Sorry everyone that I missed my deadline, but as many of you are aware the information is changing faster than we can keep up with it. I wanted to bring you the most current information. So, before it changes again I will try to get this out there to you. Add to this the overabundance of internet users and there is naturally a chance for overload and system crashes. This is what has happened over the weekend. This is unavoidable, as individuals try to connect with family, friends, work and to just get current information. We will over come this too and industry will become better for it. That said on with the blog.
As promised, On Scene Support is bringing you the second in this year’s blogs. With all that is going on in our community, state, nation and the world, I thought that I would try to approach our most resent crisis from a different angle. I am sharing this research in the hopes that with this information, it might quell some of the misinformation that is out there.
At the end of my blog are all the necessary links to get the recommendation set forth by the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, and the White House. Along with the Cleveland Clinic and the Roswell Park Research Center, with whom I give credit for my research.
I want to start off by giving you a little background into what constitutes a pandemic and also some information on the coronavirus. From there I hope to explain why there is such great concern about COVID-19 and how it will affect this nation.
The last worldwide pandemic was in 1968 and was caused by Influenza, more commonly known as the Asian Flu. In the United States our last pandemic was in 2009 and was due to the H1N1 virus, which was also a strain of Influenza. The term ‘pandemic’ is used when a virus spread occurs over a wide geographical area; affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population—this according to Webster’s Dictionary. The current COVID-19 pandemic not only has affected the United States, but the entire globe. We are talking some 184 countries.
All numbers are based on the current number from the World Health Organization, (WHO)for global numbers and the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC) for most current numbers regarding the United States. Other websites are reporting “real time” numbers appearing larger due to their direct capture from the reporting sources as they are sent to the WHO and CDC, while the agencies update after the information submitted is processed.
Now here is a little background regarding the Coronavirus and its strains:
Coronaviruses: Have been around for centuries, according to the Cleveland Clinic. “Coronaviruses are often found in bats, cats and camels. The viruses live in but do not infect the animals. Sometimes these viruses then spread to different animal species. The viruses may change (mutate) as they transfer to other species. Eventually, the virus can jump from animal species and begins to infect humans.” Source: Cleveland Clinic.
Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) : To break this down, this virus should not be confused nor should it be compared to either to SARS or MERS. That is like comparing German Measles to the Three Day Measles. They are not the same. Yes, they are from the Coronavirus, but the strain they come from is different. This strain has been given a name by the World Health Organization (WHO) as COVID-19. Like any other disease, it has its individual properties and that is why it has been given that particular name. This is not the CORONAVIRUS, which has been around for centuries and is mostly found in animals. This particular strain has mutated from that which is found in BATS. The Novel portion of the name comes from the Latin for NEW, indicating that this is a virus that has not been previously diagnosed. What makes this particular strain of the Coronavirus so worrisome is how rapidly it is moving and also that it is changing as it affects individuals. There are now at least two forms of COVID-19 at this time. This means that COVID-19 is mutating again. The two strains that they have been identified are the “L” strain which appears to be more aggressive and the “S” strain which tends to be less sever. To give you an idea as to how fast this is moving, the first 100,000 cases took around 4 months to be reached the last 200,000 took just 12 days. Source: WHO.
At this moment there are 176 countries affected. This includes Countries, areas or Territories. Prior to posting this blog I have checked my stats at least three times a day and each time the numbers have increased not by single or even double digits but in all cases they have increased by triple digits. Between eleven o’clock Thursday morning the countries and their territories went from 160 to 169 at five o’clock Friday morning to the latest number of 184 this afternoon.
The first case was reported on November 17th, 2019 and as of this date (3/20/20) there have been 267,013 confirmed cases worldwide with 11,201 reported fatalities. These figures are changing by the minute. Up until this date the fatality rate remained stable at 3%, however this morning the rate was elevated to 4%. Which may not seem like much, but when you look at the broad schemeof things this has already affected a large number of the world population and the numbers in the United States ARE also increasing rapidly. I heard someone say “That this was spreading like the common cold in a kindergarten classroom” which I believe is a very apt description. In the United States alone there have been a total of 15,219 confirmed cases with 201 fatalities, and again I must remind everyone that these figures are changing not by the day or hour, but by the minute. These figures are as on 5 AM March 21st. Unfortunately, WHO nor the CDC have updated the stats as of this date. However according to data compiled by John Hopkins University, the total number of cases worldwide has now risen to 337,881with the fatalities rising to 13,683. Italy has had its highest one day death toll yet, which stands at 793. Also, according to John Hopkins University, the total of cases confirmed in the United States have now reached in excess of 38,165, and as you can imagine, so has the death rate risen to a total of 396.
