[It might be that the coronavirus will never be fully contained, but instead an annual part of flu-cold season — though an illness that must be taken seriously, for the severe effects it causes in a small but obviously significant number of people. If it mutates, and transforms into a deadlier disease, it will be a game-changer: a disease that may burn itself out (no longer viable as an annual mass illness) but one that, in its sweep, will more closely resemble historic plagues. Some experts argue that more than fifty percent of the public will be infected, though many will show no symptoms, and most will not be seriously ill (for a few days, though, perhaps quite miserable). Below is a quick idea of what it is. The best defense is not handwashing and sanitizers (though continue this; it is very important), but bolstering your immune system, and in this vein we would like to suggest: plenty of sleep, adequate hydration (flush out your system), exercise, vitamin C (1,000 to 5,000 mg daily and orange and pineapple juice), vitamin D to prevent respiratory problems (this may be key), and zinc (found in supermarket aisles in products such as Airborne). And of course, first and foremost, prayer: The Holy Spirit will guide you as to how to view the situation, what to eat, where to go, where not to go, what to stock up on (if necessary), and will form a bubble of protection around you and your family. Have no fear. The Lord is right here with you. — SD]
From the Atlantic Monthly:
Coronaviruses are similar to influenza viruses in that they both contain single strands of RNA.* Four coronaviruses commonly infect humans, causing colds. These are believed to have evolved in humans to maximize their own spread—which means sickening, but not killing, people. By contrast, the two prior novel coronavirus outbreaks—SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome, named for where the first outbreak occurred)—were picked up from animals, as was H5N1. These diseases were highly fatal to humans. If there were mild or asymptomatic cases, they were extremely few. Had there been more of them, the disease would have spread widely. Ultimately, SARS and MERS each killed fewer than 1,000 people.
COVID-19 is already reported to have killed more than twice that number. With its potent mix of characteristics, this virus is unlike most that capture popular attention: It is deadly, but not too deadly. It makes people sick, but not in predictable, uniquely identifiable ways. Last week, 14 Americans tested positive on a cruise ship in Japan despite feeling fine—the new virus may be most dangerous because, it seems, it may sometimes cause no symptoms at all.
The world has responded with unprecedented speed and mobilization of resources. The new virus was identified extremely quickly. Its genome was sequenced by Chinese scientists and shared around the world within weeks. The global scientific community has shared genomic and clinical data at unprecedented rates. Work on a vaccine is well under way. The Chinese government enacted dramatic containment measures, and the World Health Organization declared an emergency of international concern. All of this happened in a fraction of the time it took to even identify H5N1 in 1997. And yet the outbreak continues to spread.
The Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch is exacting in his diction, even for an epidemiologist. Twice in our conversation he started to say something, then paused and said, “Actually, let me start again.” So it’s striking when one of the points he wanted to get exactly right was this: “I think the likely outcome is that it will ultimately not be containable.”
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