The Rabid Badger in the Room

Nobody wants to talk about or even say this: some generations of human beings have to accept that some of us have to get sick and die to ensure the survival of the human race. The survival strategies of every species are never meant to ensure the survival of every individual.

The concept is called “herd immunity.” Vaccines are one way to create herd immunity, and if we can develop a vaccine for this disease, we can create herd immunity with less suffering and loss of life. But if we can’t, we set ourselves up for a return of this pathogen.

Think about the chicken pox parties in the 1990s. Parents would get their together with sick kids to deliberately infect them, since chicken pox is relatively mild during childhood, but potentially life-threatening to an adult.

As an individual, I don’t want to get sick, and I don’t want to get anyone I know, especially my wife (who is not in good health), sick, but I also know that I might not have a choice. Sure, I can wash my hands and stay away from sick people. But the survival strategy of pathogens is simpler and more insidious: hide. By the time a pathogen like this actually makes someone sick, the virus has spread and spread.

The essential difficulty of the current coronavirus situation is that human beings are not immune to this pathogen. So the hard truth of the matter is that some of have gotten sick and died, and more of us will. Eventually, hopefully, there will be enough movement of this disease in and out of the population that a generation will have some immunity.

By the time this is all over, we may all be frightened animals, scurrying around in the dark.
By the time this is all over, we may all be frightened animals, scurrying around in the dark.

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *