I have seen conspiracy theories that claim Covid-19 is really influenza or the common cold, just given a special name so as to cook up a political takeover of all of humanity. The idea seems both farfetched and not-farfetched to me. The essay at the link puts some of those conspiracy theories out of their misery.
It does so without even mentioning them. Instead, the writer sets out to explain the disappearance, then reappearance, of the flu during the Covid-19 pandemic. The essay outlines “a well-known but poorly understood concept in virology called viral interference” and shows how it relates to various pandemic story lines around the world.
Interestingly, Covid-19 didn’t simply displace influenza, it also displaced other respiratory diseases, and each new SARS-COV-2 variant displaced the previous one. Nor is viral interference a simple process; complications arise from the different types of immune system response the human body is capable of, as well as from pre-pandemic coronavirus exposure levels and other factors, for example. Ultimately the essay provides a fascinating explanation of what it means to say that SARS-COV-2 has become endemic.
I should note that the author’s bio is something of a mystery. I find the essay veritable intuitively, a quality of works I seem to run across more and more often these days. If I am wrong to think so, I welcome correction.