The Big Picture

The Big Picture

May 31, 2010

16 responses to “The Big Picture”

  1. Trucker Ron – I am answering your post about corona virus from yesterday. I think this virus is very similar in its action to earlier infections like swine flu. They were devastating at the time because they were so new to our immune systems that there was no natural immunity in the population. Think about the effect of measles on the Native American population in colonial times – European people got sick from measles and some died, but over the years an immunity built up in the survivors and most lived. The Native Americans died in droves, although some survived. The same thing is happening to our world now with the corona virus. Most people will catch the virus when exposed. Most people will get sick, and some will die. Those who already have other medical problems will be more likely to die. Antibiotics do not work on a virus. If people get so sick from a virus that they can’t take care of their needs (like food and drink and help with fever or respiratory problems) then they are at greater risk of dying. If too many people get sick at the same time so they can’t get support to help them through the symptoms, and to help them get treatment for secondary infections that can follow when they are weakened by the virus, many will die that would have lived if they had help. New York is an example of this. A successful vaccine will build up immunity in the population so that the process of getting the virus and surviving to build up immunity in the population will go faster. Right now we are successfully avoiding getting sick in overwhelming numbers, but our economy is suffering and we need to get it working again before supply chains break down and we have a big problem of a different nature. Corona virus is here to stay, just like the flu, and people will continue to get sick with it in the future, but once the resistance is built up, it will be deadly to a much smaller group of people.

    • Thank you, Judy! That matches what I’d learned from others, including my doctors (yes, I’m old enough that I have specialists). The only additional thing I’ve been told is that unlike most of the diseases you mentioned, it’s very possible to show no symptoms… that in one published study of a population chosen randomly about 86% of infected individuals were asymptomatic.
      Here in Utah the medical authorities have been expanding testing beyond those who were most “at risk” due to age and other factors like heart issues and showing symptoms… only about 4 or 5% tested positive. As they’re now allowing younger, curious folks in certain communities willing to pay about $70 to be tested, they’re finding a few more cases every day, but the vast majority of those folks are asymptomatic. As of last night we’re only up to 8,392 cases and 97 fatalities in our population of 3.3 million people.

  2. Judy,
    Thanks for reminding us, “Antibiotics do not work on a virus.” SHB physicians have trouble convincing families of that.
    The 31 May cartoon above is also a reminder. Elaine [BSN, RN, BA, MA] & I didn’t know it, but it was the last Memorial Day we would be together. That June was the last Summer Theology Workshop we’d attend together. She was a saint, which many recognized & have acknowledged* to me, & she is one. *So has BSU, with a posthumous alumni award several years ago.
    UMH 711, “For all the Saints.”

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