When to wait for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic
(ORDO NEWS) — Almost the whole of 2020 has passed hand in hand with the pandemic of the new coronavirus infection. From the very beginning of the spread of the disease, epidemiologists and public health professionals have built various mathematical models that should predict the future and help contain the spread of the virus.
According to history professor Nukhet Varlik, models are not crystal balls. Even complex constructions using machine learning do not always give accurate predictions. In the case of diseases, the situation is even more difficult, since it is difficult to predict the exact number of cases and deaths. Instead of a mathematical explanation of what is happening, Warlik suggests looking back and studying how outbreaks of various diseases have evolved in the past.
Sometimes they come back.
Bacteria, viruses or parasites – almost all pathogens that have infected people over the past several thousand years are still with us, because it is almost impossible to completely eradicate them. The only disease that has been eradicated by vaccination is smallpox in the 1980s.
Studies of the global burden of disease show that annual deaths from infectious diseases, most of which occur in developing countries, account for almost one third of all deaths in the world. Today, in an era of global air travel, climate change and environmental disruption, we constantly face the threat of infectious disease while continuing to suffer from much older diseases.
The plague is still there
Even infections that now have effective vaccines and treatments continue to claim lives. As an example, Warlik cites the plague, the most dangerous infectious disease in human history.
Over the past 5,000 years, there have been countless local outbreaks and at least three documented plague pandemics that have killed millions of people. The most notorious of all pandemics was the “Black Death” of the mid-14th century. Smaller outbreaks continued to occur over the following centuries.
The same state-destroying plague bacterium exists today, the historian notes. It is a reminder of the very long-term resistance and resistance of pathogens. “I hope COVID-19 will not persist for millennia. But until there is a successful vaccine, and probably even after it, no one is safe, ”he stressed. “Given these historical and contemporary precedents, humankind can only hope that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 will prove treatable.”
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