If you, me and every living thing in the universe were actually just pawns in some giant scientific experiment, we would not necessarily know right now.
Is this simply someone toying with our existence? Testing the waters. Putting a spanner in our works to see how well we’ll cope. Will we sink or float?
The scary thing is that, Covid-conspiracy-theories aside, this argument is also a genuine scientific hypothesis and the subject of serious academic debate.
Oxford University Philosopher
You may remember a few years ago, this concept began when Oxford University philosopher and Professor Nick Bostrom postulated that computers in the future would be so powerful that they could simulate realities.
Therefore, if an Advanced Technological Civilization had superseded us, we could unwittingly be the tadpoles in their enormous fishbowl.
Whether you buy into this theory or not, there’s no doubt that our living reality right now IS one giant scientific experiment.
Our future is all THEORY
From the perspective of a researcher, doctor (like my husband), nurse, other key worker or simply a person staying at home, we’re all experiencing something new.
And the simple truth is, we don’t yet have all the answers.
Will a vaccine be successful?
We don’t know whether a vaccine will be successful enough to erase this disease. Although animal studies look promising, we’re beginning to test on humans just as the virus takes a downturn in the population anyway.
Hopefully, it will be as safe and effective as the smallpox vaccine that, 40 years ago, ensured the first complete eradication one of the deadliest diseases known to man.
On the other hand, its efficacy could fluctuate from year to year as it needs to be re-matched to a mutating virus – like a moving target.
Although we can hypothesise, the truth is, we won’t probably know until next year.
We don’t know whether such as thing as herd immunity is possible with Covid-19.
We may start to understand this in the future, as some countries like Sweden take a more relaxed approach, and in Switzerland children under 10 are allowed to hug their grandparents.
But even if it is achieved..
As the World Health Organisation state, with or without vaccine..
‘What we don’t yet know is the level of protection or how long it will last.”
Studies suggest that the sickest people will develop the strongest antibody defence. But this could only be enough to see them through this Season.
There are rare instances of reinfection reported, but with no concrete evidence – there’s still a lot that experts (like my husband) don’t know for sure.
What about Facemasks?
Another theory waiting to be tested.
We don’t know whether wearing facemasks could have prevented us being one of the worst hit countries.
Certainly, many Asian people have seen horrors far more distressing than ours, and they believe that masks are beneficial.
First detected in Singapore, the Asian Flu of 1957, and subsequent Hong Kong Flu of 1968 collectively killed over 2 million people.
Then there was SARS in China in 2002. Another stain of coronavirus mutated from animals to infect humans.
Over the years it has become part of Asian culture to wear facemasks in public.
In fact, through observational evidence, health experts there recommend wearing them to help prevent spread.
Although not yet scientifically validated, are their real-life experiences not compelling enough?
For perspective, if we look back in history, it is only 150 years since we realised the important of handwashing. A simple practice, that was initially laughed at, but ended up revolutionising the medical world, saving thousands of lives.
Sometimes the simple things are the best.
How about Vitamins?
We also don’t yet fully know then extent to which natural therapies could play a part in a solution. Certainly, there are some interesting clinical trials going on in China and USA giving IV vitamin C and other nutrients in synergy with certain drugs and hospital treatments.
Although preliminary results are looking incredibly promising, the studies are ongoing, the final conclusions won’t be made available until the end of September.
In truth…. WHO KNOWS?
As a novel disease, we have much to learn about Covid-19.
Science is a work in progress, we don’t and may never have all the answers.
I certainly don’t know how long we’ll endure its effects. I don’t know what will happen in the weeks, months and years to come. I simply don’t know.
What I do know is that there’s a huge likelihood (as GP Dr Luke says) that life will never be the same again.
And if that’s the case, then like researchers, I want to learn something from all of this too.
I’m going to take this time to figure out if there is anything we can do to prepare for the future.
Especially as, looking back in history, there is a strong likelihood of a ‘next time’.
I’m learning that a crisis can help us become a close-knit community once again. Joining together to take care of the elderly and vulnerable.
I’ve witnessed people getting to know their neighbours for the very first time as they stand on the doorstep clapping in unity.
I’m appreciating the gestures of kindness. The stepping aside instead of pushing past. The nod of gratitude.
I’m learning that we can connect with others despite the barriers.
For the eyes smile even when you are wearing a face mask.
Friends and Family
I’m learning that we can find many creative ways to stay connected to our friends and family.
An online quiz, a zoom yoga session and dance party, a group cookery lesson followed by the virtual sharing of a meal.
Distance doesn’t need to separate us.
I’m learning to slow down and value simplicity.
The ‘micro pleasures’ in life.
A snail crossing our patio or an army of ants taking some food to their home. Our daily walk around the block past a pond means the children are seeing tadpoles turn into frogs before their very eyes.
Being cooped up at home has taught me to value our freedom. But I’m also learning not to take for granted our awe-inspiring planet and its delicate biosphere, which we have all neglected for far too long.
With the visible impact lockdown has had on global warming, I’m learning to think twice about using the car or travelling abroad in the future.
I’m also learning to have greater respect for my body.
To continue to try and establish a general state of wellbeing for myself and my family.
To not take my health for granted.
With this in mind, I’m more passionate than ever about cooking healthy food, ensuring quality sleep, daily exercise and finding ways to keep resilient and positive.
For the health of the body may be the key to getting through a possible next time.
Finally, I’m learning a greater appreciation and respect for our NHS.
I’m learning to use it wisely.
To protect its existence by finding ways to support it.
To value our lives, our precious time on this earth.
Because you never know, I may be the one who needs it in the future.
What about you?
Is there anything you’ve learned from this experience?
Together, I hope we can look forward to a healthier more connected future.