While a lot of people think this virus is going to be the end of humanity as a whole, this Nobel laureate has stated otherwise. Sure, things are tense right now and a lot of people are sick, but we will get through this.
Michael Levitt who happens to be a very prominent figure in the world of science and works at Stanford as a biophysicist early on began analyzing the number of cases coming forth from COVID-19 and correctly calculated that China would be able to get through the outbreak long before others had thought possible. This was noted in a recent interview Levitt did with CTech or ‘Calcalist.’ In this interview, Levitt actually talked about a very calming message he had sent to his friends in China when this outbreak was still in its early phases.
As trends changed Levitt continued to monitor things and look at numbers and in regard, he told CTech as follows:
“On February 7, the number of new infections started to drop linearly and did not stop. A week later, the same happened with the number of deaths. This dramatic change in the curve marked the median point and enabled better prediction of when the pandemic will end. Based on that, I concluded that the situation in all of China will improve within two weeks. And, indeed, now there are very few new infection cases.”
According to Levitt what we really need to worry the most about aside from caring for those who are ill and most at risk is controlling the panic that comes forth during times like this. While he says we will all be fine, panic is something that can destroy things if left to flourish on its own. While Levitt’s figures are messy, and he knows that he also notes that this consistent decline we’ve been noticing on a global scale is worth paying attention to. He says it’s ‘not just noise in the numbers.’
LA Times wrote as follows on what Levitt has shared on this topic:
Levitt said he’s in sync with those calling for strong measures to fight the outbreak. The social-distancing mandates are critical — particularly the ban on large gatherings — because the virus is so new that the population has no immunity to it, and a vaccine is still many months away. “This is not the time to go out drinking with your buddies,” he said.
Getting vaccinated against the flu is important, too, because a coronavirus outbreak that strikes in the middle of a flu epidemic is much more likely to overwhelm hospitals and increases the odds that the coronavirus goes undetected. This was probably a factor in Italy, a country with a strong anti-vaccine movement, he said.
But he also blames the media for causing unnecessary panic by focusing on the relentless increase in the cumulative number of cases and spotlighting celebrities who contract the virus. By contrast, the flu has sickened 36 million Americans since September and killed an estimated 22,000, according to the CDC, but those deaths are largely unreported.
Levitt fears the public health measures that have shut down large swaths of the economy could cause their own health catastrophe, as lost jobs lead to poverty and hopelessness. Time and again, researchers have seen that suicide rates go up when the economy spirals down.
The virus can grow exponentially only when it is undetected and no one is acting to control it, Levitt said. That’s what happened in South Korea last month, when it ripped through a closed-off cult that refused to report the illness.
“People need to be considered heroes for announcing they have this virus,” he said.
While he and many others believe the situation is nowhere near as terrible as it is being made out to be there is no denying the number of cases present. He went on to when speaking with CTech says something that many should hear and take to heart. Sure, his words aren’t the kind everyone will be willing to let really reach them but those who do might finally feel a little more at ease overall.
Those words are as follows:
“It is a known fact that the flu mostly kills the elderly – around three-quarters of flu mortalities are people over 65”
“There are years when flu is raging, like in the US in 2017, when there were three times the regular number of mortalities. And still, we did not panic. That is my message: you need to think of corona like a severe flu. It is four to eight times as strong as common flu, and yet, most people will remain healthy and humanity will survive.”
While some people do not think the two should be compared there is no denying the similarities that are present (although differences are present as well). We should be doing what we can to stop the transmission of this virus, but we also shouldn’t be panicking and freaking out as if the end of the world is here. Sure, things may get worse before they get better, but they will get better.