Are children off-limits because even the corona loves to be labeled as a politically correct bastard?
The media frenzy of covid-19 has already captivated the entire globe. A decisive question in the mind of many, including my students, is “why did it spare children?”
First and foremost, I want you to appreciate the fact that we have just begun to learn about this virus. Reasonable levels of epidemiological data are not yet available to public health professionals for establishing solid scientific foundations. However, we should be able to make certain fundamental conclusions of our own based on the currently available information. I made my own and here is my take on this matter:
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks! The theory that I am advocating is well-illustrated by the idiom that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! Even though the immune system of the elderly is enlightened with wisdom and memories of the past, it readily gets confused and frustrated upon confronting one of a kind entities that it has never seen before. The elders who have lived a healthy long life, have already experienced the most classic illnesses of their communities and know how to deal with them. Had they not, they wouldn’t have lived so long and up until now! All we need to do is to provide them with a little more time allowance, and they can manage most of their illnesses on their own. That which the old folks have a hard time to manage is any new and distinct entity such as the covid-19. Novel germs surprise and shock the immune systems of the old folks. Also, the stem cells* in the bone marrow of the elderly have been subjected to a lifelong wear-tear and they are not as swift in responding to novel pathogens.
What does the fatality rate of less than 2.5% for covid-19 in the population of infected individuals tell us? It tells us that adults and older adults know how to deal with the coronavirus infection in general. It suggests that their immune systems have been exposed to the classic human coronavirus since their childhood. What they may have a hard time to deal with is the mutated version of the coronavirus, that is, the covid-19. Had the immune system of the infected individuals not had a partial experience of defending against this new corona, the fatality rate of the disease by far would have been much higher than just 2%!
Why does the Covid-19 seem to have spared the children? In contrast to the elderly, the immune systems of young children are fledgling systems. Their stem cells and progenitor immune cells that are destined to evolve to their entire repertoire of defense against myriads of infectious foes are full of vitality and vigor. Their progenitor immune cells are not worn or torn yet. Their entire immune system is ready to learn many new immunological tricks and defend the stance of their bodies firmly against all infectious insults. For this reason, in general, children get a lot more diseases compared to adults, however, the course of their illnesses is not as bad as the adults.
How does my wear and tear theory relate to the Covid-19? It is only scientifically fair to assume that children equally contract or have been exposed to covid-19, however, their immune systems are more pliant, flexible, adaptable and improvable. So, it is highly likely that many children might have contracted the covid-19 infection, but they only might have been presented with a mild, benign, and short-duration version of the very same disease. It is also highly likely that their illnesses might have been dismissed as a mild common cold or even gone unnoticed! I personally can’t wait for more epidemiological data to cast more light on these matters. But until then, we should accept my obvious explanation, shouldn’t we!
Why does my theory make so much sense in evolutionary terms? Sorry to say it folks, it is because our world belongs to the next generations! It belongs to young generations who could adapt much better to new infectious pandemics. We, the old folks, are the storytellers who have seen it all during our lives. We are wise enough to know that we haven’t had this one (the covid-19) before, and we are smart enough to know how to minimize our exposure to it!
Good news for people who are afraid of the Covid-19! Read the lips of Dr. E; it’s not as bad as the media portrays it! Look at it this way, even young children could brush it off!
*For the sake of simplicity and to avoid using many medical jargon, I want you to note that the cells that defend our body throughout our lives, the immune cells, are all developed from common lymphoid progenitor stem cells in our bone marrows.