On Sunday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a three-week lockdown on the UK in an effort to curb the effect, urging Britons to “please stay in your homes”. It comes as officials confirmed that 422 people have now died from COVID-19 in the UK, and experts at Oxford University have warned half of the country may already be infected. But pandemics are nothing new, and experts have been warning against an outbreak of this kind for years.
In 2008, the History Channel released “The Next Plague,” a documentary looking at the worst-case scenario of such an event, where researchers sent a stark warning.
Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) director Dr Michael Osterholm said: “We are so ill-prepared as to the point that we would be screwed.
“Without a doubt, of all the things that any of us in the last 30 to 40 years have worked on in public health, this has to be considered by far to have the greatest potential to cause a catastrophic event of anything we work with.
“Pandemic influenza will begin to affect this country (US) the very moment it begins to affect anywhere in the world.
We are so ill-prepared
Dr Michael Osterholm
“If it’s a 1918-like experience we’re talking about the potential for 180 to 360 million people worldwide to die.
“Even with a milder pandemic, we’re still talking deaths many, many times beyond anything we’ve seen before.”
In the last few weeks, there has been a global effort to identify an antiviral capable of tackling coronavirus with several countries rolling-out scores of tests to identify the right one, or mixture.
But, investigative author Mike Davis not only called for this action to be taken earlier in the US, but also admitted it may not have made much difference.
He said: “The problem is the United States has an inadequate stockpile of antivirals at this point.
“If it were to emerge in multiple locations and spread more rapidly, then antivirals would not be an adequate strategy.
“The problem about avian influenza is most of humanity is utterly naked in front of this threat.
“Poor countries don’t have stocks of antivirals, they don’t and probably won’t have access to vaccines.”
Professor of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine William Schaffner said that lack of other medical supply stockpiles like ventilators will also lead to difficult decisions.
He added: “If you have a hope to be perfectly prepared to prevent this influenza outbreak, you are going to be quite disappointed.
“You cannot prevent the hurricane.
Coronavirus: Is this PROOF China’s been lying about outbreak? [REVEALED]
‘A stitch-up!’ Scotland braced for 20% MORE funding than England [EXPLAINED]
Coronavirus vaccine to take ‘over 10 years’ as cases surge [ANALYSIS]
“We will have to make very difficult medical and ethical decisions will have to be made.
“If we don’t have enough ventilators, which patients should we use them? Where shall we allocate them? The decisions will have to be made.”
Professor Osterholm said the problem is not just in the US though, one of his main concerns was the ability for developing countries to stop the spread.
He added: “In the developing world today, infectious diseases are the number one killer of people, now we face the prospect of that happening in the developed world.
“Is it going to be safe in small towns? No, is it going to be safer in larger cities? No.
“One of the things we will attempt to do is educate the public about the fact that this is not something you can run from.
“People want some silver bullet answer over what do you do to protect yourself, it just doesn’t exist.
“For whatever reason, we now see our international leaders, our national leaders and many of those in the public health world realising that this is what could happen, this is what has been happening.”
But, Professor Osterholm did have some hope.
He continued: “Even under a worst-case doomsday scenario, 98 out of 100 people will still be alive when the pandemic is over.
“Listening to this scenario you could throw up your hands and say ‘we’re all going to die,’ that’s not the case.
“We have to prepare for the worst-case scenario, and if it doesn’t happen, then we’ve wasted resources and scared you unnecessarily, that’s too bad.
“I would rather be in that position than preparing for something mild and having it be the kind of tragedy that we saw in 1918.”
Source: Read Full Article