What is a Dad to do in the middle of a coronavirus epidemic?
Firstly, he has to try to analyse the problem and gather information to protect his family, and particularly his children. A great man once said, “The truth will set you free.”
What exactly is the Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). This coronavirus (COVD-19) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that MERS-CoV came from dromedary camels to humans, and SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
Note: Watch Joe Rogan’s Full Interview with Dr Michael Osterholm here.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand-washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.
Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.
Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
The only good news from a father’s point of view is that children under ten are comparatively unaffected by COVID-19. The other good news is the 10-19 age group have a 99.8% chance of surviving the virus. The overall death rate seems to vary between 1% – 3%.
Either way, it is very serious! The World Health Organisation has officially declared the coronavirus a global pandemic.
Researchers currently think that between five and 40 coronavirus cases in 1,000 will result in death, with a best guess of nine in 1,000 or about 1%. Flu deaths each year are ten times lower, at .01% mortality rate.
Recently, the World Health Organization’s Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that”globally, about 3.4% of reported Covid-19 cases have died”.
Scientists’ estimate of the death rate is lower because not all cases are reported.
On Sunday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the UK government’s “very best assessment” was that the mortality rate was “2% or, likely, lower”.
But it depends on a range of factors: your age, sex and general health and the health system you are in.
Co-morbidities also raise the risk of dying from Covid-19. China’s CDC’s analysis of 44,672 patients found that the fatality rate in patients who reported no other health conditions was 0.9%.
It was 10.5% for those with cardiovascular disease, 7.3% for those with diabetes, 6.3% for people with chronic respiratory diseases such as COPD, 6.0% for people with hypertension, and 5.6% for those with cancer.
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales.
These droplets are spread by people who are infected when they cough or exhale and land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 metre away from a person who is sick.
To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. Antibiotics don’t work with the coronavirus. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.
Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. Scientists in Israel and here in Australia at the University of Queensland say they have a vaccine, and they are proceeding
through the process of clinical trials. Respected doctors and researchers are saying a vaccine is 12 to 18 months away.
In Australia, many sporting events including the Melbourne Grand Prix, football and gatherings of over 500 people have been closed to limit the spread of infection in an endeavour to stop emergency facilities in our hospitals being overwhelmed. These radical measures have worked in China, South Korea and Singapore. The strategy is simple. Flatten the infection curve. As Jesus said, “Wisdom is proved right by her children.”
I was talking to my chemist who worked in a hospital for ten years and has a bird’s eye view of the problem. “Warwick,” he said,
“Everyone is going to get the coronavirus eventually. It is like the common cold or flu. What everyone needs to do is to eat the right food, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and build up their immune system.”
“The obvious is true. Avoid infection and if you are older or have a pre-existing medical condition, you have to be extra careful. The reality is, you must stay as healthy as possible and look after your immune system as best you can. This is your individual first point of defence.”
I know it sounds counter-intuitive in the light of the above information, but one of the worst things you can do is worry or live in fear. Franklin D. Roosevelt was right to say in the middle of the Great Depression, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It doesn’t mean we stick our heads in the sand, but we need to look at the risks, and then assess the problems and the challenges, and start to make decisions in a wise and ordered way.
As Dr Michael Osterholm pointed out, we cannot contain the coronavirus, but we can slow its growth considerably (suppression). The same man suggested we need to think long-term, as this is likely to be with us for at least 3-6 months. Others are saying 12-18 months. Whatever the case, the pandemic won’t be over quickly.
Do your own research. Talk this over with your wife, and as necessary share this information with your family in age-appropriate ways.
Yours for Healthy Families,
PS: My advice is similar to Peter’s, and yet I would add another thing to the mix. Prayer. Science has proven the power of prayer. I have proved the power of prayer in my own family. As Alfred Lord Tennyson said, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”