Ready For COVID‑19 to End

ESTIMATE 4-MINUTE READ

How Long Will Coronavirus Last?

The 1918–1920 Spanish influenza infected half a billion people globally. A more recent pandemic was the H1N1 influenza (Swine flu) from 2009–2010. It infected 700–1,400 million people. COVID-19 has a molecular structure similar to SARS, which lasted from 2002–2004, infecting 7,629 people.

Within the next several days, the number of people with the COVID-19 novel coronavirus will exceed 100,000, as the death toll climbs above 3,000. To a lesser or greater degree, this virus has reached every continent except Antartica. Most infections occur among people who have visited Asia or come in contact with someone who has. How­ever, a few cases are emerging that are unrelated to travel.

H1N1 influenza
Microscopic photo of H1N1 influenza virus, taken in the CDC Influenza Laboratory.

Based on similar outbreaks in the past, the new coronavirus could be around for a couple of years. Pandemics dissipate when the majority of the population build immunity, either by vaccination or enduring the illness. A vaccine is not expected until 2021.

The COVID-19 acceleration is naturally causing anxiety. How­ever, most people who contract the respiratory infection have mild reactions. Mortality is primarily among the elderly, those with preexisting pulmonary ailments, or compromised immunity. The complication for many patients is pneumonia in both lungs. This is little consolation if you are among these groups.

How to Minimize Coronavirus Spread

King Solomon is highly regarded as the greatest historical emperor—not because of his military prowess—but because of his wisdom and poetry. The principles of which are still valuable today. He penned: “The shrewd one sees the danger and conceals himself, But the inexperienced keep right on going and suffer the consequences.” —NWT.

The words of wisdom suggest prevention is better than a battle. From what is known so far, COVID-19 is a virus transmitted via wet droplets over a short distance. At this point, it does not appear to be aerosolized in winds like other viruses. How­ever, contact with a wet surface contaminated with droplets can harbor the COVID-19 for days. Touching this with your hands before rubbing your eyes or nose can introduce the virus into your system.

We are accustomed to washing hands while cooking (between touching raw poultry or meat and raw vegetables to prevent cross contamina­tion). But with CDC recom­menda­tions to wash more frequently, we benefit from more behavioral triggers.

👏🏼 Behaviors Triggering Hand Washing
  • Drink water
  • Eat food
  • Empty trash
  • Pump gas
  • Touch doorknob
  • Touch face
  • Touch ill person
  • Touch keys
  • Touch scalp
  • Touch tissue
  • Touch any filth
  • Visit toilet

Sanitize frequently used items like mobile devices, computer keyboards, and counter­tops at least once daily. When eating out at buffet, consider cleaning communal food handles with hand wipes or wearing disposable glove.

Examples of cautionary communal surfaces include door handles, light switches, counter tops, keyboards, and keys. Improperly disposed tissues are another health hazard. Washing your hands often, using alcohol-based hand-sanitizer liberally and learning not to touch your face are the most important clinically-proven interventions there are.

The infectiousness of a virus correlates to:

  1. Our human interaction.
  2. Quarantine protocols for individuals who are ill.
  3. How often we wash our hands.
  4. Whether those treating the ill have proper protective equipment.

In China, death rates are much higher in the over­whelmed Hubei province than the rest of the country because of health care inade­quacies. People with a severe case of COVID-19 often need mechanical ventilation and other intensive care procedures. Hospitals do not have enough beds.

⚠️ Contact your local or state health department

Healthcare providers should follow CDC guidance for evaluating and reporting a PUI for MERS-CoV. Obtain a detailed travel history for patients being evaluated with fever and acute respiratory illness. Immediately notify local or state health depart­ment in the event of a PUI for COVID-19.

Don’t panic. Forget about surgical face masks unless you have a contagious disease. Hoarding masks only limits the supply available to health care workers who really need them. Other masks are available for the public.

The CDC recommends if you are sick, stay home except to get medical care. If more healthy people hunker down at home, fewer people will catch the disease. The fewer people who catch the disease, the better hospitals can help those who do. Remaining at home may require telecommuting. Among other things, you will need to eat. So have 2–3 weeks’ worth of shelf-stable food in your pantry, other household essentials, and reading materials. If you are housebound, take vitamin D supplements.

The flu shot does not directly prevent COVID-19. How­ever, it helps decrease the odds of having to go to the hospital for the flu, or worse yet, for both flu and COVID-19. Comor­bidi­ties drastically worsen outcomes.

Doctors and HMOs are sending out emails with health tips. Social media and news outlets continue to provide updates. Repeated point-of-contact reminders are necessary to slow disease progression. ClinicalPosters provides both pre-printed and down­loadable coronavirus hygiene posters to help keep people informed and A Bit More Healthy.

References
Kevin Williams is a health advocate and writer of hundreds of articles for multiple web­sites, including: A Bit More Healthy, KevinMD (WebMD), and Sue’s Nutrition Buzz. He is a prior 15-year con­sul­tant for Neutrogena Research and Scientific Affairs.

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