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VIC THE VIRUS; Protect Yourself by Knowing Your Enemy. [Phone optimized!]

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[Now optimized for small screens!] A clear and simple visual story on how COVID-19 spreads and kills -- and how we will beat it. In the spirit of Sun-Tzu's "Know your enemy," we chose to tell the story from the point of view of the virus.

Written by a bestselling author, a disease scientist PhD, and an award-winning cartoonist, this story gives a renewed sense of perspective. Writing this helped us see what to do next, and even gave us a bit of needed calm.

We hope this story does the same for you.

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VIC THE VIRUS; Protect Yourself by Knowing Your Enemy. [Phone optimized!]

  1. Version 1.0 phone March 23, 2020 Protect Yourself by Knowing your Enemy Pat Vic A Napkin Story by Dan Roam, Karl Malamud-Roam, & Lloyd Dangle
  2. 2 Know your enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril. - Sun Tzu, The Art of War
  3. We put this story together to help ourselves better understand COVID-19 in a super-accessible way. Maybe this can help you better understand it too. 3 A note from Dan, Karl, & Lloyd: A note on the science: We based everything here on published sources and provide a list of sources at the end. If we got anything wrong, please let us know – and send your sources so we can make valid corrections!
  4. The characters you will meet: 4 Vic the Virus Vic’s Family Crazy Cousin Pat Pat’s Cell Pat’s Family Interferon T-Cell Antibody
  5. The Story Unfolding Today - Part 1 - ❑Meet VIC the Virus ❑What Vic does ❑How Vic kills ❑How dangerous Vic is ❑Why the Pros are so scared of Vic ❑Some good things to do now to be safe
  6. I’m Vic the Virus. You people call me Covid-19. I’m a new member of the “corona virus” family, and a pretty simple one, at that. I’ve got some code (RNA) inside a protective coat (made of protein), and a key (a chemical sensor also made of protein). That’s about it. My job, like all organisms, is to pass my genetic code to my kids and send them out into the world. 6 Call me Vic. This is my PROTEIN COAT. This key is one of my ACE-2 receptor sensors This is my RNA CODE.
  7. I’m just trying to make my way through the world and ensure my code gets passed on to my kids. But it isn’t easy. Three things make my life tough: First off, traveling is tricky; I can’t walk, I can’t swim, and I can’t climb. What I can do is “fly” and cling to things. Second, I need a home (my ‘host’) to live in. Out here in the world I’m fragile and can die from almost anything: heat, soap, dryness… Third, I can’t make my kids by myself. I need my host to do that for me. It’s rough! 7
  8. Lucky for me, you’re the perfect home! When we meet, I hope you let me in. If you do, three things might start to happen: 1)Infection 2)Illness 3)Immunity But I’m getting ahead of myself; let’s take those one at a time… 8 PAT
  9. Because your nose, throat, and lungs are the perfect host home for me, I would love to infect you! The cells in your nose and throat are a great place for me to live. I’m happy there… and I can be so quiet you might not even know I’m there. But what I really want is to get into your lung cells. They’re like heaven for me. Give me enough time in your nose, and I’ll try to make my way down to your lungs. 9 1) Infection
  10. The reason you’re so perfect is because my key opens your cells! Just what I needed! With your help, here’s what I do: ✓ I attach myself to the outside of your cell. ✓ Guess what: Your cell wall has an ACE-2 lock (a specific receptor)! ✓ Luckily for me, I have my ACE- 2 key! I open a little vestibule into your cell wall. ✓ Because I have the right key, your cell is happy to let me in. 10 My key fits your cell’s lock.
  11. I’m going to use your cell to make my kids. when my genetic material enters your cell you don’t even notice! Leaving my coat at the door, I shoot my RNA code into your cell. Then I trick your cell to make my RNA. Inside your cell, there’s a bunch of your RNA. Normally, your RNA tells your ribosomes which proteins to make. But lucky for me, your ribosomes can't tell your RNA from mine! 11 My code… hijacks your ribosomes!
  12. And before long you’ve made my kids for me! So my RNA tells your ribosomes to make more of ME! First, my RNA tells your cells to copy my RNA. Next, your cell makes copies of my protein coat. Finally, your cell puts my RNA in my new coats. And now you’ve made more of me! Cool! I get your cells to make my children, complete with their own coats to protect our code. 12 Which then make more of ME!
  13. Then we all like to settle in and really make ourselves at home. Most of my kids settle in the neighborhood, entering cells in your nose, throat, or lungs. Eventually we take over big chunks of the territory and then start thinking about moving on. 13 We’re tired of quarantine! Can we go out now?
  14. And then you send my kids out into the world for me! Coughing sends my little babies flying! Even just exhaling could be enough to send some out into the world. Now they can infect your whole human family and keep my story going! 14 PAT’s Family, Friends, colleagues, and even random folks!
