While COVID-19 outbreak ravages the globe, a volley of medical experts in Italy are of the opinion that the novel coronavirus is losing its virulence, possibly due to an increased awareness and social distancing measures.

“The clinical impression I have is that the virus is changing in severity,” said Dr. Matteo Bassetti, the head of the infectious diseases clinic at the San Martino hospital. “In March and early April, the patterns were completely different. People were coming to the emergency department with a very difficult to manage illness and they needed oxygen and ventilation, some developed pneumonia,” added Bassetti, implying that the reduction in the potency of the virus could be attributed to genetic mutations.

Bassetti put forth an animal reference to draw a comparison between the virus at present and how it was a couple of months ago. Asserting how severely ill patients who would’ve died a couple of months ago, due to the chronic infection, are surviving. Bassetti also inferred that a vaccine might no longer be needed as it’s very likely that the virus will die out on its own.

“It was like an aggressive tiger in March and April but now it’s like a wild cat,” said Bassetti. “Even elderly patients, aged 80 or 90, are now sitting up in bed and they are breathing without help. The same patients would have died in two or three days before,” he added.

The statements came soon after an announcement by the Health Secretary about a deal having come through, between pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University, to kickstart the manufacturing of a potential vaccine.

However, the stance has been met with opposing views at the same time. “I don't expect it to die out that quickly,” said Dr Bharat Pankhania, a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School and a former Public Health England consultant as per a media outlet. It will if it has no one to infect. If we have a successful vaccine then we'll be able to do what we did with smallpox. But because it's so infectious and widespread, it won't go away for a very long time. My estimate is ranging from never to if we are really lucky and it sort of mutates and mutates, it may lose its virulence -- we're talking years and years. I disagree with Prof Sikora that nirvana is around the corner,” he added.

The new program provides support to the National Urban League, UnidosUS and local nonprofits nationwide to help address rates of infection, joblessness, and the dearth of vital resources needed in Black and Latino U.S. communities disproportionately afflicted by COVID-19. Photo by Tai's Captures on Unsplash

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