We need to return to a normal social life.

I’ve been asked by several friends recently what my expectations were of ending the quarantine and getting back to work as it used to be. I am not a physician, nor do I work for any pharmaceutical companies. I am a researcher who looks for cause and effect relationships at the cellular level in the human body. My specialty is in the field of aging and longevity.

I’ve been following the coronavirus since early to mid-January. I thought it was odd that the fast spread of coronavirus did not prompt an earlier response from the World Health Organization (WHO) to increase their level of concern to the rest of the world. I understand the ‘wait and we’ll see’ attitude of many bureaucracies. I also understand panic and fear of making decisions without certainty.

However, that is their job! The United States made decisions about travel restrictions, quarantining, social distancing, etc. based on the information and advice of learned experts at a defining moment in time. As more data becomes available, changes can and should be made to previously made decisions regarding our health and livelihoods.

Viruses typically have a five-stage life cycle. The first stage is the attachment phase. The virus recognizes and binds to a receptor molecule on the host. The second stage is the entry in which the virus enters a cell in our bodies. The third stage is replication and expression. The virus is copied or replicated, and genes are expressed to make viral proteins in our bodies.

The fourth stage is called assembly. It is the process by which the virus completes the assembly and packaging of a new viral particle. The fifth stage happens when the viral particles from stage four exit our bodies and infect other cells in our bodies or other hosts.

Our bodies fight the virus from stage one. Some people react and show symptoms in as few as two days. Most have symptoms in five days. A few will not have symptoms until the eleventh day. A few more will never show symptoms but be just as contagious as those showing symptoms. The lack of symptoms is what makes this disease so insidious.

The total time from stage one until the virus is contained in our bodies is around thirty-three days. After fourteen days, it appears that we are free of symptoms, but more recent studies show that it is possible to carry the virus in our intestinal system for as long as thirty days.

We know that masks help contain the virus from those who have it. Gloves also help. Social distancing is effective. Vaccines are not that reliable, especially new ones. I would guess that scientists would be happy if their vaccine was effective on fifty percent of the people vaccinated. Some will die from the vaccination. Some will get sick from it. Many will develop antibodies to protect them from the virus.

The high-risk people (obese, pre-existing conditions, immune challenged, and others) still need to protect themselves. We see a cascade of deaths when elder-care facilities are not careful enough to prevent coronavirus infection. Hospitals are notorious hotbeds of viral, fungal, and bacterial particles. I went to the hospital not that many years ago and developed pneumonia on Day 1 as I awaited having my gall bladder removed.

Yes, I believe it is quite possible that many can go back to work without disrupting the current levels of care and causing an exponential outbreak of coronavirus. The virus is still in our population. There are many people with it without symptoms. As carriers, this virus will infect others. We need to protect those high-risk individuals.

Quarantining will temporarily halt the spread of coronavirus, but it cannot stop it. What hurts more? Being out of work, no income, and no relief in sight? Or, being exposed to the coronavirus and possibly suffering a week or two of illness? Or, being a carrier and inadvertently infecting high-risk people not protected from potential carriers of the disease.

It is damned if you do and damned if you don’t. At some time, the quarantine will be lifted, and restrictions set for a return to near-normal living and working. I firmly believe that we need to protect those needing protection. How do we accomplish this? We must start somewhere and someday. Is tomorrow a better day than two weeks from now, or four weeks from today?

It would be great if there were a simple antibody test that in a few minutes could tell you reliably that you did or did not have the virus. When that happens, the return to near normalcy is closer at hand.
In the meantime, it is quite possible to incorporate social distancing, masks, gloves, testing, and retesting to open segments of our society. Quick, reliable, and timely accurate results from coronavirus testing will open our society sooner than later.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – https://RedOLaughlin.com

5 Responses

  1. Yes if we look at past pandemics distancing has been an absolute help especially when there is no known vaccine when it first occurs. No it does not stop it but definitely helps.

  2. Hi Red, Thank you for your well-reasoned article. I find it fascinating reading about what is happening in the USA. Australia currently has a National Cabinet in play which includes State, federal and Territory governments. I pray you and your wife are all keeping well. Best regards from the lands down under.

    1. Thanks, Rod. We are surviving quite well. A few restrictions are not interfering with enjoying life at home. Not wanting anything other than our previous social life with family and friends. At some point in time, we have to lift the restrictions and endure the consequences, regardless. But, there are many things that can be done to protect those high-risk people who cannot defend themselves against this virus. Time will tell. My accountant lives in the Sidney area. I’ve been in touch with him off and on this past year about the fires. I trust that you had no serious problems from them.

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