From an immunologist at Johns Hopkins University. Maybe this will make just one person stop saying “it’s been around forever, it’s just the flu.” It hasn’t and it’s not. Read why.
THIS IS A VERBATIM QUOTE.
Feeling confused as to why Coronavirus is a bigger deal than Seasonal flu? Here it is in a nutshell. I hope this helps. Feel free to share this to others who don’t understand…
It has to do with RNA sequencing…. I.e. genetics.
Seasonal flu is an “all human virus”. The DNA/RNA chains that make up the virus are recognized by the human immune system. This means that your body has some immunity to it before it comes around each year… you get immunity two ways…through exposure to a virus, or by getting a flu shot.
Novel viruses, come from animals…. the WHO tracks novel viruses in animals, (sometimes for years watching for mutations). Usually these viruses only transfer from animal to animal (pigs in the case of H1N1) (birds in the case of the Spanish flu). But once, one of these animal viruses mutates, and starts to transfer from animals to humans… then it’s a problem, Why? Because we have no natural or acquired immunity.. the RNA sequencing of the genes inside the virus isn’t human, and the human immune system doesn’t recognize it so, we can’t fight it off.
Now…. sometimes, the mutation only allows transfer from animal to human, for years it’s only transmission is from an infected animal to a human before it finally mutates so that it can now transfer human to human… once that happens. We have a new contagion phase. And depending on the fashion of this new mutation, that’s what decides how contagious, or how deadly it’s going to be..
H1N1 was deadly….but it did not mutate in a way that was as deadly as the Spanish flu. It’s RNA was slower to mutate and it attacked its host differently, too.
Now, here comes this Coronavirus… it existed in animals only, for nobody knows how long…but one day, at an animal market, in Wuhan China, in December 2019, it mutated and made the jump from animal to people. At first, only animals could give it to a person… But here is the scary part…. in just TWO WEEKS it mutated again and gained the ability to jump from human to human. Scientists call this quick ability, “slippery”
This Coronavirus, not being in any form a “human” virus (whereas we would all have some natural or acquired immunity). Took off like a rocket. And this was because, Humans have no known immunity…doctors have no known medicines for it.
And it just so happens that this particular mutated animal virus, changed itself in such a way the way that it causes great damage to human lungs..
That’s why Coronavirus is different from seasonal flu, or H1N1 or any other type of influenza…. this one is slippery AF. And it’s a lung eater…And, it’s already mutated AGAIN, so that we now have two strains to deal with, strain s, and strain L….which makes it twice as hard to develop a vaccine.
We really have no tools in our shed, with this. History has shown that fast and immediate closings of public places has helped in the past pandemics. Philadelphia and Baltimore were reluctant to close events in 1918 and they were the hardest hit in the US during the Spanish Flu.
Factoid: Henry VIII stayed in his room and allowed no one near him, till the Black Plague passed…(honestly…I understand him so much better now). Just like us, he had no tools in his shed, except social isolation…
And let me end by saying…. right now it’s hitting older folks harder… but this genome is so slippery…if it mutates again (and it will). Who is to say, what it will do next.
Be smart folks… acting like you’re unafraid is so not sexy right now.
#flattenthecurve. Stay home folks… and share this to those that just are not catching on.
This is Dr. Bob speaking now.
Since this immunologist provided this explanation it has gotten worse. 20% of COVID deaths are in the 20-64 year old age group.
I have been in contact with physicians and nurses with boots on the ground in many states. They work in ICUs and ERs. The back-log for testing is 10 days in many areas. Quest and LabCorp cannot handle the volume and in some places they are not accepting new swabs for testing. Our data are therefore behind by a few weeks so reports that CDC provides are looking at the past, not the present. South KOREA, a much smaller country has done more tests than in the US and by virtue of immediate effective action (early social distancing, stay-at-home, widespread testing, public health teams tracking down contacts and placing them in quarantine, etc) they have flattened the curve.
Fortunately a company has developed a rapid test with turn-around time of 45 minutes. FDA approved it. Production expected to hit the market soon. Hopefully it can be in use soon which will give more accurate information.
In the US some anti-science governors have still not instituted minimally effective measures to flatten the curve. (example Florida)
Spring break college students who went to Florida to party were eventually sent home (after great pressure on the governor by critics) and have delivered the virus to their family and friends at home. Remote body temperature monitoring data showed high rates of fever in Florida during spring break.
But today, as of 12 noon, Florida did not show RED so the spring break dissolution and social distancing may be having an effect.
Stay at home and practice social distancing. Tips from two Stanford doctors/researchers provided in previous post.
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Eat clean, drink filtered water, love, laugh, exercise outdoors in a greenspace, get some morning sunlight, block the blue light before bed, engage in meaningful work, find a sense of purpose, spend time with those you love, AND sleep well tonight.