The unseen enemy

For manhood, it is very difficult to cope with something they can not see. A lot of people do not believe in Jehovah God, because no man can see that Spirit God.

“ and I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my back; but my face shall not be seen.” (Ex 33:23 ASV)

“ No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (Joh 1:18 ASV)

“ Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1Ti 1:17 ASV)

Because God is an unseen Being, many have made themselves a god in which they want to put their hope. Some have done that in natural phenomena others in a human being seen by several people, which they came to call Jesus or god the son. They often forget that that son of God did not know everything whilst the God of the Bible does know everything. But also that seems to be very difficult for human beings to cope with, that there could be some sort of extraterrestrial Supernatural Being that would be so much more different than they and of which they would have no control.

The last few weeks man is caught again by something they do not seem to see nor to master. Because, it is an invisible thing many do not believe in it. Between last October until January there were  Chinese voices who accused the United States to have infected them with a virus. But from February that virus seemed not to have any borders and soon the whole world came to know the new Coronavirus as something very dangerous.

In case the U.S.A. would have used a chemical weapon and would have brought a virus in China they would have to see now how dangerous viral or biological warfare is going to be for mankind. At regular intervals the present American president ridiculed the treat and kept calling it the Chinese virus, not going to be able to be a treat for America, which is the greatest country ever.

EM of influenza virus.jpg

Flu, the flu, Grippe – Influenza virus, magnified approximately 100,000 times

We in Europe, soon came to see how this new Coronavirus was much more dangerous than CoViD02 and CoViD16. It took not long before the coronavirus CoViD19 got spread in several European countries. Ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), the world this time got to face a novel coronavirus (nCoV) (or medium-sized RNA virus) with a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.  This new coronavirus CoViD19 after some weeks started creating a lot of panics all over the world. At first most people said it would not be so bad, but when the death toll in Italy and Spain became worse, the alarm bell was sounded in many countries. The Netherlands and Great-Britain thought their population and their health system to be strong enough to cope with such another sort of flue. Most countries here are used to the always-changing sorts of influenza which come over Europe every Winter, so many thought they could cope with this one too.

In January 2001, a 71-year-old man who had recently returned from Shen-zhen, China, a previously SARS-endemic area, presented in Hong Kong with a fever and productive cough. Although his SARS screening was negative, a novel group II coronavirus sequence was amplified by RT-PCR from his respiratory specimen with the use of primers that targeted conserved regions of the viral replicase gene. {Woo PC, Lau SK, Chu CM, et al. Characterization and complete genome sequence of a novel coronavirus, coronavirus HKU1, from patients with pneumonia. J Virol. 2005;79:884–895.}
This novel virus, designated HKU1, was genetically distinct from OC43, the other known human group II coronavirus. This virus could not be propagated in cell culture. Seroepidemiologic studies, based on antibodies reacting with a recombinant HKU1 nucleocapsid, suggested that human infection with HKU1 might be common. {Woo PC, Lau SK, Chu CM, et al. Characterization and complete genome sequence of a novel coronavirus, coronavirus HKU1, from patients with pneumonia. J Virol. 2005;79:884–895.}

Palm civet on tree (detail).jpg

The masked palm civet (Paguma larvata) or gem-faced civet, native to the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia, considered to be a likely vector of SARS.

In China the virus cultured from Himalayan palm civets [or from the masked palm civet (Paguma larvata) or gem-faced civet], which emerged in 2002–2003 as a coronavirus from southern China spreading throughout the world with quantifiable speed, should have made the Chines but also others worldwide cautious of what could come next. During the 2002–2003 outbreak, SARS infection, that frequently caused asymptomatic infection, was reported in 29 countries in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Overall 8098 infected individuals were identified, with 774 SARS-related fatalities.

