What We Know Today About COVID-19

August 26, 2020

Is this the end?

  1. What is it and where did it come from? 3 Theories.
  2. It’s just the flu!
  3. What Will the Coming Months Bring?
  4. Do Masks and Social Distancing Work?
  5. Cut Through The Noise

Was COVID cooked in a lab?  Is it part of a global plot to control the populous?  There are so many voices telling us we should listen to this source and not that one, but what should we really be doing?  Whom should we be listening to? 

This is going to be a very long blog.  We’re just warning you now.  But we’ve got a lot of important information to cover.  There is quite a significant amount of misinformation floating around online COVID-19 and in this blog, we’re going to try to compress this information based on my attempt to try and find as much independent information as we could locate, and we will include links below for you to read and study on your own.  We will look at the possible origins of the SARS-COV-2 virus, what we should be listening to and whom we should be listening to, and what we might expect in the next 4 months leading up to the election in the United States.  How safe are we?  How prepared should we be?  Who is telling the truth, and what part of the truth actually matters to us?

So let’s jump into the research.  We realize a lot of people are going to be offended by a lot of these talking points, but we’ve done all we can through research to avoid the political narratives about this pathogen and dig up information that will hopefully provide us with useful information.

Let us give you one word of warning.  When we become stuck on an idea or belief, it’s hard to listen to any opposing view that clashes with our worldview and ideas.  Let us say this again: we’ve done all we can through hours of research to get to just the facts.  Facts are so critical right now as we’re facing an event in our country the likes of which we haven’t seen in several generations and this pathogen does not care in the least bit about political narratives.  It will do what nature just does: find a way to survive and reproduce.  And we have a unique moment as a country to address this problem.  If we do nothing and dismiss it, it will be to our own detriment.  Life and death literally hang in the balance.

We’ll talk about sources and credibility later in this blog. We will also tell you, we’re going to cite from a full spectrum of resources out there.  Left, right, middle of the road, peer-reviewed, and speculative.  We are fully aware that there are times when we read sources we don’t agree with, but we’ve tried to include even those that run against my own views if they support what is being consistently observed.

Alright, let’s do this.

Point number 1 – SARS-CoV-2.  What is it and where did it come from?

SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus–Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2.  COVID-19 is the sickness it causes, but we commonly refer to it by just COVID.  For the purpose of this blog, we will call it by its correct name–SARS-CoV-2.  

So, where did SARS-CoV-2 come from?  There are three prevailing stances on this.  First, some maintain that it’s a novel virus naturally released.  They maintain that it was because of natural exposure at an exotic wet market in Wuhan.  When humans are in close proximity to animals, zoonotic diseases eventually jump from animal to human.  That is what zoonotic means, they move from animal to human or human to animal.  You may have heard of a few zoonotic diseases like rabies and Lyme disease.  Others, like MERS, SARS, Zika, rabbit fever, anthrax, and bird flu are less well known but sometimes more fatal.

The world has suffered from pandemics before.  The most memorable within about a century was the Spanish flu.  This flu killed more U.S. soldiers during WW1 than actually died in combat.  In a year’s time, it infected five hundred million people worldwide, killed somewhere between twenty and fifty million people, including six hundred seventy-five thousand Americans.  Citizens were ordered to wear masks, schools, theaters, and businesses were shuttered and bodies piled up in makeshift morgues before the virus ended its deadly global march.  

Why do we tell you all this?  Because that 1918 pandemic never really went away.  As Dr. Taubenberger, Senior Investigator in NIAID’s Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, pointed out in a paper published by the National Institute of health, “All human-adapted influenza A viruses of today — both seasonal variations and those that caused more dramatic pandemics — are descendants, direct or indirect, of that founding virus”  You are still, today, being infected by some strain of the original Spanish flu when you test positive for Influenza at the doctor’s.  And, even though the Coronavirus is different from the Influenza virus, if we hope to have a vaccine or herd immunity to make this all go away, we might want to rethink our hopes and expectations.  The final aspect of these natural viruses is that they continually mutate.  Being an RNA based virus, it can mutate to become more deadly or even less infectious. 

