Many must remember the influenza A pandemic, the popularly known as “swine flu”. It started on June 11, 2009 and ended more than 1 year later, on August 10, 2010. However, even before the WHO statement on the pandemic state, the virus influenza it was already making victims in several countries.
Over the course of 18 months, H1N1 killed 18,449 people worldwide – of these, 2,160 were Brazilian. Meanwhile, the new coronavirus has already caused 19,677 deaths in just 3 months, starting from the date of its discovery: December 31, 2019.
Percentage of deaths by covid-19, H1N1 and SARS divided by days.Source: El País
According to scientists, this lethality and the speed of contagion are due to unprecedented characteristics of the virus that causes covid-19. Human familiarity with H1N1 contained much of its spread; and many contaminated had mild symptoms, soon developing immunity against the infectious agent.
When talking about numbers, the new coronavirus has a reproductive number between 2 and 3. Therefore, an infected person must take the infectious agent to 2 or 3 more people over the period of contamination. In 2009, the H1N1 reproductive number of 1.5 and became a pandemic quickly. As such, Sars-CoV-2 is alarmingly more contagious.
However, the lethality rate is likely to decrease significantly over the period of the covid-19 pandemic. While the disease is widespread and more people are infected with the virus and have mild or no symptoms, the relationship between the number of deaths and the number of people infected should decrease.
But we can’t be so excited. Although the lethality rate decreases over the course of days, covid-19 is a more deadly disease than common flu – and swine flu – and is expected to claim more victims worldwide. It is worth noting that there is still no vaccine or efficient treatment against symptoms or covid-19 itself. In addition, there is a huge portion of society included in the risk group.
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