Citizen Action Monitor

The Delta variant is a “Frankenstein”, not one we can learn to live with, because it’s constantly evolving

Delta “is almost like a whole new COVID virus,” its “multiple spike protein mutations allow it to enter the body’s cells with greater ease and evade the body’s immune system.” —

No 2769 by fw, August 18, 2021 —

“Dr. Yaneer Bar-Yam, head of the New England Complex Systems Institute, who has been modeling pandemics in the context of a complex global network for close to two decades, has warned that the ease of global travel, where every region of the world is connected in a matter of hours to every other place, could allow the propagation of deadlier diseases which quickly grow to pandemic proportions. In a report from 2016, titled ‘Transition to Extinction,’ he writes, ‘When we introduce long-range transportation into the model, the success of more aggressive strains changes. They can use the long-range transportation to find new hosts and escape local extinctions … the more transportation routes introduced into the model, the more highly aggressive pathogens are able to survive and spread.’ … Dr. Deepti Gurdasani recently warned that this is not a virus we can learn to live with: ‘Over time we’ve had many new variants arise in different parts of the world and they have shown a level of escape from previous immunity, which means that if you’re immune against a previous variant of the virus, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re immune against a new strain. What that means is that even if you have a level of immunity against previous variants, you may not be able to reach the herd immunity threshold because this virus is constantly evolving.’ … With less than one-fifth of the world’s population vaccinated and a significant portion immunologically naive to the virus (with no prior infections), it is safe to assume we are still at the early stages of the pandemic whose final outcome, as a social and political event, not just a medical one, remains to be decided.”World Socialist Web Site

Following hard on the heels of my two recent reposts about the COVID-19 pandemic, (see links at the bottom of this repost) comes yet another worrisome article that characterizes the Delta variant of coronavirus as “a Frankenstein.” The authors conclude:

“Global eradication using all resources and capacity must be the primary objective of the world’s people. All other issues must be subordinated to the full support of the populations, including financial, job, and food security as well as isolation and medical facilities to treat and care for the population until the coronavirus has been eliminated from every region of the planet.”

Below is my abridged repost of this piece, featuring my added subheadings, text highlighting, hyperlinks, and images.  Alternatively, read the complete article by clicking on the following hyperlinked title.

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The Delta variant of coronavirus is a Frankenstein produced by capitalism, by Benjamin Mateus, Norisa Diaz, World Socialist Web Site, August 17, 2021

Delta variant is byproduct of ruling elite’s incompetence and neglect in responding to COVID pandemic

The evolution of the virus that has produced the Delta variant in the span of only 18 months since the declaration of the pandemic, in the final analysis, is a byproduct of the ruling elite’s utter incompetence and malign neglect in responding to the threat.

The virus’s evolutionary adaptations have been greatly aided by policies that have placed profits above the well-being of the population by allowing schools and businesses to remain open, giving the virus free rein to circulate across the globe.

Disease expert warned global travel could trigger propagation of deadlier diseases

Dr. Yaneer Bar-Yam, head of the New England Complex Systems Institute, who has been modeling pandemics in the context of a complex global network for close to two decades, has warned that the ease of global travel, where every region of the world is connected in a matter of hours to every other place, could allow the propagation of deadlier diseases which quickly grow to pandemic proportions. In a report from 2016, titled “Transition to Extinction,” he writes, “When we introduce long-range transportation into the model, the success of more aggressive strains changes. They can use the long-range transportation to find new hosts and escape local extinctions … the more transportation routes introduced into the model, the more highly aggressive pathogens are able to survive and spread.

In just 3 months, the Delta variant spread across the globe from its country of origin, India

Clearly, in the present chapter of the pandemic, the United States has emerged again as the pandemic’s epicenter primarily due to lack of comprehensive global strategies that could eradicate the virus. After the spring surge through India, which killed a reported 400,000 people, a figure believed to be an underestimate by a factor of ten, the Delta variant quickly spread across the globe becoming the dominant strain by mid-summer. That means in only three months’ time the world was facing a new pandemic of the Delta strain.

In the span of that time, the US had essentially returned to business as usual, leading to the present catastrophe.

CDC currently reports Delta strain accounts for 97% of all US cases, with average of 4,500 deaths per week

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the Delta strain accounted for more than 97 percent of all cases in the US. On August 13, there were more than 720,000 new cases of COVID-19 reported worldwide. Of these, more than 155,000 were in the United States, nearly five times the number of cases reported in India, which ranked second. And with the sudden rapid rise in COVID cases, the US death toll is once again inching upwards, with 769 deaths registered for the same date. The seven-day moving average for reported deaths has doubled since last month, standing at over 650 per day, or more than 4,500 per week.

