Don’t Think Like a Virus

Human Population Growth Curve

As the numbers climb in some states and bump up a bit in ours, I thought we should take some time to consider the lowly viral point of view. I’m not here to sell you on “viral rights” or equal opportunity for viruses, none of that usual liberal stuff. But if you put your mind into the viral point of view for a minute, this pandemic might make sense. Or maybe not, since after all viruses don’t think. And that might be our problem.

We think too much. Viruses just want to procreate.

That’s all, their focus is simple: make more of me. Spread my RNA across this planet. But they can’t even think of a planet.

Whatever host that serves will do. It just so happens this virus spent some time in some bats and it made a change that allowed it to find a host that happens to be the most prevalent, wide spread large mammal on our planet. Except maybe rats.

Don’t think we humans are too special. The virus really doesn’t care. Honestly, rats would do just fine too. But this Covid 19 virus got stuck with us humans.

One of the limits to spreading its RNA are its ability to transmit itself from one host to the next. And we sure are a social animal, as much as rats. So, this virus has found a welcome host.

The efforts that have been successful in limiting the spread have been what makes us so frustrated; they are antisocial.

Masks are antisocial.

Staying at home, limiting contact with others has worked. But boy, that ain’t fun, and it sure kills the economy. We don’t think like a virus.

The communities that have had full hospitals and known folks who have died sense the reality of this infection. The less affected communities wonder, “Why all the fuss?”. That’s not viral thinking.

Viruses would find these thoughts a waste of time, since all they want is more of themselves spread all over. Thinking doesn’t help a virus, so they don’t. I’m not sure it’s helping us right now. But we can’t stop ourselves, can we? We are thinking, social animals.

The virus doesn’t really want to kill us. A dead host can’t cough and spread the RNA as effectively. So, all those folks infected but not really too sick, who may not even know they have it are doing the virus a favor. They spread the infection much more effectively. The unlucky ones who have to be hospitalized, isolated, ventilator, aren’t nearly as valuable a viral vector as those out walking around without masks.

We sure have our thoughts about masks, don’t we? Viruses don’t think about masks, just as they don’t think about killing us. But if they could, I’ll bet they’d vote against the masks. They just want to spread. They probably like big gatherings too, if they could like something. They are lucky they adapted to infect a social animal.

One of the gifts this pandemic has given us is a bit of insight into how our neighbors think. We sure don’t think like viruses, and we probably can’t, though we have grown our species on this planet virally. There must be a part of us that has that viral, procreate focus.

It may turn out that how our bodies, how our immune systems react to this virus determines who lives and who dies. The strong, well balanced, healthy immune systems get to work and deal with it like a bad cold. The older, weak ones can’t manage. The over reactive ones suffer too.

This pandemic is an opportunity. It has made me think about the place we humans have on this planet. It has shown me how some of my neighbors think. But a virus wouldn’t care. We should. We shouldn’t think like a virus.

About ddxdx

A Family physician, former county coroner and former Idaho State Senator
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.