4 Reasons Normal Travel Is Just Around The Corner

The novel coronavirus has cast a shadow on the whole world since January, though not everyone realized it until late February or early March. It’s led to a deeper recession than we’ve seen in any of our lifetimes, and one of the industries hit the absolute hardest has been travel.

Over the past several weeks there have been so-called ‘green shoots’ as domestic leisure travel has started to return in the U.S. For sure, travel isn’t rebounding as quickly as many have been saying and business travel is not coming back this year in any meaningful way.

The good news, though, is that we’re not that far away from a real recovery – in travel and for the world.

  1. COVID-19 patient outcomes are improving. We have better treatment protocols, perhaps the virus itself is becoming less deadly – that’s something to expect by the way, because viruses that infect the most are the ones that keep their hosts alive in order to spread. Maybe it’s just that we aren’t sending COVID patients into nursing homes anymore but even as cases remain at elevated levels the number of people dying from COVID-19 has been declining substantially in the U.S.

  2. Patient outcomes should get much better still this fall. We no longer have just remdesivir, and laying patients on their stomachs. Anti-inflammation drugs seem to be helping with patients in advanced stages of distress. There are clinical trials in process not just for repurposed antivirals, but also antibody-based drugs developed from the blood plasma of recovered patients. Hospital stays should become shorter with more people recovering more quickly.

  3. We can choose to limit the spread. We haven’t gotten there yet, cases plateaued in the U.S. but haven’t declined, however we know now that targeted interventions may be nearly as effective as total lockdowns. About 10% of people spread perhaps 80% of infections. We need to limit superspreader events which are virtually all indoors over prolonged periods. And we can wear masks.

    In Texas, where activity re-opened early and where just now we’re starting to see significant spread we have plenty of hospital beds though that can change quickly if spread grows exponentially (especially in Houston, and even in my home of Austin). Cities aren’t allowed to require people to wear masks (or at least cannot penalize them if they don’t) however given the situation on the ground the governor is now allowing cities to require businesses demand masks of employees and customers when in close proximity to each other, under threat of fine.

    Ultimately the fights over masks in the sky simply mirror those on the ground. Mask wearing has become political, although more broadly about lack of trust in institutions and authority – we were told not to buy or wear masks by the same people telling us now to wear them. They were wrong before, and the studies are overwhelmingly suggestive now that masks can make a big difference. But the credibility of the CDC and others is largely shot. Still, airlines are communicating seriousness and in what almost looked like a put up job American Airlines even banned a conservative activist flaunting their rules and videotaping it.

  4. There should be a widely available vaccine next year. This isn’t a guarantee, still speculative, but there are enough different platforms and enough different trials that we should wind up with something that is effective. The Chinese model of attenuated viruses may help only a little for a short period, but may be available first. Other approaches may take a little longer (mere months) but be more effective.

    I don’t expect a ‘one and done’ vaccine that protects you for years. And it may not be completely effective either. But if 50% of people take a vaccine that’s 50% effective, that along with the population that’s had the virus recently, and those who may have some cross-immunity from other viruses or natural immunity, should get us close enough to herd immunity that the virus isn’t particularly dangerous to those outside the highest risk groups.

In past economic downturns, cleaning protocols have been one of the first things to go at airlines. Planes would go as long as 18 months between deep cleans. This time the opposite is true.

Years ago, in the regulated era, the government worked to keep airfares high and shut down competition to make sure airlines earned consistent profits, believing that without those profits carriers might skimp on safety. That’s really not been true in the U.S., where airlines operated safely through myriad bankruptcies. Now not only are they safe, they’re clean too. And while some of the most extreme practices (like Delta spraying disinfectant between domestic flights) probably won’t last past the end of the pandemic, new clean is likely to remain in some form at airlines and hotels.

