People of Faith,
Carolyn Hockridge and Pastor Paul Anderson wanted to be sure to pass along the following information to everyone. Corona virus should be taken seriously, so please read below for some important information:
Bill Engstrom sent us the following explanation (in blue below):
“So, why all the hubbub -we’ve heard for weeks “it’s like the flu” (it’s not).
Well here’s the best explanation I’ve seen: Thanks Tamra Adams Mendoza! (This is from Pennington where my friend Laura works. Tamra is a research associate in a basic science lab). Feeling confused as to why Corona virus is a bigger deal than seasonal flu? Here it is in a nutshell. I hope this helps. Feel free to share this to others who don’t understand. It has to do with RNA sequencing, i.e. genetics.
Seasonal flu is an “all human virus”. The DNA/RNA chains that make up the virus are recognized by the human immune system. This means that your body has some immunity to it before it comes around each year. You get immunity two ways: through exposure to a virus or by getting a flu shot. Novel viruses come from animals and the WHO tracks novel viruses in animals, (sometimes for years watching for mutations).
Usually, these viruses only transfer from animal to animal (pigs in the case of H1N1 or birds in the case of the Spanish flu). But once one of these animal viruses mutates, and starts to transfer from animals to humans, then it’s a problem, Why? Because we have no natural or acquired immunity because the RNA sequencing of the genes inside the virus isn’t human. The human immune system doesn’t recognize it so, we can’t fight it off.
Now sometimes, the mutation only allows a transfer from animal to human. For years its only transmission is from an infected animal to a human before it finally mutates, so that it can now transfer human to human and once that happens we have a new contagion phase. And depending on the fashion of this new mutation, that’s what decides how contagious, or how deadly it’s gonna be. H1N1 was deadly, but it did not mutate in a way that was as deadly as the Spanish flu. Its RNA was slower to mutate and it attacked its host differently, too.
Now, here comes this Coronavirus- it existed in animals only, for nobody knows how long. But in December 2019 at an animal market in Wuhan China, it mutated and made the jump from animal to people. At first, only animals could give it to a person… But here is the scary part: in just TWO WEEKS it mutated again and gained the ability to jump from human to human. Scientists call this quick ability, “slippery”. This Corona virus, not being in any form a “human” virus (whereas we would all have some natural or acquired immunity). Because humans have no known immunity doctors have no known medicines for it.
And it just so happens that this particular mutated animal virus, changed itself in such a way the way that it causes great damage to human lungs.. That’s why Coronavirus is different from seasonal flu, or H1N1 or any other type of influenza- this one is very slippery. And it’s a lung eater. And, it’s already mutated AGAIN, so that we now have two strains to deal with-strain S and strain L- which makes it twice as hard to develop a vaccine.
We really have no tools in our shed, with this. History has shown that fast and immediate closings of public places has helped in the past pandemics.
Philadelphia and Baltimore were reluctant to close events in 1918 and they were the hardest hit in the US during the Spanish Flu. Factoid: Henry VIII stayed in his room and allowed no one near him, till the Black Plague passed (honestly…I understand him so much better now). Just like us, he had no tools in his shed, except social isolation. And let me end by saying this: right now it’s hitting older folks harder, but this genome is so slippery and if it mutates again (and it will). Who is to say what it will do next?
Flatten the curve. Stay home folks and share this to those that just are not catching on.”
This explanation agrees with all we have read, and, yes, it is truly frightening. The transmission still requires projected droplets by an infected person to another person, contaminated touch to another person, who touches nose, mouth, or eyes, or infected person to a surface which an uninfected person touches within a certain time period and also touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. The kind of surface makes a difference. Soft surfaces, like clothing, fabrics, etc. are rapidly safe. Hard surfaces, and especially non-porous surfaces can remain active for hours or days. The virus deteriorates on the surfaces, but no one really knows how long it takes for them to be too weak to infect another person.
Social distancing/isolation is critical. Even more important is being very, very serious about washing or disinfecting your hands often, and never eat or touch your face without having washed or disinfected your hands. The last recommendation is to not panic.
In order to help with social distancing, Amy Moore and Catherine Nickison would like to help members of our congregation who need help with grocery shopping, getting medication, or obtaining other supplies. Strict hygiene practices will be followed when shopping and when dropping off supplies at homes. Please contact Catherine at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (425) 885-1810 if you are in need.
Pastor Paul Anderson