Sunday, September 13, 2020

[plehhpnz] Predicting life with COVID-19 as the new normal

Consider the pessimistic scenario in which no effective vaccine for COVID-19 ever comes to fruition, and you can get it multiple times: immunity after getting it once does not last very long, so herd immunity is not effective.

On one hand, if this happens, it would not be surprising: SARS-CoV-2 would be behaving just like another famous respiratory coronavirus, the common cold, a disease with no vaccine (despite much effort) and one which you can get multiple times.  (Just to be precise, the common cold is communicated by several different viruses, only some of which are coronaviruses.  None have vaccines.  All of them can make you sick multiple times.)  On the other hand, I suspect a great many people will be surprised (in grief) to have their hopes of a return to normalcy permanently dashed.

Predict what happens to society.  (Already being done by many, including plenty predicting a complete collapse of civilization.)  Also describe the reasoning behind your prediction.  Predictions, with mechanisms, are interesting because they can be tested against reality, if this scenario turns out to be true.

One (easy) prediction: evolution will happen.  COVID-19 seems to be killing enough people that we expect that people who have natural genetic immunity to it will live long enough to have more offspring, or have more successful offspring.  Of course, it will take decades or centuries for evolution to make a noticeable difference.  (Can human evolution win?  The virus can evolve, too.)  It's neat how humans have defense in depth: first technology, then herd immunity, then evolution.

If we were to gain credible knowledge that this pessimistic scenario is how the pandemic will play out, what should society do?  (Many people are already recommending things, though we don't yet have that credible knowledge.)

Is it already known, perhaps to a small group of people, that this pessimistic scenario is how the pandemic will play out?  Is this knowledge being suppressed, perhaps to prevent massive social unrest?  Probably not: the human immune system is very complicated, so it's unlikely that anyone knows for sure that all vaccines will be ineffective.  The Illuminati can at best have only made a lucky guess at this point.

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