Something terrible happened this year. We became aware of a novel virus that spreads through physical contact. There’s no known cure and it’s now apparent that it seems to dramatically increase your lifetime risk of suffering Alzheimer’s disease, because it has the potential to enter the human nervous system. An entire generation is being set up for dementia, because they selfishly violate social distancing guidelines.
Oh wait sorry, wrong virus, that’s Herpes simplex virus-1.
But this virus is frightening too. It spreads from person to person and it’s now increasingly linked to cancer, particularly rare forms of lung cancer. It’s thought that it can even spread through our vaccines, through contamination.
Wait sorry, wrong virus again. That’s SV40.
As I was saying, there’s a lot we don’t know about this virus yet. It might seem to non-experts like just one of more than 200 known common cold viruses, but it’s known to have a strong link to obesity. Obese people are more likely to carry the virus and we now believe that there is even a causative role in this phenomenon, as the virus stimulates the replication of stem cells and pre-adipocytes in adipose tissue. So, we should make sure to stay inside and limit the transmission as much as possible. Order your groceries online and avoid shaking hands.
Oh wait. Sorry, I don’t know how this keeps happening. Yeah apparently, I got my presentation material mixed up. That was Human Adenovirus Serotype 36. We’ll just carry on.
The novel corona virus has the potential to strike in a different way. Besides the countless adult victims who will lose their lives, we’re facing the prospect of a generation of unborn children who will grow up to suffer subtle cognitive impairment. They will never quite live up to their innate genetic potential, because their mother’s immune response to the virus interferes with their own development. As a consequence, they will spend the rest of their lives at increased risk of ending up on welfare and with reduced salaries.
Oops. Yeah there’s another paper that somehow slipped into my presentation on COVID-19. This was the flu. We shouldn’t compare COVID-19 to the flu, unless we’re talking about the 1918 flu of course. Moving on…
As I was saying. It’s best for everyone if we limit social interaction to an absolute bare minimum from now on until we have a vaccine. Unfortunately, this includes pets, we should avoid infecting our pets too, as they might end up infecting us. The reason we’re so concerned is because it has become increasingly clear that this pathogen doesn’t just kill vulnerable elderly, but it can also infect our nervous system. Upon infecting the nervous system, we succumb to a wide range of subtle behavioral abnormalities. We now think the pathogen is actually linked to some traffic fatalities, because people become more confident and full of themselves once it settles in their nervous system. In other words, when we test people’s bodies as positive when they died after driving drunk, you can’t just out of hand dismiss an infection like that as unrelated to their death. The infection may very well have interfered with their driving skills.
What? Wrong paper again? Yeah, you got me. Toxoplasmosis. Keep a six feet distance from your cat. Moving on…
What makes the novel coronavirus so scary is that even otherwise healthy people who show no symptoms of infection can suffer long term health consequences. We’re noticing an epidemic of people who feel tired, who are short of breath, suffer brain fog and chills and sweats. We call these people long-haul COVID cases. What we realize now is that this virus doesn’t just infect the lungs. It can spread throughout the body and wreak devastation on just about every human organ. About 90% of the adult population now shows evidence of previous infection. We can even link an estimated 200,000 cancer cases to this virus every year.
Yeah, you’re right, I was getting myself mixed up with Eppstein-Barr virus, which is increasingly thought to be one of the main causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
All jokes aside, the point is that infections are scary. The idea of something alien entering your body is an unnerving thought. The more you look into infections, the scarier they get. That tends to be the nature of things that harm us. As our knowledge of the world increases, we become more aware of the variety of ways in which you could be harmed.
There’s not a virus in the world that is being studied as closely as COVID19. If you study something very closely, you’ll find a wide variety of scary findings, with no real way of knowing whether these things are unusual. In addition, if everyone is talking about COVID19, you’ll be left with a huge demographic of people who have a variety of common health problems, that they will then go on to link to COVID19.
There’s one thing that’s far more scary than any virus however. It’s the very real prospect of human society collapsing under the weight of our own knowledge of the dangers that surround us. What’s really scary are the chances for happiness that go wasted in this life, because we are afraid of potential dangers. Instead of fearing the life that might infect us, the absence of life within us should be worrying us.