As I write this there have been over 6,000 reported cases of the Coronavirus (also referred to the Wuhan virus) in China, with a few other cases reported in other countries. There have been over 130 reported deaths due to the virus in China. The Chinese government is doing what it can to contain the virus by limiting travel within the country and outside of the country.
I wanted to write something here, not to cause panic but try to create more awareness about possible outcomes and how you might be able to prepare and protect you and your family from the virus.
International news of the virus hit just at the beginning of the Chinese New Year Holiday. Many Chinese were already traveling outside of the country. Airports were quick to set up thermal scanning devices to detect anyone with an elevated temperature. One of the problems with this, however, is that people can get infected, appear healthy but can still spread the virus. It can take around 2-5 days after being infected before symptoms begin to appear, but the virus is highly contagious during this period.
So while in Bali they detected some Chinese tourists with a fever, which were quarantined and were later diagnosed as not having the virus, some infected people may still have been able to enter the country. So far, no positive cases of the virus have been reported in Indonesia, which is, of course, good news, but I believe it is a good idea to try and understand more about the virus, so you can get prepared and have some knowledge in case it does start to spread here.
The symptoms of a Coronavirus are a cold, an upper respiratory infection or a flu-like illness. It is not typically dangerous except for babies, the elderly or anyone with a compromised immune system, but at the moment we don’t know exactly how harmful the virus actually is.
The virus can be spread by an infected person up to seven feet away. An infected person may touch their eyes or mouth then a surface, such as a countertop or a doorknob. The virus can stay on the surface and infect someone else for another five days.
Wearing a mask can help to a little but the virus can enter your body through any mucous membrane, including your eyes. If a larger outbreak does occur, the dangerous places to be will be any enclosed area such as a plane, bus or building, especially with a large crowd of people like a meeting.
Unfortunately, there is currently no vaccine for the virus and no medication to treat it. One of the best precautions should a greater outbreak occur is to stay home. If you have to go out you should wear an N95 quality mask. Since you can get infected through your eyes, you should also wear wrap around glasses. Since the virus can be spread by touching an infected surface, you should also wear medical gloves.
You should wash your hands often with warm, soapy water. Hand sanitizers should not be fully trusted since they can kill bacteria but not all viruses.
Unless you have an emergency situation, you should avoid going to a doctor’s clinic or hospital if possible. You could just have a common cold, but go to the hospital and get infected.