  15. There’s just one problem with our deal. You might get ill. Now here’s the thing about us viruses: although we love you, your body doesn’t love us. 15 2) Illness
  16. Because I trigger your own defenses to react so strongly, your own body might hurt you. Sorry. Once I’m inside you doing my work, your cells might detect me. If they do recognize that I don’t belong there, your body sends all kinds of defenses to try and take me out: First, you cough to try to get me out of your body. Next, in order to lock me down and keep me from spreading, your cells tighten up and surround me with fluid. That’s called inflammation… and with me, that’s likely to backfire. 16 Your body inflames to try to lock me down. You cough to try to get me out.
  17. In extreme cases, I might kill you. But it’s not just me that does you in; it’s your own inflammation! Remember, I love to live in your lung cells. But here’s the problem for you: when your lung cells become inflamed, they can’t do your breathing anymore. Your lungs fill with fluid, you get pneumonia, and if it spreads to both your lungs… well, you suffocate, your organs fail, and you die. WHICH MEANS I’m mostly dangerous to people with old or weak lungs. Sorry. It sucks for me and a lot of my kids too. 17 When your lung fills with fluid, you can’t breathe.
  18. But here’s the thing, I don’t kill everyone. In fact, I’m not as deadly as some other viruses. 18 Because many people will get me, a lot of people are likely to die. If I infect you, you will probably get really sick, but you probably won’t die. MERS 2012-2015 2,519 cases SARS 2002-2003 8,098 cases Covid-19 2019-2020 300,000+ cases so far FLU 2019-2020 40,000,000 cases How many people died among all infected How many people infected (so far) Source: Mar 22, 2020 https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-death-rate/#comparison 34% died 10% died 2% died so far .02% died Legend: Infected and did not go to hospital. Infected, went to hospital, and lived. Infected, went to hospital, and died. But I will kill a lot more than they did.
  19. 5 reasons the Pros are so scared of me… Look, I might not be the deadliest virus out there, but I do have some special traits that freak experts out: 19 1) Having the ACE-2 key means I have a super easy time infecting your lungs – which is really dangerous to you. 3) I’m so good at hiding inside you so that you might not even know I'm there. Which means nobody really knows how contagious I am – and how many of you are already infected. 4) My family is good at mutating and adapting. (More on that in Part 2) 5) Scariest of all is I’m new, unknown, and unpredictable… and you’re not testing fast enough to know who’s infected. 2) I spread much more easily than my deadlier cousins.
  20. The super good news for you is that you have a lot of ways to avoid me. 20 Wash your hands a lot. Plain old soap and water literally melts my protective coat! Practice good social distance: - Cough danger distance = 6 feet. - Avoid groups. - Stay home. - Don’t travel unless you really have to. This is why governments are quarantining; they are trying to keep people from getting infected! Wearing a mask might help keep me out of your mouth and nose – which is my only way in.
  21. If you spread me to as many other people as you can, I’ll be happy. But you won’t. It’s easy to spread me around: I fly well, cling to hard surfaces like spiderman, and love it when people put me directly into their own mouths and noses. That’s how I’m growing my family! I can’t do it without your help. Remember, my job is to keep my code going. If you spread me around, you're helping me, but not your friends and family! 21 You might be tempted to hang out with a lot of others; just remember – that’s good for me. (And you can’t tell who has me just by looking!)
  22. - Part 2 - The Story as it might progress in the future ❑ How we might develop immunity ❑ How Vic might mutate ❑ Potential Vaccines and drugs ❑ What you might want to think about…
  23. Normally, your body can figure out how to defeat me with tools you already have. (Innate immunity) 23 3) Immunity Aside from inflammation, your body has other built-in defenses: • Interferons in your cell notice my RNA, try to block it, and hang signs outside the cell that it's infected. • Your killer T-cells then rush through your body and destroy the cells I’ve infected. Together these try to stop my infection before I cause serious damage, and for most germs they work well. But they’re slow and they kill a lot of your cells – and they’re just not good enough to stop me.
  24. But if that doesn’t work, you call in the Seal Team! (Acquired immunity) 24 Your better defense is acquired immunity: your body develops it when you recognize that I’m a new kind of bad guy. You create specific antibodies that are like Navy SEALS trained to kill only me. They’re deadly to me but they take time to create and train. It’s a race to get your SEALs deployed before pneumonia kills you. If you stay alive long enough to develop antibodies, they recognize me and stop me before I can get into any more cells. Now you’re immune and I can’t make you sick anymore.
  25. Here’s the thing… just like in your family, my children aren’t all identical. Knowing that your body wants to recognize and kill me, I want to make sure my children aren’t exactly like me. I want them to be close enough to live like I do, but I also need my kids to mutate just enough to stay ahead of your defenses. 25