There will be some cost in terms of travel experience. We’ll lose investment in passenger and guest amenities as businesses work to rebuild their balance sheet before competing in that arena. But overall what we’re learning now is going to make travel better in the long tun.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. We see states with their numbers hitting record highs, states have activated their emergency beds, and there is no promise of vaccine early next year…plus, business travel wont be returning in 2020. Contact tracing is JUST starting on these new cases that are starting to appear, plus severe cases take a bit to develop after detection. This doesn’t even include the fact that borders are closed, those that aren’t have required tests or quarantine (huge cost to family travel) and anyone who travels today without GREAT insurance would be taking a HUGE risk…We KNOW you want travel to return, its very obvious…but lets not risk peoples lives.

  2. For travel to return, quarantining needs to be abandoned and outright travel bans need to be revoked.

  3. Its a shame that American’s have bought into this idea of “rugged individualism” yet certain sections of the country can not stomach the thought of being required to wear a mask or stay inside, or stand 6 feet apart, in the name of slowing down a pandemic- Texas, Florida, Maine, and Oklahoma are about become the new NorthEast, in terms of infection rates- Arizona is in its own league- domestic travel will remain flat for the year and international travel will not return into sometime in 2021. I live in Philadelphia, we had shelter in place on starting March 23rd and schools were closed March 16- everyone complained and said the city’s government was over reacting – yesterday out city of 1.58 million citizens had 68 total new cases of the virus- everyone still has on mask and we are very limited openings. We had to suffer in order to survive- all this to say that travel will not resume anytime soon and it will not be “normal” for a few years

  4. I think your analysis is hopelessly optimistic on the vaccine angle. The best estimates I’ve read say that we’d have 100,000,000 vaccines available by the time one is approved. We have 350,000,000+ people in the US so that would mean less than 1/3 the population would have access to a vaccine when it’s ready. Setting aside the not at all insignificant issue of how easily and quickly our government can get those 100,000,000 innoculations done considering we still really really suck at testing six months after this started, that leaves 2/3 of the population wide open for exposure and transmission. You need 70% immunity to reach herd immunity status which means we won’t get there fast or soon as more vaccines have to be made.

    Toss in the idea that the vaccine probably won’t be a one and done (it would be great if it was but like you I doubt it will be) we not only need to produce additional vaccines to cover the rest of the population that didn’t get the first batch but you need to produce and distribute additional vaccines to those who got the first shot and need a booster.

    Normal travel is NOT just around the corner. Not as long as the virus is running around like it is and we can’t adequately defend against it; two points that are not going to change fast enough soon.

  5. @Douglas Swalen –

    1) I said vaccine in 2021, not “start of 2021” but even if we get to high risk folks first that’s progress

    2) You don’t need 70% for herd immunity, those estimates simply failed to take into account heterogeneity in how people contract and spread the virus. Superspreaders tend to get it first, the people who are in situations to get it are the ones in situations to spread it. And when you add up perhaps 25% of people in parts of Manhattan with 25% protection from a vaccine plus maybe an equal amount with some immunity going in you’re well over.

    3) But herd immunity isn’t a threshold thing where you reach it or you don’t, as you approach it spread slows, once you hit it spread doesn’t end it just begins to die off.

  6. Gary…again where did you get your PhD in infectious diseases?

    Because you are making some scientific observations like:

    “perhaps the virus itself is becoming less deadly”
    “Patient outcomes should get much better still this fall”
    “There should be a widely available vaccine next year”

  7. Counterpoint: emerging research suggests COVID-19 antibodies fade after a few months. Weak evidence so far but in theory this is possible for large swaths of people.

    Personally, I anticipate not traveling by air, not taking public transport, and not attending any large events for a solid year or more. Maybe several years.

  8. @David you are partly quoting me out of context. Regarding a vaccine “This isn’t a guarantee, still speculative”

    As for decreasing mortality that’s not speculative, the reasons to explain why have competing hypotheses, and I offer a couple of them – you note only one, hedged with ‘perhaps’, but note that it *not* my claim of what’s happening.

    Regarding patient outcomes likely improving that’s a pretty strong consensus view.

