The flu-like virus whose cases are skyrocketing by the day is producing mixed reactions all over the globe: How should you feel about it?
Coronavirus (COVID-19), the “newly declared” pandemic, is affecting numerous countries worldwide. China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Spain are among the first countries affected by this virus, and it is spreading globally at a rapid rate. This virus attacks the respiratory system of the infected person, but it is more severe among those who are older and are suffering from chronic conditions. As of March 17, 2020, there are around 194,777 confirmed cases, 7,896 deaths, and 81,093 recoveries of the virus globally.
In the face of this global crisis, people are having mixed reactions to COVID-19. While some people think that they need to hoard stacks of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, others think of this virus as, simply, a cold that you can get over in three days. This is where the controversy is introduced: how should I really feel about this virus?
You SHOULD NOT freak out over COVID-19!
According to the World Health Organization, the worldwide mortality rate for COVID-19 is lower than 3.4%. When compared to the 7.1% mortality rate for influenza and pneumonia, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this virus is not as serious in terms of death.
It’s not just the fear of dying from COVID-19 that is keeping people on the edge, but the dangerously fast rate at which the virus is spreading. Because of this fear, one might think that there is nothing wrong with being prepared for a fast-moving pandemic such as COVID-19, and they are not mistaken.
Nonetheless, being over-prepared can still become a problem for the economy and others who genuinely need the supplies. Common supplies such as toilet paper and face masks are unavailable because some are hoarding them in large numbers just in case they need it, not because of necessity. CDC explains: “for the general public, [we do] not recommend the use of face masks or respirators.”
The only people who need to wear masks are those who are exhibiting symptoms of the virus and need to protect others from it. However, if unaffected people buy most of the masks in stock, then those who actually need them, such as professionals and COVID-19 patients, are unable to obtain them. The US Food and Drug Administration has explained that the demand for the supply of medical equipment, including surgical gloves and masks, has been at an all-time high due to the lack of stock.
As people continue to buy items such as masks, gloves, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer in large quantities, those in desperate need of such supplies are at a disadvantage.
You SHOULD still care about the virus!
Thousands of schools, offices, stores, and universities are shutting down due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus. Nations have adopted this prevention method in order to hinder the spread, yet the lack of concern in some individuals defeats any purpose national authorities have taken.
Recently, many students have taken to social media to express their excitement for this opportunity of vacation, rather than participating in self-isolation. Just from browsing on any social media platform, one can encounter many people expressing their gratitude for this period of “break."
With younger people maintaining the mindset that coronavirus won’t kill them, they are subconsciously promoting the spread of this virus without acknowledging that it can prove fatal for individuals with compromised immune systems (older people and individuals with medical conditions). With this, younger people must keep in mind that they should respect the self-isolation standards the nation has enforced, if not for themselves, for those who are prone to fatality.
Lack of hospital accommodation space also stands as a big issue towards combating the virus. With
the number of cases growing thousands by the day, hospitals are struggling to keep up with the demand and assist everyone in need of service.
Due to a lack of concern, the virus is able to spread faster, making the pandemic harder to combat. According to the CDC, the coronavirus is rendered as a “case without protective measures”; the larger number of outbreaks in a smaller amount of time is represented by the steepness of the curve, which means that the steepness of the coronavirus pandemic exceeds the health care system capacity.
By slowing the spread of the virus we can “flatten the curve”, allowing our healthcare systems to be better equipped and less overwhelmed with dealing with this virus.
So, what can we do to stay safe from this global pandemic?
If your school or workplace assigned a specific period of time to self-quarantine yourself, please realize the importance of this message. Going out during this period of time can harm not only yourself if the virus is airborne or lingering on a surface, but can also harm those around you if you have contracted the virus.
The World Health Organization listed simple guidelines on various online platforms to follow and to prevent contracting COVID-19:
1. Wash your hands often. Make sure to wash both of your hands for at least 20 seconds each time. You can sing songs like the ABCs or Happy Birthday (twice) to make sure that you have washed your hands for that period of time.
2. Cough into your elbow (not your hands) to prevent spreading the virus to those around you. The virus can become airborne through infected respiratory droplets and can manifest in an individual exposed to those droplets.
3. DO NOT touch your face. The virus can linger on surfaces for up to three days.
4. Make sure to keep a distance of at least six feet from others. The virus can remain airborne for long periods of time.
5. If you feel sick, make sure to stay at home and self-quarantine yourself. DO NOT go out and get others sick.