How to Protect Yourself from Wuhan Coronavirus
*To see a real-time map of the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, click here.
How to Protect Yourself from Wuhan Coronavirus – Introduction:
As the new coronavirus reaches a record-high death toll and over 30,000 documented cases, people have reached a near panic in China and abroad. This virus, which originated in the Chinese province of Wuhan, has captivated mankind’s fears—as well as its natural tendencies toward xenophobia.
Airport have been restricting air travel and posted thermometers to register people’s temperatures. If you have a fever, you will likely be pulled aside and quarantined until you can be proven to be free of the Wuhan coronavirus.
How to Protect Yourself from Wuhan Coronavirus – Origins:
Researchers have traced the Coronavirus to a Huanan wholesale seafood market in the Chinese province of Wuhan, where several customers first became sick. Since then, it has spread like wildfire across the Asian continent and around the world.
First of all, the term “coronavirus” is a family of viruses. The family of coronaviruses seems to have originated from bats. Several coronaviruses then can spread to several animals. Once in awhile, in places that lack proper hygiene, these viruses can spread from animals to humans. That’s what we’re seeing here.
One man, Li Wenliang attempted to stop the spread of coronavirus at the end of 2019 by releasing statements on social media revealing the spread of a SARS-like virus through the province of Wuhan. However, he was condemned by the Chinese government who have since been accused of a failed coverup.
As of the day that I am writing this, Li Wenliang has died of coronavirus.
How to Protect Yourself from Wuhan Coronavirus – Death Toll:
As mentioned above, the Wuhan coronavirus has recently become the deadliest epidemic of coronavirus in history, with the most recent death toll topping 600. Cases are being reported around the world.
However, let’s stay clear-headed for a second. The death toll of the new coronavirus—though tragic—doesn’t hold a candle to the yearly death toll of the common flu: between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths a year.
Furthermore, the new coronavirus has a death toll that is similar to that of influenza. Influenza’s mortality rate is .05%, and as of now, the Wuhan coronavirus has a mortality rate of 2%. Most of those who have died from the Wuhan coronavirus were already ill, elderly, or children.
To put this into perspective, the mortality rate of SARS was 9.6% (and though it killed overall fewer people than the new coronavirus, you had a five-times higher chance of dying if you contracted it.
The most deadly coronavirus was Mers, the middle eastern epidemic of 2012 which was harder to contract between humans, but had a mortality rate of 35%, and killed 2,500 people during its run.
As of today, those who have died from the coronavirus stand at:
- 636 in China
- 1 in Hong Kong
- 1 in the Philippines
Concerning infections, there are 280 infections in 28 different countries as of February 7th, 2020.
Also, remember that 61 of these cases are also people who are quarantined off the coast of Japan on a cruise ship of several nationalities, including several Americans, Canadians, Japanese, and Australians.
The numbers are growing quickly on this cruise ship. A few days ago, it was 10 cases.
How to Protect Yourself from Wuhan Coronavirus – Symptoms of Wuhan Coronavirus:
The coronavirus has a gestation period of 10 days, and then people begin to show symptoms—which has made it incredibly subtle and prolific in its distribution. You don’t even know you’re carrying the virus for ten days.
Then, you get symptoms that you would typically associate with the common cold or the flu, such as cough, fever, and then eventually pneumonia. Pneumonia is a fluid buildup in your lungs. In the worst cases, this then leads to organ failure.
Remember that, because this is a viral infection, antibiotics are of no use. Therefore, you have to fight it off using your own immune system.
How to Protect Yourself from Wuhan Coronavirus – Xenophobia:
Xenophobia has gripped the planet as the virus spreads. Notable cases have been reported in France where a Chinese man’s viral plea that he not be seen as just a virus has shed light on the anti-Asian sentiment in France.
Many countries have shut their borders to Chinese flights, including the United States, Australia, and Hong Kong.
