First encountered in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the new coronavirus disease COVID-19 has spread rapidly within China and reached many other countries as well. COVID-19 is highly transmissible, with no vaccine or treatment currently available, and on January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Will the coronavirus lead to an unprecedented global pandemic, as some experts predict? Or are warnings over the dangers of COVID-19 just fearmongering?
Coronavirus will not change the world significantlyShow moreShow less
Concerns about the worst-case scenarios for COVID-19 are alarmist and overblown.
In the vast majority of cases, COVID-19 represents nothing worse than a mild respiratory infection, which goes away in a relatively short amount of time. The major symptoms of coronavirus infection include fever, cough, and general respiratory difficulties, none of which are any more deadly or debilitating than the symptoms of many common infections. Some people infected by the coronavirus experience no symptoms at all.
The mortality rate of the disease is quite low (well below 1% for people below the age of 50) except among the elderly, who have an elevated mortality rate for almost all diseases. As of February 2020, death rates have already declined from the initial stages of the disease outbreak, and they will go down even more as researchers and healthcare authorities expand their understanding of the coronavirus and are able to institute appropriate preventative and therapeutic measures.