A vaccine won’t save America from COVID-19

Lloyd BIankfein's picture
Rank: Human | 19,089

People think that the vaccine will be a silver bullet and magically return America to the world before the pandemic. That's wishful thinking. Here's why:

Timing - most vaccines take ten years to be released. Right now, we have over 150 vaccines under developed, with several in human clinical trials. When experts say 12-18 months, they don't mean December 2020. They mean summer 2021 or later, best case scenario. And we've never seen a vaccine developed that quickly, ever. Let's not kid ourselves.

Efficacy: Will the vaccine grant lifelong immunity, or will immunity weaken in a few years? Vaccines are not 100% effective, and the immunity would likely be short-lived and incomplete. It may not stop asymptomatic forms of the virus, which would not stop transmission. We don't know if Covid creates immunity to long term infection, and if immunity will last for a long amount of time. Again, vaccines are not 100% effective, and just another tool in the arsenal.

Distribution and availability: We still don't covid testing capacity we need, after months and months. We would need billions of vaccines to achieve vaccine level herd immunity world wide. We don't have the infrastructure to do that right now. We also need to decide who to prioritize and decide who would get the vaccine first.

Public health responses: Can we keep up pandemic control measures until, and after, a vaccine arrives? Outside of a few places, Americans gave up on controlling the virus. Are Americans really going to social distance for the next 12-18 months? Absolutely not.

Antivaxxers: the final boss. A large percentage of Americans, probably in the 25% range, do not believe in taking vaccines. They will refuse to take the vaccine and prevent America from gaining herd immunity and get life back to normal. AP research shows around 50% of Americans are willing to get the vaccine. If Americans aren't even willing to wear face masks, they're not going to get stuck with a needle to get a hastily developed vaccine. And if the vaccine is Chinese, forget about it.

Buckle up, this is going to be a rough year or two, the virus isn't going anywhere, and the vaccine won't save America. The tide is out, and all of America is swimming naked. We spend $750,000,000,000 each year on our military but have 150,000 Americans dead on our soil in just a few months. Ironic.

Comments (94)

Jul 30, 2020

I agree but at the same time, having a vaccine will help alleviate some concerns over the virus. I think most people recognize that the vaccine will not be a short term fix.

Jul 30, 2020

So the title of your post is part of the problem. This isn't ebola or stage 5 pancreatic cancer - the majority of Americans don't need to be "saved" from COVID. While agree that a vaccine is important just like other vaccines such as the flu, our full and complete focus should be on protected the most at risk. Instead of paying healthy people unemployment benefits, we should be spending these trillions on making sure the at risk are able to be safe. Hotel vouchers, grocery delivery vouchers, whatever it takes. We should not shut down the country to protect the at risk, we should find better,more targeted ways to protect the at risk.
When available, vaccines should go to the at risk population first.

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Jul 30, 2020

Covid shouldn't be as big of a problem as it's become. I absolutely agree with you that we don't need to shut down the economy, we just need targeted investments. But nothing like that, or contact tracing, has really materialized and I don't think it will. If America made in targeted investments, expanded testing, contact tracing, gave out masks, made masks mandatory nationwide, we could save our economy. But unfortunately that probably won't happen.

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Aug 6, 2020

**Numbers are from CDC website

Flu deaths: 62k
Corona deaths: 159k

Flu infections: 39-56 mm
Flu medical visits: 18-26mm
Flu hospitalizations: 410-740k

Corona infections: 5 mm
Corona hospitalizations: 319k

Flu hospitalization rate: 69 (tight) per 100k
Corona hospitalization rate: 130 per 100k

Read an article from Stanford Medical researcher (Dr John Ioannidis) said the IFR (infection mortality rate) is much closer to the flu than we originally thought. He then went on to say that based on his findings and antibody tests that shutting the economy down is likely to have worse effects than the virus itself (safe to say he's been ousted by his respected professional community). Critics of his cited that in 3 months the Rona has killed 93k Americans compared to flu killing 62k in 6 months. Statistically, that still doesn't justify the false rumors stating hospitals are at max capacity and that we will face critical problems at hospitals in terms of space and equipment. Another point I saw from critics was from a UC Irvine researcher named Andrew Noymer who said "Because there is an annual vaccine, not everyone is susceptible to the flu. Everyone is susceptible to COVID-19," Noymer said. "These flu comparisons are missing the forest for the trees." Which is not false, there isn't a vaccine but not everyone is susceptible to Covid-19 to similar degrees. Young and healthy people don't develop severe symptoms. Old people or people with pre existing conditions/bad immune systems are especially at risk and I echo other comments that resources should be allocated towards these people.

