Unanswered COVID Questions

Ovenbird — Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

I haven’t been writing much on the blog lately — too many issues are so easily misconstrued, and there’s only so much hassle, after fighting the COVID fight, that I’ve had the belly for.

When it comes to COVID, though, as we OUGHT to be winding down the pandemic, there are still questions that I think are so basic, yet unanswered, that need to be addressed. I DON’T have answers — that’s the point. But it’s time for all of us to start asking these questions. Otherwise, we’ll get drug back into the whole pointless NPI craziness by the current administration, whose lackeys desperately want to do this to all of us again. I’ve already covered the memetic reasons why they’d want to do this to us. So this behavior will, in the end, just be emergent. And hit is in between the eyes.

So, here goes.

  1. Why is there no explanation for COVID other than viral transmission from one person to another?

This makes absolutely no sense to me — when a population is virally naive, I can understand that interpersonal transmission is the primary mode of catching the virus. But this seems increasingly unlikely as time goes on. Viruses live in viral reservoirs in our pets, and our own systems, and are somehow seasonally triggered. Additionally, if you look at the other primary coronaviruses that cause cold, I refuse to believe that one person originates the common cold each year, and then everyone else just catches it through initial exponential spread.

2. We’ve gone through a series of mutations of COVID, each given some name, and called a variant. These variants move through a given population for some 4-6 week period. We never have an explanation of how the virus is mutating, and how that causes symptoms to vary. The COVID virus I had at the beginning of all this does not have the same symptoms as the latest Omicron variant. Is the virology community so clueless as to not have any suggestive story on how this is working? Or is the press the problem — they simply can’t understand what the scientists are telling them?

3. Why is there basically no discussion of the CIA’s role in understanding the potential lab leak from the Wuhan lab? I have my own theories — but how can our whole group of journalists believe, especially in the context of weaponization, that the CIA has had no monitoring, or role in current events? Is the journalistic community that incurious?

4. Maybe I’m just missing this, but is there a chart anywhere where the symptoms of the different variants are tabulated?

5. Why is there no discussion, or even a rough guess, of the ratio of effect of all the various pieces of the immunity puzzle on whether one is susceptible to getting COVID? I have friends who have never had COVID claiming ‘Long COVID’ symptoms, which, of course, I’m not particularly receptive to. But nonetheless, here we are 2.5 years into this, and we have no “rule of thumb” about populations and their vulnerability. Could they have had a mild symptomatic case of COVID, but been vulnerable to downstream effects?

These are the immediate ones that come to mind. I may come back and add some more to this post.

3 thoughts on “Unanswered COVID Questions

  1. There is definitely a problem with the press/media’s communication of the science and the problem extends to institutional communication (eg CDC) that also has failed and it’s quite rational to be totally skeptical. The experts that have spoken on the topic have also not done a great job. This includes vaccine education extending all the way back to polio vaccines (which btw do not confer ‘sterilizing immunity’ as the public recently had a chance to discover). I’ve found it best to largely ignore the memes. For ex., “Omicron is mild” seems to contradict the continuing death counts, that statement just isn’t accurate without context/nuance about why it might seem ‘mild’, and the debate over NPIs/’masks don’t work’ is also regularly v-memed into the dirt without good framing and context about cost/benefits and externalities affecting success. It’s helped me to follow virologists/epidemiologists with some online presence who comment on current trends and research who have the onions to buck official/popular narratives from time to time (even they aren’t perfect) without going full Alex Jones like McCullough/Mallone. This has been my approach for getting straighter answers. It’s incredibly time consuming and frustrating, but far more illuminating than the low hanging fruit.

    There are theories of pathology and transmission, I’ve read/heard about them pre-COVID, with the most developed being about how seasonal flu migrates and mutates so it is probably more accessible and might provide a better initial framework for you than common cold. There’s a preprint out on the Lancet about hamsters sparking a COVID outbreak in Hong Kong, one example of work being done on it and not the first to deal with potential pet reservoirs.

    It’s rude for me to say this, but your uninfected long covid friends sound like imbeciles. I’m curious to find out if this is a thing and where it came from, maybe I’m the imbecile.

    Good luck finding the answers. Ignore where my disagreements have leaked through, I have no interest in debating things like masks and NPIs, but they make great examples of how the interface of science, policy, media and the public has been a total shitshow.

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  2. Re: charts about symptoms by variant: yes, but I don’t remember exactly where they live. Reach out to Ian Miller on the Unmasked substack. He will probably be very happy to connect you to his resources or to Steve Kirsch who maintains a large database.

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