Keshav Chander, M.D. on Coronavirus
Why we panic? The worldwide spread of Coronavirus brings back the memories of past pandemics. The Black Death killed 30-60% of Europe’s population in the 14th century. The Flu pandemic in 1918 is estimated to have killed 50 million people. Some recent pandemics include HIV and Swine Flu.
Common factor impacting previous pandemics? IGNORANCE. In certain cases, it was not known what caused the disease or how it was spread. Other cases, it was social ignorance/bias as in HIV pandemic. In case of coronavirus we have a pretty good idea about how it can potentially spread. CDC has the ability to do the diagnostic testing for this virus
What matters? Public health measures like sanitation and vaccination have been credited with adding 25 years to the life expectancy of people living in the US in the 20th century. Similar measures will go a long way in keeping you safe from Coronavirus. Simple prevention methods include washing your hands frequently, avoiding public places and seeing a physician if you are sick, and avoiding close contact with people who you know are sick.
Bottom lin…Even if this virus is successful in infecting many people, it is unlikely to cause mortality seen at a scale seen in past pandemics. The recent Swine Flu pandemic of 2009 infected 11-21% of the world population, but total fatalities were relatively low at 150,000 to 575,000. Compare it to 291,000 to 646,000 deaths caused per year worldwide by seasonal flu.
Just like a run on the banks can destabilize the economy, I think collective public panic is the only thing that can make things far worse than they need to be.
Keshav Chander is a Board Certified Cardiologist. Currently, he is an independent practitioner and owns Smart Heart Care & Smart Medical Care. www.4SmartCare.com
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