Letter to the Editor: If Virus Could Talk, It Would Thank Unvaccinated


The mortality rate (percent of people diagnosed with the disease who die from it) in the United States for seasonal flu averages 0.13%. The mortality rate for COVID-19 is 1.65% or roughly 13 times greater.

COVID is not the sniffles.

If one evaluates the deadliness of a disease by the sheer lethality of it alone, Ebola with a mortality rate of 60-90% or its similar Marburg virus (even deadlier) are far more lethal than seasonal flu or COVID. These viruses are transmitted by contact, not through the air, and though they are very lethal, they can be controlled by good sanitation and avoiding contact with them.

A disease like COVID is very dangerous because it has a moderately high mortality rate and is highly transmissible. Because it is spread through the air and not by contact, only methods such as masking will slow or halt the spread. Some have recently said the COVID delta variant is the most transmissible virus they have ever seen.

Some viruses do not mutate, but COVID, like the seasonal flu, does. What terrifies epidemiologists is the thought of a virus with an extremely high mortality rate and is highly transmissible. The second wave of the 1918 flu was such a disease. The delta variant shows COVID is making good progress toward that end.

Unlike many right wing Christians, the COVID virus believes in evolution. Evolution is not really "survival of the fittest." It is, in fact, survival of the most adaptable. Vaccines are highly effective, in part because they diminish the space in which a virus can evolve or adapt.

As long as millions remain unvaccinated, for whatever reason, the virus has the space it needs to continue evolving. Eventually it will become a variant that has evolved to defeat or sidestep the antibodies from the current vaccines. The delta variant has figured out the transmissibility side of it.

Those who remain unvaccinated may see themselves as heroic political resistors or that their vigorous immune systems will protect them. The 1918 flu was so deadly because it was a virus that provoked a massive response from a person's immune system. It was the reason the death rate was overwhelmingly high in young, vigorous, healthy people with good immune systems. Physically fit young soldiers had among the highest death rates. It was not the virus itself that killed people, it was the vastly excessive response from their own immune systems that was fatal, often in a matter of minutes or hours.

I am sure if the virus had a voice it would offer those of you who are unvaccinated a sincere thank you. You may see yourself as a valiant defender of your liberty. COVID sees you as a nice dry, neatly stacked, well seasoned cord of firewood waiting to be burned through as it adapts to any and all resistance.


Marty Ansley