The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, July 03, 2020

Running Its Course

Over the past week, I've heard an increasing number of anecdotes that all concern "virus shaming." That is, catastrophists who have been brain-washed by Team Apocalypse demonize those who have rejected the team's increasingly irrational narrative. The catastrophists have placed themselves in full "shelter-in-place" mode and are naturally unhappy about their isolation, lack of social contact, and marginalization from the rest of society. When confronted with people (and there are millions of such people) who are a bit calmer about the threat (or statistical lack thereof) of COVID-19, the catastrophists lash out, criticizing any decision to lead a more normal existence.They might accost a person in a grocery store who isn't wearing a mask. They might yell at another person who is standing too close to them at an ATM machine (without a mask!!!!!!!) They won't allow another person to enter an elevator with them, even if that other person is wearing a mask. They begin exhibiting the unhinged behavior of a hysteric.

And that's exactly what Team Apocalypse wants. Providing ammunition to keep the catastrophists mired in fear, uncertainty and doubt, the Team tells them that cases are "spiking" or "soaring" or "surging." What they don't tell us (and they leave this information out purposely) is that 40 to 45 percent of all new case are asymptomatic and that it is very unclear whether asymptomatic cases can even infect someone else. They also conveniently forget to mention that deaths due to COVID-19 are dropping precipitously and that few, if any, hospitals are being "overwhelmed" with SARS-CoV-2 patients.

Paul Sax, M.D. answers questions about COVID-19 cases that are asymptomatic:
Are these asymptomatic people contagious? And if so, for how long?

Yes, they are probably contagious, but it's very hard to prove that they are driving the pandemic in a significant way. [link added] It appears that viral burden — a marker for how contagious a person is — usually correlates with severity of symptoms, so those with no symptoms have less virus to spread. And certainly the  “superspreading” events that have been studied have a symptomatic or pre-symptomatic person as the initial source.

How long asymptomatic people are contagious is even less clear. We know from studies of people with symptoms that transmission has not been reported more than eight days after symptom onset. It is implausible that people who are asymptomatic — with their lower viral burden — would be contagious for longer than this, and it’s probably shorter.
So ... the "surge" isn't nearly as worrisome as Team Apocalypse would have us believe. In fact, as the number of cases grow, we become ever-closer to herd immunity, the only way, lacking an effective vaccine, that we can truly "slow the spread" of SARS-CoV-2.

If we try to "slow the spread" using the "rules" established by Team Apocalypse, we don't eliminate the virus, but we do extend the time we all have to suffer under the Team's draconian dictates. The Team has succeeded in wrecking tens of thousand of small businesses (although the broader economy is fighting back), jolting the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions, creating actual mental health problems among far too many citizens, and in the end, by their own admission this past week, NOT really slowing the spread. 

SARS-CoV-2 is an act of nature (unless, of course, you believe it's closer to an act of the Wuhan Virology Laboratory), like a hurricane or a Tsunami. Its impact cannot be reduced or eliminated because Team Apocalypse says so. Ultimately, it will run its course UNTIL natural defenses (e.g., herd immunity) protect us or a vaccine is developed, and even then, it may very well mutate and continue to be a threat for years. Are we supposed to live in Wonderland until 2022? 

 It's long past the time to accept this harsh reality, reject the propaganda that is the hallmark of Team Apocalypse, put on our big-boy pants, get past our fear, protect those who are most vulnerable (but ONLY those who are most vulnerable), open our schools, and stores, and beaches, and parks, and even our stadiums and concert halls, take a few common sense precautions on an individual level, and live our lives while SARS-CoV-2 runs its course.