Blindness and fallacies do not protect from Covid-19
Thirty-eight years have passed since my doctoral thesis dissertation. I then described a world first, that an alcohol-averting drug was the indisputable cause of serious liver lesions that had gone unnoticed by clinicians and opposed by the laboratory that sold it. Despite the media impact of the finding, twenty-three years later, after having replaced medical practice with the tasks of entrepreneurship and management, I discovered to my regret that the drug was still being administered, and soon after, that it had been the causative agent of several poisoning crimes. Fortunately, it has already been withdrawn from the market, due to supply problems … (!)
This introduction serves to demonstrate that scientific knowledge and administrative decisions are not always coordinated according to logical postulates. These days we are exposed to contradictory information regarding how to protect the population against Covid-19 and arranging a safe return to social activities.
Undoubtedly, we still know little about the disease and its evolution. But what we already know nowadays is very valuable. There are diagnostic tests to establish whether or not we are infected with SARS-CoV-2 and to confirm whether we have developed antibodies after overcoming the infection more or less undetected. It is true that we still cannot guarantee if immunity will be lasting, but for those who have overcome it, knowing this is very reassuring, and the opposite for those who have not yet faced the virus.
These last few days, unfortunately, it baffles me to see how some statements and conclusions contradict the most elemental common sense. Some initiatives to rule the recovery of the activity are blamed for being segregationists, unethical, and simply abandoned without being fully analyzed and assessed. This is the case of the so-called “immunity passport” which, for our good, I think we should review more rigorously.
In my opinion, it is pointless to think that the stigmas of seropositivity from previous viral infections, such as HIV, would be applied in the current pandemic and generate irresponsible behavior or social discrimination of any kind. About all, today it is important to know whether we are infected and can spread it to our relatives and contacts, or whether we are clean from the virus.
Being infected does not make us outcasts, but rather heroes, as we can isolate ourselves and begin treatment while protecting those around us. If we are not infected or have overcome the disease, we can move with a certain peace of mind knowing that we must take some safety measures and undergo periodic checks of our condition, urgently if we experience new symptoms. Only the available tests, with greater or lesser specificity and sensitivity, eventually applied to the entire population, will be able to regulate our behaviors.
However, in defiance of common sense and prudence, unconfinement plans seem grounded in blindness. Because deciding who goes out to do what, without having a minimum of guidance, is to act blindly. And moving disoriented along unknown paths leads us safely to the cliff.
So I think it is essential that we all have a private certificate of our state of health concerning the Covid-19. It is not enough to have a note or card with the result of the diagnostic test. In addition to being impractical, due to its recurring use, it is also indiscreet, as well as prone to be faked by the many hustlers around us (see how thousands of them have been fined for skipping quarantine). These report certificates must be digital, easily accessible, preserve confidentiality, easy to share, health or security personnel may instantly verify their authenticity, expire when appropriate, and provide the most current behavioral warnings recommended by the health authorities.
These certificates are nothing more than an informative and secure tool. Nothing perverted except in the minds of those who imagine improper use. This is why I do not share the claims of discrimination that are made for the simple fact of evaluating the state of health of the population with the means at our disposal, and I defend the imposition of common sense, for our own gain.
In short, having access to reliable results of diagnostic tests will help us know whether we can go to work with peace of mind, or meet for dinner with friends, get on a plane, book a hotel or go to the beach. Nothing will be like it used to be, but they will be effective for a safer recovery of social activities.
Dr. Francisco J. Guillén
Former University Provost
CEO of BlockTac