    Note that you do not offer any actual disagreement with what I’ve written. You only object to the fact that I wrote it.

  9. @Jason – there’s significant variance in how long antibodies last, but those aren’t the only mechanism by which people retain immunity and resist the virus. Diminishing antibodies doesn’t mean that people are vulnerable to reinfection after a few months, rather than closer to a year, although it’s certainly possible.

    However even if that’s true it doesn’t really diminish the point, it just means we don’t slow down infections quite as quickly.

  10. @Bob @David — you don’t need a specific background to consume empirical scientific research. You do need to be sufficiently educated and sufficiently skeptical (but not in the reddit armchair way). Gary meets both those criteria as far as I can tell.

  11. This is your opinion! You are not a doctor nor a scientist. I get that you have your opinion. But too say that the virus seems to be not that important as it was. It is still there and is not going away! It will be back in the fall stronger, I feel then before. People have become to complacent about Covid. That what scares me.

  12. @Doll – I absolutely do not anywhere say “the virus seems to be not that important as it was” I think I have taken the virus VERY seriously since VERY early on.

    Now, most of the models of what would happen turned out to be wrong for a variety of reasons, things were supposed to be worse *even with lockdown* though I very much worry about where we’re seeing increased spread right now, places like parts of my home state of Texas (Houston, Austin) for instance.

    Even those of us not at significant personal risk (a) can spread it to others [though most spread seems to come from a small minority of cases] and (b) can be really quite nasty even when it doesn’t lead to a hospital stay. I do not want to get it – and I’ve written about the precautions I take to avoid it.

    The good news is that there haven’t really been case clusters tied back to planes. There have been people on planes with the virus, but flights haven’t been identified as significant vectors of spread. That, and the promise of science, give me strong reason to believe we’ll get back to something much more normal next year.

  13. What all of the ‘sky is falling’ crowd forgets is… now we have the data.

    In March, everyone was saying – omg, 3-7% fatality rate. Panic!
    So, that’s what we did, panicked.

    And some of us disagreed, but, the herd went with Panic, so, here we are.
    Now, the data has poured in, and, Coronavirus is likely about the same mortality as the flu, or a bit higher.

    the CDC shows an IFR down to .26%
    Stanford Medical estimates .28%
    UBonn says around .34%, or less.

    So, it doesn’t matter if ‘Cases spike’ (whatever that means).
    As Gary mentioned, not only is it much better understood HOW to treat it.
    But, we know who is vulnerable to it (old people, infirm, etc)

    There is some evidence from UBonn and Stanford that for most of us, Covid-19 is LESS deadly than the Flu.

    And *that* is the difference.
    We panicked in March because we didn’t know. That’s annoying, but fine, we did it.

    Now we *DO* know.
    99.74% of people survive a bout of Covid-19 – on average.
    And most people under 50, it’s 100%

    That’s why no one is listening to the people still screaming ‘lock everyone inside’
    We have the facts, and we’re not listening to Chicken Little anymore.

  14. New deaths lag behind the new confirmed cases by several weeks. So the upward slope in Eric Topol’s plot in his post (see Gary’s reason #1, “patient outcomes are improving”, above) is still daunting. I’m a PhD who has worked in infectious disease for decades and I am still worried.

  15. chales manning says: “Its a shame that American’s have bought into this idea of “rugged individualism” yet certain sections of the country can not stomach the thought of being required to wear a mask or stay inside, or stand 6 feet apart, in the name of slowing down a pandemic”

    @chales: I live in New York and I couldn’t agree with you more. Back in March I was obediently following the advice of the New York Health authorities that I should go out, ride the subway, have dinner in Chinatown, attend the Chinese New Year celebrations with tens of thousands of my fellow New Yorkers and follow the advice of the WHO and CDC to not wear a mask.

    But would you believe this country? Many rugged individuals were staying home, not riding the subway, not eating out in Chinatown and when they did go out they disobediently wore masks.

    Gosh they may as well have carried around “Don’t Tread on Me” flags.

