Hi, how’s everyone? We realize that we’ve been holding back from publishing any article on the new Wuhan 2019-nCoV epidermic, or is it a pandemic already? Reason being, as non-virologists non-epidemiologists, we abstain ourselves from jumping the gun because there’re still a lot of uncertainties about the nature of this virus even now after 2 months since it was first detected.
At Life Engineering, we’re prepared to handle upcoming cases if there be any of our sharers get unlucky. This disease falls under non-critical illnesses category which means those who have already passed 60-days defer period after signing up are eligible for protection against the treatment costs.
The name’s COVID. COVID 19
There’s an online petition pushing to name this new strain of virus as ‘Kung-flu”. That can be somewhat an off-coloured joke, but the name is finally official now, SARS-COV-2 replacing the 2019 Novel Corona Virus, or 2019-nCoV. It’s a bit of a mouth full and scientists now formally recognizes this virus as a sister to severe acute respiratory syndrome corona viruses. Corona is a large family of viruses including MERS, SARS (2003), 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1. The SARS-COV-2 one is novel in the sense that it’s a new strain of Corona virus, hence the placeholder name. COVID 19 however is the name of the disease brought by this virus. You can picture the relationship as that of HIV and AIDS. HIV is the virus that causes Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Confused? Don’t be. Keep reading.
Let’s stick to what we do know so far about the SARS-COV-2 virus
As at the time of writing, there’re more than 60000 cases worldwide with more than 1300 recorded deaths. Wuflu.live provides the latest numbers updated every couple of hours. Majority of the cases are still fairly contained within mainland China though more and more experts have come to agree that at this rate, a worldwide spread is inevitable.
How dangerous is the SARS-COV-2 virus?
The truth of the matter is, we really do not know yet. The data is constantly changing the conclusion we can make. That means the news you hear today might be obsolete by tomorrow. The massive outflow of unfiltered news from official and non-official sources certainly don’t help, and on top of that, the longer we’re in this, the virus might mutate into something different that would drag the game for longer still. There’s a list of important metrics that can serve as guidelines to how we can appropriately react to it.
R0: 2 – 3 ish
R-nought is the basic reproductive number. In simple terms, how fast the virus likely to spread. R0 of 1 means that one infected person will on average infect another 1 person whereas R0 of 2 means that the person will infect 2 more people and it goes on down the line,much like MLM businesses.
For comparison, SARS (2003) had R0 number of 3, MERS was <1, and normal seasonal flu is 1.3.
Mortality rate: 2.6%
It’s the measure of how likely a person is going to die after contracting the virus. At 2%, 2 people in 100 confirmed infected will die. As at current state there’re 40000 cases that led to 900 deaths.
For comparison, SARS (2003) had a mortality rate of 10%, MERS was 34%, and normal seasonal flu is about 0.3%.
How it spreads: Droplets, feces, maybe aerosolization?
When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they shed droplets of fluids and if some those got into your mucus membranes, ie mouth, nose, eyes —that’s how you get infected.
These droplets when discharged will fall within two meters to where they came out from. Hope they don’t land on you and hitch a ride to some other place, putting many more people at risk. Otherwise, they’ll fall onto surfaces lying there active from several hours up to five days, waiting for someone to touch them and become the new host.
The virus could also find their way through the human digestive system and out through both exits along with the waste we’re getting rid of everyday. How that would infect another person you ask, that’s eother by touching surfaces of unclean toilet or, the virus could get into the air when you flush the toilet down. This brings us to the term aerosolization.
There’s evidence that the virus can get in the air in tiny, suspended particles known as aerosols. But evidences so far don’t point it to be the major modes of transmission. That being said, closed environment with recycled air are particularly considered high risk. Think airplanes, air-conditioned classrooms, or other small enclosed spaces of the same nature.
What to do to protect yourself from getting the novel corona virus?
- Abstain yourself from touching your face
- Consider wearing masks in high rick public setting
- Practice good frequent handwashing
- Isolate yourself
- Get enough nutrients through balanced diet
- Don’t share food and eating utensils
- Stay away from hospitals and crowded places
Basically, you should do everything that you can to avoid getting the virus into your mucus membranes. Touching your face is a good way to get the virus because that’s where your mouth, eyes, and nose are located. Masks help in this case because with it, you have a layer of protection from unintentionally touching your face.