Most striking about Delta is its ability to evade immunity and transfer the virus much faster

What is most striking about the Delta strain has been its ability to evade immunity and transmit so much faster than its predecessors. It also replicates with tremendous efficiency, creating copies of itself at a rate thousands of times higher than when the “wild” version first emerged less than two years ago.

Delta strain invades living cells, makes billions of copies of itself by converting cells into virus-making replicants capable of mutation within each person, continuing the spread and further mutation

Within each infected person, the virus invades living cells and makes billions of copies of itself by transforming cells into virus-making factories. Each of these replicated copies has the potential for mutation within each person—vaccinated or not—that continues the spread and further mutation of the evolving virus. What policy makers and governmental officials are ignoring, as they pursue reopening schools and forcing parents back into the workplace, is that the limited measures that had proven only partly effective against the spread of the coronavirus previously may be completely futile given the more virulent biological properties of the Delta variant.

Delta variant “is not a virus we can learn to live with”, warns leading expert on COVID-19 because it’s constantly evolving

Dr. Deepti Gurdasani recently warned that this is not a virus we can learn to live with: “Over time we’ve had many new variants arise in different parts of the world and they have shown a level of escape from previous immunity, which means that if you’re immune against a previous variant of the virus, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re immune against a new strain. What that means is that even if you have a level of immunity against previous variants, you may not be able to reach the herd immunity threshold because this virus is constantly evolving.

Natural waning of immunity results in Delta strain infections becoming more commonplace among those fully immunized

Even “breakthrough infections”* are becoming more commonplace with Delta among those fully immunized. This is partly a product of the biology of the virus, but more the result of the natural waning of the immunity generated by the vaccines, after the passage of time. Most of those infected after vaccination will be spared a severe course of infection. Yet a growing number of the victims of such post-vaccination infections are finding their way into hospital beds, intensive care units, and even the grave. More worrisome is that people with breakthrough infections can transmit the virus as effectively as those who become infected without having ever received the vaccines. [*”breakthrough infections” occur when vaccinated individuals contract the disease they’ve been vaccinated against. While that may initially sound startling, breakthrough infections are expected since no vaccine is 100% effective at preventing infection.]

Delta strain “is almost like a whole new COVID virus” because its “multiple spike protein mutations allow it to enter the body’s cells with greater ease and evade the body’s immune system.”

Many scientists and doctors are even beginning to refer to the Delta strain as an entirely different virus. “The delta variant is almost like a whole new COVID virus, as it behaves very differently from the previous COVID strains,” reported Dr. Mike Hansen, a pulmonologist and critical care physician, on his educational public website, explaining that the variant’s multiple spike protein mutations allow it to enter the body’s cells with greater ease and evade the body’s immune system.

“Delta is a Frankenstein virus… taking an unprecedentedly heavy toll on children”

In a manner of speaking, Delta is a Frankenstein virus that has been allowed to emerge by the inaction of capitalist governments around the world. And it is currently filling hospitals, in the worst conditions witnessed since last winter, and taking an unprecedentedly heavy toll on children. Just this weekend Dallas, Texas, reported that all ICU beds for children were fully occupied.

“… the Delta variant is the product of capitalism’s complete disregard for human life”

Despite these dangers, the ruling elite have continuously employed every conceivable measure to prevent any effective comprehensive public health strategy that would place eradication of the virus on their agenda. And subordinated to the diktats of the financial markets, public health efforts have given the coronavirus ample room to develop and spread, in direct contradiction to scientific principles. In short, the Delta variant is the product of capitalism’s complete disregard for human life. With less than one-fifth of the world’s population vaccinated and a significant portion immunologically naïve to the virus (with no prior infections), it is safe to assume we are still at the early stages of the pandemic whose final outcome, as a social and political event, not just a medical one, remains to be decided.

Global eradication using all resources and capacity must be the primary objective of the world’s people. All other issues must be subordinated to the full support of the populations, including financial, job, and food security as well as isolation and medical facilities to treat and care for the population until the coronavirus has been eliminated from every region of the planet.

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SEE RELATED

CONTEMPLATING HUMAN EXTINCTION! — COVID-19 pandemic’s worst case scenario : Will humans heed or ignore the call for a precautionary approach to worldwide travel?

COVID-19 vaccines are not proving to be as effective as expected: Gail Tverberg explains why : “Current vaccines have been badly oversold. They can be expected to make the mutation problem worse, and they don’t stop the spread of variants.”

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