As you know, every now and then I like to try to evaluate where we are in regard to the epidemic and the responses to it. That includes understanding the nature of the virus, the nature of the illness it can cause in some people, the nature of our immune response to the virus and the appropriateness of governmental responses to the epidemic.
Some things are pretty clear. This is a dangerous virus for a small proportion of the population, for the vast majority it is a non-event. It is a serious public health concern, but actions taken to mitigate the epidemic can have equally or more serious health consequences. This is a tough and persistent virus, and few actions taken to mitigate spread seem to have any real or lasting effect. Unless you are willing to lock and isolate people in their homes for an indefinite period, which isn’t economically or socially feasible, it isn’t going to be possible to completely suppress the virus or its spread. We need to accept that and accept that for the population as a whole, this is a very low risk pathogen. The responses should take that into account.
One of the things that has really struck me about the response to this epidemic is the failure of the experts to use the knowledge they supposedly have in their own fields of expertise. One example is the immune response. I have been spending a fair amount of time with my immunology textbook and some general material on the immune system. The experts got everyone so hung up on antibodies, and in particular, on “neutralizing” antibodies, which in the case of this virus they said meant antibodies that blocked the activity of the portion of the virus that was used to gain entry into human cells, the so-called spike protein. And the antibodies had to be circulating in the blood. Of course, the immune system is so much more complex and versatile than that.