In December of 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of a previously unknown form of pneumonia in Wuhan, province of Hubei. In January, the disease was identified as a novel coronavirus now known as COVID-19. The deadly pneumonia has now spread to 194 countries and territories around the world.
On March 11, WHO declared the COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. Total number of infected around the world has exceeded 400,000 and the total death toll of the disease is now 18,934. Russia has registered 495 cases of infection; 22 patients have already recovered and been discharged from hospitals.
Mikhail Shelkanov, Russian virologist and a head of the Laboratory of Ecology of microorganisms of Biomedical School of the Russian Far East Federal University, said that the coronavirus pandemic will either be over by summer, at best, or remain in Russia for another season.
The expert suggested that the situation may change if American and European countries can get the situation under control and stop the virus from spreading. “That would be great,” Shelkanov said.
In an alternative scenario, the virologist says, the coronavirus would not end for another season, which means that Europe and the US would have to be isolated from the rest of the world, while the situation in China and Russia may stabilize.
According to Shelkanov, in the worst case, the coronavirus would spread to every country in the world and Russia would not be able to avoid the outbreak. In such a case the countries will have to remain isolated until the next winter.
Shelkanov added that Russia managed to get prepared for the possible outbreak of the coronavirus by storing the necessary medical equipment, medicines, developing a plan of action, and establishing inter-agency cooperation.
Vesna News — official website