Going Viral… it’s what they do

So, this virus is still pissing everyone off. If only we could make tiny hammers to smash the little buggers, eh?

Right, so what do we actually know? Not much, as it goes. It’s a new one, it’ll take a long time to figure out what it can and cannot do and by then, one or other of us will be dead. Of course, if the virus kills us, it’s dead too. It cannot reproduce without a host.

It is the way of viruses to gradually mutate into less deadly versions. If they don’t, if they wipe out their host species, they die too. There are viruses that have perfected this. They are in us all now, reproducing slowly, doing no real harm, parasitising with nobody noticing. That takes a long time but I suspect they all get there in the end.

It’s the boisterous new kid on the block that always causes most damage. The thug virus, in Burberry and drugged to the eyes, not yet realising it depends for its very existence on those it is trying to kill. It will calm down, eventually, but it will kill a lot of people before it does.

Okay, what do we have? Most of it is unproven and some of it is just hearsay but we have to go with what we have for now.

First, it is not a hoax. Some are still saying this. I have noticed though, that a couple of days ago Twitter was full of sneering ‘Does anyone know anyone who has even had this virus?’ and today it’s full of ‘family member dead or on a ventilator’ tweets. It has changed very quickly. Not surprising since the death toll is doubling every three days.

Some of them are fake. Clearly. But some of them are real. I now personally know a few people who have tested positive.

Second, testing. There are howls to test everyone, so all those testing negative can get back to work. Testing does not confer immunity. If you test negative it merely shows that you haven’t caught it yet. You could catch it between the time of the test and getting the result. It means nothing. There is an antibody test in development that will show if you had it and have developed immunity but even when it’s widely available, it takes 28 days after infection before it can be deemed accurate. I hope you like your living room wallpaper, you’re going to be staring at it for a while yet.

Third, who is most at risk? The elderly, obviously. Those with underlying conditions whether or not they have been diagnosed. This is important. There have been many, many cases in the past of apparently fit and healthy people in their twenties suddenly dropping dead from a heart or other problem nobody even suspected they had. It happens. It’s not nice but it does happen. Just because you feel fine, live the Health Dream and have a body that would make Charles Atlas green does not mean you are safe. Do not chance it.

Some are more at risk than others. It seems the virus kills more men than women. It seems to target blood group A and Rhesus negative particularly. It seems to not like smokers so much. All this is connected with cell surface antigens that the virus uses for attachment and I’m not getting into a lecture now. I haven’t seen absolute proof of any of these things (there hasn’t been enough time for research) so it’s all speculation or preliminary studies at this point.

Fourth, is it a bioweapon? I don’t know. It might be but it doesn’t need to be. Nasty new viruses can arise by pure chance. This one might have been created by a lab or by sheer bad luck. There are very few genes in a virus so adding or taking away one makes a hell of a difference to what it does. A simple transcription error in a SARS virus could have made this one.

Bioweapons are really no use in the modern world unless you want to attack the entire world. Lobbing plague infested corpses into beseiged castles in the 14th century, fine. It’s contained. Now, you could let loose a bioweapon in, say, London, and it will cover the whole damn planet in 24 hours. You cannot contain it. No matter where in the world you let out your bioweapon, it is coming home and might get home before you do. So I don’t think it was a deliberate bioweapon attack. Accidental release, maybe.

Although the Billy Gates Gruff was suspiciously fast at bringing in his vaccine with free bonus microchip. So I’ll leave the bioweapon thing open for now. That guy is the one who wanted to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide to zero. He is a dangerous idiot.

Fifth, is it really more dangerous than the flu? After all, more people die of the flu than from this. Well, it’s not about the death rate. It’s the infection rate. With flu, you get infected, 2 or 3 days later you’re in bed wishing for Death’s release. A couple of weeks later you’re okay, you might be infectious for a day or two after but you won’t cause too many new cases.

With this one, you can be infectious for two weeks before you even know you have it. There is some evidence you can still be infectious for a while after recovery. The kill rate isn’t that high but the infection method means you could see a massive spike in cases all at once. ‘Only’ 20% need hospital treatment but unlike those flu cases, the hospital ones aren’t spread out over months. The cases could spike over days. And then you have the Italy situation where doctors have to choose who gets the ventilator.

It does not kill more than the flu. What it can do is cause a spike in cases over days rather than months, and then people die because they can’t get treatment. Not just from the virus, from everything else too, because the hospitals are overloaded. This new virus has not made all the other diseases go away, you know.

Finally, is it all the government’s fault? What do you want, your government to seal all borders, allow nobody in or out, and keep you under home arrest 24/7? No, it is not the government’s fault. Look at the faces of those in government now. They are knackered. Boris looks like he should be home in bed with a hot water bottle and he is still working. Making political mileage out of this is just sick.

No government on the planet could have foreseen this, no government could possibly have been ready, no politician anywhere understands how a virus works and sure, they have scientific advisers but no scientist has ever seen this virus before. Vaccines and treatments are not something we scientists pull out of our arse on command, you know. It took me three years to find a treatment for Clostridium difficile and prove that it worked. That bacterium has been causing problems for a very long time. Now you want a cure for a brand new virus in days? 14 days incubation and spread before symptoms? Nobody has seen that before and nobody has a plan in place to deal with it. Why would they? It has only just come into existence.

Instead of attacking health workers and pharmacists, instead of demanding the government do something about a thing nobody has experienced before, why not try looking after yourselves for once?

If this thing keeps going, sooner or later you’ll have no choice.

