Coronavirus has made the world more cautious in the spread of the disease. Schools and kindergartens are closed, travel is restricted and respiratory protection is cleared from store shelves.
At the same time, seasonal influenza causes a number of deaths every year in Finland, and the peak of the disease is likely to be still ahead this year.
What if the coronavirus had been allowed to spread freely around the world and no major precautions had ever been taken? There was not even an attempt to identify and trace those exposed to the virus and no specific measures were taken.
Olli Vapalahti, professor of zoonotic virology at the University of Helsinki, points out that a large part of the population is immune to seasonal influenza. In addition, the health authorities in Finland also recommend that people vaccinate themselves against the disease each year.
The Korona, on the other hand, is a virus that nobody has had time to increase its resistance to.
Because of the lack of immunity against coronavirus in humans, without the precautions now being seen, the disease would have spread very rapidly. At the same time, a large number of people would have become ill at the same time.
According to Vapalahti, precautionary measures will result in at least some gradual decline in people's illness, which will improve health care resources for all cases.
- Health care capacity is limited. It's good that not all illnesses happen at the same time, he says.
However, failure to take precautionary measures against coronavirus would not necessarily have led to more deaths than now seen.
- The severity of the picture or the mortality caused by the virus would not necessarily change, whether people got it faster or slower. Whether you were infected in March or November, it doesn't affect mortality, he says.
- It only seems that the farther we go, the more chances there are of providing vaccines and drug treatments that can help the situation.
If the virus had been allowed to rampage around its time, the epidemic would surely be over, Vapalahti said.
- But how long it would take until it was over is difficult to estimate. Possibly months. And on the other hand, influenza pandemics may come in more waves.