We can’t go more than a day without hearing about something related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). It is all over the news, it is talked about daily among friends and family, and it is the central topic at work (providing you are still at work). As this virus spreads rapidly throughout the nation and the world, it is more than fair to say that we are certainly living in unprecedented times.
Coronavirus Symptoms Compared to the Flu
The symptoms of the coronavirus are very similar to the seasonal flu; fever, coughing, sore throat, night sweats, body aches, tiredness and in some severe cases, nausea and diarrhea. Every person reacts differently to the virus and depending on how healthy you are prior to getting it could affect how severe the symptoms are and how long those symptoms will last. The one symptom that stands out for coronavirus that is unlike the flu is shortness of breath. The coronavirus attacks the lungs and can lead to a fatal respiratory infection.
The chart below provided by the World Health Organization, explains the symptoms of the coronavirus compared to a cold and the flu.
The respiratory issues the coronavirus may cause are not the only symptom that makes this virus deadly. We have heard that the seasonal flu claims the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each year. Compared to only 344 deaths as of March 21, 2019. I know that it doesn’t seem like very many at all; however, here’s the problem, the coronavirus is 10 times more deadly than the flu.
Although the death count is fairly low after only being in the United States for a couple of months, this is a new virus. There is a chance that the virus could quickly mutate into a different version and become even deadlier.
A New Virus
Another point to note is that this version of the virus is only a few months old, while people have lived with the flu for over two thousand years. We know what to expect with the flu and we know how to treat it. There are also vaccines for several different flu strands. But there is no vaccine for the coronavirus and it could take several months or even years before a vaccine is developed.
One of the biggest issues we are facing is the number of hospital beds available for people who develop severe cases. There just isn’t enough room in our hospitals to treat everyone. We have to consider that the virus isn’t the only disease or ailment that a person may have that requires hospitalization.
The Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 claimed the lives of 50 million people worldwide. At the time that was one-fifth of the world’s population. There were around 675,000 deaths in the United States that were a result of the flu. Again, there were not enough hospital beds to treat everyone who had the virus. The flu vaccine wasn’t introduced until 20 years later, so those who had the virus either died or developed immunity for it.
Coronavirus Virus Spread
Since the incubation period for the coronavirus is anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks, many people may not know that they have the virus for some time. This means that they are rapidly spreading the virus to everyone around them. And all of those people who have been close to someone who is infected is 20 times more likely to contract the virus compared to someone who just has the flu.
Currently, there are not enough available tests to verify everyone who may have the coronavirus. There could already be tens of thousands infected. And using simple math you can determine how quickly this virus could spread in just a matter of days. If you follow the news you will see confirmed cases multiply significantly from each day.
Closing Up Shop
Everyone needs to stop to think for just a moment about the magnitude this virus can have on our nation. It’s possible that everyone at some point will become infected if the spread of the virus isn’t slowed.
Your employer may have already closed up shop for a period of time. Some of us are lucky enough to work for an employer that will allow us to telecommute or maybe pay our salary while we self-quarantine. But there are many who don’t have that luxury and are forced to go on unemployment or find work elsewhere. This is not only a strain on our economy, but it has caused the United States to shut down the economy. This shutdown is in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. After a few weeks, shops will start reopening and the economy will pick back up. Consider the shutdown, an economic reboot in an effort to slow the pandemic.
Washing Your Hands
Right now, the only way we can combat the spread of the coronavirus is to practice personal hygiene, including washing our hands often. You may have heard that you should avoid touching your face, but I find that extremely difficult. The thought of not touching my face, makes me want to touch it even more (yeah, it’s weird, I know). Don’t forget to wash your kid’s hands too. I have an infant at home who loves shoving his little fingers in my mouth.
If you’re the guy who goes into the restroom and walks out without washing your hands, shame on you! That is freaking disgusting and coronavirus or not, there is no reason why anyone should ever do their “business” and just walk out of the room without at the very least running your hands under the water. So guys (and ladies too) please wash your freaking hands after you use the restroom.
For those of you who don’t know how to properly wash your hands check out this video from the CDC:
Practice Social Distancing
Social distancing is a term used by public health departments to describe how to limit the number of people in a particular place at the same time. As an individual, you can practice social distancing by trying to keep yourself at least 6 feet away from another person. I know that this sounds like a difficult task. Especially when you’re waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store or at the DMV. However, it is necessary to try to stay as far away from someone as possible so that you don’t risk contracting the coronavirus, or any virus for that matter.
The coronavirus pandemic is no joke and will be far worse than any other pandemic in the past hundred years. It’s imperative that you follow the instructions given by state and local government for staying safe. These are some scary times and I can’t stress enough the importance of taking care of yourself and your family.
If you feel the need to self-quarantine, now is the time to do it. If you are ordered to quarantine, pick up enough essentials that will last you at least a couple of weeks and stay in your home. Please do everything you can to take care of yourself and your family during this unprecedented and challenging time. And remember, even if you are quarantined, you can still live an UltiUber Life!