no vaccine or drugs that we know of that work against it
there is a complete lack of immunity against it
Uncontrolled spread in our country would have devastating consequences!
This question keeps coming up: Isn’t COVID-2 like the flu and therefore,
why the extra precautions with the coronavirus?
First, no this is not like the seasonal flu—it is worse. Yes, some of the
symptoms (fever and coughs) are similar, and yes, thousands of people die
from seasonal flu each year. However, the coronavirus is twice as contagious
as the flu and deadlier, with a fatality rate that is at least 10-fold greater than
Flu viruses have been in our population for many hundreds of years. They
wax and wane with the seasons, but the viruses are around all the time. Our
history with flu means that people have developed natural immunity to fight
influenza viruses, and when enough people in a community have immunity, it
protects those who do not. Our health system also knows what to expect from
seasonal flu given its long history of treating it. We know that about 8% of the
population in the US will get sick from the flu each year, and we can predict
the level of burden on our health system this will cause. Flu vaccines are
available each year to decrease the occurrence of seasonal flu, and antiviral
drugs are available that decrease the severity of flu once infections occur.
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is an entirely new beast. It did not
exist in humans until November of 2019, and no natural immunity exists to it in
the human population. It is more infectious than influenza viruses and more
deadly, and the threat of it causing massive outbreaks of disease that
overwhelm health systems around the world is very real. Infectious disease
scientists and physicians predict that without severe measures of social
isolation a high percentage of the population of the world will become infected
with the coronavirus. This would potentially kill millions of people.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States now exceeds that of
any country in the world. Moreover, the number of cases here is increasing
exponentially, and we are at a crucial juncture in the path of the disease.
Extreme social isolation right now will enormously slow and reduce spread of
the coronavirus and therefore, decrease the number of infections and deaths
we see in the months to come. There is no debate about that fact--we
encourage that everyone do their part to blunt this spread by practicing social
isolation as much as possible.
Will the coronavirus go away once warm weather arrives?
This is a new virus that has not existed in humans before, and we have no
way of knowing whether it will recede in warm weather. To be optimistic, early data suggest that the rate of spread of the disease in warmer climates has
been somewhat less than in the northern hemisphere, but it is too early to
know whether this means the coronavirus will wane any time soon in the
northern hemisphere. Social distancing right now is the key factor in
determining the extent of disease we will see in a few months.