Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Final Solution: Comorbidities

Comorbidity is a word that you may have heard with respect to the pandemic. The idea is that there’s an attendant condition which exacerbates an already potentially life-threatening illness. In a certain sense, the concept of simultaneous insults to homeostasis seems to define the human condition. The meme “the perfect storm” refers to the confluence of two or more threatening contingencies. The staggering giant, Uncle Sam, already wounded by a virus, is doused with a combustible substance whose flammability is exponentially increased—the effects of pernicious and endemic racism being bumped up with the agent of economic inequality. It’s like going from U-238 to U-235 the kind of uranium that’s destabilized enough to create a nuclear reaction. Most experts at the CDC and elsewhere have predicted an upsurge or second wave of coronavirus, when the flu season begins in the fall. This is what occurred if you look at the curve charting the progress of the flu in l918. There was the outbreak followed by a remission before the cases spiked even more precipitously again. A remediation of systemic racism is a high though absolutely necessary bar to jump. Hollow words ring more hollow than ever amidst the current crisis. The need to discover a vaccine that protects against COVID-19 and will also provide immunity from future mutations of the virus proposes a whole different set of challenges. But besides the Sirens and Polyphemus, what other comorbidities will Odysseus confront on his journey home?

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