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COVID-19: Its Effects and Unknown Facts Behind Sharing the Number of Coronavirus Cases

Written by Ahmet Tuna Balci


As everyone knows, on the 1st of December 2019, the coronavirus, which affected the whole world, appeared for the first time in Wuhan, China. Initially, it was assumed to be another basic respiratory disease/infection, but in a short time, it turned out to be a complex and dangerous virus. After being detected in China, it spread to many countries, including Turkey, at the beginning of 2020. This deadly virus has increased its effectiveness in different variants over the past years (2019-2023). Having many variants has made this virus pretty deadly as it can mutate quickly against various routes or antibiotics. It mainly affected Europe continentally (661.545.258 cumulative cases/6.700.519 cumulative deaths) and USA territorial (100.304.472 cases/1.088.854 deaths) [9,10].

Of course, currently, COVID-19 is affecting people but its effects are not as much as in the last few years. As the virus continued to mutate since the end of 2020, many countries were helping each other to investigate the virus in detail around the world at the same time. At first, it was difficult to accurately distinguish between those who were sick and those who were not. After a while, COVID-19 tests were developed and offered for sale by research teams in different parts of the world. In this way, at least the positive or negative test results with samples taken from different parts of the body of the sick people showed whether they were sick or not; however, the tests turned out to be inaccurate, because it was the first time that humans had encountered this virus and it was difficult for them to adapt. However, before the vaccine was produced, tests were of great importance for the recognition of the virus. In the next year, at the beginning of 2021, vaccine production studies in various parts of the world have now ended and trials have begun. Although many vaccines could not be effective in this process, more than one vaccine was developed against COVID-19 at the end of the studies. Examples of these are the two most well-known: BioNTech and Sinovac. BioNTech was launched by the two Turkish founders in cooperation with the USA-Germany. Sinovac, on the other hand, was launched on the market at the same time by a company called Sinovac in China. Currently, some people are getting the BioNTech vaccine and some are getting the Sinovac vaccine. The difference between these two vaccines is that during the BioNTech vaccine, an active virus is injected into the human body, while an inactive vaccine is made in Sinovac. Both vaccines have strong side effects, but their effects vary from person to person, especially since each person's immunity is different. Their common feature is that they are highly effective against COVID-19. But of course, before vaccines were found, the coronavirus was very dangerous for humans [3,4].


2020 was the most effective year of COVID-19, and many countries were negatively affected by it. A "state of emergency" has been declared worldwide, and social life has been at a complete standstill. With the increase in deaths, a curfew was declared globally, and online education started. Also, many governments were negatively affected by this situation, especially economically. With the increase in cases, society was also negatively affected psychologically. During this chaotic statement, most countries did not share the number of COVID-19 cases [2,12].


Sure, why didn't they share COVID-19 cases? Especially in 2020, when the virus started to do the most damage and the number of cases increased rapidly and unevenly, governments had not yet found a clear treatment method (vaccine) and therefore brought many restrictions on social life to keep the situation under control. The increase in the number of cases and deaths could not be prevented. However, it was stated by the public that the governments did not objectively explain these statistics because people thought that these statistics did not match the tragedy they saw around them. This issue, which first came to the fore in social media, was evaluated as wrong by many journalists or media organs, but the health ministries stated that the data was transferred 100% correctly [5].


For example, the USA, one of the countries most affected by the virus, is shown as one of the most powerful states in the world, and the situation they were in was obvious. The President of this period, Donald Trump, has convened the economic council many times during the pandemic. There was a chaotic situation in the country. If this virus has made one of the most powerful states in the world this way, it is easy to understand how dangerous it is. Trump, who said that the situation was under control at the beginning, first showed China and WHO as the cause of this situation, and then caught COVID-19 with his wife in a few months. In this process, the American government, which concealed the number of cases due to the increases, prevented the public from noticing the seriousness of the situation at the very beginning, and as a result, it was reflected in the statistics as the country was the one most affected by COVID-19. Donald Trump and the government, who did not take any significant initiative until he was caught with the virus, understood the seriousness and started to work hard to prevent the virus [11]. At the same time, China, the country where the virus first appeared, was concealing the number of cases and death rates but unlike the USA, the Chinese government is not among the ten most affected countries by the virus, according to current statistics, thanks to this policy. Chinese President Xi Jinping hid the number of cases and deaths in the early stages of the virus, but during this time, unlike Trump, he tried to find an early solution to this problem, not proving himself right. Unlike other countries, China's case and death rates have always remained stable [6].

Of course, other countries were affected by the virus, but the main reason for comparing these two states was the way the hiding of statistics and mismanagement policy affected the process. China, the origin of the virus, currently has 10,855,369 cases / 33,698 deaths [8]. The statistics of the USA compared to China are about 10 times the number of cases and about 30 times the number of deaths. "As countries are trying to develop their control strategies, they are looking for evidence of whether the situation in China is getting worse or better," said Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security [1]. While trying to prevent panic, this pandemic, which caused chaos around the world, caused many governments to be criticized by the public and their administrations to be reviewed. But at the end of COVID-19, which lost its effect to a large extent and took its place in history as one of the world's deadliest viruses, China has proven many other states wrong. It has killed hundreds of thousands of people due to the hiding of statistics and data and the wrong policy of irresponsible governments [7].



References:
  1. Baragona, S. (2020, February 14). China still not sharing coronavirus information, experts say. VOA. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from https://www.voanews.com/a/science-health_coronavirus-outbreak_china-still-not-sharing-coronavirus-information-experts-say/6184238.html

  2. BBC. (n.d.). Covid-19 Vakaları Dünyada ve türkiye'de Yeniden Artıyor: Salgın Nereye Gidiyor? BBC News Türkçe. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-turkiye-62087181

  3. BBC. (n.d.). Sinovac Aşısı: çin'in Geliştirdiği ve türkiye'de Kullanılan Coronavac Hakkında Neler Biliniyor? BBC News Türkçe. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-55162850

  4. BBC. (n.d.). Uğur şahin ve özlem Türeci: Koronavirüs Aşısını Bulan BioNTech'in Türk-Alman Kurucuları. BBC News Türkçe. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-54882588

  5. Data capture and sharing in the covid-19 pandemic: A cause for concern. (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2023, from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landig/article/PIIS2589-7500(22)00147-9/fulltext

  6. Spencekimball. (2022, December 30). U.S. and global health officials are worried about the lack of transparency from China on the covid outbreak. CNBC. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from https://www.cnbc.com/2022/12/29/us-global-health-officials-worry-about-china-transparency-on-covid.html

  7. United Nations. (n.d.). Covid-19: Who highlights the critical importance of sharing virus sequences | UN news. United Nations. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/01/1132367

  8. World Health Organization. (n.d.). China: Who coronavirus disease (covid-19) dashboard with vaccination data. World Health Organization. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from https://covid19.who.int/region/wpro/country/cn

  9. World Health Organization. (n.d.). United States of America: Who coronavirus disease (covid-19) dashboard with vaccination data. World Health Organization. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from https://covid19.who.int/region/amro/country/us

  10. World Health Organization. (n.d.). Who coronavirus (COVID-19) dashboard. World Health Organization. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from https://covid19.who.int/

  11. Parker, C. F., & Stern, E. K. (2022, March 29). The Trump administration and the COVID-19 crisis: Exploring the warning-response problems and missed opportunities of a public health emergency. Public administration. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9115435/

  12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). How to protect yourself and others. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 15, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html


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