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Calling Covid-19 Crisis a 'Wake-Up Call,' WHO Experts Warn Next Pandemic Could Be Even Worse

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/12/29/calling-covid-19-crisis-wake-call-who-experts-warn-next-pandemic-could-be-even-worse

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Great…and up to this point I was only Depressed.

Yes. This was just a practice run. Some countries figured it out. The US failed miserably.

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Humanity is so effed at this point. “Leadership” is thoroughly insane, focused on industrial economy GDP and finance and nationalism and war, while actual ecological and social reality deteriorates faster and faster under assault from industrial economy and finance and nationalism and war… and there seems to be no way to break the spell.

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Most of the worlds foremost epidemiologists have already called this our “dress rehearsal” for the real pandemic that will come someday.
Although flu numbers have always been distorted (since their is no consistent way of diagnosing or even identifying who has had the flu) it is however relatively easy to estimate that about .1% of the people that get the flu will die. Compare that to this strain of coronavirus that is killing 2-3% of its infected and you can see the potential for disaster if a truly hearty, air borne virus that has a mortality rate of 7-10% should break out, especially in a warming world with rising poverty and exploding populations of climate refugees.
If this was our test, we have failed miserably.

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And this virus has caused America’s oldest flaw to once again be front and center. Sure, we wanted to address coronavirus and its human and economic costs, but like every other tribulation in our nations history, its seems that far too many of us only want to see the problem through the lens of capitalism. No matter what we do, in the end capitalism must be saved.
We are a sick society.

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Even as effective vaccines begin to be put to use, Professor David Heymann—chair of the WHO’s strategic and technical advisory group for infectious hazards—cautioned Monday that Covid-19 could “become endemic” and “continue to mutate as it reproduces in human cells, especially in areas of more intense admission.”

Atlantic Magazine ran a sobering story about COVID becoming endemic in the wild, via “spillover” from mink farms. In irony’s cruelest stroke, most irreversibly establishing the virus in the wildlands of states where we also have elevated densities of similarly-caged humans.

On December 13, the world took another step toward this scenario: The USDA announced the first known case of a non-captive wild animal with the coronavirus. A wild mink, trapped just outside a mink farm in Utah where there was a COVID-19 outbreak, tested positive. The strain was “indistinguishable” from that of the farm outbreak. The spillover had happened. The question now is whether the virus will become established in the wild population.

~https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/12/minks-pandemic/617476/

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Zooinosis in diseases is as old as life. Dis-ease-a disruption of the smooth interactions of the myriad beings that make up one human body-can come from many sources. A microbe. Extreme weather. A culture that focuses only on individual rights and power over.
Of course there are other, more virulent diseases in the future. We need to look to the past for how our future may play out. Overshoot species, like homo sapiens, are the most vulnerable to a single microbe wiping out all but a few survivors.
Isolation, quarantine, interdiction have all been tools used by past societies to protect as many as possible. But in the US, those are considered assaults on individual freedom. Locally, we have a restaurant franchise store that was shut down by the state because it failed to follow the mask order/pick up only instruction. The operator(who thinks he’s an “owner”. Um, dude, it’s a franchise. A chain.) is frothing at the mouth that his family owned restaurant is shut down and enough locals have raised $12,000 to help him out. The judge who issued the shutdown called them “goofs” for spreading disease through the community.
That’s what we’re up against. But the good news is that corporations will be victims of these pandemics, too. I would love to start up a real home-cooking, non-corporate chain restaurant, using only non-factory farm foods in the cooking. Alas, Americans are so used to the blandness of corpo food it would probably flop…
Keep the remaining wild places wild. Keep a green belt between the wild areas and human settlements that can be used for farming heritage breed foods. That keeps a buffer between microbes that jump species. And remember, dis-ease needs to be addressed on a cultural level. Our culture is riddled with it.

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What part could be worse? The virus, or the response.
How many shutdowns, mass unemployment, and horrid redress of a pandemic can we recover from?

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“The Covid-19 pandemic has officially infected more than 80 million people and killed at least 1.7 million across the globe”

The Spanish flu pandemic killed an estimated 20 - 50 million people in 1918.

They’re talking about a worse virus. Something as easily transmissible as Covid 19, but as deadly as Ebola. The one they’ve been most worried about is H1N1 bird flu.

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Not just for fur coats:

~https://traslosmuros.com/en/pig-factory-farm-investigation

All these close proximity, tortured, abused, executed sentient being factories will one day be abolished.

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Or this one:

~https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/30/new-swine-flu-with-pandemic-potential-identified-by-china-researchers

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Once Ebola arrives in your neighborhood, it is more easily transmissible than COVID, as well as more deadly. But its virulence is mediated by its extreme deadliness. Rather than hopping on innumerable asymptomatic carriers and sinking little spike-proteins into the whole world (like the current viral champion), over-aggressive Ebola paints itself into a corner, running out of prey when everyone’s dead. Not as threatening as COVID, because it hasn’t been around for a nearby visit.

The 1918 flu killed more quickly. We don’t yet know if COVID winds up far worse, purely in terms of deadliness – while “long-hauler” symptoms are in a category of their own, when it comes to respiratory/cardio-vascular SARS2. Each of the three I’m discussing here: Coronavirus, Ebola, and Influenza, are entirely different species.

To my ear, especially as I’ve gotten acquainted with the progression of viral evolution (from Laurie Garrett’s work, for instance), these experts musing about the next sub-species of some viral family being “even worse” don’t sound very expert at all. They seem to be evaluating viral strains as if looking at automobiles for Consumer Reports: as if we can easily comprehend all implications of this latest direction of evolution, as if we have the vision and insight of gods. I’ve learned that viruses are critters. We don’t like these critters, maybe, but it wouldn’t hurt to understand them better. Would we find ourselves comparing orcas and great white sharks, debating which species, or subspecies, is “better” or “worse”? I don’t understand the superior frame of discussion woven by these so-called experts.

Laurie Garrett’s trick, which brings understanding of how things work, imho, is to think like a virus: Hi, please to meet you, my name’s SARS2, but you can call me COVID. My idea is to soften up most of humanity with an initial round, hang out with the wild mink awhile, then return to really clean up the second or third time around, in terms of deaths. A little drawn-out, maybe, but effective.

For my part, I regard it as tempting fate to implicitly assume COVID won’t get much, much worse. We’ve barely begun to sample the tricks this subtle critter has up its microscopic mutant sleeves.

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“These threats will continue. If there is one thing we need to take from this pandemic, with all of the tragedy and loss, is we need to get our act together.”

I live 35 miles from a BSL-4 lab that had a leak in mid 2019. It was closed down at that point for quite some time. Time for them to clean up what they could. A new facility was erected soon after.

It wasn’t but a couple weeks after that leak before the vaping incidents began where people began dying with pneumonia type symptoms. Surely you remember.

A few months later, Covid-19 began to appear.

We as a people must put an end to biological weapons research. How does it serve mankind to figure new ways to kill people with viruses designed to kill more effectively and efficiently?

Now, they’re talking about the “next” pandemic.

If this isn’t insanity already, it’s surely right around the corner.

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We are a sick SPECIES.

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…a Doomed species.

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And that was before “gain of function”!

Earlier this morning I read a fascinating article (reprinted in my local newspaper) written by Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz of the Chicago Tribune: “A Bitter Aftertaste – 2020, a nightmare for restaurants and food suppliers, may have permanently altered how and what we eat.”

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Please, may it be so – NOW!

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