Coronavirus the international health systems
As of March 18, 2020, Italy reported a total of 35,713 coronavirus cases. 4,025 patients are already healthy again. A total of 2,978 patients have died. The number of deaths published increases the usual number of deaths per day in Italy by 20 to 40 percent. However, the mortality rate derived from this, is influenced by the fact, that in Italy mainly hospital patients are tested for coronaviruses, even after death.
The health care crisis in Italy is the result of the bank bailout after the financial crisis. The fact that hospitals were sacrificed for it, is now becoming a danger: the health system in Italy is not up to the current challenge. On top of this, regionally different distribution of cases also results in a regional unequal distribution of health care burdens. Doctors, nurses and nurses find themselves in an unbearable situation.
Despite the tragedy of this situation, a comparison should be made with the normal death rate in Italy, in order to be able to better assess the deaths caused by corona viruses. Around 1,950 people die in Italy every day, including 700 from cardiovascular diseases, 490 from cancer and 140 from diseases of the respiratory system. Pneumonia causes about 60 deaths daily and over 22,500 over the year. Coronavirus infections increase severe pneumonia five to ten times more than usual and, according to the monitor, have resulted in an additional 350 deaths a day. Two thirds of these occur in Northern Italy, with Milan as the center. (However, the current data from Italy do not make it clear, whether the daily deaths across the country are now significantly above 2,000.)
It is currently not possible to predict when the number of infections and deaths that will increase daily will decrease.
South Korea has 50 million inhabitants. Similar and earlier affected than Italy, South Korea recorded only 8,413 coronavirus cases on March 18, 2020, 1,540 already healthy patients and 84 deaths. South Korea relied upon informing the population, many and easily accessible virus tests, and upon quick decisions in the presence of infections. Social life was not completely blocked, curfews were not implemented. In South Korea, people adhered on their own initiative to the rules of reason, caution and general hygiene. Now the new infections decrease. (The nationwide test capacities are a result of the SARS-associated coronavirus pandemic in 2002/2003 in Asia. More than 500 test clinics, including 40 drive-in stations, have enabled quick and generally available examinations. The consistent early detection of infected people has also helped that Treat disease quickly and reduce deaths.
Worldwide, 219,427 people are currently infected with the COVID19 virus (as of March 19, 2020). The number includes the confirmed cases. Experts assume, however, that around 10 times more people in various countries are infected due to symptom-free or mild unspecific cases, that have not been tested for that very reason. According to Johns Hopkins University, over 86,675 people have recovered from coronavirus disease. So far, 9,829 people worldwide have died from the corona virus.
The corona virus pandemic caused a total of 82,869 confirmed infections and 8,848 deaths in Europe. An estimated 600,000 to 900,000 people are probably infected due to the unsuspected cases with low level of symptoms.
Tuberculosis is still the most common fatal bacterial infection worldwide. According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 20,000 people contract tuberculosis, and 5,000 die from it every day. The main burden of the diseases affects Africa, in the sub-Saharan regions, and Asia (including India and China). Europe is estimated to account for only 5% of all new tuberculosis cases worldwide. That’s about 450,000 infections and 70,000 deaths a year. This makes tuberculosis the most important infectious disease in Europe as well. The incidence of tuberculosis varies widely across Europe, and shows a clear east-west divide with comparatively high numbers of new cases in the Eastern European countries.
At the end of 2018, 37.9 million people were living with HIV worldwide, and 1.7 million people were infected this year. This year, 770,000 people died from their HIV infection. In Germany 440 to 460 individuals died of HIV in 2018. The annual death from tuberculosis or the AIDS virus far exceeds the number of coronavirus victims.
- The “Spanish flu” (influenza virus A / H1N1) led to 20 to 50 million deaths worldwide from 1918 to 1920.
- From 1957 to 1958, the “Asian flu” (influenza virus A / H2N2) caused one to four million deaths. In Germany, 29,000 people died of it.
- From 1968 to 1970, the “Hong Kong flu” (influenza virus A / H3N2) was associated with one to four million deaths. In Germany, 30,000 people died from it.
- The “Russian flu” (influenza virus A / H1N1) killed 700,000 people worldwide in 1977 and 1978, especially children and adolescents.
- The “bird flu” (influenza A / H5N1) led to 450 deaths worldwide from 2004 to 2016 and the swine flu from 2009 to 2010 was associated with 100,000 to 400,000 deaths. As a result, 258 people died in Germany.
- Corona viruses caused the SARS-CoV pandemic in 2002 and 2003, in which 774 people died. This first pandemic of the 21st century became a media event and frightened people worldwide and especially in Europe. 45 infected people died outside of Asia.
- The MERS-CoV flu claimed over 850 deaths ten years later.
In Germany, influenza is associated with several thousand deaths annually, mainly due to pneumonia (around 30,000 in 1995/96, around 29,000 in 2012/2013 and around 25,000 in 2017/2018). We have “flu waves” during the cold season with different spread and severity, in which different viruses, also corona viruses, are involved. (Influenza is caused by influenza viruses, but common colds or “flu-like infections” are caused by numerous pathogens.) Influenza viruses are constantly changing. Therefore, you can get the flu several times in the course of your life. Flu vaccine must therefore be readjusted every year, and an annual vaccination makes sense.
- Viruses are part of the human environment. Some infect humans, and some that infect humans, make cause sickness.
2. A healthy immune system responds quickly and often successfully fights the intruders.
3. Viruses, that pass from animals to humans, occur regularly.
4. Like the flu viruses, the COVID 19 (or SARS-CoV-2) coronavirus will remain in our environment. We will have another cold virus in the future, and our immune system will deal with it as calmly as with the previous common cold viruses.
5. Over time and with a progressive immunisation of many people, the dangerousness of the corona viruses will reduce.
6. The SARS and MERS epidemics caused widespread public concern and alarm in 2003 and 2012. The corona virus family has been known to experts since the 1960s, and a number of representatives have been circulating the population as cold viruses for years.
7. However, we do not yet know how long the current outbreak of corona viruses will last, until it has infected and immunised forty to seventy percent of the population susceptible to the virus.
8. Very old, impaired and week people will die from this virus in the future, just like from pneumonia and general organ failure so far. (With 80 to 100 deaths daily in Germany, they are part of normal and natural mortality.)
9. The COVID19 coronaviruses are different and more dangerous than conventional pathogens causing influenza infections, but also less deadly than the SARS-CoV coronaviruses in 2002/2003 and MERS-CoV in 2012/2013.
10. The pandemic will change the economy, awareness and social relationships sustainably. The corona virus pandemic shows the high vulnerability of globally networked systems and our dependence on other people.
Huber, Ellis: Das Virus, die Menschen und das Leben – Das Corona Virus im Vergleich zur alltäglichen Gesundheitsversorgung Ellis Huber, Internet, gesehen am 18.3.2020
Statistisches Bundesamt (https://www.destatis.de/DE/Themen/Gesellschaft-Umwelt/Gesundheit/Todesursachen/_inhalt.html)