I believe there are concerns over anything that can affect your life, especially pending death. However, is the recent media hype about variants of COVID-19 a problem?
https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20210308/potential-covid-19-variant-surge-looms-over-us We have been promised coronavirus surges for months. Winter was coming, and the threat of a Twindemic of seasonal influenza and coronavirus would be inescapable – thousands more would die.
Thousands did die over the Thanksgiving to New Year’s season. Since then, the decrease in new cases has been exponentially downward, steeply at first, and now more gradual. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/
At this height of the winter surge, nearly 300,000 Americans were diagnosed with COVID-19 daily. The latest numbers of daily new cases of coronavirus are below 75,000 and most recently below 50,000. COVID-19 deaths lag new cases, and the trend line is steeply downward, with daily deaths at half the rate of two months ago. Less than 1,000 daily deaths were reported this week.
None of these statistics include seasonal influenza because there is no seasonal influenza outbreak this year. Eighty thousand people died last year from seasonal flu. It is getting harder to find statistics on the 2020-2021 flu season. Hospitalizations and deaths this influenza season in San Diego, California, are 700 cases of the flu and two deaths. The 2019/2020 influenza season had over 20,000 cases of flu and 105 deaths are around this same time of the year. https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/hhsa/programs/phs/documents/InfluenzaWatch.pdf
The Twindemic did not happen. The seasonal influenza season did not occur compared to previous years. What is going on? Are all the deaths being reported as COVID-19? Some people think so.
https://www.livescience.com/how-much-can-coronavirus-mutate-variants.html Viruses mutate. It is what they do. The current SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID-19 has mutated over a thousand times. Most of the time, there is no change in the virus transmission or mortality rate. When should we be concerned? Are the current vaccine(s) viable to combat the virus?
The answers are not known until the viral variant has been measured. Are more people getting sick sooner, or later? Are more people dying? Are the symptoms significantly different? Do people heal faster or slower? It is a numbers game. Until the numbers have been determined, no one knows. To speculate that this variant or that variant is more dangerous or deadly is speculation – guessing!
Virus Genetic Code
https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Virus The SARS-CoV-2 genetic code is made up of nearly 30,000 letters grouped as a four-letter alphabet composed of different molecules. The chemical letter combination determines the viral communication to the viral building blocks of amino acids (nearly 10,000 in this specific coronavirus).
A mutation or variant will change the arrangement of amino acids. The new sequence determines the transmissibility, attachability to human host cells, lethality, symptoms, etc.
COVID-19 attaches to the ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) receptor (https://elifesciences.org/articles/61390) using the spike on the outside of the viral molecule. The spike has nearly 4,000 letters grouped as a four-letter alphabet transmitting data to over 1,200 amino acids. Vaccines have been developed to thwart the attachment mechanism of the spike to the ACE2 receptor cell.
A mutational change in the virus’s main body is meaningless if it cannot connect to a host. The spike must make viable contact to spread the virus into the human body. A viral variant change in the spike amino acid arrangement is critical. My research indicates that the pharmaceutical companies believe their vaccines are strong enough to counter spike mutations.
A change in the structure of 30 or 40 amino acids in the spike containing well over a thousand amino acids is probably not enough to foil the vaccine. Based on the vaccine program to recognize spike protein arrangement, the immune response of your body is more than likely good enough to keep you healthy through many variants of a normal mutational cycle of COVID-19. Guaranteed? No, but a strong likelihood.
The current concern for the next surge in the United States is the B.1.1.7 variant from Europe. Increased hospitalizations and deaths have been the result of the spread of this mutation. An authentic surge does not occur until about 50% of the population is infected with a new variant. Last Sunday, there were around 3,000 cases of the new variant reported in 46 states. Nowhere near 50%!
Is it wise to be prepared in case it does explode across the United States? Yes. Will standard precautions and increased testing and vaccinations be effective? Yes. The more people are prohibited from being carriers through having had the disease or from vaccinations; the less likely a new viral variant surge will occur.
Is there a threat from states opening or loosening their restrictions? Probably not. Texas will relax the state mandate for face masks and business seating this week. The governor told Texans that they could decide for their employees and patrons. They set the rules – face masks, social distancing, etc. The state is no longer telling Texas businesses what they must do. It is now voluntary.
Can that cause a flood of new hospitalizations and deaths? Maybe, if all businesses remove all restrictions and people assemble as they did in 2019. People have personal responsibility. Companies have responsibly for their customers. When I walk into a place, and every table is 100% occupied, and no one is wearing a mask, I can turn around and leave. I do not have to remain there. Why would I?
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com