Scientists and medical researchers for many years disagreed on the exact definition of a pandemic (whether it is a pandemic or an epidemic), but they all agree on one thing: this term describes the widespread spread of the disease in excess of accepted standards. And it is quite obvious that humanity has not yet learned how to cope with new infections that are emerging again and again.
Pandemics are large outbreaks of disease that affect several countries and pose serious risks to health, social and economic development. A pathogen rapidly spreading across the globe is potentially capable of killing tens of millions of people, destroying the economy and destabilizing national security. Climate change, urbanization, lack of water and sanitation are factors that contribute to the rapid spread of catastrophic outbreaks.
The UN predicts that by 2050 the world’s urban population will double or even triple, and most of the population density growth will occur in the CIS countries. And population density directly correlates with the rate of transmission of respiratory and fecal-oral pathogens (mycobacterium tuberculosis, influenza, cholera, rotaviruses, helminths). So there is something to be afraid of.
Cholera, bubonic plague, smallpox and flu are some of the most brutal killers in human history. And outbreaks of these diseases beyond international borders are correctly defined as a pandemic. Smallpox throughout history has killed between 300 and 500 million people in 12,000 years of its existence.
By the way! Between 1940 and 2004, 335 cases of new infectious diseases were recorded worldwide.
If you look at the history of pandemic infectious diseases on a global scale, then on average they appeared every 10 years, but now, unfortunately, the frequency between infections is frighteningly short:
- 2003 – Acute respiratory syndrome (SARS);
- 2007 – H1N5 flu (bird flu);
- 2009 – H1N1 (swine flu pandemic);
- 2012 – Middle East respiratory syndrome;
- 2014 – Ebola;
- 2019 – COVID-19 (the first recognized pandemic since H1N1).
The recent Ebola virus outbreak that has claimed the lives of thousands of people is still being held back in West Africa. Perhaps someday this outbreak will also become a pandemic, but so far it is considered an epidemic, and therefore is not included in this list. The West African Ebola pandemic has once again shown that the world is in no way prepared to respond to a global health emergency:
- 11,158 people died in 9 countries due to a delayed reaction;
- global economic losses totaled more than $ 15 billion.
It is clear that certain lessons should have been learned from the Ebola outbreak, but failed.
The onset of coronavirus
The world has never encountered a coronavirus pandemic. For several months, more than 180,000 cases of the disease were recorded in 114 countries, more than 4,000 people died and thousands more are fighting for their lives in hospitals. In Italy, more than 680 people died from COVID-19, and the total number of cases continues to increase dramatically. The country has 10,000 cases, second only to China. Over 9,000 cases have been reported in Iran, and over 7,700 in South Korea.
And only after that, WHO recognized the disease caused by coronavirus, a pandemic. The Director General of the World Health Organization calls on all citizens to take urgent and aggressive measures to prevent infection. The alarm bell rang, and what’s next, panic?
Can general madness be justified?
WHO experts did not want to “call” the outbreak a pandemic, as this would increase the risk of public panic. But this happened, and people began to panic, not because they are stupid, but because the end seems to be getting closer. But is it worth it to worry?
V. Yolov, a doctor from Bulgaria, argues that contracting the virus is less likely than winning the lottery. Yes, if you have direct contact with infected Chinese or Italians, you will get sick, but even in this case, do not despair, because:
- more than 80% of cases are mild;
- only 5% of diseases are critical.
This means that even if you “pick up” the coronavirus, most likely you will recover.
Important! The mortality rate from SARS is 10%, while from KOVID-19 it is only 3.5%.
On the worst day in the history of coronavirus (February 10), 108 people died in China. During the same day, more than 26,000 people died from oncology, more than 24,000 died from cardiovascular disorders, and more than 4,000 people died from diabetes. All this proves that excessive panic is useless. Do not succumb to provocations and stop buying everything at pharmacies and supermarkets.
Instead of devoting huge resources to “responding” to the pandemic, WHO and other organizations should devote funds to actually prevent infectious outbreaks. Providing and investing preparedness before the onset of the crisis will save the lives of thousands of people, and ultimately save money. And you do not panic, observe personal hygiene, maintain your immunity with high-quality nutrition and vitamins, and live “to the fullest.”