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NW Ponderer
Total Likes: 1
Original Post (Thread Starter)
by NW Ponderer
NW Ponderer
When the Black Death hit the world in the 14th Century it was incredibly deadly. In some regions the death toll exceeded 50% of the population. It literally changed the history of Europe. What made it so deadly was the profound ignorance of the population, and governments, about what caused and spread it. Modern medicine generally fares much better, but the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 was still one of the deadliest in history, though the mortality rate was "only" about 10%.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has created a worldwide concern, affected the markets, and sown panic in certain areas. Yet, the mortality rate is much lower (so far) than the annual flu, which clocks in at around 14 per 100,000. Why the panic?

There seem to be two reasons: it is unique, and it is unknown. Unique, because, while the virus is known (even common), this strain is behaving differently. Similarly, the Spanish flu virus was believed to have been a strain of the H1N1 virus, but was particularly deadly. (Swine flu was another H1N1 strain.) Unknown, because its spread and mechanisms of infection and morbidity are not fully understood. Nor, is there yet a "cure". The unknown is scary.

The question is: is this outbreak more like the annual flu, or more like the Spanish flu? Until we know that answer, the concern seems warranted.
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by pondering_it_all
Interesting: The South African doctor who first announced the new Omicron variant of concern, said she and other South African doctors are seeing increases in the infection rate which indicates Omicron may be better at transmitting. BUT those cases tend to be milder than usual, with fatigue and headache the main symptoms. So there is the possibility this variant is "the end" of the pandemic: A variant that infects most of the immunologically naive, but causes few hospitalizations or deaths. A "natural vaccination" variant, so to speak.

When viruses mutate, this is always a possibility. Increased fitness, but decreased virulence, because the former has selective advantage, while the latter does not.
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