The World Health Organization has warned that the coronavirus pandemic “isn’t necessarily the big one” and that a more deadly virus could still take over the world.
Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO Emergency Program Director, said Tuesday that the pandemic was a “wake up call”.
“This pandemic was very severe … it hit every corner of the planet. But that’s not necessarily the big one, ”he said at a press conference.
Coronavirus has so far killed 1,799, 337 people worldwide, and the latest SAGE estimates put a death rate of 0.5%, meaning one in 200 infected people will be killed.
The Spanish flu was the last major global pandemic, killing more than 50 million people between 1918 and 1919. It was much more deadly for younger people and there was a high death rate among those aged 20 to 40.
The infection death rate was 2.5% and it is feared that a similarly deadly global pandemic today could bring global civilization to a standstill and potentially disrupt food supplies as workers in global supply chains fear for them and their families at home stay.
Food shortages could spark global unrest much bigger than the unrest sparked by outrage over the death of George Floyd in the middle of the pandemic this year.
And the stability of governments around the world could be threatened by such widespread unrest.
The Black Death is believed to be the deadliest pandemic in the world, killing between 75 and 200 million people in Africa, Europe and Asia between 1347 and 1351.
Dr. Ryan added, “This [coronavirus] is a wake up call. We’re now learning how to do things better: science, logistics, education and governance, how to communicate better. But the planet is fragile.
‘We live in an increasingly complex global society. These threats continue. If there’s one thing we need to get out of this pandemic, with all the tragedy and loss, we need to pull ourselves together. We must honor those we have lost by getting better at what we do every day. ‘
Spanish flu death toll: Spanish flu occurred in three waves between 1918 and 1919. It had a death rate of around 2.5%, well above that of coronavirus 0.5%, and killed 50 million people
Masked doctors and nurses treat Spanish flu patients who were lying on camp beds and in tents outdoors in a hospital camp in America in 1918. The Spanish flu was much more deadly than the coronavirus, killing 50 million people worldwide
Belgian artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s 1562 painting The Triumph of Death depicts the social upheaval and terror following the bubonic plague – also known as the Black Death – that devastated medieval Europe
The World Health Organization has warned that the coronavirus pandemic is “not necessarily the big one” and that a more deadly virus could still take over the world. Pictured: People will be tested for coronavirus in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Wednesday
The deadliest pandemics in the world
1. Black Death (Bubonic plague) – 200 million people killed, 1347-1351
The outbreak originated in rats and wiped out 30 to 50 percent of Europe’s medieval population. It took more than 200 years for the population to recover from the devastation.
2. smallpox– 56 million people killed in 1520
The disease raged across Europe and was brought to the New World, killing an estimated 90 percent of Native Americans. The first vaccine was designed to eradicate smallpox.
3. Spanish flu– 40-50 million people killed, 1918-1919
The Spanish flu was the last major global pandemic before Covid-19, killing more than 50 million people between 1918 and 1919. It infected around 500 million people – a third of the world’s population at the time.
4th Plague of Justinian – Killed 30-50 million people, 541-542
While the death toll from this plague, named after Roman Emperor Justinian I, is still debated, it is believed that it was significant enough to hasten the fall of the Roman Empire.
5. The third plague – killed 12 million people, 1855-1960
Starting in Yunnan, China, this bubonic plague spread to all inhabited continents. It is believed to have come from two different sources, the more violent of which resulted in a strain largely confined to Asia.
Ryan also said that despite the rollout of vaccines launched in Europe and the US, the virus is likely to remain a part of our lives.
“The likely scenario is that the virus will become yet another endemic virus that remains a threat but is a very minor threat under an effective global vaccination program.”
‘It remains to be seen how well the vaccines will be received and how close we will get to a level of coverage that could give us the opportunity to seek elimination.
“The existence of a vaccine, even if it is highly effective, is no guarantee of the elimination or eradication of an infectious disease. It’s a very high bar for us to get over it, ”he said.
Ryan said this is why vaccine distribution is supposed to save lives by protecting the most vulnerable, The Guardian reported.
“And then we will deal with the moon shot to possibly eliminate or eradicate this virus.”
Professor David Heymann, chairman of the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Infection Risks, said earlier in the meeting that it was the “fate” of the virus to become endemic.
