Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The End Of The World as We Know It

The end of the World as we know it.

In a far away place where more than a billion people call home, a novel virus has been unleashed and is spreading like wildfire. Wuhan China, a city of eleven million has been quarantined. Countries have closed their boarders and band international flights. We sit here in the US and casually watch and wait.

The Corona Virus is an RNA based virus. (WuFlu) This kind of virus is know for mutating at a rapid rate. What this means is that a virus that causes a mild cold like symptoms can morph in the blink of an eye into a virus that is lethal.

The last couple of viral scares included Middle East Respiratory syndrome (MERS) and Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). These viruses were spread by close physical contact with an infected person. This WuFlu can be spread by breathing the air or touching a surface. In addition, it can be spread through the digestive track. What that means is that if you are using in a public toilet and someone with the virus is stinking up the place, you can contract the virus. The virus can aerosolize by flushing the toilet. Infection can happen if you touch a surface in the area of the toilet. Carried a little further, in places where the sanitation systems are not good, the virus gets in the sewers and insects can carry and spread the virus. This virus has not yet been reported in India or Africa. It will. The population density and sanitation systems in these parts of the world will boost its spread.

A highly contagious virus has more opportunity for mutation. The more people it infects, the more likely that it will morph. At the time of the writing of this post there has been reported 24,500 confirmed cases, with 500 deaths. Reporting began on January 20th, 15 days ago. At first glance, this does not seem like a very high fatality rate. The problem is that the virus has to be in your system for a while before you even show symptoms. Then it takes time to result in a sever enough condition to be lethal. Backing the numbers up ten days and there were just 2700 case confirmed. That would be a 20% fatality rate. Add on top of that the allegation that China does not accurately report causes of death. This rate could be much higher.

The Spanish flu killed 50 million people around the world. That was in 1918 when the world was no where near as connected as we are today. Maybe the virus can be contained in China. Hopefully for at least long enough for a vaccine to be developed. Is it the end of the world as we know it. Will millions of people succumb to this virus? The next few days will tell the story.

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