The way the mortality rate is figured is a ratio between the known confirmed cases and the number of recorded fatalities. In layperson terms: this means that the greater number of cases to fatalities, the lower the mortality rate. So as long as we control the number of cases to the point where there are no fatalities we will be in good shape. If, however, we start to see the fatalities increase and patient numbers go down, then the ratio will increase. This is what we do not want, and why the government restrictions have been imposed. This reduction in new cases and increase of fatalities is exactly what is happening in Italy, where the death toll has now out- numbered those in China at the origination of the virus.
With every new case that requires hospitalization, there is more strain put on our health system. People who need our hospitals for other things such a flu, pneumonia, cancer, heart disease, or other major medical issues including accidents of any kind, will not be able to get the help they need.
For those who may think this won’t happen to them, well, think again. Just because you don’t have any symptoms, you may be a carrier. This is no longer an old people’s illness (disease). In one of the reports today the percentage of those hospitalized in the U.S., who were between the ages of 20 and 50 was 40%. I have also heard “If I get it, I get it” comments. And you may, but have you thought about your loved ones who may not do so well if they GET IT? It is time we start as a nation to think about others and work together toward an end to this crisis.
Many of you have also compared this to MERS and SARS. As I mentioned above, there is no comparison. Here are the stats on both of those viruses.
The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic affected more than 12 countries worldwide. There were 8,096 cases confirmed worldwide with 774 fatalities reported, which was a mortality rate of 9.6%. The first reported case was November 1, 2002 and last reported case was recorded on May 18, 2003. Of these cases there were only 8 people who tested positive for SARs in the United States and NO fatalities.
The Middle East Raspatory Syndrome (MERS) epidemic was based primary in the Middle East and had 2,162 cases reported from January of 2013 to November of 2019. There have been 858 reported fatalities over a period of nearly 8 years. However, this still left MERS with a fatality rate of 34.4%.
Now that I have given you the facts on COVID-19, this is what else this nation and down to our community faces in the next several months to years, and YES I did say months to years.
We have seen the economic changes that have been happening throughout our nation. These changes will not have a quick fix. We won’t wake up tomorrow and all will be back the way it was prior to the outbreak, but we will recover. It will take time and many of the changes may become permanent. Some may be social changes, some economic but there will be changes. Many of the changes may be in how we handle pandemics in the future. But don’t be fooled, the changes will be there. Some will be good some not so good. After all, we are humans and as humans’ mistakes will be made--many to be corrected by the next generation or two.
The great news is that we will overcome this and move on to the next crisis large or small. I wish you all well and ask that you keep these recommendations in mind every minute of every day:
1. PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS
2. DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE
3. ONLY WEAR A MASK UNDER THESE SPECIFIC CONDITIONS:
a. YOU HAVE A COUGH
c. ARE HAVING DIFFICULTY BREATHING
There is no evidence that a mask will protect people who ARE NOT SICK!
The exceptions are if you are caring for someone with an Immunocompromised system or any virus including SARS, MERS, or COVID 19.
Then you should wear a mask when in the presence of that person. Remember it does no good unless you wash your hands before and after wearing the mask. Also please dispose of the mask properly after each use. Further instructions can be found on the WHO web site.
4. STAY HOME UNLESS YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO BE OUT
5. ASK YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO NOT VISIT
6. IF YOU NEED TO SHOP ONLY TAKE WHAT YOU NEED
There are no shortages in food or sundries, if we are mindful of our neighbors and DO NOT HOARD. There have been assurances from major grocery supplier that their warehouses are full, and stores will be restocked. There is no need to panic and step on the rights of our neighbors. Extend to them the same courtesy that you would expect from them.
7. STOP THE BLAMING, BE IT FROM OUR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALY OR INDIVIDUAL CITIZENS.
This could have happened in any country that has BATS. To make my point, how many of you have been to Carlsbad Caverns to watch the flight of the BATS. The only difference here is that we do not think of the BAT as food. Many other countries do.
In my next blog I will try to go through some of the questions that have come into the CDC and help my Community, State, and Nation be prepared for what’s to come.
8. RELAX AND TAKE A DEEP BREATH FOR THIS TOO SHALL PASS.
Here are the Links I mentioned at the beginning of this article:
1. World Health Organization - who.int
2. Centers for Disease Control - cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019 -ncov/index.html
3. The White House - coronavirus.gov/
4. State of New Mexico - cv.nmhealth.org
5. Roswell Park Research Studies Center - roswellpark.org/search?keys=Cancer+%26+COVID+-+19