A still mysterious disease

Even if it has become familiar to us by constantly hearing about “the virus”, we too often forget that we still know very little about this clever SARS-CoV-2.

At first it was presented to us as a respiratory virus, essentially. “No worse than a big flu”, they said! However, we should rather say that COVID-19 is similar to a bad cold, the already known coronaviruses being responsible for 15 to 30% of these.

We already knew that the disease attacked our respiratory system, therefore, but it is still very difficult to understand how it can act on our nervous systems, primarily the brain, and cardiovascular. We understand that if we lose our taste and smell with COVID, it’s not because our nose is blocked, but because our nerves are under attack. We also know that it contributes to the formation of blood clots.

And in five, ten or twenty years, we will publish papers to say how much we had understood nothing about the disease in 2020 and that we did not know anything about its long-term sequelae, simply because they are starting. hardly to reveal itself.

You have to show it

The newspaper today publishes the testimony of thirteen Quebecers who, among others, are still suffering from the effects of COVID-19 or the treatments they needed to survive it, several months after having contracted it.

We are far from the little flu or the bad big cold: a 23-year-old does not have problems concentrating several months after having had the flu. We never inject people in their 40s with a cold. We’re talking about something else here.

By the way, you will tell me when was the last time the head of the British government and the head of state of the United States were hospitalized for the same illness in the same year. We are faced with something more serious than what we are used to seeing, we really have to demonstrate a particular willful blindness to deny it.

Still, sometimes you have to show it. Women and men in the flesh, people who led active and fulfilling lives had to quit their jobs and could not take care of their children for weeks because they caught a still mysterious disease.

No, it won’t happen to everyone who has COVID, but it happens to many more people than our health care system can absorb in the short term and our society can afford in the long term. In some cases, the disabled will be permanent.

Active and productive life

Moreover, we have often heard it said since the beginning of the crisis that the community could not stop living because of the “vulnerable”. To hear some, it would have been enough to encabaner our old and throw away the key to be able to continue to live normally while waiting for it to pass.

This is to forget that more than half of Quebecers over 18 are overweight and that about 1 in 5 is obese. That the same proportion of Quebecers over the age of 12 suffers from hypertension and that nearly 10% of them suffer from diabetes. There are some “vulnerable” in Quebec, genetic conditions explain their situation in many cases and they lead an active and productive life. It is doubtful that the children, spouses and parents of these people will be willing to let them down to satisfy the right to grocery without a mask demanded by some people.

In the end, no one can claim to be safe. Is it the medical history, genetic predispositions or even the blood type that will make a person more or less affected by COVID-19? We don’t know yet, but one day science will tell us. However, you can be sure of two things: no, we will not discover that the consumption of smoothies au kale is a miracle way of boosting your immune system, and anyone who claims to have figured it out right now is a charlatan.

The truth is, you don’t know it, and the ability to adapt your behavior in the face of uncertainty is a sign of intelligence.

Let’s adapt our rules to make them more bearable, then. Let’s tighten them up where we see gaps, okay. Let’s balance the disadvantages between the transmission that we can and should always tolerate. Let us be aware that keeping the entire population in social confinement until spring is probably not sustainable and that solutions will certainly be needed.

Still, if we were all careful by respecting the two meters, wearing a mask and ventilating closed rooms, we would not need to fear that one of our loved ones might need to learn to walk again.


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