The world is in a state of confusion, with Covid-19 sweeping the globe. Infection rates are soaring, with leaders beginning to question the world's preparedness and response. Here are 20 facts about the pandemic, and other diseases.
1. Over 11.3 Million Cases Of Covid-19 Have Been Reported Worldwide
The World Health Organization cites over 11.3 million cases of Covid-19 worldwide. As it stands, there are 5.8m in the Americas; 2.7m plus in Europe, and more than 226,000 cases in the Western Pacific.
2. Flu Pandemics Are More Common Than You Think
Covid-19 is not the first pandemic to affect humans. Flu pandemics are pretty regular. 2009 saw the spread of H1N1 ('swine flu'); 1957 - 1958 gave rise to the H2N2 virus ('Asian flu'). Moreover, the 1968 H3N2 virus ('Hong Kong flu', and H1N1 virus of 1918 (known as 'Spanish Flu') wiped out millions of lives.
3. The 1918 Spanish Flu Outbreak Infected Half A Billion People
The Spanish Influenza outbreak infected over 500 million at the end of World War 1. With the spread of infection exacerbated by the movement of troops, 20 to 100 million people died. The disease reached even remote areas, including the Arctic and Pacific Islands.
4. 'Ordinary' Flu Is No Joke
Seasonal flu is seriously underestimated. Often thought of as 'ordinary' flu, it's still a killer. Up to 45 million illnesses and 61,000 deaths are attributed to seasonal flu after all. That clearly makes it a dangerous illness in its own right.
5. The Black Death Killed Up To 60% Of The Population Of Europe
75 to 200 million people perished because of the Black Death in the mid-1300s. Surprisingly, not only did it kill 30% to 60% of Europeans in the early Middle Ages, but it subsequently returns in waves. Plague in various forms still exists to this day.
6. Different Viruses Kill Different People
The elderly and people with underlying health conditions are considered to be at higher risk from Covid-19. That said, other pandemics affect different groups.
For instance, Spanish flu presented a greater risk to young, healthy individuals. Younger people are generally stronger, so their immune systems overreacted to the virus. Because of this, their natural defenses were rendered useless as a result.
7. Temperature Checks Alone Cannot Detect Covid-19
Fever by itself doesn't mean a person has Covid-19 - they just have a raised body temperature. It's important to bear in mind an elevated temperature is only one of the symptoms of Covid-19. Thermal scanners indicate fever - they don't detect the virus.
8. There Is Currently No Licensed Treatment Or Vaccine For Ebola
Scientists all over the world are working hard to protect us from the Ebola virus, which has an average death rate of around 50%. As it stands, there are no licensed vaccines or treatments available. Without treatment or a vaccine, the world clearly remains at significant risk.
9. People Of Any Age Can Contract Covid-19
Certain age profiles and those with underlying medical problems have higher death rates from Covid-19. Despite that, there is no group of people with immunity. Covid-19 kills people of all ages and lifestyles, young and old alike.
10. A Pandemic Is Nearly Impossible To Contain
Until recently, people were free to travel. That makes it very difficult to manage spreading infections. All things considered, slowing transmission rates - as opposed to trying to destroy the pandemic - has been deemed to be relatively successful.
11. Covid-19 Spreads Rapidly
According to estimates, an infected person can pass Covid-19 to up to three other people. Using public transport exposes you to greater risk. Another way to increase the chance of falling ill is by coming into close contact with people from outside your household - at the doctor's office, for instance.
12. Regular Hand Washing Reduces The Risk
Hygiene techniques to help avoid passing on germs include washing hands often and the use of hand sanitizer. This substantially lowers the chance of spreading disease, thus slowing rates of infection.
13. Seasonal Flu And Covid 19 Have Some Similarities
Fatality rates for seasonal flu are lower than for Covid-19, but as we now know, they work in very different ways. They do, however, spread in a similar manner, namely via coughs, sneezes, and contact with contaminated surfaces.
14. Social Distancing Helps Suppress Pandemics
For disease control and prevention measures to work in the first place, they have to start with the basics. Generally speaking, that includes keeping distance between individuals.
15. Quarantine Has Disadvantages
Quarantine is powerful when dealing with contagion because it helps keep lethal strains contained. On the other hand, negative effects include mental health issues caused by isolation, job losses, and subsequent economic impact. Basically, it's a tough call to make.
16. Antibiotics Do Not Kill Viruses
Antibiotics undoubtedly save millions of lives every year. But the problem is they don't work against viruses. For that reason, they don't help against Covid-19.
17. Face Masks Don't Stop You Catching Covid-19
All in all for face masks to be effective, they rely on people using them properly and keeping them sterile. Most experts agree that the use of face masks reduces the risk of contracting and transmitting Covid-19.
18. You Might Not Know You Had Covid-19
Despite some patients reacting badly to the virus, not everyone with Covid-19 actually gets symptoms - to put it simply, sometimes there are little or no signs.
19. Loss Of Taste And Smell Could Be A Symptom Of Covid-19
Loss of smell and taste were recently added to the symptom list for Covid-19. Chiefly, it's important to contact your physician or seek official guidance if you think you have symptoms.
20. Nobody Knows Whether Things Will Ever Return To Normal
Last but not least, no one knows when or even if life will return to how it was before Covid-19. Ultimately, all we can do for now is to stay safe, keep talking, and look after each other. Otherwise, we're all in trouble.