Reply To: SARS cov2 and Covid 19

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SA, I’m perturbed by your use of the word ‘alarmist’. If someone who sees evidence of fire says so, are they being alarmist?

I share your aversion to the polarisation arising around SARS-CoV-2, but we get nowhere useful by attempting compromise. Reality is what it is; objectivity cannot be achieved by searching for a description that upsets people the least.

I think the polarisation is being caused by:

(1) the corporate media, who simultaneously (a) are barely capable of treating technical issues intelligently, and who (b) pedal sensationalism to attract readers to sell to advertisers, (c) find ways to have a go at the government to bolster their own power, and yet (d) disparage anything that threatens profits such as social restrictions – the last three are hopelessly contradictory objectives, and

(2) the conspiracy theorists and downplayers, most of whom are probably just reacting against the corporate media, but probably also include a few malicious actors such as hostile state powers trying to maximise other states’ death rates and healthcare costs, and PR companies inciting public objection against profit-reducing social restrictions.

My own position regarding this never-seen-before virus is precautionary. There are many worrying signs so we should suppress it vigorously until our understanding is better, especially until we’re sure that getting infected a second time isn’t even worse than the first. It’s a coronavirus, and our experience with those is that infection doesn’t impart long-lasting immunity, but we also know it can provoke some extreme immune responses, so we should be very cautious until we can rule out antibody dependent enhancement upon second infection.