Is COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) a hoax? Well, it depends, apparently, on…wait for it…not science, not facts, not critical thinking, but instead which polarized (and patently full of untruths) end of politics you’ve put your faith and trust in.
We’ve lost our minds in this country. You can fact check everything now (including the president) using the brain God gave you and the common sense that all of us should have, but seems to be in extreme short supply anymore, to discern between what’s true and what’s false from an objective, rational, and logical point of view.
But it appears that some people have been sucked into the vortex of ignorance and extremism that seems to be its own kind of pandemic, not only in America, but throughout the world.
Everyone has become wise in their own eyes and decides for themselves what is right and wrong, spurred on by extreme fringe individuals and groups on both sides of the political spectrum.
This is the epitome of dumbing down and it’s becoming a norm that is not only sad, but also foolish and dangerous.
We’ll refer to some of the most prevalent conspiracy theories about COVID-19 that are floating around right now (take the time to read the article, because it’s really some head-shaking stuff), but what we really want to talk about is a few simple facts or questions.
First, what is COVID-19? Coronaviruses have been around for a long time. They are characterized by their structure, which features spiked proteins attached to the outside of the virus.
The common cold is caused by a coronavirus that has humans as its primary host. COVID-19 (or SARS-CoV-2) is caused by a coronavirus that has animals as its primary host (think of fleas and rats and how the bubonic plague spread).
What makes COVID-19 more serious than other coronaviruses? This coronavirus differs from many other coronaviruses because it mutates rapidly. That means its structure changes, which changes how it acts and what harm it causes.
COVID-19 in America doesn’t have the same structure as COVID-19 that originated in Wuhan, China. The reality is that epidemiologists are still in the early stages of even grappling with the complexities of this virus, so if the experts (i.e., people who went to school for a lot of years to study just this and who have years of experience researching and working with just this) know very little about it, then everyone else knows next to nothing about it.
With more than 30 mutations from the original COVID-19 already documented, this coronavirus doesn’t have the same pathology for everyone. Some strains are very aggressive while other strains are relatively mild.
The problem – and why, at least in part, there is a wide disparity in who gets COVID-19 and recovers and who gets it and dies – is that it’s impossible, at least right now, to identify who is infected with what strain.
With this rapid mutability, finding a one-size-fits-all testing methodology, treatment methodology, and vaccine will be impossible. And it will take much longer than December 2020, 18 months, or even two or three years.
And, even if some measure of these is achieved, they will function much like the flu vaccine. Each year, epidemiologists try to predict what flu strains will be most prevalent during flu season and a vaccine is developed for that probability. However, if other strains that are not included in the vaccine are prevalent, then the flu vaccine is basically a waste of time (this is what happened fall and winter of 2019/2020).
That’s the biology of viruses. We simply shoot and hope we hit the target once in a while. But that doesn’t mean viruses – and the coronaviruses – don’t exist, aren’t real, and can’t kill.
The other issue with COVID-19 is how it attacks the body. Unlike some of the more recent coronaviruses like SARS and MERS, which affected part of the respiratory system, COVID-19 affects the entire respiratory system. This is why it wrecks havoc on breathing and can be a killer for people with other health conditions (comorbidity) like heart disease, asthma, pulmonary disease, and diabetes.
But COVID-19, which essentially fills whatever it attaches to as its spreading throughout the body with tiny blood clots, also impacts other organs, including the kidneys, the liver, the pancreas, and the brain and does a lot of damage to them as well (even survivors are at risk for lifelong problems and death from this systemic damage).
A couple of final facts to know about COVID-19.
First, it is highly contagious (more so than the cold or the flu) and it is dispersed through respiratory drops, which can travel significant distances.
Second, people who have COVID-19 and are asymptomatic are most contagious to other people. In other words, if a person has a cold or the flu, they are contagious and we know to stay away. With COVID-19, neither the carrier nor those that are exposed to it knows they’re contagious.
So, that’s the short version of what COVID-19 is and what it does.
Now, let’s address the hoax nonsense.
The latest data (facts and numbers) shows over 3.7 million cases of COVID-19 so far throughout the world. There have been over 256,000 deaths from COVID-19 worldwide.
In America, more than 1.2 million people have been infected with novel coronavirus, and over 71,000 people have died from novel coronavirus.
Did all these people just suddenly drop dead from nothing? Really?
With all the politicizing and polarization in America about everything, I suspect these reported numbers are much lower than the actual totals of infections and deaths.
We already know that many of the nursing homes simply aren’t reporting the COVID-19 deaths and many states are not including those that are in their reported numbers. Additionally, most health care worker infections and deaths are not included in the official reporting as well.
Some American people are clamoring about their rights (with eerie images that seem reminiscent of the large and open white supremacist protests and gatherings involving the Ku Klux Klan and other extremist groups throughout the country in the 1920’s and 1930’s in places as diverse as Monroe, NC and Detroit, MI) to go where they want to go and do what they want to do.
They say social distancing is a made up ploy to deny them the ability to socialize and get together with other people. They assign nefarious motives to the familiar cast of medical experts (who they claim are in league with nefarious people, companies, and countries) who keep sounding the warning bell about the danger of COVID-19.
I say let them have at it. Pretend everything’s the same as it has always been and go out there and live or die, because the science and the facts say that removing all of the social barriers we have in place all at once is going to be a disaster far worse than anything we’ve already seen.
If people are foolish enough to throw reasonable and responsible caution to the wind, then they have nothing but their own ignorance to blame for the consequences.
The reality of COVID-19 is that life as we know it has changed permanently. It will never go back to the way it was before. Many businesses, which were still operating on 19th and 20th century outdated business models and structures, won’t reopen because they are either unable or unwilling to adapt to the new reality.
There will be much less selection for consumers. Where there may have been 20 or 30 or even 100 restaurants, for example, in your town or city, there may be only 2 or 3 or maybe 10. The same is true for hotels, airlines, grocery stores, and car rental agencies.
Brick and mortar may finally have reached its end in reality (the harbingers of this have been on the horizon for at least 30 years) now that people know that work can be done remotely, and, often, more productively and with less costs.
Yes, jobs have been lost, but they are jobs that were already teetering on obsolescence and glut (hospitality-related jobs took the biggest hit and that is where the majority of the jobs just won’t be coming back).
There are businesses that could work remotely, but they’ve heavily invested in brick and mortar operations (real estate), so they’re unwilling to give that up and let that go. That is, ultimately, to their own peril (symbolically and in actuality).
Many other jobs where people have been temporarily laid off (healthcare and other health-related professions) will come back, but even medicine will have to adapt and change.
Frankly, that fear of accepting and unwillingness to recognize that “normal” is gone forever and we all must adapt and change is what is driving these COVID-19 hoax stories.
Are we going to be afraid and unwilling to adapt and change and fall for ignorance, lies, and outright balderdash?
You alone can answer that.