According tomedia The Verge, countries around the world are actively looking for new cases of the coronavirus to stop its spread around the world. But if they can’t effectively contain the virus, public health officials may need to start another battle. For now, countries are relying on measures such as isolation in the hope that they will be enough to fight the outbreak. If these measures are unsuccessful, the virus may change from a temporary epidemic to one that causes a new epidemic.
As we are still learning the severity of the virus, the meaning of this conversion remains vague. Graham Medley, director of the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “We are in a panic phase. The government doesn’t know what to do, and people don’t know what to do. When we understand the risks, the response will change. “
At present, China is facing an epidemic of coronavirus: the disease spread rapidly in a short period of time, affecting a large number of people. If the epidemic continues to spread widely in other countries, it could become an epidemic. If interventions still fail to stop the spread of the virus, it may shift from an epidemic to endemic diseases. There is no uniform definition of what is endemic. For epidemiologists, endemic diseases are a type of disease with regional morbidity characteristics, which continue to occur in the human population. “For most people, the difference between an epidemic and endemic disease is that the risk of an epidemic is unknown. People are afraid to get the new coronavirus because they don’t know what to do. He said. “The definition is actually based on how individuals and governments view risk. “
In the case of influenza, it is technically causing an epidemic every year, but it does not trigger the same type of public health mobilization as we do in coronaviruses. Medley points out that every time we have a new epidemic, people compare it to the flu and say it’s infecting and killing more people.
“We don’t see this kind of government response to the flu every year. The U.S. won’t say the flu will come from Vietnam, so let’s stop all flights from Vietnam. He said. But that’s because public health officials and governments know about the risks of influenza. They can predict their patterns and focus on mitigating their effects through education and vaccines.
Erin Sorrel, an assistant researcher in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Georgetown University, says people feel more comfortable with things that are easy to understand and predictable. “People can take the risk of seasonal flu. We are comparing new things with risk tolerance that we don’t understand well, and things we see year after year. “
Public health experts still don’t know how dangerous the new coronavirus is, and their response has improved because of this uncertainty. In addition, since the virus is new, there is still an opportunity to prevent its spread among people. This was the case with previous outbreaks of SARS. Overall, endemic diseases cause more diseases and deaths than epidemics such as SARS. But they’re hard to stop. “The reason we’re responding so positively to new diseases is that we have the opportunity to control the spread to the source of the outbreak and prevent it from spreading,” Sorrell said. “
Experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) say it is not too late to stop the spread of new coronaviruses. Other infectious disease experts, however, are not sure. Allison McGeer, an infectious disease specialist in Toronto, told the newspaper: “The more we know, the more we think it’s impossible to control transmission through public health measures.” “
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is preparing for the virus’s spread worldwide and broader in the United States. “We believe there is now a window of opportunity in the U.S. to prevent this from spreading more outside China and more in the U.S.,” said Nancy Messonnier of the CDC’s Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “
Sorrell thinks we’ll know in the next few weeks if we can contain the new coronavirus. If that looks like this, public health efforts around the world may slow down their active search for new cases and focus on treating and mitigating the effects of the virus, similar to how they manage the flu. “These efforts are under way, but they will increase,” she said. There will be more research on antiviral drugs to treat people infected with the virus and continue to invest in the development of vaccines. “We’re not starting from scratch. “
If the new coronavirus cannot be effectively contained, it can be added to the list of diseases that are frequently exposed to the general population. A small number of coronaviruses have been circulating, causing mild colds and respiratory symptoms. “It might be on the group,” Medley said. It can also become seasonally sown stuff, such as influenza, which spreads widely over a few months and then fades away.
Sorrell says there has never been a transition from an emerging virus to a persistent threat, most recently in HIV, the closest example of what can happen to a coronavirus. “It started with an outbreak of animal viruses spreading to humans, ” she says. This has the capacity to lead to local, regional and even global outbreaks, leading to pandemics. This has led to investments in research on infection control and transmission pathways. We can control outbreaks, but they become life-sustaining pathogens in people. “
Ideally, efforts to curb public health would be enough to stop the spread of the virus. But if not, ongoing research is likely to drive adaptation to the new normal. “If this becomes a persistent pathogen in the population, we will have a better understanding of it because it already exists,” Sorrell said. “Epidemics are becoming more and more resistant. “