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How Will the Coronavirus Pandemic Develop and End?

Three months ago, no one knew about the existence of SARS ‑ CoV ‑ 2. Now the virus has spread to almost all countries, having infected more than 723 thousand people – and these are only those cases that are known.

Covid-19 brought down the economies of different countries and broke down the healthcare system, crowded hospitals and devastated public places. Separated people from relatives and forced to leave jobs. Covid violated the familiar life of modern society on a scale that almost no one living today has ever seen.

Soon, everyone will know someone who is sick with a coronavirus.

A global pandemic of this magnitude was inevitable. In recent decades, hundreds of health professionals have written books, reports, and articles warning of this possibility. In 2015, Bill Gates spoke about this at the TED conference. And so it happened. The question “What if?” turned into “So what next?”

1. The coming months

To some extent, the near future is already predetermined, because COVID ‑ 19 is a slow-moving disease. People who become infected a few days ago will only now begin to show symptoms. Some of them will go to intensive care units in early April. Now the number of cases is growing rapidly reasing at times.

The situation in Italy and Spain is a serious warning to us. There are not enough places, equipment and staff in hospitals, and the number of deaths from coronavirus per day is 700-800 man. To prevent this from happening in other countries and to prevent the worst case scenario (millions of deaths due to lack of medical equipment and human resources), four measures are needed – and quickly.

1. Establishment of the production of medical masks, gloves and other personal protective equipmentIf medical workers are not healthy (and it is easiest for them to become infected), the remaining efforts will be undermined. The lack of masks is due to the fact that medical products are made to order, and their production depends on the most complicated international supply chains, which are currently being pulled.

It is imperative that industrial enterprises switch to the production of medical equipment, as during wars they switch to the production of military equipment.

2. Mass release of tests . The process is slow due to five separate factors:

  • There are not enough masks to protect the people who take the analysis.
  • There aren’t enough swabs to take a swab from the nasopharynx.
  • There are not enough kits to isolate viral genetic material from samples taken.
  • Not enough chemicals are included in these kits.
  • Not enough trained staff.

This shortage is also largely due to supply stress. Something has already been managed, because private laboratories are connected. But even now, tests still have to be used to a limited extent. According to Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch, first of all, it is necessary to check the medical staff and hospitalized patients so that hospitals can “put out” the current fires. And only after that, when the immediate crisis wanes, can they be disseminated more widely.

All this will take time, during which the spread of the virus will either accelerate and exceed the capacity of health systems, or slow down to a controlled level. And the development of events depends on the third necessary measure.

3. Social distance. Look at the situation from this point of view. Now the entire population is divided into two groups: group A includes all those involved in medical measures to combat the epidemic (those who work with patients, conduct tests, produce masks and other materials), and group B includes all the rest.

The task of group B is to win more time for group A.

This can be done by physically isolating yourself from other people, that is, breaking the chains of transmission of infection. Given the slow progress of COVID ‑ 19 in order to prevent the collapse of the healthcare system, these seemingly radical steps must be taken immediately before they seem commensurate with what is happening. And they should last for several weeks.

However, convincing entire countries to voluntarily stay out of the house is not easy. In such a situation, when the general well-being rests on the victims of many people, the fourth urgent measure is very important.

4. Clear coordination. It is necessary to convey to people the importance of social distance (but not to intimidate them). However, instead, many business leaders are prepared to abandon isolation measures in an attempt to protect the economy. They emphasize that it is possible to protect representatives of high-risk groups (for example, the elderly), and the rest to be allowed to go to work.

This position is very attractive, but erroneous. People underestimate how much the virus can hit low-risk groups and how crowded the hospitals are, even if only the young are sick .

If people follow social distance measures, if enough tests and personal protective equipment are done, there is a chance to avoid the worst predictions about COVID ‑ 19 and at least temporarily take the epidemic under control. No one knows how long it will take, but the process will not be fast.

2. Interchange

Even an ideal response will not end the epidemic. As long as the virus exists somewhere in the world, there is a chance that one infected traveler will bring sparks of the disease to countries that have put out the fire. Under such conditions, there are three possible scenarios of events: one extremely unlikely, the other extremely dangerous, and the third extremely long.

1. An unlikely scenario. All countries will simultaneously pacify the virus, as was the case with SARS (caused by SARS coronavirus) in 2003. But given how widespread the infection is now and how poorly many countries are coping, the chances of synchronous virus control are steadily diminishing.

2. Extremely dangerous scenario. The new virus does the same as the previous flu pandemics did – it travels around the world, leaving enough survivors who have immunity, so that it can no longer find organisms suitable for life. The group immunity scenario is faster and therefore more seductive. But he would have to pay a terrible price. The SARS ‑ CoV ‑ 2 strain has a higher transmittance than conventional flu.

