There was no way anyone who has any accessible means of communicating online, was not going to comment on this issue. This includes myself.
The following is simply a summary of my current understanding of what COVID-19 is, the resources I use to gather important updates about its current status, and what actions will supposedly keep my risk of infection low. This article is, at no point in time, to be used as a source for valid, scientific analysis, help or research. Believe me, this comes from no place of authority in any way.
With that said, let’s take a look at COVID-19…
Although my blog is primarily focused on tech, humor and opinion driven pieces, I do feel a sense of responsibility to at least touch upon this issue, even if briefly so. There are many different facets of this whole epidemic that we could dive into: the conspiracy angle, the effect on the financial and tech industries due to this outbreak. But today, I just want to sum up some of the basic things surround this little bastard of a virus, in a sort of helicopter format.
COVID-19 or Corona Virus?
One of the biggest slightly misleading hiccoughs I’ve seen online, is referring to this virus as the “corona virus”. This can potentially pose issue when speaking with health officials or providing information to a friend for them to look up, as most lower respiratory infections take the form of a corona virus. Just as can be observed in the header image above, these viruses don the moniker of “corona” viruses due to the crown-shaped spires they display. Due to this, COVID-19 is the official name given to this virus and is what you should use when researching relative information about it, as searching for “corona virus” may bring up information about unrelated viruses.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
According to the Mayo Clinic’s article on COVID-19, the first symptoms of the virus can appear anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure to it. The symptoms include:
- Cough (I have read, dry cough in some cases)
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
It is suggested you contact a doctor right away and inform them about you symptoms if you feel you are afflicted. This can drastically increase the performance of response teams, aid the medical officer in informing you on what actions you should take and help those involved in devising a plan of assistance for you.
Spreading & Face Masks
Whereas many people you will see on the news or in images, who live in areas affected by the virus, appear to be combating contagion by wearing surgical masks, it should be noted that these should not be considered as a valid form of protection from the disease. Wearing a face mask in crowded public areas can, of course, reduce your chances of contracting the illness via cough or sneeze from someone afflicted with the virus. But they are not the be all, end all to protecting yourself.
Traditionally, face masks are adorned by those who already have a flu-like infection and are used to stop that person from spreading it via cough or sneeze. As many forms of flu are spread via water droplets, this prevents the person from projecting it to an unsuspecting infectee. . As Korin Miller of Prevention.com writes in her article, discussing the issue with one such Dr. Schaffner, and various other medical specialists,
“When you breathe through and around them, it doesn’t provide optimal respiratory protection.” - Dr. Schaffner
The practice of employing face masks is also quite specific. They are to be swapped out with fresh ones routinely, after significant exposure to places that may harbor those infected.
So what are some of the recommended methods of prevention from COVID-19? According to the CDC.gov website, some of the new practices you can start undertaking are as follows:
- Stay home, except to get medical care
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
- Call ahead before visiting a doctor
- Wear a face mask
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Clean your hands often
- Avoid sharing personal household items
- Clean all “high touch” surfaces everyday
- Monitor your symptoms
All of these can aid you in reducing your risk of infection and the risk of infection for those around you.
Personally, I find one the best sources for real-time statistics on the spread of the virus to be the (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) map. Although it can be buggy or slow at times, due to the surge in users, it presents the most current statistics on the global spread, as well as a counter for the total number of reported recoveries. It is very informative and presents the information without any political narrative or bias.
Should I be Concerned?
In short: yes. I don’t mean this in a panicky sort of way, but in a more self-conscious sort of way. You should be concerned with informing those you know about how to reduce the spread, protect themselves and raise awareness about the COVID-19 virus. The most valuable asset you can have at your disposal is information. Go perform your own research, ensure to avoid channels that only seek to sew panic and raise their own viewer ratings. Find reliable and informative sources that are verifiably speaking from a place of authority, such as doctors or scientists, for instance.
That’s all for now…
For the time being, this has been my coverage of COVID-19. I may return to this horrible topic at some point, but I just wanted to do my small part in helping to contribute towards a better understanding of this issue by sharing my own.
Be safe my friends,
More to come.