The coronavirus (SARS2nCoV) will not end Homo sapiens. We will survive. It does not mark the much anticipated start of the Anthropocene/Holocene extinction event. That started with the dawn of the atomic age and is almost old news. I gladly bear this almost good news - we will suffer our extinction by mechanisms other than this coronavirus.
Any newly emergent organism faces the unceasing pressure of natural selection from birth. If it perishes - it is extinct. If it is selected for - it multiplies at some rate. Growth is stunted if the container is limited in some way, maybe not enough food. For our coronavirus relative, maybe the lack of good viral hosts in the immediate container will lead to extinction. This was the intention of the Wuhan lockdown. Limit the container size. Some human to human transmitted diseases can be controlled in this way. But we learned later that we unwittingly solved this problem for the virus this by providing direct airline flights from Wuhan to the world. We were truly unpleasantly surprised when the novel cryptic transmission characteristic was noted.
Because we are from the same source and subject to natural selection, we used the same strategy as the coronavirus. Leaving our own trail of destruction, we left our birthplace in the rift valley of west Africa. The waves of migration indicated occasional selection pressures. Population growth, environmental change, and disease are only some possibilities. We formed small units of humanity. Maybe a disease would emerge and wipe out a small group. It did not affect people twenty miles away. No connections - no transmission. We spread further and further. With this spread came more isolated pockets of humanity. We did not become extinct with this strong protection of population segmentation in place. It worked for at least a million years. Some of this protection ended in 1492. Smallpox entered the Americas with devastating effects. Our boats still apparently serve as good disease incubators.
Some humans remain isolated. They are difficult to reach and do not interact. They have good reasons. These uncontacted people can suffer 50% mortality from our diseases. They are often marginalized, enslaved or murdered. The Yanamano people learned the lesson of smallpox and are now retreating back into the sacred Amazonian forest. It doesn’t take many people to rebuild the species - only 70 people who crossed the Bering land bridge were able to populate the Americas.
Extinction of the species would be difficult due to our spread and numbers. We even have humans on the International Space Station. On the other hand, some of life may be subject to extinction from this virus.
PLEASE READ AND HEED - The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s best-practice guidelines. They state - “In the present situation we recommend that great-ape tourism be suspended and field research reduced, subject to risk assessments to maximize conservation outcomes (for example, poaching could rise with fewer people in the vicinity)”. We do not know whether transmission could occur or what the infection would look like in our relatives. This is important, more so it seems than advice about coughing in your elbow and washing your hands. Humans will die from your bad habits but are not going to go extinct. Other mammals may go extinct - like forever, lost, never again. This is the time to avoid African eco-tourism. Stay at home and watch National Geo.
PLEASE BE NICE TO BATS - Residents of Wuhan called for police to remove endangered roosting bats from locations in the city. It is a fear driven request as these bats are not viral carriers. The source of both SARS are horseshoe bats that live in the caves found in Hubei mountains. Wanton killing of bats to avoid zoonotic diseases only causes that evolutionary pressure to move elsewhere. Transmission increases. With extinction of a bat species, other ecosystem collapses occur. Some of our food depends on bats for pollination.
PANGOLINS - Endangered. They are the most illegal trafficked animal in the world. Do not eat them or pet them.
SOCIAL DISTANCING RULE FOR WILDLIFE - “If you are close enough to change the animals behavior, you are too close”. This is basic “leave no trace ethics” taught at REI. For mega fauna 50 meters may be minimum.
Oh human extinction - I personally favor a quick and painless gamma ray burst. I most fear a Marburg type virus. Human induced climate change is most likely to be the extinction event and is the saddest of them all.