2020 opened up to a bevy of controversies as the world teetered on the edge of yet another global war (the US-Iran conflict). And before we even had time to catch our breaths, out came the Coronavirus pandemic, stringing us along for yet another scary ride. Below are some coronavirus facts that you may not want to know but we are going to tell you anyway.
This isn’t the first time we’ve dealt with global pandemics, from the 1820 cholera outbreak to the 1920 Spanish flu, every century has given humanity its fair share of pandemics. The only difference between then and now is that we’ve got the internet to stir up unnecessary hype.
The Coronavirus in 2020 isn’t nearly as deadly as other pandemics that came before it, but it has the entire planet on lockdown because it spreads sneakily without prior warnings.
Scientists just don’t know how it works, what kills it, why it exists, and how long it plans on ravaging human lives. Although the story on the Coronavirus facts are still developing, here is our list of top 10 things you didn’t know about the Coronavirus.
1. Coronavirus Fact #1 – Damaged Corona Beer Sales
Coronavirus Fact #1 – The Corona Extra Lager Beer is the main product of a company in Mexico called Grupo Modelo. As the term ‘corona’ becomes the subject of memes and hilarious videos circulated on social media, we can see increased reports of online searches for ‘beer coronavirus’.
This doesn’t mean that sales have gone down though, if anything, Corona’s parent company reports its beer sales in the US have gone up this year. Sales did decline in China, but they never had much exposure in the Chinese market to begin with.
It is worth noting that the name “Corona” is derived from the sun’s corona and has nothing to with the virus itself. In fact, it is the third most popular beer in the US according to YouGov rankings. The marketing execs of the brand believe that the link between Corona and Coronavirus will actually bring more attention to their product.
2. It Didn’t Spare Healthcare Professionals
Coronavirus Fact #2 – Li Wenliang, the whistleblower doctor who worked long hours on the Coronavirus front line died of complications due to the virus. He was the first doctor to issue warnings about the coronavirus outbreak despite being told not to by authorities. Dr. Li posted the warning from a hospital bed a few weeks after his initial warning.
He noticed seven cases of a virus that he thought shared the same features as the SARS virus that almost led to a global epidemic in 2003.
Li’s death struck a nerve with the Chinese population who took to social media sites like Weibo – China’s equivalent for Facebook – to channel their outrage. They quickly rallied hashtags such as “We want freedom of speech” and “Wuhan government owes Dr Li Wenliang an apology”. The Chinese government quickly censored both hashtags.
3. Coronavirus Has Killed More People than SARS
Coronavirus Fact #3 – At the time of this article’s writing, COVID-19 has killed over 7000 people and affected over 182,000 people in different parts of the world. In comparison, SARS affected only 8,098 people and killed about 774. Of course the numbers game here is heavily in favor of the Coronavirus because the fatality rate in SARS is at 9.6% is about 1.4%. But it’s unfair to compare the two pandemics.
Although previous outbreaks like MERS and SARS should have prompted investments from government and private bodies around the world to develop vaccines in anticipation of future pandemics, once the outbreaks were contained, all stakeholders just pulled the plug on further work.
4. It’s Going to Kill the Economy
Coronavirus Fact #4 – The world has come to a grinding halt in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Our economies are just not robust enough to cope with it and the fragility is beginning to show. Take one cursory glance at the stock market and you’ll know what we’re talking about. For instance, Dow just plunged to 2,997 points while the S&P 500 went down to 12%, the worst since 1987.
Economists argue that more than half of American jobs are at risk because of the coronavirus. Factories around the world, especially the ones located in China, are locked down. In fact, China’s economy is poised to decline to 4.5 percent from 6.0 percent. This will affect us all in the coming months.
5. Coronavirus Could be A Bio-weapon
Coronavirus Fact #5 – People are quick to allude to the possibility that the Coronavirus could be a bio-weapon. The most popular theory is that China engineered the Coronavirus to make way for agricultural expansion.
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It seems a lot of politicians are also buying into unfounded conspiracy theories, among these is US Senator Tom Cotton who says China is guilty of foul play. Our advice to the reader is to not buy into any conspiracy theories because it is too early to point fingers.
6. The Coronavirus is More Deadly to Men
Coronavirus Fact #6 – Chinese researchers have found that while both men and women are equally likely to get infected by COVID-19, the fatality rate for men is almost twice that of women. Deaths due to COVID-19 for male patients stand at 2.8% compared to only 1.7% for female patients. The most likely reason for this apparent difference is the stronger immune system in females.
7. Our Bodies are Not Immune, Even After Surviving
Coronavirus Fact #7 – Just like a normal flu, coronavirus can always bounce back. We know this because a Japanese woman fully recovered from COVID-19 only to become affected a second time. We should mention that she is a tour bus guide in Japan, which means she is exposed to far more people than most of us ever would. The fact that our bodies don’t build up immunity to the virus is serious cause for concern.
8. What is the Actual Origin of COVID-19? Baffling Mystery
Coronavirus Fact #8 – Some people blame it on bats. Others blame it on the highly unique Chinese local cuisine and the Wuhan wet market. But the jury is still out on this one since scientists are confused about the animal responsible for affecting humans with the virus. The most popular opinion is that unregulated wet markets in China – often teeming with illegal wildlife – offer the perfect opportunity to deadly viruses to carryover from their animal hosts to human beings.
9. The Virus has Brought Out the Worst in People: Racism and Xenophobia
Coronavirus Fact #9 – Racism rears its ugly head once again as people label the coronavirus as an exclusively ‘Chinese’ phenomenon. While it is true that the Asian flu and SARS also started here, this is not an excuse to bully people because of their race. Many Asians are now forced to deal with racism and xenophobia which has been building up in the past two months as people desperately search for a convenient scapegoat.
10. Coronavirus Fact #10 – US Volunteers Get Tested
Coronavirus Fact #10 – The US is starting human trials to work on a vaccine that will hopefully cure the pandemic. Four patients at the Kaiser Permanente research facility are volunteering to fast-track research on COVID-19. To speed things up, experts are reportedly skipping many important steps, the most notable of this is to make sure the vaccine can trigger an immune response in animals.
Until we develop such a vaccine however, our best efforts would be to ‘flatten’ the curve and avoid public gatherings.
So there you have it, these are the top 10 things you didn’t know about the coronavirus. If there’s an important development that we missed, feel free to let us know.