Everyone is titled to his/her opinion but I'm convinced the data doesn't justify this shutdown. The media has had an absolute hay day with this virus and acted in its usual fashion of fear mongering. The censorship from social media, YouTube, and google to keep research and counter arguments against the "imminent threat" of coronavirus from reaching the public's eyes and ears is pretty fucked as well. IMO, this virus has become more of a political weapon and there's an agenda behind it. I could honestly not give a shit who wins the election cause either way it's gonna be a joke and I'm more so hoping for a moderate 3rd party to come from all this extreme right vs left shit so I'm not saying there is an agenda against Trump cause I want him to win...I just truly believe there is a clear agenda aligned with upcoming election. Which is pretty fucked considering (to me) this virus has become a political game at the expense of people's careers, mental health and well being, ability to see loved ones, and missing out on incredible (even once in a lifetime) experiences.

Just my 2 cents which doesn't carry a lot of weight but wanted to throw it out there.

  • Developer in RE - Comm
Aug 6, 2020

This would be relevant if the country was, in any way, in shut down. We didn't shut down completely in the spring and we most certainly are not shut down now. Railing against "this shutdown" is detached from our current reality. There is no shutdown.

Further, while a total shutdown for 30-45 days would all but end the spread, it also isn't necessary. If people would just wear masks, stay away from each other indoors, and not be utter imbeciles, the spread would also weaken to a trickle.

Finally, "both sides are the same" is a moronic political take.

Jul 30, 2020

my take - this virus will continue to spread globally despite everyone's best efforts, the rate of spread may slow, but if a virus from 1968 is still 15% of flu cases in some years, covid ain't getting extinct. as this happens, we'll be able to treat it with a combination of doctors being clever, a vaccine, cleaning procedures, immunity or strong immune systems in those that haven't died, etc.

some will claim that it's because of lockdown, masks, and social distancing that the virus gets mitigated

others will claim that it was never that bad, we never should've locked down, it's just a flu, masks are stupid, and all we did was wreck the economy for naught

the truth is most likely that it's more complicated that we're giving credence to, we'll never truly "know" the full story, and that this is just juicy fodder for nightime debates on TV

Jul 30, 2020

I agree with OP, but just to add some color, isn't it known for pandemic viruses to kind of fizzle out on their own in like 2 years? I don't think Covid-19 will go anywhere honestly, but will it be pandemic level destructive in 1.5 years? I doubt it. What I really want to see is the discussion on this factor instead of relying on a vaccine super hero (if one comes out during this time, that can only help speed up its eradication right?). I kind of understand this 2 year time span is somewhat predicated on herd immunity, but considering that America is severely under testing and the government is letting this virus run wild (buckle up for the Fall ladies and gents) is it not possible that our country will be closer to herd immunity by mid 2021 at the latest?

Again, people who are tuned into epidemiology are welcomed to reply. We all suffer from misinformation around this shit

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Jul 30, 2020

client of mine who's both an epidemiologist and had to develop policies for a major global corporation to navigate past pandemics agrees with this idea in general. she feels spread cannot be stopped, only mitigated so that hospitals aren't overwhelmed. in her words, the virus will run its course, it's up to us how much it impacts us however. in her case, their business is essential so they already had plans in place for pandemics and their operations continued without outbreaks in the compliant countries (small blip in russia but that was short lived). she is still doing the things she normally does (in the context of what's allowed), only changes are not hosting big parties, doing personal training and outdoor boot camps instead of the gym (not open in her state), wearing a mask indoors, and doing zoom calls with me instead of me coming to visit in person.

Jul 30, 2020

This is a reality check that we aren't god - and even if you don't believe in god, we aren't the masters of the universe we think we are most of the time. Top of the food chain - sure. But things are still beyond our control.

I view this as, relatively simply, an inability of us as a society to adequately understand risk or accept risk when it is presented. We can do relatively simple things as you've noted - avoid huge gatherings, wear masks, limit unnecessary contact, etc. Provide fall back and support for the most vulnerable among us - pre-existing, older, etc. but allow life to go on and minimize, as much as we can, the impacts of this. I'm on board with limiting overflow of hospitals. I'm on board with not being assholes.

