Coronavirus is the word on everyone’s lips at the moment. It started as something that was confined to China but the spread has been both swift and deadly. There are no barriers it will not cross and containment efforts appear futile at present (at the time of writing Coronavirus had been reported on every continent except Antarctica) Crisis talks are being held all over the world as more and more cases are diagnosed leading to the word ‘pandemic’ being talked about when a few scant weeks ago, this strain of Coronavirus named SARS-Cov-2 which causes the disease COVID-19 had never been heard of.
Doctors and experts have been flown in to combat the worst cases and a vaccine is being sought, meanwhile we need to educate ourselves about Coronavirus symptoms in humans as well as good health and hygiene practices to help stop the alarming spread of this highly infectious disease.
What is a Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses get their name from the spikes protruding from their surface which resemble the sun’s corona or a crown. They can cause illnesses of the respiratory tract capable of infecting both animals and people. There are at least four different types of Coronavirus which cause mild infections every year. Most people are likely to have experienced one or more of these viruses at some point.
There are other coronaviruses that have caused widespread death and illness including the one that caused SARS an epidemic which also circulated around China in 2003 killing 774 and sickening a further 8098 before it was able to be contained. Another known as MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) was first reported in Saudi Arabia back in 2012.
Coronavirus symptoms reported in humans
It is currently estimated that coronavirus symptoms in humans can appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure, these have been reported as :-
Malaise – Feeling tired, aches and flu like symptoms
More rarely nausea and diarrhoea but the main symptom associated with Coronavirus is –
Shortness of breath
If you have the above symptoms accompanied by shortness of breath or difficulty breathing contact your doctor immediately for further advice. Coronavirus can cause the following more serious symptoms:-
Testing for coronavirus in humans
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a diagnostic test for coronavirus in humans based on genetic information obtained from the Chinese authorities. The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and CDC loosened some of the regulations regarding testing enabling local and state health departments to begin using a new two step process. Presumptive positive results must still go to CDC to be confirmed however.
If you have tested positive for Coronavirus
If you have had a coronavirus infection confirmed, your treatment will be mostly supportive.
In hospital your fever will be managed accordingly ensuring you are getting enough oxygen by use of a ventilator if necessary.
At home, patients experiencing milder symptoms just need to rest and keep well hydrated by drinking fluids regularly. This will support your immune system to be able to heal itself.
Coronavirus Vaccine Humans
To date there are no approved drugs available to humans for any of the known coronavirus diseases including COVID-19 however there is an antiviral medicine, Remdesivir (shown to be effective in animals) which was used in Washington State to treat the first American victim of Coronavirus. There are ongoing tests of this drug being carried out in a hospital in Nebraska by the National Institutes of Health.
Early on in the outbreak, Chinese authorities provided scientists with DNA code for this virus enabling 20 teams across the globe to start work on a vaccine straight away. Some of these teams will apparently be ready to start human trials within weeks.
Coronavirus on Social Media
Coronavirus has gone (ahem) viral on Social Media! I am on TikTok (@cryptohodlum if you’re interested) and coronavirus is probably the subject of every second or third video on there at the moment. The WHO (World Health Organisation) specifically joined just to post reliable and timely advice for public health (if you want to see their videos look for @who with a blue tick)
There are videos added to YouTube practically hourly with tips on what to do and what to avoid. Instagram and Twitter are also teeming with advice. In the UK, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has held talks with a number of social media firms including Facebook and Twitter to stop the spread of fake news about coronavirus which is contributing to the panic currently ensuing within the general public.
The Coronavirus Effect
The positive side
IMO – The positive side of the coronavirus has been communication has improved globally, nationally and individually. People are talking more to each other. Remote working is being explored as a viable means of keeping businesses up and running. More people than ever are working from home. For those who are self isolating or who have been told to stay home for whatever reason, I hope they are enjoying an impromptu holiday of sorts. BoJo (Boris Johnson) has been made to step up and provide statutory sick pay to coronavirus victims from day one of being off work. Families have been brought closer together by circumstance (or school closure) and more family time is always a positive in my book. It’s encouraging better health and hygiene amongst the general public – I read in the paper (Scottish Daily Mail) that “the Commons has now used more soap in a week than it usually uses in a month!”
The negative side
People are dying! The death toll is rising, few people know what’s really happening. People are spreading the virus unknowingly because they don’t realise they have it. The first person in the UK to contract coronavirus, 25 year old expat from Llandudno, Connor Reed recounted his experience to the papers – he didn’t even realise he had it until after he’d beaten it! He wasn’t a so called super-spreader, the title reserved for people who have infected large groups of people before being contained. 107 people in Italy are dead, 10 have died in one US state, 102 deaths just in Hong Kong as well as one possible human to animal transmission- a pet Pomeranian who has caught the virus from its owner.
