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The nature of the beast.

There sure are a lot of people on Twitter and in real life who don’t trust Anthony Fauci because his advice changes. Scientists are pains in the ass that way. But for those of us who DO believe Anthony Fauci is giving us the best advice as he knows it, it’s because we understand the nature of the beast we are dealing with. And once you understand it, you too will start to listen to Anthony Fauci with a different attitude.

Here’s the nature of the beast:

1.) Viruses are spread by many different ways. They can be inhaled or swallowed or via skin to skin contact.

2.) Once a virus gets into your body, it infects the cells. A single cell can produce many many copies of viruses. When the cell bursts open, it releases those many many copies of viruses into the body to infect other cells. Those viruses can infect specific cells in your body and make you pretty sick.

3.) The cells reproduce the virus according to the instructions that the virus passes to it.

4.) The cells slice up viral proteins and display them on the surface of the cell.

5.) Circulating T-cells recognize the viral proteins on the surface of the cell and start the immune response.

6.) The immune response will start fighting infection and raise your temperature.

7.) The key to winning is to have an immune system that will out pace the rate of infection. The more cells infected, the harder the immune system has to work to catch up.

8.) Viruses reproduce very rapidly.

9.) The more rapidly they reproduce, the more mistakes are made in reading instructions and making the proteins.

10.) Some of those mistakes, called mutations, will cause the virus to fail to infect or infect efficiently. They may lose the ability to infect other cells and reproduce. That’s good.

11.) Other mutations will make it easier for the virus to infect other cells. Or make it easier for the virus to infect other people because there is more virus in the body of the giver to pass to the receiver. Guess which mutations are likely to survive.

12.) The more people infected, the more chances of a mutation that will cause the virus to spread and infect.

13.) lather, rinse, repeat.

14.) The key to stopping this self perpetuating cycle is to stop the infections from spreading from person to person. This can be accomplished by vaccines that start the immune system response early and by social distancing. That way, the virus is taken out before the infection can really get off the ground and infect others.

Note that it doesn’t matter to the virus how this party got started. It doesn’t matter if it was the result of cooking in a mix of 32 animals at a market or was accidentally created in a lab. Although the former is far more likely, the nature of viruses and how they replicate and spread is exactly the same. Not only that but viruses can’t think. They don’t have the genome for thinking. All they’re interested in is making more copies of themselves. And they’re not even interested in that because they are not aware.

So, getting on Fauci’s back about some conspiratorial “gain of function” research is a major distraction that, while being ridiculous, also does not solve the problem of mutating viruses that are loose in the world.

It also doesn’t help to get in a high snit at Fauci because his advice keeps changing. His advice may change because the epidemiology may be changing somewhere along the path listed above.

Is the variant becoming more contagious? Then put your masks back on. Are there more people being infected by a single person? Then social distancing rules might need to be enhanced. Is the route of transmission changing? Then where you are, whether inside or outside or in a crowd may need to be taken into consideration.

Is the mutant changing to such an extent that the vaccine is not working as quickly as it used to? Remember, it’s a race between the virus replicating and infecting cells vs the speed and strength of the immune system. If adjustments need to be made to make sure your immune system wins, then you might need a vaccine booster to maintain high levels of circulating antibodies and T-cells. Or the vaccine may need to be changed to make sure that it produces the right viral proteins that your T-cells will attack.

So, this whole pandemic is like a giant experiment and parameters will need to be tweaked periodically to get the result we want. That’s why advice is changing.

I also didn’t mention that while we know a lot about coronaviruses, they are still new to our body of knowledge and even Anthony Fauci doesn’t know everything. As people like him fill out the details of what they know, the advise should get better. It’s just going to take time.

Meanwhile, the best way to make sure the pandemic ends is to do whatever possible to stop spreading it around. The virus is also non-partisan. It doesn’t GAF who you voted for in 2020. It is incapable of thought. And your immune system is not necessarily going to beat this thing. That depends on how healthy you already are and how much viral load you are going to get. If you have a pre-existing condition and the virus infects certain cells and tissues that are vulnerable, you’ll get sicker and the amount of time your immune system has to Mount an attack may not be adequate to keep you from dying. But vaccines can help speed up the reaction of the immune system to the virus. That’s why it drives the vaccinated crazy when the unvaccinated act like this is a political thing and the virus mutates while they have meltdowns over their ability to get on cruise ships and go to bars. Those people are friends of the virus even if the virus doesn’t care about them. Those people will help introduce the virus to other people. It will be like a giant networking event.

But if they choose to remain unvaccinated, then pretty soon, the only people who will get sick and die are the people who worshipped at the altar of the wrong party. It will be a weird variation of natural selection where the people who get taken out the most have not developed resistance to misinformation and tribalism.

I mean, it’s their choice. I just think they should know what they’re getting themselves into. Because the beast has been doing this infection, mutation, spread thing for millions of years and it doesn’t know anything about the Florida mask mandate prohibition. It doesn’t know anything. It just keeps making copies of itself until we make it stop.

*************

One last thing, there is a possibility that some seriously ill patients will get access to the monoclonal antibody treatment that the big Orange got when his immune system proved to be inadequate all by itself.

The thing is, that possibility was announced about a week ago and people in states like Arkansas, Florida and Texas are still getting seriously ill or are dying. That tells me 2 things.

1.) There is a limited supply of monoclonal antibody treatment. Otherwise, everyone would be getting it.

2.) If choices need to be made as to who gets it, there will be some criteria or decision tree that the patient will need to meet before they get an infusion.

If you are sick in a specific way, or older than a certain age, you may not get the monoclonal antibody treatment. You’ll have to rely on other treatments that might only buy your immune system a little bit more time and that time will be dragged out with you sedated and breathing with the help of a ventilator.

Just sayin’.

2 Responses

  1. Some people want science to be religion. They want someone to come down from the mountain, hand them a couple of stone tablets, and reveal the One True Way to them.

    When the pandemic started, everyone was completely ignorant about the details of the disease. They issued advice based on prior experience. Some of that was right. Some of it was wrong. As people learned more about the virus itself, method of transmission, course of the disease, and possible interventions, they issued better advice. More of it was right, less of it was wrong. The virus itself also changed over time, requiring new advice. But still the advice got better and better.

    For some reason, people who believe that nothing less than Revealed Truth is of value decided that this meant that the people issuing the advice were:

    1) Stupid (“Those scientists don’t know anything”)
    2) Evil (“They must have cooked it up themselves”)
    3) Motivated by something other than a desire to get rid of the damned disease.

    When it actually meant that they were getting smarter all the time and working very hard to find the best way to keep people from getting sick and dying.

    On the other hand, some people never changed their advice (“it’s just a cold”, “masks infringe your freedom”, “vaccines are untested and have dangerous side effects”). Their “advice” killed 600,000 people in the US alone, but at least they were consistent. Consistently wrong, perhaps, but consistent nevertheless. Some people mistake consistency for correctness, even when that is tragically proven false.

  2. Thanks RD… The Nature of the beast list is written in plain English, and for me (and I hope most) was very easy to understand. I don’t know if the deniers will ever change, but the thought that this is some type of ‘natural selection’ seems right to me.

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