The latest global scare virus, COVID-19, better known as the Coronavirus, has already killed more than 2000 people. The death toll is not as concerning as the fact that the virus is non-lethal in most cases, sometimes not showing any symptoms at all. When there are symptoms, they are quite common which makes it hard to identify. This makes it nearly impossible to completely contain, almost guaranteeing its inevitable spread across the globe. Fortunately, like the common flu, it can be deadly, but only for those who are susceptible, (those with weak immune symptoms, old age, infants, etc).
The good news is that:
1.) It’s not an apocalyptic virus that is going to end mankind as we know it. Ignore the usual hype of over-exaggerated headlines making the Coronavirus out to be Pestilence of the Four Horsemen. It’s most likely just a new common disease that has entered the realm of the common flu or cold. Work has already begun on a vaccine that will soon be available at your local Walmart pharmacy.
2.) The outbreak has had an incredibly quick and professional response from around the globe. China contained the outbreak with rapid speed and strict measures. Shortly after, the World Health Organization declared an official global alert. The virus was identified immediately, resources were sent and shared almost overnight, and the virus’ genome was “sequenced by Chinese scientists and shared around the world within weeks.” With that data, the rest of the global health community has worked diligently to coordinate with each other and share data at lightning speed. “All of this happened in a fraction of the time it took to even identify H5N1 in 1997,” said James Hamblin, who reported on the Virus for The Atlantic.
The bad news is that COVID-19 will undoubtedly spread despite our best efforts to contain it. According to Harvard epidemiology professor, Marc Lipsitch, 40 to 70 percent of humans will be infected with the virus around the globe by the end of this year. However he also makes it very clear that this doesn’t mean all those people are going to die. “It’s likely that many will have mild disease, or may be asymptomatic,” he said.
It’s like the flu. While influenza shouldn’t be taken lightly because it does kill thousands a year, in most cases it’s a condition that a few days off with over the counter medicine will be able to handle. Once vaccines become available it will be even more controlled.
So don’t climb into your virus bunker just yet. Just eat healthy, exercise, and maintain good hygiene to help keep your immune system strong and you should be fine. Those with compromised immune systems should take extra precautions, especially when traveling. And, of course, consult your doctor for more information regarding what is a proper response for you.