An awful lot of people (politicians, health specialists and Republicans) seem to believe that for most intents and purposes, the Covid pandemic is over.
Even Dr. Fauci (he did walk back his comments, though) seems to think we are moving into a less critical phase.
However, researchers have found that not only is the virus mutating effectively, it is doing so far faster than we have ever seen a virus do.
We now are seeing BA.4 and BA.5 appearing in South Africa, and they're variants of Omicron. They're spreading far faster than even Omicron and scientists themselves are rather stunned.
We all know that in order to survive, a virus must do this-it's of course, survival of the fittest (thanks, Darwin!) so it will do everything it can to continue its' lifespan.
However, this also raises the very troubling specter that not only does it mutate quicker, making it speedier, it might also develop into a deadlier version at some point. Combined with the speed, we might not have seen the end of a Delta appearing again.
Long rant over, gifted article follows:
Virus mutations aren’t slowing down. New omicron subvariant proves it.
Here is an image I found online during the early days of the pandemic. I added the text above.
That’s the thing about mutations. Background radioactivity and replication errors keep creating new variations that may or may not be more infectious, more or less deadly. New mutations on the viral load need to be combined with high communicability for it to break out and spread. It’s all random and can come at any time. A research paper a while back was exploring how many viable mutations might be available for covid. It’s fairly simple compared to some but the conclusion was that while we see the light at the end of the tunnel, there’s still a lot more possible mutations. We’re nowhere near done yet.
200,000 tourists, 2,000 athletes from 200 countries (including China) have started to arrive in my city. My county is 84% vaxed but the CDC has us in high risk. The event is from 7/15 to 7/24. More local tourists will arrive at the same time for the city's very first Riverfront festival. And 3 cases of Monkey Pox in my state.
I do not have the expertise to judge, but some articles I have read indicate that we can eradicate COVID. Or that it might go away on its own like the 1918 influenza.
I believe that new mRNA vaccines could be modified quickly to target the latest variants. If these vaccines were quickly distributed worldwide, they might drive the virus into extinction. Apparently, the virus that infects people cannot lie dormant outside the body. A reservoir of it might live in some other species, such as bats or deer, and it might once again cross over to people, but perhaps it can be eliminated for now.
The problem is that this would call for around 16 billion doses. Manufacturing and delivering would cost a lot of money. Nowhere near as much as living with COVID will cost, but governments are dollar smart and penny foolish, so they probably will not spend it. It would all have to paid for by first world countries. Russia and some other reject it. The GOP would do all they can to stop the U.S. from participating.
I doubt that governments will eradicate COVID, but I think it is physically possible for them to do it. However, there is one scenario in which I am sure they would. If a more dangerous variant emerges, and it starts killing children and young adults even more than it now kills 80-year-olds. I am sure governments will do all they can to stop it, at any cost. Even the GOP would probably agree to stop it, after first blaming the Democrats for the new variant.
Us humans really fucked this up. We had an opportunity to eradicate this virus with the tools and efforts of science like we did smallpox a hundred years ago. Unfortunately, too many of us are too fucking stupid to save ourselves.