KEY POINTS

  • Coronavirus is a pandemic that disrupted people's way of living worldwide
  • COVID-19 has distinct differences with MERS and SARS
  • Doctor gives professional medical opinion on the deadly pathogen

The deadly virus has caused schools to close, businesses to shut their doors, people to stop working, and industries to turn off their machines. No other event in history shares a parallel of what coronavirus has triggered so far. Governments of several nations have issued orders for their countries to go on lockdowns, a situation where only essential personnel are allowed to go out while the rest stay home.

Amid all of these new developments, Dr. Hemming gives her professional opinion on the global pandemic, particularly on what makes COVID-19 so different from MERS and SARS. According to Dr. Hemming, the first thing that can be noticed about the new coronavirus is its transmission rate. She said that SARS has a transmission rate of 1.3% while COVID-19 is around 2% to 3%. Dr. Hemming, however, admitted that SARS is more deadly with a fatality rate of approximately 10%.

coronavirus symptoms danger coronavirus symptoms danger Photo: CDC - Unsplash

Rates May Vary From One Country To Another

At present, the global fatality rate, said Dr. Hemming, is a little over 2% for COVID-19, though in some countries like Italy, the rate is around eight to ten percent. She believed this is probably due to the country’s aging population. Data from Protezione Civile's bulletin today show that since March 20, the COVID-19 deaths in Italy have not gone below 600 patients per day.

The Danger With COVID-19

According to Dr. Hemming, the factor that makes COVID-19 so dangerous is that most people who have been infected do not show any symptoms. This has contributed to the rapid spread of the disease. She also echoed the findings of medical researchers about different people having varied reactions to the same disease.

Oftentimes compared to the common flu, Dr. Hemming has shared her expertise on the matter. She said that in some ways, COVID-19 is similar to the common flu in that it also spreads, causes persons to feel unwell, and may not be easily treated. It does have distinct features, however, such as the timeframe the symptoms appear. With the common flu, it may take only five days for symptoms to manifest but for COVID-19, it can take up to 14 days until such symptoms appear.

Higher Infection Rate

Their infection rate also differs in the sense that seasonal flu has a 1.3% infection rate while COVID-19 has 2%-3%. There is also a significant dissimilarity in their hospitalization rates. For seasonal flu, it is approximately 2% while for COVID-19, it is 19%. This is perhaps why most medical services around the world are nearing their breaking point.

Another distinct difference between seasonal flu and COVID-19 is that for the former, you can get a vaccine but for the latter, there is no vaccine available at the moment. Scientists though are working hard to develop a vaccine, according to Dr. Hemming. She added that antibody testing kits are also in the final stages of development.