I’m neither a physician nor a zoologist, and what I know about the SARS-2 has been gleaned from my own reading and talking to people who are actually qualified to give me information about it. I’ve learned a lot in the last two weeks, and I thought I’d share some of the conclusions that have been shared with me. I think this is important, because the majority of the information presently circulating is bad.
Despite what you’ll read on various neo-Nazi web pages, SARS-CoV-2 is not related to influenza, and the pandemic is not a conspiracy, engineered by the government and liberal media to strip us of our constitutional rights. I have read this sort of conjecture regularly in the past few weeks, and while I think it’s unfortunate, I have some amount of sympathy with the people who have spread these strange ideas, because the government and media have responded to the virus in such a heavy-handed and stupid fashion. For example:
CBS News and the U.S. Government want your grandmother to get sick
If I were the typical IQ 100 conservative, I’d have lost faith in Donald Trump and the corporate media, too. Maybe I’d respond with “It’s just the flu” denials, and maybe I’d become an “accelerationist,” but either way, I would feel betrayed by the government and its propaganda organs.
Men in this post code have always known that the government and its media hates us, so our skepticism serves us well in this new duplicitous era. Aside from reading a bunch of journal articles, I’ve had the chance to hang out with actual doctors in the past 72h, and I’d like to pass on some of the conjecture they’ve spilled to ya boy Boxer. I’d also like to clear up some misinformation I previously posted.
Unlike CBS News and the Trump administration, I own my mistakes
A couple of weeks ago, I blindly assumed some of the data out of Wuhan was, in the first place, accurate, and in the second place, applicable to the present American outbreak. I ran some of the Chinese numbers, and I got a mortality rate of around 0.009.
Whether my first assumption is justifiable is a matter of conjecture, but the second assumption I made was completely wrong. In my defense, I didn’t know how RNA virii operated when I wrote this, and while I didn’t willfully lie to anyone, I did talk out my ass. I’m fairly confident that I can do basic arithmetic, but I’m completely clueless about biology, and I shouldn’t have been so irrationally self-confident as to make some general declaration.
SARS-CoV-2 is the name of an RNA virus, not a disease. The disease caused by virii of this type is called Covid-19. The corporate media uses all of these neologisms interchangeably, but it’s important to be precise.
Coronavirii come in five different genera. SARS-CoV-2 is a betacoronavirus, and its related most closely to a common coronavirus that’s passed around in rodents and birds. Surprisingly, SARS-CoV-2 is not closely related to the betacoronavirus that caused the original SARS. It’s not nearly as deadly, which is part of the problem.
SARS-CoV-2 has a close genetic relative that is rarely fatal. This relative causes about 25% of all the typical “cold and flu” infections in America. The reason that SARS-CoV-2 is such a pain in the ass is due to a tactical quality it shares with this other relative.
About ten years ago, people were researching this relative and decided to run large tests on the general population. They found that a large majority of people had antibodies for this relative, but most people did not actually get ill with it.
SARS-CoV-2 is thought to work in this same fashion. The guy I talked to told me that he guessed that 10-30% of all the people who caught Covid-19 didn’t know they had it. Consider the consequences… I might catch it tomorrow, and not notice it. My immune system tamps down on it, I have no symptoms, and feel great. In the interim, I’ve got it holding on in my respiratory tract for the next month. During that month I shake hands with Derek, kiss Feeriker’s mother on the cheek, pick up Honeycomb’s niece when she falls on the playground, pay back Renee with cash I handled in my wallet, and do any number of other normal things that regular people do in day-to-day life. Nearly all of the people I’ve infected are likely to either show no symptoms, or maybe think they caught a cold, all while they repeat the process. In the mean-time, all our older relatives are suddenly gravely ill, and the bodies start piling up.
The actual mortality rate of Covid-19 varies by the genetic legacy of the specific virus that’s causing a localized infection. There is a reason certain areas (Iran, Italy, New York City) are seeing something like a .12 mortality rate, and others (Germany) are at .003. This is due to the structure of an RNA virus itself. An RNA virus recombines and mutates at shocking speed. Every time the virus hijacks one of your cells, it takes some of your own genetic material with it, and rolls some deterministic dice as to what features its own offspring will have.
Scuttlebutt says that the NYC strain of the virus may be particularly deadly due to the fact that it’s closely related to the Italian variety, while on the west coast, we have been largely spared, because our brand of SARS-CoV-2 came from China or Korea. This made intuitive sense to me, when I heard it. The seeds of the American virus came from different places, and have different attributes.
When I stated that the virus had a mortality rate of less than one percent, I was talking out my ass. The virus in Germany and South Korea has a mortality rate of less than one percent. The virus in New York City has a mortality rate of around ten percent.
What I’m coming to understand is that an RNA virus is not one monolithic entity, but a very wide variety of breeds which are competing to conquer your body. Nobody wants to be chased by dogs, but a pack of pit bull dogs on your ass is a different scenario than a pack of yorkies.
The worst virii in terms of body count are not those with the highest mortality rates. The original SARS has a 30-50% mortality rate, but it only killed a few thousand people, because everyone who got sick knew it immediately, and those who contracted it died relatively quickly. Millions may die from this version, which is why the whole “social distancing” thing is sensible.
At the beginning of this week, I was told that it was possible to see five percent of the population of the county I live in die this month. I’ve been prepared to help out since, and have done very little. The makeshift overflow hospital we built sits empty, and it may never see a patient. I’m thankful for this. I wish I could give all my readers more authoritative advice on what to do, but ultimately, I’m constrained by my own lack of education.