Nature Shows Mankind Its Killer Side
Not much in the media these days except Coronavirus and Pandemic.Click thumbnail to view full-size
One Hubber's Take on the Pandemic from Essex, S.E. England
Nature Shows Mankind Its Killer Side.
"When lions roar or virus breed,
How puny mankind seems
Locked down in Essex, S.E. England, here's this weary hubber's take on the pandemic
We are all involved in a war against blind evolution and the first conflict in our history that has banded nearly every nation on the planet against a common enemy.
It's not the first pandemic that history records and it will not be the last. But, thanks to our advanced technology that allows us to voyage around the world with impunity, it began in China and within a month was in nearly every country.
As I write, Covid-19, the grandly named Coronavirus, is slaying hundreds of thousands of frail humans every month, our immune systems failing to detect or destroy the malignant pathogen.
At first, perhaps some of the world's young shrugged as they thought the disease only targets the old for destruction. "It's like a forest fire," some of the more cynical proclaimed. "It's just nature establishing the balance; weeding out the old and infirm whose lives have been prolonged too long anyway by modern man's medical interventions."
This all changed soon after the disease spread. Only seeming to spare in most cases the very young - children of teenage and under, Covid -19 began felling 40 and 50-year-old men and women in the towns and, alarmingly, in the health care business in the UK, as they struggled to source adequate protective (PPE) equipment.
Thousands are now being felled. Many stayed at home, the rest went to hospital, unable to breathe as the pneumonia-like symptoms invaded their lungs, with other organ damage following. The British prime minister was hospitalized after a brave fight to stay in office which nearly cost him his life. Days on a ventilator and supreme care by the NHS finally pulled him through, yet he has not been able to resume his duties after almost three weeks of care and convalescence.
Thousands of seniors remain in care homes, the worst affected transferred to hospitals, remaining on scarce ventilators as they progress to a sad demise, many not waking from the coma induced while machines breathed for them and IV lines provided liquid and sustenance.
The government figures in Britain for those loosing the battle daily, although horrendous and frightening, did not include many dying at home and in these nursing homes, where staff and inmates succumbed, in harness to the mindless invasion.
Meanwhile, those who have escaped the disease so far are locked up in their houses wondering when and how this will ever end. Ever optimistic, world leaders proclaim that "the curve has flattened," the worst is over,"we will soon be returning to normal."
The more cynical amongst us see a much longer period before anything like "normality" will resume. They ask "what will happen if the curfew and lock-down is lifted, won't the virus still be among us ready to strike again and again?"
Billions of dollars are being thrown around in all direction to try and support failing populations with their lost wages. Laboratories are granted huge amounts in funds for vaccine research and some, such as labs at Oxford University in England, say they are on the cusp of a break-through: in weeks, it would seem, they have achieved results that often take ten to fifteen years when a completely new pathogen strikes.
Governments are scraping, borrowing and promising in order to raise money and find equipment. Arranged deliveries of PPE have sat on airports in countries such as Turkey while the government, or God knows what, holds things up.
Even the US might cannot solve the problem at home. One state has commenced litigation against China for "lying about the spread of Corona virus in its own country." President Trump appears about as lost as a fighting bull charging into a bullring. We hear hours of innuendo which don't amount to a "hill of beans" as his state governors disagree with his conclusions and direction and nothing useful is achieved.
The teeming millions in India have just gone into lock-down. Worried glances are being cast towards Africa as many populations in that vast continent would have trouble dealing with a measles outbreak, let alone the deadly pneumonia-like symptoms of Covid-19.
Countries little affected, like Israel and Sweden, and others who have dealt efficiently with the invasion, like South Korea and Germany - and even China, are regarded with interest to see if any of their methods can be copied by the badly affected nations.
We do see, though, the old saw is proven right once more, "it's an ill wind that has blown nobody any good..."
...Starting a killer pandemic might not be the greatest way to assist climate change, but here in crowded Britain we can now see the full magnificence of the stars at night; bird song has increased, as has their moving nearer to roads and footpaths to nest. We can't quite compete with Australia who sees 'roos jumping along the town centers, but we have had wild goats in Wales and deer coming down to town parks and even accepting titbits from kiddie's hands! It's as if the wildlife understands the dominant mammal has a serious problem, is not in a position to harm them and, in a way, wants to share our misery with us. Haven't seen any bats or pangolins though, maybe the Chinese have eaten them all!
The latest heros in the saga can be found in two vaccine testing trials, the first at Oxford University. As I add this segment, on Thursday, April 23rd., 2020; as we hear another 641 people have lost their lives over the last 24 hours, the first volunteers in a "double-blind trial" will receive either live virus or a placebo; neither team will know which.
The Oxford trial is testing ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, a candidate based on a chimpanzee adenovirus modified to include the spike or ‘S’ protein on the surface of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
It will be tested in around 500 volunteers and will focus on safety and tolerability, as well as providing an initial assessment of how effective the shot is at stimulating an immune response against SARS-CoV-2. The hope is we will receive a viable vaccine by September of this year, an incredibly rapid result when viewed against the number of years taken to find vaccines in other pandemics. The British government has provided around £25 million pounds to Oxford and a similar amount to another British laboratory, of which I lack information. Many other efforts are taking place around the world.
Take care, Hubbers and other readers, stay safe, we'll win in the end (most anyway).