So could the virus come from nature?  Absolutely.  The second theory of its origin is that it was cooked up in a lab in Wuhan.  There have been tests of scalability in the past where we try to make a virus stronger to determine how to beat it in the future.  The United States, under previous administrations, recognized the danger of that approach and banned it.  We have to assume, though, that it still goes on throughout labs around the world.  

A lab in Wuhan, the accepted epicenter and point of origin, was performing research on bat viruses like SARS-CoV-2.  But, according to a statement from Scripps Research, “If someone were seeking to engineer a new coronavirus as a pathogen, they would have constructed it from the backbone of a virus known to cause illness. But the scientists found that the SARS-CoV-2 backbone differed substantially from those of already known coronaviruses and mostly resembled related viruses found in bats and pangolins.”  So the theory that it was purposefully created is diffused by the genuine novelty of the virus.  Scientists aren’t that great at covering their tracks.  That’s why we can trace radioactive isotopes back to their country of origin.  Could it have been manufactured and engineered on purpose?  That’s at least as plausible a theory as a natural occurrence, but the facts force us to stretch it a little thinner to make it true.

If it wasn’t manufactured, maybe it was accidentally released, and that is the third prevalent theory.  We do know that SARS-CoV-2 has a long asymptomatic period.  What if, and indulge me here, there was a breach at the lab?  Maybe the virus got out or someone was potentially exposed.  Normal protocol would have locked them down for four to seven days in quarantine.  What if they were still asymptomatic after that period and released?  With an asymptomatic period of ten to fourteen days, this isn’t an unreasonable assumption; and several sources had indicated that the lab in Wuhan wasn’t exactly safe and following the best protocols for safety.

In this way the virus could have been released into the wild, so to speak.  Here’s the deal, though.  Whichever origin story you subscribe to whether it comes from nature and likely a wet market in China, whether it was cooked in a lab and intentionally released to destroy the world’s economy, whether it was accidentally released through a lab mishap, or even some other theory…none of it, and hear me here…none of that matters.  It is one for the historians to decipher because the facts are that this virus has a spreadability that we haven’t seen in a century or more, it has a pretty decent mortality rate, and it doesn’t appear to be going away.

Point number 2 – It’s just the flu!

Is it just the flu?  If you do some quick math just on the mortality rate of this off-season virus…by offseason we mean we are not even in flu season and we’re seeing pretty astounding spread rates despite a much higher level of social distancing, testing, and quarantining that we don’t typically do during normal flu season…if we do some quick math we see that from January to June, again mostly the off-season for the flu which runs from October to April, it’s much stronger and more infectious.

By the CDC’s calculations, and we really cannot fathom how they might have cooked this up years ago in some grand plot for today, flu illnesses range from thirty-nine million to fifty-six million.  Those are from “cumulative in-season numbers of flu illnesses, medical visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States.”  The U.S has a population of roughly three hundred, twenty-nine million, so that is less than ten percent.  Eighteen to twenty-six million of those people go to the doctors.  Four hundred ten thousand to seven hundred and forty thousand of those people are hospitalized with complications, and twenty-four thousand to sixty-two thousand actually die from complications.

When we look at the offseason total for SARS-CoV-2, we see in the U.S. an actual case rate of three and a half million.  Deaths are a little over one hundred thirty-five thousand which is a four percent mortality rate.  That is higher than the flu’s one point eight percent mortality rate.  

Let’s run the same percentages for the Influenza flu back as possible for SARS-CoV-2.  The flu only has a hospitalization rate of point zero, zero, two with a max estimate of seven hundred forty thousand people, and a population of three hundred twenty-nine million.  So, what we are seeing now with ICU hospital beds filling up is a number we still don’t fully grasp.  In Houston, they are full up.  In my county, Riverside, California, six of seventeen hospitals have exceeded their ICU bed capacity.  Thirty percent of those are COVID-19 cases.  This is greater than the flu.  Even at the height of the flu season, you don’t see ICU occupancy rates like that.  You won’t walk into an ICU and see thirty percent of the beds filled with Influenza cases.  Do not dismiss the evidence of your eyes.  Do not dismiss the refrigerator trucks filled with bodies in New York City or the spike in cases in Florida, Arizona, and other states.  Do not accept that it’s false when it could very well be true.  Yet, there are some who continue to maintain that the ICU beds filling up is a hoax.  Somehow, every hospital in every county throughout the country, and the world for that matter, is unified in a great hoax and orchestrated deception.  That theory just doesn’t hold water.