But from Wuhan, Hubei, China, in December 2019 this virus which the Chines government at first did not want to be made public, soon was most contagious and infecting thousands of Chinese. On 23 January 2020, the central government of China imposed an emergency protocol, bringing Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province in lockdown, in an effort to quarantine the centre of at that time still an unknown disease. The incident was commonly referred to in the media as the “Wǔhàn fēng chéng” or “Wuhan lockdown”. The World Health Organization (WHO), although stating that it was beyond its own guidelines, commended the move, calling it

“unprecedented in public health history”

That a preemptive action plan implemented to address an unusual scenario and was considered showing a weakness, made that several countries did not want to tell their population about the seriousness of this disease nor wanted to go in a system to preempt any danger to ensure the safety and security of people, organisation and system. The Dutch and British prime ministers therefore proudly announced a few months ago that their government thought it better to go for immunisation of their population, by allowing people to encounter as many people as they could, and therefore not necessary to restrict the whereabouts of the citizens.

Because of no direct visual presence of the disease, many thought it not necessary to consider this virus an imminent threat to the lives or risk of injury to humans.

Coronavirus OC16. Photo: Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1967;57;933–940.

First characterized in the 1960s from 2003, at least 5 new human coronaviruses (corona denoting the crown-like appearance of the surface projections) have been identified, including the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, which caused significant morbidity and mortality. NL63, representing a group of newly identified group I coronaviruses that includes NL and the New Haven coronavirus, has been identified worldwide. They are considered group I coronaviruses, associated with both upper and lower respiratory tract diseases.

The SARS epidemic put the animal coronaviruses in the spotlight and should have brought people to think about having too many birds or other animals packed together.
The SARS epidemic was a dramatic reminder that animal coronaviruses are potential threats to the human population, although the exact mechanism of species-to-species spread of the SARS coronavirus remains obscure. NL63 has been identified in many countries. This virus and the related viruses NL and HCoV-NH are likely the cause of a substantial proportion of respiratory tract disease in infants and children.
Those viruses should make us aware that it is very important to have animals in a cage to have enough proper and clean space around them and enough good natural food.

Several health organisations had already given warnings that these sort of viruses when introduced for the first time into the human population, would be more dangerous to adults, them developing more severe disease than babies. {Kahn, Jeffrey S. MD, PhD; McIntosh, Kenneth MD – History and Recent Advances in Coronavirus Discovery – Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Nov 1, 2005}

Not seeing something of the virus and first thinking it would mainly stay in China, somehow the virus found its way to Europe. Rapid identification of CoViD19 cases, which is crucial to outbreak containment efforts, became very challenging due to the lack of pathognomonic symptoms and in settings with limited capacity for specialized nucleic acid-based reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. In several countries, one had to take care not to spill reagentia by testing too many people.

Since the emergence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrom Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) it has become increasingly clear that bats are important reservoirs of CoVs. Despite this, only 6% of all CoV sequences in GenBank are from bats. The remaining 94% largely consist of known pathogens of public health or agricultural significance, indicating that current research effort is heavily biased towards describing known diseases rather than the ‘pre-emergent’ diversity in bats.

Taking care of the public health, by making sure the human beings can move around in clean areas is important. A big question is if it is useful to disinfect everything, like they came to do in China and certain other countries. For sure it is very important to avoid ‘host switching’. For that reason the Flemish – Chinese video-sharing social networking service application for kids TikTok made a very good video where children visually can see how easily a virus goes from one hand to another and further from one person to others. It has kids putting their hand in a plate with coloured powder so that they can see how it sticks not only on their hand but when they touch something it is also transferred to objects as well to other people form themselves but also from those who touch the objects. (I looked for the video but could not find it to place it here.)

When looking around seeing how adults behave irresponsible, they should better watch such a practical simple video for kids. It has been unbelievable that the last few weeks there were still so many young adults not wanting to keep to the imposed limitations. Several still came together in parks or even behind closed doors in pubs or meeting together by other friends.

File:Dried pasta shelves empty in an Australian supermarket.jpg

Dried pasta shelves empty in a Woolworths supermarket in Melbourne supermarket (Australia). But similar scenes could be observed also in Spanish, Italian, Belgian and British supermarkets.

An other irresposible and egoistic act was the rush to the supermarkets, to bunch up – just what one would love to see avoided – and to hoard food and toilet paper, so that other people would not be able to have those necessary products. Some people became so crazy that they started fighting with each other to have the last pack in the shelf. Later when security agents where placed before the entrance of the shop to guide everything in good order and to take care that social distancing was respected, they too became attacked by shoppers.

