A note on viruses

I’ve heard a few folks say “oh well I’m not worried about COVID variants, you see, as viruses mutate, they get less deadly.”

But this doesn’t make sense. If that were the case, we’d have no deadly viruses at all. Think about where the first COVID pathogen came from. Did it spring up, fully formed, ex nihilo? No, it mutated from something else. Maybe a virus in bats, maybe not. It doesn’t really matter.

Allele frequency, which is what these mutations are, changes in allele frequency, isn’t sentient. It doesn’t have a plan. It’s not trying to get somewhere. As mutations happen, they either make the virus better at reproducing, or they don’t. Deadliness is really a sort of knock-on effect.

If it were the case that mutations decrease deadlines, again, we’d have no deadly viruses, because all viruses are related to eachother and have been piling up these mutations for many, many years. If that were indeed the case, we’d see no new viral diseases develop at all.

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