COVID-19/Corona has been regarded as a global pandemic, leading to shutdown of multiple countries. The virus has been spreading at a very fast pace, affecting millions of people within first 6 months of it’s discovery. Entire economies have been shut down – putting a halt on production of almost everything – from automobiles to alcohol, mobile phones to electrical appliances like TV, ACs etc.
Individuals have lost their jobs. Employees are either getting partial salaries or none at all. Some companies had to shut-down, while others had to pivot their business model just to survive during lockdown. The markets have been shut down for over months, leading to economic crisis. One thing that is plain as day is that the economy of most countries has been crippled and will take years to recover from this impact.
However, Is corona such a threat that should be causing all this? Is it really that dangerous? Should people really stay inside their home for about half-the-year to protect themselves from CoVID-19? Let’s forget the scary stories media has been telling us day and night, and think about it for a minute.
The Fatality Rate
In epidemiology, a case fatality rate is the proportion of deaths from a certain disease compared to the total number of people diagnosed with the disease for a certain period of time. If we look at world-wide statistics, as of today, 3.66 Million (3,660,000) people have been diagnosed with CoVID-19. Out of these, a total of 257,000 deaths have been reported. That gives a fatality rate of 7.02%. Let’s look at the fatality rate of some specific countries, as per today’s reported statistics.
In India, it is 3.4% (49,391 infected, 1,694 deaths).
In China, it is 5.5% (82883 infected, 4633 deaths).
In US, it’s about 5.85% (1230000 infected, 72000 deaths).Based on Numbers obtained from Google & Wikipedia
It makes sense to imagine that these numbers are based on a fraction of population that has been tested, while a large population has not even been tested for the infection. However, by logic, it’s fair to imagine that these percentages will remain similar to these over the larger population as well. Well technically lesser – as the tests were conducted on people who were feeling sick, not including the people who were feeling fine. Hence the sample case was biased. Also, please note that these fatality rates are at a time when there’s no stable vaccine that’s available for this virus.
Let’s look at some other, common diseases, like Common Cold (Seasonal flu). Despite of the vaccine, it has a fatality rate of about 1%. So if you do the math, CoVID-19 looks to be 3.5 times worse than common cold. So should you stay indoor, leaving all your work and regular life for this virus?
I know, I know. I am an ignorant who doesn’t understand a thing about how dangerous Corona is. Right? But is that so? How deadly is COVID-19, really? Lets look at a nice diagram.
If we look at our history, the 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in last 200 years. It was caused by an H1N1 virus. It spread worldwide during 1918-1919. It is estimated that about 500 million people became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide. That means the infamous Spanish flu had a fatality rate of about 10% (roughly 3 times that of CoVID-19).
The severity of a virus is not just determined by the deaths it cause, but also by how rapidly it spreads and how it spreads. CoVID-19 spreads like Common-cold – that is when you inhale the air around an infected person, or by physical contact. Unlike Bird Flu, which has significantly higher fatality rate (~55%) making it ~10 times more deadly than CoVID-19, we didn’t lock down the entire nation for it as it don’t spread if you don’t eat infected birds. So quit non-veg for a few months and Viola! the pandemic is gone. So we know that transmission of CoVID-19 is much higher than that of Bird-Flu. Let’s look at another nice looking diagram to compare transmission rate of few known Viruses.
The Spanish flu (H1N1) had a transmission value of about 1.6, which essentially means each infected person would infect 1.6 other individuals. Or to make more sense of it, 100 infected people would infect 160 other people. Ebola has a transmission value of 2 which means each infected individual is likely to infect 2 other individuals. CoVID-19 is more transmissible than any other virus, with the transmission value at about 2.5 which means each infected individual is likely to infect 2-3 other individuals. The seasonal flu (common cold) has a transmission value of 1.3 which means each individual is likely to infect 1.3 other individuals (or say, 100 infected would infect 130 others).
This is what makes CoVID-19 stands out. It is transmitted much two-times faster than Spanish Flu (H1N1) that was supposedly the most deadly virus of 20th century. However, the fatality rate is about one-third of Spanish Flu, which means if entire country’s population (India – 135 Cr) happens to be infected by the virus, we are looking at 4 Crore deaths caused by CoVID-19.
What does all this mean for us?
As long as this virus is not 100% contained – which means all the infected patients have been quarantined, it’s likely to infect about one-third of our countries population – which is a fair assumption considering the Spanish flu. However, it’s impossible to quarantine all the infected patients in a country where the population is about 135 Cr. This means the lockdown is just a measure to slow down the inevitable spread. This means three things, put bluntly:
In 2021, CoVID-19 will be a cause of death, that will be spoken like Heart Attack, except that there’ll be fewer people attending funeral.Says the WiseDevil
There’ll be mandatory health-checkups on all public places, like airports, malls, shopping complexes, railway stations and even residential colonies at the entrance. This could be a soft check like temperature check, but the social distancing will be the new norm in 2020-2022.Says the WiseDevil
The fatality rate of CoVID-19 is about 3.5% and will remain such till the discovery of vaccine. This means even if you are diagnosed with the virus, you should not worry about dying. But you should definitely live in self-quarantine until you are fine, which may take about a month. The virus will claim lives, but if you are fit and healthy, you’ve shouldn’t worry much.Says the WiseDevil
But who am I to predict the future of this nation, right? I am no astrologer, or a prophet! So use this information at your own risk. Keep fit, stay safe and stop worrying. You’ll be fine!
One more thing that I need to add here – Lockdown can only slow it down but this virus will spread and will claim it’s share of lives. However, the awareness of it is actually causing more panic than it should. The awareness seems to have been strategically planted by nation (could be China, could be America, could be merely chance) that’s disrupting the economics. Enjoy the “Information-Virus” of the information age.