    What is this country coming to?

  16. @George – are you saying 100% of the people under 50 who have contracted Covid have survived? If you are then that is not correct.

  17. @Tom – alas, this country doesn’t listen to PhDs or other qualified experts anymore. They listen to Instagram/Twitter, “news”/bloggers and of course “Inside Feels.”

  18. I’m a little pessimistic on the vaccine front. I was reading an interview with someone in-the-know (can’t find link, sorry) who said that of all the vaccine candidates, only one is the tried-and-true “inactivated virus” type vaccine. All of the others are DNA, RNA, or some other type of vaccine that should work in theory, but for which there are no FDA approved versions for any other type of virus.

  19. So much push back on any positive thoughts…

    The one thing you can count on, half the people will reject any positive news. And the other half will reject any negative news. Pointless to even discuss facts in a post fact world.

    I try to be in the positive group. Maybe some of you should give it a try. Being positive about good news is not the same as pretending the Covy doesn’t exist.

    And please try to remember, we are still in hypothesis stage. The science is what happens over the next several years for our kids and grandkids to debate.

  20. So Gary provides a completely rational and plausible analysis that is even scientifically based. And folks attack him?

    Are you guys scared of your shadows? Or do you just not want the pandemic to end?

    So strange.

  21. @Steve – there are multiple inactivated virus candidates, it’s the predominant Chinese approach, but we know that other approaches seem to be generating robust immune responses in trials. We have to get the dosing right, prove they’re safe, and prove that not only are antibodies generated but that people do not actually become infected in larger trials. There are enough attempts that there should be a winner in my opinion – though I flag in the post it’s speculative.

  22. There seems to be an inherent fear of air travel due to the cramped social distance and other factors. But I have not seen any reports of community spread via airplane cabins.

    On the other hand, we frequently see news reports of spread among groups that have gone to certain restaurants or bars. (Hoping to see something similar after the Trump rally)

    My point is maybe we are not giving enough credibility to the infectious safety of air travel.

  23. How is normal travel just “around the corner” when airports have is in the process of implementing temperature checks and airlines are still trying to figure out how to enforce mask policies and I’m sure there will be additional safety measures if we see a second wave of infections.

    I like your optimism Gary, but your title is just misleading so I think you’ve gotten a lot of confusion and backlash, not sure if you did it on purpose or not, but definitely normal travel is not “around the corner”.

  24. Chales: And yet your magical state of PA has an infectivity rate 50% greater than Florida (6,719 vs 4,179 per million) & a death rate 400% higher! ( 504 vs. 145 deaths per million). I actually DO have a background in epidemiology: an M.S. in Biometrics.

  25. @ Terry

    You mean “Cook the Books” Florida?

    Even Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation Ministry of Health laugh at the Florida Covid numbers.

  26. @JimInBoulder – I read the piece earlier today, didn’t really add to our understanding, it talks about the rest of the world shaking their head not understanding what policymakers are thinking here in the States .. but it talks about today, it doesn’t talk about next year

  27. @patrick

    Yeah, really poor wording on my part – apologies.

    By definition, the survival rate rounds up to 100%, but, obviously that doesn’t help us.

    If you look at the CDC chart or others, they break out the IFR by age groups.
    In general, no one has anything to worry about aside from those who are old/infirm.

    Yes, some people die below 50, but, it’s even less than the average IFR.


    @Tom – if you have a PhD, I’m confused why you would be worried.
    Are you working on Covid-19 things now?
    Do you have data that shows an IFR higher than the CDC?

    Doesn’t help a lot to say ‘I’m worried’ – what data do you have?
    Please share, we can all learn.

