Coronavirus in Beijing: When will the coronavirus outbreak end? Experts give predictions | World News
Although the number of new cases of coronavirus in China seems to be decreasing, experts say they are preparing for a future with a disease that previous pandemics have only hinted at.
The closure of China in Hubei Province, where the outbreak began, gave the world several weeks to raise its defenses, global health officials said Tuesday. But it has not stopped the virus, with new cases appearing worldwide, potentially sowing a pandemic to come.
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“Every virus is different,” said University of Michigan medical historian Howard Markel, who studied influenza epidemics. “If the study of past epidemics has taught me anything, it is that anyone who predicts the future based on that is a fool or a lie because we don’t know it.”
The virus has gathered elements that frighten both public health experts and average citizens. In less than three months, it has infected tens of thousands of people. Humans have never faced it, leaving their immune systems vulnerable. And there are no vaccines to prevent 2019-nCoV, as the virus is called, or to treat the disease it causes, Covid-2019.
One certainty is that new cases will continue to emerge. On Saturday, an American passenger on a cruise ship that docked in Cambodia tested positive for the virus. He raised new concerns that passengers disembarked from the boat, which was previously believed to have no virus, would plant new sources of disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the USA. UU. They said last week that they will begin evaluating patients with flu symptoms for 2019-nCoV in five major US cities. UU. The effort is intended to detect if the virus has infiltrated the US. UU. Despite the robust travel detection and quarantines that have detected the less than 20 US cases identified so far.
The aspects that the new coronavirus shares with other outbreaks are mainly human failures, not biological advantages.
In 1892, the authorities in Hamburg, Germany, worried about the impact that cholera would have on its thriving port, initially remained silent about some cases, allowing the disease to spread, Markel said. More than 8,000 finally died in the city. And the disease soon arrived in New York. In Wuhan, Chinese local authorities have been accused of minimizing the threat of the virus in the first few weeks, when it could have stopped more easily.
The willingness to withstand economic disruption is another factor, Markel said. Epidemics are always hugely expensive. Stopping trade and movement can delay the spread of a disease, but paralyze economies.
In a study published this month, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention warned that even with new declining infections, they could increase again as the economy restarts, after an extension of the Lunar New Year’s national holidays and the closure of workplaces and public meetings. spaces
“A large number of people will soon return to work and school,” a group of researchers from the Chinese agency wrote in their analysis. “We need to prepare for a possible rebound in the Covid-19 epidemic in the coming weeks.”
On the biology side of the virus, researchers do not yet know many basic parameters. One of the most important unknowns is whether the virus can spread when people show no symptoms. If a large fraction of people can catch and transmit the virus before becoming seriously ill, the chances of stopping it with existing measures subside, according to computer simulations conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
“This virus has a firm foothold,” said Steven Riley, professor of infectious disease dynamics at the MRC Center at Imperial College London for Global Infectious Disease Analysis. “There are many more people with SARS than ever. We don’t want this virus to become an established human pathogen. If it takes off in other parts of the world and remains a relatively serious virus, it will become a new kind of thing.”
The world should have a better view of how significant the outbreak will be in the coming weeks, as additional surveillance provides clearer information about the spread of the virus in mid-March, said Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota .
“We are just beginning,” he said. “If this extends throughout the world, it will be just south of the 1918 pandemic,” he said, referring to the pandemic flu that killed millions a century ago. “The next three weeks will be critical.”