As the current situation materialises globally we have gathered some information to assist in understanding creating preventative plans for the COVID-19
Companies should develop shutdown plans, employee isolation, awareness strategies and provide information on cause and treatment to ensure that operations are ready to deal with any situation that arises.
The situation in Numbers, last 24h:
Globally 87.137 Confirmed
Outside of China: 7.169 Confirmed
Five New States: Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Ireland, Monaco and Qatar reported cases of COVID – 19 in the last 24h.
1. What is this new Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that typically attack the respiratory system. Most coronaviruses infect animals, such as bats, cats, and birds. Only seven, including Covid-19, SARS, and MERS, are known to infect humans.
SARS is thought to have evolved from infecting bats to civet cats to humans in China; MERS evolved from bats to camels to humans in the Middle East. No one knows precisely where Covid-19 came from, though the leading hypothesis is that bats were once again the original source: They spread the virus to pangolins, and pangolins to humans.
2. What are the Symptoms?
Two of the seven coronaviruses that infect humans, SARS and MERS, can cause severe pneumonia and even death in 10 and more than 30 percent of cases, respectively. But the others lead to milder symptoms, like a common cold.
At the moment, we know Covid-19 can cause pneumonia and that it too can kill — but while it seems to be less deadly than SARS and MERS, it’s not yet clear by precisely how much.
Some of the best evidence on the question comes from a February 16 China Center for Disease Control report looking at the outcomes of the first 72,314 patients with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 in mainland China. It’s the largest such analysis to date, and it found an overall case fatality rate of 2.3 percent — lower than both SARS and MERS. (The case fatality rate, or CFR, is the proportion of deaths a disease causes within a group of people who have the disease.)
The researchers also discovered a huge variation in the case fatality rate by age group. In short, the virus appears to be deadlier in people with each passing decade. You can see the trend in this graph:
3. Are there any places I shouldn’t go during this outbreak?
The CDC has issued its highest-level travel alerts for South Korea and China, advising Americans to avoid traveling there for the moment. The two countries currently have the most coronavirus cases: more than 78,000 in mainland China, and 1,500 in South Korea.
As of this week, the CDC is also warning travelers to Italy, Iran, and Japan to “practice enhanced precautions,” since these are the countries with the next-highest burden of illness.
But just because a country you plan to visit isn’t on the list right now doesn’t mean it won’t be there tomorrow. The outbreak is evolving rapidly, and these advisories are likely to change in the coming days, so keep checking in with the CDC. This map and list of travel restrictions from the Council on Foreign Relations is another good resource.
And keep in mind: The travel warnings are not entirely driven by the risk of catching this new virus. Airlines have been cancelling or scaling back flights, trains have been halted, and countries have been imposing sometimes arbitrary quarantines on travellers and citizens.
As Nuzzo told Vox: “I’m more concerned about the unpredictability of the [outbreak] response at this point. It would not be fun to go to China and get stuck there somehow. And coming back, you’ll be subject to additional screening” or quarantines.
What if you decide to travel and you’re seated near someone who is coughing or sneezing? That’s not very reassuring, but it’s not time to panic, either. “The risk of acquiring a respiratory infection through air travel is still extraordinarily low,” said Isaac Bogoch, a professor at the University of Toronto who studies how air travel influences the dynamics of outbreaks, including the new coronavirus infection.
The risk does go up if you happen to be seated within six feet of a person with a respiratory infection. But even there, simple proximity doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll catch anything. Instead, the more infectious the person is, and the longer you sit near them, the higher your risk. If you’re not near the person for very long or they’re not very infectious, the risk is lower.
4. Shutdown Plans?
We still don’t know a lot about coronavirus, and those unknowns make even the best contingency planning a lot harder.
The picture: we don’t know how widely the virus is spreading undetected, which makes it more important for leaders to map out worst-case scenarios. But experts say we are also not at a place were closing schools, requiring telecommunicating or cancelling public events are imminent or practical.
“There is a lot of panic or concern, but there’s no indication that these more dramatic measures are necessary,” said Allison Bartlett, an infectious disease physician at the University of Chicago.
Some countries are preparing a battle plan under the measures it would take under a worst-case scenario for the outbreak.
Population distancing measures could include banning public gathering of more than 5.000 people as the French government has announced.
5. How might this end?
There are a few ways this outbreak could end, as Vox’s Brian Resnick explained. Perhaps public health measures — identifying cases fast, putting infected people in isolation — will stop the spread of this coronavirus. (That’s what stopped the spread of SARS in 2003.) Again, probably because of the contagiousness of this respiratory virus, this approach appears inadequate.
Because this is a zoonotic disease, meaning it came from an animal, finding and eliminating that source would also help. Or maybe a vaccine or antiviral will be invented quickly to curb a broader epidemic (though that’ll take time).
The coming seasons of warmer weather could also play a role in at least slowing down the virus. “Coronaviruses are winter viruses,” Fauci said. “When the weather is warm and moist, these viruses don’t spread as well as when the weather is cold and dry.”
Finally, there’s the possibility the virus will simply die out. “Disease outbreaks are a bit like fires,” Resnick wrote. “The virus is the flame. Susceptible people are fuel. Eventually, a fire burns itself out if it runs out of kindling. A virus outbreak will end when it stops finding susceptible people to infect.”
Check updates Here
Belluz, J. (2020). What is coronavirus? The biggest questions about the outbreak answered. [online] Vox. Available at: https://www.vox.com/2020/1/31/21113178/what-is-coronavirus-symptoms-travel-china-map.
Herman, Bob. “There’s Not Going to Be a Coronavirus Shutdown — Yet.” Axios, 1 Mar. 2020, www.axios.com/coronavirus-contigency-plans-schools-work-d289ff25-8af2-4082-9d52-751716e65b6e.html. Accessed 2 Mar. 2020.
Syal, Rajeev. “Matt Hancock: Shutting down UK Cities ‘May Become Necessary.’” The Guardian, 1 Mar. 2020, www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/01/matt-hancock-ministers-to-publish-coronavirus-battle-plan-for-uk.