  28. Gary, simply look at the chart in the article I linked to. Look at how the European Union’s numbers have gone down drastically. Look at how ours have plateaued at best. Look at the numbers for the mostly southern states that relaxed restrictions early. Look at how concerned people in Tulsa are about Trump’s rally. Americans, including apparently you, have decided we’ve had enough of coronavirus. The virus doesn’t care that we’ve had enough; given the lack of sacrifice on the part of Americans, especially in red states, enforced by the example shown by our top government leaders (who would not be caught dead wearing masks) I predict we are in for a huge rebound of the first wave, and an even larger second wave once schools try to open, and people start congregating in bars. Maybe you’re young enough that you’re part of the “invincible” crowd. This lifetime UA Platinum will not be getting on an airplane until there’s a vaccine and the risk is low. I can’t think of a more dangerous place to be than a hermetically sealed tube in the sky.

  29. While your optimism is mostly welcome; your vested self interest is coloring if not flat out biasing your speculative opinioons and caveat couched suppositions. You could just as well say, 1, not sure, 2, too soon to tell, 3, we all aare hoping for the best, and 4, how else can one be reasonably expected to make a living writing a travel blog with no travel, no air travel, and not much positvie to report on from actual travellers. Unless you are encouraged by some political hack making a show out of not wearing a mask on american airlines. I think he is banned. Now maybe if some cities and local authorities try a similar stance on mask wearing perhaps we can all keep each other safe, or at least safer.

    I’d like to see a vacine, sooner rather than later. but if we do see one, it will be the first one in history for a corona virus. There is so much we still just do not know. Included in this is a full understanding of what the effects of this virus are, and how it may be impacting other vulnerable population groups, for non mortality endpoints. What we think we know about deaths, is improving fast, now just 3 months of info from reliable sources. But what we think we know about non fatal effects on other sensitive (non aged populations) is slight, and I think we should be more worried about this, than if some knothead wants to wear a mask or not.

    I applaud your optimism Mr. Leff, but you, like those you criticise for differing with you, didn’t really add to our understanding. Now where have we seen that rhetorical move of late?

    Why don’t you think we’ll have normal travel next year? Let’s see, We are currently at no travel, and we have countries that are not allowing travel from anywhere nearby. there is no cure, and no readily available effective treatment, nor are the usual countermeasures, like distancing and wearing a mask effective enough to allow for much real opening and normalization of things we all want to return to doing; like traveling and even bloggin about travelin’
    cheers,
    in the meantime, do you have any food and photography blog posts you could serve up?
    How about some secrets of award travel booking?

  30. I love how politicians still pump out the fake news of “it’s just like the flu”, which @George dutifully blindly repeats.

    Stop and think: how is 120,000 people dead in a few months WITH lockdowns just like the flu?

    #COVIDIOTS

  31. This is an utterly ridiculous post. Anything more than two weeks to a month out is completely unknowable.

    Every single post on this blog about country X reopening for travel on day Y has been 100% incorrect. I don’t foresee this entry, full of speculations many of which uninformed and contradicted by facts, to be any different.

    Waste of time, undermining the self-given “expert” monicker of the writer.

  32. @Jake

    I just compared the IFR of Covid-19 to the Flu.
    They are – *very* similar.

    Seriously, do your own research. You should be scared of Covid-19 if you are scared of the flu killing you as well. Otherwise, the data is in. Sure, we have more to learn, but, this is not some deadly disease spreading around the world.

    It’s a flu like virus, that has killed in 7 months – less people than die normally in the world, in 3 days.

  33. I disagree with Gary, although he makes some good points
    What he misses: Mass psychology

    Things are calm now due to social distancing and summer
    But the extreme social distancing seen the last 2 months cannot continue

    As states open up we see surges in COVID
    Not a surprise.

    Next Fall we will have surge #2 combined with influenza

    What people don’t realize is that the overall mortality of COVID is immaterial
    It is the incremental numbers of very sick people we cannot handle

    As example
    My system (8 hospitals with ICUs) typically runs at 80-90% capacity every winter
    But COVID is ON TOP of the “normal” demand for ICU beds
    So we run out of ICU beds very quickly
    We also run out of vents, gloves, masks, gowns, and other supplies

    We managed wave #1 easily, but Only because we shut down our entire elective medical service lines. And lost hundreds of millions of dollars.
    We can’t do it again.

