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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Covid-19, the good and bad news

29 June 2020

The world is worried that CV19 will cause ongoing economic and human disaster around the globe.

The prospect of repated lock-downs, greatly reduced tourism and international travel, and a massive economic decline has sent shockwaves around the planet.

Well guess what...

I think we're going to find that things don't end up being nearly as bad as the doomsayers have predicted.

Will we come up with an effective vaccine for CV19?

Probably not. At least not within a timeframe that will be of much use to us.

However, despite this, I'm picking that the world will be pretty much back to normal by the end of 2020.

Am I crazy?

I don't think so. In fact, I'd wager that in a sea of insanity, I am the island of sensibility and clear thinking (that's a sure sign of insanity).

I predicate my predictions on two very important things.

Firstly, as mentioned in a previous column, the virus is becoming less potent. The death-rate has dropped markedly from the early days of its spread. Proof of this can be seen in NZ's present situation where we have over a dozen confirmed cases but not a single one is in hospital because of their CV19 infection.

At its peak, the virus was killing over five percent of those infected but it seems that now it's not even making them sick enough to require hospitalisation.

Secondly, as a society, we will adapt to the risk.

Humans are great at adapting to risk, we do it all the time.

Over 300 people die every year on our roads... but we still think nothing of jumping in our cars and driving wherever we want to go, whenever we want to. The risk is very real and always their, every time we get in a car.

When opening the doors of the Toyota, do we even stop for a split second and consider the risk?

No, of course we don't. We have adapted to that omnipresent risk and it is pushed out of our conscious thought.

And this is how we will cope with CV19 as the months slip by.

Could CV19 kill us, should we be infected?

Of course it could -- but, just as death by old age is inevitable, we will set aside any fear and trepidation because not to do so would compromise our ability to function and enjoy our lives.

We will adapt to the fact that people will get infected and some of those people will die, it will become a part of life.

Once this mindset is in place, the borders will be as open as ever, we will associate as freely as ever, even if there is community transmission, and we'll take our chances with CV19 just as we take our chances on the road.

Not to do this would leave our society even more crippled than if we all caught the disease.

Once this happens and CV19 does spread through the general population it will become just another of the afflictions that could strike us down and make us sick or kill us. As a species, we coped with smallpox, typhoid, polio and a raft of similar pathogens before and we will cope with CV19. Herd immunity will gradually become widespread and the number of new cases will fall dramatically when it does.

Sweden had the right idea with herd immunity, they just chose to do battle with the virus when it was at its most potent and that cost them dearly in terms of human life. Already we're seeing a far less potent virus emerging and by the time we get to the level where we embrace herd immunity, it may seldom incapacitate or kill.

There you go... that's my prediction, as someone who's not a virologist, doctor, scientist, biologist or epedimiologist. I'm just someone who's watched whats happening, looked at how we've handled similar events before and has joined a few dots.

Let's see if I'm right. Anyone care to lay bets or propose an alternative ending to this?

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