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DONNIE JOHNSTON: Will latest COVID surge be the last one?
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DONNIE JOHNSTON: Will latest COVID surge be the last one?

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THERE ARE several good points regarding the latest COVID outbreak.

First, each succeeding mutation of the COVID virus appears less deadly, in great part because there are more Americans vaccinated.

Consider, too, how many millions of Americans have had some aspect of the virus in the past two years. Those people almost certainly have built up some natural immunity by now.

Remember, the virus is basically the same, but with minor variations. If you have had any form of COVID, your immune system should now be able to recognize some part of the enemy.

This January spike may mark a turning point. With millions of people testing positive, we may well have reached and passed “herd immunity” status by the time this month is over.

As fast as the spike rose it likely will also fall. If everybody has had the virus— or the vaccine—possible hosts become more and more limited. Pretty soon, like the Spanish flu, it runs its course.

Deaths are falling for two reasons. First, the weak and susceptible have already succumbed. Second, those who have been vaccinated have a good measure of protection. Those who have had the virus—some people multiple times—have developed some natural immunity.

I’m not sure I understand this great rush to get tested this month. What’s the point? Unless you have severe symptoms, you’re going to treat the virus as you would a cold. And, like a cold, it will have to run its course.

Of course, you don’t want to spread the virus any more than you would want to spread a cold or the flu either. So if you have symptoms, simply stay away from people. That’s just common sense.

Then there is the school issue. Kids run around unmasked in crowded department stores, but are unsafe wearing masks in a school setting? It makes no sense. It’s the same as forcing travelers stand six feet apart in the airport and then sitting them a foot apart for hours on a crowed plane.

Virtual education has already put kids behind. They don’t need to lose any more ground. Schools should stay open.

Earlier I mentioned the Spanish flu, to which I have compared COVID several times. That pandemic also lasted a little more than two years, but was exceedingly more deadly than COVID. Check the numbers.

So far an estimated 5.5 million people worldwide have died from COVID in a world population of 7.8 billion. An estimated 50 million to 100 million people died from the Spanish flu when the world population stood at 1.8 billion in 1918.

Yes, COVID is bad, but so far it does not compare to plagues like the Spanish flu—which incidentally was first reported on a military base in Kansas—and the Black Death.

Ironically, COVID may wind up saving more lives than it takes. The vaccine developed to fight this virus can be altered quickly to fight the next deadly virus that appears.

More importantly, this vaccine that some condemn has reportedly shown promise in fighting various forms of cancer in animals. That could be a significant scientific breakthrough.

Yes, we might have to take occasional boosters to keep up with the COVID mutations, just as we take annual flu shots to keep up with the mutations of that virus.

COVID is not going away, something I emphasized from the onset of this pandemic. Like the flu, it will continue to mutate and try to find ways to outsmart out immune systems. That’s how viruses have survived for millions of years. We have to try to stay one step ahead.

It should be noted right here that the flu kills an estimated 400,000 people worldwide each year. COVID has killed 5 million in three years.

It should also be noted that the flu almost always originates in China because of living conditions and the closeness of people to all sorts of animals. Thus, it should come as no surprise that COVID originated there.

One really scary aspect of COVID is its after-effects. Severe cases are said to have been linked to blood clots, heart attacks, an irregular heartbeat and even ”brain fog” in some people. That’s why, at least from my perspective, it is so important to get vaccinated and obtain all the protection possible.

Hopefully we’ll see a sharp drop-off in COVID cases after this January spike and by spring, when the weather warms, maybe we will leave the worst of this ugly virus in the dust. Let’s hope.

Stay well and get vaccinated.

Donnie Johnston:

djohn40330@aol.com

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