Will we learn from the experience and change our behaviours or will we revert to business-as-usual and keep our fingers crossed that the inevitable next outbreak won't be a hundred times worse?
It seems modern human lifestyles increase not just the speed with which viruses can spread but also the likelihood of new ones emerging due to animals - dead or alive - that wouldn't meet in the wild swapping virus DNA that combines in unpredictable ways.
The scenario depicted in the film "Contagion" is a bat carrying an innocuous virus flees to the city when his forest is destroyed. He accidentally drops some food from his mouth, which is then eaten by an imported pig. Said pig is also carrying an ostensibly harmless virus. DNA fragments from the two viruses recombine to make a new virus. The pig ends up in a kitchen where a chef fails to wash his hands after handling the carcass. The chef then shakes hands with a tourist, and you can figure out the rest.
The film makes the point that the bat should never have been anywhere near the pig - it was human activity that put both animals in that place. I've done some reading and it seems the scenario is very plausible.
So, do we continue giving DNA fragments opportunities they wouldn't have without our help? Do we continue carrying the results onto aeroplanes and possibly end up infecting the whole world before anyone even knows what's happened?
I think we've been incredibly lucky so far: Historical plagues have killed millions at walking pace. Compared to our recent ancestors the average traveller can go ten times farther a hundred times faster.
Questions for discussion:
* Can people, industries and governments take significant measures to prevent or limit the emergence and spread of new pathogens?
* Should they?
* Will they?
This week's scumbacg of the week award must surely go to this scumbag:
A man has been jailed for stealing face masks from a hospital.
Lerun Hussain, 34, took the vital protective equipment from King's College Hospital in London.
My goodness there's some utter arseholes about.
Add him to the list of the nasty tw@ts coughing at people and suchlike.
Surprised we haven't had one yet.
I hope we don't.
6th April 2020 21:24 by Luna
by Patrick Hardy
nails in sacred flesh
the Easter moon
luminous of blood and light
in our darkest hour
culling fields of pink phlox and heather
to reach for night
this season of sleep
and renew my broken cup
with the beams
from your deepest spring.