All viruses have a habit of changing themselves a little bit so that they can defend themselves against the body’s natural defense system called “Antibodies.” In other words, the virus knows it is in enemy territory so it puts on a mask trying to fool the enemy into thinking that it is not there or that it is something else or that it is something harmless.
When the virus does this little trick of trying to change it’s appearance, it creates a copy of itself called a “Variant.”
The variants are still dangerous and deadly and the big question on everybody’s mind now is “How many variants are out there waiting to infect people and are the available vaccines any way near effective in combating them? Even the scientists who developed the vaccines are hard at work trying to find the answer to that question. So far, the best available answer is, “We aren’t quite sure and it will take more time and more study before we can come up with a constantly definitive and reliable answer.”
So far there are at least three variants of Covid 19 loose in The United States. These three are (1) The UK Variant, (2) The South Africa Variant and (3) The Brazil Variant.
But even though these three variants are known, it must be understood that there are many more variants out there somewhere that either have not yet emerged to any significant degree or that have not been completely studied as yet. In other words, there is some possibility that the total number of possible variants might be exponentially large. There may be no end of them if they keep replicating themselves and changing as they tend to do. That is why it is so important that as many people as possible should get the available vaccines — so that the virus will eventually run out of people to infect and go dormant or disappear entirely.
The South African Variant is of particular concern to science because there is some evidence that it might be able to re-infect people who have already had covid-19 and that it might be highly resistant to the vaccines that are now being used.
Now it is being reported that all the variants seem to spread among the population much more easily than the dominant strain (The dominant strain being the one that we have all become familiar with, the one we wear the masks to avoid) and may cause a much more severe case of covid-19 in those who are unfortunate enough to get them.
So in a nightmare scenario, it might be absolutely plausible to think that people who have been vaccinated and that people who have already had covid and who have recovered, might actually still get a variant and be back up the creek without a paddle …. so to speak.
Beginning with some of the followers of former president Trump, there arose a misinformation campaign about the covid-19 virus claiming that the covid was no more dangerous than the common influenza (Flu) or a “Bad Head Cold.”
The truth of the matter is that the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, is part of a large family of coronaviruses. Coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. However, SARS-CoV-2 can cause serious illness and even death.
But even with this knowledge at hand, it is difficult if not impossible to convince the naysayers, many of whom think the covid-19 is what Trump has called “A Big Fat Hoax” that the covid virus is a danger to health and even to life itself, so they have become the anti-vaxxers (refusing all vaccinations), the anti-maskers (refusing to ever wear protective face coverings) and the covid-conspiracy theory spreaders. They have also become what I call “The New Lepers” because their intransigence creates a real danger to the rest of society.
So here is what I believe to be the facts:
Even though most states in The United States are opening up now and loosening their covid safety practices (Masks, social distancing, hand-washing, etc.,) I firmly believe that we cannot rush into what we think of as the pre-covid normality of life without giving some consideration to the fact that not everything is known about this disease yet and we might be trying to return to the pre-covid “Normal” much faster than we should be.
We might feel like we are safe from Covid 19 because we have had all our vaccinations but because of the relatively unknown aspects of the “Variants” I am not sure we can actually become cock-sure complacent about our safety precautions.
There is still much to be learned.