Your hands are the perfect vehicle the virus can hop on to get to your face. Good thorough handwashing is effective to get rid of any amount of virus on your hands you acquire via touching surfaces. Prioritize using water and soap over hand sanitizers. Use alcohol-based sanitizers in place only when access to water and soap is not available.
Not much to say about isolation. The logic is simply about risk mitigation. The less people you encounter, the less chance of you getting human to human infection.
Now let’s talk nutrients. Now it is ever more important to get healthy diets to put your own biological guards up against any infectious diseases. Your immune system needs all the nutrients necessary to perform at its best.
Taking supplements usually mean that you’re overdoing it. You’ll only need additional source of vitamins and minerals if you are not getting any specific type from your food. Getting overdosed on vitamins will not supercharge your immune system. Your body will only utilize what it needs, and the surplus will just be excreted out as waste.
How good are your chances if you do get infected?
Obviously, the best is not to catch it at all. But just in case, what’s the likely situation that you’re going to go through? First of all, be aware of the signs like dry cough, fever, runny nose, muscle pains, and fatigue. If you do experience these, get yourself checked.
Now, let’s go back to that stats.
Of all over 60000 confirmed cases, around 8000 to 9000 belong to the group having severe complications. That’s about 16% chance. The definition of severe here might be a bit loose but we can categorize as such people who needed intensive care, who developed hypoxia when blood oxygen level goes too low, or all out pneumonia.
If you’re older with pre-existing illnesses like diabetes or hypertension, you’re more likely to have it worse than others. Smokers, your chances are just as bad. This being a respiratory related disease, compromising your lungs by filling it with puffs of poisonous substances will certainly hurt your chances.
It’s good to know that most people only suffer mild fever and some with the virus may not notice anything too weird happening to them other than slight aches here and there or short bursts of sneezing and coughing which some might wrongly attribute to other normal everyday triggers in the surrounding environment. What’s not good to know though, even with mild to no symptom at all, these people are still spreading the virus to others as it asymptomatic spread is already proven to be a thing with the SARS-COV-2.
If it’s confirmed that you have caught it, apply the same standard advises that have been put out to handle regular flu;
- Take plenty of fluids
- Have lots of rest and enough sleep
- Practice good hygiene
- Wear masks to protect others from your bugs
- Monitor your body temperature closely
Why you should be watchful but not too worried about this new corona virus outbreak
So far, major cases and 99% of deaths are still fairly contained within China. If you’re in other countries, the risk is still moderate to low.
People who are looking very closely at this event are staring to see patterns emerging. Most who are infected outside of China either have themselves been to China or have direct or close relation to someone travelling from China. Also, there’s been no increase in death related to this outbreak outside of China for a while. The number remains at just 2 persons up to this date.
We’re also happy to report that kids are not the favourite host for this virus. Just like SARS (2003), adolescent were the least impacted by the outbreak and so is the case with this round of corona virus epidemic. At most, they would be having mild discomfort or fever, and will ride it off after a few days. These kids along with those who have recovered give hope that herd immunity can be developed and eventually we will gain the capacity to overcome this new virus.
Again, to put it in perspective, the seasonal flu killed hundreds of thousands of people each year even with all that we already know about it vaccines against it being developed annually. And it affects everywhere around the world. We’re not in any way trying to downplay the risk of the SARS-COV-2 virus, but any action we take should be the calculated and informed ones.
However, we shouldn’t totally put all our guards down, not yet. Data are still coming in on a daily basis and a turnaround events like a virus mutation, or emergent of super spreaders could happen at any time which could change the whole story altogether. We should all be watchful with the updates but keep up with being rational in dealing with the streams of information coming our way. We survived SARS (2003), we survived MERS, and we certainly will survive the SARS-COV-2 virus as well.
We hope this article have brought some benefits to you now that you’ve read it through. Consider be a part of Life Engineering community and get updates on health related news.
Life Engineering Medical Crowd Sharing program is one of its kind in Malaysia, using the power of crowd sharing, we are able to provide RM 1 million annual health protection to all our members.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The information in this article are of opinion from the author’s interpretation only. Do not take it as definite advise. All data are valid at the time this article is written, and might change as time passes by and will not be accurate in the future when new data are piling up.