Covit-19 infection is the worst viral infection the world has seen in more than a century. But statistically, these serious events are not as rare as believed, according to a new analysis of outbreaks over the past 400 years.
The study, published in the journal National Academy of Sciences, uses the latest compiled record of past eruptions to assess the severity of these events and the annual probability of their recurrence.
The probability of an infection with an impact similar to Govit-19 in any given year is approximately 2%That is, someone born in 2000 has a 38% chance of being affected today. And That increases the probability, Which, in the opinion of the authors, highlights the need to adjust the perception of epidemic risks and preparedness expectations.
“It simply came to our notice then Major infections such as COVID-19 and Spanish flu are relatively possible“Dr. William Bonn, a professor of global environmental health at Dook University and one of the paper’s co-authors, says understanding that epidemics are not rare should increase the priority of efforts to prevent and control them in the future.
The study, led by Dr. Marco Marani of the University of Padua (Italy), used new statistical methods to measure the extent and frequency of infections over the past four centuries without immediate medical intervention.
Their analysis, which includes many pathogens such as plague, smallpox, cholera, typhus and new influenza viruses, revealed significant variation in the speed of infections in the past. But they also identified patterns that allow us to repeatedly describe the probabilities of events of a similar scale.
In the event of a deadly epidemic in modern history – known as the Spanish flu that killed more than 30 million people between 1918 and 1920 – the probability of a similar epidemic was between 0, 3% and 1.9% per year. In other words, those numbers are statistically possible for an epidemic at that extreme level over the next 400 years.
But the data show that too The risk of severe eruptions is growing rapidly. Based on the rate at which new pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2 have been unleashed on the human population over the past 50 years, the study estimates that the likelihood of a new outbreak will triple in the next few decades.
Using this increased risk factor, researchers estimate Outbreaks such as Govt-19 are more likely to occur within 59 yearsAs a result, they write, “far less than expected.” Although not included in the article, they also calculated the probability of an epidemic that would eliminate all human life that was found to be statistically feasible over the next 12,000 years.
This does not mean that we can count on a 59-year extension of an epidemic like Govit, or that we can survive another 300 years of Spanish-scale catastrophe, they point out. Dr. Gabriel Catul, a professor of hydrology and microbiology at Duke University and another author of the paper, warns that these types of phenomena can occur at any time.
“With 100 years of flooding today, it can be misleading to think that you can wait another 100 years before experiencing another event like this,” Kadul explains. Next year “.
As an environmental health scientist, one can guess the reasons for the frequent occurrence of pan eruptions, he notes Population growth, changes in food systems, environmental degradation and frequent human-animal interactions They can be important factors.
Statistical analysis emphasizes that it aims only at classifying risks and not explaining what triggers them. But at the same time, he hopes this study will lead to an in-depth study of the factors that exacerbate catastrophic infections and how to deal with them.
“It highlights the importance of early response to improving the ability to monitor infections and epidemics locally and globally, as well as setting a research agenda to understand why large eruptions are becoming more common.”