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Context: from the "discovery" of the virus to its spreading

Before the discovery of sars-2 people died from sars-1, flu or pneumonia. On the one hand, we have a new, previously unknown virus that is spreading. On the other hand, we have the knowledge of this new virus and its discovery that is diffusing. With this knowledge, the technique of measurement, the tests, the whole technology for diagnosing the diseases is spreading too.

Question: Do we now have more cases as a result of more infections or is the reason for its “spreading” that the virus is tested more frequently?

How do we know that the virus is actually spreading and whether this apparent pandemic is not just a result of raising awareness about it?

I had a terrible flu last autumn, as bad as ever. I couldn’t have been tested on corona.

People always die. From old age, from illness ... now we're dying of the virus.

Which came first: the virus or the test?

Epistemological problem of pandemic: how is a distinction made between the spread of virus tests and the actual spread of the virus? Where there is no testing, there is apparently no virus. Conversely: the virus has long been everywhere, has already spread. People die of "flu", pneumonia, until the virus is discovered. Now there will be information: Knowledge about it is diffused, it is widely tested, the more it is tested for diseases of the lungs (air and respiratory tract), the more identifications there are: the virus has spread months ago. Now the media hype comes into play: there are "contagions" that cannot be traced back. 

I've been researching a multitude of sites and information about this problem, but it was never mentioned anywhere and neither in any discussion on TV, radio, print media or else where. I have also discussed this point with the chief of our institute of immunology in 2011. We were not sure if this aspect can be answered by the Meme-phenomena (Richard Dawkins). Today I think the answer could be the "propaganda effect". But obviously this effect is ignored by all reports about the diffusion of the new virus. e.g. it was discovered in Dec. 2019 and from the moment in China there has been developed the first test-kit to test 1000 persons per day we had a peak in Feb. 2020. Switzerland has had some weeks ago more hot-spots to test people for SARS-2 (or covid-19) than the USA. Since we have the possibility to test 1000 persons per day the infections are exploding. Strange? or not surprising?

Since 2 months every time we turn on the news all we hear is "corona - virus". I can't see a difference between this "explosion" and the "virus" spreading of a new pop song ... "new wave"?

Could be the answer is hyping or making a hit.

So what I mean in my question:

What is the difference between the wave of a new virus or the wave of the test-ability of this virus?

Is there a special term to describe the phenomena of the spreading of the possibility to measure (knowledge and test instruments).

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  • This was discovered because cases of an atypical pneumonia developed but similar to sars. It's not a meme. – Graham Chiu Mar 17 '20 at 18:46
  • I‘m sorry if my question is unclear. The problem I mean is: Supposed 10% of a population are already infected ... as long no one has severe symptoms and there are no tests to identify the a virus or measure an infection ... then we discover the virus, some infected people are testet positive ... what now happens is: people are alarmed, sensitive, more and more people are tested, each day 2000 new tests. How can we know what is spreading? The awareness? The tests? The infections? The virus? – Albrecht Hügli Mar 17 '20 at 19:07
  • Need to look at stored sera. Like HIV old infections were discovered in stored sera. – Graham Chiu Mar 17 '20 at 19:10

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