Letters to editor

There have been a lot of opinions expressed about why not to get vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus. Here’s a reason for everyone to get vaccinated. Every time a virus replicates there is a certain probability for a mutation to take place. Suppose the odds of that are one in ten billion per day. Suppose that the odds of a mutation being a bad one – say a mutation that makes the virus more contagious and more lethal – are one in a hundred billion. Then the odds per day of a nasty mutation showing up would be one in a thousand billion billion. Sounds like pretty good odds – why worry, eh? But when a person has Covid-19 he or she will have somewhere around ten billion viruses in their body. Multiply that by, say, a billion people catching the disease – a reasonable number at the rate we are going. Then over a hundred days the odds are not bad that a nasty mutation will show up. Which is what we are actually seeing (cf. virus variants in Great Britain, Brazil, India).

What is really worrisome is the possibility that one of these mutations is as lethal as, say, the ebola virus. That is why we want to stamp out the Covid virus as soon as possible, which is why we need everyone to get vaccinated. There are those who say if everyone gets sick then we will have herd immunity, and that will solve the problem in a “natural” way. You will indeed develop some immunity if you catch the disease, but in the meantime you are a breeding ground for mutations in the ten billion viruses in your body. And I daresay that if a mutation with a 50% lethality rate shows up, the loudest anti-vaccine voices will be elbowing children and little old ladies out of the way to get to the head of the line for a shot!

-Jon Orloff, Rockaway Beach


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