Britain’s biggest regional airline, Flybe has collapsed into administration as it cancelled flights amid plunging demand from travellers concerned about Coronavirus. The new James Bond movie (No Time to Die) which was set for release in the UK on 2nd April has been pushed back to 12th November because of coronavirus – 206 confirmed cases in the UK at the time of writing. Businesses are closing, universities, schools, colleges, the Houses of Parliament! All shut in a bid to stop the spread. People are panic buying hand sanitiser, toilet rolls, pain relief and pasta, canned goods etc which makes things tough for people on low budgets. Then there are the advantage takers selling hand sanitiser etc for ridiculous prices on eBay, selling ‘cures’ or ‘moonshine sanitiser’ – it’s not a nice side of people.
Coronavirus Timeline (extracts from Wikipedia)
1 Dec 2019 – The first known patient started experiencing symptoms
8-18 Dec 2019– Seven cases diagnosed with ‘Wuhan coronavirus’
21 Dec 2019 – First cluster of ‘pneumonia of an unknown cause’ patients identified by Chinese epidemiologists at the Chinese CDC
30 Dec 2019 – News of an ‘outbreak of unknown origin’ start circulating on social media.
31 Dec 2019 – Tao Lina, a public health expert, stated that “China was probably able to kill it in the beginning phase now.”
1 Jan 2020 – Huanan Seafood Market (the origin of coronavirus) was closed amid conflicting reports as to why.
4 Jan 2020 – First case reported by Singapore Ministry of Health involving a 3 year old girl.
7 Jan 2020 – The world continues to wait for information from China
8 Jan 2020 – South Korea announces first possible case of virus coming from China
13 Jan 2020 – First case confirmed in Thailand, a 61 year old Chinese woman from Wuhan.
15 Jan 2020 – 2nd death occurs in China, a 69 year old man.
20 Jan 2020 – Scientists confirm three different strains of 2019-nCoV
21 Jan 2020 – After 300 diagnoses are confirmed and 6 deaths, Chinese state media warned lower level officials not to cover up the spread of a new coronavirus.
22 Jan 2020 – Macau and Hong Kong report their first lab-confirmed cases.
23 Jan 2020 – Wuhan suspended all public transport from 10am also halting flights and outbound trains.
25 Jan 2020 – Australia confirmed its first 4 cases.
26 Jan 2020 – Spring Festival holiday (Chinese New Year) was extended to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Chinese CDC starts developing a vaccine.
27 Jan 2020 – Dr Gabriel Leung, world SARS and viruses expert gives a 3 hour presentation on YouTube.
29 Jan 2020 – Tibet reports its first suspected case and declares a level 1 health emergency. The UAE reports its first case followed by Finland. Air Canada halts all direct flights to China until Feb 29.
31 Jan 2020 – The UK and Russia confirm their first cases of coronavirus followed by Spain and Sweden.
1 Feb 2020 – Philippines confirms first death from COVID 19
4 Feb 2020 – Belgium confirms its first case while Hong Kong confirms its first death.
6 Feb 2020 – Dr Li Wenliang the man responsible for informing the general public about Coronavirus, dies from it.
8 Feb 2020 – Aerosol (small droplets of breath) is confirmed as a medium of transmission for the first time.
11 Feb 2020 – The World Health Organisation gives the disease it’s new name COVID-19.
12 Feb 2020 – First case confirmed in London.
14 Feb 2020 – Egypt confirmed its first case, the first on the African continent.
16 Feb 2020 – Taiwan confirms a man in his 60s as its first death from COVID-19.
18 FEB 2020 – Kentaro Iwata, an infectious diseases expert from Kobe University, visited the Diamond Princess (a cruise ship quarantined in the Pacific Ocean since 5 Feb which has seen 696 confirmed cases and 7 deaths) afterwards he made 2 YouTube videos criticising how the situation had been managed and calling the ship a COVID -19 mill. Two days later he apologised and took them down after his acquaintance, Yoshiro Takayama (a doctor who was actually working on the ship) pointed out several errors in his videos in a viral Facebook post.
21 Feb 2020 – Israel confirms its first case, a passenger from the recently evacuated Diamond Princess.
22 Feb 2020 – A genome analysis indicates that the virus originated outside the Huanan Seafood Market (a live animal and seafood market shut down on 1 Jan after more than 30 environmental samples taken from there were shown to contain evidence of COVID-19).
24 Feb 2020 – Afghanistan and Bahrain confirmed their first cases followed by Iraq, Kuwait and Oman. A woman in Sichuan province (Southwest China) only tested positive the 9th time she was tested!
25 Feb 2020 – First cases of COVID-19 were reported in Algeria, Austria, Croatia and mainland Spain.
26 Feb 2020 – In Croatia the second case of coronavirus infection is confirmed as the twin brother of the first patient. Greece also confirmed its first case today as did North Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan and Romania.
27 Feb 2020 – Quebec, Denmark, Estonia, The Netherlands, Nigeria, San Marino and Northern Ireland all confirmed their first cases of COVID-19.
28 Feb 2020 – More first cases today, this time Belarus, Iceland, Lithuania, Mexico, Monaco and New Zealand. The following day it was Ecuador and Qatar’s first cases as well as the first death in the US.
29 Feb 2020 – On a much lighter note, I took advantage of the Leap Day and proposed to my partner of 10 years! He said “Yes!”Good job really as he’s the father of my 5 youngest so any other answer would have been a bit of a bummer! So PurpleLioness is getting married this year – we’re going to ‘jump the broom’ in the garden. Hopefully COVID-19 will just be a bad memory by then.
