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Just like any other similar respiratory virus (SARS, MERS) it can be contained. How quickly it can be contained is a different question.
Reviewing some facts about the disease, it affects the lungs and can be as mild as its cousin, the common cold, or it could result in death. In origin it was thought to be zoonotic or transmitted from animal-to-person and then person-to-person. It appears that it is an ‘aerosol’ disease transmitted by invisible water droplets emitted by humans similar to the spray from an aerosol can. Also, apparently it can be transmitted if you touch an infected object and happen to move your hand close to your mouth, nose, or eyes afterwards. The virus germs can remain for a week on most surfaces. It is also claimed that one person will probably affect two other people under routine circumstances. Also, the incubation period is thought to be 2 – 14 days. There is no effective vaccine for the disease at this time. Also, well the symptoms are quite clear, positive identification is not so simple. It takes about six hours and only limited number of locations can do this.
Thus, early detection of the disease is important, quarantine, and treatment. For us ordinary folk, not spreading the disease is extremely important. Surgical masks do little to protect the wearer, however they do help to prevent the spread of the disease. Fundamental point missed by many. They also protect the face from involuntary touching. Avoiding crowded places is also key, so staying at home if you can is a good idea.
As of today, February 27, lots of organizations are doing the right things. Public service announcements are appearing about washing hands, one of the key ways prevent the spread of the virus. In my city, elementary and junior high has been cancelled for one month. My university has cancelled the graduation ceremony and I expect almost every university and high school in the country will follow suit.
So as Obama once said, ‘Yes we can’, but we need to get organized and educated. One thing the government could do is take over the mask business and make sure everyone gets what they need. Buying a mask is a real racket and they are now way overpriced. Also, individual doctors need to rethink their policies about testing. Many people have been turned away, even expectant mothers and children.
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