When the novel Coronavirus first started spreading in China and other countries, many people feared how vulnerable countries in the south, would be able battle the outbreak. At the same time we thought first world countries could be able to contain the virus pretty well, preventing it from getting out of hand. The way the virus is spreading though, it’s showing us exactly the opposite of what experts feared. However, a lot of misleading information has been spreading around, making people believe that countries with warmer climates would be more resistant to the virus. Recent activities shows us that the virus is slowly spreading in the southern hemisphere too. While the virus itself is not as bad as the Ebola, or even the influenza, it is still wrecking havoc worldwide forcing countries to take draconian measures in order to contain it.
Matter of opinion:
[I am not an expert in this field neither do I pretend to be. I just happen to read a lot, and I like to write these stuff, because I apparently I have nothing else to do. I am writing this piece, because I want to, and maybe I can pass valuable information over to you.
Since the detection of the Coronavirus, it has killed over 5500 people so far, most of them being elderly people or people already sick. However, it is true that near 500.000 people get killed by influenza during a typical flu season. Occasionally a new strain emerges, causing a pandemic with even more deaths. That doesn’t mean the attempt to contain the new Coronavirus is unnecessary, but some people believe the measures taken by countries are worse than the virus itself. I wouldn’t know what the say for that matter. We should try to contain it, but at what cost? The World Health Organization is calling on countries to take even more severe measures, and at the rate that infections and deaths are occurring right know, the Coronavirus might become one of the worst pandemics we had since the 14th century when we had the Black Death (the great bubonic plague). The black death was the most devastating pandemic in human history that resulted in 75 to 200 million deaths worldwide. But while some people believe their country needs to take more severe measures to contain the novel Coronavirus, we can see how measures taken so far have lead the stock market to crash, causing many companies (especially airlines) to lose billions of dollars.]
Let’s do a brief summary:
The novel Coranavirus (2019-Cnov) which causes the illness Covid-19 needs no introduction. It started out in Wuhan, China, in late December 2019, and has now spread in over 125 countries worldwide. It is part of the broad family of Coronaviruses that causes disease in mammals and birds. In humans it causes respiratory tract infections with usually mild cold-like symptoms. In people with co-morbidities, hence weakened immune systems, it can cause severe illness, and even death. At the time of writing there have been near 150.000 cases of infection worldwide, with around 80.000 of them being in China. The virus is considered deadly since it caused so far over 5500 deaths, with now Europe being the epicenter of the disease. There seems to be two versions of the virus, with the one that started out in china being worse than the one spreading around. But now even young people in Europe are experiencing severe symptoms, and this is the dangerous aspect of this virus.
On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) labeled the virus as pandemic, which means the disease is spreading in multiple countries at the same time. We now have two current pandemics—HIV and COVID-19.
On March 13, the WHO declared Europe as the new epicenter since more cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic. The situation is changing rapidly indicating the virus is spreading faster than it did in China. Italy reported 250 deaths in just 24 hours, taking their total to 1266 in just two weeks.
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COVID-19 and the mystery of the South.
Since the outbreak, the internet has been flooded with conspiracy theories and fake news about the virus which probably might have contributed to bigger panic around the world, but also a lot of misinformation. People have been sharing methods to avoid the virus from using a lot of garlic to avoiding cold beverages. Also people now believe that the virus cannot live very long in temperatures of 26 degrees Celsius and above, which has never been proven. This is one reason people believe countries in the southern hemisphere have not yet experience an uncontrolled outbreak of the virus. Could it be possible the temperature in the south could help in containing the spread? There have also been rumors spreading that the virus doesn’t affect black people the same way it affects other people. Could this be true?
Since this strain of the virus is new (unlike conspiracy theorists claim) there is very little that scientists know about the virus. We have yet so much to learn about how it behaves. However, there are a few things we can confirm.
What we know so far!
We know the virus spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets. Research shows the virus could live on hard surfaces for up to three days and a few hours on cardboard box. The temperature outside doesn’t really affect its lifespan. The virus has a reproductive number (R0) of 2.5 (based in China). That means once you catch the virus, you are very likely to infect two to three other people. Which basically means that around 20 to 60% of the world population could get infected. It takes on average 5 days to start developing symptoms (if you do show symptoms) and—unlike what many people say—you can still spread the virus while being pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic. (That’s just how respiratory viruses work.) This is because the virus infects cells and multiplies inside the body, days before your immune system can detect and attack it. The virus spreads through respiratory droplets, which cannot be seen by the naked eye, but as soon as you start speaking, you may expel them in the air. Let alone when you cough or sneeze which is something we do on a regular basis to get rid of dust particles inside our respiratory tract. In countries like China, Iran and Italy, the virus has caused severe chaos with complete lock-downs implemented in China and Italy. The United States imposed a 30 day travel ban on most European countries, causing rage from the EU, and a big airline stock market crash we have not seen in years. However, we might expect same preventative measures by many more countries since Europe became a big threat to the rest of the world.
The world was worried for African countries on how this virus would affect them considering their poor health system. The virus was seemed to be sparing African countries in the beginning, but this is slowly changing. Currently the virus has been detected in at least 20 African countries. Most of the reported cases were foreigners or people who have traveled abroad. Many countries are starting to take measures fearing the worst. There has been so far very few reported cases in many countries in the southern hemisphere, leaving medical experts wondering if there is perhaps under-reporting going on.
Latin American and Caribbean countries so far have reported very few confirmed cases. There have been so far around just 376 cases in all Latin America, while the Caribbean confirmed a little over 40 cases so far. The numbers are increasing every day, but not as fast as people thought.
