NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, March 25th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham. Here’s WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney.
JANIE B. CHEANEY: By now we should all be caught up on what COVID-19 is and how it’s spread. But in case you could use a little refresher, here’s an interesting explanation that sounds factual. All you geneticists out there, please forgive my clumsy explanation.
COVID-19 is called the “novel” virus not because it’s fictional, but because it’s new. New to humans, that is; not animals. Animals have their own viruses, to which they develop immunities, just as humans do. As we adapt to the peculiar RNA sequences that make up seasonal flu, so animals adapt to their own bugs and blights. For the most part, these viruses stay within species. But sometimes one will jump.
That’s what apparently happened in a Wuhan “wet market,” a place where live animals are sold and often killed. A bat virus jumped to a human carrier and—in unscientific terms—dug in. Because the RNA sequencing of the culprit couldn’t be recognized by the human immune system, the human became infected. And before he even knew he was sick, he had infected a number of others, and they went on to infect others, and the thing grew and grew. And some people died.
What makes it worse, and calls for super-vigilance, is that the COVID-19 virus is very quick: quick to spread and quick to mutate. Every flu develops singular strands, and so does this one: only quicker than most. Already it has developed at least two strains, called L and S for now. The other cause for alarm is that it has a particular liking, if we can put it that way, for human lungs. That’s why smokers, asthmatics and COPD sufferers are at particular risk.
Are you scared yet? Don’t be. Or, as beings better than I have said: Fear not. For behold, I bring you good news. We’ve already been infected by the most benevolent virus possible.
To make a long story short, from the beginning we received our breath from God himself. And then we wrecked that perfect life and became infected with the 100 percent contagious, endlessly mutating virus of sin.
But after this had gone on long enough to prove beyond any doubt that the disease was not curable, a good contagion intervened. You might say that divine RNA jumped from heaven to earth, from God to man, just as an alien strain somehow bridged the gap animal to human in Wuhan.
The good contagion infected a handful of followers. Then a few hundred more. Then 3,000 on one day. Eventually it spread, as fast as humans could take it, to the ends of the earth.
No bad virus can overcome it. So take heart.
I’m Janie B. Cheaney.