COVID-19 Pandemic – The Scourge of this Era
Three months since China alerted the WHO about a mysterious pneumonia that infected 41 people in Wuhan, the whole world is now facing a pandemic caused by the now identified corona virus disease 2019 or COVID-19.
As of this writing, the virus is affecting 203 countries and territories, infected more than 960,000 people and killed more than 49,000. The numbers keep growing everyday while governments scramble to keep the disease under control which is no easy feat because of the absence of cure and the speed at which the disease spreads.
How can we survive this COVID-19 pandemic? These are the things we know so far about the virus:
- The infection is suspected to have originated from bats
- The virus has undergone a mutation which enabled it to jump from human to human
- Experts are still learning how the new coronavirus spreads. However, current cases indicate it spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets and by getting in contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.
- On average, infected people develop symptoms 5-6 days after contracting the virus.
- The most symptomatic COVID-19 patients are the most contagious.
- In some cases though, asymptomatic patients can also spread the virus.
- There’s possible instance of community spread of COVID-19 in the US. Community spread means people in an area become infected without knowing where or how they got infected.
- The virus is not a living organism, it is a protein molecule (DNA) that is covered by a protective layer of fat. It disintegrates on its own depending on the temperature and material of surface where it is found.
- A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine stated that the novel coronavirus can survive for 72 hours on plastics, 48 hours on stainless steel, 24 hours on cardboard, 4 hours on copper and can be detectable for 3 hours in the air.
- Symptoms may vary from patient to patient but the primary ones include fever, fatigue and dry cough. Severe cases experience difficulty breathing. Newly identified secondary symptoms include altered sense of taste or smell, dizziness, headaches, muscle inflammation, even altered mental status and seizures.
- The elderly and people with underlying health issues seem to be at higher risk of becoming severely ill if infected. COVID-19 can be fatal to them.
- 80% of patients recover without needing any special treatment.
A modeling study conducted by the Imperial College in London has projected two methods for dealing with the pandemic: one is mitigation and the other is suppression.
Mitigation or “flattening the curve” is allowing the spread of the virus but at a slower pace so as not to overwhelm the health care sector. This will still result in many casualties.
Suppression on the other hand is trying to stop this pandemic through extreme social distancing and strict quarantine procedures. These measures need to be in place for a long time to effectively starve the virus though – about 18 months or until a vaccine is created.
Whether this virus is a form of punishment meted out on us by some unknown higher force or a wake up call from mother nature, we as humans will have to really work hard to fight it.
How to Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic
Are you prepared enough to survive this pandemic?
Humanity has gone through quite a number of pandemics in history. The last one before the novel coronavirus pandemic was the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic. This virus infected 1.4 billion people around the world and killed between 150,000 and 575,000 people in a span of a year.
Before that, the AIDS pandemic that killed 36 million, the 1968 flu pandemic that killed approximately 1 million, the 1956-58 Asian flu that claimed the lives of 2 million and the pandemic that is still considered one of the worst: the 1918 flu pandemic that killed 20 to 50 million people.
With these outbreaks of diseases that seem to happen every few decades, one would think that we are better prepared now for another pandemic. What with our accumulated knowledge and modern technologies. However, that does not seem to be the case. The SARS-CoV-2 which is causing this COVID-19 pandemic is a new coronavirus – and no person on earth is known to have immunity for it. This makes it a great challenge to develop a vaccine.
If you’re like most Americans, you’re also caught by surprise by the suddenness of this outbreak. Thus, before you know it, the virus is upon us and there had been no time to properly prepare for it.
How can you ensure survival?
Don’t panic. This is not going to be the end of the world as we know it. Not if we can help it, right?
Keep your head together and remember that there are things you can do to get through this:
Since the SARS-CoV-2 virus does not have a cure yet, the best thing for us to do is to stop it from spreading. We will have a better chance of achieving this if we stay at home and prevent ourselves from getting and spreading the disease.
Your goal should be to be cooped up in your home for at least 30 days. However, for most of us in this modern times, this is simply not achievable. Soon, you’ll need to get out for supplies and essentials.
If you absolutely must go out, then you’ll have to…
Plan your trip to the grocery store and stick to that plan.
While you’re out there, make sure to keep your distance from other people. Wear face protection and gloves if you have these. There is really no way to tell if a person is already infected. They can be asymptomatic and are unknowingly spreading the virus.
Buy more things at once to minimize trips. This does not mean you can hoard though. Get enough to get by for 2 weeks if you can. There isn’t any special food that you need to buy. Just normal food that you and your family would eat. Unnecessary hoarding denies others the chance to also get what they need.
If you can pick up prescriptions and items for your home first aid kit on your outing, do so.
WASH YOUR HANDS
During this pandemic, your life is in your hands – literally. So keep them clean.
Frequent and proper handwashing can keep the virus at bay. This may seem simple but just washing your hands for at least 20 seconds using germicidal soap can kill the virus. The layer of fat that protects the virus is dissolved by the soap, allowing the virus to disintegrate.
Alcohol that is more than 65% solution can also destroy the virus’s fatty layer.
You should also practice not touching your face and eyes with your dirty hands.
If you are concerned about sanitizing your home, the CDC has outlined ways on how to clean and disinfect your household.
STICK TO THE FACTS
With our modern technology, information is just a click away – and so is misinformation.
COVID-19 is a new threat and people are afraid.
People who are afraid are very vulnerable to believing and spreading false information.
Make sure to only follow trusted media outlets and sources. Verify new information especially if shared only thru social media by unauthorized individuals or non-experts.
Believing blindly can be harmful and even fatal.
PREPARE FOR THE WORST CASE SCENARIO
A British epidemiologist created a sophisticated model that projects a worst case scenario of 2.2 million deaths for the United States one year from now. The model also painted a depression-era like economy as a result of businesses closing down and widespread unemployment.
Of course if there is a worst case scenario, there is also a best case scenario. This version projects a slow down of the virus spread due to warming weather and by fall, mutation would have weakened the virus so more people are immune. There will still be thousands of deaths mostly claiming the elderly and those with underlying illnesses. But economically, our nation would not have suffered much.
No matter which scenario we’re headed towards, it is clear that this pandemic is going to take longer than projected.
So you must start thinking about survival in the long term.
Take care of your health. During this COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals will be so overwhelmed with coronavirus cases that there will hardly be enough personnel and facility available for other medical cases. Strengthen your immune system with regular exercise, eating healthy and taking supplementary vitamins.
Limit your expenses to only the necessities and save money. Many industries will be hit by lock downs so the risk of becoming unemployed is very high. Stretch your funds to last for as long as possible.
Consider an urban garden. It is possible to grow your own food even in the city. There are many guides available online that can help you get started with a simple container garden. You’ll be surprised at the things you can grow even in your balcony: tomatoes, onions, celery, herbs and greens like spinach, lettuce, bok choy, etc. Maintaining a small garden can lessen the stress of thinking about where to get food and can save you money as well.
This crisis will eventually pass and as long as we keep our heads together, stay put and away from crowds, and maintain healthy habits, we can survive it.
And hopefully, when we are able to look back to this pandemic, we would have learned a lesson. Which is that our survival always depends on our level of preparedness.
Suggested reading: Best Survival Books of 2020