Will COVID-19 stick with us forever?

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Tayba Abdulrahman Mugibel from Yemen, a 4th-year medical student at Hadramout University College of Medicine. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


We will get rid of COVID-19, won’t we?

Before answering this question, let us take a journey to history and go back to the 20th century, particularly 1918 where millions of deaths happened due to a small tiny invisible thing that could spread via air, enter the human body easily and destroy it.

By that time, people had no idea what was killing them and that was the most terrifying thing! This invisible creature was the H1N1virus, the cause of what is known as the Spanish flu pandemic, that killed around 50 worldwide so it is no wonder when people called it the deadliest pandemic ever!

The majority of people who got infected were having symptoms such as any flu, primarily sore throat, headache, fever. However, other people developed horrible symptoms such as bleeding not only from their mouth and nose but also from their ears and eyes, turning too dark blue due to the lack of oxygen and dying after a few hours. Other deaths were from bacterial pneumonia that developed secondary to influenza.

So now let us go from 1918 to 1968 where the world started to suffer from another crisis known as the Hong Kong flu or 1968 flu pandemic. According to the World Health Organisation, people who died due to the 1968 pandemic were estimated to be between 1 and 4 million globally. However, this pandemic wasn’t as deadly as the Spanish flu.

These two pandemics were just examples of many pandemics that affected the world such as the cholera pandemic, the black death pandemic, HIV/AIDS pandemic..etc.

So do these pandemics stay forever?

As time wore on, life returned to normal when people developed immunity against the virus and the virus itself got mutated and became less lethal as well as the development of the vaccine against different viruses.

And currently, we have a COVID-19 pandemic that affects us in different aspects whether economically, socially, or even mentally although it has killed thousands of people worldwide.

So going back to our question where I strongly believe that it has been answered based on our journey to the history of the pandemics where it is quite obvious from the previous pandemics that COVID-19 will end as well especially that researchers and experts had got more understanding of the dynamics of viruses with each pandemic and with this knowledge and available data, their work towards ending any pandemic will be facilitated.

References:

Spanish flu. Cleveland Clinic. Sept 21, 2021. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21777-spanish-flu ( Accessed on 25/11/2021).

The 1918 flu pandemic, a cautionary tale. CBC News. March 8, 2020. Available at: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-1918-flu-pandemic-a-cautionary-tale/ ( Accessed on 25/11/2021).

World Health Organisation. Pandemic Influenza Risk Management – WHO Interim Guidance. May 31, 2013. Available at: https://reliefweb.int/report/world/pandemic-influenza-risk-management-who-interim-guidance ( Accessed on 25/11/2021).

About the author

Tayba Abdulrahman Mugibel from Yemen, a 4th-year medical student at Hadramout University College of Medicine. Member of the Standing Committee on Research Exchange (SCORE) in the National Association of Medical Students NAMS YEMEN. Also, she is a member of the Walter E. Dandy neurological students club and volunteers at the outreach clinician development foundation. She is interested in volunteering, learning new skills and languages. She has participated in many campaigns and programs as Research Crash Program and IFMSA EGYPT Research Online Camp.  Recently, she has participated as a collaborator in different multicentric research.

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