Living with Coronavirus
Sunday February 20th, 2022
The BA.2 (Stealth) variant of Covid is on the rise in several sections of the globe. It is nicknamed Stealth because of a high asymptomatic rate of infection and because early research shows it may avoid certain treatments and vaccines might have less of an impact. Note: that is all early research, this bug is not a named variant of concern as of today, but that looks like that might change.
Once again here in the States there is a tendency for the masses to want to believe it is all over. As every wave has passed there has been what amounts to a sigh of relief, followed by a hope/belief that it is all over now, often followed by lessening of restrictions. With each previous wave crest the society has pushed for a “return to normal”; to put it simply people want their old lives back.
The numbers do not agree. The US is still seeing 100,000 plus cases a day of new infections. Every day we are having more than 2000 deaths. More than a Titanic a day does not mean we are over it.
Yes, levels have dropped from the Omicron peak, but as Omicron declines, stealth is growing. We can hope that Stealth is so infectious and so mild that it covers the globe and we all get a mild cold, and then it becomes endemic, and that becomes the face of Covid; a new form of the common cold. It would be nice if Covid evolved into a benign endemic disease, but there are no guarantees, it could evolve in a different direction.
The future remains an unknown.
The way a society combats a virus is by uniform action. We got rid of smallpox and polio by everyone getting vaccinated. It was seen as a patriotic thing to do, to support your nation, America, you got the Jab. Now many, steadfast in their own notion of Liberty, refuse because there is some aspect they distrust; the Government, the science, the Media, and so on.
They stand on their notion of individual liberty, claiming it is wrong to force the vaccines by mandate. Jefferson once defined liberty as the ability of one person to live freely, as they chose, so long as it neither picked his pocket nor broke his leg. In my view refusing the Jab does both, and it is inherently offensive to my own sense of Liberty and Nationalism.
In my view we get vaccinated to protect ourselves and others. As every vaccinated person gives the virus less ground to infect and reproduce. Vaccines make it hard for the virus to thrive, and choke it out, but vaccines do not work if a large swath of people, screaming about their liberty, refuse to get vaccinated and thereby endanger the entire nation; with the people most at risk as the front line.
Those refusing to do so are directly threatening all those most at risk, the child who is immunocompromised with leukemia, is directly threatened by their failure to join with the rest of America as they scream about what good Americans they are. The hypocrisy of this stance sickens me. I fail to see how the callousness of this stance fits in the much-lauded compassion of “Christianity”, which the majority of these “patriotic Americans” claim to follow.
So, here in the states we have near to 40% who remain unvaccinated. That is enough space for the virus to live in with ease. Worse it allows it the chance to reproduce and mutate after exposure to the Vaccines, giving it the latitude to bounce between vaccinated and unvaccinated until it eventually mutates around the vaccines. Covid is noy going away as long as nearly half the nation lives in denial of it and refuses to act in a uniform manner, as one, against the viral enemy.
This hypocrisy is on full display not only in the refusal to wear masks or get vaccinated, but also in the recent actions of the “anti-cancel culture” right. While endlessly droning on about being canceled, they are gathering together to burn books, as Good Christian Pastor threaten the “witches” in their churches. The right complains about cancel culture as they go about in plain sight seeking to cancel the ability to vote for black, brown, and poorer Americans.
Global Infected 410,595,861 423,459,186
7-day average 1,837,617 infections diagnosed daily –Down
Global Dead 5,811,876 5,883,361
7-day average 10,212 deaths daily –Down slightly
USA Infected 77,707,694 78,460,091
7-day average 107,485 infections diagnosed daily –Down
USA C-19 deaths 919,255 935,057
7-day average 2,257 deaths daily –Down
Maine Infected 187,697 218,367
7-day average 4,381 infections diagnosed daily –CDC playing catch up with records
Maine deaths 1,828 1,960
7-day average 18.8571 deaths daily –CDC playing catch up with records
Everyday Health–“As the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) reported on Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a new report this week showing that the omicron subvariant BA.2 now accounts for more than 1 in 5 new coronavirus infections detected worldwide, and the variant is rising both in countries where cases are increasing and declining.
As the American Medical Association explains, the BA.2 variant is sometimes referred to as “stealth” omicron because it has genetic mutations that could make it harder to distinguish from the delta variant using PCR tests, as compared to the original version of omicron. BA.2 is now prevalent in 10 countries: Bangladesh, Brunei, China, Denmark, Guam, India, Montenegro, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Philippines.”
