Thursday, July 16, 2020

Corona - To shelter or not to shelter?

( posted to my blog: )

1.     Immunology 101: Exposure generates immunity.

a.     The body is a colony of co-existing germs, trillions of them. Germs are necessary to our existence – bad germs are taken care of by the body's immune system which handles the load is unless it is too high or the germ is too deadly. The day our body stops handling what is out there, we are dead. It is  moot, whether, the day we decide to stop handling anything out there and hide in our homes, we are already dead.


2.     There is a cost to being too gentle, there is a cost to being too kind.


a.     When we go out and face things, we become tough and strong. When we shelter behind closed doors, and masks, we become weak. That is because exposure is key.


b.     The contradiction here, is, how far do I get exposed. Should I walk into battle as a sixteen-year old armed with a machete – the Red Indians would have said yes. Should I go out as a child wherever I want, without informing my parents, and get exposed to all kinds of people - our parents and grandparents would not have bothered, the paranoid parents of today would die of shock if their child is missing for ten minutes.  Different times call for different approaches, but you will agree with me that any extreme is not correct.


The other extreme is to not step out at all. You will then not die of accidents, not die of diseases (ha ha ha, that's what you think)… You will not do so many bad things nor have so many bad outcomes because you are not doing anything at all.


There is an old person in the house who is weak. She is susceptible to every virus out there. So the only way to keep her from getting that virus is for no one in the family to step out, stop all life, in fact it is good if no one in the family breathes! You know and I know that that is not an option. But then the world is behaving as if it is!  Why is it not an option? Because by not stepping out at all, we are all making out immunity weak, and we are making ourselves more susceptible to all diseases out there.  Let us agree in this case that complete disregard for safety is not good, but complete protection is not possible and more detrimental than the result that is trying to be achieved?


The germs are there in the air all around us. We need to develop and maintain a strong immune system, so that our body fights them and develops the required antibodies.


There are millions of flus and viruses and germs out there, our body takes care of them all without even our knowledge. Once in a while, a very very deadly one comes along like small pox, and you go take a vaccine for it. Like all allopathic drugs, vaccines are harmful, in fact more harmful than the normal drugs. Not taking a vaccine for even small pox is one extreme. Taking a vaccine annually for flu is the other extreme, like it is encouraged to do in the US nowadays.  So what is the mid-ground? I propose that it is to take vaccines only for the rarest of the rare cases, and extremely deadly illnesses.  By following any other option, you are weakening your own immunity, and it is a never-ending race to the bottom.




3.     How deadly is Corona virus? Not very deadly at all, not even close to what it is being made out to be. The fatality rate as a percentage of total population is very low, in the region of 0.2 percent (this is ballpark, too much accuracy is not required, since the points I am making are broad). You may of course disagree that 0.2 is "very low", or you may look up and tell me it is 0.4 – that is fine.  


4.     Most people will get the virus. Unlike other flus, this one is an extremely fast spreader. So from the government's point of view, it will swamp available infrastructure. From a personal point of view, this should make no difference.



5.     A lot of percentage statistics being thrown around are needlessly alarmist, since they are of fatalities / no. of people tested. This is not a good benchmark, since nine out of ten people will not even show symptoms.


6.     It is highly debatable whether asymptomatic people will transmit the virus.



7.     It is almost certain that children and younger folks will not die of it.


8.     Older folks with "comorbidities" will succumb in greater numbers. But then, that is as it should be. They will succumb to anything in greater numbers, when our turn comes, we will too.



9.     From a personal point of view, what is the best strategy? Given the above facts, it is best to go out and get the virus, let the body fight it, and develop the required antibodies. This requires you to not wear a mask, not use sanitizer, not isolate, and be out there.


The alternate option is to do all the above , wear a mask, sanitize, etc. Why would you want to do that, considering the following:

            In any case, there is no guarantee that it won't spread to your near and dear ones. This virus is almost impossible to control, it slips t very easily through all these measures


            For a low-guarantee outcome, you will be compromising your own immunity by reducing your own exposure. If it is for a very brief period, that is fine. But, for how long will you do this? Till the vaccine comes? Which is till when? Till next year? Even when the vaccine comes, are you sure you want to take it (remember it has its side effects like all allopathic drugs, vaccines are deadlier in side effects) for every flu out there? For every variant of corona? For every future flu out there? For every variant of every future flu? With each shot reducing your own immunity in the process? Is that the path you want to head towards?


10.  You will agree it is not an open and shut case that everyone should wear masks and shelter in place. Maybe you don't agree. Fine, you will agree there is at least a case that exists for not doing these things?  


Then why is society forcing me to wear a mask when I do not want to? Why is it forcing me to stay at home when I do not wish to? To protect me! Or the old people! Or all of us! I am not, firstly, convinced of the necessity or wisdom to try to do so, and, secondly, given the nature of this virus, I think it will not work anyway.


11.  All the arguments that I have advanced are from the individual perspective. What should the government do, in this situation? Well, this article is not intended to address that. This article is purely about what I would do as an individual.


12.  On balance, my response to the virus is that, given the risks posed by the virus, the costs of avoiding it, and the impossibility of trying to avoid it in any case, I have decided that as an individual the best option for me is to not wear a mask, not use sanitizer, and not restrict my own movements. I have been following that prescription form Day 1. This has nothing to do with my personal level of immunity, or lack of it, it is what I think everyone should be doing.



You are of course free to make your own choice, the facts are out there, but you may choose to give a different weightage to each factor.


13.  What is your preferred response to the virus and why?


Disclaimer: I am neither a doctor, nor an immunologist, nor a politician. Which is good, since it looks like they are out to destroy the world as we know it.



Dinesh Gopalan

16 July, 2020

PS: Some of my friends have told me that these constant rants of mine, with respect to Corona,  against the mad mad world is getting tiresome, so I am not going to post anything on this topic from now on. Such pious resolutions never last, but I will try my level best!

1 comment:

Jolly said...

Your article has some merit though not entirely true in my opinion.
First you may or may not build immunity. The jury is still out ..., it’s not sure once you get it you get immunity.
2. Children too have died from Covid.
3. It’s about flattening the curve not eliminating which is now impossible.
4. Asking people to wear a mask does not amount to taking away your freedom. When you live in a society you have rights and you have duties. With rights come duties.
5. It’s is a deadly disease, not like a regular flu.
This for now.