What I'm not OK with is our reliance, and acceptance, that we can paper over a problem for free. The cost is in the future. I don't know what it is, but we will have to pay it. If you believe MMT - I hope to god I'm wrong, and they are correct. Because I see nothing but pain coming out of the vast amounts of stimulus and support that we are doing.

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Jul 30, 2020

Hydroxychloroquine works

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Jul 30, 2020

If you believe it hard enough it just might.

Just like how if you believe hard enough that you're not a virgin, you're not. Because all of a sudden masturbation counts as having sex.

Magic

Financial Data Science

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Jul 30, 2020

It's funny how we are told to discard any thought of using a proven drug that's been around for over 60 years because it is "dangerous", despite it not being dangerous and there's evidence showing it has actually helped treat covid victims, yet we should trust a vaccine that is being frantically pushed on to us for a virus with a the survival rate of 99.96%(and for people under 40 the death rate is nearly zero).

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  • Developer in RE - Comm
Jul 30, 2020
Jul 31, 2020
Xndrs:

Hydroxychloroquine works

Believing in conspiracy theories and "alternative facts" is not REPE

...but is it REPE?

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Jul 31, 2020

I have heard that injecting disinfectant into one's body also works...

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Aug 3, 2020

It sure does.

Array

Jul 30, 2020

I personally love how every finance bro on earth took public health and epidemiology overnight and are now experts. There's been vaccine's developed in short periods of time before and since none of us are experts, and FEW of us even have science degree's let's yield to the experts. Experts say Year end 2020 or Q1 2021 so let's be hopeful and not so negative OP. The sky isn't falling although it seems like you want it to

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Jul 30, 2020

While this is true that vaccines have been created in shorter timelines, like the H1N1 vaccines that took about 6 months to start being mass-produced from when the disease was first confirmed in the U.S., that doesn't necessarily mean that we'll have one even by the end of this year for this virus. I am hopeful though for Q1 2021 though. There are so many vaccines being worked on simultaneously by some of the most intelligent people in the world that it would be hard to believe they can't make it happen.

Jul 30, 2020

Correct, no it doesn't but "typical" timelines don't apply either. We have never had an entire world concentrated on a common goal before in modern medicine, and we have huge sets of data outside of developing nations for the first time in modern medicine. Again, I'm not and nobody on here is an expert in this field, so let's stop acting like a week of google searches and research can give us the knowledge required to make such absolute predictions. Let the experts do their thing, and do what you can to help yourself, family, etc in the meantime. The arrogance coupled with pessimism displayed in this thread and especially the OP is likely a contributing factor in why the US is underperforming the rest of the world in response

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Aug 6, 2020

Agree that it's silly for people outside of epidemiology and medicine to act like we understand any of the science behind this shit but can you not look at the numbers and say "what the fuck why all the chaos"? And I'd love for expert opinions but it's quite literally useless when only one side of the scientific community is being heard and that any counter argument or counter research is completely silenced. Groupthink combats progress.

Controversial
Jul 30, 2020

I'm not an antivaxer, but I also don't really have any interest in taking a vaccine if one is created. Anyone else can feel free, but it's not my job to take a vaccine for the elderly if they don't wish to social distance.

Array

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Jul 30, 2020

The decision to take the vaccine should be based on how vulnerable you to being negatively impacted by COVID. I am a little older than the average person here ,and while I do not get a flu shot, I would probably take the vaccine.

Most Helpful
Jul 30, 2020

this is why America is fucked

Americans literally cannot comprehend doing anything for the good of society because selfishness is an American value

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Jul 31, 2020

You're absolutely right. America was at it strongest when we came together for the national interest. That was the Greatest Generation. Today's society on both left and right is unrecognizable from the strong America of the past, the heritage that I am proud of.

It's super ironic because the same hyper conservative individualists who end up joining the military have to have the individuality beaten out of them and learn to operate for the greater good, which is why our volunteer military is the best in the world. And the same collectivist hyper liberals at some point in their life when they are outside the academic bubble have to learn how to pick themselves up and take responsibility for their own actions and lot in life.

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Jul 31, 2020

Capitalism on steroids

Jul 31, 2020
Lloyd Blankfein:

this is why America is fucked

Americans literally cannot comprehend doing anything for the good of society because selfishness is an American value

Just my two cent:

Americans come together when they believe in the same thing. Individualism at all costs takes a back seat.

The problem is that half (or more] of the country is so pissed off at the elites and ruling classes - especially the talking heads and experts who can be, let's admit it, wrong or off base relatively often, that they will refuse to follow even the most simple rules or basic behaviors because they see it as a small way to say "f you". They simply don't, or don't want to believe the same thing.