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Why isn’t the Coronavirus spreading the southern hemisphere?
There are vulnerable countries where experts were severely worried for what could possibly happen should the virus arrive, like for example Venezuela, Haiti and the African continent. However, much to everyone’s surprise, the virus seems to be pretty well contained, while Haiti and some African countries are not even on the list yet. Some people hope it can be because of high temperatures in the country.
Viruses that cause influenza or milder coronavirus colds do tend to subside in warmer months. Scientists claim that these viruses have what they call “seasonality.” We are currently not in influenza season in the Caribbean, so it could be one reason why it didn’t spread yet in the south. However, like I mentioned before, there is very little that we know about how this virus will behave, and some scientists believe the amount of cases will soar when flu season arrives which is from October to March or April. Also, Singapore has a pretty high temperature, and that did not stop the virus from spreading there.
One thing is true—and possibly the first reason why the virus is not spreading like crazy in the south—is that viruses thrive in cold and dry air. Cold temperatures makes the air pretty dry, which allows for viruses to remain for prolonged period of time floating in the air before falling down on surfaces. These conditions can help a virus become airborne and very easily spread. Hot temperatures are very humid, so when droplets are expelled in the air through coughing or sneezing, these droplets gather more moisture, which makes them pretty heavy. This causes them to drop quicker on surfaces, preventing them to become airborne, hence making it a little bit more difficult to spread. Nevertheless, I don’t think it kills the virus once being inside the body. The human body has a normal temperature ranging from 36.5 to 37.5 degrees Celsius. If the virus couldn’t survive in hot temperatures, it wouldn’t be able to infect us at all, but it does. That’s because they can still travel in the air, just not as easy, and as far as in cold dry air. Once they attach to your respiratory tract, it starts replicating and moving to your blood.
Singapore has a temperature around 29 degrees Celsius, with a population of 5.6 million people. So far Singapore has 200 confirmed cases, with no deaths. Based on that information, perhaps around 450 people could get infected on an island of 150.000 people.
Our immune system tends to spike up our bodies temperature to make the environment less hospitable for the virus. That’s why we get fever. This is an automatic response of the body in attempt to contain the virus while learning information about it. Scientists have debunked the fact that drinking hot beverage could help kill the virus, since drinking hot beverage will not increase the body’s temperature. This could be somewhat true, because unless you have an illness, your body will do whatever it takes to maintain a normal temperature. That’s why you sweat when you are hot, and shiver when you are cold.
Our immune system also creates inflammation at the areas infected in attempt to kill the pathogen that has infected our body, and will try to expel infected parts of the virus in the respiratory system through cough or sneeze. Nevertheless, these parts contain living viruses that can easily infect others. So if you sneeze or cough into your hand, (and you don’t wash them before touching things around you), you are basically putting the virus to be spread for up to three days (unless someone cleans where you have touched). If someone touches where you have infected with your hands, and subsequently touches their face with their hands, they will get infected.
Another possible reason why there are very few cases in the south is simply lack of testing materials and/ or under-reporting. Some countries have reportedly limited supplies of testing material in order to confirm the presence of the virus. So it could be the case why they have very few confirmed cases. Besides that, some people experience mild symptoms that resemble the common cold, so some people might have it without even knowing. I saw a local lady coughing and sweating in a car at a gas station like she’s been infected with something serious. But no locals have been detected with the Coronavirus in Curaçao yet.
Another possible reason is lack of traveling in these countries. The spread happens quicker in households. Many of these people don’t have necessary funds to visit known epicenters of the virus, so they cannot infect other people inside their home and country like we have seen in Europe.
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What’s the deal between black people and COVID-19?
We as black people would very much like to believe that we are resistant to the new Coronavirus, but unfortunately, that is not the case. Black people have been infected with the virus in China, and other countries. The race of all the 5500 people who have died so far from the virus is unknown to me. The majority of the deaths happened in China, Iran and Italy, where black people are very scarce. So the chances of a black person dying in one of those epicenters are actually very low.
Children seem to be shaking the virus off pretty easy. Since this virus attacks the lungs, I believe it’s probably because they have cleaner lungs.
Why are there so many deaths in Europe?
Italy has indeed the highest number of deaths outside of China. The COVID-19 seems to be deadliest in elderly people. Italy currently has the oldest population in Europe with an age median of 47. (In comparison the United States has a median age of 38 while Nigeria (Africa’s most populated country) has a median age of 18. Many of Italy’s deaths have among people in their 80s and 90s.
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Bonus: this virus is human-made and it was created by Big Pharma to sell vaccines.
Well, I’ve heard so conspiracy theories, and I don’t always understand their logic. If the virus was created on request by pharmaceutical companies so they could sell vaccine, I wonder when are they going to start selling them. Creating vaccines takes a lot of time. There is one in US that is ready to enter human trials, and apparently Netherlands and UK has one too, but it will still take at least 12 to 18 months before they can start putting it to use. So a vaccine won’t be available for use until next year 2021. If there is a vaccine somewhere available, please let me know. Once I get the virus, I will no longer need it.
When will this Coronavirus drama be over?
This is a question no one can predict. The SARS outbreak of 2003 (SARS-COV) I believe started in November 2002 and subsided months later in July 2003. Hopefully this one will subside in warmer months too. It is true that this new strain has caused at least 14 times more infections and 7 times more deaths, but it’s just going to be one of those things that will hopefully teach us a lesson. That lesson is: STOP BEING NASTY!
Actually, I know humans won’t learn a damn thing from this terrible experience. That’s just how we are!
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