Mar

15

Since, from the virus' point of view, the purpose of infection is to find a host who will get sick and not die, that would be COVID-19's ideal path. would be to do what the "common flu" does. But, its effects may be much worse precisely because of its interaction with the effects of the already known "common flu" viral competitors.

Dylan Distasio writes: 

A small bone to pick…the virus has no point of view. While infecting as many hosts as possible without killing them BEFORE maximum contagion occurs is the optimal way for viral genes to spread, there is not an immediate evolutionary pressure to do so with new strains or entirely new pathogens especially those with a high degree of mutability. Early bubonic plague and smallpox in the Americas death rates are good examples. Until resistance spreads throughout the target population over multiple generations, virulence can be quite severe despite it not being optimal from the "virus' point of view."

I think that we are incredibly lucky that there is heavy negative skew in the fatality rate distribution curve and that the blended rate is so low.

Stefan Jovanovich writes: 

Great point, DD. I checked with the MD and she said my mistake was to believe that the virus is going for longevity when, as you note, its survival chances are just as good by going for market share.


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