Whence Covid?

The Covid virus isn’t done, and the wise will be cautious this winter. As noted in a previous post, infections tend to spike during the late fall and winter, and those of us in North America are just entering into that period now.

What makes this fall a greater challenge is that we have three new variants already active in the US, and all with mutations in the spike protein designed to evade the human immune system. This will potentially make these new versions more contagious than what we have seen thus far.

The new variants (BQ1, BQ1.1 and BF7) already account for 15% of new known Covid infections and that percentage is climbing. There are other variants active elsewhere on the planet that have not been detected in the US, at least not yet.

What we don’t know — and with this virus there all always things we don’t know — include

  1. Will infections from these new variants be more severe than with prior versions of the virus?
  2. Will existing vaccines have any effect on these new variants?

Clearly, some of the early vaccines won’t be effective, as they were designed to block specific spike protein structures that may not exist now. However, any protection from those early doses should have worn off long before now.

As someone who has already gone a couple of rounds with this virus, getting it is no fun, and it can cause structural damage in your body even in the absence of symptoms. The simple question is this: are you willing to risk your health and quality of life for the simple pleasure of not wearing a mask?

For me, I’ll take the mask.

By the way, National Geographic has been providing excellent coverage of the virus — highly recommended.

Sources:

  1. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/why-omicron-subvariants-bq1-bq11-are-poised-to-take-over-in-the-us?rid=40F6968D95F9BCBACD72ADD9433713F9&cmpid=org%3Dngp%3A%3Amc%3Dcrm-email%3A%3Asrc%3Dngp%3A%3Acmp%3Deditorial%3A%3Aadd%3DHealth_20221023&loggedin=true
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2 comments

  1. It’s interesting that, at the end, you link it to wearing a mask. Have there been any studies which have actually concluded that masks (of a certain grade) hinder transmission? I saw something very early on but it was on the flu virus (so a different sized particle) and showed effectiveness ranging from things like woolly scarves to full-on surgical masks.
    But I never saw anything directly which said such-and-such a grade of mask hinders transmission of covid.
    It’s not wearing a mask that bothers me. I was happy to wear one just on the basis that it might help, and certainly can’t harm, but I am worried about the anecdotal stories I hear about the side-effects of vaccines. And I don’t think I’m necessarily being told the truth by health authorities. I’m as yet undecided on another booster jab.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t have citations handy but there are studies documenting the value of masking. Conversely, some of the anecdotal reports criticizing vaccines ascribe effects that are physically impossible due to the way most of the vaccines are manufactured. Alas nothing humans touch is ever perfect, but I’m ok with risks that are under 1%. With the new variants and the general lack of concern most people are showing, I’m much more comfortable with a mask in public.

      Liked by 1 person

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