After the recent appearance of the coronavirus into the Czech Republic, we thought it’s about time to discuss a bit about the matter, how it’s affecting our community and the myths that surround it.
“Scientists believe that the virus originated in bats”. Image taken from Altmann G.
Updates on the disease
The latest news informed us that the number of those infected by the virus has risen to 18 so far including a teacher at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague who came back from a conference that took place in Italy. But since this is an on-going matter these numbers could change at any moment. This outcome has led the university to take action and cancel some of the classes as they wanted to map out his contact with students and other colleagues.
The Czech Technical University also took its measures, by keeping away students and staff from some departments last Monday, because one of the patient’s colleagues visited it last week.
Drastic is, also, the government’s reaction to stop flights with South Korea and cities in northern Italy (the most affected part in whole Europe) and bar spectators from international biathlon in the Vysočina region event this week. The stoppage of flights to and from the Italian cities of Milan, Venice, and Bologna is planned on lasting for two weeks and could be extended.
Moreover, several other universities decided to detain their students from traveling, since the bus line operator Regiojet is planning to suspend its Prague-Venice-Rome and Prague-Milan international routes.
So if you’re planning to travel this period maybe it would be more preferable to postpone it, in order to avoid unnecessary discomfort and if your family is planning on visiting you, they should also do the same and book a trip when the situation calms down a bit and there would be a lesser risk to have their trip canceled.
Mendel University, in Brno, also took the situation seriously and didn’t hesitate a second to shift to an online course regime and cancel all lessons until the 15th of March.
“The usage of masks becomes more and more frequent”. Image taken from Goyal, A.
A To-Do List
So now that we’ve clarified the situation, it’s better to concentrate on the disease itself and how we can protect ourselves in the best way possible, by stating the facts.
First of all, we need to understand that the coronavirus is not man-made. Experts are still researching the subject, but the main belief is that the virus originated in bats and was probably transmitted to an intermediate host before jumping to people.
There’s currently no cure for the novel coronavirus, and even though progress has been made, a proper vaccine would still need more or less a year to become available. So, the best way to protect yourself is to do what you would every cold and flu season.
- Stay at least 1 meter away from anyone who may be infected.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue that you throw away immediately after.
- And disinfect the objects and surfaces you touch.
- If you have symptoms that feel worse than a common cold, seek treatment early.
“Some flights to the risky destinations have been canceled”. Image taken from t_watanabe.
I think that it is also important to include here, that people who are well don’t need to wear face masks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Face masks should only be worn by those who have the new virus and are showing symptoms in order to protect others from being infected or by health care workers and by people caring for someone infected with the virus in close settings, according to the CDC.
Public health experts are certain that hand dryers or UV lamps don’t affect the virus at all and that there’s no way to know if warmer weather is going to kill it eventually.
Researchers are still studying exactly how the new virus infects people, but judging by previous cases, it doesn’t stay alive for long on objects or surfaces, so you aren’t going to get infected via a letter or object sent from China.
While most confirmed cases of the virus have occurred in adults, children have been infected too, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), so nobody should be excluded from the protection meters.
People who get coronavirus will usually just get sick with a mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness, similar to the common flu. Symptoms include a runny nose, cough, sore throat, headache and a fever that can last for a couple of days. Most of the time, symptoms will go away on their own. The disease can indeed be fatal, but those cases are rarer.
For those with a weakened immune system, the elderly and the very young, there’s a chance the virus could cause a lower, and much more serious, illness like pneumonia or bronchitis. So, please, especially if you belong to one of these groups take extra repercussions. But, all in all, try to stay calm and don’t panic.
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Sources used for this article:
Muller, R. & Hovet, J. (2020). Czech Republic Cancels Flights, Bars Fans From Races Over Coronavirus, New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/03/02/world/europe/02reuters-health-coronavirus-czech.html
Harmeet, K. (2020). Coronavirus myths and misinformation, debunked. CNN. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/04/health/debunking-coronavirus-myths-trnd/index.html
Photo source: Pixabay