Survival of the Fittest

Survival of the Fittest April 9, 2020

We put it off as long as we could, but we finally had to go grocery shopping yesterday. Our local store has a “Senior Hour” from 8 to 9 in the morning when only people over 65 are admitted. We were first in line, and raced around the store, found everything we needed, and fled as fast as we could. All the workers and most of the customers wore masks and gloves, as we did, and we all tried to keep the mandated 2 meter distance, although that Is not always possible in narrow store aisles.

We bought a lot of frozen food, as that keeps well for long periods. When we returned home, and started wiping down the packages, I told Suzanne not to bother with the frozen foods, because the viruses would not survive in the freezer.

Later, when I was sitting at the computer, I thought I should check that out, and discovered to my horror that viruses can last up to two years in the freezer! They don’t tolerate heat as well if it gets above 140F (60C). I thought about that, and it occurred to me that if I were stripped naked and thrown in a freezer, I would not survive more than an hour or two, and if you stuck me in a pot of water at 140 degrees, I wouldn’t last much longer.

Viruses are tough little bastards. With all our medical technology, we are able to make vaccines that protect us for a while, until they mutate into a new one that is resistant, and then we are back to the drawing board, chasing a constantly moving target. And then a new “novel” one emerges like our current nemesis.

This is a battle for survival, and in this case, the viruses are the predators and we are the prey. They need us…or other mammals…to survive. But they kill us. What would happen if a supervirus, or maybe a bunch of them, emerged, overwhelming our ability to respond?

The result would be what it has always been with the process of Natural Selection; the fittest would survive, and the less fit would be consigned to the genetic junkpile. Oblivion. Extinction.

We have done a lot to bring this on ourselves, providing viruses with an ideal environment to proliferate…overpopulation, dense cities, highly mobile carriers who can quickly spread the pathogen all over the planet. We are reaping what we have sowed.

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