Coronavirus Outbreak Cliff Notes – Stay Safe Out There

Guest post by Joe Pan

(Leave it to a writer to be able to summarize so eloquently)

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CORONAVIRUS KNOWNS

Friends, to stave off the misinformation being spread on social media regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) I spent yesterday researching it for verifiable facts. Included are a bunch of links for further reading and fact-checking.

Here is what we know, as of March 11, 2020:

  • Sneezing and runny noses aren’t typical symptoms of COVID-19. Only 5% of those with the virus exhibited these symptoms. According to WHO, muscle pain (15%), sore throat (14%), headache (14%), chills (11%), vomiting (5%), and diarrhea (4%) were also relatively poor indicators of specific COVID-19 infection. (bit.ly/3cODtko)
  • The main symptoms of COVID-19 are fever (88%), dry cough (70%), fatigue (38%), sputum production (33%), and shortness of breath (19%). (bit.ly/3cODtko) The CDC listed the main symptoms to watch out for as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. (bit.ly/2IAEui5)
  • These symptoms usually appear 2-14 days after exposure. Mean incubation period of virus is estimated at 5 days; those who develop symptoms do so within 11.5 days. Less than 1% may develop symptoms outside of the typical 14 day period. (bit.ly/33ckTym)
  • There are currently no antiviral drugs recommended by the FDA for treatment of COVID-19. There is no timeline yet available for when there could be. (bit.ly/2Q15NGo)
  • Current risk assessment to being exposed in the US, according to the CDC, is “thought to be low.” Risk increases according to location and job (for example, healthcare workers are at an elevated risk, as are those in major travel hubs, and those traveling to/from Italy, Japan, China, Iran, South Korea, and Hong Kong). (bit.ly/3cO0Nik)
  • 80% of those afflicted with COVID-19 show mild symptoms or appear asymptomatic; 14% suffer severe symptoms (labored breathing, rapid breathing); 6% suffer critically (organ failure, respiratory failure). (bit.ly/3cODtko)
  • Most people recover within 2 weeks. More severe cases can take 3-6 weeks. (bit.ly/2IywAG5)
  • Mortality rate sits between 3-4% by best standards of measure. This can rate up or down depending on the populations infected in specific areas (eg, older residents in a nursing home). It is cautiously hypothesized by scientists that the actual mortality rate may be lower (possibly as low as 1%) due to large percentages of those afflicted showing mild symptoms, aren’t being tested, or live in a place with testing lags, diagnostic delays, and kit scarcity, such as the US. (bit.ly/38HTzJj)(politi.co/2TVapiv)
  • High-risk populations for mortality include these over 50 and those with pre-existing medical conditions, including cardiovascular issues, diabetes, respiratory diseases, hypertension, cancer, and immunocompromised systems. Prognosis is also dependent on access to treatment. (bit.ly/3cODtko)
  • Children seem to be less likely to experience severe reactions compared with other coronaviruses and the flu. (bit.ly/3cODtko)
    -Rates of infection seem to be stabilizing in China, due largely to their mass lockdown efforts. (on.wsj.com/39GFtch)
  • Rates of infection are falling in South Korea without mass lockdown efforts, attributed instead to mass testing, improved communication with the public, and implementation of technology (bit.ly/3cOQQ44)
    -It is currently unknown if those who recover from COVID-19 can be infected again. (bit.ly/2Q15NGo)

CORONAVIRUS MYTHS

Some common myths debunked by easily Googlable references like the World Health Organization, reputable news outlets, and scientific magazine sites. You can start here: bit.ly/2Izvnht.

If anything changes, or if you hear of other prominent myths being busted, please reply to this blog post and I’ll update this:

  • There is no evidence (zero cases) showing that you can contract COVID-19 though eating food, prepared or otherwise. Experience with SARS and MERS suggest people are not infected through food. COVID-19 needs a host (animal or human) to grow in. (bit.ly/2wHzBB7) (bit.ly/2vXjqPZ) (bit.ly/3cPNcqI)
  • Drinking more water doesn’t help wash away or kill COVID-19 with stomach acids.
  • Keeping your mouth more wet or more dry doesn’t affect infection rates of COVID-19.
  • Gargling with salt doesn’t kill COVID-19.
  • Neti pots do not help kill COVID-19 or prevent infection.
  • Neither sesame oil nor oregano oil kills COVID-19.
  • Gargling chlorine doesn’t kill COVID-19.
  • Spicy foods do not cause nor kill COVID-19.
  • Being able to hold your breath for long periods of time does not mean you are safe from COVID-19 or that one hasn’t yet contracted it.
  • Drinking any amount of bleach is not good for you, and doesn’t kill COVID-19. Drinking large amounts of bleach does kill the COVID-19 because it kills its host—you.
  • Taking a hot bath will not prevent infection from COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 is much more serious than the flu.
  • Disposable face masks are unlikely to protect against COVID-19.
  • Hand dryers do not kill COVID-19.
  • Any length of time spent with an infected person can lead to infection, from seconds to days.
  • Antibiotics do not kill COVID-19.
  • Garlic does not kill COVID-19.
  • No vitamin, from Vitamin A to Vitamin C to Vitamin Whatever, kills or protects against COVID-19.
  • Silver colloid does not kill COVID-19.
  • Ice cream does not kill COVID-19.
  • Non-medical immune boosters do not protect against COVID-19.
  • UV lamps are not a reliable method of staving off COVID-19.
  • Scientists do not yet know if COVID-19 will wane in the spring and summer months.
  • Neither flu nor pneumonia vaccines protect against COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 is not a biological weapon released by China or Russia.
  • Packages from China do not put you at risk for contracting COVID-19.
  • Kids can absolutely be infected by COVID-19.
  • No evidence suggests mosquitos transmit COVID-19.
  • You are definitely being racist if you avoid your otherwise healthy Asian friends and family because of COVID-19.

CORONAVIRUS – HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

If you are not sick:
(bit.ly/2Q2gPve)

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick (6 feet or less is considered close contact)
  • Avoid all direct contact with people. (Don’t shake hands.)
  • Avoid large crowds.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds throughout the day.
  • In addition to washing hands, use hand sanitizer with over 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and face.
  • Avoid sharing personal items like dishware, towels, or bedding.
  • Clean personal surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, toilets, phones, faucets, and keyboards.

If you are sick at all:

  • Stay home. Do not go into public. Cancel plans.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw tissue in trash.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect all surfaces and objects you touch.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds throughout the day.
  • In addition to washing hands, use hand sanitizer with over 60% alcohol.
  • Do not share personal items.
  • Avoid sharing personal items like dishware, towels, or bedding.
  • Clean personal surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, toilets, phones, faucets, and keyboards.
  • Wash clothes before venturing outside after illness passes. Do not rewear clothes worn before but not washed.

If you are sick with a cough, fever, and shortness of breath:
(bit.ly/2IBjnft)

  • Stay home. Do not go into public. Cancel plans. Self-quarantine.
  • Do not come into contact with anyone else.
  • Call your doctor—do not go visit your doctor. If you do not have a primary doctor, call your local public health department (Google your city or state and “health department”). If neither of these are available, call your local hospital.
  • A doctor or health care professional will walk you through the tasks necessary to come in and be tested.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Stay rested.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect all surfaces and objects you touch.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds throughout the day.
  • Disinfect areas that come into contact with bodily fluids.
  • Clean personal surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, toilets, phones, faucets, and keyboards.
  • Wash clothes.

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