I've met many people who refuse to wear masks. Every single one was basically not wearing them as an act of defiance first and everything else second.

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Aug 1, 2020

I absolutely cannot comprehend the resistance to wearing of masks. Maybe I've been gone from the US for too long. The comparison against the Greatest Generation is quite apt. I doubt the GG would have thought twice. When America called them up for service, they went. Hell people lied about their age and medical conditions to throw themselves into a bloody war in Europe. Families accepted the rationing of commodities. Nowadays I see people beat each other senseless over toilet paper and refuse to wear a mask because .... well I really don't know why.

The very first line in the Constitution speaks about banding together for the common defense. Isn't wearing a mask and taking reasonable precautions the least one can do for the common defense of your fellow American?

There is so much talk over personal liberties and not enough talk about personal responsibilities.

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  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jul 30, 2020

Even if it's wishful thinking, I need something concrete to hope for. It's been a very shitty, lonely set of months. I can't think about at least another year of this shit.

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Jul 31, 2020

You're weak lol

Array

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  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jul 31, 2020

You have a small peen and have an abysmal 3x MS/SB ratio, fuck off.

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Jul 30, 2020

Who cares about COVID. If you are scared enough stay home. This is not going to go away anytime soon. We need to just get on with it (srs).

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  • Developer in RE - Comm
Jul 30, 2020

Or, you know, we could stop the spread...like literally every other first world country on Earth...and not be a global embarrassment.

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Jul 30, 2020
Developer in RE - Comm:

Or, you know, we could stop the spread...like literally every other first world country on Earth...and not be a global embarrassment.

there second waves in europe right now
all these places screwed over their economies as well for at least a decade plus (USA as well)

Jul 30, 2020

Also want to add: About 30k US military have tested postive for COVID.

only 3 died.

If you are healthy and have no pre existing conditions (and NOT OVERWEIGHT), you have very very very very low risk

We destroyed the economy and delayed our kids educations (which may affect some of them forever as online school is proving to be ineffective for many kids) for something that affects elderly and fat people.

stats below:
https://www.airforcemag.com/snapshot-dod-and-covid...

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Funniest
Jul 30, 2020

70% of Americans ARE fat though

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Jul 30, 2020

Second waves in Europe are nothing compared to the US right now.

Aug 1, 2020
Developer in RE - Comm:

Or, you know, we could stop the spread...like literally every other first world country on Earth...and not be a global embarrassment.

Why do you care so much about what someone else thinks of us?

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Jul 30, 2020

"Best case scenario" is much sooner than summer '21 for a vaccine, it is simply a misinformed view to say otherwise.

Array

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Jul 30, 2020

Okay maybe best case scenario is some vulnerable people get it in January 2021, but it won't be widely distributed in January 2021. It's going to take a few months at least to get everyone vaccinated.

John Hopkins doc saying end of 2021 is realistic timeline

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Jul 31, 2020

I wouldn't get too caught up on the vaccine stats at the moment. I myself if given a survey would state "no." That's because I'm hesitant as to whether the vaccine (which you admit is being produced hastily) would be effective or not. I have at risk family members and am not going to a clinic (where I could potentially put them at risk) until people start getting the vaccine and it's proven to work (case numbers start declining). Total distribution is definitely an issue, but considering that not everyone will be jumping to get the vaccine immediately, I think it will work out, but there will be a timeline for sure.

I got a lot of MS on the other thread for stating that SA2021 would be virtual. I think September 2020 for a rollout and Decemeber 2020 for things being normal are absurdly early dates. People are being unusually optimistic for no reason. Realistically speaking Summer/Fall 2022 (although beg of year 2022 would be nice). That said I think 10 years is an overstatement. Considering the way the US has responded, we'll hit herd immunity well before that point. There are also a lot of vaccine candidates, and I wouldn't necessarily discount them all as useless.

Array

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  • Intern in HF - Other
Aug 1, 2020

Russia is rolling out a vaccine in October haha. They are vaccinating everyone while undergoing the third phase of testing. Curious to see how it works out

Aug 1, 2020

I respect this pessimistic take, but its pretty far out of line with consensus of everything I've been reading from experts.

Consensus seems to be that we are likely to have a vaccine approved by the end of 2020 with a rollout in the months to follow. The phase 2 results have been strong and phase 3 trials are underway. An optimistic view is approval as early as October.

