A ‘Pneumonia’ of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China was first reported to the WHO Country Office in China on 31 December 2019.
The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020 as a pandemic.
A pandemic, normally is a highly contagious disease, regularly resulting in death, AND where the disease is spread in multiple countries and continents [world] at the same time.
A pandemic normally also has severe financial and economic implications for countries worldwide and its people (travelling, tourism, postage and deliveries, businesses – not to mention individual income, inflated taxes, etc).
What is COVID 19, or, the commonly termed Corona Virus?
Covid 19 seems to be actually a cluster of viruses, also known sometimes as super viruses, which does not respond to known medication or antibiotics.
Covid 19 is also Zoonotic, meaning transmitted between animals and people*.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, a cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. However, a-typical symptoms are increasingly reported.
In general, Covid 19 causes pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure (shut down of organs) and eventually death.
Why is this disease so dangerous?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent Covid 19.
It will take according to latest research, between 18 – 24 months to develop a vaccine, and succesful treatment.
There is at present no known specific, treatment for Covid 19.
On 3/05/2020 as reported, Covid 19 has mutated into 2 strains: the original (L strain) and another (S strain) which might make treatment and developing a vaccine even more difficult.
Mortality rates of reported cases at present, are between 3% and 4%. Which is rather high considering other mortality rates in our advanced countries.
People with a-typical symptoms, and especially children; are considered as silent carriers of the virus. A silent carrier, is someone who is totally healthy and stays healthy, but they ‘caught’ the virus and are now simply passing it on to other people without getting sick themselves (I do presume at some stage, governments will try to 'catch' these people in attempts to develop vaccines).
People with possible Covid symptoms, might consider this as standard flu; others might run and/or decide they have this Covid and really clog the already over loaded Medical systems.
Most countries, such as South Africa, do not yet have in place the necessary Laboratory and Research facilities [nor funds] for coping with Pandemics or Epidemics; medical manpower, required tests, diagnoses, or for quarantining infected patients.
COVID 19 in South Africa (where I live):
At present, South Africa has only one definite, positive case of Corona virus (3/3/2020) with some medical staff in quarantine (people returning from holiday in Europe, Italy).
The possible reason, why countries such as Africa/South Africa, has not shown/been ‘infected’ yet, might be because we are not on the primary well-traveled routes (from China etc) or, as we might not have in place yet proper screening and testing procedures (which obviously means, no reports).Also TBA I presume.
Quarantine normally lasts 2 weeks, although the WHO has put forward extended quarantine periods (to be advised) due to a-typical symptoms, also as some people seem to be carriers only without necessarily contracting Covid 19 itself (I.e. people released from quarantine after 2 weeks, only to return afterwards and testing positive).
High risk Populations:
Adults, older people, the elderly, people with already, possible/underlying health problems such as auto-immune diseases, heart problems, high blood pressure, cholesterol, TB, asthma, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, smokers, addicts, drug users, etc. Such people are considered as vulnerable, and high risk.
Gender differentiation: Men and women can contract Covid 19 equally; however, men are more likely to die from this virus as per present statistics. No medical explanations supplied yet.
Children under 12 years of age, at present, do not seem to ‘show’ the live virus directly (no stats/medical explanations supplied yet).
No particular statistics available on teenagers.
Both children and adults can be silent carriers and there is emerging evidence that the disease can be passed on even when people do not show any symptoms/test negative. For this reason also, plenty countries have closed down schools till further notice.
How is the Covid spread?
There is no definite proof that Covid 19 is not airborne, yet; however, that might also change with the different mutations.
Actually, there is no known answer to this question yet! Which leads to basic guidelines at present.
Present Guidelines for prevention:
- Social isolation. Do not needlessly enter large populated areas such as shops or malls.
- Stand at least 6 Feet from people during conversations.
- Stay away from people who exhibit any cold of flu like symptoms.
- Do not spit carelessly!
- Cover Mouth and Nose when sneezing. Immediately wash hands afterwards.
- At present, no particular type of soap or disinfectant is suggested for cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or environment.
- When using toilets – place the lid down when flushing. While toilet lids are regularly disinfected (in public places) flushing can cause infected particles to spray the air, infecting people especially where you might have a cut, injury, or even to your mouth when breathing.
- Do not use the ‘air blower’ in public toilets. Rather use the paper towels, or rather – take your own toilet paper or tissues with, to use.
- Never touch your face, mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands properly.
- Good personal hygiene is extremely important.
- Routinely clean and disinfect all surfaces in your house regularly, especially kitchen surfaces.
- Also clean telephones, computers and technical equipment; also in the work place.
- Also make sure your working environment is properly cleaned, when used.
- Do not share food, food containers, cups, mugs, glasses, water or cold drink bottles or utensils, etc.
- Do not eat food prepared by a person with any cold or flu-like symptoms.
- When you feel ill, quarantine yourself until you obtained medical assistance and received a bill of clean health.
- Alcohol should be avoided as it lowers the body’s natural resistance.
- Stop smoking, as this virus also directly attacks the lungs.
- Ensure you are fully aware of the infection control hazards in your workplace, i.e. people working in abattoirs/ working with meats (Particular risk population)..
Cause of Covid 19?
At present, the virus/s seems to be related [origin] to consuming foods of various origins in China*. Such foods, include i.e. pangolin, monkeys, dogs, cats, and various other species not standardly ‘prescribed’ for normal human consumption (also plenty animals on the Endangered Lists…..).
Please note as this is a Zoonotic disease, you might also pass it on to your animals/pets/herds. It is here, we have to work with it.
In general, causes for not responding to medications –
Internationally, people seem to struggle to adhere to medication regimes. I.e. not completing antibiotics. Or, adhere, to TB/HIV medication. Above now as example, assisted in developing ‘super strains’.
Please take care out there!!
I do realise, this now Blog is not extensive of all items/actions to take; or all relevant data. For more information to your particular circumstances, check the WHO pages.
It is scary trying to write about Covid 19/Corona Virus. I am thinking, Wow, now everyone will run to their medical practitioners claiming possible Corona (Covid)...