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COVID Immunity is (Probably) Real

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If you read the comments at LGM or anywhere else on the liberal internet, it’s all doom and gloom, with commenters one upping each other in assuming the very worst news about the virus. But the increasing evidence from scientists is that….this disease operates like most other diseases. People get it, some die, others start developing immunity and the disease becomes less potent or deadly.

Scientists who have been monitoring immune responses to the virus are now starting to see encouraging signs of strong, lasting immunity, even in people who developed only mild symptoms of Covid-19, a flurry of new studies suggests. Disease-fighting antibodies, as well as immune cells called B cells and T cells that are capable of recognizing the virus, appear to persist months after infections have resolved — an encouraging echo of the body’s enduring response to other viruses.

“Things are really working as they’re supposed to,” said Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona and an author on one of the new studies, which has not yet been peer-reviewed.

Although researchers cannot forecast how long these immune responses will last, many experts consider the data a welcome indication that the body’s most studious cells are doing their job — and will have a good chance of fending off the coronavirus, faster and more fervently than before, if exposed to it again.

“This is exactly what you would hope for,” said Marion Pepper, an immunologist at the University of Washington and an author on another of the new studies, which is currently under review at the journal Nature. “All the pieces are there to have a totally protective immune response.”

Protection against reinfection cannot be fully confirmed until there is proof that most people who encounter the virus a second time are actually able to keep it at bay, Dr. Pepper said. But the findings could help quell recent concerns over the virus’s ability to dupe the immune system into amnesia, leaving people vulnerable to repeat bouts of disease.

Obviously, there’s still lots that we don’t know and all I can do is listen to the scientists the best I can since I am not one of them. But that’s the thing…no one knows. And there’s no reason to think that this is some superdisease that defies everything we know about how humans have responded to disease. Things sucking for a year or two and then the world basically goes back to normal is a very typical pattern in the history of humans and disease. No one thinks they are going to be living through a disease epidemic like this, but like the 1918-19 flu epidemic, the evidence is increasingly strong that the other side of this is not really that far off and we can go on and probably mostly forget it ever happened.

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