CORONA WATCH--To prevent a dangerous new virus from having its way with humankind, you might take a page from the Chinese warrior king Sun Tzu, and think like the enemy. (Photo above: LA Times.)
Imagine you are a coronavirus, in a form never before seen by humans. Your goal is simple but wildly ambitious: invade and hijack the cells of a new host and multiply for as long it takes to establish your spawn in at least one other new host.
Repeat until there are no humans left to infect.
Since its emergence in Sun Tzu’s homeland, the coronavirus known to scientists as SARS-CoV-2 has gone about its task with vigor and success. It has jumped national borders with ease, infecting more than 9 million people around the world and killing at least 470,000 in about seven months. The roughly 7.7 billion people who have evaded infection so far seem to be squarely in its sights.
In fits and starts, public health officials have mustered their citizens to shun the kinds of gatherings that provide a virus rich opportunities to spread. Scientists have peered into the coronavirus’ genome to unlock secrets about where it came from, how it has evolved and what it will take to thwart it.