This country of ours is at war. Yes, the war is against that Chinese sickness, coronavirus. This virus has people scared, and it should. From the information I have found from the World Health Organization and elsewhere, the main reason for people being scared is this virus is unknown. No one knows how serious it is, how many could die, how many will contract it, if there is a cure, how long it will affect us, what will happen to our lives since businesses are closing down all over which means people will lose their jobs and their income. This is a scary time.
This virus hits us right in the middle of the annual flu season. Our annual flu season started last September and as of last week, a report by Steve Sternberg, assistant managing editor of Health Initiatives, stated on March 20 that so far there have been 370,000 hospitalizations for flu in this country and 22,000 deaths. He reported that this is the worst flu season. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports that there could be up to 40,000 deaths from flu this year. There has also been an estimated 32 million cases of flu this year or 10 percent of the population. Our Pres. Donald Trump spoke of the large number of flu deaths. On March 5, it was reported there had been 177 COVID-19 cases in this country and 11 deaths, but those numbers have risen fast. The CDC reported that influenza, known as the common flu, has infected as many as 45 million and killed as many as 46,000.
The key difference between coronavirus and influenza is we don't know much about it, plus we don't even know if we will know if we get it. The flu has been around forever and we know more about it. Though it remains to be seen whether the virus can be contained worldwide.
The known symptoms for influenza and covid-19 are nearly identical: fever, cough, body aches, fatigue and at times, vomiting and diarrhea. Melissa Nolan, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of South Carolina, said that research on the known cases so far suggests that the vast majority, some 80 percent, are mild.
Regarding the outbreak in Wuhan, China, they feel the true death rate could be similar to that of a severe seasonal flu, below 1 percent. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, citing the 1 percent estimate, says that is still 10 times worse than the death rate from seasonal flu.
The death rate for those contracting coronavirus could be as high as 3.4 percent, higher than the 2.3 percent reported in China. Another study suggests the rate could be as low as 1.4 percent. "By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills fewer than 0.1 percent of those infected," said WHO Director Dr. Tedros Adhanom.
Of course, the worst pandemic was the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 with the fatality rate of 2 percent killing tens of millions of people.
An experimental vaccine for the coronavirus may be ready for safety testing in humans soon, but will take much longer, at least a year or two, to become available for widespread use if it works. It is possible that Pres. Trump could use his executive orders to make it public. This has been done in the past. Trump has done a good job fighting this disease, at least from many in the know. He has ordered two Navy hospital ships to our shores, one to New York and the other to California. He has closed our borders, closed up government offices and made a major push to acquire the vaccine. The same could be said for many of the governors, including New York's Gov. Cuomo. This is a time when our country needs bi-partisanship and true leaders, not political infighting. The latest figures are 235 cases in Minnesota and one death.
The citizens of the United States of America will get together fighting this disease. There will be some hardships, but the country will survive, stronger than ever. Just say a prayer or two every day and pray for our leaders.