You can’t vaccinate dead people

There is good news about possible Covid vaccines. With that news comes the reality that widespread deployment of a vaccine still won’t take place until some time in 2021.

Imagine this scenario in the coming months, a time when it is projected that nationally there may be 200,000 Covid cases a day—that’s 6 million a month—and there may be 400,000 total deaths by February 1:

A patient who has been infected with Covid is suffering symptoms, maybe severe enough to require hospitalization, maybe even courting death.

Someone—maybe one of our reluctant leaders—arrives to offer good wishes and this comfort:

“You will be happy to know that a vaccine for this terrible disease is right around the corner. You can stop worrying.”

What those reluctant leaders should be saying—now—is that it is inevitable that things are going to get much worse while we wait for the relief of a vaccine, so some difficult measures will have to be taken—now. This takes intelligence and vision, the courage to throw off ideology, and a willingness to be unpopular. All for the sake of saving suffering and lives.