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Health

COVID-19

What do we know about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and what is myth?  This post will attempt to present the facts alongside the source. In all likelihood it will evolve as new evidence / theories and expectations become known, so do return to our page for updates.

The World Health Organisation is the primary source of information and it was through the WHO that China announced a pneumonia of unknown cause on 31st December 2019.   On the 7th January 2020 China identified the novel-Coronavirus (nCov) providing the genetic sequence to all countries on 12th January.  The first daily Situation Report was issued by WHO on 21st January 2020.  In an era of high speed travel the rapid spread of the virus was inevitable.

WHO announced a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 30th January indicating that early detection, isolation and treating cases, contact tracing and social distancing measures could all work to reduce the spread of the disease. 

Current UK measures may seem extreme to a country where civil rights and freedoms are the bedrock of our society.   But one might reasonably argue that these measures fall short of those imposed in many other countries, notably where the infection and mortality rates are much higher.  If we can avoid these infection rates then a little ‘discomfort’ seems a small price to pay.

If you still need reminding what you are being asked to do:

Stay at home to stop Coronavirus spreading

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.

You should only leave the house for 1 of 4 reasons:

  1. shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  2. one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  3. any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  4. travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

Mythbusters (Source: WHO)

  • Coronavirus can be transmitted in hot and humid climates
  • Cold weather and snow can’t kill the new Coronavirus
  • A hot bath does not kill the new Coronavirus
  • Hand dryers do not kill the new Coronavirus
  • There is no evidence that rinsing your nose with saline solution offers any protection from the new Coronavirus
  • There is no evidence that eating garlic affords any protection against the new Coronavirus
  • The new Coronavirus has no respect for age infecting old and young alike
  • Antibiotics can’t treat a virus, nor are there, as yet, any specific medicines recommended to prevent or treat the new Coronavirus.

Symptoms of Coronavirus (Source: NHS)

Do not leave your home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

Use the 111 online Coronavirus service to find out what to do.

How to stop infections spreading (Source: NHS)

DO

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • wash your hands as soon as you get back home
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

DON’T

  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

DON’T BE A STATISTIC

Number of cases (Source: GOV.UK)
As of 9am on 31 March 2020, a total of 143,186 people have been tested, of which 25,150 were confirmed positive.

As of 5pm on 30 March 2020, of those hospitalised in the UK, 1,789 have died.

The figures for test results and for deaths are compiled from different sources. This is why the figures for deaths are reported from an earlier point in time than the figures for test results.

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It’s never too late!

A discredited  study by Andrew Wakefield, published in 1998, linking the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine with autism, siginficantly undermined UK efforts to achieve the 95% uptake needed to elimate measles.

Parental concerns led to a decline in uptake and by 2006 transmission of measles had risen to endemic levels; disproportionally impacting primary school children, a further large outbreak in 2012 affected teenagers.

Targetted, national campaigns during the new millennium saw first dose coverage of 2 year old children peak at 93% and by 2016 measles had been eliminated* in the UK (World Health Organsiation, 2017).

“Elimination indicates only that measles is no longer native to the UK, not that it has been eradicated!  Measles remains endemic in many countries around the world, UK travellers not fully vaccinated remain susceptible”.

Where MMR uptake has fallen below 95% several large outbreaks of measles have occurred; young people and adults aged 15 years – who missed out on MMR vaccination when they were younger – have been particularly affected.

Measles is the most infectious illness known to man.  It is much easier to catch than flu or Ebola.   Measles can be serious and lead to complications such as infections of the lungs and brain, and on rare occassions, can be fatal.

Regrettably, the UK and three other European countries lost the ‘elimination’ status as of June 2019 due entirely to the decline in recent years and attributed to the rise of misinformation on social media.

If you have not had 2 doses of MMR vaccine (or are unsure) you remain at risk – it’s never too late to get vaccinated!

 

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