Trust that by now most of you reading this will already be aware of the Wuhan Virus that is already spreading throughout the world like wildfire, with Canada and Sri Lanka the latest hit as of the time of writing this post. This situation is far graver than 2002/2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) because experts have already weighed in that this new strain of virus, officially named ‘2019 novel coronavirus’, 2019-nCoV in short, is far more contagious than SARS. Why ‘corona’ is because ‘corona’ is the Latin word for ‘crown’, which comes from the crown-like spikes from the virus under a microscope.
As the name Wuhan suggests, the virus originated from Wuhan, China. Chinese health officials have already confirmed that the transmission of virus human-to-human is possible with some healthcare workers already infected. The confirmed countries where the virus has been found in human hosts are Hong Kong, Macau, Australia, Cambodia, Canada, France, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, Republic of Korea, United States, Vietnam.
Just weeks ago, many of the early on patients have some link to a seafood and live animal market, which suggests that there is a causal link from animal-to-human spread. Subsequently, after the market is closed, the number of cases continues to increase which suggests that human-to-human transmission is possible. As of the time of posting, there are already ten confirmed cases in Singapore, all of whom are from Wuhan, China. As of the time of posting, there have been no cases of community spreading yet, thankfully.
The severity of the illness varies among individuals. So far nobody has been able to come up with a complete clinical picture yet. It ranges from having no symptoms to severely ill and dying. But so far statistics suggest that people with a weaker immune system and with underlying medical conditions are more vulnerable to being severely ill.
The common symptoms reported appear to be fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath. The more serious cases will eventually develop pneumonia. It appears that during the incubation period, one will not develop any symptoms at all, which is what makes it much more contagious than SARS. But preliminary research has also shown that this strain of virus is potentially less lethal than SARS, pending more research evidences.
The purpose of this post is not to spread fear, but to create more awareness. I think enough laymen’s information or false news has been floating around. Honestly, this mentality of ‘kiasu-ism’ is not helping in battling the situation at all. At this critical moment, we mustn’t attempt to load our hospitals with false alarm cases. So that they can have the capacity to deal with the genuine cases.
There are also many rumors and different theories of how to wear a surgical face mask the correct way. Do note that there is only ONE correct way to wear the mask. This is not coming from us but from the World Health Organisation (WHO) experts, as well as Dr. Leong Hoe Nam, Infectious Disease Specialist from Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre. The correct way is to have the blue colored side facing outwards, while the white portion is facing towards yourself, in contact with your mouth. It should also fit snugly across your nose bridge and cover over your chin for maximum protection. Granted it is still not a hundred percent foolproof protection, that would be using n95 masks, but it is good enough for now to prevent any contact with water droplets from an infectious person.
Wearing a face mask does help if you do it properly.Seto Wing Hong of Hong Kong University demonstrates the correct way to wear a face mask amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Posted by Bloomberg on Friday, 24 January 2020
*video source: Bloomberg
I hope everyone will remain vigilant, stay safe, avoid crowded places if possible for now, and whenever you need to go to any crowded places, do wear a surgical face mask at the minimum. Researchers around the world have said that it will take sometime before the vaccine is going to be ready.