COVID-19 : Multiplicity vs morbidity & mortality


COVID-19 is extremely infectious because it has a high shelf life outside a human carrier & also because the affinity of the spike protein with ACE2 receptor is very high. Different studies have shown it to be a carrier even after a few days on certain types of surfaces. Hence, due to this, the risk of infection is extremely high & has high multiplicity in the population.

Now, let us look at the 2nd part of this equation: the morbidity & mortality it entails. I don’t wish to put only 1 statistic as there are too many of them, neither do I wish to flood this article with many statistics. The point to make here is that around 80% are presumed to be asymptomatic or with mild symptoms, & another 20% have moderate symptoms with 5% in critical category. The official mortality rate seems to be tapering at 3.4% but if we consider that 75% have not been diagnosed or tested due to no or mild symptoms or due to lack of testing facilities then mortality rate immediately comes down to 1%. With early diagnosis, & early treatment this can easily be brought down to 0.1%. Treatments like the forms announced by President Trump ( can’t write the medical names as I am not authorised as I am not a medical doctor ), ventilators, & steam inhalation, drinking hot water, & hot drinks should certainly bring the mortality rate down to just like a normal influenza of 0.1%. Also, with few vaccines already in animal studies the hopes of a bright future remain good. The increasing summer temperatures often make it difficult for most viruses to survive.

Now let us examine the mortality rates of previous virus pandemics in this century :

# SARS ( 9.6% ) – 2002
# H1N1 ( 0.02% ) – 2009 ( classified as orthomyxoviridae )
# MERS ( 34.3% ) – 2012

Obviously, the above numbers clearly reflect that COVID-19 is not the most dangerous. There are 2 main danger points here: those who are elderly, & those who are living with other co-morbidity conditions & thus have compromised immunity. However, it must be noted that early diagnosis & early treatment whatever is available ) are the key.

In a short time, governments around the world will soon have to decide between health ( lockdown ), & economy ( survival ). Is there or expected to be more suffering due to the virus or is there more suffering due to a lockdown?

(Disclaimer: Writer is Dr. Huz, CEO, Wockhardt Foundation. Views expressed are a personal opinion.)

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