    This fall, if we see a surge with influenza, we will quickly fill with very ill and dying patients.
    If so… mass psychology will take over

    Borders will be shut again.
    Why? Because my state won’t want people from your state coming here taking “our” beds
    And if my state is hit hard, your state won’t want my people coming there spreading it

    You saw this with a Florida being upset when New Yorkers escaped to Florida 2 months ago
    You see it now as Floridians are escaping back to NY

    It will worsen.

    Typical “fast” vaccine takes 4-5 years minimum. But we’ve never tried this hard before and will allow a faster timeline. So maybe next summer.

    I put return of “normal” travel at summer 2021 if we are extremely lucky and all works well without a hiccup.
    The following summer if everything doesn’t line up perfectly

    FWIW I am a doctor and leader of a large multi specialty group

  34. You fail to note how exceptionally bad the US is doing in its “war on the coronavirus”, and how therefore Americans will continue to be shunned. Over the last 7 days, the US lost 20.0 people per 100k per day to COVID-19; that’s 137 times as many as Japan and 2.4 as many as Italy, the initial epicenter of the infection in the West. Yes, Italy is doing far, far better than the US!

    Only Sweden at 33 is doing worse, and it’s being shunned by all, starting from its neighbors; the UK is roughly doing the same but its rate of death is going down twice as fast as the US at 25% per week vs. 13%

    The US response to COVID-19 has been horrifying and will be one of the last countries to return to “normal” travel. And because the state of the health crisis determines the state of the economy, it will be painful. Witness Apple and others shutting down stores again in the US.

  35. @ George

    As you sure you aren’t confusing case fatality rate (CFR) with infection fatality rate (IFR) when you rant about March panic?

    Do you understand the limitations of IFR estimates?

    That such estimates vary widely?

    Are you aware that you are a quoting median score that may or may not apply according to specific circumstances / demographics / health care opportunity?

    In any case…if you really do want to compare to the flu…look at the real “data” of the actual number of COVID-19 deaths in the USA and you will see that these are already several times greater than a typical flu season and you have a long way to go before we know how many actual deaths from COVID-19.

    The coronavirus recorded deaths in the USA already blow those from flu out of the water and the virus is just getting started in the USA, assuming the apparent prevailing reluctance to accept lockdown control and thorough inbound quarantine mitigations!

    Have you considered that the impact of the illness is not just about death rate? For example, the length of time a symptomatic person has the disease, the longer term health impacts on those who survive? The impact on health care services?

    Clinging onto a presumed IFR with apparently little knowledge or understanding is just plain folly: the CFRs of some countries sit in the 10-15% bracket. The USA is trending towards 150,0000 – 200,000 plus deaths of its own.

    You run the danger of being trapped into a narrative of justification after the event having experienced the grossest incompetence (in number of ways) in controlling the disease in the USA (and other countries such as the UK) despite successful mitigations being known.

    Incidentally, you may or may not be aware that you can access an extensive medical / scientific literature using the “PubMed” search engine to your heart’s content. Enjoy and be well.

  36. I can well appreciate the optimistic and mildly epistemological slant of this article. Their is a lot of potentially good analysis to be sure. One cold and hard fact undermines the impact of this “great” news. The mainstream media has gone all out in their efforts to scare everyone into believing this is the new black plague of the Middle Ages for whatever reason or agenda. No one can underestimate the long lasting effect of the 7 day/24 hr constant impact that the media has on the vast majority of the citizenry. Does anyone truly believe that average folks who are trying to keep body and soul together are going to come home at the end of a workday and do an analysis of the latest CDC recommendations and search the innumerable travel websites to see if it is truly safe to travel to, in my case, Hawaii? I don’t think so. The slightest uptick in covid-19 in a tourist destination will only serve to call a halt to tourist traffic. This effect will feed on itself and will take a long time to minimize – if ever. What a shame.

