The Corona Virus And What We Need To Know

The Corona Virus And What We Need To Know

Novel Coronavirus(2019-nCoV)

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is a different strain from the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

How Dangerous is the Corona Virus?

Covid-19 is quite deadly, with fatality rates skyrocketing for the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. It is not an easy task to accurately assess the lethality of a new virus but so far it appears to be less fatal than the coronaviruses that caused SARS or MERS, but significantly more lethal than the seasonal flu.

A study puts the fatality rate over 2%, but government scientists have estimated that the real figure could be below 1%, which is roughly equivalent to a severe flu season. About 5% of the patients who were hospitalized in China had pre-existing critical illnesses. Children seem less likely to be infected with the new coronavirus, while middle-aged and older adults are disproportionately affected.

Men are more likely to die from an infection than women, possibly because they produce weaker immune responses, have higher rates of tobacco consumption, more occurrences of Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure than women, which may increase the risk of complications following an infection.

Is COVID-19 likely to be at pandemic proportions for 2 years?

The answer to this question simply depends on the actions we take now. If we do nothing, there is a higher chance for it to go out of control. Every week the number of infected people doubles or triples, according to the best estimates of R0 today. Within two months, Italian hospitals have  started to feel the intense pressure and can only survive by emulating methods used to curb the spread by the Chinese (Wuhan).

On the other hand, could a declaration of a state of emergency be overkill? A complete lockdown of a state for a pandemic that has only killed a relatively small number of people seems hasty, especially when you compare the death rate with other diseases, such as the common flu which has a death toll 100x that of Corona. However, the difference between 5,000 cases  and 5,000,000 cases is 10 weeks of inaction. This is why governments around the world are taking severe and enormous action now, we are on the edge of the precipice.

So once again, whether  Covid-19 will be considered a pandemic in two years time greatly depends on us. It is our individual responsibilities to limit the spread of the virus. If you are experiencing symptoms such as a cough and/or a fever,  please stay at home and isolated. You most likely have a cold, but you could also be a minimally symptomatic carrier. You can do your part by making sure you don’t spread the virus.

What can you do to slow the spread of the virus?
  1. Practice respiratory hygiene. Sneezing into your elbow or tissues (dispose immediately) limits the spread of the virus.
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand rub, this kills viruses that may be on your hands
  3. Practice social distancing. A person who sneezes can potentially spray droplets which can be breathed in if you are too close
  4. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Your hands touch a lot of surfaces which can harbour viruses that can be transferred to your face
  5. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.

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