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Pandemic is not over.

Pandemic is not over.

Pandemic is not over.

Pandemic is not over.  I know all of the news of vaccines may have caused a sigh of relief.  That sense of relief is premature.  A virus evolves as it infects more people and animals.  In most viruses like the common cold evolves into less virulent forms.  This does not seem to be the case with Covid-19.  I think a short explanation of how a virus infects the body is useful.

Fool me once

A virus is not alive as we understand life.  Humans, mammals, fish and plants reproduce sexually to ensure their offspring continue the species.  Viruses do not reproduce in this way.  A virus is nothing more than a shell and RNA.  The virus reproduces by entering a healthy cell implanting its RNA which causes the now infected cell to make copies of the virus before the cell dies.  A virus is able to infect healthy cells because our immune system has no memory of the Covid virus.  Yes our immune system learns by way of what is called B-memory cells.  These cells help the immune system make antibodies.  Without the ability to create antibodies we have no natural defense against the Covid-19 virus. Pandemic is not over.

Evolution in real time

Even If you do not believe in evolution, evolution believes in you.  As a virus infects more and more people the chance of the virus evolving (mutating) increases.  This is a natural occurrence because of the differences in each human and other species DNA.  The mutation that occurs as a virus evolves usually makes it less virulent.  Viruses do not want to kill the host (humans).  It is bad for the survival of the virus if there are no host to infect.  This not always the case.  Sometimes a virus will kill anyone that does not have some sort of natural immunity.  Think of polio or smallpox. Until scientists created vaccines the world suffered countless deaths from outbreaks of these viral diseases.  Fortunately these two viruses did not mutate significantly allowing for a vaccine to be developed.  This is not the case for Covid-19.

Covid-19 doing the unexpected

A virus starts mutating as soon as it infects a living creature.  As soon as the Chinese scientists sequenced the Covid-19 DNA other scientists around the world started seeing mutations in the virus.  In March of last year there were at least seven known variants of the Covid-19 virus.  Now there is the English variant that is more contagious but apparently less lethal.  The variant that is worrying scientists is the South African variant.  People studying this mutation of Covid are not sure if the current vaccine is effective against it.

What this means to you

As viruses mutate you are still at risk.  You are at risk for all of the potential short and long term effects of Covid-19. Do not assume that the vaccine is going to work against all the mutations.  The only way to minimize the odds of becoming infected is maintain social distancing and wear a mask around people that are not your immediate family.  As my wife tells me she does not want the guilt of passing the virus to my elderly parents potentially causing their deaths.  I hope you will be as unselfish as my wife.  As Smokey the Bear says “only you can prevent forest fires”.  This goes for Covid-19 as well.  Only you can stop the spread of Covid-19. Pandemic is not over.

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Why is Soap the best for killing Coronavirus?

Why is Soap the best for killing Coronavirus? We have all been told over and over again to wash our hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. No one really tells us why we need to use soap or why the minimum is 20 seconds. The answer is complicated because soap is more complex than it appears.

Here is a link to the best article I found explaining what soap is and how it works.  https://www.livescience.com/57044-science-of-soap.html

Below are selected excerpts. This article is a great way to teach your kids the value of soap.

What is Soap?

Soap has been a part of human cultural since Babylonians created it in 2800 B.C.E.

Soap is a mixture of fat or oil, water, and an alkali, or basic salt. The basic recipe for soap hasn’t changed for thousands of years. It’s still a combination of fat or oils with an alkali — basic ionic salt — and water. When those ingredients combine in the proper proportions, they go through a chemical process called saponification, which results in soap.

How Does Soap Work?

Soap kills viruses and removes bacteria on our hands.  This is an important point for several reasons.  The most important being is viruses and bacteria CANNOT develop drug resistance to soap.

When you wash your hands with soap, the soap molecules act as a mediator between the water and oil molecules, and bind with both of them at the same time. Then when you rinse everything off, the soap carries away the germs with the water.

Soap versus the Coronavirus.

Viruses by their very nature are simple.  They have RNA surrounded by a fatty membrane (shell).  When soap encounters this fatty membrane it dissolves the membrane effectively killing the the coronavirus.  There is not a drug or any other treatment that kills viruses in this way.  Soap is the most effective way of preventing the transmission of a virus from your hands or body to your eyes, nose and mouth (mucous membranes).

Soap: a household cleaner.

Soap is good for more than washing the dishes. Soap can also be used to clean the hard surfaces in your house.  This will destroy all the viruses on the hard surfaces but will save you money by not using expensive wipes or sprays. You can use 1/8 to 1/4 cup of dish soap or hand soap in two gallons of water as a cleaning and disinfecting solution.