Attempting to build group immunity is likely to lead to millions of deaths and the destruction of health systems in many countries.

3. Extremely long scenario. According to him, all countries will continue to fight the virus for a long time, suppressing outbreaks of infection here and there until they create a vaccine . This is the best option, but at the same time the longest and most difficult.

First, it depends on the creation of the vaccine. It would be easier if it were a flu pandemic. The world already has experience in creating flu vaccines – they are made every year. There is no vaccine for coronavirus yet. Until now, such viruses have led to mild diseases, so researchers had to start from scratch. According to preliminary data, its creation will take from 12 to 18 months, and then some more time to produce it in sufficient quantities, deliver it around the world and introduce it to people.

Therefore, it is likely that coronavirus will remain part of our lives for at least another year, if not more. If the current round of social distance measures works, the epidemic could wane enough to get everything back to a semblance of norm. People will again be able to visit offices, bars and universities.

But when the usual routine of life returns, the virus returns. This does not mean that all people must remain in strict isolation until 2022. But, as Harvard immunologist Stephen Kissler says, we must prepare for multiple periods of social distance.

Much of the coming years, including the frequency, duration, and time of periods of social isolation, depend on two characteristics of the virus that are still unknown.

Firstly, seasonality. As a rule, coronaviruses turn out to be winter infections, which weaken or disappear in the summer. Perhaps the same will happen with the SARS ‑ CoV ‑ 2 strain. However, it is likely that changing the weather will not slow down the virus enough, because most do not yet have immunity against it. Now the whole world is looking forward to the onset of summer and the answer to this question.

The second unknown characteristic is the duration of immunity . When people become infected with milder types of human coronaviruses, which cause symptoms like colds, immunity lasts less than a year. But in those infected with the first SARS virus (the causative agent of SARS), which was much more serious, immunity lasted much longer.

Provided that the SARS ‑ CoV ‑ 2 is somewhere in between, people who have recovered from it can be protected for a couple of years. For confirmation, scientists need to create accurate tests that check for antibodies that provide immunity. And also make sure that these antibodies really do not allow people to get the virus and transmit it. If this is confirmed, people with immunity will be able to return to work, take care of vulnerable members of society and support the economy during periods of social distance.

Between these periods, scientists will be able to create antiviral drugs and look for possible side effects. Hospitals will be able to replenish the necessary supplies. Healthcare providers – perform massive tests to detect the return of the virus as quickly as possible. Then, such harsh and broad measures of social distance, as now, will no longer be needed.

In any case, either due to the appearance of the vaccine or due to the formation of group immunity, the virus will become more and more difficult to spread quickly. But it is unlikely that it will disappear completely. Perhaps the vaccine will have to be modified to adapt to changes in the virus, and people should be given regular vaccinations .

Perhaps epidemics will recur every couple of years, but with less rigidity and less disruption of the usual life. COVID ‑ 19 may become what influenza is now — an annual winter companion. Perhaps someday it will become such a common thing that even despite the availability of a vaccine, children born today will not be vaccinated, forgetting how much this virus has affected their world.

3. Consequences

The price that will have to be paid to achieve this with a minimum of deaths will be enormous. As he writes my colleague Annie Lowrey, the economy is now “experiencing a shock more sudden and brutal than anything previously seen by thoe who live today.” Only in the USA approximately every fifth will lose working hours. Hotels are empty, airlines cancel flights, restaurants and small points close. And economic inequality will only grow, because social distance measures will hit low-income people hardest.

Diseases undermined the balance of cities and communities many times, but in developed countries this has not happened for a long time, and not on the scale that we are seeing now.

Once the spread of infection has subsided, a second pandemic will follow – mental health problems . Now, at the moment of fear and uncertainty, people are cut off from comfort – human contact. Hugs, handshakes, and other social rituals are now associated with danger. People with depression and anxiety disorders find it harder to get support.

The elderly, who already participate so little in public life, are asked to isolate themselves even more, only enhancing their loneliness. Asians are more often exposed racist attacks. Most likely, cases of domestic violence will become more frequent because people are forced to stay at home, even if it is unsafe there.

Health workers will need time to recover. According to researchers, two years after the outbreak of SARS in Toronto, medical staff were still less productive and more likely to suffer from burnout and post-traumatic stress. People who survive a long quarantine will also experience lasting psychological consequences. “Colleagues from Wuhan say some residents refuse to leave home and someone has developed agoraphobia ,” says psychologist Steven Taylor, author of The Psychology of Pandemics.

But there is a chance that after this injury, something in the world will change for the better.

