How do we know what our behavior should be like when we are worried about the coronavirus? The news stories run the gamut from “We’ve got this under control” to “This whole thing is out of control.”
Bill Maher abolished handshakes on his Friday show and opted instead for a more sanitary “Japanese bow” as he greeted guests. The whole corona virus situation is so mysterious that you don’t even know if you should laugh or cry at Maher’s joke. Or is it really a joke?
So the first question is, can the virus spread from one person to another? The answer is YES. This usually happens through saliva or mucus that is carried in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and it can be carried in the air up to six feet.
The virus can be transferred from one person to another when shaking hands or even sharing a drink or some food.
The tricky thing is when a person does not look or feel sick but has the virus and can spread it. This wasn’t widely known at first, but now this is coming in loud and clear through the media.
According to Harvard researchers, currently, there’s no evidence that COVID-19, the new coronavirus, can be transmitted from soft surfaces like fabric or carpet to humans. But there is some discussion that the virus could be on frequently-touched surfaces, such as a doorknob, or a table, or even on a car. It is not yet currently known how long the virus can live on such surface.
What about using a face mask for protection? Currently, face masks are not recommended for the general public in the United States. Your risk of catching the virus in the US is likely to be low, since there is little evidence of community transmission at this time. However, wouldn’t be wise to err on the side of caution and use a face mask anyway? It’s difficult to trust statements such as “there is little risk” or “there is no risk” when you’re talking about something even the experts don’t understand.
What if you have a compromised immune system? Well, first talk to your doctor and get their opinion. If your healthcare provider advises you to wear a mask when in public areas because you have a compromised immune system, follow that advice.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a vaccine and we could stop being so fearful of this thing? A US biotech firm named Moderna has shipped an experimental coronavirus vaccine to US government researchers. The bad news is that initial trials of the potential vaccine could begin in April, but the process of testing and approvals would last at least a whole year.
Pharma giants Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and GlaxoSmithKline (GLAXF) are also working on vaccines, as are government scientists including some at The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
So, should we stop the touchie-feelie stuff or are we overreacting? Because everyone’s situation is different, seek the advice of your doctor. Are you worried about you and your spouse? Your Child? Your next-door neighbor? Each of these situations may call for a different preventative approach.
However, if someone is diagnosed with COVID-19 (corona virus) for certain, then serious measures need to be taken. After all, they are putting a quarantine on infected people, which means total isolation.
It’s very clear that the virus is spreading from person to person. One of the scariest facts that just came out is that a person could be affected but show no symptoms. Basically, they are a carrier.
You know how they say “there’s nothing to worry about” and that there’s a low risk of you becoming infected? Based upon what you just read, do you agree?
Let the folks in the media say whatever they want – I’m going to be super-careful.