Florida is a great example of what happens when people are put into isolation for months and then suddenly allowed to mingle in bars, beaches, restaurants and other public places.
In isolation, the body’s immune system stops functioning properly. (For more on this, Science Alert details what happens to the brain and body in isolation.)
Deaths in Florida over the last two weeks varied from about 25 per day to a high of 68 per day. When you look at these figures, they’re not very high in a state with a population of nearly 22,000,000 people. In addition, many of the people who tragically died were not even tested for COVID-19 yet classified as COVID-19 deaths because their doctors suspected it. (Yes, the classification is that hazy and unscientific.)
Regardless of the actual recent death toll in Florida due to COVID-19, there’s a question these numbers bring up: Why has the case number in Florida risen so highly – anywhere from 5,000 to 11,000+ cases per day? Granted, the case number includes those who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies, which means the person doesn’t actively have the disease. The number also includes a positive result on the standard “COVID” test, which picks up any type of coronavirus that may not be COVID-19 at all.
It’s funny to hear politicians who call for more “testing, testing, testing” without even knowing what the test actually measures. Right now, testing is picking up people with the virus but also giving many false positives because a lot of people tested are not contagious, they just have remnants from their immunological reactions.
Knowing all this, is this rise in daily case numbers cause for concern? According to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, it’s not.
“This week, which (there) have been increased cases, that median age is plunging even further,” Gov. DeSantis said from the Florida International University last week.
The jump in cases can also simply be a factor of months-hibernating immune systems now compromised and unable to combat even the slightest infection or virus.
Our immune system has to come in contact with viruses, bacteria and pollutants in order to elicit a response, therefore allowing us to fight off all sorts of outside contaminants and exist in a world full of viruses potentially dangerous to our health. This is nothing new. Britannica offers a comprehensive overview of the entire immune response process in a variety of different living creatures. From terrestrial vertebrates like reptiles and mammals to lowly protozoans, organisms have developed a way to identify self components from nonself components, and only through exposure to the latter does the organism elicit a response to rid itself of these foreign invaders that could potentially threaten their survival.
As background, the human immune system response consists of the following: T-Cells, antibodies, NK cells, macrophages, lymphokines and monokines. (More detail from Medical Microbiology can be found here.)
One example of immune system stifling is found in astronauts. It has been shown conclusively the astronauts who are totally isolated in space from viruses and bacteria have very, very suppressed immune systems once they return to Earth.
On this planet, broad scientific research has shown that isolation severely weakens our ability to cope with diseases.
Returning to the Sunshine State, this documented research could explain why Florida is now seeing such a high daily case count for COVID-19. It makes sense that people who are now free to mingle in Florida are now coming down with all sorts of viruses and bacterial infections, the former of which may or may not be COVID-19.
As Gov. DeSantis pointed out, the majority of these cases are young people (the average age has dropped to the low 30s) who are healthy but their immune system response is sluggish because it has to acclimate again to foreign contaminates making it abnormally slow in response to viruses.
The media is quick to sound the alarm bells about this huge rise in cases without looking at the minuscule rise in mortalities. Of course after prolonged isolation, it would be totally expected to see a rise in COVID infections and viral infections among the general population. Their collective immune system has been compromised after months of harmful isolation, hand washing, mask wearing and the like.
If anything, we should be celebrating the most recent statistics because people are not dying at alarming rates, the jump in COVID cases is not concurrently followed by a correlated rise in mortalities. This is good news. It’s how we can achieve herd immunity and actually defeat this virus.
There is a real attempt to panic the United States into closing down again that is not based on anything scientific or the least bit documented. The rise in cases can be largely attributed to the fact that young people’s immune systems have been severely impacted by this prolonged shutdown. It’s also quite possible the COVID virus has mutated to a weaker form, which is normal during warmer seasons. Even though people are testing positive, there’s no reason to panic. The country should fully re-open, and we should begin the road to restoring what was the best and strongest economy in the world. It’s time to take politics out of our decision-making and just stick to the science.
A few days ago, Beda M Stadler, former director of the Institute for Immunology at the University of Bern, biologist and professor emeritus published a piece for the Swiss magazine Weltwoche – “Coronavirus: Why Everyone Was Wrong.” In the piece, he basically outlines everything written above. “The immune response against the virus is much stronger than we thought,” he says.
And it makes sense. Tests are not rising very much in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. These places have mass transit and are far more congested than Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. People in the Northeast were probably already exposed in February and March before the shutdowns and had strong immunological reactions to the virus. About 50% of the fatalities occurred in the Northeast because foolishly we quarantined everyone instead of protecting those over 65 who were more likely to die from the virus. (It’s no coincidence that about 50% of the fatalities across the country happened in nursing homes.)
Writes Stadler: “Those young and healthy people who currently walk around with a mask on their face would be better off wearing a helmet instead, because the risk of something falling on their head is greater than that of getting a serious case of COVID-19.”
It’s only now after prolonged lockdowns that the younger population is getting sicker – with mild symptoms – as they are infected with the virus. Stadler, a prominent immunologist, says most researchers and doctors were wrong about the coronavirus. He’s in a far better position to look at all the data at this point than the crazy theorists who only spoke of doom and gloom during the height of the pandemic.
It is likely that a large proportion of the daily reported infection numbers are purely due to viral debris. He also said many of the new cases are not contagious.
The virus is basically gone for now. It will probably come back in the winter but it won’t be a second wave, it’ll be, as Stadler points out, just a cold.
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