Every day we read news about covid 19, and the supposedly bad situation. But unlike the situation is presented in the media, there is also good news. The more science learns about covid, the better we understand how it should best be dealt with. During the last months, many interesting scientific research papers got published, and many of them actually seem to see the situation less grim as you might think it is.
Already in October, a study from Prof. John Ioannidis, the worlds most prominent epidemiologist, published a large meta study together with the WHO. They analyzed the results of 61 studies about covid 19 across the world and found that the infection fatality rate is about 0.2%. This is about the same rate as for the usual flu. For people younger than 70 years, the rate is only 0.05%. This is actually very good news, as it shows, that covid is far less dangerous than most people expected earlier this year.
There were also lots of rumors, that covid might spread from people, which were infected, but themself didn’t notice anything about their infection. So called asymptomatic cases. This argumentation was widely used, to recommend the public to wear masks whenever meeting other people.
As this behaviour isn’t known for other flu-like diseases, parts of the scientific community saw the recommendations with quite some surprise. And they were right to do so. A Chinese study with the huge number of about 10 million participants, published just in the end of November finds, that asymptomatic cases don’t transmit covid infections.
The citywide nucleic acid screening of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Wuhan recruited nearly 10 million people, and found no newly confirmed cases with COVID-19. The detection rate of asymptomatic positive cases was very low, and there was no evidence of transmission from asymptomatic positive persons to traced close contacts. There were no asymptomatic positive cases in 96.4% of the residential communities.https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-19802-w
Again, this is excellent news, as it tells us, that there is no danger of infecting anyone unknowingly, as long as you feel healthy and don’t show any symptoms of an infection. Staying at home when you feel sick is enough, and wearing masks in public in order to „save others“ is not necessary at all. As there are also several adverse side effects of masks, shouldn’t the recommendation to wear them be dropped completely, in respect to these new findings? Also, this tells us that there is no need to lock elderly people away and that they should be able to meet their relatives, as they used to be before covid came around.
The list of good news goes on. Two studies, from Charite Berlin and from University Clinic Tübingen found, that roughly 80% of the population, that were never in contact with covid, already have reactive T-cells, that provide immunity or at least a high degree of resistance against covid due to previous contact with other corona viruses. Corona viruses are a mentionable part of the yearly flu waves, and the contact with these viruses of the same family helped our immune system, to also develop resistance against the new covid virus. In quite scientific wording, these studies tell us, why the large majority of people, that are exposed to covid show only very mild to no symptoms of an infection. This contradicts speculations in the beginning of the epidemic, that the virus might be so new, that there would be no resistances to it at all.
Our study reveals pre-existing cellular SARS-CoV-2 cross-reactivity in a substantial proportion of SARS-CoV-2-seronegative HDs. This finding could have considerable epidemiological implications regarding herd immunity thresholds and projections for the COVID-19 pandemic.https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2598-9
In 12 (67%) and 15 (83%) out of 18 patients, we detected CD4+ T cells that reacted against the S-I and S-II peptide pools, respectively.
In our study we identified and characterized the exact T-cell epitopes that govern SARS-CoV-2 cross-reactivity and proved similarity to human common cold coronaviruses regarding individual peptide sequences, physiochemical and HLA-binding properties. Notably, we detected SARS-CoV-2 cross-reactive T cells in 81% of unexposed individuals.https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-35331/v1
The most recent paper debunks the early speculation, that people wouldn’t be able to develop a proper immunity after being infected with covid. Even though there might be some rare cases of a reinfection, this speculation was mainly based on unreliable tests and false-positive test results. The opposite is true, people develop a stable long lasting immunity, just like for other SARS viruses.
Our data show immune memory in at least three immunological compartments was measurable in ~95% of subjects 5 to 8 months PSO, indicating that durable immunity against secondary COVID-19 disease is a possibility in most individuals.https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2021/01/06/science.abf4063
This list of good news is by far not complete. Obviously covid and the question of how best to deal with it, is a hot field of research right now. Nevertheless, the research is clear so far, that we have good reasons to relax and to go back to normal. The virus will not kill humanity. We survided thousands of flu waves already, we’ll also survive covid. And we’ll survive it easily and even without further ado of vaccines and whatever else some lobby groups want to sell us with it.