Infection by Coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 (COVID-19)
A summary, starting from scratch.
A pre-school child suffers on average 10 times a year from a cold, this means one after another. The reason being its immune system has to deal for the first time with the established viruses. With increasing age the infections become fewer because it now detects many viruses early and eliminates them.
Together, with the immune systems of all the others, this creates an enormous bulwark which reduces infections and the spreading of them, because everybody can hide behind the immune systems of the others. The new virus can’t be detected by any individual immune system and “hiding” will only work when at least 60 to 70% of the population have been infected or until we find a vaccine.
In the meantime, the virus will spread: 1 contagious person on average infects 3, which becomes 9, then 27, then 81, then 243, then 729, etc. and that within 6 weeks.
The main symptoms are a dry cough and fever, in case that the lung becomes affected one also expects shortness of breath. The virus is contagious from shortly before symptoms occur until just after they have disappeared completely.
It infects mainly via the breath, more so through coughing or sneezing. It survives up to 3 days on plastic or metal surfaces. It also can infect via the hands touching a surface containing the virus and then touching nose, eyes or mouth.
How can we protect ourselves? Keep a distance of 2 meters and don’t shake hands. Wash your hands with soap for at least 30 seconds. Wearing a mask in these situations is not necessary.
Masks are important for infected persons, because they withhold most droplets when breathing out, but they have to fit tightly round nose and mouth. In the presence of infected persons or a cluster of people masks are helpful for healthy persons, too.
Used masks, paper handkerchiefs (single use!) should be disposed of in bins with a lid. And once again, wash your hands or disinfect them, even in the supermarket.
Who is at particular risk to get infected? Obviously persons who were in contact with infected or persons who stayed in a region with a high number of infected.
They will be tested when they show symptoms; at present all other persons won’t. Tests here in Andalusia only will be performed by the national health system, telno: 900 400 061.
If you think you might have become infected, don’t go to the doctor, but phone the surgery. Infection from another person is at most 2 weeks after the first symptoms possible.
Household members of an infected person should consider themselves as contagious and stay in quarantine.
Nevertheless the person should be isolated and as far as possible, contact with the virus should be avoided and a separate bathroom should be used. Diluted bleach is a good disinfectant of surfaces which works already after 1 minute. (10ml bleach [lejia] in 1 litre of water.)
The Coronavirus causes mild symptoms only in most cases, analgesics and a cough syrup are normally sufficient. In about 10% of cases, it causes a pneumonia, which requires artificial ventilation in some patients. At present the government tries to keep the number of infected at a level so that adequate treatment is possible for all of us.
At particular risk are chronically ill people and the elderly. The mortality rate is highest in people above the age of 80. Numbers from Wuhan (but we are not in Wuhan) suggest a mortality rate for those of 15%. But this also means that 85% of the over 80s have survived the infection with appropriate treatment.
(News/Medical: Wolfgang Pillier)