  26. Hey, I can’t control all the mutating. Sometimes I might mutate into a Crazy Cousin who’s really hard on you. Sometimes the mutations in my code get more extreme. If one of my descendants becomes a Crazy Cousin, you never know what might happen. My crazy cousin MERS popped up a few years ago and killed over one-third of the people that he infected. But he was so deadly he killed his hosts before they could send out his children. He died out, but so did about 800 people. 26
  27. Vaccines are cool for you because they supercharge your antibodies. Vaccines are great for you and terrible for me! They trick your body into making antibodies without having to get infected or sick! That's not fair to me! But it's hard to get them to kill me and my cousins without hurting you – and getting that right takes time. In any case, vaccines only work if you people get them before you get sick! 27
  28. Drugs might slow or stop your illness if you are infected. Drugs don’t stop me from infecting you, but they might stop me from killing you… and will probably make you recover faster. Bad news for you, there are no proven drugs against me or my Corona family. But bad news for me, your researchers are looking at several that seem promising. Very possibly, you’ll have a safe treatment available to you before you have a vaccine. 28
  29. Look guys, if you REALLY want to kill me and protect yourselves, you can… 29 Stay rational and believe in science; you will build a safe vaccine and find effective treatments. Stay kind and believe in each other. Stay away from crowds and keep your hands clean. Remember: You’re the resilient ones! (I’m just a damn germ!!)
  30. The most important thing is to be realistically positive! 30 The impact of the economic downturn might be worse than the public health effects… so let’s be thoughtful about how we buckle down. And once things have stabilized, and they will, let’s be prepared to kick the economy back into gear FAST. Remember: This too shall pass. A closing thought from Dan, Karl, & Lloyd:
  31. Dan Roam is a bestselling author of visual business books 31 Dan is the author of five international bestselling books on visual clarity including THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN. Dan’s “napkin” explanation of American healthcare reform has been viewed more than 5 million times and won the BusinessWeek award for “The World’s Greatest Presentation” of 2009. Dan’s napkinacademyschool.com has taught thousands of people around the world how to make visual stories like this one. Who we are dan@danroam.com Karl Malamud- Roam is a PhD scientist who studies diseases Karl Malamud-Roam is a public health scientist that studies the distribution of infectious diseases and the effectiveness of protective measures. Karl is a PhD research scientist who studied at Princeton and Berkeley and worked as Senior Research Scientist at Rutgers University. For the past three years, Karl has served as a Special Advisor on Data Quality for the World Health Organization. Karl is the Founder and President of Vector Control Consultants. Vector.control.consultants@gmail.com Lloyd Dangle is an award-winning cartoonist & visual strategist Lloyd Dangle drew the comic strip TROUBLETOWN for over twenty years and has illustrated for many products (Airborne Health Formula, SC Johnson, Fedex), hundreds of publications (NY Times, Entertainment Weekly, Wired..) and has helped a wide variety of clients tell complex stories with simple pictures. He currently works for Amazon Web Services where he incorporates live drawing in executive strategy sessions focused on the possibilities of cloud computing. lloyd@lloyddangle.com
  32. 32 Citations: General: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/ Name: "Virus Taxonomy: 2018b Release". International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). March 2019 Pathology (Illness): https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/02/here-is-what-coronavirus-does-to-the-body/#close Herd Immunity: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/615375/what-is-herd-immunity-and-can-it-stop-the-coronavirus/ Coronavirus Variation: http://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/resources/COVID-19/200128-nCoV-whitepaper.pdf Numbers / Distribution: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html Mortality: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-death-rate/#comparison Morphology: https://www.economist.com/briefing/2020/03/12/understanding-sars-cov-2-and-the-drugs-that-might-lessen-its-power Sources (Partial List)
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[Now optimized for small screens!] A clear and simple visual story on how COVID-19 spreads and kills -- and how we will beat it. In the spirit of Sun-Tzu's "Know your enemy," we chose to tell the story from the point of view of the virus. Written by a bestselling author, a disease scientist PhD, and an award-winning cartoonist, this story gives a renewed sense of perspective. Writing this helped us see what to do next, and even gave us a bit of needed calm. We hope this story does the same for you.

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