“The world is hoping for herd immunity that transmission will somehow be reduced if enough people are immune,” Heymann said at a press conference before explaining that the concept of herd immunity has been misunderstood.
‘It seems the fate of SARS-CoV-2 [Covid-19] is said to become endemic, as are four other human coronaviruses, and that it continues to mutate as it reproduces in human cells, particularly in areas of more intense uptake.
“Fortunately, we have tools to save lives and these, when combined with good public health, will enable us to learn how to live with Covid-19.”
Getting vaccinated against the virus meant no end to social distancing and other public health measures, said chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan on Tuesday.
“I don’t think we have the evidence for any of the vaccines to be confident that it will prevent people from actually getting the infection and therefore being able to pass it on.
“I think we have to assume that vaccinated people will have to take the same precautions,” Swaminathan said, adding that the vaccine is designed to prevent symptomatic illnesses as well as serious cases of infection and death.
At the briefing, the last of the year for the global health agency, Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was time to reflect on both the aftermath of the pandemic and the progress made.
He pointed to new varieties of Covid-19 and pandemic fatigue as likely challenges to be expected in the coming year.
“Not least because of the extraordinary cooperation between the private and public sectors in this pandemic, new paths have been broken. And in the past few weeks a number of countries have started to roll out safe and effective vaccines, which is an incredible scientific achievement, ”he said.
“This is fantastic, but WHO will not rest until those in need everywhere have access to the new vaccines and are protected.”
Israel leads the global vaccination race with a daily drive of 150,000 doses per day, which has already seen 7% of the population vaccinated. However, the UK is third and has delivered more shocks overall
Israel leads the global vaccination race, with more than seven percent of its population having received the sting within nine days.
Around 644,000 people have received a dose of Pfizer / BioNTech in the country of 8.7 million, the highest per capita rate in the world.
The rapid introduction in a country that prides itself on its independence comes after the Israeli health minister ordered a round-the-clock vaccination campaign. Hundreds of military medics were drafted to aid the effort, and the country pre-ordered shots from all three Pfizers in Moderna and AstraZeneca.
Israel is expected to introduce what is known as a “Green Passport” system in January, which means that people vaccinated against Covid-19 will not need quarantine when traveling from abroad or coming into contact with a virus patient.
Bahrain ranks second on the global vaccine table while the UK ranks third after giving 800,000 doses in just under two weeks by Christmas Eve. Following today’s approval of the Oxford / AstraZeneca sting, Britain will speed up its vaccine drive.
The US has released most vaccines immediately after injecting more than 2.1 million people, but President-elect Joe Biden has criticized delays in introducing them.
Europe launched its own program over the weekend after an EU regulator finally approved the Pfizer sting. Portugal and Denmark made the fastest advances on the continent yet.
Israel leads the world in the vaccine race, having supplied more than seven percent of its population with vaccines in nine days. Bahrain ranks second in the per capita table
The US has shipped more cans than any other country, but President-elect Joe Biden has criticized delays in introducing it. Great Britain has so far spent the most in Europe
An Israeli military doctor prepares to give the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine at a medical center in Rishion LeZion on Monday
Chinese company says its vaccine is 79 percent effective
Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm announced today that its Covid-19 vaccine was 79 percent effective in Phase III studies.
China has already issued over a million vaccines under an emergency program, but Sinopharm’s announcement is the first data on the effectiveness of a Chinese vaccine.
But China, where the coronavirus first surfaced last year, has struggled to gain international trust for its vaccine candidates, hampered by a lack of transparency in test results.
It was also slow to complete Phase III studies that had to be conducted overseas due to China’s success in containing the spread of Covid-19 within its own borders.
But Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have both approved Sinopharm vaccines, and Beijing has promised to distribute its products to poorer Asian countries at a relatively low cost.
Sinopharm has applied to the Chinese Medicines Agency for approval of the vaccine, it said in a statement.
China plans to vaccinate millions this winter in the lead up to the lunar new year, and officials have vowed to increase vaccine manufacturing capacity to more than a billion doses over the next year.
While the 79 percent value is lower than the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna puffs, the Sinopharm product does not require the -70 ° C temperatures required to store the Pfizer puff, which is one in many developing countries represents an almost impossible logistical challenge.
It gives China a diplomatic tool after facing widespread criticism from the US and Australia of the handling of the first outbreak in Wuhan.