Though, according to me, social distancing and avoiding too many people around each other is very important to avoid spreading the virus. Capacities for cleaning and disinfection of different types of surfaces are also essential and therefore not only people should protect themselves but also protect equipment and materials around them.

As God can not be seen but is always around, the coronavirus might not be visible but for sure is likewise everywhere around us. Underneath you can see how it has affected the world by March the 24th of 2020. Like many do not want to believe God exists, many also still do not want to see the reality and sincerity of this present virus.

Countries, territories or areas with reported confirmed cases of COVID-19, 24March 2020

The development of a multidisciplinary task force involving institutional leaders, infectious disease and infection prevention specialists, and technology experts is a critical first step in addressing hospital-specific concerns and developing open and productive communication. But when the public does not do a serious effort to avoid the virus spreading those people shall not be able to keep it in control.

The it-technology can be of great help. Lots of work can be done from home and should be done from home. To have social contact there are also enough applications to give us an opportunity to be in audible and visual contact with others. Education also can be given by the many softwareprograms, like Smartschool, a.o.. Telemedicine can be used in the setting of emergency medicine to triage patients, decrease the rate of discharge without complete treatment and proper follow-up, and reduce the number of in-person visits and subsequent risk of transmission of infection. The electronic health record and associated technologies are vital and requisite tools in supporting outbreak management that should be leveraged to their full potential, and we hope that our experiences in developing these tools will be helpful to other health systems facing the same challenge. More and more groups around the globe are struggling to keep the engines of research going, as social distancing and quarantine measures are enacted. But we may believe thousands of researchers are doing their best to find some solutions which shall soon get us out of this worldwide health crisis.

We can not be blind for this war against the unseen enemy. Together we should unite and help each other. All people should become aware that the precautions which were taken in China and which are taken now elsewhere, though seeming to limit our liberty to go freely from one place to another, and even arduous for researchers and institutions, are necessary measures aimed at saving as many lives as possible, young and old. In many places, they likely could have been enacted sooner to minimize viral spread and mitigate long-term impact. It is incredible how certain politicians preferred to be popular by not taking unpopular measures or not willing to see the upcoming pandemic. They too shall soon come to see (and hopefully to understand) that if they wait longer they shall bring more citizens in danger.

In this time of uncertainty, the world is looking to scientists and medical personnel to lead the way. Politicians should now have their ears to them and follow their advice and instructions, putting away their own political agenda.

The current situation can also seen as an opportunity to learn and prepare for future disruptions and uncertainties. Though there are many negative aspects to it, we can see the positive ones as well. Like there being now less air pollution. The free roads are something which should stay in mind when the virus crisis shall be over. Hopefully, more employers shall then have seen that work from home shall be less stressful for their employees and bringing less unnecessary traffic on the packed roads. For many businesses not having to provide so many offices shall save on costs of hiring places but also on light and heating costs.

We all should be making the best of this difficult experience by thinking about ways we might develop more efficient workflows and better practices that could be re-deployed when the next urgent scientific question arises but also for ordinary office jobs. In the short-term, the scientists are replacing face-to-face editor meetings at conferences with video calls, and hosting symposia speakers virtually, rather than in person, but this could be now a turning point more companies also in the future going to organise such teleconferences. for many bosses not having their employees insight was an enemy. It only shows a lack of trust. Some of these new practices we have found out the last few days, could be incorporated, at least in part, into our normal routines, especially to reduce the impact our travel has on the world’s climate.

If you are facing a specific challenge, regardless of whether it is unique to your situation or more widespread, or if you have ideas for how our processes could be improved, we want to know and our industry shall have to come to know it too, because now we are stuck for a while, but after this crisis, we shall have to rebuild the country again to avoid an economical crisis.

Let us conquer the unseen enemy and make sure we shall not have to face another peril, which is looming around the corner.

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Preceding

Making deeper cuts than some terrorist attacks of the near past

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Please find also to read:

  1. Using fears of the deadly coronavirus
  2. Europe in Chaos for a Pandemic

About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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