Of Global Flu Pandemics and the Corona Virus-19 Outbreak in Myanmar

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By Lokethar

Speaking of the “Flu Pandemics” that happened around the world over the past centuries, “the Flu Pandemic of 1889/90 in just a few months spanned the globe, killing I million people. It took just five weeks to reach it’s “peak mortality” according to a Google website. From the same source it is learned that “In the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918/20 about 500 million people across the globe were infected out of which one fifth died”. Then again “the Asian Flu pandemic of 1957/58 which was a global pandemic with it’s roots in China, claimed more than one million lives”. The 2009 swine flu caused by a new strain of H1N1 virus, in one year infected as many as 1.4 billion people across the globe and killed between 151,700 and 575,400 people.
The pandemics afore-mentioned are gone but probably not the viruses that caused them. Perhaps the viruses will never “go away”. The human genome may have somehow developed immunity to the virus. If so it may attack only those whose immune system against the virus is still weak and it can overpower such persons and not others. My apologies to the Immunologists and the medical profession people if the “opinion” just expressed is judged as being “wild speculation”. Any way the “track records” seem to give it some credence.
Sars-Cov-2, the virus that caused Covid-19 Pandemic originated in China, and so far has caused millions of deaths world wide. The Corona Virus however is not a Flu virus as is asserted by Immunologists around the world. Hence it’s future “behaviour” could be less predictable than the virulent “Flu” viruses. As it is a new virus no one has immunity against it. Efforts to develop a vaccine for Covid-19 is still on-going.

Helpless against Covid-19
Regarding the Covid-19 Virus, no matter where it came from, it took the world by surprise. Even the most advanced Nations have been helpless against it because there just didn’t exist the precise “technology” shall we say, to confront it. It had to be put together in haste, sometimes with much groping around. Of course the safe bet was “isolating” those who contracted the virus and taking other measures to “contain” the epidemic. Gradually “isolation” extended to every sphere of life so that social and business interactions came to be severely curtailed. This has caused trade and commerce to be badly “hit” leading to economic downturns in practically every country. It put pressure on all countries and particularly the developing countries of the world whose medical facilities were not up to the challenge from the start.
The crude mortality rate of the Corona-19 Pandemic (the number of reported deaths divided by reported cases) according to a recent WHO study in an ASEAN Country, is between 3% to 4%.(For Myanmar, as of 5th October 8.00PM it is reckoned to be at around 2.4%). From the 13th of March 2020 when the WHO declared it to be a Pandemic, up untill the present time there has been over 2 million recorded deaths world wide. According to a report on the incidence of the disease about 80% recover from the disease without any special treatment. About 1 in every 5 people who are infected with the Covid 19 Virus develop difficulty in breathing and need hospital care. People over 60 years of age with underlying medical conditions are more at risk of infection by the virus. The Covid 19 virus will, hopefully, with the development of an effective vaccine, be “contained”. In the meantime it will take it’s course and toll. However it can be said with a degree of certainty ,that like the “Flu” viruses it may never “go away”.
Even if an effective vaccine is found, it may be quite some time before the entire population of the world can be “vaccinated”. Then again, due to cost and difficulties of obtaining the vaccine it would be hard to prioritize it’s administration amongst the population, particularly of the developing countries. It may also be that the period of “coverage” of the immunity provided from the virus could be limited in which case the frequency of “vaccination” may pose problems. It seems that we have to learn to live with the Covid 19 virus for as long as it has the potential to infect people. Hence we have to fall back on the current prescribed precautions of washing hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizers, wearing a mask in public and maintaining the safety distance as some of the measures to be taken for as long as the Covid-19 Virus is around and continue to infect people.

Containment measures
Other constraints like containment measures will have to be imposed as required. However, if such measures continue for any length of time, economic life will be disrupted. Businesses will have to shut down and distribution of commodities may be entirely “on line” which may not be widespread or sustainable due to technological constraints and cost of such measures. Unless the imposed constraints are slowly faded out humanity may risk economic disasters probably far more serious than the affects of Covid 19 Virus itself.
Hence it is suggested that the control measures now in place be gradually relaxed, of course without compromising safety and health of the people. Such relaxation would also be beneficial for the economy. And of course all the people must willingly cooperate to abide by the measures like washing hands, using face masks in public and trying their best to keep a safe distance between one another as best as they can.
With charity to all and malice to none.

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