Sat, Mar

A Wish List For a 2022 Planet Earth That Includes COVID-19 But No Pandemic!


THE DOCTOR IS IN - Planet Earth is one of both biological and social evolution (to say nothing of chemical and physical evolution that is both manmade and non-manmade, but I digress).

Our planet includes many bacteria, fungi, animals both microscopic and macroscopic...and even viruses that are dangerous and deadly to human beings. 

Those viruses include HIV, Influenza, Parainfluenza, Hepatitis...and Coronaviruses (the latter is most dramatically represented by COVID-19). They'll be around for a long, long time, and will mutate and spread in ways not heretofore seen in a world where travel from one continent to another is inevitable. 

So, we're in a pandemic, and with a COVID-19 virus that is still lethal to many but with the need to consider a co-existence with that virus without a pandemic that continues to destroy our lives.  

So, here's a wish list proposed by this physician for us to consider, both sober and pragmatic, for us to seek: 

1) Most importantly, for those non-scientists (or even scientists) to acknowledge when they're NOT following the science. This is particularly true for politicians, political activists, and celebrities who--more often than not--don't know a wretched thing about science. Let's wish for them to keep their ignorant mouths shut. 

2) This pandemic is destroying people's lives--and just because YOU are hanging in there and surviving emotionally and financially, doesn't mean that the plight of others doesn't matter, and that it's not YOUR business. So let's just wish for us to change this self-absorbed state of mind. 

3) Some of us are more at risk than others, and by and large it appears that the elderly (who remember polio, and who know that a response to a virus can range from nothing to permanent disability, or even to death), and the immunocompromised (who know and respect their health limitations) are getting vaccinated when they can.  

Let's just wish for those who need it the most to get vaccinated and protect themselves. 

4) Those of us who are obese, prediabetic, and at greater risk of getting the viral syndrome and even dying from COVID-19, are still too often unvaccinated. By choice, even--and the virus will choose YOU to die next.  

Yes, it will be YOU who becomes disabled or even dies if you're heavy, prone to colds or asthma, and especially unvaccinated. So here's to wishing you change your minds before you realize on your deathbed that maybe you carried this "I can do this with my immune system" a bit too far. 

5) The Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines are overall better than the Johnson and Johnson (J & J) old-school and adenovirus-mechanism vaccine, but all of them are great, and even greater when either they're mixed and matched and repeated with boosters (including the J & J vaccine!).   

Let's wish that boosters aren't shunned. Let's also wish that the J & J option isn't dismissed, particularly if boosters are considered. This virus mutates...kind of like the flu vaccine that most of us should also be vaccinated against. 

6) Let's wish that second-generation vaccines arrive to put us at ease, and particularly those who want better and less controversial options to address our current and ongoing crisis. 

7) Let's wish that--despite the fact that some of us hate masks more than others--we always remember that masking indoors is necessary in both public and private establishments who have to follow the law just to stay open. It's clear that masking is getting very old, and more of us are going unmasked...but it's winter, right? 

8) Conversely, let's wish that those who are so panicked that masking forever is something they want, or who just love the power of controlling others and mask-nagging (even when eating or being outdoors) recognize that nobody likes that sort of control...and increasingly, nobody likes that type of person, either. Kindness, please. 

9) Let's wish for compromise and caution as we yearn to return to our lives, because even vaccinated cruise line passengers have COVID-19 breakouts. Vaccination usually prevents COVID-19 infections from being fatal, and masking can help, but they don't prevent infections altogether. 

10) Let's wish that outpatient treatments and protective measures, be they successful or not, are not dismissed and/or their users disrespected if they don't harm society. Aspirin, Vitamin D, Ivermectin, new pharmaceuticals made by Merck or Pfizer, are all fine to consider... 

...without anyone being judgmental and obnoxious. Using the words "paranoid", "slaves to government propaganda", "horse dewormer", or "fraudulent and greedy Big Pharma" really doesn't help while people are still dying from this virus. 

But the greatest wish of all? 

To recognize that this virus will remain with us for a long, long time, and that while it mutates we can learn to do more outdoors, to do what we can, to work in the comfort of our homes, and (especially!!!) to spend less time on social media and watching the news, and more time reading a book or watching our favorite TV shows at home... 

...and more time, of course, with our families and with our God.


(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He was termed out of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) twice after two stints as a Board member for 9, years and is also a Board member of the Westside Village Homeowners Association. He previously co-chaired the MVCC Outreach, Planning, and Transportation/Infrastructure Committees for 10 years. He was previously co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee, the grassroots Friends of the Green Line (which focused on a Green Line/LAX connection), and the nonprofit Transit Coalition His latest project is his fictional online book entitled The Unforgotten Tales of Middle-Earth and can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)