Coronavirus: Separating Facts From Fears

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by Samuel Di Gangi

By now, the average reader has certainly heard about the dreadful Coronavirus (COVID-19). While memes about “bat soup” may have sounded humorous at first, the true scope of what this virus could turn out to be is becoming all too serious.

In order to fully understand where we are in terms of the outbreak, let’s take a look at who has been put in charge of it. After all, without faith in our leadership, any in-depth look is little more than wishful thinking.

President Trump has put Vice President Pence in charge of assembling a team to defeat COVID-19, and it can be argued, with good reason. As a former governor, Pence is acutely aware of what channels need to be opened, and what needs to be done in order to get help to each state.

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That said, the V.P. is no doctor. That is where the wisdom of appointingNational Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, comes in.  Fauci is an expert who has decades of experience…..particularly in the study of H.I.V. , and since the Coronavirus binds to human cells in much the same way as H.I.V., his input will be invaluable. Simply put, the nation would be hard-pressed to have a better team at the helm.

Furthermore, the Guardian has even pointed out that drugs for both Ebola and HIV are being looked into as cures for COVID-19 with unconfirmed reports of cures being found, at least for some strains of the virus. It remains to be proven if these drugs cured secondary symptoms which may have killed the patient, or if the drugs cured the illness itself.

That, sadly, is where the good news stops.

As the Hill has reported, Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch told the Wall Street Journal that between “40% and 70%” of the population could become ill. Considering that the death rate among those infected sits at 3.4%, we are talking about what could be the death of an unimaginable amount of people.

To put all of this into perspective: There are roughly 327 million people in the U.S.  Even if we assume that Dr. Lipsitch’s estimates are high. and that “only” 25% of the population gets infected, that is still about 81 million people. From there, 3.4% of 81 million is 2,354,000 deaths in the U.S. alone!

Worse still, it is suspected that some nations are suppressing the number of deaths, misdiagnosing causes of death, and using other means (either on purpose or in error) to skew the true scope of the outbreak. As such, it is not out of the question to assume that the death toll, at least for some strains of the Coronavirus, could be even higher than 3.4%.

As scary as this new Coronavirus appears to be, the Spanish flu of 1918 also saw some terrifying scenes. Someone would get on a trolley, for example, see two people die before the exit was reached, and then watch as the bodies were carried off….all before the driver could be changed. Stories like that abounded, and while people died much faster of the Spanish flu, the death toll was just 2%. If stories of the anguish and sorrow felt over 100 years ago can be still so fresh today, can you imagine what a 3.4% death toll would be like in today’s huge and interconnected society? 

Since the very start of this awful outbreak, the mainstream media has seemed slow in picking up the facts. At first, the people were told that it was tied to wildlife in China, or the eating of bat soup. Whispers of a testing lab in China releasing the virus (either accidentally or on purpose) were hinted at, and people were told that the virus was harder to catch than it really is. Now we know that just being around an infected person can cause contamination, and that the bug can live on surfaces (like money) for several hours,” as ABC 6 has observed.

What this last fact could mean to everything from same-day packaging to lap-dances, from handshakes to March Madness basketball games, is almost too much to articulate. As a matter of fact, The Spun has reported that we are already seeing canceled games right here in the United States.

If commerce were to come to a halt, and at-risk groups quarantine themselves and/or call off work when sick, what will happen to those who can not afford to pay their bills because of this? What if this scenario plays out for months, or returns during the next cold spell after a break in the warmer summer weather? Will the government have plans for such people who won’t be be making any money? Already, the media are asking these questions.  Certainly, it is a good sign that the economy is slowing over a virus outbreak and not because of a loss of confidence (as seen in 2008), meaning that it should bounce back after the outbreak subsides, even though that won’t put food on the table in the short term.

All of this conjecture and study does lead one to wonder just what they can do to prevent infection. Certainly, if a person is in Seattle, or any of the current areas of worry in America, it would be wise to limit travel outside of one’s home. While it may be overkill to live with no contact, it also would not be wise to plan on activities which involve pushing elevator buttons or turning unnecessary doorknobs.

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The government is suggesting thoroughly washing one’s hands in warm water and with soap frequently.  The elderly, and those with certain at-risk pre-existing conditions, should try to keep as much distance as possible from anyone who is sick or showing virus symptoms. Any area where one is sick, and all surrounding areas, should be cleaned on a regular  basis.

That still leaves a lot of questions: What if the mail carrier has it, and I end up getting sick after touching the mail? What happens if one rides in a taxi with a sick driver, or after a passenger who was infected? How about the person beside me on the bus? After all, the incubation period for COVID-19 can be two or three weeks, and a sick person can infect countless others before they even know that they are sick themselves.

To answer these questions, the average person must understand that this is a new version of the Coronavirus. There have been other Coronavirus’s for as long as there has been the “common cold”, but this one has it’s own nuances and quirks.  Science has told us in the past that sneezes, coughs, phlegm, soiled garments or bedding, and intimacy spread such illnesses. Sadly, we now know that just handling things, pushing buttons, or picking up an item after an infected person has touched it, will often cause one to get infected. 

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It may be all but impossible to avoid all of these potential hazards, but many know that Vitamin C can often hold the body at optimal health….something that would be critical during such an outbreak. Many Americans neglect taking enough of this vital supplement.  It has been suggested that Echinacea, Vitamin D3, and Garlic can be helpful in boosting the immune system, as may honey and cinnamon…if taken on a regular daily basis. If nothing else, having a solid and strong immune system will allow the body to more easily battle the virus should it be acquired.

Lastly, while panic is the never a solution, prudence is. Staying indoors during an outbreak may be beneficial. Stocking up on supplies is also a good idea, as store shelves can clear quickly of many in-demand items in times such as these.

Tests for the virus may not be available for everyone for a couple of more weeks, (a couple of weeks past what Pence had wanted) but state institutions may have enough tests for them to be done if the doctor feels that a patient may be infected. That being said, it would be wise to not venture into a hospital or into a doctor’s waiting room where the virus could be lurking, without first calling ahead.

The most important thing, then, is common sense. No one can stop a pandemic from their living room sofa while reading an article, but they can practice sensible sanitation and other health practices that make infection less likely. Hopefully, everyone will do just that.

 

Samuel Earl Di Gangi is a writer, political commentator, graphic artist, DJ, and musician with a strong pro-Libertarian & pro-Christian lean. He is the curator of “The Correct Views”, or “TCV”, which is a member show of the newsgroup “The Media Speaks”.  

You can contact Sam directly at thecorrectviews@hotmail.com.

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