More Information on the Coronavirus
- The World Health Organization today declared that the coronavirus disease is now a pandemic. What does that mean and what is the significance of this?
It turns out that there is no widely accepted definition of what a pandemic is. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines it as the worldwide spread of a new disease. Technically, coronavirus has not spread world-wide. There are confirmed cases in at least 117 countries. How many countries are there, you ask? Well, it turns out that we don’t all agree on that number either. It depends on what you call a country. For example, is Palestine a country? So, depending on who you ask, you for the most part get numbers ranging between 189 and 196. (The United Nations has 193 member nations). So, coronavirus has not spread worldwide.
It turns out that the technical answer to whether coronavirus disease is now a pandemic doesn’t actually make a huge difference to our actions, though the leader of the WHO has indicated that he does not believe that all leaders across the world are doing all that they should be doing and hopes that calling coronavirus disease as a pandemic may get some of these leaders to step up.
2. There are now 1,039 confirmed cases in the U.S. and 30 deaths (WA – 24, CA – 2, FL – 2, NJ – 1 and SD – 1). Presumptive and confirmed cases now involve 39 states. There continue to be no cases in Idaho.
3. I continue to get many great questions, the answers are not always known, but we are learning more and more and we will have more answers in the future. Meanwhile, as I have warned in my prior blog pieces, there is bad information out there and there are unscrupulous individuals and companies taking advantage of people’s fear. There are products being advertised and sold on the internet to prevent and/or treat coronavirus. Unless it is bar soap, don’t buy it! There is no remedy that you can by over the internet that has medically been shown to prevent someone from acquiring coronavirus or that will treat or cure a coronavirus infection. Again, at best you are just wasting your money; at worst, some of these products will harm you.
I just learned of a new hoax. First, people were fearing that alcohol (Corona beer) could give them coronavirus (hopefully, by now, especially if you are a reader of my blog, you know this is not true), but now I have heard claims that you can drink alcohol to cure coronavirus infection. This is not only untrue, but it is dangerous. So, let me repeat. There is no remedy that you can by over the internet that has medically been shown to prevent someone from acquiring coronavirus or that will treat or cure a coronavirus infection.
4. Is it time for us as a society to abandon hand shaking? Probably. This tradition dates back to 5th century B.C. Greece, when people would shake hands in a demonstration that they were not carrying a weapon. This does not seem to have the same benefit today. And, we may be promoting the spread of germs, not just coronavirus, especially during cold and flu season. So, maybe Howie Mandel has had it right all along. But frankly, perhaps even better than his preferred fist bump is the newer version elbow bump. So, whether we abandon this tradition permanently, lets at least make it our practice until we have controlled the spread of coronavirus.
5. I wrote a blog piece previously in which I explained that wearing a typical face mask is not going to prevent you from acquiring the coronavirus infection. At the end of that piece, I stated that if you felt compelled to wear something, you would be far more protected to wear gloves, and I suggested in my next blog piece where I provided you with my coronavirus shopping list that you might add disposable gloves if you need to care for someone who is sick, for example emptying their trash. My wife, the nurse, told me that I need to tell readers who decide to do so, how to properly take disposable gloves off after they are contaminated. So here you go https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/poster-how-to-remove-gloves.pdf. Further, she gives extremely good advice when she reminds people who dispose of their gloves that they then need to wash their hands!