Winter is coming: Is the world ready to fight coronavirus in winters?

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 16, 2020, 09.08 PM(IST) Edited By: Gravitas desk

Representative image Photograph:( AFP )

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A century ago, during the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918, the death rate shot up by five times during winters

Winter, the flue season, is due to start very soon, and that should be the world's main focus now, as this year it is coupled with a virus that's not stopping down.

By most estimates, winter will drive up the infections and all of us who have been waiting for 2020 to end may find that the pandemic won't end with the calender year.

Winter is always a busy time for doctors as the seasonal flu strikes, and cough and cold spread. It's an annual test of human immunity.

This year, the test will be much tougher. For perspective, last year in the United States, sases of the flu spiked by 40 times during winter.

Also read: Chinese company Sinopharm offering free COVID-19 vaccine to students

A century ago, during the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918, the death rate shot up by five times during winters.

This year, we have a deadly virus on the prowl that has killed more than a million people in the last eight months. The outbreak began during winter in Wuhan last year. The data is is not trustworthy and is devoid of a pattern. 

However, what we know is that the world has witnessed 10 respiratory pandemics in the past 250 years, and in only three cases did the winter contribute to a second wave of infections.

Experts are relying on basic logic to recommend caution. The first wave killed far too many people, and the second one could be deadlier. It will coincide with the flu; both have the same symptoms. 

Simultaneous outbreaks would strain health care systems and there's no effective vaccine in sight yet. The most optimistic expectation is to have a vaccine by 2021. Currently, there are 45 vaccines performing clinical trials on humans. However, even with the unprecedented speed of testing, mass vaccination programs are many months away.

The chief scientist of the WHO says the young and healthy may have to wait for the vaccine until 2022 as the first supplies will be administered to the healthcare and frontline workers.

As always, China remains the exception to the rule as it is cutting corners and administrating vaccines under trial to thousands of citizens.

Chinese companies are selling vaccines too. Reportedly, Sinovac is selling one dose of its coronavac vaccine for 30 dollars.

 

Coronavac is a vaccine candidate that is yet to receive a global stamp of approval, but according to different reports, China has inoculated tens of thousands, if not more, under an emergency use program while the world is still struggling to contain new clusters, re-infections, and a virus that is showing no signs of slowing down.