Yesterday, I spoke a friend of mine on the phone who lives in Jerusalem. There is a chance that he got the new coronavirus. And his partner. And everyone they’ve met the past couple of days. But before I tell you that story, please take 8 minutes to read the information in a recent blog post. After the story, I’ll quiz you to see if you properly understand the issues.
The story. I called up my friend who tells me: “I’ve been sick since yesterday but today I feel much better.” I joked: “The new coronavirus?” (What’s the chance?) He said: “Well, we did have a Chinese airbnb guest a week ago.” I said: “What? So you actually could have the virus.” He: “No, because he’s not been on the Chinese mainland for quite some time. And he was just here so there is not enough incubation time. And he wasn’t sick. And he passed the control at the airport.” I asked him: “Did you read my blog post with information?” He: “No, I was too sick to read anything.”
My questions to the reader (and after that my answers):
● What else would you ask him?
● Could he have the virus?
● What should he do and not do?
I asked him: “If not on the Chinese mainland, where did he stay?” He answered: “O, he works at a foreign embassy.” “A Chinese embassy?” “Yes.”
Do you know who come to any Chinese embassy? Inhabitants from China. (NB: Asian heritage is not suspect; only those who met people from China.)
My friend could easily be infected. The incubation time is 2 to 14 days, so his guest may have infected him and his partner. They did his dishes.
Carriers of the virus, is now known, can spread the virus before they get sick, after they recover, and even if they never develop symptoms at all.
Airport control a week ago was just asking people if they had been sick, without viral checks.
So, yes, chances are that he and his partner have the new coronavirus
So, yes, chances are that he and his partner have the new coronavirus.
- Is it possible that they don’t have the virus?
Yes, that is possible but you must play it safe. They’re infected and infectious until proven otherwise. (Guilty as dis-charged.) Even if so far, there not have been confirmed cases in Israel.
What he should do is the following:
● Call his GP or health fund to have someone come and test him and his partner. Not go to his doc or a hospital, where he could infect others.
● Meanwhile, until they are cleared, they should stay home (no shopping sprees) and see no one.
● They should notify everyone they met two days or longer after they first met their Chinese guest to do all these three points too.
- How guilty should they feel if they just continue with their lives as if nothing happened and take none of the above measures at all?
Well, this Chinese embassy worker has been traversing Jerusalem and if he’s a carrier has by now infected hundreds of people who also already each have infected hundreds of people. My friend would then be among the first links in the chains of infection in Jerusalem — not more. (But I could not live with myself if I infected people with a possibly deadly virus, rationalizing that if not through me, they would’ve died via someone else. )
Stay realistically hopeful. Even if infected. It seems that the virus is very contagious and therefore the hundreds of deaths in China need to be set off against hundreds of thousands infected — almost no one dies from it.
How sick one becomes though, might be determined by how many viral particles one got in. It’s important AMAP to try not to get or give the virus.
It may be impossible to avoid the pandemic. Still, try to minimize how much infection you get from and give to others. That could save lives.
And spread the information, not a panic, faster than the virus.
So often, the media and social media cry wolf. Not here, I believe.
Meanwhile, the WHO, much too late in calling this an international health crisis because there are economic factors involved (!), now has again shown that it has not the foggiest notion of what is going on. Their ignorance borders on the criminal since their job is to protect people and not send them into illness because that’s better financially.
Its director of global hazard preparedness reportedly now suggests that airlines, after proper instruction, might resume flights on China. Passengers infected with the coronavirus should wear masks, but not other people without signs of the disease, since “the masks will not necessarily protect them 100%.” Frequent hand-washing and other hygiene measures were required, she said.
First of all, plane rides make almost every passenger sick because by some antiquated ill-making idea, planes dry out the cabin air during flights. The rationale for this is that microbes cannot live without water. But the result is dried airways so that passengers upon disembarking catch any microbe that they pass which enters easily through the dried-out mucous membranes. This makes a majority of air travelers ill for decades already.
Now, they want to add travelling with people sick with the corona virus wearing masks. But the rest not because they don’t protect completely. Since when would we not use condoms because they they don’t help 100%?
And what do people sick with the highly contagious virus do on board a plane? They should be in quarantine in special facilities or at least at home!
She further said that the virus has remained “quite a stable virus.” Nothing is further from the truth. A report in the most reliable medical journal in the world, the Lancet, shows that the virus mutates at an unbelievable speed.
Then she reported that those who so far have died were “mainly” very sick and frail people. Tell that to the Chinese doctors and nurses now fighting for their lives. It is so irresponsible to reassure healthy fit people as if they don’t need to protect themselves. Flue always kills very sick people but also young, healthy, and strong people. As far as we know, the coronavirus is no different from that.
She did not know why there are only 2 deaths recorded outside of China with 153 people infected. I know. The virus spreads like wildfire but most carriers are asymptomatic and not reported by China. So, the mortality rate is low. But when you let it spread, many people will still die from it.
The author holds a BA in Medicine from the University of Amsterdam.