The news pieces on coronavirus are replete with instances of a 90-year-old being treated and one in 20s succumbing to the infection. As seen in every story of an epidemic, some die, some become carriers, some recover, and the luckiest live through infection giving further insight to science. This is exactly what, we are seeing in front of our eyes.
Although the initial epidemiological data showed that Covid-19 is more severe in immunocompromised people, men and those with pre-existing conditions such as heart and lung disease. It is important to know that not everyone with severe disease has these risk factors and not everyone at risk has the same symptoms, prognosis or outcome.
Why does the novel coronavirus manifest such differences? And why is it not possible to predict an individual’s experience? Let’s take you through some terms around infectious diseases.
Infection- The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are not normally present within the body. An infection may cause no symptoms and be subclinical, or it may cause symptoms and be clinically apparent. An infection may remain localized, or it may spread through the blood or lymphatic vessels to become systemic. Disease is Illness or sickness characterized by specific signs and symptoms.
What is it that leads to infection progressing onto disease and then to death? As the massive, wearisome effort to stop the novel coronavirus pandemic presses on, it’s worth pausing to remember the successful eradication of another highly infectious and deadly virus: smallpox. The means of the smallpox eradication that involved understanding the viral load, meticulous surveillance, careful contact tracing, targeted vaccinations, and international cooperation—are worth remembering. They are precisely the tools that need to be sharpened and used to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
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