1) Why should we care?
COVID-19 is a pandemic with no current vaccines and drugs.
2) Why social distancing?
Because one can be asymptomatic and still spread the disease. At least, one out of four patients have been reported to be asymptomatic (some studies suggest 50 percent). It is predicted that without proper prevention measures, more than 50 percent of the world population will be affected with COVID-19.
3) How is social distancing helping?
COVID-19 has been spreading exponentially and social distancing is an essential way to slow down the spread of COVID-19 by reaching a plateau.The main goal of ‘Flattening the curve’ by social distancing means to reduce the number of people who are sick at one time. High number of COVID-19 cases all at once could be overwhelming and can put pressure on health care systems and resources.
4) Social distancing cannot last forever, what after that?
There are so many clinical trials and research undergoing to find vaccines and drugs for COVID-19. Social distancing is not only helping to slow down the spread but also helping us buy more time to develop drugs and vaccines against COVID-19.
5) Why is this a scary situation?
Currently, since there are no effective drugs, critically ill patients need respirators. Given the fact that there are about 87,000 respirators in USA, no country (developed or developing) including USA is prepared to have 50 percent of its population on respirators.
6) Why is it taking so long to make vaccine or drugs?
Taking a new drug or vaccine from initial trials through to the clinic stage is an incredibly long process. Therefore, researchers are working to identify drugs and vaccines that are already in use that might help tackle SARS-CoV-2.
7) Who is more vulnerable?
Although, severe illness can occur in otherwise healthy individuals of any age, but it predominantly occurs in adults with advanced age or underlying medical comorbidities.
About the Author
Manpreet Semwal is a student in the Molecular Immunology & Microbiology discipline of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences program. Her research focuses on addressing the physiological functions of Reactive oxygen species (ROS) in stromal cells in the young, steady state thymus. She is working in Dr. Ann Griffith’s lab that focuses on identifying the causes and consequences of age-associated thymic stromal dysfunction. Their ultimate goal is to develop novel approaches to extend the health span during aging. Read more about her work in the article, “Manpreet Semwal: Having a Ph.D. Will Help Me Train Future Scientists.”
The “Beyond The Bench” series features articles written by students and postdoctoral fellows at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.