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The newest coronavirus has put the whole world in a spin. What is it? Can it be treated? How should we respond? It is true that leftist governments and political parties are using the virus to bring in Marxist-style restrictions and laws. So, here I will give you facts that are known thus far.

There are all kinds of coronaviruses. The one that is now travelling across the world is called a ‘novel’ virus, not seen before in humans. This is why some sources try to say that China created the virus and is using it to decimate the free world. I could be wrong, but I do not subscribe to such a drastic idea. These kinds of viruses are very common in animals, and the current coronavirus, named COVID-19 (CO=corona, VI=virus, D=disease, 19=the year it first became known), is found in bats.

COVID-19 first emerged in a Chinese city, Wuhan, which has a large animal market. That is, at first it spread from animals to humans. Then, very quickly, it spread from these humans to other humans – hence the worldwide spread. It is notable that many Chinese eat bats.

Spread between humans occurs when two people are close – within about six feet of the other. And, when an infected person coughs or sneezes within that range. The major route of infection is by touching surfaces on which respiratory droplets have landed. This can be anything from tables to doors, walls or floors, and when a person with COVID-19 sneezes or coughs in a tightly packed area, such as a supermarket, whatever their droplets have landed on will carry the virus. Thus, best answer is to wear vinyl gloves (see through might be best, so as not to be obvious). Next best is to wipe supermarket trolley handles with a good medical wipe. Even when wearing gloves, wash the hands for at least 20 seconds in warm water and soap, and do not touch the eyes, mouth and nose between those times. You can also buy antibacterial gels in small bottles, which many folks use as standard.

Despite all the above, COVID-19 is not spread easily by touch or by being in the vicinity of people with the virus sneezing or coughing. Note that medical staff and nurses always use gel during their work. As a nurse (retired 15 years ago) I carried a small bottle of the gel on my belt, and often used it after touching patients or surfaces that were suspect. So, the remedies are commonplace already in medical circles. Do not panic even though the situation is changing rapidly!

Because the virus is now in humans and is global, the whole situation is also changing. The virus can cause anything from mild to severe symptoms, including death. For the moment, the virus shows mild symptoms. Outside China about 16% of those infected have serious symptoms. Usually, those with underlying illnesses/conditions tend to get the more serious symptoms... heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, etc. Remember that people in these health categories are also in danger with ANY spread – flu, for example. Thus, far there is no antidote to the COVID-19 and no vaccination. It is very likely that if this situation continues, COVID-19 will be termed a pandemic (that is, involving worldwide areas).

There have already been a number of infected people in the USA, with some deaths in vulnerable people, but the virus is NOT spreading widely. This means that AT THE MOMENT few people will get the virus. So, the assessed risk is currently low. Of course, this status may change fairly soon. Western governments already are setting up response teams and policies. Flu vaccines do not prevent infection.

Responses include prevention of travellers from the Middle East (particularly Iran, where religious leaders refuse to adopt safety strategies and so spread is notable) and China.

For now, our best response is to avoid being near people who cough and sneeze without covering their mouths; use vinyl gloves when shopping; wash hands thoroughly in warm soapy water. Note that the virus does not live very long on surfaces, so using gloves is just an extra precaution. Even if you touch a surface contaminated by virus droplets, you would still need to then touch your face (nose, eyes or mouth) to become infected yourself. Frozen foods are unlikely to present a threat, even if they come from infected areas, because they are maintained in a frozen environment for a fairly long period.

Symptoms range from mild to severe – fever, cough, problems with breathing. These symptoms appear between 2 to 14 days after exposure. Of course, these may easily be symptoms of colds, so best thing is to call your doctor if you have the three symptoms. They will decide what to do next. If you cough or sneeze cover your mouth and nose and bin the tissue immediately; then wash your hands. Clean household surfaces normally touched, with a suitable wipe or spray, etc. If you cannot wash hands as usual, use a hand sanitizing gel/liquid that contains at least 60% alcohol. 

The above shows how to wash hands properly. It is what nurses and doctors are taught to do; they are techniques used normally in their work.

Source: Main content above has been selected from information given by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, USA, and supported by WHO, which adds cooking food (meat and eggs in particular) properly.

The UK says the country is currently in “a containment phase” and may request elderly people to stay at home and perhaps closure of schools. The plan is closely linked to similar measures being taken in Europe. In the UK two baggage handlers at an airport were found to have the virus, probably by touching infected bags. To date 164 have been found to have the infection in the UK.