Louis Pasteur: hero or villain

6 mins read

By David Taub

In the mid-19th century, French physician Louis Pasteur was instrumental in proving the germ theory of diseases. He developed immunizations against virulent deadly diseases, first in domestic animals, e.g. anthrax in sheep, and later, vaccination against one of the world’s most deadly diseases, smallpox. Over the past two centuries, thanks to laborious efforts of legions of scientists, researchers and physicians, the science of immunology was created, where from virtually all childhood diseases have been almost eradicated.

Before Pasteur, we lived in a cruel world without immunization, except by accident — infection followed by survival for some lucky few.

The Black Death/Plague, history’s most fatal pandemic, resulted in 75-200 MILLION deaths, peaking in Europe (1347-1351), where perhaps one-third of the entire population perished. Likewise, in the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine and without a coordinated “master plan” of effective responses, millions may yet perish before widespread “herd immunity” is established.

In the 1940s and 1950s poliomyelitis, so-called “infantile paralysis,” killed or crippled many thousands of Americans, both children and young adults, including the not-so-young Franklin D. Roosevelt. Through the diligent persistence of many unsung heroes, an effective vaccine was developed, first by Dr. Jonas Salk; somewhat later, Dr. Albert Sabin developed a more effective oral vaccine.

I can remember being in middle school (in Texas we called it Junior High) in the mid-1950s. We lined up outside our classrooms, while medical personnel put a cube of sugar with a purple dot of the Sabin vaccine on it into our mouths.

With massive nationwide immunizations, virtually overnight the scourge of polio was eliminated in North America. A half-century later, the world is free of polio thanks to colossal immunizations, except for three countries — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Why? Because religious fanatics (the Taliban) murder medical heroes trying to give life-saving vaccinations.

It takes years and billions of dollars to develop any drug or vaccine in the U.S. before they can be released to the public. These pharmaceuticals must be proven, first and foremost, to be completely safe (Phase One testing), and next, effective (Phases Two and Three testing).

That is why U.S. government-approved vaccines are SAFE and they work.

Be that as it may, among a small segment of conspiracy believers (a tribe often called anti-vaxxers) we are seeing a strange phenomenon of rejecting life-saving vaccinations.

Tribal adults eschew vaccinating their children, believing, against all scientific evidence to the contrary, that vaccinations are harmful. These conspiracy addicts believe vaccination is a world-wide treachery produced by rapacious big Pharma and corrupt doctors.

It is unclear if this strange obsession is a new variant of DUMB-20 virus; more research must be conducted — perhaps NIH will fund me? Indeed, some say the anti-vaxxer tribe of self-styled “patriots” is already a menace.

They should ask the Pakistan or Afghanistan Taliban about that. Before 2012, thousands of east Indians were infected with polio. Today, many can be seen crawling on the streets of India begging for alms. They too can speak to the benefits of vaccinations.

This is our national reality today: A POTUS who is MIA; a battle between the White House and the CDC, where the former calls the latter “the Enemy;” Instead of hand-washing, we get finger pointing: “you are at fault;” “no, you’re to blame;” “no, everyone is, except me” (we know who the “royal me” is).

There is no organized unified plan of action to combat COVID-19; unemployment is staggeringly high and climbing; fools armed with battlefield weapons invade state capitals screaming for Liberty.

A major political party appears to have been infected by DUMB-20, resulting in a modern-day reincarnation of the 19th Century “Know Nothing Party,” characterized by a rotting swamp of prejudice and irrationality, following like blind sheep led to slaughter behind a pathological narcissist, conspiracy-monger currently infecting 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

By the time you read this, more than 100,000 of our kinsmen will have perished, with more deaths every day. Reflect on that ignominious statistic for a moment: Imagine two professional football stadiums chock-full of fans enjoying their NFL game — at half-time all are gone BAM, GONE – in the blink of an eye! Why? Because our cup overflows with copious amounts of failed leadership.

We are at war, but not with COVID-19. Rather, we are engaged in an un-civil war with ourselves, a country greatly and unnecessarily divided.

Now, not wearing a mask, proven to protect against infection, has become the banner characterizing a phony culture war. Come Nov. 3, we will learn if sanity will prevail, or if an ugly parallel universe will capture our minds and souls for another four years. What universe then shall we inhabit? The outcome is up to you.

David M. Taub was Mayor of Beaufort from 1990 through 1999, and served as a Beaufort County Magistrate Judge from 2010 to 2015. He may be contacted at david.m.taub42@gmail.com.

 

 

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