There’s a crazy new virus out of China, straight outta Wuhan, and people are worried because it’s killed people, and should you be worried here in the United States or in other countries that you’re gonna die of some crazy coronavirus straight outta Wuhan?
And, here’s the answer:
Maybe, but probably not. And, this is why.
Back in 2002, they had this thing called SARS. So, they had these meat markets in China where they, like, bring animals in that are little, you know, they’re the little companions that Disney princesses have that give you this wisdom.
They also give you terrible viruses that jump from animals to humans, mutate, and they can spread from human to human. That’s how SARS happened.
And by the way, if you watch that National Geographic show with that guy Dr. Pol who’s, like, this old Polish veterinarian who does exams on animals with no gloves, he’s a perfect vector for what they call zoonoses, animal viruses that then will jump to humans.
And, that’s what happened in 2002. It became this outbreak, killed a buncha people, the Chinese government covered it up, it was a total show.
So now, fast forward, we have this new syndrome of fever, cough, shortness of breath, people ending up in the hospital in China, in Wuhan, which is a city there, it’s a major travel hub, and they have these open markets with live animals, the same sorta thing that jumped from the civet cat to the human in SARS, right?
So, they suspect now something’s going on because they noticed a rash of people ending up in the hospital, some of whom are dying. The ones that are dying are the older and the sicker, the people with other diseases. So, it’s not just like, you know, a healthy young person, it’s people with others, what they call comorbidities, they have other sicknesses.
So, the Chinese government, having learned from the SARS thing, and how they screwed it up, actually did the right thing this time. They immediately brought in all the public health stuff to bear on it. They sequenced the genome of a brand new virus, a coronavirus, which is the same family of the virus-like SARS, and the Middle Eastern virus MERS, and they said :
“Okay, okay, okay, quick,”
“let’s start to get the epidemiology,”
“figure out what’s going on, “
“talk to the WHO, and bring all the resources to bear
“to keep this from getting outta hand.”
And so far, it looks like it might be working.
We have about 300 people infected, about a dozen or so, or less, have died. We have our first case in the U.S., but every eye is on this thing, and the idea is we can stop it.
Now, what’s interesting is, so you would ask,
“Well, maybe we’re just finding it”
“’cause we’re looking for it.”
“Maybe the cat’s already outta the bag.”
But, this is the great thing about science: You can answer some of these questions using science.
So, they’ve sequenced the genome of several of the viruses in different infected patients, and what they found is that normally when a virus infects humans, it starts to mutate, so as the outbreak continues, the virus DNA or RNA changes. In this case, there was very little variation between the different infected patients, which means that the Chinese government, and the authorities, and the public health officials caught this super early. —
Okay, so what’s the take-home here, all right? Listen, you don’t necessarily have to worry about this particular virus, but this was a near miss. Every resource is being brought to bear on it to prevent it from becoming a global pandemic from this virus mutating, spreading from person-to-person in a super-viral way, and causing a disaster, killing millions of people. We’re that close.
This kind of pandemic will happen in our lifetimes if we let our vigilance drop, okay?
So, we need all the public health resources, all the science, and we need to stop belittling science, and we need to actually elevate it because this is what is going to save the human race from a disaster like this caused by dumb behavior like eating these live animals, all right?
So, to put it in another way, Wuhan clan ain’t nothin’ to easy with.
They crushed it this time, guys,
and we all need to be vigilant, all right?