26 thoughts on “Going Viral… it’s what they do

  1. I must admit that I have seriously wondered about all this screeching for Testing. What is the point? Say that to someone and they look at you as if you are mad and shout you down. I have never had half a chance to explain why, so I have given up.
    I haven’t been anywhere for three weeks now, but my son has to do the shopping. And he is allowed to work, but rarely comes in talking distance of any of his clients. Most of them are English and trapped in England and the French clients aren’t daft. And anyhow, someone has got to cut these rapidly growing lawns.

    So for the moment I feel relatively safe, but only relatively.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The MSM is useless. Journos can’t even spell cyants. All they want is personalities & conflict to keep you frightened. And slebs, of course.

      As I understand it, testing is only worthwhile as part of a bigger process involving tracking, tracing, isolation & quarantine protocols, such has been done in, say, South Korea, Taiwan & China. Without those it might help in identifying staff at risk, but mostly it seems to be a PR thing.

      I have not seen anything on the variety of tests, timing between test & results or their accuracy (false positives & false negatives), so how do the modellers come up with their confidence levels? “Computer says no” & all that.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you once again. It’s amazing how ignoring the MSM but being informed of cold hard facts improves my world view – however limited that might be these days!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Years ago I remember an aircrew colleague dropping dead on the steps of the medical centre having just had, and passed, his annual medical including ECG.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was at school with a guy so fit he made it to youth-team goalkeeper for Tottenham Hotspur.

      He died suddenly at around 30 years of age. Absolutely nothing diagnosed before it happened.

      Like

  4. Excellent post, as usual.

    I’ve got AB- blood. Should I switch to ‘worry mode amber’ & switch to an intake of single malt? Or stick at ‘slightly concerned mode’ & stay with the Lidl own brand hooch?

    Despite what our lords & masters have been telling us, masks do seem to be useful. See https://www.zoeharcombe.com/2020/04/covid-19-do-masks-help/ for some sensible stuff.

    Also, I read somewhere that smokers seem to be slightly less affected. That would be a laugh, wouldn’t it. Have a peek at https://www.qeios.com/read/article/554

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the Daily Wail’s running the smokers story. Comments from smokers feeling unusually smug, recently-become ex smokers agonising whether to take it up again and satisfyingly miffed anti-smokers.

      Like

    • I’d be extra careful if I were you.

      If you are making a mask, have a layer of cloth in the middle of it that’s been soaked in a 30g/100ml salt solution and then dried. Don’t have it right next to your skin.

      The salt will catch water droplets and as it dries and recrystallises it will kill the virus by physically crushing it. Plain old table salt is fine for this.

      Like

      • Be sure to add a mild surfactant like polysorbate 20. Most masks are polyester and rely on static charge to grab dust, so the polyester is hydrophobic and doesn’t wet out easily. A surfactant changes all that, acts to spread the solution out into a layer which turns into lots of micro-crystals, which works famously well

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  5. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is just a virus from the bat/pangolin stew they’re apparently keen on eating although I did read somewhere that it has some strand/s of HIV within it which might suggest a lab involvement.

    If you want to see the very worst of political point scoring look at what the Dems are up to in the USA along with the B list vacuous airheads of Hollywood. Calling the Donald a murderer and for being 100% responsible for the outbreak and many other slurs. Why this is not treated as ‘hate speech’ by Twitter and FaceBook and stopped I’ll never understand except I most certainly do.

    Meanwhile in good ol’ Blighty we can always trust the BMJ to be an oasis of sanity amongst the desert of idiocy. Can’t we?

    https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/03/31/we-need-health-warning-labels-on-points-of-sale-of-fossil-fuels/

    I think we need the Great snooker cue in the sky to cannon the pale blue ball off the red ball and into the orange ball.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The HIV link seems tenuous, although it could happen by pure chance if a SARS virus infected a cell with HIV.
      HIV hides in the host DNA and occasionally puts out some RNA to make a few copies of itself. Virus assembly is pure biochemistry and it often gets it wrong so a virus with a couple of HIV genes isn’t unlikely.

      But to see the BMJ banging on about health warnings on coal at this time… we’re on our own, aren’t we?

      Like

  6. Criticism of the government – via PHE – is justified, as well as the desk jockeys in the NHS.

    They sat like a rabbit in the headlights without getting all the protective gear the front line people need. They knew perfectly well these folks would need it – and Wuhan showed exactly what. Full suits, helmets, proper masks and gloves and separate air supply.

    We’ve got a situation where our front line people, from ambulance drivers through to senior doctors are forced to treat patients with a mask and gloves. Still bare arms, still no eye protection and just a thin apron over their torso.

    It’s when we know that, we begin to understand the meaning of dedication. And it’s a national shame that over 10% of those stats are health workers.

    By the by, we did the same with out troops in Iraq; piss poor body protection, so much so that they’d beg the Yanks who were being rotated out to flog their Kevlar lined ones.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Justified to an extent, yes – but the French have stopped four trucks full of PPE (paid for by the NHS) from getting to the UK, and cancelled an order placed by the British government for thousands of masks.

      They have been trying to stock the NHS with PPE. Others are getting in the way. So much for EU unity, eh?

      Like

  7. I was sceptical but now I’ve spoken to my much younger friend in Birmingham who’s had it the other week, I realise it’s a bug which does attack the lungs fiercely. She’s very fit and healthy. Even so she had to call out the paramedics and was given a nebuliser and steroids. Now I think I’ll adhere to the NHS’s letter which insists I stay isolated for 12 weeks.

    Like

    • It is exceptionally nasty. The ‘mild’ form, by all accounts, feels like a throat full of smashed glass.

      ‘Mild’ just means you don’t end up on a ventilator. So yes, take it seriously.

      Like

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