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Right now, the world is coming to grips with the spread of the coronavirus. People are fearful and panicking, not just the virus, but the disruption to their daily lives. There is a chance your area could experience a quarantine. Even worse, the shutdown of an entire city (like Wuhan, China).
Here’s a brief background of the coronavirus:
First, there is no vaccine or cure for the virus, so don’t buy these cures from Amazon, it won’t work.
Second, the disease is like SARS and the common cold, with common symptoms like coughs and fever.
Third, the case mortality rate (see jargon section for explanation) is around 2% – 10%.
What is the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that causes human respiratory viral infection. It is a flu strain that like SARS, but more transmissible. Also, it can spread from humans to humans, either from droplets, airborne or feces.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
The following symptoms or features include:
Fever; – 98% of cases. People that experience fever is likely to survive. That’s because the high body temperature reduces the replication of the virus’s cells. Also, it increases the efficiency of the immune system. Although, people with other health issues may not be lucky.
Cough; – 73% of cases.
44% of patients feel fatigued. But, can tell the difference between long-haul flight fatigue or illness fatigue.
28% of patients cough up mucus from the respiratory tract because there is an infection. Its called Sputum production.
Then there is a 55% chance that the virus will cause shortness of breath. People with this condition can have pneumonia, which is an infection in one or both lungs. The difficulties in breathing are down to the air sacs filled with fluid. It is a critical stage and the patient is likely to die as a result.
Can the authorities detect the virus?
In the past few weeks, experts found testing people for the coronavirus can be difficult. One reason is it would show up in the lower airways, called the bronchioles and goes into the alveoli.
It is the reason why a temperature check and nasal swab will fail to display symptoms of this virus. Plus, people get tested several times before it becomes positive.
What makes the coronavirus deadly?
With these coronaviruses, they hijack the cells and force them to produce new viral particles, instead of the normal protein cells.
The part that makes it deadly is RNA, instead of DNA. It means the virus won’t only replicate (like DNA), it can mutate. With mutation, it becomes resistant to drugs and vaccines.
At the moment we don’t know what the mutation rate of the coronavirus because the WHO says it hasn’t seen mutation (yet). Once it does mutate, any new treatment will become OUTDATED!
How to protect yourself about the Coronavirus?
If you live near an infected area or the quarantine zone, you need to learn and protect yourself.
First, reduce going outside, if you aren’t under quarantine.
If you need to go out, wear your face mask and put on disposable gloves and goggles (the virus is airborne). Whilst you enter your home dispose of your gloves. Open a plastic container and carefully remove your mask and place it inside.
Normally, people would think of disposing of their masks. But these kinds of circumstances lead to a shortage of masks.
If I were you buy ten to twenty small plastic boxes and 50 to 200 disposal masks, depending on household size.
Remember this virus can only survive on the surface of the mask for 9 DAYS, BEFORE DYING OUT!
That’s why you should label each plastic box. Write down the date you put the mask on the box to keep track of time.
Next, take off your coat and clothes and put them in your washing machine before doing any activity. Wash your hands before putting your groceries away. Next, take off your coat and clothes and put them in your washing machine. Wash your hands again, before taking a shower. Do this before you implementing any household activity.
Put to your friends and families on the phone and tablet
You get to have an enjoyable conversation without shaking their hands. Also, it promotes trust because you don’t need to ignite a blame game.
Make sure to exercise meticulous hygiene
The virus has been on the news for over a month. In that time, scientists are learning about their infecting capabilities. In this section, I will go through BASIC meticulous hygiene to avoid catching the virus.
1). Washing your hands; – Let’s start with the basics. You should wash your hand using warm water with hand sanitizers for 25 seconds.
2). Wash your hands before preparing food; – is a must. That’s to avoid oral ingestion during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, follow basic and common-sense hygiene when handling raw meat.
3). Touching habits; – Avoid touching your face and rubbing your eyes, especially after venturing outside.
Tip: If you are outside, try to avoid touching your mask.
If you blow your nose, sneeze on a tissue and bin it.
