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Memories of the 28th Century

Creating a Pandemic

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I don't have the detailed information, but judging from what shows up online, it appears that the R0 of the Covid19 virus is about three or a little more, that means that each person infected spreads it to three other people. That's a middling level of contagiousness, but it may be deceptive, because about 50% of infections are asymptomatic. That person running around the block might be carrying a serious infection that attacks lungs, but she may run a five minute mile and show no signs of the infection. I was thinking about the mass testing that have been done in Iceland and in one village in Italy. Both of those sets of tests showed that about 50% of infections were asymptomatic. Then there would be the people who would throw the infection off after minimal symptoms. I thought about this while I was going to the Place where I volunteer to supply food, etc., and it occurred to me that we might be spreading the Coronavirus along with the food. That was not the intention, but it might be inevitable.

Another thing that I wonder about is why the virus targets a limited set of humanity. There are viruses that target particular genes or that are attracted to certain sets of people. For example, SARS was especially fatal for East Asians, but it was a mild disease in the rest of the world, and the infection and death rates of Covid19 vary by sex.

I don't know which diseases target which people, but I can imagine engineering viruses that target particular genes, and Coronavirus is est up so that engineering it would be relatively easy, and it isn't as prone to to random mutation as influenza is, but all viruses are prone to random mutation.

Another thing about Coronavirus is that it is endemic. It has been in most parts of the world for a long time, but the endemic version is a minor thing. It usually causes a fever and a cough, and it usually is gone in a week. But it seems that the various endemic versions provide some immunity, and that means that there are many people who have some immunity to the present version of coronavirus. To people with partial immunity.

In the early '00's I had what I thought of as a nasty chest cold., and the worst part was that my lungs did not clear quickly. I didn't get tested at the time, but I strongly suspect that I had something like SARS, and I suspect that I gained some, or maybe complete, immunity to Covic19 as a result to that chest cold. I think that a fair percent of the population would have similar immunity for similar reasons. For that reason, I think that Covid19 will start to disappear suddenly, because all of the people who are susceptible will be a infected sooner, rather than later.

This may be just wishful thinking, but great pandemics don't come from familiar pathogens; they come from new or massively altered pathogens. For that reason, I am predicting that at Covid19 will start to diminish sooner, rather than later, and the drop in new cases will be steeper than expected. I won't claim infallibility in this, but I believe that the reasoning is rational, and it implies other conclusions. I am sorry to say that the other conclusions aren't as optimistic, but cause it means that the virus will circulate around the world, including regions that haven't been hit, yet. That means that it will hit Africa and India and other regions with low numbers of cases, unless they were hit with a similar virus that did not produce much disease. But the outbreaks in every region will hit most people in the end, and the end will be saturation.

Updated 03-27-2022 at 10:05 AM by PeterL