Here are some medical facts and practical DIY measures to ward off the COVID-19 infection that is now a serious pandemic.
A clean well-ventilated home is our safest sanctuary. Self-quarantine of everyone around the world will help end this pandemic much sooner. A healthy dose of rational fear and paranoia (medical vigilance) will also be beneficial for safety.
Is COVID-19 worse than the flu?
As far as the number of cases and mortality rate are concerned, COVID-19, as of March 16, 2020, 520 PM, GMT, there were 179,223 cases worldwide, with 7,067 deaths. According to the US-CDC report, “during the 2019-2020 Flu season in the USA, more than 26 million have fallen ill with the regular flu, 250,000 hospitalized, and 4,000 died.” These medical data will keep the situation in its proper perspective and prevent panic and chaos, but we must, nonetheless, be ever vigilant and not let down our guard, and adjust/modify our behavior and habits accordingly.
Why are people very scared about this pandemic?
It is normal for people to be scared of the unknown. SARS-CoV2 is a new virus we do not know and for which we do not have immunity, nor a vaccine nor a cure. Vaccine for the flu does not work for COVID-19. Officially the infection has been designated as COVID-19, the “19” referring to the year it was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei, China. Since the virus is transmitted by respiratory droplets from sneezes and coughs of infected persons, it is easily spread to another person (within six feet), and spreads very fast. A clean well-ventilated home is our safest sanctuary. Self-quarantine of everyone around the world will help end this pandemic much sooner. A healthy dose of rational fear and paranoia (medical vigilance) will also be beneficial for safety.
Can I catch the virus from touching objects, surfaces?
The SARS-CoV2 virus is suspected to survive on surfaces between a few hours up to 9 days. According to CDC, touching packages, letters, other objects from China is safe; “transmissibility of coronaviruses from contaminated surfaces to hands were not found. However, it could be shown with influenza A virus that a contact of 5 [seconds] can transfer 31.6 percent of the viral load to the hands.” More precise data would be forthcoming as scientists learn more about this virus. Again, washing hands after touching any object with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and drying them well, is essential. If water is not available, hand sanitizers would be a good temporary option.
I have no symptoms, could I get tested?
The test is recommended for those with symptoms and those who have or may have been exposed to infected persons. Ask your physician if you should be tested. The COVID-19 testing kits are in great demand and the needs for those who are exposed or with symptoms are still hardly met, just like the masks, so we must all exercise medical wisdom and compassion for those who need the test more urgently. Hypothetically, the only fast and sure way to find out who are infected or are carriers of the virus is to test the entire population of any city or country, but this is not medically sound nor practical, nor wise, and only a massive waste of resources, with minimal returns, because only about a small fraction of 1 percent of the almost 330 million people in the USA would test positive. Such a result we can even predict at this point with mathematical extrapolation of the current data even without the test.
Who should be quarantined?
Those who have tested positive and those who have been exposed, or if in doubt, should be quarantined. In fighting infectious diseases, isolation is effective in preventing spread, as history has proven, that is why testing is crucial. Among the non-exposed individuals, we could all practice DIY preventive measures like disciplined self-isolation (staying home, avoiding non-essential travels even in our own town), washing our hands and face often (even after touching money), not touching our face, greeting with a “Hi” instead of a handshake, not touching door knobs, handrails, counters, surfaces, with our bare hands, avoiding crowds, and distancing ourselves from people, especially those who cough or look sickly. Repeat: A clean well-ventilated home is our safest sanctuary. Self-quarantine of everyone around the world will help end this pandemic much sooner. A healthy dose of rational fear and paranoia (medical vigilance) will also be beneficial for safety.
When will the test kits be available?
Test kits are now available but still in limited quantity. President Trump, who recently declared a national emergency, has met with the leaders of the business sectors and drug companies, urging them to expedite production of the test kits, mask, respirators, etc.. The US government now has $50 billion dollars available for us to fight this pandemic and help the people in various ways amidst this crisis The test is free for all persons, when prescribed by their physician. Many drive-up locations are now performing the oral swab test, through car windows, to minimize exposure. Watch the global, national, and local news about this pandemic every day. Testing is vital to contain the spread.
Do sesame oil, coconut oil, olive oil, kill the virus?
No, there is no evidence that any of these oils or any salve, liniment, cream, or ointment kill the SARS-CoV2 virus. Vinegar (Acetic Acid, 5 percent) and alcohol (at least 60 percent) are good disinfectants for countertops, other surfaces, but not for skin application. Lysol and chlorine (bleach) solution are also effective but toxic to humans for long term use. Eating garlic, alcohol body rub (dangerously toxic), gurgling solutions of any kind do not prevent COVID-19.
Does handwashing kill the virus?
A 20-second handwash with soap and water will greatly protect people from getting infected. Handwashing frequently after waking up, going to the bathroom, before and after eating, is an essential habit to develop, even in the absence of any epidemic or pandemic. It is most important to DRY your hands after washing, because viruses, bacteria, fungus, and mold all love moisture.
Does UV light kill viruses?
The UV-C light (Not UV-A and UV-B) is used routinely in hospitals for sterilizing empty rooms (operating room, ICU, etc.) and in medical/dental offices to sterilize instruments. UV lights in general are harmful to the skin and the eyes. UV-C SterileTote is available at [email protected]
This zippered bag is used to sterilize CPAP mask, tubing, children’s bib, toys, cellphones, tablets, toothbrush, combs, and any item that would fit in the bag, which automatically shuts off in five minutes. It is an excellent device for homes in our battle against germs. Columbia University lab is developing a “far-UVC” lamp that is not harmful to humans and pets, which could be used anywhere, like a mosquito zapper lamp, to sterilize rooms daily (to kill viruses, bacteria, molds and fungi) even with people in them.
I heard blood transfusion helps; what is it?
While waiting for the vaccine and cure for COVID-19, Dr. Arturo Casadevall, an immunologist at Johns Hopkins, is working on a century-old serum therapy used in the 1918 flu pandemic, in the 1934 measles outbreak, and during the 2002 SARS pandemic. The principle is to collect blood from COVID-19 survivors, clean the serum, which would contain antibodies against the SARS-CoV2 virus, and inject the serum into the newly infected persons and those at high risk of contracting this infection, to boost their immunity and ability to fight COVID-19. This procedure is still being refined.
Should China be held accountable for this pandemic?
The Black Death (Bubonic plague) in Europe (1347 to 1351), which killed 25 million people, originated from China. The SARS pandemic (November 2002) which infected 26 countries and killed 815, came from Guangdong, China. And now the COVID-19 from Wuhan. There are stories circulating on the internet that the SARS-CoV2 virus probably came from the communist-controlled bio-lab near Wuhan and that a young healthy Chinese physician who worked with the whistleblower in Wuhan, who wanted to warn the world about the nCorona virus infection, was silenced and punished by powers in that sector of China, and later suspiciously “died” of COVID-19. The weeks of delay in the official announcement of the massive epidemic in China made on December 31, 2019 (lately discovered the first case was on November 17, 2019) and China’s obvious intentional lack of transparency and cover-up, has enabled the virus to spread worldwide into a ruinous pandemic. Whether those claims are true or not, and notwithstanding their veracity, it behooves the World Health Organization and the United Nations to conduct a thorough study on China’s health system and all the issues surrounding this COVID-19 pandemic, which has so far killed almost 180,000 people, devastated businesses and national economies in 162 countries, and painfully disrupted billions of lives around the globe.
Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, a Public Health Advocate, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. Websites: philipSchua.com and FUN888.com Email: [email protected]