The most pessimistic point in your post is the idea that immunity only lasting a few years would be disappointing. Maybe I'm reading your point wrong, but what I've read is immunity lasting a few years would be excellent and more than enough to make the virus a non-issue. People could be re-inoculated every year as they are currently with the flu shot.

Re: antivaxxers, you said that if 25% of Americans refuse to take it, that would mean we can't reach herd immunity. That isn't how the herd immunity math works. Herd immunity is reached when each newly infected person will infect less than one additional person on average.

So first you need to know how many people would be infected by the average person, absent immunity. Let's call that 2, for example. If the reproduction number is 2, then you only need to inoculate half the people because that would bring the reproduction number to 1.

This is why the herd immunity threshold is 80% for some diseases and 20% for others. We don't know what it is for Covid, but I've heard experts guess that its under 75% and possibly as low as 50%. It depends on a lot of social factors that arent possible to fully calcualte.

Vaccine may not be a silver bullet but I don't think we need a silver bullet. Any combination of solutions that gets the reproduction number below 1 should be enough.

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Aug 2, 2020

We talking Dr. Oz-type experts?

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Aug 2, 2020

Nope. Just the ones we see a lot of . . Gottlieb on CNBC 2x a day, Johns Hopkins and Stanford guys doing interviews pretty regularly, etc. Most of my info comes from reading the trending articles on PubMed (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/) and watching interviews with the folks mentioned above.

If I said anything that's out of consensus, I'd be curious to hear what it is.

Aug 2, 2020
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Aug 2, 2020

But it will save the stock market.

Aug 3, 2020
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Aug 5, 2020

The media is obsessed with taking down hydroxychloroquine - or anything Fauci doesn't hug.

HARVEY A. RISCH, MD, PHD , PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, YALE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH:

https://www.newsweek.com/key-defeating-covid-19-al...
A bit verbose, but have a read. He was also interviewed on CNN recently and pointed out how frequently the studies on the drug were performed poorly and/or not in the conditions for which the drug is intended.

If it does not work, it does not work. But shouldn't our scientific community be actively debating and constructively looking for treatments and trying to, you know, seek the truth instead of following herd mentality or news pundits?

This is a circus.

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Aug 5, 2020

The sheer arrogance of the CNN anchor (epidemiology credentials?) interviewing Dr. Risch. These people are not trying to find the truth. The only thing they care about is appearing "right" and "knowledgeable", which apparently involves sneering at any dissenting opinion. A colossal embarrassment.

https://www.mediaite.com/tv/cnn-chyron-trashes-yal...
Again, if a treatment doesn't work, it doesn't work. But we should be seeking the truth, not clinging to blanket statements because it makes us look knowledgeable. Medicine is highly nuanced.

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  • Associate 2 in Consulting
Aug 5, 2020

Big congrats to the US for being close to hitting 5M cases and 160K deaths. Is this what Trump meant by "America First"?

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Aug 5, 2020

Calling it right now - If Biden wins in November, he will be praised for magically "eradicating" and improving the virus. By eradicate, I mean that the media literally simply STOPS REPORTING ON IT

Like come on y'all, the goal post for this thing KEEPS MOVING and the media is beyond hysterical/sensationalist about all of this. Who even know whats to believe anymore??? First, it was ok let's try to minimize death rates, that's done so now we're looking at pure increase case numbers.. we went from omg we can't do anything until there's a vaccine to omg this vaccine probably won't even be effective, let's shut down forever!

I don't mean to downplay the severity of this virus because it can have serious implications on one's health, even if they survive, but literally everything has gotten so politicized to the point where it's really like, how would this have been portrayed if it weren't an election year? Oh yeah, ORANGE MAN BAD and it's obv his fault that this nation has been in bed with and completely bought out by the Chinese Communist Party

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Aug 5, 2020

I'll bet some money that the virus is still widely reported by media outlets after november, throughout 2021, and into 2022... lmk

Aug 5, 2020

My bet would be..

Trump wins --> Media blames COVID (and "voter suppression") for Trump win, COVID coverage stays at same current level or even intensifies more, coverage is 99% negative and only focusing on the bad parts of covid

Biden wins --> COVID coverage suddenly less intense and probably not as frequent as currently, coverage is much less hysteric and instead more positive (focusing on how death rates are low, improved therapeutics, etc), Biden praised for his excellence despite not being aware of the fact that he's even POTUS

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  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Aug 5, 2020
Comment
Aug 5, 2020
Aug 5, 2020