BANGOR, Maine (WABI) – “25 more Mainers died with COVID, according to newly released data from the Maine CDC. There are also 3,784 newly recorded cases. Some of these increases could be attributed to the processing of backlogged COVID test results using an automated system, according to the Maine CDC. More than 1700 COVID vaccinations were administered yesterday. 247 people are now hospitalized with the virus, down 11 from Tuesday. 63 people are in critical care, down one from yesterday. 23 people are on ventilators. There are 47 critical care beds available in the state.
Desert News—”The coronavirus pandemic is constantly shifting. After an omicron variant surge, the pandemic appears to be dropping off in case numbers and restrictions are being loosened across the country. What’s next: STAT News recently offered four different scenarios for the future of the coronavirus, explaining what the future of the SARS-CoV-2 virus could look like around the world.
Epidemic future: One scenario suggests the coronavirus would become epidemic, meaning that it will become similar to upper respiratory infections that can spread commonly.
A new version of COVID-19: Another scenario suggests SARS-CoV-2 could evolve to affect other cells, which means it could impact different parts of the body, according to STAT News. This could lead to a better virus or a worse one, depending on what parts of the body it affects.
A new hybrid virus: There’s a chance that the virus could combine with another virus and “create a hybrid that spawns a new pandemic, just as the occasional hybridization of human and bird influenza viruses is known to give rise to human influenza pandemics,” according to STAT News.
Against the antibodies: The virus could evolve to evade vaccines and exploit antibodies. Specifically, the virus could make it so antibodies make people more susceptible to infection, per STAT News.
Yes, but: Experts have suggested that the novel coronavirus could mutate again into a new COVID-19 variant and that it’s best to prepare for a new COVID-19 variant now, as I wrote for the Deseret News.
The coronavirus “is still mutating, and there is no guarantee that future variants will be mild. There is a high chance that more surges are in our future, particularly for unvaccinated people,” Dr. Megan Ranney, professor of emergency medicine and academic dean of public health at Brown University, recently wrote for NBC News.”
CNN-“A subvariant of Omicron known as BA.2 is spreading fast and may cause severe disease, research from Japan suggests. New lab experiments show BA.2 is capable of thwarting some of the key weapons we have against Covid-19, including being able to escape the immunity created by vaccines. It also appears to be resistant to some monoclonal antibody treatments currently being used to fight Omicron. BA.2 is highly mutated when compared with the original virus that emerged in Wuhan, China. It has been detected in 74 countries and 47 US states, and about 4% of Americans with Covid-19 now have infections caused by BA.2, according to data from the CDC.”
CNN- “The BA.2 virus — a subvariant of the Omicron coronavirus variant — isn’t just spreading faster than its distant cousin, it may also cause more severe disease and appears capable of thwarting some of the key weapons we have against Covid-19, new research suggests. New lab experiments from Japan show that BA.2 may have features that make it as capable of causing serious illness as older variants of Covid-19, including Delta.
And like Omicron, it appears to largely escape the immunity created by vaccines. A booster shot restores protection, making illness after infection about 74% less likely.
BA.2 is also resistant to some treatments, including sotrovimab, the monoclonal antibody that’s currently being used against Omicron.
The findings were posted Wednesday as a preprint study on the bioRxiv server, before peer review. Normally, before a study is published in medical journal, it is scrutinized by independent experts. Preprints allow research to be shared more quickly, but they are posted before that additional layer of review.
“It might be, from a human’s perspective, a worse virus than BA.1 and might be able to transmit better and cause worse disease,” says Dr. Daniel Rhoads, section head of microbiology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Rhoads reviewed the study but was not involved in the research.”
CNN—”Tasha Nelson’s 10-year-old son held back tears when he heard the news. The two were in the car when the announcement came through the radio: Virginia’s freshly sworn-in governor had signed an order attempting to ban mask mandates in schools.
“My son looked up at me and he had tears in his eyes because he knew what it meant. He said, ‘Mom, does that mean I can’t go to school anymore?'” Nelson said. “He said, ‘Can’t we let the governor know about kids like me? I want to go to school too.'”
Jack, a fourth grader, has cystic fibrosis, a progressive genetic disease that causes persistent, damaging lung infections, making it harder to breathe over time. Like other immunocompromised, disabled and chronically ill Americans, Jack was taking measures, like masking, to dodge infections before the pandemic too. But with Covid-19 still rampant, it’s not as easy. Even though he’s vaccinated, the virus poses a serious, potentially deadly, risk to Jack. His 2-year-old brother, who is not yet eligible for the shots, is another concern.
Nelson is among a group of parents who sued Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin over that order, claiming it puts students who are immunocompromised or have disabilities at risk and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. CNN has reached out to Youngkin’s office for comment on the lawsuit.”
As I worked on this in my hilltop retreat, another 71,485 of my fellow humans succumbed to Covid, of those 15,802 were my fellow Americans, and of those about 25 were my fellow Mainers.