For example, the attitude to health. The spread of HIV and AIDS “has completely changed sexual behavior among young people growing up during the peak of the epidemic,” says Elena Conis, a medical historian at the University of California at Berkeley. “Condom use has become the norm, and testing for sexually transmitted infections has become commonplace.” Perhaps, in the same way, washing your hands for 20 seconds, which until now was difficult to enter even in hospitals, during this infection will become a familiar action that will remain with us forever.

In addition, a pandemic can be a catalyst for social change. Now, people and organizations have surprisingly quickly adopted innovations that they were not in a hurry to switch to, including remote work , video calls, normal hospital and flexible conditions for caring for children. “This is the first time in my life that I hear anyone say,“ Oh, if you’re sick, stay home, ”said Adia Benton, an anthropologist at Northwestern University.

Perhaps society will understand that preparedness for an epidemic is not only masks, vaccines and tests, but also a fair work schedule and a stable health system.

Usually, society quickly forgot about the problem after the initial wave of panic. After each infectious crisis – HIV, anthrax, SARS, Zika virus, Ebola – diseases are paid attention to, and invested in treatment methods. But soon the memories are erased, and budgets are reduced. This was partly because these epidemics affected only limited groups of people or occurred somewhere far away. The COVID ‑ 19 pandemic affects everyone and directly affects everyday life.

After the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, the world concentrated on anti-terrorism measures. Perhaps after COVID ‑ 19, focus will shift to public health.

One can already expect a jump in investments in virology and vaccinology, an influx of students into medical universities and an increase in the domestic production of medical equipment. Such changes alone can protect the world from the next inevitable epidemic.

The lessons we will learn from this pandemic are hard to predict. We can go by distance from each other, build metaphorical and physical walls. Or learn unity, ironically born in social isolation, and cooperation.

Imagine such a future: we are moving from a policy of isolationism to international cooperation. Thanks to constant investments and the influx of new minds, the number of employees in the healthcare sector is growing. Children who are now born at school write essays on how they dream of becoming epidemiologists. Public health is becoming a central element of international politics. In 2030, the SARS ‑ CoV ‑ 3 virus appears out of nowhere and pacifies for a month.

  • Every 15 seconds, 1 person dies of Covid-19 in the world

    There are nearly 19 million Covid-19 infections worldwide and more than 700,000 deaths as of August 5. According to Reuters, one person dies every 15 seconds from the new strain of coronavirus.

    The death of coronavirus infection surpassed 700,000 on August 5, according to Reuters statistics. The United States , Brazil, India and Mexico are countries with rapidly increasing deaths.

    On average, nearly 5,900 people die every 24 hours from Covid-19, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the past two weeks.

    This equates to 247 deaths every hour, or one person every 15 seconds from the new strain of coronavirus.

    US President Donald Trump declared the Covid-19 pandemic to be controlled as far as possible in the US, where more than 155,000 people have died from the coronavirus. The response to the discrete pandemic in this country has not been able to prevent the number of infections from rising.

    Reuters

    “They are dying, it’s true,” Trump said in an interview with news site Axios . “Accept this. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t done everything we can yet. The pandemic is under control as much as possible in America. This is a terrible epidemic.”

    In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro ignores the severity of the pandemic and opposes restrictions to prevent virus spreading, even if he and some of his cabinet members are already virus-positive.

    The pandemic affected Latin America, where about 640 million people live, more slowly than in other parts of the world. However, officials still struggle to control the virus because of the poverty and high population density of the area.

    More than 100 million people across Latin America and the Caribbean live in slums, according to the United Nations Human Resources Program . Many worked in the informal economy, had little access to the welfare system, and had to work during the pandemic.

    Even in places where the virus seems to have been prevented, the number of new infections has increased in recent times, signaling a long-lasting war.

    Australia , Japan , Hong Kong , Bolivia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Belgium, Uzbekistan and Israel all recorded a record increase in new infections over the past few days.

    Australia also reported a record new death toll on August 5, bringing the total coronavirus deaths in the country to 247.

  • The US surpass 5 million coronavirus infections

    The US has recorded more than 5 million Covid-19 cases as of August 8. The United State also has more than 161,000 people died of coronavirus.

    On 8/8, the number of coronavirus infections in the US surpassed the 5 million people, while American politicians are still debating about the pandemic bailout and schools considering whether to continue opening

    With 5 million cases of Covid-19, the United States continues to be the country with the most cases in the world. Second is Brazil with about 3 million cases. India ranked third with 2 million positive cases.

    In terms of cases per capita, the US ranks eighth in the world.

    The number of US cases is reported by the New York Times based on reports of federal, state and local officials. Public health experts have warned that the actual number of people infected with coronavirus in the US is much larger.

    Reuters

    The number of infections is on the rise in seven states, as well as in Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands, according to the New York Times. During the past week, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida were the states with the most recent viral infections relative to the population.

