Just like after 9/11, things will never be the same after Covid … things are changing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t adapt to them in a way that eventually feels normal again.
This virus is really smart. Make no mistake. It doesn't care about politics or election campaigns, wars and borders or even our own secret wishful thinking or interpretation late at night.
This is where we are now on a global scale (all quotes are from here):
SARS-CoV-2 did evolve to better avoid human antibodies. But it has also become a bit more virulent and a lot more infectious, causing more people to fall ill.
The Delta strain circulating now—one of four “variants of concern” identified by the World Health Organization, along with four “variants of interest”—is so radically different from the virus that appeared in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 that many countries have been forced to change their pandemic planning. Governments are scrambling to accelerate vaccination programs while prolonging or even reintroducing mask wearing and other public health measures. As to the goal of reaching herd immunity—vaccinating so many people that the virus simply has nowhere to go— (w)ith the emergence of Delta, (. . . ) it’s just impossible to reach.
There’s now enough immunity in the human population to ratchet up an evolutionary competition, pressuring the virus to adapt further. At the same time, much of the world is still overwhelmed with infections, giving the virus plenty of chances to replicate and throw up new mutations.
The most eye-popping change in SARS-CoV-2 so far has been its improved ability to spread between humans. At some point early in the pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 acquired a mutation (. . . ) that made it a bit more infectious. That version spread around the world; almost all current viruses are descended from it. Then in late 2020, scientists identified a new variant, now called Alpha, (. . . ) that was about 50% more transmissible. Delta, (. . . ) now conquering the world, is another 40% to 60% more transmissible than Alpha.
And this may be the way onward:
Although it’s impossible to predict exactly how infectiousness, virulence, and immune evasion will develop in the coming months, some of the factors that will influence the virus’ trajectory are clear. One is the immunity that is now rapidly building in the human population. On one hand, immunity reduces the likelihood of people getting infected, and may hamper viral replication even when they are. That means there will be fewer mutations emerging if we vaccinate more people. On the other hand, any immune escape variant now has a huge advantage over other variants.
(. . . ) the world is probably at a tipping point: With more than 2 billion people having received at least one vaccine dose and hundreds of millions more having recovered from COVID-19, variants that evade immunity may now have a bigger leg up than those that are more infectious.
There are some fundamental limits to exactly how good a virus can get at transmitting and at some point SARS-CoV-2 will hit that plateau.
But we have a long way to go. And there are days when I could get quite mad, which I claim as my privilege being a person on immune suppression medication.
Apart from that, the late summer is quite spectacular with fierce thunder storms and fat peaches to harvest and a large flock of goldfinches in the bird bath every evening. We are half way through the house repairs and various alterations. The solar storage system is now installed and R spends many happy hours checking on the sunlight and how much energy we are now able to store to have available after dark and people, it's a miracle and the sun does not charge a penny for it. Next week we are getting rid of the fossil fuel (oil) central heating which will be replaced by a wood pellet heating system. Two small steps. And yet, a dose of optimism, badly needed.