This is Why COVID-19 is So Frightening
A COVID-19 Special Edition of the
Better Call Paul Blog
[Jacksonville, FL | 03/31/2019]
The Truth About Coronavirus SARS-CoV2 and COVID19
Ever since Rush Limbaugh made the erroneous misspeaking in which he stated that the novel coronavirus was nothing more than the common cold, people have promoted the fake news that SARS-CoV2 is no more severe than a common cold, and that the news reports were nothing more than a hoax designed to allow governments to take civil liberties from the populace in a rapid manner.
The truth of the matter is this -- YES, the coronavirus is similar to the common cold, but not in a meaningful way:
1. The common cold, known as the rhinovirus, is a coronavirus. Both the common cold virus and the novel coronavirus are coronaviruses, meaning that the protein spikes on the virus resemble a crown -- or a corona -- when viewed under high-powered microscopy.
False Color scan of SARS-CoV2 - The virus responsible for COVID19.
Coronae (the crown around the circle) are visible.
2. The novel coronavirus is a close relative of the original SARS, which caused the last global pandemic in the early 2000's. Both of these viruses are relatives of the common cold virus. However, not all relatives are the same, especially when it comes to severity. Think about it...you're not identical to your parents, even though you are related to them and likely look very similar to one or both of them. Morphine and codeine are related compounds that come from the same plant, yet Morphine is about 8 times as strong as Codeine is, despite them being "related" compounds. With the coronaviruses, the common cold is like codeine, while the morphine is COVID-19. Make sense now?
3. All of these viruses, as well as the coronavirus that causes the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrom, or MERS, cause respiratory disease ranging from mild to fatal. This is where Limbaugh's statement calling nCov (novel coronavirus) a "common cold" falls apart.
4. While all are respiratory illnesses, the virus that causes COVID-19 is the most infectious and causes the most severe of all the symptoms.
5. Not enough data has been analyzed about this virus. Early statements, which indicates that COVID19 affected elderly people and that young people and children were not at risk, was erroneous, and has caused infections as a result. So, before this information is released to the public, more research needs to be done to make sure that the information is not erroneous or misinformed. For now, it's a good idea to just act like you are at high risk.
6. Social distancing, which seems a bit absurd, will probably have the strongest effect on "flattening the curve" of pandemic activity and response.
7. Staying home as much as you possibly can will protect you more than anything else will, including all of the personal protective equipment you could ever thing of. By staying home, you destroy even the possibility of being exposed to the virus....so, tough it out and stay home unless you need to leave for an essential or necessary reason.
8. If you have been laid off from work, fired, or if the business shuttered operations as a result of COVID-19, you are eligible for unemployment compensation, even if you are a gig worker, a freelancer, or a self-employed individual. Contact your state's unemployment office for more information.
9. If you are a US Taxpayer, you are eligible for individual and family assistance from the COVID-19 stimulus bill to include direct cash payments.
- $1200 for individuals
- $2400 for married couples
- $500 per child under 17
- Will likely be only the first of several checks that we receive to get us through.
10. Flattening the curve. This relates to the epidemiological graph that shows the timeline of the pandemic. The "curve" is that massive spike in cases that continually builds and builds until one day, the number of new cases starts to drop. We have not hit the "peak" of the curve yet. Efforts to "flatten the curve" refer to interventions taken that turn the massive infectious spike into a more gradual motion, more like a bump instead of a peak. We don't know yet if current interventions are working.
11. The COVID19 virus stays living on nonliving surfaces for a good bit of time. That is, 72 hours for stainless steel, but only 4 hours for copper. On silver, it dies immediately, due to silver's antimicrobial properties -- something to consider. This contributes to its virulence greatly.
So Why is this Pandemic So Frightening?
COVID-19 is a 'flu-like' disease that causes similar symptoms to the flu. We all know that we go through a flu season every single year, and we do so with vaccines and supportive therapy. Even those who don't believe in vaccines still get through flu infections without much of a problem. Plus, flu kills millions of people around the world and has done so for a long, long time.
So what's with COVID19? Why is it such a big deal?
It comes down to one word.
The novel coronavirus infects 2-3x more people than the flu virus. With the flu, each person who gets infected is likely to infect 1.4 other people. With COVID-19, it's more like 2.5-5 infections that occur as a result of transmission from each new infectious case. This means that the COVID19 virus is extremely virulent and contagious.
The statistics demonstrate this, with over 33,000 souls lost in a matter of a few months. Flu does not do this, and in historic flu pandemics, like the Spanish Flu of 1918, we see what would happen if the flu virus had the increased transmission rates as the novel coronavirus. It was devastating then just like COVID19 has been devastating now.
The most important advice I can give to my readers is to stop panicking and start preparing. Preparation does not mean going to Walmart to buy up all of the toilet paper and gloves, but it does mean contacting your creditors, your landlord, and your loved ones. It means making certain that any life-saving medications that you are on are filled with the highest quantity available. It means keeping some long shelf-life food ready for the disruptions of the supply line that are occurring now. Finally, it means making certain that the needs of your family can be met without government assistance for at least 2 weeks.
Don't get scared, just prepare.