“The vast majority of people infected with Covid-19 — between 50 and 75% — are completely asymptomatic, but represent a formidable source of contagion,” explained Sergio Romagnani, Professor of Clinical Immunology at the University of Florence.
How Did Romagnani Reach This Surprising Conclusion?
Romagnani’s results come after a virological study carried out on all the inhabitants of the tiny northern Italian village of Vo ‘Euganeo. The town is located 70 kilometers west of Venice and was the location of Italy’s first coronavirus death.
A village of only about 3,000 inhabitants, the study uncovered that “the percentage of infected people — even if asymptomatic — in the population is very high, and represents the majority of cases above all, but not only, among young people. The isolation of asymptomatic patients is essential to be able to control the spread of the virus and the severity of the disease.”
Young People to Blame
Experts have explained that young people especially have likely played a role in the spread of the virus, as they may be infected by Covid-19, but are more likely to be asymptomatic. While there are gaps in scientific knowledge of the virus, experts suggest that four out of five people in the early days of the outbreak may have been infected by asymptomatic carriers of the virus.
Covid-19 has infected more than 245,000 people worldwide, of which 10,000 cases have led to death, according to official figures as of March 20. WHO officials have reported that at least twenty vaccines are being developed to cure the virus. Some vaccines are already in clinical trials in record time, sixty days after sequencing the gene.
“The acceleration of this process is really truly dramatic in terms of what we’re able to do, building on work that started with SARS, that started with MERS and now is being used for COVID-19 ,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for WHO’s emergencies program, at a press conference at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva last week Friday.
The First Trial of a Coronavirus Vaccine mRNA-1273
The very first trial of the experimental vaccine, mRNA-1273, was conducted last week. Presently, however, the best way to prevent further infections and death is social distancing and isolation, according to experts.
Modelling by Imperial College London suggested last week that up to 500,000 people in Britain could die if nothing is done in the fight against the virus. It also suggested that the United Kingdom can expect up to 20,000 deaths if it suppresses the virus with measures including school closures, reducing social contact and isolating the vulnerable and quarantining those with symptoms of the virus. In the United States, it has been predicted that up to 1 million people could die if measures are not immediately put in place to curb the spread of the virus.
Leading Epidemiologist: ‘A Billion People Would Get Sick’
In 2006, epidemiologist, Dr Larry Brilliant, predicted that the next global pandemic would have dramatically fatal consequences for human life and for our global economy. Speaking to a TED audience, he said: “A billion people would get sick.
“As many as 165 million people would die. There would be a global recession and depression, and the cost to our economy of $1 to $3 trillion would be far worse for everyone than merely 100 million people dying, because so many more people would lose their jobs and their health care benefits, that the consequences are almost unthinkable.”
OECD countries afflicted by the pandemic are already in recession, as businesses close and people lose their jobs due to the effects of the virus. On Friday, March 20, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced that the British government would pay up to 80% of workers’ wages to ward off the British economy facing a deep economic depression. The “unprecedented measures for unprecedented times” will keep the economy running, albeit on “sleep mode”.
“I know that people are worried about losing their jobs, about not being able to pay the rent or mortgage, about not having enough set by for food and bills,” Sunak declared, adding “to all those at home right now, anxious about the days ahead, I say this: you will not face this alone.”
Scotland’s Sturgeon: ‘The Biggest Challenge of Our Lifetimes’
Successful trials of coronavirus vaccines will save millions – if not billions – of lives globally. Conversely, the global economic effects of the virus are set to last a long time. Our global economic system will need to be changed and rebuilt if we are going to survive this century. Countries which have been formerly torn by international divisions will have to depend on each other to survive and rebuild.
This is the “biggest challenge of our lifetimes,” Scottish first minister, Nicolas Sturgeon said in an address to the nation, adding there will be “difficult days ahead.”