Corona virus is a new flu-like virus. A number of challenges are associated with such new types of viruses:
- Like with any virus, antibiotics will not help.
- There are no vaccinations available for such new viruses as they appear.
- Especially people with weakened immune systems are at risk (elderly, children or people with health conditions). But anyone can become sick, and also a source of infection (even before any symptoms occur).
Simple measures can reduce your risk of contracting such viruses, and will help stem the spread. These tips are common practice even in the absence of a new virus: the common flu causes ~400,000 deaths each year (source).
- Frequently wash hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or warm water and soap (my extra tip: don’t shake hands with anyone)
- Cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue when sneezing or coughing. Don’t sneeze in your hands.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever or cough
- Seek early medical help if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and share travel history with healthcare providers
- Avoid direct, unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals when visiting live markets in affected areas
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products and exercise care when handling raw meat, milk or animal organs to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods. My extra tip: revisit your shopping, cooking, and eating habits – these viruses stem from animals like pigs and poultry. E.g. Corona virus originated from a fish market.
Part of this information originates from this article in the Guardian.
Diseases such as the flu, but corona (SARS-CoV, Covid-19 or 2019-nCoV) as well, are seasonal, peaking (in the northern hemisphere) in February. The passing of time supports eradication and may thus be in our favor.
At this moment, the economic impact of the epidemic is hard to determine. Listen to the CNBC interview with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. She cautioned against comparing this outbreak to the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s. Not only is COVID-19 different than SARS, but China and the world economy has changed. China only represented 8% of the world economy in the early 2000s and now makes up a 19% share.
It makes sense to check whether you still have enough emergency supplies in your home – which you should do regularly anyway. After all, during an epidemic you may prefer to stay indoors. Here’s a list that I find useful. I have enough space, so I stock dozens of cans with food and sufficient water; enough to last us 3 weeks. Don’t forget to stock up on vitamins; canned food may lack some of those. I try to create some variation in my emergency stocks; eating peanut butter three times a day for two weeks can get on your nerves.