Another dot in the blogosphere?

Game bosses

Posted on: December 5, 2021

Video source

Dr Sanjay Gupta asked the CDC Director, Dr Rochelle Walensky, to address a common question that some people have about COVID-19 [timestamp]. If they already developed immunity from being infected with SARS-CoV2 before the vaccines were ready, why did they still need to be vaccinated? 

This is a fair question and it stems from a poor understanding of how viral mutations work. Dr Walensky gave a straightforward answer, but I do not think that it connected with its intended audience.

Some among that audience will be gamers who know what game bosses are, so here is an analogy. When reach the end of a game stage, you face a boss that is tough to fight. If you beat that boss, the game does not end. You proceed to the next stage and meet another boss.

The original SARS-CoV2 was like the first stage boss. Those who overcame it without a vaccine developed natural immunity, but the battle continues with more stages and bosses. They are not guaranteed a win against the bosses in the next stages simply because they got past stage 1.

As gamers play through each stage, they pick up skills, abilities, or tools that might enable them to  fight the next boss more effectively. The vaccines are like these pickups — they help us fight against the new viral variants.

Analogies can only go so far, but they might connect with certain people more effectively than raw explanations. The skill is knowing when and which analogies to use. 

Rising above, teaching is not about trying to reach everyone generically. It is about ensuring that learning happens specifically. In this context, it means explanations that could be scientific, analogy-driven, and/or peer-generated. There is no single way to defeat a game boss, but everyone can do it if they find their own way. 

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