“Flatten The Curve.” “Slow The Spread.” These messages were, of course, originally intended to ensure that intensive care units weren’t overrun by critical patients. Having accomplished that, we should now consider what our longer-term expectations should be.

Implications were that if we did several things, COVID-19 would ultimately just “go away.”

The truth? COVID-19 will not “go away.”

No, eventually your immune system will have to encounter COVID-19 and demonstrate its worth.

One of the following will happen:

1. You’ve already recovered from the disease with mild or no symptoms; your immune system will ensure you never get this version of it again, or

2. You will eagerly wait for a vaccine, letting someone inject it into your body.

About vaccines: They are most often made by killing or weakening some of the virus cells. Then called antigens. These are injected into your body, where your immune system will attack and remember them. If you then encounter the live virus, your immune system will remember those cells and destroy the live ones.

(While awaiting a vaccine, remember: Vaccines normally take up 10 years to develop; 94 percent fail during development. This process, though flawed, has resulted in effective control of smallpox, polio and, to some extent, tetanus. No vaccines have been developed for HIV).

3. Or, you may catch the virus, suffering for about two weeks, with a 99 percent chance of recovering without hospitalization. If hospitalized, most risk about the same odds of dying from COVID-19 as from a shark attack in American waters.

Those elderly and/or with other preexisting conditions have a much higher risk. Recent reports are that several racial minority groups die at much higher rates than whites, indicating an inexplicable race-based component of COVID-19.

In all these cases, the government will not save you; your immune system must either save you or fail.

You can shower in hand sanitizer, cover your family with bubble-wrap, wear a hazmat suit, and hide in your bathroom. Eventually, though, your immune system must face COVID-19; there are no other options. Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, and New Jersey Public Health Director Yannai Kranzler all agree on this point. Even television’s famed Dr. Mehmet Oz has published similar descriptions of what your immune system must do to fight disease.

These factors are what are at play in the annual flu vaccine, different each year because influenza mutates.

Rachael Rettner writes in Live Science that according to an Aug. 4 study published in the journal Science, previous bouts with common cold viruses can train the immune system to recognize the COVID-19 virus.

Study co-leader Daniela Weiskopf says: “Preexisting human immune cell ‘memory’ can recognize the method COVID-19 uses to invade human cells, down to the exact molecular structures.” This and other studies show more than 50 percent of people never exposed to COVID-19 have immune systems that already recognize the disease.

This immunity has been seen in the Netherlands, Germany, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Scientists hypothesize the immunity may be due to previous bouts with other coronaviruses, specifically those causing many common colds.

Study researchers analyzed blood samples from 2015 through 2018, well before SARS-COV-2 (known as COVID-19) emerged. Researchers found sample “T” cells reacting to similar sites on four different common cold coronaviruses.

“This study shows strong direct molecular evidence that memory ‘T’ cells can recognize sequences that are very similar between common cold coronaviruses and (COVID-19),” another co-author said.

The new study suggests that “T” cells, in targeting the critical spike protein, also target other viral proteins. Vaccines might be enhanced by harnessing this factor.

So, after a half-year scaring everyone silly, COVID-19 appears significantly less serious than first thought. Despite media hysteria and political grandstanding, otherwise healthy folks won’t drop dead unexpectedly from COVID-19. The Chinese virus resembles a common cold much more than it does even the annual flu.

There is zero science suggesting that this particular virus can overwhelm the human immune system in every single person.

About 43 percent of Americans annually dare the flu to kill them by not getting the flu shot (it routinely obliges, killing some 36,000). A recent Gallup poll showed that about 35 percent of those surveyed wouldn’t get the vaccine even if it was free. Many people are intensely suspicious of a hurriedly developed vaccine. Read again how vaccines are made, then agree you will happily allow a new, briefly tested vaccine for the Chinese virus to be injected into your body.

Much of the media continues its terror campaign, continually reporting as if the pandemic is getting worse, rather than the more hopeful truth that a vast majority of those testing positive recover without hospitalization. The hype irresponsibly stokes an environment of raw, irrational fear.

A mask only prevents the wearer from infecting others, yet Washington Gov. Jay Inslee decreed even wearing a mask when outdoors and alone. Examples observed are the solitary masked woman walking outside or the unaccompanied motorist, dutifully masked. They accomplished only showing they will follow instructions. If Inslee next stupidly decrees the wearing of tinfoil hats to protect public health, will they comply?

I’ve said here before that I have medical reasons for not wearing a mask. Some letter writers have angrily suggested I wear one anyway. In their now-fashionable virtue signaling, they apparently wear masks to show they care about everyone’s health except mine.

A rare exception to the media’s hysteria has been television station KHQ’s “COVID Facts.” It offers one of the few honest evaluations of the COVID-19 statistics found in any media.

Most likely, you’ve already had COVID-19. Without symptoms but perhaps still contagious, you might have infected others, who then repeated your behavior. This is how herd immunity happens. Welcome to the herd.

Rogers of Clarkston is a retired manager at CCI-Speer (now Vista Outdoor). His email address is rrogerr76@gmail.com.

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