Some happy news this Thanksgiving:
Three years after the first atypical pneumonia patients started showing up at hospitals in Wuhan, looks like we can officially put the novel coronavirus behind us.
After crashing in the spring, Sars-Cov-2 deaths have remained a rounding error worldwide ever since, about 1 percent of total deaths. And they continue to fall. Sars-Cov-2 is now roughly as big a killer worldwide as esophageal cancer.
In other words, six months of warnings (and demands for boosters) from public health experts have proven wrong. Shocker!
Not because of the vaccines, either. Whether based on novel or existing biotechnology, the shots proved mostly useless within months (thus the huge bump in cases and deaths in January 2022, after more than 10 billion doses had been distributed globally).
But nature - in the form of viral evolution - appears to have done what we couldn’t. The Omicron variant infected anyone and everyone, and after a bump last winter, Omicron ultimately sharply reduced Covid deaths and hospitalizations.
The decline in deaths almost certainly occurred both because Omicron is less dangerous and because it generates a full-spectrum immune response, including anti-N antibodies, that the vaccines did not. Thus reinfections become less and less serious even as the virus continues to circulate.
In other words, as predicted, Sars-Cov-2 became more transmissible and less dangerous.
Viruses gonna virus.
So how bad was it? From November 2019 to November 2022, Sars-Cov-2 killed 6.6 million people, fewer than 1 in 1000 worldwide and under 4 percent of all deaths over the three-year-span. (Meanwhile, all-cause mortality in the mRNA countries continues to click along at 15 percent above normal, but that’s another story.)
The average age of death was 80, give or take.
They don’t make plagues like they used to.