Coronavirus COVID-19 is causing the human race to make major, life-disrupting changes to how we live our lives. A little tiny virus, that can't even be seen with the naked eye, is bringing the most intelligent species on our planet to its knees.
Entire countries like Italy are being shut down in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. We are all being encouraged, sometimes forced, to practice social distancing by avoiding any unnecessary contact with others including social events, large and small. Large events like major sports events, concerts, etc. are being cancelled to slow down transmission of the virus.
The purpose of this is to "flatten the curve." Public health authorities are hoping that slowing the rate of infections will keep the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed. Once the number of sick people exceeds the ability of our health infrastructure to care for them, it's possible that the mortality rate could increase because the sick can't get even the most basic treatment.
We are already seeing an embarrassing and some might say shameful shortage of testing supplies. The US is far behind other countries in its ability to test for the virus. Let's hope that we don't see the same shortages with doctors, nurses, disinfectants, drugs or anything else that will help us fight this pandemic.
What happens if the doctors, nurses, lab technicians, scientists, police, military personnel start getting sick? What about people in really important jobs who are running our most important computer systems or social benefit systems?
Social distancing and flattening the curve to slow in the infection rate is only half of the solution. Ultimately, people need to be immune from getting sick for things to return to normal. We are being told that vaccines are being developed and will soon be tested. But we should not forget that vaccines are a relatively new invention. Before that, we had a reliable and free way to become immune. When you got infected you got sick and your body developed a natural immunity to the disease so you won't get it again. This remarkable process has evolved over billions of years and has preserved and advanced life on our planet. That ability if still there, but keeping people from getting infected will defeat that natural process and make it impossible for people to develop a natural immunity to COVID-19 and possibly other closely related viruses as well.
Natural immunity saved our species through many epidemics, many far more serious and deadly than coronavirus. Polio, tuberculosis, smallpox, the Black Plaque, the Spanish Flu are just a few examples. They had much higher mortality rates than COVID-19 and could leave people crippled or scarred for life even when they survived. But the fact is that even in the most serious epidemics, some people survive because they have a stronger genetic resistance. They pass this resistance on to their offspring who are then naturally immune to the disease. It's called evolution and it has worked for billions of years.
You can't pass the immunity you receive from a vaccination on to your offspring because it is not based on your genes.
From what we know so far, COVID-19 produces a relatively mild flu in most healthy people under 60, but much greater complications and even death in people who are older and/or have underlying health conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Getting COVID-19 is not like getting polio, malaria or smallpox. Somewhere around 97-98% of the people who get coronavirus will survive, and most importantly, they will be immune from getting it in the future. They won't be able to spread it, they will be able to live normal lives again, taking public transportation, going to work, attending large sporting events, etc.
Those who are preaching social distancing are also holding out hope that an effective vaccine is coming soon. I've heard estimates of 12-18 months. It will be costly to develop and costly to distribute. Compare that to becoming immune in two weeks for free, in a way that has proven effective for millions of years in humans and their close evolutionary ancestors. That's what will happen if you are healthy and get infected with COVID-19.
Actor, Tom Hanks, and his wife Rita Wilson are both ill from coronavirus in Australia. The wife of Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, is also infected. She is now recovering while her husband is in self-imposed quarantine. Assuming they have mild cases of this flu, Hanks, Wilson and Gregoire Trudeau will all be immune from the disease when they recover. It sounds very liberating to me.
I'm not suggesting that anybody should be forced to become infected with COVID-19. But nobody should be prevented from using their body's immune system to develop a natural immunity to this coronavirus as long as they do it responsibly and avoid infecting others who do not wish to make the same choice. To deny anybody the right to become immune to a major pandemic by getting sick for a short time can only be viewed as assault on their natural right of self-defense.
Here is today's chart from Johns Hopkins University. Most people, including myself have been fixated on the number of cases and deaths. But the really important number is "recovered". Those people are now liberated from the threat of coronavirus. They also can't spread it to anyone else. They don't have to wear a hazmat suit to protect them from COVID-19. Unfortunately, they are not yet liberated from hysteria over it. None of us are.
Total cases: 145,369
We need to add scheduled, voluntary infections to the social isolation model. Some scheduling is important to help flatten the curve. We can use some social isolation to slow down unintended infections, and use scheduled, voluntary infections to build an army of people who are naturally resistant to COVID-19.
I just add that all of this is based on information we have about coronavirus so far which suggests it causes a relatively mild flu in younger, healthy people. It's possible that there is some more permanent damage that has not yet been discovered or reported. If that is the case then it makes no sense for people to become infected just to develop natural immunity.
Check out some of my music while you're here or listen to it on your favorite music streaming service. And thanks for stopping by.