The real cost, and longer term implications, of the Wuhan coronavirus
It's too soon to know for sure how the tale of the novel coronavirus will play out,but at this point we have a pretty good idea. A stipulation in both of the scenarios at the linked essay is that yeah, it gets loose into the wild and eventually can show up anywhere in the world. I think that's pretty much definitely going to happen if it hasn't already.Scenario number 1, and most likely, in my view, it will just be one more virus that causes what amounts to a common cold and in a few people who are otherwise debilitated goes on to be complicated by pneumonia. In that case, for a year or two it will circulate as a novel virus to which no-one is immune and there will be a fairly high incidence -- although most people who are exposed will have no symptoms, or very mild symptoms. Then things will settle down and it will hardly be noticeable. One more common cold virus won't make a big difference, there are already dozens of them. Note that the most likely evolutionary trajectory for any endemic virus is that it becomes less virulent over time, because people who are lying on their couch all day aren't likely to transmit it.Scenario number 2 is that it's a bit more virulent, like influenza, and also tends to recur seasonally. having one more influenza virus to contend with is definitely not better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, however since this class of virus, unlike influenza, has a very low mutation rate, it should be possible to make an effective vaccine that's go...
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