In the midst of this virus-caused pandemic, the threat of other killer viruses will always generate headlines. For example, an NPR article caught my eye: “Are There Zombie Viruses—Like The 1918 Flu—Thawing In The Permafrost?”
The article presumes that layers of frozen soil could warm in coming years, perhaps releasing frozen pathogens into the world. For example, the bodies of 1918 flu pandemic victims buried in the far north could perhaps harbor deadly viruses that could cause a new outbreak. The corpses of smallpox victims have been found buried in the permafrost as well.
Scientists have attempted to revive the influenza virus and smallpox specimens extracted from such victims. However, their attempts have all failed. The reason is simple: these pathogens lived in people at body temperature, not frozen corpses. When they were extracted, they were found to be as dead as their victims.
The story illustrates this fact: fear-based stories dominate our media because they work.
I clicked on the NPR headline because the threat it suggests seemed both real and frightening. If such pathogens are waiting to be released into the world, I wanted to know about them.
Of course, in retrospect, it makes sense that a virus that lives in a living human could not live in a frozen corpse. But by the time I discovered this, I had read most of the story.
In a recent article, David French explained this phenomenon: “Shades of gray don’t raise funds.” Or generate clicks, I would add. He continues: “It’s good guys vs. bad guys, and there are two states of being—victory or crisis.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jim Denison