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Impossible Numbers


"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying, And this same flower that smiles today, Tomorrow will be dying."

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Apr
18th
2024

The Undesirous Virus: COVID-19, Four Years Later · 4:39pm April 18th

Yeah, remember when COVID-19 was a thing? I'm fine if we don't get a sequel, of course.

Alternatively, what's the real-world version of Cutie Pox?


Blog Number 257: Pandemic Redux Edition

Looking back four years to when the start of the decade was abruptly hijacked by COVID-19, did you know that - as of the last day of March 2024 - there have been over 774 million cases and 7 million deaths globally? Naturally, given the initial burst, about 6 out of 7 COVID-19 deaths occurred during its first two years rather than during its last two (see Total Deaths). So that's a relief, I guess.

On Wikipedia, I'm not sure why they have a German graph on an English page, but it shouldn't be zu schwer zu entziffern.

Funny thing is that I got incredibly lucky in 2020. Not only had I just finished my holiday in London before the lockdown started, but the restrictions ended up being an opportunity for me to revamp my life and galvanize myself. Helps that I have the sort of reclusive, obsessive personality that treats Cabin Fever as something that only happens to people in the Rockies, so I had a built-in advantage to being stuck at home and left entirely to my own devices.

Source: "Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, the song received an increase in downloads and streaming in March 2020 alongside other apocalypse- and sickness-themed songs.[17] Online downloads of the song rose 184 percent, while streams rose 48 percent.[18]"

You really can't make this stuff up, folks.

Among other things, my writing picked up around that time: I produced far more blog posts that year than in (nearly) all prior ones combined. In fact, that trend was kicked off by my sudden interest in getting to grips with COVID-19 via blog posts. Including my favourite, the one where we start with all viruses and narrow it down to the specific SARS-CoV-2 variant (among other things, I learned about the Baltimore Classification for virus groups, so that was a big boost to my biological boffinhood).

I wear my stolen "Mad Scientist" badge with pride.

Also, my otherwise-lagging writing habit at the time (blame 2018 and 2019 for that) happily jumped up a notch - to 377,783 words total that year - with November being a record-breaking month for me, at 111,581 words alone. Since then, eleven of the sixteen 2020 fics have made it onto Equestria Daily, with more planned for submission.

Plus I never once got sick! Dodged a bullet! 😎

No, I actually caught COVID in 2022. Right after a funeral. Knocked me out for a week. 😠

That pitfall of misery aside, after 2022 (coincident with my getting over it and the death rate starting to level off, who knew?), everything was - and in some cases had long been - more or less back to normal for us here. COVID-19 fell so far off my radar that I... didn't exactly forget about it, but had definitely shoved it far, far down on my list of priorities. Almost surprised myself when I went back to my older blog posts (thanks to the ImpossiBlog reigniting my interest) and realized I hadn't checked on the global situation in a couple of years.

Hence today's - what's the opposite of nostalgic? Anti-nostalgic, with some better bits? Semi-nostalgic? Today's blog post, basically.

Hopefully, this long-term dying down means that it's well and truly past us. That said, there was a (less publicized) SARS-CoV-1 over 20 years ago, making SARS-CoV-2 a kind of escalated sequel. Therefore, "SARS-CoV-3: The Sickening" remains a theoretical possibility, to say nothing of us being blindsided by a different pathogen altogether. But maybe I'm just being paranoid.

My cave is prepared either way...


That's all for now. Stay healthy! Or, failing that: get well soon! 😷

Impossible Numbers, out.

Comments ( 10 )

That said, although the deaths gradually leveled off during the last two years, there was a notable spike in absolute cases (fatal and nonfatal) at the start of 2023, after which it then leveled off overall:

So adjust my claims in the blog post accordingly.

I'm so very lucky that I work from home and live way out in the country where it's easy to isolate. I lost three good friends to Covid and have somehow acquired a burning hatred for every heartless, sneering jerk who said something to the tune of, "Don't worry, it only kills old people or ones with pre-existing conditions."

