Crisis is heightening as the number of COVID-19 confirmers surges around the world. But on the other hand, the question is, “It’s like a cold or flu. Do we all need to be so sensitive?” Is COVID-19 really just one of the common infectious diseases that is no different from the flu?
There are many differences between swine flu and COVID-19. Once the cause virus is different. Swine flu is caused by the H1N1 pdm09 virus, which is a mutation of the influenza A virus. It is a mosaic virus mixed with swine influenza and avian influenza viruses. COVID-19, on the other hand, is the third new coronavirus that is probably derived from bats, but the intermediate host is not yet clearly identified.
The incubation period is also different. Influenza has a short incubation period of a day or two, while COVID-19 is longer than 2-14 days. There are also differences in symptoms. Both are similar to those initially characterized by fever, sore throat, and cough and progress to dyspnea, chest pain, and respiratory failure due to viral pneumonia, but COVID-19 tends to be more nonspecific. COVID-19 is also characterized by the appearance of pneumonia in both lungs.
The infectivity is stronger with COVID-19. Swine flu infects 1 patient in 1.4 to 1.6, while COVID-19 is infectious in 2 to 3 people.
There are also differences in infection trends by age. According to US reports, 30% of people over 60 years of age have H1N1 antibodies, mostly affecting children, adolescents and young adults. On the other hand, COVID-19 is particularly common in people in their 40s and 50s who are infected with all ages but are socially active. The number of patients in their 20s is also increasing.
Drugs against swine flu include effective antiviral agents such as Tamiflu and Relenza, while COVID-19 does not yet have a proven antiviral agent. Currently, AIDS treatment and malaria treatment are used to treat COVID-19, but the clinical effects need to be confirmed.
Swine flu has a vaccine, but COVID-19 does not have a vaccine. Swine flu vaccination began on the end of October 2009, with a vaccine built on a platform for making seasonal flu vaccines. The swine flu epidemic began in early November 2009, but intensive vaccination could reduce the damage.
In the past, when the swine flu spread, there were people who asked, “Why do people overreact to the flu?” However, the general opinion of medical professionals is that the tense has reduced the number of deaths and stabilized quickly. Similarly, COVID-19 can be very damaging if not thorough or poorly maintained. There are many similarities between the flu and COVID-19, but remember that there are many differences.
The 2% lethality rate of COVID-19 is not low. In addition, COVID-19’s strong infectivity has led to a rapid increase in the number of critical patients. Increasing the number of patients leads to paralysis of the medical system, resulting in an increase in deaths.
Another major challenge is that it is difficult to expect rapid commercialization of vaccines. Vaccines are the most effective means of protection, but medical experts estimate that it takes several years to reach a point where they can be actually used after the phase of animal testing and clinical trials. The news of the development of the vaccine inflates people’s expectations, but it is wrong to believe that the vaccine can be used right now, as the COVID-19 epidemic. Rather, focusing on “virtual vaccines” is a smart strategy.
‘Virtual vaccine’ means hygiene and safety practices that we can follow, such as wearing a mask, washing hands, and keeping people away. COVID-19 is currently underway, so don’t make hasty decisions that it will be on par with the swine flu, MERS and SARS. Rather, it’s important to focus on what we can do now, the ‘virtual vaccine’.