The ups and downs of Covid-19

Testing

Infections vs deaths

  1. After the Memorial Day loosening of restrictions in the US four weeks ago, it was young people who most readily abandoned caution. They are stronger and for reasons we don’t yet fully understand are better able to deal with the new coronavirus. They seldom need hospitalization and very rarely succumb to the disease. That means they can increase the number of infections while not increasing the fatality numbers. The percentage of deaths in the total number of infections sinks.
  2. We must consider the fact that the quality of treatment has, over the months, most likely improved. Doctors now know better how to save the lives of people infected with Covid-19. So a larger percentage of people who show dangerous symptoms are being saved.
  3. We must also consider the following: it is possible that the virus has now decimated the most vulnerable segments of the population (e.g. elderly people in care homes), or has driven people to implement special measures to protect them. This could reduce the initial fatality numbers.
  4. Another factor we discussed was the role of evolution. We need to remember that the less harmful a virus is, the better it can be passed on. Viruses that cause serious sickness or death, ones that kills you quickly, have very little time to spread. People who are infected are rapidly isolated, or they die and are buried — together with the virus. It is the ones that cause mild symptoms, or none at all, at least for a while, that can spread merrily. There are in fact many beneficial viruses that actually improve human health. That makes them especially capable of spreading, even becoming a permanent part of our genetic code.
  5. It is conceivable that the novel coronavirus, SARS-Cov-2, is mutating and that a less virulent, asymptomatic strain is infecting a greater percentage of people, while the deadlier strain is being better isolated. My virus researcher friend considers this unlikely, since, he says, we would have genetically identified the new strain by now.

Delayed consequences

The spread

Addendum:

Other related stories

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Frederic Alois Friedel, born in 1945, science journalist, co-founder of ChessBase, studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford.

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The Friedel Chronicles

The Friedel Chronicles

Frederic Alois Friedel, born in 1945, science journalist, co-founder of ChessBase, studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford.

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