22 August 2021

the dragon is almost slain


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.

Jacinda Ardern


artist: https://kevinmcshane.org/

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.


ellen abbott said...

maybe people are smarter in Germany. not so here. it's not bad enough that enough people believe FB memes over scientists but now the anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers are resorting to threats of violence and actual physical confrontation when their attempts of insults and name calling failed to stop masks and vaccines. eventually covid will fade for all the reasons you posted above but it will take several more years I think and many more dead. I've started wearing a mask at SHARE again because one of the guys in the back still has not got his jab, not a political statement he says, just hasn't done it. tempting fate, he thinks he won't get it. me, I have no intention of courting covid hence the vax and the mask.

I would love to go solar but our house is surrounded by trees, shade on all four sides except in the winter when the trees are bare.

Ms. Moon said...

I live in a state where the governor has forbid mask mandating even for elementary schools. It's just so unbelievable. It's criminal.

Anonymous said...

Here in our county in Northern California the numbers of Covid cases are skyrocketing. It is so sad and disconcerting. I believe as you do that covid will eventually fade, but in the meantime we wait and sigh and grieve for all that has been lost.
I would love to put solar panels on our roof. Not sure we have enough southern exposure anywhere to make it happen. I may need to get very inventive.
The music you posted is truly beautiful in every way. Thank you for that.

Colette said...

Bravo to you on the solar storage system.

37paddington said...

It is becoming harder and harder to protect ourselves, not so much from the virus as from people who refuse to think and reason, who swallow the propaganda as if its manna. I can't.

Anonymous said...

Sabine-- I sent my twin brother a link to this beautiful music. He fell in love with it and wanted me to write you to tell you much he loves it. He found another video that he thought you might like. It's a Tiny Desk Concert from National Public Radio. It's truly beautiful. Thank you for introducing us to such beauty. We send you so much gratitude, Sabine.

Secret Agent Woman said...

It makes me absolutely crazy that so many people are still refusing to get vaccinated and refusing to wear masks. Lunacy.

am said...

Although I read all this when you posted it, I wasn't able to comment until now when I had time to listen to the moving song you shared. Thank you so much for that music and for Kevin McShane's cartoon. Wonderful news about the solar storage system and wood pellet heating system and the beautiful days of late summer you and R are experiencing. And always thanks for the COVID updates from your excellent sources.