Friday, July 12, 2024

Is the coronavirus over? Here are some common misconceptions about it

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Dr. Tom Frieden was director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2009 to 2017, where he oversaw responses to H1N1 influenza, Ebola, and Zika. He is President and CEO of Resolution to Save Lives and Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — The “Covid-19” virus is not going away, and after becoming part of the landscape of health threats, it won’t be going away anytime soon. Although the coronavirus is still causing casualties and lasting damage, our body’s immune system, vaccines and treatments have managed to contain the infection.

The virus that causes Covid appeared in late 2019. We learn more about it every day.

The virus and our immune system are constantly evolving, our knowledge and understanding of it, guidance has been modified and refined as we learn more about it, and there is no doubt that public health measures have saved millions of lives.

However, three widespread misconceptions reflect and contribute to the divide. Each contains a kernel of truth that supports a misconception, but the truth is clear.

Will Covid-19 Really Kill a Million Americans?

Yes.

What is the essence of the misconception that “Covid-19” did not kill a million Americans? This may be due to the fact that some deaths were classified as “Covid-19” due to other conditions such as heart attack caused by “Covid-19” or other diseases.

At the beginning of the epidemic, when no one had immunity, there were no effective treatments, and it was not known how to care for people most effectively, and all the people who died and tested positive for Covid-19 died from the coronavirus.

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Today, most people who test positive for Covid-19 have immunity, which limits the spread of Covid-19, and some die from underlying conditions such as cancer or heart disease.

The gold standard for determining the true impact of an epidemic is based on excess deaths: how many more people died than expected based on previous trends.

In the three years from 2017 to 2019, there were about 8.5 million deaths in the United States. During the pandemic years, between 2020 and 2022, around 10.1 million deaths were reported, a tragic increase of 1.6 million deaths.

Three independent analyzes by the World Health Organization, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and The Economist reached a similar conclusion: In the first three years worldwide, more than 1 million people died in the United States and 20 million died worldwide. The above trends.

Although not all of these excess deaths were due to the “Covid-19” infection, most of them were due to the “Covid-19” infection, and the rest were due to disruption of health services due to the pandemic.

Are vaccines proven to save lives?

Yes.

Covid vaccines may have saved at least 500,000 lives in the United States, and more than twice as many millions worldwide.

Getting vaccinated is easy. But the development of safe and effective Covid vaccines has never been certain. The deadliest epidemic in our lifetime is HIV, for which we still do not have a vaccine.

As the coronavirus evolves and evades the immune system, the effectiveness and durability of our vaccines have been hit, which is why updated versions of the vaccine are needed to increase protection.

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What is the essence of this misconception? Many coronavirus infections are mild, even in the elderly or medically vulnerable. In total, 199 of the 200 infections did not cause life-threatening disease. Infection is unlikely to be severe among young adults.

Study after study has demonstrated the benefits of the vaccine against “Covid-19” as it reduces the risk of death by at least 75% and more than 90% in the months following vaccination.

Although people of all ages benefit from vaccination, the groups that experience the greatest benefit are those at greatest risk of Covid-19, such as those over 65 and those with underlying medical conditions such as a weakened immune system.

If Covid-19 is so dangerous for the elderly, why should young people bother getting vaccinated?

According to available data, vaccinating only people over 65 years of age would lead to 200,000 more hospitalizations and 15,000 more deaths over the next two years than vaccinating everyone.

Is it worth wearing a face mask?

Yes.

Masks have been used in medical settings to prevent respiratory infections for over a century. There’s a reason surgeons wear them before surgery.

The role of masks is twofold: 1- They reduce the amount of airborne virus from people infected with Covid, and 2- They protect the person who is not inhaling the virus from the air.

What is the essence of the misconception that masks are ineffective? This is not correct. Most transmissions occur in places where masks are rarely worn and where masks do not protect effectively.

A person who wears a mask to protect others from infection will never know that he has protected others. A person who wears a mask, but not inconsistently or inappropriately, is not well protected.

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Factors such as how fast the virus spreads, what environment it spreads in (such as indoor spaces with no strong ventilation), the proportion of people who wear masks, and how often they wear them all add complexity to the question of how much protection masks provide. .

For personal protection, a high-quality mask such as an N95 or KN95 can protect the wearer, especially if it fits the face well and is often worn in crowded indoor spaces where exposure to the Covid-19 virus can occur.

Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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