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Friday, 17 April 2020

Coronavirus anomalies

There are several conspiracy theories regarding the coronavirus pandemic (Wiki). Some are plausible (eg, virus from Chinese lab) while others are implausible (eg, 5G). The unique nature of the virus might be to blame for these theories: it infects many people who experience mild or no symptoms, while only some get very sick and can have an almost 50% chance of dying.

Initially, its target operating model seemed to be clear: senior people (>70) with existing health problems. Subsequently, other categories were added: diabetes type II, overweight people, smoking, vaping. Scientific news then troubled this picture: air pollution, asthma almost absentcured people fall ill again, 3 men vs 1 womansome blood types are more exposed than others, testosterone, and the amount of virus exposure.

In summary: "One mystery of Covid-19 is why it appears to affect some people so severely and others hardly at all. Age and whether someone has any other underlying conditions such as diabetes certainly present part of the answer, but even among seemingly healthy young people there is a tremendous variability in how sick people ultimately get." (Bloomberg, April 13)

This "tremendous variability" has led people to wonder: "Could genetics could play a role in the severity of COVID-19?" Consumer DNA-testing company 23andMe: "We know from past research that genetics can influence a person’s susceptibility to different infectious diseases — including whether they’re infected and how severe their disease becomes."

It's tempting to link the above to American reports that the African-American population is hit disproportionately hard by the coronavirus pandemic (eg, Brookings, WaPo). I think, feel and believe that massive American inequality provides a better explanation. The Dutch Financial Times has a similar view (HFD article).

Often the coronavirus is compared to (human) influenza viruses. This comparison is inadequate because (i) flu viruses often kill many more people, and (ii) do not cause severe lung and/or heart tissue damage. Latter makes the coronavirus unique and frightening.

The fact that nobody thus far seems to fully understand the weird characteristics (anomalies) of this coronavirus pandemic is another reason for creating coronavirus conspiracy theories (eg, my 2016 blog). Their logic is along the following lines: if there is no natural, obvious and plausible way of explaining then it must be artificial (eg, synthetic) and thus man-made. Hence, it is important to know its origins (eg, National Review).

My perspective is different: viruses are very "intelligent" without even qualifying as a life-form. Nobody even knows where viruses originate from. Some astrobiologists claim viruses are alien. Viruses are key in evolution (genetic mutations) and in destruction (pandemics). SCMP, March 21: "Viruses aren’t just a threat to public health, they are essential to life on Earth".

“What does not kill me, makes me stronger.” A quote by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), a German philosopher.

Stronger (2007) by Kanye West

(Work it harder, make it better 
Do it faster, makes us stronger)

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

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