There seem to be multiple over-reactions and under-reactions to the Coronavirus, known as COVID-19. On one side, we have individuals referring to it as a hoax and not lethal. They site the common flu kills more people. While this is true, it diminishes the reality of how dangerous the Coranavirus is. Secondly, we have individuals from the other extreme, preparing for a zombie apocalypse buying out toilet paper, water and basic needs.
The reality while not as bleak as the Black Death of the Dark Ages is still one that should not be underestimated. The Coronavirus unlike the common flu has a far more deadly death rate, ranging from 2% to 3.5%. Furthermore, it has a more deadly affect on the elderly. Those over 60 are at a far higher risk of serious illness and possible death. Anyone over 70 to 90 faces a even more daunting illness. While the common flu has killed more people, its death rate is .01% and has infected far more people. If the Coronavirus was able to run free and infect as many people, millions would die.
In retrospect, the 1920’s Spanish flu had a very similar death rate as Coronavirus and it infected over 500 million people, leaving millions dead. It was also a respiratory disease but unlike Coronavirus killed people also in their prime. The Spanish flu due to the time and medical advances as well as a killer of those in their prime was a far more terrifying flu than the present situation, yet if Coronavirus was allowed to spread like the Spanish flu, it would have a very similar death rate. This is something that we cannot permit as a society.
In response, we see travel restrictions. We see the suspensions of parades, sport venues and concerts. We see individuals practicing more caution with hand washing and masks. This may have negative effects on the economy but life is more important than dollars. Younger people need to realize that while the virus may effect them moderately, barely or maybe not all, there are still potential health risks as with any illness and cases of severity differ among young adults. They must also realize that spreading this virus to the elderly could be a death sentence to a parent or grand parent.
Unlike other flu, the Coronavirus has the ability to exist longer on flat surfaces for days instead of hours. It hence is very contagious and can be spread very easily. This is why it is so important for infected individuals to self quarantine and stop the spread of this illness. It is also important for individuals to wash their hands for over 20 seconds with the appropriate disinfectant soaps that have over 60 percent concentration of alcohol. Individuals need to wipe down counters, door knobs and steering wheels, as well as spray down certain areas of the home. When out in public, they need to wipe down grocery carts and wash their hands immediately upon returning home. Individuals must also keep unclean hands away from the face.
The article, “Steps to Prevent Illness on Coronavirus COVID-19” from the CDC gives clear and precise instructions on how to protect oneself and others from this virus. It states,
“There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.”
The article lists a variety of ways to protect oneself with informative charts and ways to prevent its spread. To review the article, please click here
In regards to symptoms, be on the look out for cough, runny nose, fever, sore throat and difficulty breathing. The symptoms can vary in severity from age group or be dependent upon preexisting conditions. Some may have a slight episode while others may require hospitalization. With such a broad range of severity, one may wish to dismiss it but this would be a very dangerous attitude to employ considering the danger it can pose to others within the population. Furthermore, equally frustrating is the fact symptoms do not appear for up to nine days but the person can still be contagious.
To stop this pandemic, it is important to not to over react or under react. Appropriate response is necessary to avoid panic but also to stop its spread. By applying the standards set by the CDC and not the opinions of arm chair disease control experts, this situation can eventually become resolved but it will involve temporary life style changes and self sacrifice. This involves showing basic cold and flu courtesies while in public. Coughing into a tissue or one’s elbow, keeping hands clean and avoiding close proximity with individuals is critical in addition to the further preventative measures of wiping things down and avoiding public settings.
Please also review the many certifications offered by the American Institute of Health Care Professionals for healthcare professionals and behavioral health professionals. AIHCP has a variety of Healthcare Certification Programs that are useful to expand upon nursing and behavioral health fields. The programs are online and self paced independent study. They are open enrollment and the courses that lead to certification offer to some CE earning potential. If you meet the pre-requisites for the programs, then please review and see which ones can help enhance your career and academic and professional goals.
In the meantime, be safe and follow the proper procedures to protect thousands of others and yourself from the Coronavirus.