Unsettling Future Coronavirus Scenarios

Unsettling Future Coronavirus Scenarios

Declaration:  I am not an Epidemiologist or a doctor.  This article is just based on what I read or hear on TV.

While looking into what became of the 1918 flu, the first Google article from 2006 stated that many of the current yearly Type A flu viruses were descended from the 1918 flu.  I saw a headline recently that said that the Coronavirus would be with us forever.  I thought that it meant that it would be hard to eradicate globally because of the costs of the vaccines, or the need to keep some very cold.  It might have just meant that it would be mutating and returning yearly.  However, a vaccine expert said that those vaccines that target the spikes on the Coronavirus would apply for other mutations.  Another article said that a recent flu vaccine would have targeted the 1918 flu as well.

The good news is that the number of tested cases is turning over, though deaths are still rising.

The WHO says that the morbidity of the Coronavirus is 0.6%.  This is not as low as people had hoped as at 0.4%, but lower than the 1% estimates.  It is much lower than the current 3.3% US ratio of deaths to total cases, or the world ratio of 3.8%.  However, the morbidity varies rapidly with ages and vulnerable conditions.  So it varies not only with each country, state, and city, but with each demographic.  Since the US has the most obesity and not the longest lifespan, it would be higher here for both reasons.  Also, the first virus that hit China was superseded in the US by an offshoot from Europe.

Putting the two facts together, with the possibility of yearly flus from the Coronavirus, is a future dystopia of perpetual masking and social distancing, especially for the old and the vulnerable.  Hopefully, the continued masking and social distancing will cut down from missed school, recreation, and work days from the common colds and the flus.  The flu can take up to 66,000 lives in the US in a year.  The morbidity of flus is about 0.1%.

In my pre-pandemic life, I used to worry about the 4.2 million dying early worldwide each year from air pollution.  Air pollution and COPD from smoking are supposed to be risk factors for Coronavirus complications.  Now, there are even claims that the PM2.5 micron particles could be carrying the Coronavirus particles.

Could it get any worse?  We know that it can, with incompetent and unscientific federal and state management.  

In Los Angeles and Orange Counties, the number of known positive cases has reached 2% and 1.2%, respectively.  Nationwide it is 1.4%, or 1 out of 70.  California has reached a half million cases out of a 40 million population, or 1 out of 80.  

There is some doubt that the antibody tests, which show specific antigens, do not mean resistance to the Coronavirus, instead of just to colds or other flus.  So they are not reliable to calculate a true infection rate.  

The head of WHO says that we may never have a “silver bullet” against the  Coronavirus.  A vaccine expert on CNN says that the vaccine might not be more than 50% effective.  Many flu vaccines just soften the blow, but do not prevent infection.  Some flu shots only give 20% protection to older adults, and have to be doubled to give them 40% protection.

Halloween is still three months away, and it is just three days before Election Day.  I am more scared by Election Day. 

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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