mean about one cough an hour or so). No loss of smell or taste, only very mild fatigue. Now a week into my illness, my sore throat has been fully gone for a few days.
I mention my symptoms because I am 74 years old and a cancer survivor. When COVID first came, I was very worried about my risks for serious illness and hospitalization; people my age and with my health conditions were dying in great numbers.
There is a straightforward explanation for my rather mild encounter with COVID: I am fully vaccinated and boosted. Indeed, when I got sick I was just about to get a third booster, which is now delayed because of my illness.
So for my good fortune I thank the scientists who have developed the vaccines and our government that has supported their work.
Vaccine research has been overwhelmingly funded by government. Forbes has reported that "practically all of the money invested in the three companies" that ended up producing COVID vaccines "came from public funding." (I will note parenthetically that former President Donald Trump deserves credit for launching operation "warp speed" early in the pandemic.)
How effective vaccination is also depends significantly on how many others are vaccinated–the more I am surrounded by other vaccinated people, the safer I am. The government importantly helped the effort to get many people vaccinated.
The White House noted, in the first year of the pandemic, the government "stood up the largest free vaccination program in our country's history—mobilizing 90,000 vaccination locations, standing up dozens of federally-run mass vaccination sites with the ability to administer more than a combined 125,000 shots a day, and deploying over 9,000 federal personnel to support vaccinations nationwide—including over 5,000 active duty troops."
I noted in my blog last week that many people in southwest Florida probably don't understand the efforts of "faceless bureaucrats" who worked on creating the building codes that saved lives. I am guessing the efforts of vaccine researchers and their government funders are somewhat better known but definitely still underappreciated.
I'm going to put it bluntly. I think my government saved me. I understand this. I hope others in my situation do so as well.