Coronavirus, an epidemic like any other?


(Sao Paolo, Brazil) In Brazil it was feared that sooner or later cases of coronavirus infection would occur among us. The fear became a reality, when the coronavirus arrived in Brazil, through a confirmed case and other suspicious cases under investigation.

This type of virus appeared in the city of Wuhan, China, in December last year and has spread to several countries from there. But beware! It is not yet an epidemic and there is no reason to take desperate measures!

Let’s go to the clarifications!

According to medicine, the epidemic is an infectious disease, of a transitory nature, which simultaneously attacks a large number of people in a given place. For example, several municipalities in Brazil are experiencing the dengue epidemic, which has affected us for years.

An epidemic occurs when the number of cases of an apparently controlled disease increases in such a way that it is no longer a simple outbreak.

There is also the so-called endemic, which occurs when a disease classified as typical of a region occurs very often in the area. Endemic diseases can be seasonal or constant, such as yellow fever.

Much worse is when a pandemic occurs, that is, when an epidemic spreads to different regions of the planet, and the more it spreads, the more there is a danger of losing control over it. AIDS, for example, is considered by many to be a pandemic, as in the case of influenza A or swine flu in 2009.

Epidemics have always occurred throughout history, but in the modern world, with a greater flow of people on the move, thanks to means of transport such as airplanes, large cruise ships and city trains, the risk of spread is much greater.

Our bodies produce billions of antibodies, which constantly fight against various types of viruses or bacteria present in our bodies. But in the case of the coronavirus, which is a family of several types of viruses that cause respiratory infections and was first described in 1937, there is a more aggressive type that causes more damage to the body, and can even cause death.

But it is not about creating a wave of fear or terror. For the moment, some hygienic precautions should be taken, especially for those who have possible contact with infected people or are in groups identified as being at risk. It is better not to get carried away by incomplete news or false news circulating through communication platforms.

Fr. Inácio de Medeiros, C.Ss.R.

A Redemptorist from the Province of San Paolo, with a degree in Church History from the Gregorian University in Rome, he has worked in this field for many years, having taught in various institutes. He works in the area of communication, being responsible for institutional and missionary communication in the province of Sao Paolo in Brazil.