Putting aside any political discussion there’s much we have learned and not learned about this virus and it’s profound and far reaching impact.
What we know:
– The virus is highly contagious. Mask wearing and physical distancing is effective in stemming its transmission and spread. Yes, the virus is invisible, as such it becomes a bigger challenge to combat.
– It appears to impact individuals more with pre – existing conditions ( diabetes, hypertension, obesity, compromised immune systems)
– It can impact younger populations but at a lesser rate.
– It’s impact on the human body can be quite variable – this could be attributable to the individual’s age, biology and immunology, genetic predisposition, the viral load exposure and the degree of social responsibility one takes.
– The virus won’t simply disappear.
– It will mutate in order to ensure its survival.
– The virus wants to invade the human body but not destroy it. It needs you in order to exist.
– The virus itself doesn’t cause the real damage but rather our response to it. The cytokine storm as it is referred is the body’s immense immune response seems to be implicated in more of the severe cases and deaths. The virus copies itself quickly once inside a cell. The cell immediately sends out SOS signals. Once a cell detects something is wrong it’s natural response is to kill itself to protect other cells from the invader.
– Certain cytokines trigger cell death. When you have many cells doing this at the same time you get lots of tissue that can die. In the case of Covid, it’s primarily the lungs. The cytokine storm causes the cell death.
– When the lung becomes damaged respiratory distress syndrome follows. Then other organs start to fail.
– This can lead to kidney failure, heart arrhythmia and stroke. These other medical crises still remain a bit of a mystery and need further study.
– This virus behaves differently than other viruses, especially common viruses. Most people who get infected with influenza or Epstein-Barr don’t mount a response like this.
– Researchers are looking into possible drugs that don’t block cytokines themselves but rather chemicals called catecholamines that tigger their release. They say they know that before the cytokines become so excessively elevated, there is a surge in catecholamines. If you can prevent that surge, the immune response is minimal. If you prevent the cytokine storm it seems likely you can prevent the damage from the virus.
– Bolstering your immune system will have a profound impact on your capacity to avoid and / or manage the effects of the virus by adopting new behaviors – through healthy nutrition, stimulating exercise, managing stress levels and getting adequate and restorative sleep
What we don’t know:
– When we will get a safe and effective vaccine and one that can be developed and distributed.
– What are the long term effects of Covid? Only time will give us a better clue on what the long term effects will be and whose susceptible.
– Can you develop long lasting antibodies and avoid a relapse from the virus.
– Can we build and sustain herd immunity.
– How do we convince anti-vaxxers to take the vaccine?