Reasons for Hope about the Coronavirus Pandemic
With over 130,000 cases worldwide and nearly 5,000 deaths, the WHO has declared Covid-19 to be a worldwide pandemic. The number of cases continues to grow exponentially, and it's possible that hundreds of thousands of people may die. Furthermore, the responses of national governments and NGOs have been severely inadequate. The news grows worse every day, and many people are justifiably worried about the safety of their loved ones. With all that said, there are reasons for hope.
1. China Has Already Mostly Defeated Coronavirus
In China, the source of the epidemic, the number of new cases peaked on February 12th and has sharply declined since. Yesterday, March 11, there were just 15 new cases. In Wuhan itself, there are now thousands of empty hospital beds as the number of new cases has plummeted.
China has proved that, even with 80,000 cases, it is possible to halt and reverse the spread of the disease.
2. South Korea Is Making Progress Too
Some people think that only a totalitarian state like China can stop the spread of the disease. But South Korea is well on the way to stopping it as well. New cases have been declining since March 3rd.
3. Western Governments are Finally Responding
After weeks of ignoring the problem, governments in Western countries are finally taking action. Italy's country-wide quarantine is the most drastic action, but other national and local governments are taking major steps as well. It's very likely that these actions will reduce the rate at which the disease is spread.
4. Testing Will Improve
Testing for coronavirus has been completely inadequate in most countries. In many cases, infected people were not tested, and then went on to spread the disease to other people.
In the coming days and weeks, this will change. The amount of available test kits will improve by leaps and bounds. Once people are tested, those who are infected can be quarantined and their close contacts can be tested as well.
Countries with strong testing regimes have been able to almost completely stop the spread of the disease. Taiwan has tested every resident and visitor with flu-like symptoms since January 31st. As a result, the entire country has had only 49 cases of coronavirus and just 1 death.
5. The Disease Is Probably Less Deadly That We Think
With the lack of testing, the number of cases of coronavirus is probably much higher than reported. People with minor or asymptomatic cases are not being recorded in the stats.
But this means the death rate is much lower than reported. It's likely that the actual death rate for coronavirus is less than 1%, provided that proper medical care is available.
6. It Barely Affects Kids
As of today, no one under the age of 10 has died of coronavirus and only a few under the age of 20 have died.
7. Medical Treatments Will Improve
If coronavirus continues to be a worldwide problem in the coming months or years, new medical treatments will be devised that will make the disease much less deadly. Already, a new antiviral called Remdesivir is being tested that may prove effective at combatting the virus.
Further in the future, it's possibly that a vaccine will be developed which could stop coronavirus entirely.
8. Wild Animal Markets Are Being Shut Down
China has announced that it is shutting down the wild animal markets which were the cause of both coronavirus and SARS. This action will prevent future outbreaks, and could possibly have beneficial effects on endangered species populations.
9. Warm Temperatures Might Help
So far, the areas which have been hardest hit by coronavirus have temperatures and humidities within certain ranges. Countries with warmer weather such as Thailand, Vietnam, India have been largely unscathed. Furthermore, one recent research paper shows that the disease spread less quickly in Chinese cities with higher temperature and humidity. It's possible, though not certain, that the arrival of summer will help to curtail the spread of the disease.
10. It Could Have Been a Lot Worse
Coronavirus has exposed major failings in the governments and NGOs which were supposed to keep us safe from a pandemic. But we're fortunate that coronavirus is not a much deadlier disease such as SARS or Ebola. Hopefully, the lessons learned from coronavirus will help prevent such a disease from spreading in the future.
That's all. Was there anything I missed? Please stay safe out there JetPunkers.