Opinion

COVID-19, vaccines and the US election

Although the economy is the most important determinant in most presidential elections, the ravages of the coronavirus have drawn the most attention and are paramount on people’s minds.

An American polling station. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
An American polling station. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
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Joseph Frager
Dr. Joseph Frager is a lifelong activist and physician. He is chairman of Israel advocacy for the Rabbinical Alliance of America, chairman of the executive committee of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim and executive vice president of the Israel Heritage Foundation.

It is clear that the COVID-9 pandemic will decide the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3, as the incumbent’s handling of the crisis will be front and center. The faster a safe and effective vaccine is found, the better he will do. Not only must a reliable vaccine be found, but it must be available to every American within a short time to prevent social and civil unrest.

Although the economy is the most important determinant in most presidential elections, the ravages of the coronavirus have drawn the most attention, and are paramount on people’s minds. The trillion-dollar bailouts by the president have alleviated much of the economic burden. Now it is the illness itself that is wreaking havoc.

To gain some insight as to how the pandemic might sway the outcome, one can look at the 1920 presidential election, the first that took place after 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. In 1920, World War I was over, and politicians were arguing over peace treaties and America’s entry into the League of Nations.

Revolution was in the air in Russia, and in the United States there were strikes, riots and increasing fear of “radicals” (eerily similar to what is happening in Portland and Seattle today). The Spanish flu pandemic had ended in 1919. Though it must have played a role in the election of 1920, the debate between the Teddy Roosevelt nationalists and the Woodrow Wilson globalists is given more attention by historians.

The Republican Party, led by Senator Warren G. Harding, won by a landslide. Whether the Democrats’ handling of the pandemic with Woodrow Wilson at the helm was a factor is hard to say. What is known is that the Spanish flu killed some 675,000 Americans.
As a physician, I have done my utmost during this extremely trying period to save lives. (See my articles entitled, “Thoughts on Coronavirus-COVID-19,” “The war against COVID-19 can unite us,” “Trump and Netanyahu have shown the way” and “The race is on for the SARS-CoV2 vaccine.”)

I am satisfied that these articles have been transformative. Although many may take credit for doing their fair share, I believe that I was very helpful in getting Americans to wear masks. At the time of the publication of these articles, in which I pleaded for use of masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the public health community in general, were opposed to doing so.

I felt in March that if U.S. President Donald Trump had been so successful (and he was) in ramping up production of ventilators, he could do the same with the much less daunting task of manufacturing N95 masks. Because of his leadership, trillions of N95 masks have been manufactured. He has not been given the credit he deserves for this.

I was one of the first to push for the use of masks to stop the spread of COVID-19. I am now ready for the next challenge. It is not only to come up with a safe and effective vaccine, but one that must be produced in a sufficient quantity to immunize every American and the rest of the world’s population. The five major companies that were awarded billions of dollars to come up with a vaccine cannot do this—at least not fast enough.

Small biotech companies like Dyadic can. Dyadic’s C1 Platform, which uses a fungus, can produce 10 billion doses of a vaccine in less than one month. Dyadic was recognized and selected by the prestigious Frederick National Laboratories to produce a number of vaccine candidates for the NIAID (National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease), overseen by Dr. Anthony Fauci. It is widely known that Dyadic’s C1 platform is cost-effective and productive. It is capable of producing massive quantities of proteins faster, more cheaply and more reliably than any other platform now available.

This is the world’s moment not only to come up with a vaccine against COVID-19, but to be better prepared for all future pandemics. Dyadic’s C1 platform will be the leader on a global scale in this regard. Dyadic’s C1 platform can also prevent potential social unrest. Protests might occur if not enough vaccine is available at the outset. A vaccine can help unite America if everyone has access to it from the get-go. Only Dyadic can produce the 300 million doses for every American in the time required.

I was one of the first physicians to preach wearing masks, and I believe I am spot on when it comes to Dyadic’s C1 platform, as well. America’s ability to end the pandemic as soon as possible will have major ramifications not only this November, but for years to come.

Dr. Joseph Frager is first vice president of the National Council of Young Israel.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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