Epidemics and outbreaks have been haunting humans for ages. Plague of Athens and Antonian Plague in the early human civilizations or American Plague, Russian Plague, and Spanish Flu in recent centuries have crippled human civilizations. These epidemics or outbreaks posed a considerable threat and stagnated the life of the entire society.
As we are advancing into the future, with the available technology, we might have for once thought that we would have been able to fight those diseases at ease. But, the recent outbreaks such as SARS, MERS, or H1N1 have shown that a virus attack can be a significant threat no matter how developed we are.
COVID-19 or novel coronavirus has been doing the same thing to our society. It has brought the entire world onto its knees.
But Why Is It so Hard to Cure This Deadly Disease?
Viruses are one of the unique pieces to ever exist on the planet earth. From history unknown to man, they have been living and have mastered the art of survival. Their dynamic adaptability, able to infect, and progress in a short period, and spread to a new host makes them even more deadliest.
Viruses, in general, are bizarre pathogens. They can form into tiny shapes, adopt the environment, and destroy the host without any significant work. Besides, the ability of novel coronavirus to survive on human skin, air, and on surfaces is making it even more deadly.
Also, antibiotics that can kill other pathogens do not work on viruses. Technically, they might not be even considered alive. Because they do not even reproduce on their own but instead hijack the host cells and use them to multiply. On the other hand, viruses spread quickly and infect other cells before the immune system even responds to the threat. In some cases, their high mutation ability also makes them survive treatments or medications.
Comparing it to bacteria, most of them have similar structures, so most antibacterial medications can work on various bacterial infections. It may not be the case with viral infections. Some may use RNA, while others use DNA. Some may be surrounded by envelopes while others are not.
Currently, the health experts and researchers are working on developing ways that could slow down the damage caused by the virus and strengthening the body’s ability to fight it. Antiviral drugs or other drugs to control the symptoms are proven to be effective(1).
How Many People Are Tested?
WHO and the governments around the globe have taken significant precautionary measures to control the spread. However, there are still doubts lingering on the numbers as not everyone has been tested for the infection.
The people who are tested for the novel coronavirus are the ones who exhibit symptoms or have a travel history or known to be in contact with the COVID-19 positive patients. Since the disease has spread so rapidly in a short span of time, even their hands are tied to conduct a test on every person.
The asymptomatic condition of COVID-19 has added an additional threat to the situation. In such a case, people who are infected might not even show the symptoms and spread it to other people unconsciously. Soon, the cases might even triple or quadruple. In such cases, it would be a considerable burden on the government and hospitals as they might fail to accommodate such huge crowds.
On the positive note, quarantine or isolation is one of the best solutions imposed to control the spread. Besides, various labs and companies around the globe are working on kits that can augment the COVID-19 testing and give results in hours.
Overlap With Pneumonia or Respiratory Disorders
Since pneumonia also disrupts the respiratory system and can be fatal, people with such conditions might be treated for it rather than COVID-19. In such cases, people who die with pneumonia or similar diseases might also be suffering from COVID-19.
But, their deaths might be overruled by the other chronic underlying conditions which could misinterpret the death rate or even ignore the spread from those patients. It also might be one of the reasons why some nations had a spike in their infection rate as their citizens might have been treated for pneumonia even when they were infected with COVID-19. No one is to blame here, as it spread so rapidly, leaving no time for those nations to develop immediate actions.
Does COVID-19 Pose the Same Threat to Everyone?
The effect of COVID-19 on different age groups, people with health conditions, and regions are still being studied. However, from the available data (1), it is pretty clear that those above 40 and with other illnesses are at higher risk of experiencing complications or even death. Besides, those with the weaker immune system may also have a more significant threat, as their body may fail to fight the coronavirus while undergoing treatment.
Unlike other conditions, treating COVID-19 requires keen observations and continuous support as there is no medication or procedure to handle it directly. Even the governments have to pace up to build ventilators, PPEs, and care units that can create a better environment to help patients recover much faster. But, keeping in mind the rising cases and the available resources might be a burden for every country to provide the same level of treatment.
How Lethal Is COVID-19?
Note that, as mentioned above, it is not lethal to everyone that is infected.
As the coronavirus enters the body, it starts attacking the linings of the respiratory system. The infection may begin in the nose, then throat, and spread to the lungs. It multiplies and attacks the nearby cells. The symptoms of sore throat or cough may start when it infects the throat.
Later, when the virus spreads to the lungs, the person may experience breathing difficulty. In a very group of people, it can become complicated and lead to fatal conditions such as pneumonia. In most cases, these symptoms are mild, and people often recover with an effective treatment that is given in the hospital or healthcare centers.
China was one of the first nations to be infected by COVID-19. The cases spiked up at a robust pace. But, by the time the world tried to understand the infection, it spread around the globe in a matter of weeks. However, China quickly locked down the cities that were affected and took various protocols to control the disease.
They built hospitals and pushed their resources to control and treat the patients. Although they have the highest number of cases, they are slowing down at an impressive rate. The number of new deaths and new cases is also significantly low compared to other nations in a similar stand.
Even they are opening up their cities and bringing the work-force back. It is not that China completely wiped out the condition, but they are able to manage it and flatten the curve, which is an excellent way of containing the situation.
COVID-19 is a threat to our world. But, panicking about the situation takes us nowhere. With the current researchers, developments, and treatments, we could all soon wipe out the COVID-19 from planet earth. We should all be optimistic and trust the experts and follow the protocols.
However, we should also not take it for granted, thinking that a healthy person may not be killed by it. Even if the person is not killed, the treatment, recovery process, and aftermath could be challenging to cope with. Hence, we should all follow one rule to protect us and those around us: prevention is better than cure.