The other aspect of this “It’s just the flu!” argument is that some people get it and have relatively mild symptoms, so some believe it is a minor illness.  Here again, we have to look at what this coronavirus does versus what the Influenza virus does.  We have, over time, developed better treatments for the Influenza virus than thirty milligrams of aspirin like we administered a hundred years ago during the Spanish flu.  Also, we have developed, over a century of exposure, some antibodies.  Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections and can provide protection against getting that disease again, aka immunity. Antibodies are disease-specific. For example, measles antibodies will protect you from getting measles if you are exposed to it again, but they won’t protect you from getting mumps if you are exposed to mumps.  This novel, meaning new, virus means our bodies have never had an opportunity, let alone over a century of time to build antibodies up against it.  The result is that we’re more susceptible to infection.

While the flu may attack the head and slightly the lungs.  This SARS-CoV-2 attacks any weak points in the body it can infiltrate and leaves lasting pathologies in some cases.  SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to attack the nervous system, kidneys, lungs, heart, liver, throat, blood clotting, eyes, skin, intestines, even toes.  That is more intense than the regular flu.  It can attack so many systems because our bodies have never seen it before and does not know how to handle it.

Is it safe to say that SARS-CoV-2 is more fatal?  Absolutely.  Anyone telling you otherwise simply has not looked at the numbers or read the research.  The people telling you otherwise are usually quoting one doctor or one nurse and definitely not lining up with the other 99% of the medical and scientific community.  Maybe it’s part of our human nature to want to believe the outlier who provides us confirmation bias.  Maybe it is our human nature to believe social commentary over our own evaluation and processing of facts.  This is more deadly than the flu.  A common issue with many is if they don’t witness it, first hand, they have a tendency to easily dismiss it as fake or not real.  If someone they know hasn’t gotten it or they haven’t seen someone with it, they dismiss it as false.  If someone they know maybe had it and got better, well, it must not be as bad as they’re making it out to be.  They use anecdotal evidence which is a fallacy.  

Point number 3 – What Will the Coming Months Bring?

Whether you dismiss it as a conspiracy cooked up by a global cabal or you agree with me that it is a virus we face right now spreading at an alarming rate, it really doesn’t matter either way.  What matters is that you prepare accordingly.  Even if you believe it’s all made up, you have to prepare for the other 90% of the population that will react to it.

In the next four months, we will face the most contested election in the history of our country, a pandemic that may rise to or surpass the pandemic of nineteen eighteen, and our normal flu season.  That, right there, maybe the greatest complication.  And to top it off, more schools are shifting to online which will have an impact on our economy as parents will now be pulled away to help with the kids learning.

We moved between phase 1 reopening and phase 2 reopening and then back to one, while we have people screaming that their rights and freedoms are being violated.  As a constitutionalist, we would say that the government needs to provide for the common good, and that trumps individual rights.  That’s how our forefathers defined it.  Is this a grand conspiracy to keep us at home and controlled?  A better way to control us would be to have us spend all our money in a thriving economy and stuff us full of corn syrup and FDC red food dye number whatever, so we don’t really buy into that argument.

Expect over the next four months, more shutdowns, more mask orders with possible citations given out, more protests, and more civil unrest.  How much of an impact will that have on our future, I don’t know, but it’s a good reason to prepare now for an extended bug-in.

Point number four – Do Masks and Social Distancing Work?

As far as we know and given what we do know about viruses, in general, certain things do work.  If you keep a good distance from people, like 6 feet, you limit and reduce possible exposure.  All possible exposure?  No.  If you wear a mask and the people you interact with wear a mask, you limit yours and their exposure.  All exposure?  No.  If you want 100% certainty with a mask, get a CBRN gas mask.  If you avoid going out and try to confine your journeys out to necessary trips, you limit your exposure.  All exposure?  No.  Frequent hand washing does actually reduce our overall exposure to viruses.  All exposure?  No.  Even makers of disinfectants and hand sanitizers state that their product is ninety nine percent effective.  Because it’s one percent not effective, should we therefore not use it?  If mutual mask-wearing is even ten percent effective, and there are many more studies that show this to be true than studies challenging this notion, wouldn’t you want that ten percent?  If social distancing was fifteen percent effective, wouldn’t you want that?  If contact tracing reduced a population’s exposure by forty percent, wouldn’t you want that?  All combined that would give you sixty-five percent protection. That’s a lot better than zero percent.