4). Avoid using public toilets; – this could be unavoidable when you feel the need to go to the loo. Recently, the virus can spread through fecal contamination. So, beware of public toilets are ways where it could spread, especially near an infected area. Yet, you could reduce your chances of going to the toilet by changing your diet. Eat fewer doughnuts and reduce fast food intake. That way you aren’t full and you go to the toilet less.
P.S. Remember to exercise basic handwashing hygiene.
5). Taking off your mask and glasses; – take off your face mask from the back to avoid catching the diseases in the front. That’s because people are sneezing and coughing in front of you, where the virus would land and settle. Also, the viruses are likely to settle at the back of the mask.
When it comes to wearing glasses or goggles, always clean after arriving back home.
6). Boost your immune system; – Eat your fruit and veg to boost your immune system. If you are stuck at home, take the daily recommended dose of vitamin D.
7). Keep warm and sleep often; – always wear enough clothes to keep yourself warm. That’s because you don’t want your nose to be cold. It means the blood supply can’t reach your nose and supply it with white blood cells, leaving vulnerable to catching a cold.
8). Avoid raw meat; – cook food thoroughly especially meat and eggs.
Explaining the difference between droplets and airborne
Experts may have talked about the virus spreading via droplets and airborne.
But, do you know what they mean?
Below, I will illustrate the difference.
How will droplets spread the virus?
There are several ways droplets, these are:
1). Distance; – If you are standing near a person (within 2 metres), the infected person could sneeze in your general direction. These droplets will reach your face and hair meaning there is a chance it could enter through your eyes, noses, and mouth. Another possible way is you would touch your face or hair before eating a sandwich or biscuit.
2). On surfaces; – the virus can surface can pass to another person if THEY TOUCH THE SURFACE. Think during BREAKFAST, LUNCH OR DINNER!
P.S. These droplets tend to be large molecules that travel at a short distance.
The Coronavirus is small enough to be airborne/aerosols. It means you can catch the infection by sitting next to someone with the symptoms for a period of time. In some cases, all it takes is for the wind to blow in your general direction!
The proper definition of an Aerosol is tiny particles that are able to suspend in the air.
Here’s the problem, you can’t 100% protect yourself if the virus can float through the air! These are some of the following ways you can get infected:
(Obvious ways): Coughing/Talking/Sneezing/breathing.
(Not so obvious ways): That includes the wind blowing in your general direction.
It does pass through an air vent or conditioner flow (air systems or fans (think cruise liners and hotels).
Remember you can catch the virus without being in the same room.
Are you likely to die from the Coronavirus?
This section could be important for the current form of coronavirus. If it mutates, ignore it.
There was a study from the Chinese Center for Disease Control (the data start at 3:20) from over 44,000 cases. In it, they explain how the coronavirus affects the general population in Wuhan. These are the key findings:
1). 87% of people that catch the virus are between 30 and 79 years old.
2). 2% of people are under the age of 19.
3). From the 44,415 cases, 81% of them are mild, 14% are severe and 5% critical.
4). The overall case fatality rate is 2.3%.
5). If you are between 70 and 79 years old, that case fatality rate is 8% and for those over 80 its 15%.
6). People that are critical sees a high case fatality rate of 49%.
7). The definition of mild is nonpneuemonia or mild pneumonia.
8). Finally, your chances of living go up, if you have a pre-existing condition. For people with cardiovascular disease, the case fatality rate is 10.3%. Those with diseases are 7.3% and for cancer patients is 5.6%.
Understanding jargons that will help keep you safe
There are a few jargon about the coronavirus that the general public didn’t quite understand or pick up. Here are a few popular terms:
N95 Mask; – These masks will help prevent and reduce your chances of getting the virus. So, the ‘95’ stands for 95% of the time it will block molecules as small as 0.3 microns. Unfortunately, the coronavirus particles are between 0.05 to 0.2 microns. But its much better than the medical masks, you see people wearing in the streets.
Recovered patients; – patients that had the coronavirus and manage to recover. The criteria for this recovery include going 10 days without a fever, no virus in the upper respiratory tract, passing two tests and chest X-Ray showing improvement.
