Learning to live with danger

How easy is it to catch a disease again? Chicken pox, never. A cold, perhaps even twice or thrice a season. For a new disease like COVID-19 this may be hard to figure out, but with tens of millions of people infected around the world, one can get rough answers surprisingly fast. Of course, the question needs to be qualified. Is there a version of “long COVID-19” which has periods of dormancy, so that a resurgence of the same infection may look like reinfection? If so, should we count this? Should we count infection by a new strain of virus to be a reinfection? Reasonable answers seem to be “Perhaps”, “No” and “Yes” respectively. With this in mind, it seems possible today that the chance of reinfection, while small, could be higher than that of death. All these estimates are provisional, of course. Partly because doctors around the world are learning to manage the infection and reduce the rates of death. Partly because the chances of new strains of virus to emerge depend on the number of people infected, and this number is still increasing.

Now that we know that recovering from a COVID-19 infection is not always the same as becoming our old healthy self, the statement that death is less likely than reinfection does not seem to be as much of a relief as it would have been nine months ago. Instead it raises new concerns. Would the effects of vaccines wear off? Will reinfections cause a mild disease or a worse one? There are, as yet, strong opinions but no definite answers to these questions. But the questions force us to re-examine the lives of our grandparents. They lived in a world of communicable diseases. Human life expectancy was lower, because you could die of such a disease before your heart started to act up. How did they live?

For some months we hid ourselves away from the world, regarded everything that had to be brought home with suspicion. Then we learnt to distinguish between levels of danger. Once we figured that we had been infected, we let our guard down for a while. Again, after realizing that we may not be safe for ever, we are back to masking and distancing. Life is not on hold any longer: regular work has resumed, dentists need to be visited, other medical check ups have to be done, some socialization is needed, holidays are necessary. The way we do things has changed, but life has resumed. I suppose all of us will have to find how to resume life. Even in medieval, demon-haunted times, people lived and worked. We know better, we will live safer; this I am certain of. No other disease has been studied by such a variety of scientists: I have read research reports on COVID-19 by doctors, data scientists, physicists, biologists, economists, and even engineers. We will learn from each other the safe ways to navigate the world.

Author: I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

24 thoughts on “Learning to live with danger”

  1. Hi, IJ. You raise great questions. How do we navigate through this covid and post-vaccination world? So much has been learned by our scientists, but we still have many unanswered questions. It’s so interesting how our personalities factor into how we deal with this. My husband is saying, “Once we get the vaccine, we’ll go back to traveling full-time,” and I’m MUCH more cautious and skeptical. I’m slowly “chipping away” at his overly optimistic view!!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes. We are waiting to hear about the new quarantine regulations so we can see our son. Right now we’d have to quarantine for 2 weeks, so we’ll see. There will have to be changes when more people are vaccinated.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I am not planning any trips yet, because nobody knows.
      Too many people had to cancel too many times, too many flights were aborted, too many holidays were spent in quarantine.
      I’ll rather wait another year or two and spend the time reading and writing.
      If the situation relaxes a little bit in between pandemic waves, I can still go for long hikes in the area where I live, whence I can always return home quickly.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Life has resumed indeed, just the way we do things will not be the same anymore. But change always happens and it’s always good. Hope some goodness comes out of this too. Some of it has already. Just hope they are long term.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You bring up excellent questions about this pandemic. One hundred years ago, the only thing to do was let a virus run through the population and whomever was left standing went on. Now, it’s a scientific war which brings up more questions. Future generations will look at this and learn from what we are doing or not doing. I’ve had both shots now. The second one made me very ill. Covering new territory is always risky. I’m just looking forward to the day I can go out to eat inside a restaurant! Take care and stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks I. J., I keep telling myself that it is good news, but I’m still dragging. Regarding the 404 error, it might be an incompatibility because others are getting into the sight. Try going directly into annegeephoto.com. I’ll also check on the problem tomorrow when I have more energy.

        Liked by 1 person

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