The pandemic of 2020

The pandemic of 2020 Featured

WE are facing one of the biggest threats in the world today: the possibility of the annihilation of our species, the human race, no less, and only one country so far has understood the magnitude of the impending disaster and has responded accordingly. This is the spread of coronavirus. The disease first detected in the central China city of Wuhan in December 2019. Examining those infected, doctors determined the virus to share a genetic code with the dreaded one that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). This killed hundreds of people in China in 2003. During the outbreak that year, China was not transparent and attempted a cover-up to the extent that it spread to 29 countries with disastrous results. Now they know better and has shared laboratory findings with disease centers all over the world.

Investigations and deep research have revealed that the original source of this disease was through the consumption by humans of snakes, particularly the Chinese Krait and Cobra. Apparently this delicacy was pinpointed to have come from the Wuhan Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market that “…sold processed meats and live consumable animals, including poultry, donkeys, sheep, pigs, camels, foxes, badgers, bamboo rats, hedgehogs and reptiles…”

Further analysis classified this new SARS strain as “…zoonotic viral disease meaning the first patients who were infected acquired these viruses directly from animals.” This was traced from bats eaten by snakes, mutated within the host animals and subsequently consumed by humans, from which the virus is transmitted exponentially to human populations. As of this writing, there is no known cure.

If not arrested, this will become a pandemic.

At this point, let me reprint an abridged version of a blog post that I wrote in 2014 upon the outbreak of the Ebola virus, a contagion that claimed thousands of lives in the African continent, one that could be similar to the current coronavirus in its deadly spread:

‘Ebola virus: Is this the end of our world?’
“Quite recently, we woke up to the screaming headlines of newspapers alerting us about the outbreak of the Ebola virus from central and west Africa infecting people from several countries. The spread of this disease is now made easier due to plane travel that whisk people from continent to continent in a few hours. And this disease has an incubation period of from two days to three weeks. This means that a person will not display any symptom after being infected within those days. By that time too, the carrier would have flown to another destination, perhaps home — infecting a family member, a loved one without each knowing the danger they are in. And we have thousands of our [overseas Filipino workers] in these affected areas coming home!

“There is no known cure and it has a fatality rate of 90 percent. (The fatality rate of the coronavirus is still unknown)

“I have never been more scared in my life!

“So, I googled ‘pandemics’ and came up with some frightening literature. Pandemic is the worldwide spread of infectious disease across human population.

– Plague of Athens, 43 BC. Suspected typhoid fever killed a quarter of Athenian troops and eventually a quarter of Athens’ population

– Plague of Justinian, 541 AD. The first recorded outbreak of bubonic plague killing 40 percent of Constantinople. It eventually eliminated one-half of the human population — in Europe — between the years 550 and 700. This is known as the first pandemic (of six to eight recorded up to the present time)

– Black Death, 1347 to 1453. It killed 75 million, 30 to 70 percent of the population of the known world at the time — principally Europe. This was the second pandemic

– Spanish Flu, 1918. 75 million deaths worldwide

– Asian Flu, 1957 to 1958. Two million deaths worldwide

– Hong Kong Flu, 1968 to 1969. One million deaths

– HIV/AIDS, 1981 ongoing, with 30 million deaths recorded.

“These are just samples of the literature on plagues and pandemics. I couldn’t picture in my mind’s eye the extent of the devastation these diseases can bring upon on the human race.

“So, I reviewed some of the movies in my DVD collection:

– ‘Outbreak’ (1995). Ebola-like virus from Zaire spreading through a small town in the United States. Were it not for Dustin Hoffman, the US military would have used a nuclear bomb to arrest the spreading infection, level the town and all its inhabitants

– ‘The Omega Man’ (1971). Charlton Heston, the only human survivor of a major Eastern US city (always New York) had to create a cure for a plague that wiped out most of the human race and reduced humans to scavenging and deformed monsters

– ‘Contagion’ (2011). The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta had to investigate infected people from several countries getting at the source of the deadly virus and race against time to develop a vaccine or the spread of the virus would be catastrophic

– ‘World War Z’ (2013). Brad Pitt, a top United Nations disease investigator had to travel to Korea, Israel and Russia to seek a cure for a virus that turns humans into zombies

– ‘The Andromeda Strain’ (1969). From the book by Michael Crichton, a favorite of mine, which was first serialized in Playboy magazine. Crichton’s first blockbuster where a group of scientists investigates a deadly alien virus that killed humans by curdling their blood — making some commit suicide.

“Hollywood has a way of explaining current dilemmas and entertains at the same time. But what is scary is yesterday’s headlines could come true and there is no director who can shout ‘cut’ — or a Dustin Hoffman or Brad Pitt to come to the rescue at the right moment.

“Human extinction is unthinkable. So true but this might not be Mother Nature’s intention to wipe out the entire human race. We are his best creation, the predator on top of the food chain. She will not destroy her ‘obra maestra’ but perhaps just intermittently warn us humans that we are responsible for ourselves —for each other and our environment.

“Take the Ebola virus first identified in Zaire in Africa only in 1976. It jumped from animals to man. Scientists, environmentalists and conservationists surmised that man’s encroachment into the habitats of these species is the cause for this transference of this deadly disease.

“Over the millennia or maybe eons more, Mother Nature was there to ride herd on us; just to let us be until like a child we go outside the limits of our discretion. Then she steps in to discipline us.

“More than a hundred plagues have been recorded in human history, in continental Europe and around the Mediterranean and even in China, centers of civilization and population explosion for thousands of years.

“It might be her warning us that indeed we are taxing her resources and her patience.

“In July of this year, the Philippine population has reached 100 million, the 12th most populous nation — one of the fastest growing populations on earth. And for decades poverty and hunger stalked our land.

“Would Mother Nature intervene and tell us ‘enough is enough?’”000
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