COVID-19: 3 Strong Reasons Why The Disease Will Soon Be Gone

 

Since Coronavirus broke out from the city of Wuhan, China in December 2019, the world has changed drastically. Nature human relationships have been altered, working patterns have changed, people have lost their loved ones, businesses have been destroyed, the local economies of countries have been battered, alongside other negative effects.

 It is 8 months already and the deadly disease is still with us. Countries who had earlier succeeded in containing the virus, have also been experiencing a second and third wave of infections e.g China, City of Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and others.

Globally, 3,463,292 cases of infection have been confirmed with 581,329 deaths while 7,852,668 sufferers have also recovered. The question on the lips of most people is when they will return to their normal lives. People want to walk around without facemasks, constant usage of hand-sanitizers, the culture of the round-the-clock washing of hands, attending large social gatherings without fears, shaking hands with people, develop romantic relationships with strangers without risks, and other practices that have been halted since the coronavirus pandemic. Some jobs, especially in the tourism, hospitality and education sectors, have also been taken away with many left without any means of livelihood. These affected people want to be back on track again, earning and providing for their loved ones.


So, here is the million-dollar question; when is the coronavirus pandemic coming to an end like the others?

The truth is that nobody knows. We are just filled with cautious optimism. U.S top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, has predicted that the pandemic could be over in the next 18 months which is a long time. Fauci has been in charge of the affairs of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in America for 36 years now, so he is a respected authority in the field.

Anyway, below are some reasons why the disease outbreak might soon become a thing of the past globally:

(1) Widespread awareness about the disease:

The novel nature of coronavirus also known as COVID-19 enabled it to spread easily as the world failed to understand its nature. For example, it was initially unknown that human to human transmission was possible. Apart from that, the issue of asymptomatic patients being spreaders wasn't known. Up till now, there are still claims that it is airborne. But today, it is clear to the world that it spreads from respiratory droplets from infected people. To curtail the spread, good personal hygiene involving regular washing of hands and also wearing of facemasks in crowded places have been advised. Social and physical distancing has also been recommended. To a large extent, all these have slowed down the spread of the disease, to prevent it from overwhelming the already overburdened health care system in countries.


(2) Herd immunity:

Herd immunity is achieved when people develop resistance to disease after surviving it. This is expected to also hamper the spread of the disease in the long run with over 7 million people surviving the ailment and developing immunity immediately. This will help to interrupt the transmission of the virus which majorly relies on infected people to spread. The only challenge is how long the immunity developed would last. Many have alleged it might be over in three months while a few believe it might be for life just like measles or chickenpox. Sweden has explored the option of herd immunity and it has been successful to a large extent.


(3) Global progress in vaccine development:

Presently, there are more than 150 coronavirus vaccine research programs taking place across the world. Of the 150 programs, 21 potential immunizations in human testing. Several drug companies and institutions have stood out in their research programs. For example, an American company - Moderna just completed the trial of its vaccine on human beings numbering 45. Their vaccine is very unique in the sense that it helps stimulate 'immune responses' that could protect the human body from the virus. The company will be seeking to enrol 30,000 more volunteers in the research program to further confirm the efficacy of the potential vaccine.

The Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University in Russia also successfully conducted clinical trials of its vaccine on human beings numbering 38 and it is looking to expand the scope. Additionally, researchers from Oxford University in the United Kingdom are also not resting on their oars. The institution is expected to be through with the human trials of the vaccine in September and its efforts have been progressive. British pharmaceutical giant, AstraZeneca, has lined up agreements to produce 2 billion doses. The person leading the vaccine program of Oxford University named Sarah Gilbert is so confident about the project that in April, she enrolled her 21-year-old triplets for the trial of the experimental vaccine.

The Oxford University researchers have now moved to Brazil and South Africa where the spread of the disease is rife to continue the human trials of the vaccine on a large scale. They have enrolled in 2,000 health workers in Sao Paulo and 1,000 people in Rio de Janeiro.

Apart from these three big names, other institutions are also doing remarkably well in their research programs. When a vaccine is found, people will get immunized and their body will be insured against the deadly disease. Although scientists and health experts have warned that no vaccine will be 100% protective, a 70-75% efficiency level coupled with herd immunity achieved are expected to help see off the disease.

Coming home, the news of the development of a working vaccine will be a welcome development in Nigeria. Nigeria needs help. The country has been struggling with the containment of the virus. Health workers are underpaid and embarking on regular industrial strike actions to pressure the government to conform with its various demands. The health sector is also underfunded and most hospital workers lack adequate personal protective equipment, PPE.

Nigeria has also been largely under-testing, and this is key in breaking the transmission of the virus. As at the 14th of July, 2020, Nigeria has recorded a total number of 33,616 confirmed cases of the disease with 754 deaths recorded.

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About Osahon

I'm a journalist and a Political Scientist undergoing a doctoral programme focused on media, democracy and governance in Africa. My mission is to uphold the role of the media as the 'fourth estate of the realm' and also tell the Nigerian Story to the world. You can contact me on smile2georgex@yahoo.com Phone number: +2347053302356.
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