Because I'm like that, during the first year I read The Plague and Journal of the Plague Year. The first was entertaining enough, and convinced me that Camus really didn't like most people. The second made me realize what a good observer of people Defoe was, and how much people have not changed since 1665. Every idiot who offered a ridiculous miracle cure, or loudly denied that the plague was even happening, or claimed it was a judgement from god, or was convinced it only took the "weak" until they themselves collapsed, is in that book.

So, as for SAS-CoV-3, or the Iguanapox, or whatever comes down the road next, I'm betting that most people will undoubtedly react in the exact same manner, having learned nothing. Thank the fates for the products of modern science like MRNA vaccines that provide an escape-hatch for some of the rest of us.

5777302

and how much people have not changed since 1665

And to think: back then, they didn't even have President Dunning-Kruger in charge.

But sadly, it wouldn't surprise me. Somehow in the age of science, one of the most dispiriting things about 2020 was seeing just how dysfunctional both the public and the political could get. I didn't want to dwell on it in the blog post, but it was also the year when - not just on this site - multiple kinds of shit well and truly hit the fan. That was... fun to watch. 🙄

I lost three good friends to Covid

It's hollow of me to say so, since I didn't know them personally, but: I'm sorry to hear that. I can only imagine what that must have been like to go through. Even once.

Despite not actually dodging the disease, I did at least get lucky that no one I knew of was killed by it (the funeral was unrelated). Then again, I don't have the widest social net, so that's just a sampling bias. "Yay, I didn't know any of the seven million!" isn't much to crow about.

So, as for SAS-CoV-3, or the Iguanapox, or whatever comes down the road next, I'm betting that most people will undoubtedly react in the exact same manner, having learned nothing.

Pretty much this, yes. Is it cynicism when you see that this stuff really does happen?

Thank the fates for the products of modern science like MRNA vaccines that provide an escape-hatch for some of the rest of us.

Especially given what they were up against (not just the disease itself): yes! Thank goodness for modern international medicine. Hopefully it develops to the point where we can even prevent outbreaks long before they happen.🤞


EDIT: :pinkiehappy: For a bit of light topical comedy, Ryan George's quick pandemic game show sketch "We Live In The Dumbest Timeline". Enjoy!

to say nothing of us being blindsided by a different pathogen altogether

Or even not blindsided, given the way a certain well-known avian flu is already merrily jumping species to mammals...

5777305

"Yeah, that doesn't seem like a compelling argument now that I say it out loud."

:heart::rainbowlaugh::heart:
That was brilliant!

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

5777293
I noticed that! What the heck happened?

5777311

Or even not blindsided, given the way a certain well-known avian flu is already merrily jumping species to mammals...

Are you talking about the H5N1 Bird Flu virus?


5777321

My favourite part is when one of the contestants asks, "Is being dumb the same thing as being evil in this timeline?"


5777342

I noticed that! What the heck happened?

Honestly, I have no idea. It's irritating because there's no corresponding articles or news updates around it that I can find online, not even something like "improved tests catch more cases than ever before", so we can't rule out the possibility of different data recording techniques. I can't find any reference to a late-2022 or early-2023 spike anywhere in the news. Neither do the WHO weekly reports cover any of it during the last 2022 week - which happens to be exactly the week of interest - nor do the existing reports on either side suggest where that sudden burst comes from. It is visible on the WHO website here (under Total COVID-19 cases reported to WHO (weekly)), but they don't explain it either.

My best guess is that it might have been a short-lived variant? Take it with a grain of salt.

5777362

Are you talking about the H5N1 Bird Flu virus?

Indeed so. Now circulating in dairy cows, apparently.

Unfortunately, in the course of 9 months starting in late 2022, I caught it 3 times, and once more just a few months ago, so my Covid total adds up to about four. Four times I've suffered.

5777442

You have my sympathies. Based on my experience, just getting it once was nightmare enough.

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