  37. It’s amazing to me how little people do research. How they listen to only one narrative. They can’t wrap their minds around investigating other sources of information which is suppressed by mainstream media and big pharma. So many people are sleeping. They just follow their authoritative “daddies” and that’s it. For that matter, they don’t even know where to begin looking. So sad.

    First off…..HCQ used early in treatment (with Zinc and Z-Pak) is an inexpensive yet highly effective treatment. Problem was vaccine companies don’t make any money with it so they authorized studies that were extremely skewed in their favor, overdosing by multiple amounts which created flawed tests. FACT (side note – good friend of mine (70+ old) admitted to NYC hospital in March. Three days above treatment and he was out and back to normal.)

    Second – Genetic material of Covid will be found in many as testing (flawed) increases. Doesn’t mean you are infected. Doesn’t mean you are sick or contagious. People coming out of their cocoon past few months after eating poorly, no exercise, no Vit D, stressed out, etc…with weak immune system… yeah they might get a cold(vid).

    Third – Generally speaking, most of the deaths were to the old or pre-existing conditions. Just like the flu. Everything labeled Covid. We killed our elders in NY, we killed them in PA and all around the US. Left them to die in loneliness, with no supplements, quality food or care. Ventilators were death machines.

    Forth – Kids under 19 generally and especially under 12 rarely are infected. Almost 0.00%.

    Fifth – Vaccine will not work. It will kill many, especially the RNA vaccine. It will be untested, contain poisons and will be ineffective. It is only a scare tactic to force vaccinate everyone, not so much from Covid but with all the other vaccines that don’t work. Pharma has removed natural immunity since 1960’s and replaced it with fake herd immunity. Four billion paid out by the Vaccine Injury Court and that’s only for the families of children killed or left like zombies! Vaccine companies are not liable after Reagan signed off on that law in 1986.

    I’ll leave you with one link. Perhaps one of you will be interested in looking at other points of view..

  38. Gary, you are horribly misinformed.

    I’m a doctor in Australia, and let me tell you this:

    1. Patient outcomes are not improving. It’s just that where there is widespread virus the most vulnerable are already dead.

    2. Treatment has barely improved at all. We have NOTHING. Again, it’s just that the most vulnerable are already dead in places like NYC and London.

    3. Talk of 10% of people spreading 80% of infection is just America-centric nonsense, because you have no contact tracing in the USA and have no idea where cases come from.

    Here in Australia every case gets aggressively traced. And guess what. Superspreaders are irrelevant: this virus is spread by TRAVEL.

    It’s exactly like all similar viruses. Treatment and vaccines may never happen – remember SARS and MERS and Ebola?

    You control and defeat this virus by stopping travel and closing borders, and by locking down with closed borders until all your cases die out.

    There is ZERO treatment for this virus, NO vaccine in sight, and opening up is simply economic suicide.

    And opening up without having contained the virus first is just denial combined with selfishness. It’s the coward’s way out – pretend that the problem isn’t there.

    I’d rather be in New Zealand‘s economic and lifestyle situation than the USA’s – and it is BECAUSE they closed down totally for 6 weeks to defeat the virus. They won. The USA is losing before our very eyes, and it’s hard for those of us overseas who love America to watch as the country continues to make every possible wrong choice.

  39. @ David F – a very precise explanation and I agree with everything you say .

  40. Be very wary of an early vaccine.

    No safe, effective vaccine has ever been developed in less than 4 years. Rushed vaccines are notoriously risky in terms of both safety and effectiveness.

    What SHOULD happen is this:

    1. All air travel and cross-border travel suspended.

    2. Like in Australia, returning travellers from overseas placed in policed hotel quarantine for 2 weeks, for which they pay $2000.

    3. Strict local lockdowns including stopping intra-state travel, until community transmission ends, like in Australia and New Zealand.

    4. States then open up on a regional basis, conditional upon fewer than 1 new case per million population per day. Any higher rate requires renewed lockdown for at least 28 more days.

