Coronavirus: What are the Real Chances of a Deadly Pandemic
Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS and SARS.
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain that began it’s spread in China. Many of these strains have become deadly, particularly the H5 and H7 strains. The deadliest prior to COVID-19, the H5N1 strain, reportedly killed 375 people worldwide. To date, there have been 325,810 deaths attributed to COVID-19 coronavirus.
Many scientists believed that if proper action was not taken, COVID-19 has the potential to be a major pandemic in the world. It took over two months of the virus spreading for the WHO (World Health Organization) to declare a world pandemic.
Influenza has affected the lives of so many people, particularly in the 20th century. The Spanish Flu of 1918, Asian Flu of 1957 and Hong Kong Flu of 1968 killed at least 20 million people worldwide.
Coronavirus can spread quickly since an infected person can be asymptomatic for weeks before showing symptoms and in that time come in to contact with many people. It’s thought the virus spreads from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth when a person coughs or exhales.
There are four reasons that contributed to COVID-19 becoming a pandemic.
1. Many countries, specifically third world countries, do not have the proper facilities in place to take care of the coronavirus problem. Without these facilities, there is a high possibility of the virus spreading.
2. No vaccine has been fully developed and tested to fight coronavirus. Even though research is underway, there is still no known cure for COVID-19 in humans. It will take at least four months to produce vaccines that can be distributed to people suffering from the disease.
3. Coronavirus has different strains and they easily mutate. Scientists fear the virus could evolve into something worse or perhaps less infectious.
4. People who work alongside other people and those in the medical care industry may not have the proper equipment and adequate protection against the disease.
A human who is possibly infected with COVID-19 could show symptoms similar to human influenza. A person with COVID-19 will experience fever, sore throat and muscle pains. Because of the similarity of symptoms between COVID-19 and human flu, a person with COVID-19 could be mistakenly diagnosed with human flu. However, advanced symptoms of COVID-19 could become life threatening.
In general, there is little risk of most people getting infected with COVID-19 since it requires close or direct interaction with infected persons. Since the number of people that has been infected with the disease is still relatively low and most cases exhibit mild discomfort, there is no serious cause of alarm yet.
Because of the constant and rapid advances in technology today, in addition to lessons learned from past major pandemics, there is hope that the world will react appropriately to the COVID-19 global pandemic.