Quarantine Day 16: Attenuation – Darwin Would Agree

A curious thing about viruses is that they’re not really alive but not really dead either. They are however, smart enough to recognize Darwin was right. Like all Darwinian creatures, viruses seek ways to survive and one way is through attenuation.

Webster defines attenuation as “a) a lessening in amount, force, magnitude, or value, b) a reduction of severity or virulence: a decrease in the pathogenicity of a microorganism or in the severity of a disease.”

To paraphrase, attenuation occurs as a virus weakens over time. For example, the often referenced Spanish Flu is ubiquitously around us today, it just attenuated to the point of being benign so it can survive. If  the Spanish Flu kept killing it’s hosts, it too would eventually fade out and the virus is too smart to allow that.

COVID-19 not mutating: All viruses mutate, it’s how they survive ala Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Not COVID-19 though, according to media reports, the COVID virus is not mutating – a phenomena that furthers the case for this virus being man made. Medical experts are excited about this revelation because they assert once a vaccine is developed they won’t have to continually redevelop new vaccines chasing an every mutation.

Hold on there cowboys: The fact COVID-19 is not mutating is of huge, and I dare say, cataclysmic concern. Most experts agree there will be a second and third wave of this current pandemic. In 1917, the second wave was the most devastating. In the intervening years of the Spanish Flu virus’ annual wave, it attenuated to the point of being ubiquitously benign. If this man made Chinese virus was engineered to not mutate, we will never be rid of it. At the same time, indications are that people who contracted COVID-19 are not building immunity, which means we will not achieve herd immunity, the point where virulent virus usually dissipate. I can’t know what the Chinese were up to and I doubt that even if governments learn we’ll ever be told. One thing is certain though, engineered virus are a lot more dangerous than those evolved through nature; something of which I’m sure Darwin would agree.

Cautionary Statistic: If the current rate of change (i.e., slope in the above charts) continues for the national infection and death rates, and if the apex of the pandemic is reached in two weeks as the media is reporting, then the percent of the US population infected at that time will increase to 0.12%, which translates to 373,600 people infected. Likewise, the percent of people infected who die will increase to 3.09% which translates to 11,528 deaths. I believe government models estimate 200,000 will die by the time the apex is reached. My projections lack government model fidelity because they are based on 1) past behavior, 2) a linear extrapolation, and 3) are devoid of the clairvoyance more sophisticated government models likely include. However, what my projections show is what happens if nothing changes to shift past performance up or down.

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