The words that we've been hearing alot of recently........nope not Brexit....that is old news for the moment! We have a new epidemic sweeping the nation, Novel Coronavirus AKA COVID-19. From the moment we first heard about it affecting Wuhan, China in December 2019 (although I suspect there was more to it than we initially heard) the UK news then became consumed with the reporting of the virus.
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So what do we know about COVID-19 at the present?
- So far in the UK there has been 115 confirmed positive cases (as of Friday 06/03 morning). Information from gov.co.uk tells us that as of 6 March, a total of 18,083 people have been tested in the UK, of which 17, 968 were confirmed negative.
- We know it is seeming to be spreading at quite a fairly alarming rate with the confirmed number of cases on the increase, which is to be expected as a new virus entering the population. But how worried should we be?
- It seems to be more prevalent in the over 65's, children at present seem to be unaffected as far as being reported. Mostly we are being told that cases are mild, symptoms ranging from a fever, cough, cold like symptoms and shortness of breath. For the 'healthy' person a full recovery is to be expected but for the elderly and those with long term conditions or a weakened immune system it could pose quite the risk and could progress to sever pneumonia.
We are seeing panic buying and genuine worry from many people. The media adds to the mass hysteria as they always do and from my point of view as a nurse in general practice I do wonder just how at risk we all are. I have also very recently returned from Dubai, walking through the airport it was at the front of my mind that it's a breeding ground for bacteria and a multitude of germs! Thus begs the question how do I know I haven't been in contact with someone harbouring coronavirus?! So for myself I am a little concerned as I would hate to put anyone at risk and don't hugely want to put myself at risk but I'm no more concerned than contracting normal influenza or norovirus for example! In the grand scheme of things and to put things in perspective there are alot more annual deaths from seasonal influenza that coronavirus at present, however we have not reached the peak of the virus and it's likely to get worse before it gets better so it's a case of watching and waiting and of course taking universal hand washing precautions which we should all be doing anyway to prevent the spread.
As a Nurse this fascinates me and how it is panning out, spreading etc etc and I thought I would ask some fellow bloggers their thoughts. The general thoughts are mixed.
Carly from Crazy Tots and Me isn't concerned at all and says; I believe it's just the same as having the flu although it's completely different. But I feel selfish for not being concerned because it does affect those who are vulnerable, my mother is quite vulnerable as she's often ill. I try not to worry because there's nothing we can do about it and it has been mentioned that there won't be a vaccination for it for at least a year minimum.
Josie from Me, them and the Others is not in the slightest bit worried about the virus from a health point of view but I’m self employed running an events based business, because of people’s concerns they may choose not to attend my events or I may have to cancel them if that becomes the government guidance so I am now worried about my livelihood, as I imagine a lot of other self employed people are.
Debbie from Mums the Boss is not so concerned for herself and and family, not really worried at all. Even if they shut the schools and send the kids home for a while, we’d have great fun! I think the panic buying is funny and certainly not worrying about stuff myself. But I have a couple of friends with various health conditions that could do without getting a nasty cough right now. I worry about my dad in his care home.
Katie who blogs over at Counting to Ten on the other hand is getting increasingly worried, but I think the newspapers really aren’t being helpful. I fully appreciate the flu is more dangerous, but a widespread pandemic of any illness will still cause loss of life and disruption. I don’t want to lose any of my loved ones so it’s one more thing to worry about. I have recently started to change my behaviour to limit the germs my family are exposed to.
Laura who writes over at Autumn's Mummy says I wasn't too worried, putting it down to the media catastrophising everything again. However, the alarming rate that it's spreading at and the lack of knowledge about it is causing me to become increasingly concerned. It doesn't help that there has now been a case very close to home!
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Jennifer from Rice cakes and raisins isn't overly worried; at this point from a health point of view for myself but more so for older relatives. From I business point of view, I do wonder whether it may begin to affect bookings in the baby classes I run as people opt to stay home. Time will tell I guess.
Nicola who blogs at Travelling with boys is concerned. The death rate is considerably higher than normal flu and I have a 14 month old baby who I feel is at risk. I'm also worried about money if we have to take extended amounts of time off work to look after ourselves or our children if we fall in.
Lisa from Mumma Scribbles is a bit worried. Mostly for my boys as I would rather they didn't get it. I'm more worried about my smallest who never deals with coughs and colds very well and usually ends up in hospital with croup etc. I'm also worried about my Mum being in the be cautious age group and also, we are getting married in June and I don't know if this will have any impact on that if it continues. We have a lot of elderly relatives that I'm worried about. I am doing what I can to keep us healthy but it's spreading now at quite a rate.
Finally, Kimberly from Oddhogg says I have type 1 diabetes which puts me in the high risk category. I have had a pneumonia vaccination but that is not guaranteed to help. My husband and eldest child are both fairly resilient when it comes to bugs, but my youngest struggles with his chest regularly and pays fairly frequent visits to the hospital and so I do have concerns that he may be badly affected. I don't fear death for us, but I do think it could have a big impact on our family.
So as you can see there are mixed thoughts and some genuine concern, as mentioned above this hasn't peaked yet and it's unclear how things are going to play out. Personally I think the panic buying is extreme and unnecessary but the emphasis on good hand hygiene and infection control measures is paramount. We should still continue as we have been but be cautious about physical contact and just being a little bit more health aware. I would love to hear your thoughts about things and if you're concerned or stockpiling?
Fingers crossed that things don't get too awful. I think a little perspective from people would be good and It would certainly be nice to see something else featuring in the press!