I think religion might be something that respiratory viruses are responsible for. I know, I know, just follow this track for a couple of lines. Viruses need hosts to replicate. They rely on infection of new hosts to allow mutations and further replication. What better way to ensure good transfer than by getting crowds of people to regularly box themselves in a room together? Singing and praying and breathing all over each other. Even better….how about getting people who live far apart to meet up and hug and spend lots of time together at a time of year when such viruses are rife, like, say, christmas time?
Smart move influenza, and viruses rhino-, corino-, picorna- and adeno-. I applaud your success and wonder how it managed to choreograph such a huge annual exchange of lurgeys. Presumably, thousands of years ago, parts of the viruses started to integrate in our genomes. Did you know that 8% of your genome is actually of viral origin? We assume this is just ‘junk’ DNA but what if it isn’t? Huh? I’m sure you know about that ant infecting fungus Ophiocordyceps camponoti–rufipedis, that takes over the mind of the ant and makes it go back to the nest so the fungus can find new hosts!
Just think about that when your sniffly great aunt plants a kiss on your cheek.
BTW of course I’ve been sick for five days over Xmas and am fed up.
I should point out that someone smarter than I hypothesised that maybe these things I am trying to blame on super smart viruses may actually be a human response in order to boost the immunity of our nearest and dearest…I don’t buy that, or at least, I don’t appreciate it!
“I aim to bug you on your vacancy
Never complicate but you talk it cheap
You sense but you don’t know
Too lame to catch a cold”