The world is in crisis. It all started when a mysterious pneumonia infected Chinese residents in Wuhan late last year. They called the spreading infection Covid-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019), which is a newly identified infectious disease from the family of corona virus.
The tension heightened when this disease was declared pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last March 2020 because it has affected more than 100 countries all around the globe. Everyone was panicking and hoarding medical, house and food supplies. Healthcare systems are stressed and the majority lack resources, manpower and preparation to combat Covid-19, people are dying and most of them are fighting for their lives in the hospital, the global economy has been plummeting, people are currently losing jobs, all domestic and international travels via land, sea and air are constantly affected and most government leaders worldwide are struggling to provide the basic needs of their people. To add further, fake news has plagued the internet and corrupt opportunists as well as racists created fear, discrimination and chaos.
As for me, the whole month of March, I have been an eager observant of the progression of this crisis and how it has affected different aspects in our lives. Honestly, before the outbreak, I thought it was going to be controlled like the previous SARS epidemic in 2002 but this novel disease kept spreading and I fear that one of my love ones will be affected. It is scary because it is the first pandemic caused by the corona virus and the nature of the disease transmission is fast. Extensive research studies are still limited and no vaccine is available. However, experts are tirelessly doing their best to find a cure and more effective ways to fight this infection. Workers in the frontline are risking themselves to heal and treat the affected people whilst maintaining peace and order in the community. Since I am also a nurse, I thought of using this platform to provide proper information to my readers not only for prevention and protection as a first line of defence but also to uphold the value of social responsibility.
The following are questions that you might ask about COVID-19.
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19 or SARS-CoV-2 is the newest and one of the seven human corona virus identified by the CDC (Centres for Disease and Control and Prevention). Other types of human corona virus we’re familiar with are MERS-CoV and SARS (beta human corona virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome). People affected by this suffers from mild to moderate respiratory symptoms and recover without special treatment. However, the most at risk of developing serious illnesses are Older People and those with underlying diseases such as diabetes, kidney failure, heart problems, chronic respiratory problems and cancer.
What are the common Symptoms of Covid-19?
The common symptoms are fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
In some cases, patients experience aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat and diarrhoea.
For young children, a high grade temperature, rash, poor appetite and signs of dehydration , agitation, stiff neck, seizure, pale blotchy, blue or grey skin are some of the signs and symptoms that you will encounter.
Incubation period or the time which symptoms would appear is 2 to 14 days.
Keep in mind, there are some people infected but don’t develop symptoms and don’t feel unwell, which means that asymptomatic people can be carriers and can transmit the virus to another person,
What if you have symptoms? Who are most at risk?
In the UK, if you have a high temperature and a new continuous cough, call 111 or the online coronavirus service. Usually, if you have a mild symptoms, you will be asked to self isolate for 7 days and anyone you live with should not leave home for 14 days.
In the Philippines, similar to the UK, you will be asked to self isolate but your details will be recorded by the City or Municipal Health Office and be added on the list of people under investigation and monitoring. Designated surveillance officers in hospitals and other facilities shall be responsible for doing preliminary assessment of suspected cases.
People with underlying conditions such as hypertension and diabetes are most likely to develop severe form of Covid-19.
Pregnant women and children are also considered vulnerable groups. There is no enough evidence that suggests that covid-9 can cause miscarriage and most babies delivered are well and healthy.
How can we prevent it from spreading?
Covid-19 is transmitted from person to person via droplets, contact and formites. Talking, couhging and sneezing produce droplets that can be inhaled by another person. It can also stay on surfaces for a few hours to days depending on the condition.
Wash your hands properly with soap and water or use alcohol based hand rub frequently. Follow the 7 steps of hand washing recommended by the WHO.
Observe proper Cough Etiquette. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or flex your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
Avoid close contact with people who are unwell especially those with respiratory symptoms.
Stay home and self isolate from others if you are unwell.
Avoid Touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth when your hands are not clean.
Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken your lungs.
Practice social distancing and avoid crowds. Maintain distance at least 1 metre away from a person.
Ensure food is well-cooked and avoid contact with wild animals (Alive or Dead).
What is the most effective protection against Covid-19?
Hand Washing is still the most effective tool to halt the spread of the disease. In terms of wearing masks, it is recommended only to be used by people with symptoms and by healthcare workers. If you are wearing mask, it is important to wear this correctly and dispose it properly.
Is there a Covid-19 Treatment and Vaccine?
Unfortunately, there is still no available vaccine for Covid-19 and there are no specific treatment for those affected by the novel corona virus. So, the treatment is based on clinical manifestations of a Covid-19 patient.
I found a video on youtube that might help you understand further how the virus affects our bodies compared to other infectious diseases that we are already familiar with.
Now, it is the first week of May 2020 and my wife and I just got back here in the UK. It was a very expensive trip but we managed to go back after 2 cancelled flights. We need to work not only because it is a responsible thing to do but mainly because we want to provide for our family. We know that survival is a priority especially now that everybody is struggling financially, emotionally and in all other aspects. This can only be achieved if we all work as one.
Although it would be a little nice to stay longer back home, our hearts tell us that we need to work and contribute as part of a solution in the frontline because it is the right thing to do. Working tirelessly along with other heroes of this current pandemic makes us feel that we have given something valuable to mankind – our care, love, hard work, time and effort. We think of it as a privilege – a divine privilege to be a better man for others and a better soldier in the eyes of Jesus Christ.
Of course I fear Covid-19… I fear that it will affect me and my wife. I fear that it will hurt my family. I fear that it will hinder us from achieving our dreams. However, during this time, I think it is best to have confidence with God that He will find a way to save us and lift us away from this dangerous disease. His mighty hands and compassionate heart will heal our mind, body and spirit. I pray for healing… I pray for the healing of the sick and dying. I pray for comfort and protection. I pray that soon a vaccine will be available for everyone and that people will always find a way to be helpful and kind despite the complicated situations we have in every corner of the world. I pray for the hope that, together, we will end covid-19 and the nightmare that goes along with it will soon vanish.
World Health Organization (WHO)
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Department of Health (Philippines)
youtube channel – wired