To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world,it means to say nothing. Over the past six months, most countries have introduced strict quarantine measures, and social distance and self-isolation have become the new norm. Meanwhile, just six months ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) received a report from Chinese health officials. It was then that the press began to appear information about the mysterious pneumonia, which struck dozens of people in the 11 millionth Wuhan. Right before our eyes, the number of infected people was growing, and many of us have already faced this deadly disease. In this article, you will learn what has changed in the world during the pandemic.
How has the world changed in six months?
Although virologists have long warned aboutthe pandemic potential of some coronaviruses circulating in bats, SARS-CoV-2 caused social shock, and researchers and healthcare professionals are still trying to control the spread of the infection. The advent of COVID-19 destroyed the usual course of things, starting with everyday life and ending with the economies of entire countries. Now the most ordinary things - for example, going to work, to a restaurant, school or institute - have become risky and, frankly, dangerous.
Let me remind you that the first news about the mysteriousThe diseases circulating in Wuhan appeared at the end of 2019. At the time of this writing, the natural host of the coronavirus has not been identified, as is the null patient. Researchers believe that bats are the natural host of COVID-19, and pangolins may be intermediate in 2006, as was the case with the outbreak of the MERS coronavirus (Middle Eastern acute respiratory syndrome). In more detail about what these amazing animals are and why their scientists consider them as potential hosts of SARS-CoV-2, I told in this article.
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The reaction of the PRC authorities to the outbreak of infection wasunprecedented - the introduction of strict quarantine measures, mass disinfection, the closure of cities and entire provinces, not to mention the construction of a temporary hospital, which took only 10 days. However, while the whole world was watching what was happening in China, SARS-CoV-2 ended up in other cities and countries. And if on March 10, 2020 (when the WHO announced a pandemic), the number of people infected with the new coronavirus in the world was less than one million people, then already in early July, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than 11 million cases were recorded. But what happens in China today, seven months after the first confirmed case?
What is happening today?
The new coronavirus spread gradually -Following China, major outbreaks occurred in Italy, Spain, France, South Korea and the United States. However, many countries did not control the outbreaks sufficiently. For example, while cases in some regions of the United States have been declining, the number of reported cases in Texas, Florida, and Arizona has risen sharply since the restrictions were lifted. A similar situation, unfortunately, is observed in many countries of the world. On 29 June, WHO head Tedros Adhan Ghebreyesus announced the acceleration of the pandemic.
However, even though the worst is stillahead, scientists have made unprecedented efforts to study the virus in an unusually short period of time and refuted a number of some early assumptions. So, in March, WHO announced the need to wear face masks only to medical personnel, but subsequently, representatives of the organization changed the recommendations. Read more about which face masks are more effective than others and why, read our material. WHO also informed the public about how the virus can behave and how best to protect itself from it, based on past experience - outbreaks of the SARS and MERS coronaviruses that occurred in 2003 and 2006, respectively. Nevertheless, some initial assumptions turned out to be wrong, and scientists still have much to figure out.
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Rapid spread of infection as wellhigh mortality (the disease claimed the lives of more than 500,000 people), led to a real race for the vaccine. After testing existing anti-coronavirus drugs, some of them have proven effective, while others have been disproved. So, the new drug remdesivir can really accelerate recovery in patients with a severe course of the disease. Dexamethasone may lower your risk of death. But the drugs against malaria, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were useless for infected patients with COVID-19. Currently under development More than 150 vaccines against coronavirus. 20 of them undergo clinical trials in humans.
What do we still not know?
You must understand that six months isan incredibly short time to learn as much information about the new virus as scientists have today. But it takes time to answer some questions. For example, it is still unclear why SARS-CoV-2 is more contagious than its relatives SARS and MERS, each of which has infected less than 10,000 people. Some scientists continue to investigate how the virus enters and leaves cells, as well as what types of cells it can infect - from lung cells to intestinal cells. Others prey on which animal the virus has passed on to.
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As for the disease itself, the researchers beforestill do not know how many viral particles are needed to get sick, or why some people suffer the disease harder than others. Some patients, even with milder symptoms, have recovered long-term health problems after recovery. And while people who recover seem to be producing antibodies that protect them from reinfection, only time will tell how long this immune defense can last. Answers to these and other questions are crucial for the coming months and years. The only thing scientists know for sure is that the coronavirus certainly will not disappear in the near future, if at all.