Monday, April 20, 2020

Rooting For The Virus?

Why do some people seem to be rooting for the virus?
By the way, few people will "get" that joke.*

After weeks of despairing headlines, we are finally starting to see some good news.  It seems like the death rate of this virus thing is flattening out and maybe even decreasing and the number of new cases has flattened out and may be decreasing as well.

A number of drugs have been tried to cure people from this virus and some of them seem to have a positive effect, although we probably won't know for sure until this whole thing is over.

New testing techniques are coming out and testing capabilities are expanding rapidly.  Tests for the antibody are being produced and tested as well, and it could be very soon that we develop an antibody test that is proven to be reliable.

This all sounds like good news, but not to some people. They're quick to shout down all of it. As far as they're concerned the entire world has to be on lockdown forever and ever, amen.

Well, at least until the November elections.  If the virus peters out before then, well, it doesn't help with the elections.  I have good news for Democrats, though - this recession was going to be a whopper even without the virus.   So we have that.  The biggest threat to the Democrats isn't Trump, it is their fellow Democrats.  So many are already shouting down Biden, and this reactionary response to the virus isn't gaining votes, it is losing them.

Even to question any of this is to be labeled a "Trump lackey" or worse.   It is frightening, to me, how absolutist people are about this - there seems to be no middle ground.  It reminds me of the middle ages, or the McCarthy era.  Discussion is not allowed!  What are you, a terrorist?  A communist?  One of those pro-virus people?  Obey our overseers without question!  To question to the government is to let the virus win!  Maybe we need to invade Iraq again.  The government was sure right about that call, wasn't it?

But I digress - or did I?

In the minds of the naysayers, none of the drugs proposed to treat the virus can be used unless they've been tested in a double-blind placebo test which could take years to complete. Which is to say, no drug or treatment should be allowed to be used, period.  Governor Gretchen has threatened the livelihoods of Doctors, Pharmacists, and even Nurses, if they so much even fail to report such "unauthorized treatments"!  So we're better off just doing nothing except putting people on ventilators and hoping for the best - hoping their immune system kills off the virus before it kills off the patient.

As for declining death rates and infection rates, the media very rarely reports this, but instead reports the overall increasing number of total deaths and infections, which always, of course, goes upward over time, even as an epidemic is ebbing.   They're looking for the cloud in the silver lining.

Or, if they even admit that the death rates and infection rates are going down, there always qualify this with scare talk about a second wave of infections, or that maybe this is just a blip in the statistics. Both, of course, could be true, and a second wave of infections is probably, in fact, likely - but not as serous as the first.  But Jesus Fucking Christ-on-a-stick, when we get some good news, can we at least enjoy it for 10 seconds before some killjoy comes along and bursts our balloon?

Hope is in damn short supply, and it seems like with toilet paper, the media is trying to hoard it for themselves.

Then there's the matter of testing. The media is quick to point out that some of the tests are defective or the governments have spent money on tests that turn out to not work.  Not reported is the number of tests are increasing and this is helping track the overall course of the virus.   Every piece of good news has to have a "spin" put on it, to make it bad news.  And of course, each media outlet has to spin things to their particular bias - Fox News blaming Nancy Pelosi and Obama for everything, the WashPo and NYT putting everything on Trump.  (Trump is responsible for everything, in their mind, except re-opening the economy, which is the province of the Governors.  The Washington Post blames everything bad on Trump, credits anything good to Governors, provided they are Democrats.  It is getting laughable how biased the Post has become since Bezos bought it).

But more importantly, antibody tests are being developed to see not only who has the virus but who had it. Many people, such as myself, who caught colds or flus in the last few months may even in fact already had this virus and possibly could be immune to it if they have the antibodies.

But once again we were told that none of these tests are any good and we shouldn't use them until they've been proven to work which could take months or years.  Not only that, but some are speculating that even if you have antibodies to the virus, it doesn't mean you were cured from it or are immune to later infection.  And they base this scientific observation on little more than wild-ass guesses.

Granted, there are some viruses where having antibodies is really more of a problem than a solution. The problem with the HIV virus was that it made the immune system go berserk. Thus, if you have the antibodies to HIV, doesn't mean you're cured of it, but rather that your immune system is overreacting trying to cure it.

On the other hand, the Corona Virus seems more like a common cold type virus, although much more lethal.  It seems more likely than not that having antibodies to this would probably give one some sort of immunity to it.  The fact that people are cured of this virus by their own immune system reinforces this notion.

Of course, the naysayers could always be right.  Naysayers, of course, always selectively choose what they had to say in the past that did turn out correct to show that they are always right.

Of course the other problem is the very nature of the media, which is to say, human nature.  The media loves bad news, as bad news sells clicks.  People don't want to hear good news, they want to hear that everything is going to hell in a handbasket.  Human nature is kind of an ugly thing.

But there are some of us out there who are optimists.  We have this crazy idea that the world isn't going to end anytime soon, and that things will work out just fine in the long run.  And the reason we think this is because of the track record.  Pandemics eventually go away, this is a basic fact of life. This Corona Virus is not the end of humanity as we know it.  Often these epidemics flare out rather quickly.

On the other hand, we could let it be the breakdown of civilization as we know it. If we choose to.

We have to choose to, though.

* Joke Explainer for the Humor-Impaired (a large number of people these days, it seems):  No, he isn't really hoping everyone gets the virus.  It is an example of "dark humor" which not everyone gets.  Get it?  Sort of circular logic.  One way to tell if you are a ninny, is if that joke "offended" you.  If so, get a union card for the old Bats, Biddies, and Busybodies club, and start shaming people on Facebook!  Look at that family of four!  Walking on the sidewalk together!  They'll spread the virus!  Never mind they all share the same bathroom!  I need to aggrandize myself on Facebook, because I care!  

Oh, for fuck's sake!