9 Positive Pieces Of Information About COVID-19 That Will Calm Anxious Thoughts

The 1918 Spanish flu caused about 40 million deaths within a year. While the world is now facing another pandemic, the global scientific community says it is optimistic.

As Coronavirus-based panic hits unprecedented heights around the world, epidemiologists believe the world is prepared to fight this pandemic.

Just as authorities in Wuhan have announced that novel infections are slowing down, the rest of the world's medics have revealed that they are positive and optimistic for Coronavirus' outcome. 

This is due to:

1. Scientists knowing its identity.
The first cases of severe pneumonia were reported in China on December 31, 2019, and by January 7, the virus had been identified. 

Genetic tests confirmed it had a recent natural origin (between late November and early December). Although the viruses live by mutating, their mutation frequency is not very high.

To put this into context, it took scientists almost two years to identify the virus that caused AIDS. 

2. They also know how to detect it
An RT-PCR assay (a laboratory technique combining reverse transcription of RNA into DNA) to detect the virus has been available worldwide since January 13. 

In recent months, the type of test for COVID-19 has been refined, and its sensitivity and specificity evaluated.

3. The situation in China is improving

The numbers on Tuesday 24 March were the lowest daily tally for Wuhan since China started reporting figures in January.

As a result, city governments have started to loosen travel curbs. Just this week, restrictions have loosened on Hubei's population of 56 million – all of whom have been under quarantine since late January.

Yichang city will start allowing people to move in and out, the government said on Friday.

It will also allow the return of people from outside the province, employing a "health code" monitoring system that makes use of mobile telephones.

In addition, several leading Chinese companies are reporting that they're getting back to normal operations.

E-commerce giant Alibaba is reportedly back to full staffing for its package and food delivery units according to Fool.com, while CNBC is reporting that tech giant Apple has reopened all of its 42 Apple stores in China, up from 29 on February 24 and zero on February 9, when Apple shut down all of its stores as a precaution.

In addition, Apple said its production facilities in China are back to 50% capacity and should be at full capacity by the end of the month.

Outside Hubei, about 60 per cent of small to medium-sized firms and 95 per cent of large ones have gone back to work, industry vice-minister Xin Guobin said on Friday.

As China gets domestic economic activity back to normal it will also coordinate with other countries to push forward on resuming business as the pandemic stokes concern about China's prospects, Xin said.

4. Over 80% of cases are mild
The disease causes no or only mild symptoms in 81 per cent of cases.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), case studies conducted so far from patients with mild cases of COVID-19 show most come down with a fever and dry cough. They may also experience fatigue and muscle aches. (A small percentage have abdominal pain and diarrhoea a day before the fever begins.)

In the remaining 14 per cent, it can cause severe pneumonia, and in just 5 per cent, it can become critical or even fatal.

Mild symptoms can turn into more severe symptoms, however, meaning that washing your hands and staying indoors is entirely necessary. 

5. People can be easily cured
The data shown in the media is the increase in the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths, but most infected people are cured.

There are 13 times more patients cured than deaths, and the proportion is increasing.

6. COVID-19 rarely affects children 
So far, according to the records of doctors and hospitals around the world 3% of cases occur in children and mortality in people under 40 is only 0.2%.

In minors, the symptoms are so mild that they can go unnoticed, which is why they can spread the virus to others very easily.

7. Prototype vaccines are being made

There are already more than eight projects against the new coronavirus. Groups are working on vaccine projects against other similar viruses, and now they are trying to change viruses.

8. Hundreds of scientific articles about COVID-19 are already available

In just over a month, you can consult hundreds of articles in the WHO on COVID19 or SARSCov2, in addition to many others available in the repositories of articles not yet peer-reviewed (pre-prints).

All these articles are preliminary works on vaccines, treatments, epidemiology, genetics and phylogeny, diagnosis, and clinical aspects.

The articles have been written by nearly 700 authors from all over the world. It is common, shared, and open science.

In 2003, when SARS occurred, it took more than a year to obtain less than half the number of articles.

9. The virus can be inactivated
According to the Yucatan Times, the virus can be effectively inactivated from surfaces with a solution of ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, or sodium hypochlorite in only one minute.

We are well on our way to beating this, but fake news and misinformation aren't helping.

Washing your hands, staying indoors and staying positive will. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, there is help available: 

  • Samaritans – 116 123  – [email protected] or [email protected]
  • Pieta House – 1800 247 247 or text HELP to 51444
  • Aware -  1800 80 48 48
  • Childline – 1800 66 66 66 or free text 50101

Main image by @jeannedamas

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