Coronavirus, pandemics and vaccines. How much do you know about them?

December 31, 2020. Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The outburst of various cases of pneumonia has begun. One week later, Chinese authorities announce the discovery of a new virus whose effects to people remain unknown. Its name has been featured on our TVs, mobile screens and media worldwide, creating a huge wave of concern. 

Coronavirus is here…

This is not the first time a new virus has made an appearance and a pandemic has begun to spread to various countries around the world.

“In 1918, 50 to 100 million people lost their lives, a number who exceeded the victims of World War I” says Rosalind Eggo in her opening line during her speech in TEDxThessaloniki 2018. 

The difference between the epidemic and the pandemic, as Rosalind Eggo explains, has to do with their respectable spreading scales: While the pandemic spreads around the world, the epidemic is geographically localized in one place. Epidemics and pandemics have been occurring for millions of years, infecting plants, animals, humans, and affecting the course of history itself. The good news is that they are to some extent predictable: there are various cases of infected patients, whose numbers increase but eventually decrease and the epidemic starts to weaken. “Today,” Rosalind Eggo points out, “thanks to technology, we use computational models to analyze large pandemics. We want to know how they spread and what we can do to improve our controlling methods towards them”

Yet it is not the first time that the marathon to develop a vaccine is occurring. The mistrust from the western world towards vaccination may well hold, but it is this exact measure of treatment that has timelessly guaranteed the extermination of viruses threatening our species. In 2018 Antonis Darzentas spoke with great detail about the truth that lies behind the vaccines at the TEDxThessaloniki stage: 

“500 years ago, in Latin America, smallpox and measles, brought by the Spanish conquerors, killed more people than the weapons of the Conquistadors. 100 to 150 years ago in Greece, child mortality was at 50%. As Greek people say “we have many children because God has a share too”. In the 20th century alone, globally, smallpox kills 300 to 500 million people and measles 150 million”. 

“In 1980 the World Health Organization declares the world free of smallpox. Thanks to vaccination, smallpox has completely disappeared from the natural environment. However, as Mr. Darzentas says “According to a poll, 24% of Greeks are reluctant to vaccination and believe it causes autism”. 

This small dive in history has urged us to pay attention to the words of people who are –by profession-aware of the viruses and their treatments but also draw our interest in important percentages and numbers related on the subject of viruses. After all, it is safe to say that history repeats itself. Another name will appear on our TV or mobile screens, causing fear. Has anything changed at all? Yes. People nowadays are knowledgeable. And as we have witnessed in the speeches above, knowledge is imparted and it has the ability to open a new chapter in the way we perceive things.