The arrogance of mankind

We think we are the bosses on this planet when, in fact, we are rank amateurs at the game of survival compared to the true success story. Bacteria and viruses defeat the best we have to offer by knowing their game. When a virus is denied access to the place it desires to infect by the presence of anti-bodies, it can mutate into something not recognised by the immune system in a couple of weeks.

This ability makes a total mockery of the vaccination drive every year which claims to protect the vulnerable in our society from the influenza virus. Which also begs the question, what particular virus are we innoculating against this time? When the antibodies generated by the jab are likely to be redundant within a fortnight, it seems the only point is to generate income for the drug companies. Oh, heresy.

The latest scare to come out of China, following in the footsteps of SARS and MERS (which were coincidentally? also strains of coronavirus), is being whipped up into a bogieman to make those two look like the minor inconvenience they really were. This new one is only a new variation of the same old thing, and it amazes me that I can say the British Government seems to be the only one in the world reacting rationally.

They are saying that there is no chance of containing this thing and all we would be doing is delaying the inevitable. Sensible measures are needed to protect the vulnerable, but beyond that we have to get used to the idea that the viruses have won this round. This is what I have been saying to anyone who would listen, until I got so fed up with the paranoid rubbish being spouted by most people that I started to refuse any conversations on the subject at all.

Death is part of life, not the antithesis of it. There are not two opposing factions in a war, life is a single united experience of humans and all other animals. The sooner we accept that, despite our best efforts, we cannot prevent death, the better off we will be. Generating the spark of life is outside our skill-set as is preventing the spark from leaving when it decides the time has come. It seems that the medical profession has declared war on death. So far the war is not going so well for them. Their efforts would be better directed to preparing people for the fact of death, not in a morbid way but in a spiritually uplifting sense. To my mind the work of this life is to square things away and die with grace, rather than kicking and screaming and declaring petulantly that we insist on having more time, like a spoiled kid with their iPad.

It is my contention, not supported by many, that the biggest advance in disease prevention was the understanding of how disease was transmitted, and then the changes in hygiene practises brought on by that understanding. Perhaps it would have been a good idea to stop there rather than tinker with the immune system and really make the diseases lift their game. Now, rather than the basic version of illnesses, we have split them into many strata and helped them to develop and evolve into things we can’t keep up with let alone cure.

Perhaps we could have accepted a slightly longer life expectancy and filled that life with happiness, rather than pressing on regardless in the attitude of arrogance that has engendered this war on death.

It is known that viruses such as flu are passed on by germs being taken into the body orally, this is widely acknowledged to be the case. This new thing may be the embodiment of evil but it still follows the same pathways of infection as all the others, therefore, shaking hands will not transmit the virus. Touching another person will not allow the thing into the system through the skin, normal hygiene practises, such as washing your hands, will prevent the germs from passing from the skin to the mouth and thereby into the body.

If you are standing close enough to another person to shake hands, and if that person who is close enough to shake your hand has the virus then you have probably already got it. I understand that you may not want to shake the hand of someone who has just given you a nasty infection, but I am certain that touching their skin wouldn’t be how the thing got into you.

Use hand sanitiser by all means, it won’t hurt, except your bank balance at today’s prices, and may help to keep at bay any other horrible microbes that we are surrounded by everywhere and everyday. For instance, it occurred to me the other day that many people probably flush the toilet before they wash their hands. This, to me, is worse than shaking hands with someone after they have washed them. Imagine what may have got through the toilet paper and then been transferred to the flush handle, lurking there until you put your hand on it. I saw a sign in a toilet the other day which said that germs and bacteria are thrown up to two metres from the bowl each time you flush, it recommended closing the lid beforehand. I did so and will continue to!

Wearing a surgical mask is also unlikely to prevent infection, bearing in mind that they are worn in operating theatres to prevent any germs from the surgeon getting to the patient, not vice versa. Some people have taken to wearing industrial dust-masks. As someone who knows from first-hand experience the ineffectiveness of these things in keeping out even large dust particles, I can imagine they are useless at preventing the inhalation of minute bacteria and viruses. If those who are known to be infected were to voluntarily wear masks to prevent their disease from spreading to others then I say good on them! Maybe we should hang signs on the infected ones too, just to make sure.

Whoever manufactures these bugs, I wish they would take up a new hobby, I have heard that golf can be a good distraction.

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