Almost two weeks have passed and, like every one else in Europe and North America, our lives have been affected by the new Covid19 pandemics. Prisons are being emptied (including of dangerous criminals), law enforcement won’t act on non-violent crimes, small businesses close down by the hundreds, employees get laid off, looting has started in some places, economic indicators all drop, people work from home, schools and universities have closed, etc. So far, Contagion was not far off.
Let’s stay home, protect our families and keep calm. However, we’ve been following the numbers and they don’t make sense. Yesterday, it was announced Italy has surpassed China in death toll. That immediately stirred doubt because we all know China has the biggest population in the world and a lot of old people too. For some reason, the media don’t talk about that and go with whatever the official number is. Is it to prevent panic? Honestly, it’s best to know and be prepared.
Let’s talk numbers! Italy has a population density of about 150/km2 and a death toll of 3405 as of March 19th while Wu Han, the region where Coronavirus originated, has 3200/km2 and 3248 (whole China) but we’re supposed to believe that China was prepared to handle a new virus that nobody has seen before so well that their death toll after 3 months is lower than Italy after 3 weeks??? I don’t think so.
So I sat down in front of my computer and searched for China’s real death toll number on the internet and quickly found articles and posts that came as far back as early February that were talking about a 25,000 deaths and 155,000 cases!!! Seeing how bad it is in Italy, that sounds more believable. However, many talked about it on the web as being a low estimate as it is rumored China has been burning bodies without testing. Back in early January, Dr. Li Wen Liang warned us on Weibo (Chinese SNS) that the virus was not under control and people were dying left and right which is in contradiction with the official numbers China provided. Some reported that China has been dealing with it since the end of 2019, possibly as far as November, and has hidden it from the world. That’s why now we see China is at the end of their epidemic while we’re only starting. Who knows what the real casualty number is over there now? 30K? More? Italy should be our model and China’s numbers should not even come into the equation.
The 2-3 month crisis duration announced by the authorities may be the most optimistic outcome. This is true, if every one follows the quarantine recommendation when tested positive. However, we already know this is not the case. In the US, several cases have already been reported where the patient is tested positive but because they gave false information, they cannot be contacted to be advised to stay home. Also illegal immigrants are most likely not to go to the hospital. The youth worldwide is also less susceptible to follow the restrictions.
A lot of propaganda from China can be found on our social media from many blue checked accounts and relayed in the media, which doesn’t help the situation. Information retention is a suspect as well. China early on downplayed it, saying human to human transmission was limited and that youth was not affected. I don’t know what was the goal, was it to just preserve their image or more nefarious intentions are behind it? On top of it, USA is quite vulnerable as all their essential medicines such as penicillin and insulin are completely manufactured in China since 2004. How Asian countries are able to test twice as many people as Europe and US daily, especially when all countries supposedly work together??? Something is off.
So what do we know now?
- Self-isolation is the best defense;
- We will probably all get it eventually if no vaccine is developed quickly;
- The restrictions are to avoid us getting sick all at the same time, just like in Italy where they’re at a point where they choose between who’s gonna get help and who’s not because the number of beds is limited and the recovery time for the most critical cases is 2-3 weeks, maybe more. This is why their death toll is so high right now (+600 death today March 20th, highest casualties in one day);
- Coronavirus, with a basic reproduction number, also called R-naught (R0), of 1.4-3.9, is twice as much more contagious than Ebola and Influenza both at 1.4-2.7;
- Coronavirus affects all ages. In Italy, half of the ICU patients are under 65 and some as young as 20;
- The symptoms are fever/chills (98% of cases), fatigue (69%), cough/sore throat (59%), but also, diarrhea, headache, vomit, muscle pain, (you can have some of the symptoms, not necessarily all of them);
- The incubation is 2-14 days in most cases, can be 0-27 days in some cases;
- Some patients are asymptomatic (they show no sign of illness) but are highly contagious, hence the importance of testing people (false negative can occur);
- People with a compromised immune system or pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, respiratory diseases, etc, have a much lower of chance to recover from the virus.
Questions that still need answers:
- When will we get a vaccine?
- Isn’t there alternative or preventive treatment?
- Will the shift in temperature affect the propagation of the virus in the next few months?
- Will the virus spread in the southern hemisphere or will remain contained?
- Will China eventually reveal the real numbers?
- Is Sauna or inhalation efficient to combat the virus?