2448: Eradication

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 15:14, 10 April 2021 by 162.158.186.196 (talk) (Explanation: qualifier)
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Eradication
When you get to hell, tell smallpox we say hello.
Title text: When you get to hell, tell smallpox we say hello.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a REVENGE-BASED PUBLIC HEALTH POLICY. Please mention here why this explanation isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

This is another comic in the COVID-19 series related to the 2020 pandemic, caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Megan wants revenge on the pandemic virus.

Megan assumes SARS-CoV-2 will remain in circulation even after the pandemic is over. "Vaccines and stuff" will, in all likelihood, reduce it to a background threat, but eradicating an infectious disease entirely is difficult. This can be seen in the ongoing struggle to eradicate polio.

Smallpox, mentioned in the title text, was the first human disease that was successfully wiped out in the wild. This is why Megan tells Covid-19 to say hello to Smallpox when we send it permanently to Hell.

To date, the only other documented successful eradication was of rinderpest, a livestock disease declared eradicated in 2011.

Transcript

[Megan holding a hand up, palm held out, is walking with Cueball.]
Megan: Even if the threat eventually fades, thanks to vaccines and stuff,
[They walk on, both with their arms down.]
Megan: And it becomes just another circulating common cold virus,
[Megan holds her hand up in a fist, while Cueball hold his hand to his chin as they walk on.]
Megan: I think we should pursue global eradication of SARS-CoV-2 out of spite.
Cueball: Revenge-based public health policy. I like it.


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Discussion

Is this a slippery slope of morality we're heading down? 141.101.98.6

I do not think we will hesitate with eradicating diseases, like we did with smallpox. However, seems unlikely we will manage to eradicate any type of corona virus... sadly. --Kynde (talk) 09:40, 10 April 2021 (UTC)
Do laws and treaties regarding protecting endangered species have exceptions for disease-causing organisms? Maybe viruses don't count because they're not considered to be alive, but what about bacteria?
They are not endangered. We have viable population stored safely so we can reintroduce it to wild anytime we want. -- Hkmaly (talk) 23:33, 10 April 2021 (UTC)
Those words don't apply to viruses as noted, but if they did, IUCN would call that 'extinct in the wild' -- a kind of endangerment. 172.69.34.154 06:59, 15 April 2021 (UTC)

Do we ever attribute the title text to a particular character in the comic? Barmar (talk) 13:27, 10 April 2021 (UTC)

We do, whenever it is obvious that a character said it, and which one said it is equally trivial to ascertain. I would not say either can be done for this comic. The primary argument for Megan saying this is probably that if it were Cueball, he would be speaking out of turn. But a 3rd character or Randal seems much more likely to me here since the speech pattern does not mach the rest of the comic. You could maybe claim that such language is typical of Megan... but honestly its typical of Cueball as well, in his dark fantasy moments.
I 'solved' (FCVO) the attribution problem. 141.101.98.174 13:18, 11 April 2021 (UTC)

I wonder whether it is worth discussing that smallpox was eradicated thanks to the fact it had only one possible host species, humans. COVID-19 is coming from animals, and can be hosted by multiple species, for example minks, cats, dogs, etc. So while we may be able to inoculate every human currently, the illness could come back at a later time (once new, non-inoculated humans are born), after it has been dormant in an alternate reservoir host for that time. Thus it may not be possible to ever eradicate it, and having it as a new source of common cold may be the best possible. 162.158.126.146 14:45, 12 April 2021 (UTC)