Australia has sent flights to China to retrieve Australian citizens. They are then being quarantined on an abandoned former mining camp on the island of Darwin until they can be assured to not be infected. This comes after Christmas Island was packed
Perhaps the most strict is Singapore who has rescinded Chinese arrival without a visa, and is only allowing Singaporian citizens returning from mainland China to land on its borders. No one else.
They are immediately subjected to a 14-day quarantine on arrival. Then another 14 days away from work. Any violators are subjected to $8,000 USD in fines and 6 months in jail. This is because Singapore was hit hard by SARS in 2003, with over 200 cases and 30+ deaths.
Thailand recently received passengers from mainland China as well. This comes after Thailand’s Minister of Health has come under scrutiny for his comments advocating that “farang in Thailand” be deported for not wearing masks.
Anti-Chinese sentiments grip the planet. The author of this piece is currently living in Danang, Vietnam where cases of Wuhan coronavirus have been detected. Signs refusing service to Chinese tourists have been posted throughout Vietnam and other parts of Asia.
How to Protect Yourself from Wuhan Coronavirus – Masks:
The number one approach to protecting oneself from Wuhan coronavirus seems to be the face mask. Asians already have had a long tradition of wearing masks dating from the 1918 outbreak of Spanish Flu that wracked the world.
This seems to be on overdrive during the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak. However, many experts have recently rescinded their earlier recommendations to wear masks. Now, they are saying that likely, masks will not protect you.
The first style of mask is the surgical masks that are most common and inexpensive. The simple fact of the matter is that these are very helpful in stopping the spread of the disease, but they do not protect you. That’s because these masks are designed to prevent the bacteria in the mouth of the wearer from spreading.
The second style of mask is the N95 respirator masks. These are designed to fit tightly around your mouth and filter out pollution on days with bad air quality. They can filter out particles down to 0.3 microns in diameter. However, the virus is .12 microns in diameter, so it’s about ⅓ of the size of the smallest particle the N95 filters out.
It does, however, signal that you are conscious of the effort in stopping the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. Chinese are even rushing to purchase masks for their dogs. Masks must be changed often—every day if possible.
However, masks mostly help you in remembering not to touch your face—which is one of the best things you can do to prevent the spread of Wuhan coronavirus.
How to Protect Yourself from Wuhan Coronavirus – Washing Hands:
Washing your hands is another thing that you can do to help prevent the spread of Wuhan coronavirus. You should wash your hands often and thoroughly in the hottest water that you can stand for 20 to 30 seconds.
Don’t just wash your fingertips, wash past the wrist, preferably up to your elbow. Another thing that you can do to protect yourself is to wear gloves whenever possible.
Gloves are not as thorough as washing your hands, and they do create single-use plastic. However, in an emergency where you are not able to wash your hands or use some sort of hand sanitizer, then gloves can help in a pinch.
How to Protect Yourself from Wuhan Coronavirus – Eye Protection:
One doctor in China named Wang Guangfa was recently criticized for claiming that stopping the spread of the disease was easy. He then contracted the disease himself.
He professed that he was washing his hands and wearing masks adamantly, but he was no exception to contracting the disease.
Therefore, he proposed the theory that Wuhan coronavirus is so contagious, it can be spread through one’s eyes, and thus we should be wearing eye protection.
There are points to counter his hypothesis, however. For example, a family on vacation recently got coronavirus. A father, mother, and young son were all traveling together and staying in the same room. However, though the father and son got the virus, the mother did not.
Some researchers have taken this to mean that it’s not as contagious as previously expected, whereas others have surmised that perhaps the mother has some genetic predisposition that protects her from the virus.
How to Protect Yourself from Wuhan Coronavirus – Conclusion:
As the world rushes to develop a vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus, we must remember not to panic. The odds are very small of getting this disease, and they’re even smaller of dying from it.
Though the Wuhan coronavirus is spreading quickly, it is a testament to human ingenuity and globalization that as fast as it spreads, it’s also rapidly contained. Every case is monitored. The whole world is sharing its research. There will be a cure.
In the meantime, stay safe, stay hygienic, and stay calm.
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