The virus has been around longer than we thought

Milan, Italy

Scientific analysis of sewage samples has shown that the novel coronavirus was present in both Milan and Turin by mid-December, more than two months before Italy’s first case was diagnosed in Codogno, southeast of Milan, on 20 February. Covid-19 patients are believed to shed the virus in their faeces from the time they are infected – often days before they are symptomatic – so analysis of sewage water can be used to identify outbreaks well before they are obvious to doctors. “After the outbreak we were testing sewage for the virus and realised we could check back in time by analysing old frozen samples,” explained Dr Luca Lucentini of Italy’s national health institute. The finding is one of several from around the world to suggest that by the time China raised the alarm, in January, the virus had spread far more extensively than initially realised.  (The Week, 27 June 2020)

 My take:  When I was at school I did dismally at physics and chemistry, and my mathematical ability was not great.  I still feel more comfortable with History and the arts.  However, unlike far too many modern day, politically engaged Americans,  I respect science and scientists deeply and admire their hard work and diligence.  This crisis, so harmful for the peace of mind, would be ten times worse were it not for the scientists and health experts.  I want to say a huge “ thank you” to them all and beg them not to be intimidated by know-nothing bullies with strange, indifferent attitudes towards the health and welfare of their fellow citizens.  Epicureanism is partly based on respect for others doing their best.

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