11 March 2020, the World Health Organization officially labeled coronavirus as a pandemic. Prior to this, its representatives attributed the outbreak of the disease to epidemics.
However, the re-qualification of this phenomenon indicates its high severity.
What are the differences between an epidemic and a pandemic and when to wait for the completion of this disaster?
Look for answers to these and other questions below.
Epidemic and Pandemic – What’s the Difference?
An epidemic is a sharp increase in the number of diseases in a particular geographical area. It may cover one or more countries. A pandemic is the spread of the disease in many countries of the world. Cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in most countries of the world and on all continents, excluding Antarctica. In addition to the epidemic and pandemic, there is also endemic, which means a minor outbreak of the disease in the territory of a certain region. For example, malaria is a constant worry in some African countries.
Epidemiologists believe that the new coronavirus is more dangerous than many other diseases that humanity has experienced over the past 100 years (but, of course, there were outbreaks of more serious diseases, for example, Ebola in Africa, but this deadly disease was not widespread). For example, 290 to 650 thousand people die each year from seasonal flu, however, coronavirus can take millions of lives in the same period, scientists suggest.
Also, researchers are already making their first conclusions and predictions. After studying the behavior of the virus in China, WHO experts concluded: in 80% of cases, the disease caused by the virus occurs in mild or moderate form. But about 20% of cases require hospitalization.
What Were the Most Terrible Epidemics and Pandemics in the History of Mankind?
The deadliest epidemics and pandemics in human history include:
• Smallpox. This is a highly contagious infection that affects only people, not animals. In the Middle Ages and the New Age, this virus periodically caused outbreaks of morbidity with a mortality rate of up to 40%. For example, at the beginning of the 16th century, smallpox almost completely destroyed the Aztec civilization. However, in the 20th century, smallpox was completely taken under control. Thanks to total vaccination, it is no longer a threat to humanity.
• Spanish flu (the 1918 flu pandemic). The H1N1 pandemic, which began to develop at the end of World War I, took away more lives than the war itself. It led to the infection of half a billion people. During the first 25 weeks, H1N1 killed about 25 million people.
• Asian flu. The H2N2 virus was discovered in China in 1956. It came from viral diseases of birds / poultry. Later it spread to several other countries. In the USA alone, about 70 thousand people became victims of H2N2.
• Cholera. Cholera has long been a local disease, but in the 20th century it caused pandemic outbreaks, killing tens of millions of lives, including in Bengal, Russia, China, Japan and other countries.
In addition, HIV is also considered a pandemic. However, existing drugs help patients live an almost full-fledged life. By the way, Kaletra pills, which contain antiviral agents lopinavir and ritonavir, has a proven effectiveness against coronavirus.
Are There Worse Periods than a Pandemic?
According to medical classification, there are no worse periods than a pandemic (except hypothetical human extinction, but it belongs to futurology). Some political scientists and economists claim that the effects of coronavirus-induced quarantines and restrictions may be worse than the epidemic itself. In our opinion, developed states will cope with the problem with less serious consequences for the economy than developing countries and third world countries.
Certainly, humanity can do this. New drugs are now being discovered that can fight coronavirus, and vaccine studies are also underway. The problem is that the virus spreads very quickly and not all people receive proper medical care. Plus, it takes time to test and manufacture the vaccine.
To protect yourself and your loved ones, as well as reduce the burden on the healthcare system, stay at home (if possible) and / or follow the requirements of your government (in some countries, citizens cannot leave their homes without special permission).
Read an article: Steps to Save Your Life
When is the End of the Epidemic Expected?
According to some forecasts, COVID-19 is able to hit from 20 to 60% of the world's population and cause up to 68 million deaths. While Chinese experts believe that the coronavirus nightmare can end in the summer, American and UK experts are less optimistic and are convinced that at least year 2020 will be pandemic.
However, in order to contain the spread of the disease, the most stringent security measures are needed, according to the most researchers around the world (except for some specialists in the field of economics and politics, as noted above).
First, China was the worst-affected country, then Italy took the first place in terms of the number of deaths. March 24, the WHO warned that United States could become next epicenter of COVID-2019, due to an extremely large acceleration and a ‘potential’ of the country to be widely affected.
Dr. Douglas Goldberg, MD is a Cardiology Specialist in Mineola, NY. He is affiliated with medical facilities Nyu Winthrop Hospital and Mercy Medical Center.