Covid-19 Symptoms, Education, and Proactive Measures

The Corona Virus (Covid-19) was first discovered in Wuhan, China on November 17, 2019, but “patient zero” has yet to be confirmed.  In 2019 the first 266 cases were reported in China, all of whom came under medical surveillance.  

Dr. Ai Fen was the first doctor to alert other colleagues to the Sars like disease. She faced ‘unprecedented, extremely harsh reprimand’ after sharing.

One whistle-blower (Dr. Li Wenliang) announced to the medical community in late December the findings of the new disease.   Prior to the start of the Chinese New Year celebrations in January 2020, it was labeled as an epidemic by Chinese medical authorities.  

In February 2020, we published the article “The Corona Virus Threatens the Global Apparel Industry” discussing the effects of the virus on the global supply chain. 

On March 11th WHO (World Health Organization) declared Covid-19 a pandemic.   On March 10th there were 114, 744 confirmed cases with 4,076 deaths, ten days later the numbers had doubled.

As of March 20, 2020

In this article, we look at the spread of this virus globally and its serious effects and preventative measures adopted in different regions.

Symptoms

COVID-19 can spread via respiratory droplets, contact with bodily fluids, or from contaminated surfaces.  Some symptoms include:

  • A fever (that gradually increases in temperature) 
  • Dry cough (that gets more severe over time)
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • Pneumonia in both lungs
  • Disorientation
  • Bluish lips or face

This list is not all-inclusive.  Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms you are uneasy about.  Please check out the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website by clicking this link. 

Recent evidence suggests that someone who is non-symptomatic can spread COVID-19.  Other medical authorities question this conclusion.  Most doctors believe that conventional measures, such as facemasks, provide insufficient protection.

Seek medical advice (via telephone) if you develop symptoms or have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently been in an area with the ongoing spread of COVID-19.

Call ahead to the health-care facility you are planning to visit so that they can take precautions. In an emergency, describe your symptoms, travel history, and any contact with sick people.  

Preventive measures

Hand washing is key: wash for at least 20 seconds (singing your ABC’s), vigorously scrubbing your hands repetitively.  Do the same on your return from all outside visits.

Do not touch your face, eyes, nose, or mouth if you have not recently washed your hands.   Do not go out if you are feeling sick with any cold or flu symptoms.

Practice social distancing: stay as far away as you can (at least 3 feet) from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.  If your area is under unusual severe threat practice the 3 feet rule for everyone.  

Cover your mouth with the inside of your elbow whenever you sneeze or cough.  Immediately discard any tissues you use. 

Clean all objects you touch frequently.  It is recommended to use disinfectants for your phones, computers, utensils, dishware, and doorknobs. 

It is also important to continually disinfect surfaces to protect yourself from this and other viruses. 

Treatments

There is currently no treatment specifically approved for Covid-19.  Possible treatments and vaccines are currently under intense study.

Treatment now focuses on managing symptoms as the virus runs its course.

Regional Responses

Asia

South Korea was the first country with the most confirmed cases and deaths after China.  

Seoul’s handling of the issue was much different from China’s; directing awareness (via text messages) in an open and transparent (past movements of infected, their area, names of shops and restaurants they visited) instead of lockdowns.  

Using mobile phones the population reports symptoms, places visited, and personal contacts (via apps like the Corona 100m app).  Continuously and vigorously clean public spaces. 

South Korea has not restricted people’s movements.  They counted on public cooperation rather than hardline measures.   They have entered a “phase of stability” with a major reduction of new cases.  

For international travelers, South Korea introduced “special immigration procedures” for the most heavily affected countries:  requiring passengers to undergo temperature checks; provide verified contact information; completing a health questionnaire.

They have screened more people per capita for the virus than any other country by far.   This involved carrying out up to 15,000 tests per day. 

South Koreans have largely embraced self-isolation and social distancing on their own accord.    They canceled or postponed events with mass gatherings.   South Korea has emerged as a source of inspiration and hope for authorities around the world as they scramble in the battle against the pandemic.  

Hong Kong

Hong Kong was the first outside of China to implement “social distancing”; many events were canceled and venues were closed to minimize contact between people.  

Authorities produced a digital map of confirmed cases to allow people to avoid potentially infected areas.  

Taiwan

Taiwan has pooled information from immigration and health insurance databases to track people’s travel history and symptoms.   Most importantly, they used phone tracking to ensure compliance with quarantine.  

USA

Are the largest economy and one of the last countries to start dealing with Covid-19? They have been slow to roll out nation-wide testing for those in need.  The president seems to be in denial about many of the issues?  

On March 2, Washington State was the first to declare a state of emergency. California (March 5) and New York (March 7) followed suit.   On March 13th US President Donald Trump declared a National Emergency. 

The Centers for Disease Control believes the spread of the disease is unavoidable. “It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have a severe illness,” said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s national center for immunization and respiratory diseases. 

As of now, the United States has set up 78 state and local public health across 50 states, with a capacity to test 75,000 people.

Major Retailers and businesses across the U.S. are shutting down their operations, stores or reducing hours. Patagonia has halted operations, Apple has closed all stores outside of China, Urban Outfitters is closing all stores, Nike closing all US Stores, and Walmart cuts store hours.

The U.S has closed its borders to travelers from Europe, Britain, and Ireland.

They are also adopting social distancing and they postponed or canceled many events where the attendance exceeds 50 people.   All professional sports leagues have been temporarily suspended.  

These cancellations also apply to most of the entertainment industry.  

Europe

The disease has quickly spread to Italy, Spain, Germany, and France with the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Denmark close behind.  

Italy has reported the most infections with over 24,000 cases and 1,800 deaths.   That is a 7.5% mortality rate: higher than any other previously reported.   The entire population, 60 million people, is in lockdown. 

In addition, Italy has the highest per capita rate of infections in the world.   

In Europe, Italy has the highest number of air connections (tripled this past year) with China, higher than any other European country.   In early January 2020, Italy signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China to expand the air links between the two countries in order to expand tourism.

The government created the most stringent emergency situation: all public events, schools, universities, most stores, and restaurants have been ordered closed.   There are also strict regulations about the houses of worship.  Italy as a country has closed down. 

Germany to close borders France, Austria, and Switzerland.  In France, there was a sense that a general lockup might now be the only way to at least slow the spread of the disease domestically.

“Up until now, the French have not sufficiently become aware of their role facing the virus,” one of the country’s top health officials, Jérôme Salomon, said. “It is urgent — it is now that you need to change behavior.”

Spain’s divided government argued all day about what concrete steps to take to combat the virus. After a seven-hour meeting, the government decreed a nationwide lockdown.

In Denmark, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said all foreigners who did not have an essential purpose for visiting the country would be turned away.

Conclusion

As of now, the following seem to be the key issues in containing the virus:

  • Learning how the disease spreads
  • Determining how undetected and undocumented cases contribute to its transmission

Making sure testing is free for anybody anywhere.   Establishing drive through testing stations that can screen suspected patients in minutes.   

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