Social distancing may have to be a permanent way of life even if we beat the coronavirus

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And then what? That is the question that will remain when we finally flatten that curve. The novel coronavirus which causes COVID-19 is being combated by isolating it — and isolating people — to preventing its spread. This is the equivalent of cutting gaps through forests to prevent fires from spreading. The trouble is, that doesn’t make the isolated patches of woodland any less flammable. This is the same in principle with the way social distancing is stopping COVID-19. It does not make those who escape it any less vulnerable to acquiring it if they are somehow exposed to the virus in the future.

This means that unless a vaccine is developed or immunity somehow takes hold in big enough proportions of the population, people will have to continue to practice some degree of social distancing long after the virus had been eradicated. It could also mean that aggressive disinfection procedures will have to continue in public facilities and people will have to continue washing their hands frequently.

This is a disturbing future for us. Aggressive routine disinfection and excessive cleanliness will likely have the unintended consequence of making our immune systems weaker. Indeed, aggressive disinfection and frequent hand washing may help prevent COVID-19 from resurfacing or spreading further. However, such measures also kill less-harmful viruses and bacteria that contribute to keeping our immune systems on their toes.

An antiseptic environment is also not a stable one. Maintaining it is hard work. It requires tight controls on mobility and the ingrain of behaviours that run counter to human nature — less intimacy, increased distrust, and higher walls between communities. It will spell the end of “porous borders” and set multiculturalism back decades. Even more important to consider is that the novel coronavirus may be mutating rapidly.

The new coronavirus is an RNA virus: a collection of genetic material packed inside a protein shell. RNA viruses, like the flu and measles, are more prone to changes and mutations compared with DNA viruses, such as herpes, smallpox, and human papillomavirus (HPV).

The good news is that scientists remain optimistic that a vaccine against COVID-19 would be effective. According to Dr. Mark Schleiss, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and investigator with the Institute for Molecular Virology at the University of Minnesota;

When we finally have a COVID-19 vaccine, it will most likely protect people against the “vast majority of circulating COVID-19 strains for the foreseeable mutations,” Schleiss said.

Even if random mutations do occur down the road, Schleiss believes the worst-case scenario is that we’ll see some breakthrough infections, but we wouldn’t have breakthrough life-threatening disease.

Nonetheless, there is still much about the disease that remains unknown and there is cause for concern for a reported rising number of reinfection cases…

About 51 patients classed as having been cured in South Korea have tested positive again, the CDC said in a briefing on Monday. Rather than being infected again, the virus may have been reactivated in these people, given they tested positive again shortly after being released from quarantine, said Jeong Eun-kyeong, director-general of the Korean CDC.

News of success in controlling the disease in some parts of the world are reassuring. However, a flat curve will not necessarily mean things can get back to normal anytime soon. It could mean that we will have to embrace a new “normal” — at least until scientists get up to a better understanding of what makes the COVID-19 virus tick.

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11 Comments on “Social distancing may have to be a permanent way of life even if we beat the coronavirus”

  1. Corona virus pandemic has a great impact on how we humans will live…even with the availability of a corona virus vaccine; the dread of another pandemic disease will always there to disturb the human mimd.

    What if another more dreadful and deadly virus will come out ? We will be back again on “square one” …

    How about natural calamities , that can even kill more people ? There is no remedy or vaccines here, in this scenario…

    So, we just hope and pray (if you are a theist), that better times will come to us, and these tragedies and hardships will make us better people !

  2. eh di wow benign0!!!!!!!!

    Such great ideas coming from that brain of yours! Must be nice being able to work from home living in a first world country like AUSTRALIA!

    However no work from home for us pilipinos right benign0 the FOOL. We gotta go out and expose ourselves to corona right DUMB benign0. Corona for thee but not for me.

    https://www.getrealphilippines.com/2020/03/can-filipinos-work-from-home-as-vice-president-leni-robredo-recommends/

    Unfortunately as usual your commie masters dont pay you enough to make an actual point. Hard for you to know whats going on here in the pilipines when youre so comfortable in AUSTRALIA

      1. @benign0
        Happy to point out your hypocrisy and paint you as the clown you are over and over again. I can do this all day.

        To every Filipino who happens to stumble into this cesspool of a website;
        benign0 basically admitted he doesn’t give a cr@p about you. He’s living nice and tidy in Australia. He’s happy to promote China, Marcos, Martial Law and the violation of human rights because he is a paid turd and it wouldn’t affect him anyway. You’d think he’d move to a less democratic country like Venezuela, NK or China but like the hypocritical turd he is picks a free and democratic society.

        Martial law for thee but not for me. Eh benign0?

        Therefore if you subscribe to his ideas… you are basically dumber than he is and you can do us all a favor and not vote anymore.

        1. Well, what solution do you propose then? I could easily pretend I give a shit. But giving a shit is not a solution. Real solutions show a pathway forward. If you have one, by all means share. I’m all ears. I might even write an article about it if it’s worth shit.

          So over to you. Let’s see if you are up to the challenge and are able to prove you’re not just another garden variety nitpicker here.

      2. Benign0, I just hope you can get to your senses when a bunch of racist Aussies go knock at your door and beat the tar outta ya for being an “Asian” and a potential “carrier”.

        Not even if you shall cry tears of blood to the Philippine Embassy staff will we welcome you back to the country that you have ABANDONED, you craven little traitor.

  3. We’ll have to get rid of cultural practices that quicken spreading of disease. So much kissing, touching and close contact will have to be rid of. For example, when drinking, passing around the same shot glass for everyone to drink from will have to be eliminated. I was going to write in a future article about culture a conjectural example where a tribal man wants to eat using the same spoon as others. He considers that his culture as commiserating or sharing with other people. We in the modern setting of course will consider that unsanitary. Sharing will have to be reduced, because what you might share can spread disease to others. I for one will like this because I am against forced sharing and forced charity, something “wokes” believe they should troll people over.

    What I’m getting at here is that certain tribal and ethnic cultures, that people will regard as sacred and precious, will have to be no longer sacred and precious and will give way to a more antiseptic culture. And that’s the kind of society we’re going to these days, ever since microorganism and lice control was discovered – the antiseptic society.

  4. FUCK YOU benign0. Your “solutions” aren’t worth jack-shit.
    You are basically proposing to burn down a house you aren’t living in. That makes you a turd.

    Martial law for thee but not for me!

    Unfortunately many of us still live in the country and we perform the part of nation building day by day. You aren’t part of it anymore. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO RUN YOUR FILTHY MOUTH!

    Why don’t you take your “martial law” solutions to Australia you damn hack! I hear the ccp have been buying up all the real estate in the place.

    And fuck off the philippines

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