May 10, 2020, 2:22 pm by Richard J. Wright
Governor J.B. Pritzker said last Thursday, “Well, I’m not the one holding back the economy from stage five, the COVID-19 virus is.”
This the governor’s strategy to deflect responsibility from his actions. The virus doesn’t know what an economy is. It doesn’t know what a human being is. It doesn’t know anything at all. It’s not even alive.Sorry, governor, the virus didn’t close Illinois, you did.
And the virus doesn’t even kill you.
That’s ridiculous, you say. It’s killed almost 80,000 people in the U.S. alone! No, it hasn’t. You may die from it, but it doesn’t kill you. I make this distinction because I want to emphasize that everthing that’s happening with this outbreak is due to how we respond to it, whether it is how our bodies respond to the virus or how our society responds to the outbreak.
SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease, is basically a strand of RNA surrounded by a protein envelope. It cannot reproduce itself. It does not consume energy. In a nutshell, it chemically binds and fuses to a cell membrane inside a human body. When this happens, it’s RNA empties into the host cell and the host cell machinery processes the instructions in RNA strand which tell the cell to make copies of the virus. These copies exit the cell and go on to infect other cells. A chain reaction. You can read about the biochemistry here.
It’s not entirely clear if the virus damages the cells it infects but it appears that the real problem is the body’s response to the presence of the foreign virus. The immune systems of a great majority of people can fight off the virus with no problem. It appears that at least half, and probably a lot more, of those who are exposed to the virus never even get sick at all. Most who do get sick recover fine. A small percentage get ill enough to need medical care. A small percentage of those go to intensive care and some portion of those die.
It all depends on the immune response, how much virus you’re exposed to and your health. If you’re exposed to a little, probably anyone can handle it. If your exposed to a lot, your immune system may be overwhelmed. If it’s somewhere in between, then it probably depends on how good your immune system is. And that’s a combination of genetics and how experienced it is (the more germs you’re exposed to, the better equipped you are to respond, especially if you’ve been exposed to something similar). In all cases, if your health is bad you’re risk of a bad outcome is much greater.
If the immune response is effective, you live. If it’s ineffective, you die. Sometimes, the immune system overreacts and causes the much talked about cytokine storm which can be likened to a wild shooting frenzy where the immune system goes after everything in sight, including your own body.
That’s what happens when your body reacts to the virus and we can liken it to how the government has reacted to outbreak. Some states, like South Dakota, have had so few cases that they never shut down, took some sensible precautions and are doing fine. Some, like Florida, had a very smart immune response that targeted the areas where the outbreaks occurred and took extra precautions to protect the vulnerable elderly and sick populations and it never got out of control. Others, like New York, were completely overwhelmed and nothing they did helped. Worse, they had the equivalent of a cytokine storm where they sent sick or recently recovered elderly people into nursing homes.
Then there were the states like Illinois which had a problem in the Chicago metro area but very little elsewhere. Governor Pritzker, like most of the governors, simply shut everything down. He treated the entire state the same, as if the virus had a map and knew where the boarders were. He turned the economy off. Duck and cover. Shelter in place. Well, almost. Churches and “non-essential” business were shutdown, but other “essential” business remained open.
The virus, of course, doesn’t know which businesses (or churches) are essential and which are non-essential. It doesn’t obey the orders of scientifically illiterate governors and ignorant “expert” scientific advisors such that it only infects people in non-essential businesses and doesn’t infect people in essential businesses.
Like an overreactive immune response, Pritzker overreacted and smashed the economy, throwing hundreds of thousands out of work, potentially destroying countless small businesses and trampling on numerous constitutional liberties. Illinois was already in intensive economic care before the outbreak; now it’s on a ventilator. The question is, will Illinois survive?
No, Governor Pritzker, the virus didn’t shut the economy down, you did. And the virus isn’t keeping the economy shut down, you are.
Richard J. Wright, a chemist and information technology specialist, has been tracking the official Covid-19 epidemic (SARS-CoV-2 virus) data and assessing our government’s disease progression modeling, plus responses, at virtualwright.com.