How to avoid Coronavirus

empty gym

As of this writing, on March 1st, there are 71 reported cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19), and one death in the United States. There have been over 2900 deaths worldwide, with 85,00 cases of this rapidly spreading virus reported to date (source NBC News). There actually could be many more cases and many more deaths due to limited testing, and possibly, concealed information. The Coronavirus is more dangerous than the flu because of its much higher kill rate, which is estimated to be in the range of 1.4% to 2% (2). To contrast this with the flu, which kills .1% of people each season (2). There is no data to suggest that the COVID-19 virus will slow down now or in the warmer months, in fact, evidence suggests that cases will grow exponentially.

There are over 7 billion people in the world today, with over 327 million in the United States (source World Bank). That means, over 4.5 million people in the United States are likely to catch COVID-19; that’s a lot of sick people. With an estimated 15% of people getting severely sick after contracting COVID-19, that’s especially scary (2). How are the hospitals going to handle all those sick people?

Most people don’t freak out about the flu, which comes out with a new strain every year, even though it killed more than 34,000 people in the 2018-2019 season with over 16 million medical visits and over 490,000 hospitalizations (source CDC). Without the flu vaccine, the number of deaths from the flu, would be much higher.

The Coronavirus is spread through particles from coughing or sneezing, saliva (such as sharing a drink), or touching a hard surface that has the virus on it, and/or being in contact with someone who is sick even if they don’t have any symptoms (1). The symptoms are similar to the flu, like a fever and coughing, but the recovery time varies from person to person, which can be from a few days, to a few weeks, to a few months (in extreme cases) (1).

What’s scary is that there is no vaccine available and no treatments either, but if breathing becomes difficult, a person should go to the hospital and be put on a respirator. Medicine to lower a fever, and drinking plenty of fluids are the current recommended courses of action. (1)

Everyone can take precautions to prevent spreading this pandemic, such as staying home when sick, throwing away dirty tissues and washing hands immediately with soap and water. People taking care of the sick should also remain in isolation, since, they can spread the disease even if they don’t have symptoms.

When people’s lives are at stake, taking precautions is an absolute necessity. I hope that this situation doesn’t get out of hand where we in the United States have to close down public events, public places, become trapped in buildings, and being forced to telecommute to work.

Photo: I work as a personal trainer at a large gym. Not being able to train my clients, or work out at the gym would be really bad for me and my client’s mental and physical health.

 

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