Thursday, September 3, 2020

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CoVID-19): Part XIV

 

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CoVID-19): Part XIV 

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV (first named); COVID-2019 (later named disease); SARS-CoV-2 (final name of the virus causing COVID-2019), COVID-2019 Pandemic:

 

September 3, 2020 update Part 14

Paul Herscu ND, MPH

Herscu Laboratory


This is the fourteenth piece of writing on the current epidemic. Please read Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6 Part 7Part 8Part 9 Part 10Part 11, Part 12, and Part 13 for context and also, please read my other writing on this site for a larger context on the overall topic of public health and epidemics.


One element at a time: Induction, or where should they focus

 

Back during the SARS epidemic, and then the Ebolavirus epidemic, I spoke a great deal on the topic of public health modeling. Specifically, and you can hear this on tapes of the day, I mentioned that, medically speaking, we are in the new era of germs. Every few months or years there will be a new germ discovered that is lethal to human or animals or crops. And that basically, as a species, we need to develop a better way to think about germs. Instead of thinking of germs as deadly and how they need to be eradicated, a better way may be to learn to adapt towards them and encourage the bug to adapt to become less virulent. But the bottom line is that we will discover more germs, the science is there for that capacity. And if we are not thinking of it in the right way, we are going to go insane worrying about all the germs constantly surrounding us. Enough said here for now.

 

One of the main points I made is that everyone, every single person, from about middle school onward, is able to greatly understand the underlying issues if you can present them with the science of epidemiology, of public health. More or less, everyone arrives at the same position then, and can make informed decisions. The problem is that these basic public health concepts are not taught to most of us. Many of you have attended lectures where I have presented the basics in a few hours talk. What I want to do here, now, is review that material, one important piece at a time. Yes, they apply to this particular epidemic, but if you understand the basic concept it will help you into the future and with any potential epidemic. Let’s start.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CoVID-19): Part XIII

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CoVID-19): Part XIII 

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV (first named); COVID-2019 (later named disease); SARS-CoV-2 (final name of the virus causing COVID-2019), COVID-2019 Pandemic:


September 1, 2020 update Part 13

Paul Herscu ND, MPH

Herscu Laboratory


This is the thirteenth piece of writing on the current epidemic. Please read Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6 Part 7Part 8Part 9 Part 10Part 11, and Part 12 for context and also, please read my other writing on this site for a larger context on the overall topic of public health and epidemics.


 Eight months!

 

It has been, as one might count for the USA, roughly 8 months since SARS-CoV-2 virus causing COVID-19 has struck the world, and as I mentioned in the first of these blogs in January, February, and March, that it was probably earlier, but that is another story for another time! I wanted to catch us up to where we are, within the context of the past, as a way to help us gauge where we are going. As usual, I think understanding the underlying issues should make us be less lost when hearing or reading the bombarding news. I have conducted dozens of interviews, webinars, conferences on this topic, but since it has been a while writing here, please indulge me going into each of these matters, in brief. It should help! I will delve into them in the next updates, which will be posted soon. 

 

The Virus 

There are many things one could say. The main points I want to highlight are:

1.     The first point I made when this began is that we have to think of this virus as different than other viruses we have experienced. This is not one that is going to come and go by itself, rather, it is the ‘birth’ of a new virus that is going to be with us, with ups and downs, but be with our species for the time being. And the point I made is that for many of us, except for those dealing with AIDS) we have not really experienced this concept of a new disease as an epidemic. We really have not. 

2.     As discussed early on, while the virus mutates, like all viruses, the part that is most lethal to humans seems, unfortunately to date, resistant to change. 

3.     With these two points in mind, I urged us to consider that this is not something that we can wait out and it will not just go away but rather, we need to be proactive. There are essentially a few essential levers to pull here, as described earlier: 

a.     Vaccinations to make people either not catch the virus or not have it be so problematic (This is being worked on intensively)

b.    Develop nondrug therapies to make people either not catch the virus or not have severe symptomatology.

c.     Change the virus to make it less problematic (To my knowledge this is not being worked on. If it is, the likely place would be at military facilities)

d.     Wait until it evolves or we evolve, a coevolution so that it is less problematic to us (This does not seem practical)

e.     Develop drug therapies that can treat the unwell person (This is being worked on intensively)

f.      Develop nondrug therapies that can treat the unwell person

 

The main point here is that it is an unavoidable problem we have to come to decisions on how to address. This really has not changed. I know this had gotten politicized, early on, and it seems as though people are digging their heels in, as to how they would think about this virus. But the reality on the ground is still the same. I will come back to B and F above below. Onward.