Summer is dawning. The sun knows it all over Europe, as do the people who seem to live in a full post-corona era. So do many individuals in the US. What can we expect?
June 23, 2020
Cases worldwide [from Worldometers]
Daily: 138.975 – Total: 9.189.875
Daily: 3.880 – Total: 473.484
Did the virus come and go?
Are Europeans and US citizens awakening from a one-stand nightmare? Are we safe to get on with our work, life, unprotected mass gatherings, and partying on the streets from now on and for a very long time? Experts say ‘no.’ Many people don’t care. Others are super-anxious.
So, is it all behind us? Of course not.
With 303 deaths in Europe and 363 in the US yesterday, things have indeed been much worse just two months ago. At the same time, over the last month and continuing, there is a gradual speeding up in the numbers of daily cases and deaths worldwide. The virus hasn’t left humanity.
With a low herd immunity everywhere (probably 5-10%), the virus still has much leeway.
Invisible = inexistent
So it seems to many. It makes me think of another invisibility, that of nonconscious subconceptual processing. ‘Subconceptual’ because it’s about mental patterns that can hardly or not be caught in well-delineated concepts. Scientifically, it is how the brain works. It’s there. It’s our +/- 80 billion neurons firing and patterning away all the time, even while sleeping. Neurocognitive scientists speak of a ‘universe inside.’ We continuously see through it, but we don’t see it. Yet. It is factual. It is how the brain – thus also the mind – influences the way you breathe, how your heart pounds, and when you feel tired or energetic.
And indeed, there is also a large, scientifically known impact on the immune system. This way, we come close to how the body reacts to the virus.
Invisible, but not inexistent at all.
One scenario is that this coronavirus behaves like all other known coronaviruses, seasonally. In Europe and the US, this means a peak in wintertime, an almost disappearance in the summertime. This pattern reenacts itself as it is year after year.
An exception that proves the rule recently happened in a slaughterhouse in northwestern Germany, with an outbreak of more than 1000 cases, a 6th of the personnel. In many slaughterhouses, people work in stressful circumstances in an artificial winter climate. Not surprisingly, such factories in the US show the same pattern, including proneness to COVID-19.
Even outside of slaughterhouses, of course, we see individual COVID-cases. So, is a second wave possible during the summer? I would say yes. Is it probable? I would say no. In any case, much less probable than in wintertime. If there is an upsurge during the summer, we should be extremely wary about what’s to come. It spells disaster.
Surprisingly, little is known about the precise mechanism for seasonal fluctuations. Influencing factors are social behavior, temperature, and probably the amount of sunlight.
Another factor is how our brain/mind reacts to this.
Here we go again. Invisible, not inexistent. Yet psychology may also explain why the drop in corona casualties is so surprisingly dramatic right now, right here. We come from a whirlpool – individual and social – in which the virus was present as well as our universe inside. [See chapter ‘COVID whirlpool’ in Minding Corona]
Placebo: a dummy pill acts positively even though there is no active substance inside. According to scientists, there is more placebo than pharmacology in many present-day Western medications. The power of true placebo resides in expectations, deeper meaning, and other mind-related factors.
Nocebo: quite the same but with negative action. Nocebo can be part of a whirlpool that drags people unnecessarily down.
Of course, this doesn’t mean there is no pharmacology, nor virus. What it does mean is scary.
We may get into the same whirlpool, even worse.
Time will tell. There is no scientific experimental proof, but many factors point to this direction. There is no doubt about the substantial influence of the mind on the progression of viral diseases, including AIDS, as is shown by much academic research. There is also no doubt about the substantial influence of the mind on the immune system in many ways. See my book Your Mind as Cure for a broad explanation.
As to COVID-19, as rapidly as we have evolved from disaster to blue sky, equally rapidly may we get into disaster mode again. Our mind helps in both ways.
So, what will happen?
Looking into a crystal ball, I only see crystal. Peering into the future, I see a very bleak landscape with panic, loss of control, and a new lockdown in Europe and the US.
The carefree attitude of many people now may heighten this. It brings a direct danger in pockets of infection. It also keeps the virus present or makes it even more widespread. Note that the virus was present in European drinking water already in December before anyone got ill.
At this very moment, it may be spreading in many places. Invisibly. In the corona season, starting from October and (depending on the type) peaking around February, it may surge from many places at the same time. Then, what about contact tracing?
And what about vaccination?
In case a vaccine were developed in time, that would be miraculous, but not a miracle. Take Influenza, for example, for which the vaccination doesn’t give full protection but only a bit less than half.
Also, the natural immunity after corona infection lasts six to twelve months. Herd immunity may be short-lived. More bleakness: What if a new wave comes with a viral mutation into a deadlier strain, as happened with the Spanish flu a century ago?
Back to summertime
Let’s enjoy it, but let’s not waste our time. Surely, the pharmaceutical industry is looking for more useful medication. Let’s hope for that. My take, as you may see in this blog post, is the psychological one. I have published a book about this, Minding Corona, to be found on Amazon for 3$ as an e-book. Also, I have developed an app to be used as mental support, free to everyone, to be found on https://aurelis.org/aurelis-app. Soon also in Google and Apple stores.
In my view, the one and the other together will save many lives. This will make me a happy man, although also a sad one for peering so much.
In case you want to help, please read the book, download the app, and reach out. There is a lot to be done for our own sake soon, for the world right away, day after day. Also, experiences elsewhere in this regard may help us when needed.
We are not out of the woods.