Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Myths We Live By, and Die By

A brief but poignant thread by T. Ryan Gregory

It's painful to think about how much damage these myths have caused. 

Myth #1: Droplet vs airborne transmission.

Myth #2: Pathogens inevitably evolve to become more benign.

Myth #3: Endemic means mild.

Myth #4: Viruses quickly run out of evolutionary space

Myth #5: Children need to be infected with pathogens (vs. commensal microbes) to build up their immune system.

Not to mention all the new myths in the making that have arisien during this pandemic:
  "Immunity debt"
  "Robust hybrid immunity"
  "Respirators work at an individual level but not at a population level"
  "Targeted protections"
  "The virus doesn't transmit in schools"

I'd add that calling the Long Covid symptoms "brain fog" and "fatigue" led to people thinking they'd just be a little more forgetful than usually or a little sleepier than usual--no big deal--when the reality is some people can't get out of bed or sit up for long, and they need help to eat and go to the bathroom. 

Of course, we know now, and we knew back in 2019 as well, that most viruses that cause a pandemic are airborne; pathogens can get worse; endemic means it's continuing rather than rising and falling; viruses can evolve forever; and the more times we get sick - the more times our children get sick - the worse the outcome. 

We need to do everything possible to avoid getting this virus - or avoid getting it again. Well-fitting masks work. Cleaning the air with filtration units helps. Schools and hospitals are seriously exacerbating the situation since removing mask mandates, and policies must change to prevent such open transmission in public places that people need to be.

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