Coronavirus thoughts 1. General.

So – this is going to test us all a bit. Some thoughts.

  • After 30 years of EU integration, we can start closing borders and implementing travel restrictions in about one week.
  • If elderly people end up getting ill because socialising youngsters spread the virus, I will be sickened.
  • We really don’t know how good we’ve had it. There was the black death, leprosy, cholera, smallpox, polio …. Natural selection and random mutation in viruses means that it’s really just a matter of when … and (although I’m no epidemiologist) the “when” is very roughly determined by:
  • For “human only” viruses, some fixed mutation rate multiplied by the number of humans.
  • For zoonotic viruses, the number of animals, multiplied by the number of human-animal contact. Zoonotic viruses can also be very nasty because other species can exert different selection pressures on the virii, making them more lethal.
  • So – yes. Did we ever get round to eradicating Polio? Compared to what we’re facing now, given that we already have polio vaccines – that looks like a piece of cake.

Second and further order effects:

  • Sequestering entire populations which have previously been free tends to produce pretty major economic and political change. I have a suspicion that once we’re done with the epidemic, there will be changes.
  • There’s nothing like the fear of death to get people to do shit.


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