Chinese health officials said this week that data from antibodies circulating in Wuhan suggests the number of cases at the epicenter of the pandemic could be ten times higher than previously reported.
Israel’s health minister said Wednesday that nearly 152,000 people had been vaccinated in one day, bringing the total to well over half a million.
The 643,600 people vaccinated are already more numerous than the 412,398 people who tested positive for coronavirus in Israel.
After two national bans and more than 3,000 deaths, Israel began its mass vaccination program on December 20, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became the first citizen to get the sting.
Netanyahu, who has self-isolated three times after being exposed to Covid carriers, has called for more than two million people to be vaccinated within a month.
“This is the critical phase, the first phase, because this is the population at risk, all the medical teams, all people over 60,” he said.
“Once we’re done with this phase, we can get out of the coronavirus in 30 days, open up the economy and do things that no country can do.”
While only the Pfizer push has been used so far, Israel has also ordered supplies of the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines.
The Israeli Justice Department also announced that it had asked Facebook to remove bogus anti-vaccine content while the government tried to raise support for the program.
Four Hebrew-speaking groups were removed to post text, photos and videos with “intentionally lying content” intended to mislead about coronavirus vaccines.
The fake news contained false claims that vaccines were used to plant government tracking chips in recipients’ bodies, poison them, or subject them to medical experiments.
Israel follows Bahrain in the global ranking, where 56,041 people out of a population of 1.7 million had been vaccinated by Tuesday evening.
Bahrain uses the Sinopharm vaccine developed by the Chinese pharmaceutical company of the same name, which says the shock is 79 percent effective.
China has struggled to gain confidence in its vaccine candidates, which is hampered by a lack of transparency in test results. However, it has been approved in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
It has also been slow to complete phase 3 studies that had to be conducted overseas due to China’s success in containing the spread of Covid-19 within its own borders.
In China, however, more than a million people have already received doses of vaccine as part of their emergency program.
This includes frontline health workers, government employees, and workers planning to travel abroad.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the first Israeli to receive the vaccine on December 19 and rolled up his sleeves at a medical center in Ramat Gan
China plans to vaccinate millions more this winter in the lead up to the lunar new year, and officials have vowed to increase capacity to more than a billion doses.
Beijing has pledged to share its vaccines at a relatively low cost – a potential boost for poorer Asian countries that otherwise rely on the limited distribution of a global program.
Third in the global vaccine race is Great Britain, which approved the Pfizer sting before its EU neighbors or the US.
Today the UK was the first to approve the Oxford / AstraZeneca pile, which, unlike the Pfizer pile, can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures.
This means the Oxford vaccine is easier to introduce into nursing homes and general practitioners’ offices, paving the way for an even bigger vaccination program.
Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, told BBC Radio 4 that Today’s broadcasts will increase “very quickly” in the first and second weeks of January.
He added, “We will start deliveries this week – maybe we will ship our first cans today or tomorrow.
“The vaccination will start next week and we will very quickly reach a million a week and beyond.
‘We can go to two million. We may be vaccinating several million people by January, and by the end of the first quarter we will be in the tens of millions. ‘
Bahrain, where a woman is scheduled to receive a vaccine in Manama last week, has approved both the Pfizer stab and another shot by Chinese company Sinopharm
When asked if two million vaccinations a week are possible, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Times Radio, “The NHS can absolutely do that.”
In the US, the two million people vaccinated so far have lagged far behind the Trump administration’s goal of immunizing 20 million people before the end of 2020.
President-elect Joe Biden criticized Trump’s launch of vaccines on Tuesday, warning that at the current rate, it would take years for the required shots to be fired.
“As I have long feared and warned, efforts to distribute and administer the vaccine are not progressing as they should,” Biden said.
Biden’s goal of ensuring that 100 million shots were fired by the end of his 100th day in office would mean “increasing five to six times the current rate to a million shots a day,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Biden’s Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received her Moderna vaccine live on TV to help build confidence.
78-year-old Biden received his first dose of the vaccine last week and has vowed to make the pandemic his top priority when he takes office on Jan. 20.
Dr. Atul Gawande, a member of Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board, told CBS News the transition team still does not have all of the information needed to understand the bottlenecks that are hindering vaccine distribution.
“The realistic picture is to expect that it could fall before … enough people are vaccinated for us to get back to normal and that it could be summer before the general public really accesses the vaccine,” he said.