Before we can go on offense against the coronavirus with a yet-to-be developed drug, the best way to handle it is with good defense. And like any fighter will tell you, the better you are at blocking a punch the less it will effect you and the quicker you’ll recover.
Research on the coronavirus tells us the same idea’s at play here too. The amount of virus that reaches you – the ‘viral load’ – determines if you get infected and, if you do, how sick you’ll become and thus how quickly you’ll recover. In other words, it’s not all or nothing at all: the heavier the viral load – the heavier the punch – the likelier it is to put you on the canvas and the harder it’ll be to get back up.
Fortunately, we know a number of ways to block the viral punch, including some quite interesting though uncommon strategies, such as the idea that a vaccine not meant for the coronavirus can protect against it.
Which means we’re rather lucky because 4 events have made our current viral opponent a heavier hitter than before: (1) There’s far more of them – there’s now uncontrolled spread in every state except Hawaii as the @COVID 19 Tracking map below tells us (2) Virus season peaks in the late fall and early winter – just as we increase our exposure to others thru Holiday travel and family gatherings (3) More people are getting Covid-19 twice, suggesting immunity wanes quickly in some, and (4) Oh boy – a NYTs report today tells us the virus mutated when it left China making it about 20% more transmissible than the Wuhan version. And as each generation of virus yields mutations, even though most are harmless, one expert nevertheless warns us:
What you used to do may not be quite enough to control it. Don’t necessarily expect that the enemy of two months ago is the enemy you have the next time.
If the woman in the photo at the top of the page didn’t protect herself in a fight we’d know something was wrong with her. Similarly, we should wonder why someone wouldn’t protect themselves in humanity’s fight against the virus. There is, however, a crucial difference: whatever damage the fighter takes on stays with them, but the damage a person suffers from the virus is too often passed on to others – especially those closest to them.
That’s why we have a pandemic.