Why I take Coronavirus seriously: threat to our nation, test of our character:
We CAN beat COVID-19: but we MUST learn about the enemy!
Useful tips for everyone...
I am writing this article with my utmost sense of responsibility. I have carefully vetted the information here and I am certain in good conscience it is information we need to know.
Firstly, I am known as someone who writes about “speculative” information from time to time.
Many of my friends are wondering if they should take COVID-19 (coronavirus) seriously, or if it really came from people eating bats or from some sort of research facility. Indeed, such has been suggested by Senator Tom Cotton in the US senate. However, I have something my peer group generally does not: training to a degree level in infection control. And my understanding of virology tells me this is not a virus to be underestimated. When I look in the eyes of the government officials both in the US and the UK, I do not see irresponsibility or any sort of con: I see people seriously concerned, with a gravitas and heavy stomach I both share and understand.
It is correct that common strains of flu kill 1000’s of people across the Western World each year: but it is a dangerous underestimation to think that means its safe to ignore COVID-19. Common strains of flu are already fully distributed in our environment. Which strains multiply above others various year to year, which is why some years are worse than others, but overall, these strains of flu are a consistent proportion of deaths statistically.
The problem is COVID-19 is far more aggressive than ordinary flu, and if It was spread across our environment to the same level, it would cause far higher death tolls. The mortality rate of COVID-19, assuming all medical support is available to people fighting the disease, is currently considered 3.4%, with around 20% of cases needing medical support up to and including intensive care respiration.
Mortality from normal flu strains tends to be 0.1%, and 0.2% would be considered an excessively bad year. Therefore, even assuming every patient gets the maximum possible medical assistance, 20 to 30 times the deaths per 100,000 is not unrealistic.
Makes the concerned vibe from public officials even easier to understand…
In addition, Coronavirus COVID-19 is just so contagious. The biggest problems people starting to spread it before any symptoms emerge, and it’s a tough little bastard that can survive around 10 times as long on surfaces, handrails, doorknobs, lift buttons etc than other viruses. This is why cases suddenly spike so fast once it gets going, it actually did its work potentially weeks before…
Dr Bruce Aylward, the current Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization, and the leader of the WHO team that visited Wuhan in China.
OK SO THE PROBLEM IS REAL: WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN?
The UK government and the NHS are taking this situation very seriously. The risks of societal breakdown should vast numbers of people become ill at once with proportion needed expert medical assistance to maximise their chances of survival are obvious after just a little contemplation. We might expect a number of things based on the “worst case scenario” COBRA meeting at the start of this week.
Large amounts of people off work
Police, Fire Service and Armed Forces personal redirected to assist with efforts to fight the virus
Shops prioritising larger amounts of basic staples with a reduced range, compared to the wider
variety of brands on sale at the moment (DO NOT PANIC BUY! Reducing factory processing will speed
up supply chains)
Temporary cancellation of large public events.
Low urgency cases sent home from Hospitals, delays and cancellations of non-urgent operations.
Border control officials given powers to detain anyone entering the country where there is a
reasonable cause to think they may be infected for quarantine and testing.
Powers to compel people potentially with the virus to be placed in quarantine, including self-
quarantine at home with significant penalties for breaking conditions.
As someone who loves our free society and democracy with a fiery passion, this is heart-breaking. Indeed, my concern is for our society is as much as for individual people, or myself and my own family.
If efforts to stop the virus spreading early do not succeed, and such measures are needed, we will be every bit in a national war-time effort against the virus as we were against Nazism in WWII.
And yet, if people can understand that and understand the needs to place restrictions for the good of the whole, and work with goodwill to support the overall effort, we can get through this not just as survivors: but as victors!
I am convinced it is times like these that demonstrate to the people of any nation just who they are…
HOW EXACTLY DOES CORONAVIRUS MAKE PEOPLE SICK?
When a person with the virus coughs or otherwise expels air, they spread virus into the environment. This can immediately infect someone in close vicinity, or spread the virus onto surfaces of any kind in the area.
Then, by being caught in that exhalation, or by later spreading the virus from a surface to their face, another person can become infected.
The virus lodges in the throat and starts to incubate. This can take longer than other viruses, part of why coronavirus is so contagious, people can be spreading it back out of their airwaves before being aware of being sick. But when the infection takes hold it quickly spreads within the body, and in particular serious cases see the persons lungs quickly overwhelmed with an all-over inflammation.
The lungs are structured in ever splitting branches to the air way. At the very bottom of each branch are multiple alveoli, of which there are over 600,000 in the human lungs, and it is here that blood picks up oxygen to spread throughout the body through the very thin membrane.
