By CHRIS ENLOE
The coronavirus has significantly weakened and could even disappear on its own, according to a top Italian doctor.
Dr. Matteo Bassetti, the head of the infectious diseases clinic at the San Martino hospital, said in an interview Sunday that COVID-19 patients who would have died two or three months ago are now recovering.
“The clinical impression I have is that the virus is changing in severity,” Bassetti told the Telegraph UK.
“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,” he explained. “Now, in the past four weeks, the picture has completely changed in terms of patterns.”
Bassetti attributed the strength differences to potential genetic mutations, which are common for viruses. He explained that increased scientific understanding about the virus has also aided efforts to mitigate its impact.
“It was like an aggressive tiger in March and April but now it’s like a wild cat,” Bassetti said. “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.”
“I think the virus has mutated because our immune system reacts to the virus and we have a lower viral load now due to the lockdown, mask-wearing, social distancing,” he explained.
In fact, Bassetti said COVID-19 may disappear even without a vaccine.
“Yes, probably it could go away completely without a vaccine. We have fewer and fewer people infected and it could end up with the virus dying out,” he told the Telegraph.
Coronavirus cases worldwide continue to climb, an increase that is attributed to widespread testing. However, hospitalizations and deaths are generally decreasing, with the exception of Latin and South America, where Brazil and Mexico have seen COVID-related deaths skyrocket.
Mexico, for example, reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 deaths on Monday.
According to former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, the increase in positive cases can be attributed to younger people taking more risks when venturing outside, while medically vulnerable and elderly people are better protecting themselves.