…some notes on the historical risks in Europe and for Europeans:
It looks, memories of many have faded. A few details may help provide perspective and ease European readers worries:
China and Hong Kong were 2002 /2003 affected by SARS with 7,082 cases and 648 deaths. That's 87% of all registered worldwide disease and 84% of global deaths. In clinical epidemiology (study of the spread of disease) we speak of lethality rates (or case-fatality- rates), which is the proportion of those infected in% involved in the disease die. For SARS in China and Hong Kong was this rate 9% .Figures for China and Hong Kong plus the neighboring countries and other countries in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, China, Hong Kong), add to 7738 cases, of whom died 725, that is 9% Overall, these patients make 96%. of all global cases of illness and 94% of all deaths.
Interesting and also important to look at 'our' (European) risk of transmission and 'our' mortality risk. In the pandemic 2003/2004 nine European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Ro-mania, Russia, Swe- den, Switzerland, Spain, United Kingdom) registered a total of 31 SARDS cases and one death. It proved 2002 / 2003 for a European dying of SARS was still considerably lower than the risk, be killed by lightning. The only European who died of SARS in Europe 2002/2003, was a 65 - year-old Frenchman, who was probably infected in Dubai,
In comparison, the German cause of death statistics for 20177 report 387 deaths from influenza and pneumonia. The flu season 2017/18 in Germany is reported to have cost up to 25,000 lives. World- wide, every year between 290,000 to 650,000 people die from influenza virus respiratory diseases.
So much for the facts and our 'risks.
Why then was Europe hit so low?
'In many countries of the [Asian]Region were poorly developed methods for infection control. The support staff, administrative staff and even the nurses and healthcare professionals knew little about how they should protect themselves from infectious diseases. Outside the main cities’ isolation procedures were quite primitive. There was little understanding of personal protective measures and patient rooms that were set up to limit set up to limit air- and fomite-borne spread. In most hospitals the basic equipment was missing. The "developed" countries of the region possessed the know-how, it proved however, difficult to be transferred to hospitals where the conditions were not optimal... '. (SARS: how a global epidemic was stopped. World Health Organization 2006).
In European countries with well-developed public health systems and good case finding and case management the spread of SARS was quickly and effectively curbed. And the clinical treatment of infections was very effective in the much better-equipped hospitals in the West. That explains much higher survival rates.
And why do I think, China will do better this time, despite all alarmist voices:
China 2003 and China 2020, these
are different worlds in time, there has been the greatest ‘leap forward’, any civilization has mastered, ever. Since 2004, China's weak public health system, including the Centers for Control of Communicable Diseases (CDC), was massively res-structured, expanded and improved. Billions were invested in health
care, hundreds of thousands of health workers trained. China did and is still collaborating closely with US, European and other continent’s CDC, academia and health care research institutions. Example: the Chinese early warning system has been improved from 2003- bad
to 2020 -> world-class and reached real-time reporting scores. According to World Health Organization criteria – the Chinese system scores now equal to Germany in international comparison. (The "International Health Regulations (IHR) Core Capacity Index" is a very good indicator for measuring the performance of national epi-demiological monitoring and control systems.
China is now regarded as one of the world's leading countries in the implementation of IHR and is on par with Germany with 99 out of 100 achievable points for 2010-2015)