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Even if coronavirus is outside the topic of my website, I wrote this article because is a HOT subject nowadays. How did COVID-19 pandemic start and how it may end?
First cases of Coronavirus can be traced from December 2019 in a wet market of Wuhan, China. The virus spread was mostly limited to China in January 2020, most cases being in Wuhan province, other countries having just few isolated cases, in February more and more cases were confirmed outside China, and since March the virus spreading went out of control all over the world, increasing 100 times in just 30 days.
Number of confirmed infections in China reached 80,000 on 1 March but by end of march less than 2,000 new infections were confirmed. Meantime outside China, number of confirmed infections rose from 1,000 people as 18 February to 10,000 people as 2 March, to 100,000 people as 16 March, to 1,000,000 people as 3 April. 2 April was the day in which worldwide total infections exceeded 1,000,000 and deaths exceeded 50,000 people (source: worldometers.info), meanwhile daily infections exceeded 100,000 and daily deaths exceeded 5,000, if this trend continue, at least 5 million people in the world will be infected by end-April.
If China outbreak was quite limited to Wuhan region, and they could import doctors from other parts of the 1.4 billion people country and recovered 96% of infected people, this is not the case in Europe where number of cases per million inhabitants reached far higher than China. At least in Italy limited number of doctors and artificial breathe devices made doctors to decide who to save and who to leave to die, number of deaths vs recovered people is about 45-55%. United States have the fastest virus spreading, because of too late prevention measures and not strict enough, Donald Trump was more worried about falling economy than about rising number of infections which may turn in deaths and even more economy falling, and americans keep gathering in large groups.
Since March 2020 most countries closed schools, cancelled sports events and holidays, restricted free movement. While China managed to slow down the spread of virus in February, and some countries (such as Italy) may reach in April the peak in terms of daily infections, there will be other countries (France, Spain, United Kingdom, USA, Africa) where virus is spreading speed is rising, might be possible that international restrictions will be kept for at least 1 year until all countries of the world clear all (or most) cases of COVID-19.
This reminds me of 1918-1920 Spanish flu that is estimated to have infected 500 million people (a quarter of world population) and death toll is estimated to have been anywhere from 17 million to 50 million. Now after 1 century, the medicine evolved and SARS-COV-2 pandemic death toll may not become that big, but quarantine measures introduced to reduce virus spreading may affect economy harder than 2008-2009 Great Recession, possible even harder than 1929 Wall Street Crash.
If the number of cases are rising compared with number of doctors, plus increase of infected doctors, the death rate will increase rapidly in the future (see chart), supply of goods will be disturbed, turning people to looting and social unrest.
Note: Confirmed cases aren’t all cases. They only include people who tested positive. Testing rules and availability vary by country. People may be sick with the virus for 1 to 14 days before developing symptoms. Some people never develop symptoms. On Diamond Princess cruise ship, half of passengers tested and confirmed to be infected with coronavirus were asymptomatic (source: CNN). All around the world there are people caring virus but having no symptoms to motivate going to doctor and confirm or infirm the virus, they continue to travel around, going to their jobs using buses and risk infecting everyone in their way. COVID-19 can spread easily if you breathe same air with an infected person, or if you touch an object (such as bus handbars) that was previously touched by an infected person, then touch your mouth or nose. For safety reasons, anyone should keep distance from any other people even if in your city there are none or few confirmed cases (confirmed cases are usually hospitalized and quarantined).
Below are some nice charts made by a friend Alex Dumitru embed from his site corona.help. You can click each country to see the trend of cases, infections, deaths, recoveries.