We gotta be careful with the news coming from the war against COVID-19 front – in its latest mutant form, Omicron. It just confirms our worst suspicions – which aren’t really “suspicions” but facts –- that the effects of each of the original Wuhan/Chinese virus’ mutations are totally unpredictable. Delta was deadlier than Alpha while Omicron spreads faster than either Alpha or Delta – but APPEARS to have milder effects. Gamma? We’ll come back to that “appears” later.
The problem is – the way the virus mutates. And your Eyewitness has to once again dig deep into his memory banks for high-school biology classes – where his mind was more on the “birds and bees” stuff than mutating viruses!! But he remembers the elementary lesson that viruses aren’t really “living” since they can’t perform the seven functions of living things – including “reproduction”! They’re bundles of DNA or RNA covered with a protein/fat layer. Whew!! How’d he remember that!!?
So they perpetuate themselves by entering our cells and commandeering their protein building blocks. With millions of replications their DNA/RNA copies are never exact and so produce proteins on the surface spikes different from the original. The COVID-19 surface protein spikes that do the damage to enter our cells are made up of 1273 protein fragments. So the Alpha had 24 spike mutations from the original Wuhan, the Delta, 30 and the Omicron, 37. Imagine the permutations and combinations available for its evolutionary survival. The ones that transmit most will “survive” and will keep on mutating!
So, will the virus never go away? In a word, “No!” After all, the original virus is estimated to’ve evolved with bats for millions of years!! As to whether it jumped species from bats to us through a “natural” mutation or in a lab experiment is only important for culpability purposes. The genie, so to speak, is out of the bottle and it ain’t going back in. All we have to work towards is creating enough vaccines to blunt the more deadly mutations and have “milder” forms become more dominant. To become something like the flu virus that doesn’t kill too many persons – unlike its deadliest version in 1918 that killed 50 million persons worldwide!! We haven’t reached five million yet with COVID-19.
And we return to the “appears” qualification for Omicron as being “milder” mentioned above. What we gotta find out is whether it appears “milder”, because such a significant percentage of various populations have been vaccinated and therefore already have antibodies that blunt the capacity of the new Omicron spikes to breach our cell walls.
The test will be to find out how many UNVACCINATED persons die from Omicron.
…for PNC’s political dilemma
The old folks say, “wha’ you plant, da yuh guh reap!” And with all of us Guyanese coming out of the cane fields or our interior forests, you’d think the PNC would’ve been a bit more prudent in planting all those land mines in its political pathway over the years. I mean, how can a party that was born to split the united nationalist movement ever bring the country together again?? Humpty Dumpy had nothing on Guyana after the 1960s!!
More recently, you’d think they wouldn’t try that rigging thingy that gave them such a nasty reputation. But there they were –- Mingoing in front of the entire world in 2020! And they didn’t stop there. They threw out the baby with the bath water by going back to the “strongman leader” model after they succeeded with Granger in 2015. It wasn’t Granger’s IMAGE that was the problem but his insistence on “fulfilling Burnham’s legacy”!!
So, now Norton’s to be a Maximum Leader – leading the PNC and the Opposition, and Rep of the List!!?
…even in the Courts
The politicians have been accused of “judicializing” politics. That is they take matters they should settle among themselves to the Courts.
But then cuss out the Judges when they lose!! Go figure!!