Do masks reduce oxygen levels?  Not the ones you’re wearing.  Add to that the very health-conscious doctors who wear masks in long twelve-hour surgeries where their hands and brain have to function at a high level or the ultra health-conscious Olympic athletes who practice hypoxic training, and I have to call B.S. on a person claiming to almost pass out because they wore a mask for fifteen minutes in a store.

Here is where we see several people spinning conspiracy theories and misinformation.  It is not in the interest of wealthy and powerful people to keep you at home, not working, not buying, not consuming, and scared.  People in power want you to spend wildly.  The more debt you are in the fatter their wallets continue to be.  Becoming poor does not help them in the least bit.

As a prepper, focus on what works.  Continue to be a student of viruses and bacteria and any microorganism that could cause wide-scale infections.  When available, stock up on Lysol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Hydrogen Peroxide, even a UVC bulb.  Focus on what we know works.  Again, you wouldn’t fail to prepare for a tornado, flood, or hurricane when you live in an area susceptible to those events under the false premise that one won’t strike that year.  Here too, you need to prepare.  If we’re wrong, and it’s some elaborate hoax, we may be out a few bucks and face some chagrin.  If we are right, it may mean our very lives.

Point number five – Cut Through the Noise

We want to leave you with a thirty thousand foot view of analyzing sources.  There is a tremendous amount of misinformation out there.  The protests didn’t spread the virus any more than pool parties did on memorial day, or the fourth of July, or the early opening of businesses and beaches.  Those with an agenda, however, will try to paint the opposition as the culprit, whether that opposition is the non-mask wearer, the protestor, the nonchalant beachgoer, the defiant churchgoer, Republican, Democrat, Chinese, or immigrant.  The first sign that you may be getting some false information is when the source tries to label or blame another group for this.  Having studied Aristotelian Logic and the hierarchy of debate in the past, the lowest forms of credible arguments from the bottom up are name-calling, ad hominem attacks of character, responding just to tone, or contradicting without supporting evidence.  Is the source name-calling or blaming a group?  If so, you should probably tune them out.

Second, is the source’s information contrary to the majority of information out there?  Here we suggest you understand Occam’s Razor principle that “the simplest answer is most often correct.”  While it’s easy to wonder if there is some global, concerted effort, or some conspiracy by every member of the mainstream media, it isn’t really logical.  We would more easily accept that a global cabal of hand sanitizer manufacturers was pulling the strings behind this virus than every reporter, most politicians, most countries, most scientists, most every health official, and so on and so on.  Sometimes the simplest answer is the correct answer, and that simple answer is that we face a real virus and can only defeat it if we unite behind a strategy to defeat it.

Finally, don’t completely dismiss or completely accept any one source.  If you read something as fact, do a little more research and get additional confirmation of it.  Don’t put all your faith in one person’s talking head social commentary.  That goes for me too.  This is why I’ve listed all the links below.  If you disagree with one of my points, that’s fine, but you ought not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  One of my points could be wrong, but that doesn’t, as a result, invalidate all the other points.  Keep an open mind and read, read, read.  Then you’ll drill down to the truth.

In conclusion, you may disagree with me or agree with me.  You can get mad at us or applaud me for taking a stand here.  You can label me, but we already talked about that.  What matters to us, and what we take seriously, is our obligation to this community.  We feel obligated to inform you of the threats you face and provide guidance to you on how to survive those threats.  That, to us, is more important than either yours or our opinion.  We hope you too share a concern for the well-being of others in the community.

As always, please stay safe out there.

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Phillip Westall
Phillip Westall
3 years ago

A clear and concise point of view, which in turn sows the seed, to explore further.

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