"As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of demand." — Josh Billings

Wash. Post COVID-19 Coverage Reviewed by Bruce Brown #2

A former Washington Post writer looks at the current Post’s reporting

The following is Bruce Brown‘s commentary response from the Coronavirus Vaccine & Herd Immunity Digest to an article by Carolyn Y. Johnson, Two American coronavirus vaccines begin the last phase of testing: 30,000-person trials, that appeared in the Washington Post on July 27, 2020.

Brown writes: “wow, it’s really exciting to see how excited everyone is about this exciting news, and all the exciting experimental whiz bang medical technology that’s gone into the exciting press release, er, story in the Washington Post by Carolyn Y. Johnson!” (Two American coronavirus vaccines begin the last phase of testing: 30,000-person trials)

Biblical plague
A detail from a painting by Nicolas Poussin’s depicting a Biblical plague.

WOW, IT’S really exciting to see how excited everyone is about this exciting news, and all the exciting experimental whiz bang medical technology that’s gone into the exciting press release, er, story in the Post by Carolyn Y. Johnson!

Since the Russians completed human trials on a COVID-19 vaccine nearly a month ago, it’s interestingly, that the Post story makes no mention of the Russian vaccine candidates, even though the race for a coronavirus vaccine is the biggest American / Russian technology faceoff since Sputnik!

And speaking of Sputnik, 1957 (the year the Soviets lauched Sputnik 1 into orbit around the earth), was also the year that another deadly viral pandemic swept out of China, namely the Asian flu pandemic.

Like COVID-19, the Asian flu was another novel coronavirus that may have crossed the species lines to become infectious to humans. The Asian flu had a mortality rate very similar to COVID-19 and killed nearly 120,000 Americans in 1957-58, a far larger percentage of the total American poplation than COVID-19 has killed so far in 2020.

The big difference between the Asian flu in 1957 and the coronavirus in 2020 is that the United States was able to develop and distribute an effective vaccine within six months of the first international outbreak of the Asian flu in Singapore and Hong Kong.

So if the American immuneological experts were as sharp today as the Russians, of even as good as the Americans were nearly 100 years ago, they’d have delivered an effective vaccine and begun distribution LAST MONTH!

When you look at it that way, it kind of makes Modena and Pfizer look like vaccine wannabe chumps, doesn’t it? But of course, the final judgement isn’t in yet on this little matter of a coronavirus vaccine, not by a long shot, either way.

And what was Carolyn Y. Johnson thinking when she wrote in her best talking head video news on the scene prose:

Company and government officials repeatedly underscored that although the vaccine development effort is moving at record-breaking speed, safety is not being sacrificed.

“[R]ecord breaking speed”? Only if you ignore or never apprehended what the Russians did a couple weeks ago and what America could do in 1957.

Still, I have to say — Carolyn Y. Johnson is such an exciting young talent!!!

— Bruce Brown
Editor, Coronavirus Vaccine & Herd Immunity Digest

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