As Covid-19 cases is nearing to 70,000, panic may sneak in. The pandemic is certainly not good news but being optimistic and taking precautions will definitely help.
The 1918 flu pandemic caused more than 25 million deaths in less than 25 weeks. Could something similar happen now? Probably not; we have never been better prepared to fight a pandemic.
What we certainly have is a pandemic of fear. It is a matter of deep concern as the repercussions move from the global health sphere into business and politics.
Pandemic does not refer to the lethality of a virus but to its ability of being transmissible across the globe. Certainly Covid-19 is not good news and as the number increases, fear of Covid-19 may cause you to panic. However, there are causes for optimism; reasons to think there may be ways to contain and defeat the virus. And lessons to learn for the future.
Here are the 10 reasons why you must not panic about Covid-19
1. We know about the virus – The first cases of AIDS were described in June 1981 and it took more than two years to identify the virus (HIV) causing the disease. With COVID-19, the first cases of severe pneumonia were reported in China on December 31, 2019 and by January 7 the virus had already been identified. The genome was available on day 10.
We already know that it is a new coronavirus of the same family as SARS. The disease is called Covid-19 as it was detected in 2019. It is thought to be related to coronavirus from bats. Genetic analyses have confirmed it has a recent natural origin (between the end of November and the beginning of December) and that, although viruses live by mutating, and its mutation rate may not be very high.
2. Covid-19 tests are available – Since January 13 a test to detect Covid-19 became available. We have different ways to get tested for Covid-19. That is good news indeed.
3. The situation is improving – The lockdown and isolation measures imposedare paying off. Zones has been marked according to the contamination rate; this allows us to have control over transmission of Covid-19.
4. 80% of cases are mild – The disease causes no symptoms or is mild in 81% of cases. Of course, in 14% it can cause severe pneumonia and in 5% it can become critical or even fatal. It is still unclear what the death rate may be. But it could be lower than some estimates so far.
5. People recover – Much of the reported data relates to the increase in the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths, but more and more infected people are being cured. The number of people recovering is higher than the death rate.
6. Symptoms appear mild in children – Only 3% of cases occur in people under 20. Symptoms are so mild in children it can go unnoticed and that is good news.
7. The virus can be wiped clean – The virus can be effectively inactivated from surfaces with a solution of ethanol (62-71% alcohol), hydrogen peroxide (0.5% hydrogen peroxide) or sodium hypochlorite (0.1% bleach), in just a minute. Frequent hand washing with soap and water is the most effective way to avoid contagion.
8. Science is on it, globally – It is the age of international science cooperation. Research on vaccines, treatments, epidemiology, genetics and phylogeny, diagnosis, clinical aspects, etc has been non-stop. In just a month about more than 700 authors across the globe distributed their research.In 2003, with the SARS epidemic, it took more than a year to reach less than half that number of articles.
9. There are already vaccine prototypes – Our ability to design new vaccines is spectacular. There are already more than eight projects underway seeking a vaccine against the new coronavirus. There are groups that work on vaccination projects against similar viruses.Prototypes may soon be tested on humans.
10. Antiviral trials are underway – Vaccines are preventive. Right now, the treatment of people who are already sick is important. There are already more than 80 clinical trials analyzing coronavirus treatments. These are antivirals that have been used for other infections, which are already approved and that we know are safe.
Another candidate is chloroquine, an antimalarial that has also been seen to have potent antiviral activity. It is known that chloroquine blocks viral infection by increasing the pH of the endosome, which is needed for the fusion of the virus with the cell, thus inhibiting its entry. It has been demonstrated that this compound blocks the new coronavirus in vitro and it is already being used in patients with coronavirus pneumonia.
Stay Home. Stay Safe. This too shall pass.