Coronavirus was only recognized as distinct from the common cold in the 1960s so it's impossible to know what impact it had throughout history and was just called flu or something else. COVID-19 was the third coronavirus pandemic of this century and we didn't worry about eradicating SARS and MERS, it was just important than the pandemic would stop.
Yet COVID-19 and the media attention it brought has thrown out the virology rulebook; some epidemiologists are overruling scientists and declaring everyone needs to wear masks until it is eradicated, but is that even possible?
A new estimate uses a lot of soft variables - socio-political and economic stuff in a secret sauce - and says it can be, but it has a lot more challenges than other high profile diseases. By comparison they say that Smallpox, which was eliminated in the 1970s, had a higher score for eradication feasibility than Polio and COVID-19. This is cause for skepticism about their simulation. If that is true, why did the World Health Organisation declare it impossible? The United States literally ignored WHO while they were claiming it was a waste of time and money, and led the charge in wiping Smallpox out. WHO was last to agree it was gone, only in 1980 did they concede and declare it their version of "official." All this time it was easier than polio and COVID-19?
In technology, you run simulations and verify using measured data. Any company that instead creates a software tool that only successfully predicts the past is asking to be out of business. Or trying to get a Nobel Prize in Economics. This result is even stranger, because it predicts a past that never existed outside a multiverse where 17 soft variables determine scientific success.
What if COVID-19 could be eradicated? Would it be worthwhile anyway?
Coronavirus mutates, like influenza. SARS-CoV-2 is different than SARS although still coronavirus, and China felt like they had enough reason to be worried about similarities and international blame they deleted a database of 15,000 coronavirus samples at their lab in Wuhan and wouldn't let WHO in until 9 months after the world demanded someone investigate.
Due to natural mutation, the delta variant those who get quoted in media are worried about, and soon the lambda variant that will take us into masks until 2022, is different than core SARS-CoV-2. Since mutations are usually random, science shows it will die out due to vaccines and becoming weaker. Even the Black Plague fizzled out - it certainly wasn't because of fewer rats.
Modern health infrastructure - we have 200,000 ventilators just in the US - plus greater awareness of how disease spreads, plus vaccines, means we don't have to bring every country up to American health standards. It is pointless to spend trillions of dollars fighting one virus, and losing trillions more with restrictions, when this was the third coronavirus pandemic of the last 17 years. Coronavirus has always been with us and it is here to stay. Improving how we deal with the risk of respiratory distress in those with co-morbidities is far more important than making children wear masks everywhere.
COVID-19 is actually a much easier job than smallpox was, despite what a computer simulation claims. If the pre-Internet US could beat smallpox, we can beat SARS-CoV-2. It would just help if fewer people got their information from the Internet.
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