What Science?

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I hear people speak about science as if it is leading us all in one direction.  Science doesn’t do that.   Science is not passive.  Science is not for the weak-kneed or more to the point, weak-at-heart.  Science is for the courageous.

When I became a poster judge at a recent Science ‘Confab’ and was told point-blank NOT to judge the science, just the presentation of the science, I almost puked.  “What?  Are we a nation of actors?”  I will leave that question aside. I am no longer a ‘pretty face’, that’s for sure.

So I ask, “What Science?”

I see there are plenty of physicians who will to sell both their remedies and philosophies online and and on-air.  I see that elected officials are willing to quote this or that physician.

I see physicians.  Physicians are NOT scientists as a rule.

I see few scientists.

There are a couple, those who understand that pandemics have their own dynamics.  That once a virus and disease is declared a “pandemic”, those dynamics are in play.

So, children and young people, here are those dynamics learned over the course of the 20th Century by those scientists willing to take heed and do the work.  This is not new.  This is all old and known:

(1) Once the first human deaths from a pandemic are reported – in any country of the World –  that pandemic is already global.

(2) Pandemics do not travel around the World, as a rule, from sick-to-well or what has become the standard model of complacency, like a new religion.  They travel – as NEXSTRAIN is showing us every day, as “mutations” and “evolutions,” of a now, ever-present pathogenic virus.  It is running its course.  And will end its course, on its own. Like every species.  If we do not limit it or kill it outright.  But be forewarned, if we do not kill it, it will evolve into a new form.  That is nature.  That is what nature does.

(3) There will be a second wave of the virus in Autumn-Fall.  What TV announcers are not saying is it will be so severe and devastating, we will forget about the virus and disease this Spring.  We told you that in IReallyAppreciateScience.com months ago.  It’s not that we are smarter.  We just know and appreciate the dynamics better.

Humans always believe in something, don’t we? Well, think of the pathogen causing this pandemic as a species or species (plural) like us.  We, like it, will run our life-course one day.  We will live, reproduce, mutate, and die as a species.  As we have ended the life of so many species on our planet.  We are nothing different just because we are human or we believe in the “true” supreme being. Or not.

To date, there are 22 evolutions (or mutants) out there of the pathogen.  Probably more. Did you know that? I am guessing you didn’t.   That is what Nextstrain reports.  The last case of a mutant of the pathogen was in Senegal.  It infected a 36-year old male and destroyed his body in two or three days.  It is that fast.  The thing about Senegal is that it is 14º N of the Equator.  This is the kind of virus we will experience in Fall…

Below is the summation of the BEST SCIENCE from Nexstrain we have on the pathogens.


Latest Nextstrain COVID-19 situation report in English and in other languages. Follow @nextstrain for continual updates to data and analysis.

“This phylogeny shows evolutionary relationships of hCoV-19 or SARS-CoV-2 viruses from the ongoing novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. This phylogeny shows an initial emergence in Wuhan, China, in NOV2019 followed by sustained human-to-human transmission leading to sampled infections.

“Although the genetic relationships among sampled viruses are quite clear, there is considerable uncertainty surrounding estimates of specific transmission dates and in reconstruction of geographic spread. Please be aware that specific inferred transmission patterns are only a hypothesis.

There are thousands of complete genomes available now and this number increases by hundreds of every day. This visualization can only handle ~3000 genomes in a single view for performance and legibility reasons. Because of this we have to subsample available genome data for these analysis views. Our primary global analysis subsamples to 120 genomes per admin division per month. This will result in a more equitable global sequence distribution, but it hides samples available from regions that are doing lots of sequencing. To mitigate against this, we’ve set up separate analyses to focus on particular regions. They are available on the “Dataset” dropdown on the left or by clicking on the following links: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and South America.

Site numbering and genome structure uses Wuhan-Hu-1/2019 as reference. The phylogeny is rooted relative to early samples from Wuhan. Temporal resolution assumes a nucleotide substitution rate of 8 × 10^-4 subs per site per year. Full details on bioinformatic processing can be found here. The JSON tree data underlying this visualization is available at data.nextstrain.org/ncov_global.json.

Phylogenetic context of nCoV in SARS-related beta-coronaviruses can be seen here.








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