R0; – this is a basic reproduction rate measuring the average spread of the virus from the infected patient to non-infected people. For example, if you see or read that the coronavirus has an R0 = 3, it means one ‘infected’ person infects three others and they, in turn, infect 9 other people. Here’s the sequence: 3,9,27,81,243,729 and so forth.
Severe cases; – are patients with trouble breathing and creating breathing sounds at a rate greater than 30 times per minute. Their oxygen level goes below 93% without the aid of an oxygen mask. And, finally, their chest showing a 50% increase in lung lobe lesions growth in 48 hours.
RNA; – also known as Ribonucleic acid.
Acute respiratory distress syndrome; – a life-threating condition infecting your lungs and caused by pneumonia. It is the reason why you can become short of breath, feeling extremely fatigue and makes you want to faint. People at this stage of their illness are in critical condition.
Incubation phase/period; – it is the time between the moment you exposed to the virus and when you start to show symptoms of the disease. For the coronavirus, it would between 2 and 27 days.
P.S. It is difficult to determine the incubation period because people don’t know when they were in contact with the virus until they experience illness.
Prodromal phase/period; – is the period AFTER the incubation period. It is the period when the virus is making multiple copies of their cells in your lungs. That is the time when you begin to feel ill and display symptoms of the disease.
Alveoli; – The alveoli are tiny air sacs at the endpoint of the respiratory system in your lungs. Their job is to exchange oxygen and CO2 in your bloodstream. It plays an important role in your breathing, so any damage would cause you to experience shortness of breath.
Is there any treatment for the Coronavirus?
There’s currently no treatment and cure for the coronavirus. That’s because they are ongoing and will likely take months if not years. People with symptoms will have to let the virus runs its course.
How can you avoid spreading the coronavirus to others?
If you suspect of having the coronavirus, you must FIRST call the hospital emergency line. Be calm and ask for advice. So, cooperate with the staff by answering their questions.
Follow their instruction.
Remember, taking yourself to the hospital will spread the disease to other people.
Coronavirus vs. SARS and MERS
How deadly is the coronavirus?
Before I can answer that question, let’s look at MERS or Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus or MERS‐CoV.
It was I.D. in 2012 and still, the odd case of MERS gets reported.
The confirmed cases were 2,495 with total deaths of 858 giving a case fatality rate of 35%.
Origin of this virus is found in camels or Arabian camels.
It affected some 27 countries.
Luckily, MERS-CoV isn’t easily transmissible and the authorities can detect people with the virus much more easily.
Next, we have SARS-CoV or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
First I.D. in 2002 with the last case in 2004.
The confirmed cases were 8,098 with total deaths of 774 giving a case fatality rate of 10%.
Origin of this virus is found in bats and civet cats.
It affected some 26 countries.
SARS are a little different than MERS because people younger than 12 years old have milder symptoms, which the old experience more severe symptoms. Yes, this is a type of flu-virus with the R0 of 2 to 5, much higher than the common cold.
Now, for the coronavirus or COVID-19.
First I.D. in 2019 and the virus is ongoing.
Ongoing confirmed cases now stand at 85,000 (people suspect more) with total deaths so far of 2,950. Currently, the case fatality rate is unknown until the virus has run its course.
The origin of this virus is unclear, but most believe it is found in bats and pangolins. Other conspiracy theorists believe the virus was manufacture.
So far, the virus reaches over 50 countries within 70 days.
The virus remains deadly to older people with pre-conditional health problems. Yes, this is a type of flu-virus with an R0 of 1.5 to 7 and can spread via aerosol and droplets.
Should you stock up on food?
As a precaution stock on ‘non-perishable’ food items like grain rice or spaghetti. Stock up some sweets and chocolate. Add in some canned foods and cooking oil.
You will need some candles and a torch. And make sure to have enough credit on your mobile phone to stay in touch with friends and family.
To cure boredom, buy some games and books.
That the ultimate guide to protecting yourself from the coronavirus. My final advice is to stay safe, stay well and stay informed.