Summing up the Covid-19

Bacillius Calmette –Guerin and the Coronavirus

As everyone should know, the world is currently experiencing a global pandemic of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Most infected people have been infected in China.

It may be instructional to look at the last major pandemic, the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009. This was caused by a virus from a different family of viruses than the current coronavirus outbreak.

The coronavirus is a new, novel coronavirus that appears to have originated from bats before making the jump to humans. The “novel” part is important in that no one has been exposed to this specific virus before, meaning no one has built up immunity to it. Though, the lethal rate in the former CIS countries, including Ukraine, is considerably lower. In Ukraine the lethal rate is close to 2.5%, in Latvia –2%, in Kazakhstan is 0.6% (lower than from flu). A number of scientists affirm that it happens because of the application of BCG vaccine (Bacillius Calmette –Guerin) which is obligatory for children since the mid-1950s.

COVID-19 is not influenza, although it behaves in some ways like influenza. It is, closer to a highly contagious viral pneumonia. In mild cases it results in few if any symptoms, such as cough and mild fever. In severe cases, it results in life-threatening pneumonia that can be fatal, particularly in the elderly, immunocompromised and individuals with underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.

The virus in the 2009 pandemic is considered to be quite different from the typical H1N1 viruses that were circulating at the time.

The 2009 H1N1 pandemic originated in the United States before spreading around the world, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A later study suggested it was first diagnosed in humans in Mexico. The CDC estimated that from April 12, 2009, to April 10, 2010, there were 60.8 million H1N1 cases, with 274,304 hospitalizations and 12,469 deaths in the U.S. alone.

They also estimate that worldwide, 151,700 to 575,400 people died from (H1N1)pdm09 during the first year. Unusually, about 80% of the deaths were in people younger than 65 years of age.

The CDC notes, “This differs greatly from typical seasonal influenza epidemics, during which about 70% to 90% of deaths are estimated to occur in people 65 years and older.”

In general, the outbreak of the coronavirus infection was the 18th pandemic in human history.

The first pandemic is considered to be “Justinianov plague”. It also came from China. It reached Europe somewhere in 540AD.

The disease plagued the continent for approximately 200 years and caused the local population to decline by 50% all along. The Greek chronicler Procopius of Kesarian wrote: “When it reached its peak, the plague killed 10,000 people in Constantinople daily. There was not enough place to bury the dead, so the corpses were just lying on the streets”.

In any case, the coronavirus is not as dangerous as the black plague. The recent Ukrainian experience shows that traditional methods of treatment of respiratory diseases turn out to be effective in Ukraine. We have just only two risk groups – people suffering from heart diseases and diabetes (more than 90% of the death toll). Surely, we expect for new vaccines from Israel and Germany, however, we know exactly that we shall overcome it.

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