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Stuart Newman, one of the Third Way evolution scientists, on why COVID-19 is deadly to seniors

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And what, in his view, won’t help. The Third Way scientists are looking for a middle course in evolution between Darwin and design. They offer a useful perspective on many issues:

The 1918 “Spanish” flu pandemic killed upwards of 50 million people worldwide. Of the half-million estimated deaths in the U.S., 92% were under 65, and a full half were between 20 and 40 years old.

The best theory for this selective impact comes from a research group at the University of Arizona, who note that this cohort was exposed to a virus with related properties that circulated around 1900, when they were children that (instead of protecting them) primed their immune systems to respond to the later virus in an inappropriate and damaging fashion. Older people severely affected by COVID-19 also exhibit such immune hyper-reactivity, suggesting that they may have been primed by a pathogen exposure in the 1950s, before the less vulnerable population was born.

Stuart A. Newman, “Getting Viral: Why COVID-19 is Such a Threat to the 60+ Plus Population and Why the Response May Make It Worse” at CounterPunch

Maybe viral “cold case” detective work will become a new specialty. Newman agrees that seniors should avoid public gatherings but doesn’t think mass quarantine of the entire population is the best strategy because it prevents/delays the development of herd immunity.

See also: Friends point us to this handy science-friendly summary of what is known about COVID-19 as a virus. Updated on an ongoing basis.

Note: Also watch for Jonathan Bartlett’s series coming up on how to set up online meetings (without the nerd who doesn’t want to come to your place just now anyway).

9 Replies to “Stuart Newman, one of the Third Way evolution scientists, on why COVID-19 is deadly to seniors

  1. 1
    Jim Thibodeau says:

    1,344 deaths in the US from COVID-19 yesterday. Today is not going to be any better. So when official numbers come in, this weekend more Americans are going to die from this novel coronavirus than died in 9/11.

  2. 2
    Truthfreedom says:

    No SARS-CoV-2 in the North Korean paradise: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-52146989

  3. 3
    Fasteddious says:

    As to, “a middle course in evolution between Darwin and design”. Hegel’s thesis, antithesis, synthesis approach can yield useful results. See, for example, https://thopid.blogspot.com/2020/03/a-model-for-intelligent-designevolution.html , which combines the best (little as that may be) of Darwinism (thesis), with the best of ID (antithesis), to suggest a combined scientific theory (synthesis) to account for the fossil record, among other aspects of life on Earth.

  4. 4
    Jim Thibodeau says:

    “This will be probably the toughest week, between this week and the next week. And there will be a lot of death, unfortunately.”

    Donald Trump, 4/4/20

  5. 5
    Truthfreedom says:

    For those who are stressed/ feel anguish, I have found some words of atheist encouragement:

    “The human race is just a chemical scum on a moderate-sized planet, orbiting around a very average star in the outer suburb of one among a hundred billion galaxies. We are so insignificant…”
    Stephen Hawking

    The universe and life are pointless…
    In a YouTube video he states that evolution “says that there is no special purpose for your life, because it is a naturalistic philosophy. We have no more extrinsic purpose than a squirrel or an armadillo.”
    Jerry Coyne, the dim-witted biologist

    Humans have always wondered about the meaning of life…life has no higher purpose than to perpetuate the survival of DNA…life has no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference. 
    Richard Dawkins

    That Man is the product of causes that had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve individual life beyond the grave. . . Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.
    Bertrand Russell

    “Man is a useless passion. It is meaningless that we live and it is meaningless that we die.”
    Jean-Paul Sartre

    Enjoy. 🙂

  6. 6
    polistra says:

    “By analogy” doesn’t work very well in a complex situation like immunity, and this analogy is both weak and unnecessary. The facts for this virus, just like the unlabeled flu, are simpler. People with existing lung weakness or disease are ready to go, and any serious lung problem will knock them over the line. Most such people are elderly; some are younger with weakened immune systems or chronic diseases. This virus has special proclivities for lung tissues, so lung diseases are the main precondition.

  7. 7
    Truthfreedom says:

    Stuart Newman:

    Non-linear means that you can’t look at straight lines of descent anymore because viruses and other entities are coming in at all stages of evolution. Classically this — horizontal transfer — has been considered a rare thing. With the new understanding of what viruses can do, the non-linear approach becomes much more prominent.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/stuart-newman-non-linear-evolution/

  8. 8
    BobRyan says:

    There is an expectation that the suicide rate in the United States will double as a result of COVID-19 measures. No one seems to care about those lives that will be lost. There will be an increase in domestic violence, since any means to blow off steam has been removed. Without the traditional stress relievers, pressure builds and tempers flair and violence will occur.

  9. 9
    BobRyan says:

    What we know for certain is the people susceptible to dying from COVID-19, one of many coronaviruses, must have underlying conditions first. Influenza kills 56,000 Americans on average every year, 500,000 people in the world on average. Unlike COVID-19, influenza does not need any underlying conditions to be lethal.
    The global economy is in shambles due to a virus less lethal than influenza due to the way both viruses work. One requires underlying symptoms and the other does not. We already know how COVID-19 reacts to the human body, since it is from the same family as COVID-2. This is SARS 2 and just like the predictions with SARS, we will be nowhere near projected expectations.
    The difference between SARS and SARS 2 is not the reaction from the virus, but reaction by governments. The economy has been destroyed and there is no quick fix.

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