Last week, after the world awoke to breaking news about the vaccine that will soon be here in the headlines of all major global publications, the reality of the pandemic brought our feet back to the ground.
If you analyze the original press release from Pfizer, the panacea seems less clear: The news was about the “only” 90% effectiveness of the vaccine in trials so far. There was no accompanying scientific publication to be consulted at all. It was just an announcement, publicity.
An announcement that a global society, hungry for good news, ate up as it ran and re-ran for days across all news channels everywhere and there was a whiff of “the end of the pandemic” in the air. No one listened to the calls for caution coming from the scientific community, not even to those voiced by the WHO pointing out that no country in the world is ready to store and distribute this vaccine. No one could pour cold water on the good news everyone wanted to hear and the sense of being able to see the end of the tunnel as politicians promised that tens of millions of people would be vaccinated as early as january 2021.
Just two days after the announcement, another news story arrived to snip off the celebratory candles that were still burning bright from the vaccine revelation. It turns out that the Pfizer CEO and several other C-level officials coincidentally sold the majority of the shares and options they held in the company on the same day they made the announcement. CNN reports that just the CEO made a profit of more than 5 million $ because of the very obvious increase in the price of the Pfizer stock price. What a coincidence!
But let’s not demonize this company in isolation or only focus on vaccines, their competitors do exactly the same, all the time and sometimes just before a breaking story that the medicine they are pushing turned out to not be that effective at all. We don´t need to mention any names but just in the last months of the this pandemic we all saw this happening in real time.
The real problem during this pandemic is that the media does not exist to inform people any longer, people, citizens. Rather, it has become a communications channel for investors. The core of the message has ceased to be about life, the state, the country, the actual state of the economy rather than the one that is making the margins rich.
But let’s also not demonize the economy, because without it there would not even be a roof or any type of charity. But in maintaining the current economic system we are living in a world of fantasy, in which the majority of news stories are smokescreens, special effects so that citizens will not be informed about what is really going on. Smokescreens so that the truth does not come out and that the house of cards on which this fragile system is balancing does not fall down too quickly.
We want to believe that the cure will arrive tomorrow, that it will be super efficient and that it will not have any significant side effects and that it will all happen quickly enough to make sure that we don’t really have to change the way we were doing things before.
But what is so bad about living in this state of illusion? That measures that are actually necessary to stop the pandemic are not being taken. Neither are decisions being made that will prevent people from developing life long complications from COVID, nor for those that will not even be able to develop consequences, nor are decision being made that can protect and guarantee subsistence for everyone.
As we have said before, it is not about protecting people OR the economy, it is about protecting people AND the economy.