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In early December, I got Covid – the Wuhan Flu, ChiCom Fever. This is the disease that has California and New York locked down. The one that has us cowering in fear. (That’s not a joke. I have several otherwise-sane friends, who are locking themselves in the house, venturing out only when they have to. Two are MENSA members.)
What was it like? Are you ready?
It was like having a chest cold. Not even a severe chest cold – a mild chest cold. That was it.
I am 65 years old. I have controlled hypertension. I am 75 to 85 pounds overweight, depending on how you define my ideal weight. I have allergies that affect my respiratory system. I get occasional asthma. All co-morbidities. It was a mild chest cold.
Do you want to see me at my worst during the disease? (Or pretty close to it?) Look at David March’s podcast The Historians Give their Two Cents. That’s me on the left. I was well into it then.
I had a mild sore throat for the first couple of days. Then a little bit of chest congestion – a very little bit. I was a little more tired than usual, but that was due to insomnia rather than Covid. (Mainly due to worry and frustration. I sleep poorly if I let myself get wound up.)
The day job is as a tech writer. I am also a freelance author, and I have another part-time consulting gig I do a couple of hours a day. I had just started a new short-term tech writing gig that runs through mid-January and I have a book on deadline. (I always have a book on deadline.) So I worked 10- to 14-hour days throughout the period I had Covid. I had no trouble working those hours. It was all work from home so I did not have to go anywhere. Just sit at my computer and write.
I cannot write if my mind is foggy due to illness. I was writing at least 10 hours each day. I had no problem banging out words on my book and no problem working 8 hours Monday through Friday doing some finicky editing of a complex technical document. Covid was no more than an inconvenience. (In some ways it was a benefit because I was forced to stay home and work.)
I know I had Covid. An adult nephew, who lives in my house, got it. He had just started a new job. He thinks he may have picked it up at the clinic where he had to go for his pre-job physical (or possibly at his workplace). He lost his sense of taste and smell on December 7, so he got tested. His results came back positive. Three days later, I developed a mild sore throat. (You know how your throat feels the day after you go to an exciting football game and spend most of it loudly cheering on your team? It felt like that.) So I got tested.
I have a certificate that says I tested positive for Covid. The County Health Department called me to tell me not to leave the house for ten days following my first symptom. So, yeah, I had it.
My nephew had a worse case than I did. He is in his twenties. He says his case was equivalent to a mild case of the flu. I had loose stools; he had full-on diarrhea. His case lasted about ten days. I had symptoms last six, maybe seven days. His case was much milder than the norovirus he contracted two years earlier.
Why was I stressed out and losing sleep? Because I had Covid. Because relatives were afraid I was going to be very ill and half my friends seemed to be measuring me for my coffin. My nephew was behaving as if he had given me the Black Death and was guilt-tripping over potentially having given me a fatal disease.
I was worried. I had been told it was a very serious disease for people my age and with my health conditions. I kept waiting for it to get worse. Even though it was not severe, I had been warned since March it had the potential to very suddenly turn very, very bad.
It never got worse. The mountain gave birth to a mouse.
So here is a question: was I lucky or typical?
If I was lucky it is the first time in my life. Luck never breaks my way. Plus there was my nephew’s mild experience. A son got it last December (2019), and had the same symptoms as my nephew, except it was more like full-blown, but typical flu. In November a niece got it, as did her husband, child, mother, and stepfather. Everyone except her mother got cases that were mild to medium. Her mother had a more severe case, requiring a trip to the ER and being released later that day. Ricochet’s Doctor Robert wrote about his experience. It was not that bad.
If my nephew had not lost his sense of taste and smell he would not have gotten tested. He thought what he had was allergies. If he had not tested positive I would not have gotten tested, and never realized I had the dread killer Covid.
I suspect I am more typical than lucky. Those who get mild cases often do not get recorded. Even if they do, those cases never headline the news articles about Covid, the only add to the shrieking case count numbers.
Yes, we may have had 300,000 Covid deaths. That is still less than one-tenth of one percent of the US population. More, overall morbidity with Covid is less than 1 percent for those that get it. The deaths are clustered in the elderly (over half of those who died from it are over 75) and the infirm (the vast majority of those under 75 who have died of it had life-threatening health conditions.)
I’d like to expand on the chest cold theme I raised earlier. People die from chest colds. The elderly and infirm contract chest colds which develop into pneumonia, and then they die from pneumonia. The profile of those who die from chest colds seems pretty similar to those that die from Covid, it seems to me.
What if Covid is the functional equivalent of a chest cold? What if its behavior is highly similar? Covid mutates. So do colds. Both are viruses. Both spread the same way. Neither Covid nor colds have high mortality rates. Do you know what is more likely to kill you than Covid if you are under 50? Going to work each day if you are a logger, a professional fisherman, an oilfield worker, or a long-haul trucker.
We have been trying to find a cure for the common cold for at least 150 years, including attempting to develop a vaccination. We have not succeeded so far. What if we are as successful in finding a way to control Covid? Would that be surprising?
Do we remain in hiding and locked down if that happens? Can we? If we lock down for Covid shouldn’t we lockdown during the cold season? The two seem very little different if you ignore the names given to each disease. The lockdowns, social distancing, and masks appear to be taking a greater toll than Covid.
I really believe a lot of the fear about Covid boils down to superstition. Some examples:
I have had Covid. I recovered from it. According to what we know about the disease, once you have had it you cannot catch it and cannot pass it on.
Do I need to wear a mask? According to my county health department I do. Why? They said it was so I will not pass on to others a disease that I already have had and cannot pass on and so that I will not catch a disease I already had and cannot catch from others. Because Science!
Do I need to get vaccinated? According to my county health department I do. Why? They said it was so the vaccination will train my immune system to resist a disease my immune system resisted before getting immunized. Because Science!
That is not science. It is superstition. It is endowing science with magical powers. Superstition is defined as excessively credulous belief in and reverence for supernatural beings. We are treating Covid, masks, and immunization as supernatural beings, with powers beyond natural forces.
Immunizations train your immune system to resist a disease. So does getting the disease and recovering from it. The immunization is intended to substitute for getting the disease. If getting the disease and recovering from it doesn’t make you immune an immunization won’t. All an immunization does is trick your immune system into believing you had the disease. You endow a vaccine with magical power if you believe otherwise.
Throwing a pinch of salt over your shoulder will be as effective in preventing a reoccurrence of Covid as getting an immunization from a vaccine developed before you got Covid. You already have an immunization for a version of Covid more recent than that for which the immunization protects you. The vaccine is protecting you from an earlier strain of the virus. It is the same reason this year’s flu shot protects you from last year’s flu and not this year’s. It was developed from the previous year’s strain.
I am not against vaccination. I have favorably reviewed books arguing against avoiding vaccination. I was planning to get immunized before I got Covid. However, someone needs to give me a scientific, rather than a faith-based reason, for me to get the current Covid immunization. Explain how it is supposed to provide better protection than my own immune system has already provided.
Moreover – at least for me – Covid wasn’t a serious disease. It did not endanger my health any more than the colds I have suffered previously. Why should I even worry about a reoccurrence of a strain for which the current vaccine protects me from?
We need to stop treating this disease with superstitious dread. Or it will kill us all. It will scare us to death. And we will deserve to die.Published in