Coronavirus: It’s critical to understand the science to avoid the frenzy

Coronavirus drugs treatment vaccine
Like seasonal flu, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus is a respiratory disease. About 80% of infected persons will recover on their own. | Image – Eunice Dhivya

Coronavirus infection is not a death sentence. Compared to deadly viruses like Ebola, the novel coronavirus is a tame egg. Although it would depend on country-based mitigation efforts, a recent study published in Nature Medicine* estimates that the death rate among people who developed COVID-19 symptoms in Wuhan, China was 1.4 per cent. We need to be alert, not alarmed.

Don't use a cannon to kill a mosquito

Like seasonal flu, the novel coronavirus causes a respiratory disease. It may look like underplaying the risk but most likely you may develop a mild cold, sneeze a few times, suffer from a sore throat, requiring just a bowl of good hot chicken soup and nothing more. About 80% of infected persons will recover on their own, not even needing a visit to a doctor.

However, about 5% will develop breathing difficulty and may require hospitalisation. Some may develop pneumonia. As the infection aggravates, for severe cases, oxygen-enriched air will be pumped into the lungs. Their immune system will fight back, the viral attack will be beaten, and they will begin to slowly recover.

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