Essay: Day 103 of Biological War

Apr 14, 2020

Credit creative commons

Welcome to day 103 of WWIII - the Biological War. 

by Steve Plotkin

Sadly, we have reached the national level 2,074 dead per day, now the leading cause of death.  A vast number of citizens qualify for Purple Hearts, and this war has surpassed 9/11 as having a profound effect on our society.

The Virus

Coronavirus is a large family of viruses of which 7 can infect people.  Humans have been treated to one bad coronavirus every 10 years, since the turn of the century.

Think of SARS (2002) and MERS (2012). 

I can't wait for advance notice of Covid-22, so I can ALSO sell my stocks short!

Some place like S. Korea and Viet Nam were slammed by the earlier viral invasions, and knew exactly what to do, and did it immediately. 

They experienced diminished suffering and deaths.  We need to learn from them, as Covid-22 might be around the corner.

America, on the other hand, diddled for 2 full months before taking meaningful, yet polarized actions.  We are now paying the price, in caskets.


American are pretty good following instructions, when they are told why.

So Why 20 seconds washing hands with ordinary soap?

Soap, an ancient compound, seems far too simple for such a tough virus.  

We typically think of soap as gentle and soothing, but for microorganisms, it is often destructive.   Actually, it is our most preferred defense against invisible pathogens. 

So how does it work?

The secret is that soap molecules have a hybrid structure, with a head that is attracted to water, and a tail that repels water, but likes oils.

The coronavirus is surrounded by lipids which are fats, and act like oil.  The soap acts like a crowbar and destabilizes the whole virus system, wiping out the virus.  But it needs 20 seconds to accomplish 100% of the mission.

Remember this the next time you have the impulse to bypass the sink: Other people's lives, are in your hands.  So lets hear it for soap!

There is some Good News, Dorothy!

Social Distancing is actually working!

With the USA in a medically induced economic coma, some question which is worse, the financial threat or the medical threat?  One answer is that the latest projections are merely 60,000 deaths by August 4, which actually is a major improvement.

For almost 2 centuries, vaccines are the one thing that stops outbreaks.  WHO says there are 62 efforts underway to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.  They work by injecting a little bit of specialized protein, thereby convincing the body to churn out antibodies. 

However, experts suggest, absent a miracle, a workable solution is over one year away.

With 4 to 6 trillion dollars in new federal spending, I can't wait to see my check, and also the new 2021 federal income tax tables. 

After being cooped up, with me, for a few weeks, my wife has recalibrated our social distancing from 6 feet, to 2-miles.

This is Steve Plotkin