COVID-19 – Don’t Believe Everything You Hear
Italy began its first day under quarantine. More cruises are being stopped before being admitted into ports. And as the novel coronavirus spreads, countries are taking measures to protect themselves from further outbreak.
But what’s fact and what’s fiction?
You may have taken a trip to your normal shopping destination and noticed all the hand sanitizer and wipes gone… as well as the antibacterial soap.
The last one won’t help against the coronavirus. And yet panic has made people believe anything they hear.
Today, I want to address exactly what COVID-19 is and what you can do to protect yourself…
COVID-19 spreads much like the flu and the common cold. It can spread through airborne droplets between people when someone coughs or sneezes; these can then land in someone else’s mouth or nose as they breathe. It can also spread by contact if a person touches an object that has the virus on it and then touches their mouth, nose or possibly eyes.
Once in contact with human tissues, the virus attaches to a type of cellular receptor called ACE2 by which it gains entry into the cell, which it hijacks for the purpose of replicating itself.
The current coronavirus outbreak has infected far more people and claimed far more lives than any prior outbreak. A significant percentage of patients succumb and die. It’s too soon to have a good handle on the mortality rate, but the number could be as high as 3.4%.
This was at least the last estimate by the World Health Organization as of March 3.
That’s probably an overly high number, but it’s going to take time to figure out.
The good news is that it could also be far lower. It’s possible that the virus infects a far larger number of people than reported but produces no symptoms. This might be particularly true of the younger segment of the population, which has suffered little mortality to date, deaths being almost entirely restricted to older patients.
In this, COVID-19 might be similar to influenza, which, while it kills tens of thousands of Americans in a typical year, tends to only do so in older patients with other chronic conditions and weaker immune systems.
During the first weeks after COVID-19’s existence became known, the news and markets largely shrugged off its effects. Perhaps people thought it would remain confined to central China. Maybe they thought this was just a replay of SARS, MERS or Ebola, which petered out after a few months.
But this coronavirus is highly infectious, and we live in an age of rapid, extensive global travel and trade. It’s easy for a virus like this one to jump borders and become a planetary pandemic. We can get lucky 100 times, but we only have to be unlucky once to have a serious situation on our hands.
As the virus has spread across national borders, news coverage has started looking like a zombie flick trailer. The source (bats) and the geography (China) are eerily similar to the 2011 movie Contagion. The final scene tells of how a deadly infectious disease spread… from a bat to a pig and finally to a human, where it hitched a ride to the United States.
As in the movie, it’s possible that the virus was introduced without human intervention, jumping between species until it reached humans in an open market in Wuhan. But it’s also possible that this accidentally escaped from a laboratory facility in the area dedicated to studying these diseases, possibly by infecting a researcher unwittingly. Right now we just don’t know for sure.
Without regard to the source, the effects will be the same. Some experts have claimed that this will become a global pandemic, killing millions. Others have maintained a more sanguine outlook.
We’ve seen unprecedented quarantines in China, followed by similar measures elsewhere as the virus has spread from one region to another.
Bottom Line: There is reason to stay aware of the coronavirus, but be smart about what measures you take. Take what the mainstream media report with a grain of salt and always double-check your facts.
If you want the most up-to-date information, check the CDC’s website.
While the media only care about clicks and views, the CDC has a vested interested in keeping people COVID-19 free.
To a bright future,