Since the new coronavirus outbreak began in December, Chinese authorities have quarantined millions of people and international airports are screening travelers for signs of the disease to control its spread. But as scientists learn more about the virus that causes a new type of pneumonia, it becomes unclear how effective strategies will actually be in dealing with the epidemic. If so, is it possible at least to control the spread of the virus around the planet by limiting its speed of movement?
Can the spread of the coronavirus be limited?
The number of cases of coronavirus or 2019-nCoV has been increasing rapidly since the first outbreak was announced. Currently, 4587 confirmed cases of the disease have already been registered in 16 countries of the world. According to the sciencenews.com portal, 106 people of the total number of infected people have already died. In order to prevent further spread of the disease around the planet, the Chinese government has decided to isolate more than 50 million people from the outside world, which is the largest case of quarantine in modern history. And, although the general quarantine was able to help humanity to prevent the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003, experts cannot say unequivocally that similar actions will lead to victory over a dangerous new virus.
Can people spread the coronavirus and not know about it?
Despite the fact that coronaviruses are RNA viruses that have a deliberately erroneous replication mechanism and can easily exchange their parts with other viruses, the causative agent of the disease so discussed recently differs from its other species by some stability. This quality can help researchers trace the origin of a viral infection and find a panacea for the disease in the future. However, at present, due to the fact that the mechanism of transmission of a new type of pneumonia has not yet been clarified, the likelihood that the disease is transmitted by airborne droplets is extremely high. In addition, it is possible that those affected may not even experience any symptoms, being potential carriers of the 2019-nCoV virus. The presence of asymptomatic patients significantly reduces the effectiveness of screening at airports for the presence of coronavirus, which in turn leads to the further spread of the disease around the planet.
The exact mechanism of transmission of coronavirus infection has not yet been clarified, which greatly complicates the situation when controlling outbreaks of the disease.
The main symptoms of the presence of a coronavirus disease are very similar to those that occur with a cold, but differ from them in the defeat of the deeper parts of the respiratory tract. Experts note that although the measures taken by the Chinese government to isolate the sick may slightly slow down the spread of infection, quarantine, especially on such a large scale, is a largely ineffective and often counterproductive public health tool. So, according to the mayor of the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the main outbreak of the disease occurred, before the travel restrictions were fully imposed, at least 5 million Wuhan residents fled the city. In addition, the imposition of quarantines can also lead to shortages of food and medicine, thereby exacerbating social strife within the city.
If the necessary vaccine against coronavirus is never found, scientists believe that humanity will be able to adapt to coexistence with it, as happened in due time with the flu.