There’s a certain, disturbing, inability of the press to get their heads around the thought that more people having the coronavirus is a good thing, not a bad. Thus the shocked tones with which this news is being greeted:
Over half the people living in the slums of Mumbai have had the coronavirus, according to a city-commissioned study that raises fresh doubts about India’s official case numbers.
India is already the third-worst hit country after the US and Brazil, with nearly 1.5 million cases, though experts have previously said the lack of testing could mean the true tally is much higher.
Blood tests on 6,936 randomly selected people conducted by Mumbai’s city authorities found that 57% of slum-dwellers and 16% of non-slum residents had virus antibodies, the study released on Tuesday said.
Mumbai, where about 40% of the population lives in slums, has reported just over 110,000 infections and more than 6,000 deaths so far.
The city of 20 million people is home to India’s largest slum, Dharavi, where an estimated million people live. But deaths in the sprawling slum have not exploded, with local officials saying their aggressive efforts to stem the spread of the virus has been effective.
One reason it’s a good thing is that it means the disease is less dangerous than we had thought. If a significant portion of the population has had it and there is no great uptick in corpses being tossed into coffins then this means that it is all less fatal than we had thought.
This is good, right? Sure, we don’t want yet another version of influenza floating around but if we did, well, it’s another version of influenza. Finding that tens of percents of the peeps have had it without that surge in deaths takes us closer to thinking that it might just be that other version of ‘flu.
The second good thing about this is that there are now, obviously, fewer people who can get it. We’re loser to that herd immunity, Or, if you prefer, now that fewer people can get it we can lighten up on the restrictions to make sure people don;t get it. This is also good.
Finally, having tested these thousands of people means that we’re, clearly, out there testing thousands of people. This is also a good thing.
Coronavirus is less dangerous than we had thought, we’re getting to grips with testing it and we can ease the lockdowns. These are reasons for celebration, not gloom.