The situation is changing so fast that in a week’s time, this information might be outdated. Nevertheless, I’ve done some research and have put together the opinions of some of the experts in the field. I hope you find this information useful.
I would also like to remind everyone to stay calm and do whatever that is within our control. If it’s not within our control, there’s no point in getting anxious or worried as it doesn’t serve you or anyone any good.
What can we control?
Sleep – make sure you’re getting between 7-9 hours of sleep. Research showed adequate sleep enhances your immune system. Studies have also shown that individuals who don’t get enough sleep have higher level of anxiety. For more information on sleep, I’ve provided a link to Dr Matthew Walker’s TED talk below. Dr Matthew Walker is a sleep scientist who has also written a book “Why we sleep”, which I highly recommend.
Eating – this is probably a good opportunity to look at what you’re eating. While I’m not advocating any particular diet here (because I don’t know about your health conditions), I do not recommend the Standard Australia/ American Diet (SAD). Highly processed food is never good for anyone. Now that many social gatherings are cancelled, this could be your chance to implement what you’ve been putting off.
With less social gatherings, this is a great chance to improve your eating habits, or implement what you’ve been putting off.
Alcohol consumption – alcohol has been shown to reduce glutathione (our body’s own anti-oxidant) for up to three days.
Practise social distancing – remember that this is not only about yourself, it’s about protecting the vulnerable in our community. While you could have no or mild symptoms, you don’t want to be the vessel for transmitting the virus.
I’m sure that there’re so many other things we can do, but I just wanted to highlight some of the basics here.
Some acknowledgement as to where I got my information from:
Dr Amesh Adalja – Infectious disease specialist at John Hopkins University Center for Health Security
Dr. Peter Hotez – Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine Baylor College of Medicine through his interview with Dr Peter Attia
Dr Jay Butler – CDC’s deputy director for infectious disease and senior response official
Many sources seems to have different idea about the fatality rate, why?
It is difficult to predict the true death rate, because some of those recently confirmed to have the coronavirus and included in the reported case count might still die, pushing the true figure up. On the other hand, many people with mild symptoms might be going undiagnosed, pushing it down. (New Scientist)
South Korea has performed the most number of tests per capital: 4000 tests per 1 million per population, as compared to 26 tests per 1 million in the US. As of 13th Mar 2020, Australia has run out of test kits in some regions of the country due to global shortage.
It is clear that some countries, including the US and Iran, are missing cases as so few people are being tested. South Korea, by contrast, had tested 190,000 people as of 9 March, with 7478 confirmed cases and 51 deaths.
Based on the reported cases from South Korea, the fatality rate is 0.7 per cent. This matches what we have seen in China outside of Wuhan. If these places are detecting most cases, the fatality rate will not be much lower than this, though it could be higher if many recently infected people die.
Dr Amesh Adalja also shared a similar opinion to New Scientist.
Fatality rate also varies for different age group. Experts don’t seem to know why children and adolescents are least affected, although they can still transmit the virus to others.
Who are the most vulnerable in our community?
- Children and adolescents don’t seem to get sick but are viral carriers, increasing transmission rate
- The most vulnerable people are those that are/have one or more of the following: Over the age of 70 years old
- An underlying condition (metabolic disease – heart disease, diabetes, hypertension)
- On immunosuppressive therapy
- Healthcare worker/first responders
There are two primary mysteries about groups afflicted:
- Adolescents and young children don’t get sick
- Healthcare workers contract a severe version of the virus, despite their age group
How bad is this virus compared to influenza?
Dr Amesh Adalja’s prediction: 6-8 times worse than influenza
Dr. Peter Hotez’s prediction: 4-20 times worse than influenza
30-50% transmission. Mostly mild symptoms BUT 10-20% would be severe and require ICU and ventilators. This is going to put a lot of stress on our healthcare system.
Why are we talking about flattening the curve?
We are trying to avoid having a spike in cases. Quarantining people who have been overseas and using social distancing will help our community to cope and lessen the stress load on our healthcare and hospital system.
How long does the virus survive on the surfaces?
It’s a respiratory virus, it transmits via microdroplets from coughs and sneezes. Transmission is still possible on microdroplets on surfaces upon contact. Duration is dependant on the surface. It can vary from hours (copper 4 hrs and cupboard 24hrs) to 2-3 days (plastic and stainless steel).
Does the influenza vaccine protect against COVID-19?
No. However according to Dr Butler, the US had a bad flu season. Influenza activity is currently at its peak even though the focus is on COVID-19. It started off by Influenza B, and then H1N1 Influenza A (descendent of 2019 of pandemic strain) had a comeback. As these are all preventable deaths through vaccination, he recommends it.
What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.*
- Shortness of breath
*This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.
Are there any treatments or vaccines available to date?
There are ideas of off-label use of anti-malarial medication, chloroquine which may have anti-viral effect?
Remdesivir – anti-viral drug?
Low cost antibody treatment proposed by Dr Arturo Casadevall?
Vaccines will take time, we’re still at least 18 months away.