    5. Like in New Zealand, once community transmission is terminated, domestic travel can resume.

    6. Do not be tempted to roll out a vaccine prior to its widespread authorisation and roll-out in other advanced countries. We have already seen the US and Brazil authorise the comical use of malaria medication which was never going to work. It would be disastrous to rely upon a similarly hopeless vaccine.

  41. If you want the Wild West with no masks, large close gatherings and shoulder to shoulder bars and pools, forget back to normal travel this year.

  42. @DavidF – It’s nonsense to say that it’s just that the most vulnerable have already died, because patient outcomes are improving even in places where the virus is just now starting to spread. Death rates among ‘the most vulnerable’ are much lower for instance in my state of Texas. I’m not just talking about death rates declining in New York, but in places where the virus is mostly new.

    Treatment is better than it was at the start, we know a lot more, we don’t just go straight to ventilators. There’s an anti-viral that helps but is in limited supply. Release rates from hospitals have gone up. Hospitals also have more PPE by the way, and managing hospital capacity better through distancing measures that spread out infections improves patient outcomes too – the biggest problem has been where hospitals become overwhelmed.

    The data on a small percentage of patients causing most of the infections isn’t predominantly from U.S. contact tracing, it’s a consistent result from China, South Korea, Italy, and Germany as well.

  43. @ Gary Leff

    Are you denying that a cohort has died in those locations where the coronavirus has run rampant? Are you suggesting that the data don’t need to be interpreted for such? UK nursing homes anyone?!

    Goodness forbid you caught the virus yourself – just what / which treatments are you going to put your trust in? And at what point of your infection cycle? Do you really believe that your medical outcome would be significantly better now than previously?

    Let’s say you were a person prone to a Cytokine Storm Syndrome. Would you even know? What are you going to tell your doctors to do? Maybe they are up to date with some initial research on a number of markers for your susceptibility for CSS – so, then what?

    Let’s say you have hypertension. Are you going keep taking those ACE Inhibitors or not? If you know the answer to that do tell us and the world medical community.

    Are you feeling more confident because you had a BCG vaccination as a kid? Are you demanding one now? If you know the answer to that do tell us and the world medical community.

    What are you going to tell your medics to do about any blood clotting issues? Prey tell. If you know the answer to that do tell us and the world medical community.

    And if the worst befalls and the medics determine you need to be on a ventilator, are you going to refuse because of the 50% mortality statistic?

    And what about your smoking habits. If you don’t smoke have you started? Just in case the nicotine stymies initial viral infection. Or have you already stopped smoking knowing that if the virus makes it to your lungs you are TOAST?

    Have you moved from a high air pollution location to a new one (lower PM2.5) – or have you decided to discount that risk factor? After all it’s not proven, right?

    Are you seeking out warmed, humid, environments to inhabit? Or have you decided that’s not on your radar? Again, not proven, right?

    Would you blindly sign up to an anti malarial or anti-inflammatory drug study – or want to know the risks up front? Right, you’d have enough data to make that call?!

    In the meantime, have you been on a progressive exercise program to drop any excess weight and boost your immune system – just in case? Just because that’s the one thing absolutely in your control – or are you as apparently overweight as your pix suggest (don’t take that personally, since I am too)?

    And, the big question, if you found yourself back in Australia and sick with COVID-19 because you couldn’t help resist your travel obsession, and DavidF, the experienced medic of reason posting herein, turned out to be the doctor assigned to you, would you be telling him that you know best, or grateful for his expertise, experience and professionalism and your best shot of survival?!

    Of course that wouldn’t happen because you would have been in compulsory quarantine on arrival.

    Because Australia has the virus thankfully under control, and that in the MOST PART by RESTRICTING TRAVEL!!! Almost all of our daily cases nationwide are from quarantined inward travel. The few cases that aren’t are subject to aggressive contact tracing.

    IT WORKS!!!

    Stop dreaming. Stop deluding yourself.

    Meanwhile, USA cases back on the rise in numerous states – death statistics inexorably stacking up…an excusable and monumental failure.

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