    The United States recorded its 1 million infection on April 28, more than three months after the first case was discovered in the country. As of June 10, the US exceeded 2 million cases. The US continues to hit the 3 million infection mark on July 7 and the 4 million cases on July 23.

    The US is testing about 720,000 people a day, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project.

    The number of new infections per day in the US peaked on July 16 with 75,697 cases. This number has gradually decreased and the average over the last seven days has been about 54,000 new infections per day.

    At least 161,000 people have died since the pandemic started in the US.

  • 15+ Best Coronavirus Street Graffiti Art Around the World

    As the days go by more graffiti on the coronavirus appears overnight in some of the most popular cities in the world. Street artists take advantage of the solitude of the streets to capture their works of art.
    We present the best 15+ coronavirus street graffiti from around the world take a look. Remember social distancing is first

    It is from the artist Fake (@iamfake on IG). He even let people download the piece on A2 size for non commercial use.

    New Coronavirus street art – Wynwood

    “Covfefe-19”, Copenhagen – by Welino

    My precious! (graffiti art in Germany)

    15+ Best Coronavirus Street Graffiti Art Around the World
    Michael Shermer / Twitter

    Malmö Sweden

    Stay Safe mural in east LA

    Lockdown graffiti from street artist The Rebel Bear on Bath Street

    “The kiss” from Italian urban artist Salvatore Benintende

    ‘It feels like wartime’: how street artists are responding to coronavirus – Sean “Hula” Yoro

    Mural depicting medical workers wearing protective masks seen in Warsaw

    15+ Best Coronavirus Street Graffiti Art Around the World
    Photo by Warsaw, Poland

    Yes, we can ! Love in “coronatime”

    Nothing to Xi here!

    Cheers – Graffiti Coronavirus by Gnasher

    Copenhagen. Denmark.  by Andreas Welin

    15+ Best Coronavirus Street Graffiti Art Around the World

    A woman in a medical uniform shows the virus her middle finger

    What do you think about these coronavirus street graffiti. Comment to share your ideas.

    Photo by imgur / sony_m78 / Reddit

    Read also

  • WHO updates mask recommendations

    Now they are advised to wear not only sick.

    WHO Director-General Tedros Hebreyusus, at a new briefing on COVID-19, announced new recommendations for the prevention of coronavirus. Here are the main points:

    • Doctors and other medical staff should always wear masks, regardless of whether they work with infected coronavirus infections or not.
    • People over 60 years of age, as well as those who have chronic diseases, are advised to wear masks wherever it is impossible to maintain physical distance.
    • The governments of the countries should encourage the wearing of masks in any places where it is impossible to maintain physical distance, especially for public transport and shops.
    • Those with symptoms similar to coronavirus infection should stay at home. All who contacted him should be quarantined.
    • If a sick person or someone who has contacted him needs to leave the house, he must wear a mask.
    • WHO considers masks to be of high quality, which consist of three layers of different materials or more.

    Previously, the WHO spoke only about the need to wear masks for patients who were ill, because there was insufficient data (apart from clinical studies, which many experts consider to be of little relevance to real life).

  • WHO recorded 106,000 new infections globally in 24 hours

    The WHO recorded 106,000 infections in 24 hours, a record day since the outbreak, with two-thirds of these cases recorded in only 4 countries.

    Tedros Adhanom-Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said on May 20 that the number of coronavirus infections reported to the agency in the past 24 hours has been higher than at any time since outbreaks, according to CNN.

    “We still have a long way to go in this pandemic,” Tedros said at a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland. “In the past 24 hours, 106,000 cases have been reported to WHO – the highest daily level since the outbreak.”

    “About two-thirds of these cases have been reported in only four countries,” he added.

    WHO records 106,000 new cases on a global basis in 24 hours 1 image tedr.JPG
    Reuters.

    According to WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove, confirming with CNN via email, these four countries are the US , Russia, Brazil and India.

    It should be noted that there may be a delay in reporting the number of cases at various points in the process, so the above date record does not mean that these 106,000 people were infected, tested or statistically counted in the last 24 hours.

    According to the constantly updated data of John Hopkins University, the world has recorded nearly 5 million cases of coronavirus, of which more than 326,000 people have died. The United States remains the leading country in both cases – more than 1.5 million, and deaths – more than 93,000.

    Notably, Russia has recently become the second country in the number of cases – more than 308,000, although only a few weeks earlier did not even make the top 20 of the list. Brazil also climbed rapidly in the ranking, ranking third in the number of cases – more than 271,000.

    Russia is ranked second in terms of deaths – more than 35,000, followed by Italy – more than 32,000, France – more than 28,000, Spain – more than 27,000.

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