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Coronavirus spreads globally and trials of vaccines started

By Dr. Haytham Mouzahem
 
On March 12, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a pandemic after more than three months of its spread in China and many countries all over the world.

The coronavirus is affecting 167 countries and territories around the world, with 199,339 cases and 7994 deaths to date. The good news is that 82,806 have been recovered, and the 94% (102,121) of the currently Infected Patients are in mild condition while 6% (6,418) only are in serious or critical condition.

The new virus is characterized by its quick spread that has found a foothold on every continent except for Antarctica.

“We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this coronavirus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do,” Ghebreyesus added.

Although the death rate is still relatively low between 2 and 4%, but the novel virus has caused panic and emergency situation in the whole world.

The last pandemic reported in the world was the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009, which killed hundreds of thousands globally.

Meanwhile, China — the original epicenter of the crisis —  which has witnessed the first outbreak in Wuhan city has managed to control the Coronavirus by putting quarantines on Hubei province and its capital Wuhan, with their 60 million habitants. China is witnessing nowadays only few news cases while it was detecting thousands of cases daily a month ago.

China reported 11 new cases of the virus by midday Wednesday local time. China confirmed 13 new cases of coronavirus the day before, 12 of which were recorded in individuals who recently returned from abroad.

“Several countries have demonstrated that this virus can be suppressed and controlled,” Ghebreyesus said.

The problem today has shifted from China to Europe, the US and Middle East as well as the other regions.

The coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the United States, with cases now confirmed in every American state, the District of Columbia and most U.S. territories.

At least 100 deaths in the United States have now been linked to the coronavirus, according to a New York Times database that is tracking and mapping every known case in the country as more people are tested. On Tuesday evening, West Virginia became the 50th state to report a case.

As the number of cases grows despite increasingly strict quarantine measures, experts are warning that life across the globe will face severe disruption for many months.

Residents of major U.S. and European cities remain in lockdown or self-imposed quarantine as experts urge last-ditch containment efforts to slow the spread of the deadly virus.

The outbreak has led to slumps of the stock markets in Asia and Europe and US, despite policymakers’ efforts to ward off a recession.

Meanwhile, many companies have started trials of its Coronavirus vaccines but that will need at least several months to be approved by health authorities and more months to product billions of vaccines for most of the globe population.

About 35 companies and academic institutions are racing to create such a vaccine, at least four of which already have candidates they have been testing in animals and one of them has already started human trials.

However, the precautions (wash your hands) and the self quarantine and social distance would help in slowing down the virus and decreasing the infected cases.

Until the vaccine will be ready for each human being, our best hope is to contain the disease as far as possible.

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