The Coronavirus inflammation starts to close these alveoli, reducing its capacity to spread oxygen, and the bodies reaction to the inflammation starts to fill them with fluid, blocking their ability to get oxygen into the blood.
This is why serious cases need hospitalisation for life support to assist getting as much oxygen into the blood as possible while the body fights the infection. They need this assistance until the inflammation of their lungs reduces.
This is also why mortality is higher amongst older people and/or those with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, COPD, diabetes, cancer etc, already reducing or straining the bodies abilities to fight the virus’s effects.
This video discusses medical knowledge gained from fighting similar strains of Coronavirus or acute influenza.
They found that a lower pressure on the ventilator stopped alveoli from completely collapsing with each assisted breath, which boosted survival chances by keeping air in them and not aggravating inflammation, but patients have greater discomfort and struggle not to fight a feeling of not enough oxygen from the lower ventilator pressure. They therefore found that sedation or even induced paralysis best attuned patients to the ventilator giving them the time they needed for the inflammation to pass so they could breath unassisted again. They also found that patients did better lying on their tummies than their backs.
HOW CAN I TELL IF I MIGHT HAVE CORONAVIRUS?
The key symptoms are a fever and a cough. Only a small proportion of people infected show cold-type symptoms. If you have these symptoms you should NOT go to Hospital or a Doctor’s surgery but call NHS direct on 111. If you have problems breathing, you may be a more serious case and will possibly need hospitalisation
BUT WHAT CAN I DO TO NOT CATCH CORONAVIRUS?
There are a number of practical things everyone can do to help themselves avoid infection, or avoid contaminating others if infected
Here is a series of infographics:
While masks are preventative, they are essential for infected patients to control the spread of the virus.
HAND WASHING HAND WASHING HAND WASHING: Always!
Gloves help keep virus off hands in case of accidental exposure, wash several times a week
DO NOT touch your face nose mouth or eyes when out and about.
Avoid shaking hands. Keep distant from others as much as possible, avoid crowded spaces.
Be aware doorknobs or anything an infected person may have touched or breathed over, smart
phones, keyboards, tabletops, handrails etc, may have virus on them.
Separate towels for each family member DO NOT MIX TOWELS wash towels several times a week.
Separate knives forks plates for each person, do not have communal serving of any food at dinner
If somebody is coughing in public keep 2-3 meters away and offer them a mask to put on if they do
not have one.
Do not re-wear masks over multiple days, they quickly become germ hazards in the own rights.
Ventilate and air rooms as much as possible to keep air moving and prevent virus settling.
Elderly relatives or people with pre-existing conditions over 50 are the highest risk group. Therefore:
do NOT place them at risk. Limiting contact if the virus has broken out in your area may save inadvertent infection.
In addition, physical money, notes and coin, are often breeding grounds for micro-organisms, so using contactless card payments can also reduce the risks of inadvertent contamination:
To make adaptions is going to be challenging, but the better we can do at it, the better for ourselves
our families our loved ones and other people.
We are a freedom loving people who love to enjoy our freedom.
Doing as we please without an interfering state, going where we like with who we like, to meet who we like, to do what we like, is all part of our daily lives.
And we also need to travel and interact with others to get the essential business of work and shopping done.
The challenge we face now is to keep doing all the things we need to do, but with a new mindfulness of what we are doing and how we are doing it, both to protect ourselves and others.
Right now hopes still rest with preventing and delaying the virus and hoping COVID-19 is more dormant in warmer weather so the summer will at least give a breathing space to prepare for the next winter flu season ahead: we cannot know when a vaccine may become available: it may be a year away or more.
No-one will be happier than me if this article is entirely unnecessary and nothing like as extreme as the worst-case situation comes to pass. I will happily say “I took that a bit too seriously!”
But now is the time to at least absorb the most vital info and be prepared to make big adaptions fast, and also to act from something better than pure selfishness. We do not know what pressures society may come under yet, nor where public spiritedness may ask those of us who can to step in and fill the gaps.
The last few years have been bitterly divided politically.
Leave Vs Remain, Left Vs Right, Young vs Old, Woke vs Based, the struggle between Nationalism and Globalism on the world stage have left us all battered and a little less tolerant in one way or another.
Perhaps there is irony that the sudden unexpected threat of a serious COVID-19 outbreak is going to demand we reach to be the best of ourselves: and yet that seems it may be the case.
I have written these words out of a sense of responsibility to community and country, and I am determined that I shall do my damndest to do my best in the weeks and months ahead.
I hope, and perhaps even have a little faith, these words will encourage you to feel the same.
Regards and thanks.
John White @JohnTheWhite1 on Twitter