1 March 2020 – The first of the month brought another slew of first cases in the awful club no one wants to join, Armenia confirmed, Dominican Republic confirmed, Czech Republic confirmed, Rhode Island, Florida, New York and much closer to home Scotland all confirmed members of the 1st Case of Coronavirus Club. Australia and Thailand saw their first deaths from COVID-19.
2 March 2020 – Today’s confirmed first cases include Andorra, Indonesia, Jordan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Latvia, Morocco and Tunisia.
3 March 2020 – Argentina, Chile, Gibraltar, Liechtenstein, Ukraine and North Carolina joined the club today and Spain confirmed their first death.
4 March 2020 – Coronavirus came to Faroe Island for the first time today quickly followed by Poland, Slovenia and Hungary. Iraq confirmed its first death.
5 March 2020 – Coronavirus confirmed first cases were reported by Bosnia, Herzegovina, Egypt, Bethlehem (apparently nothing really is sacred) and South Africa. Switzerland reported their first COVID-19 death.
6 March 2020 – New confirmed cases include Bhutan, Colombia, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Peru, Serbia, Slovakia, Togo and the Vatican City. Another cruise ship The Grand Princess had 21 positive tests on board and there was a first coronavirus death reported in the Netherlands.
7 March 2020 – The spread of first cases continued with confirmations from Maldives, Malta, Moldova, Paraguay and a first death in Argentina which was also the first in South America.
8 March 2020 – Coronavirus presented itself for the first time in Albania, Bangladesh and Bulgaria today whilst claiming its first life in Egypt.
9 March 2020 – Canada and Germany were both reported as having their first Coronavirus related deaths yesterday while Brunei, Cyprus, Mongolia and Panama were joining the 1st case club.
10 March 2020 – Today has been relatively quiet, one case in Northern Cyprus so far and a first death in the Lebanon but of course the day is not over yet….
Writing this review has been a harrowing geography lesson so I am going to inject a little humour now as I feel I need to smile again having read the entire awful story as research as well as for my own information. If you want to read more in depth facts and figures, I got the above from the WHO situation report on Wikipedia.
Coronavirus RibTicklers – There’s Nothing Funny About Coronavirus!
I found a site called Sickipedia with lots of gross jokes on and I thought these were amusing:-
“The companies who make sanitising gel must be rubbing their hands together”
“The World Health Organisation has stated that animals can’t get coronavirus and that all dogs in quarantine should be released. WHO let the dogs out”
“If Domestos had got their shit together and created a bleach that actually killed 100% of germs, maybe we wouldn’t be so worried about this coronavirus.”
“Just been visiting my gran and she has cupboards full of nothing but Oxo cubes – obviously she’s not quite got the hang of this stockpiling lark”
Good Personal Hygiene Tips for Coronavirus Prevention
Hand washing often for at least 20 seconds with hot water and soap especially before cooking, eating or leaving home and ALWAYS after using the toilet.
Also on arrival at any public place particularly where there are children or elderly people.
Sneeze into a tissue and immediately dispose of it
Cough into your sleeve not your hands
Don’t touch your face particularly eyes and nose with unwashed hands
Use hand sanitiser if you don’t have access to soap and water
If you don’t feel well –
As previously mentioned contact your doctor, do not visit the surgery. In the UK you can also contact NHS 24 for advice (111) Don’t go out in public, stay at home to help stop the spread. If you are advised to see someone avoid using public transport to get there.
A word about masks
As you may know there are two types of masks available. There is also a shortage and the general public do not need to wear them if they are healthy unless they are looking after someone with suspected coronavirus. Most people do not know how to fit them correctly which makes them useless as a barrier against infection. Follow good hygiene tips and leave the masks for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who need them and are trained in how to fit and wear them correctly. If you feel you still want to wear one at least follow correct procedures like those available on the WHO website.
Coronavirus – Next Steps
There is word of a new strain in China but there is also talk of Coronavirus becoming like flu, endemic (appearing every year) which while not exactly comforting is less scary than the current situation.
Coronavirus and COVID-19 both have their own hashtags trending on Twitter. My kids brought a letter home from school today with advice on the back about coronavirus and places of education. It’s in the news, the papers and online so word is spreading almost as fast as the disease itself. There are jokes as mentioned, I even saw a game advertised earlier called Corona babies where you apparently collect wee bats infected with Coronavirus! TikTok continues its videos although the WHO seems to have taken down my favourite one. My children and I have made a ‘glitter challenge’ hand washing video on my YouTube channel (purplelioness 83)
Information remains reliable from at least some sources and with vigilance, attention to hygiene by all AND a vaccine things will look much better in the morning. My heart goes out to all the families affected by this wretched disease and I look forward to being able to update you with better news over the coming weeks.
Coronavirus Timeline Update:
11 March 2020 – Coronavirus is officially declared a pandemic.
12 March 2020 – Algeria, India and Norway reported their first deaths today and St Vincent & the Grenadines confirmed their first case as did Trinidad & Tobago. That same day Mikel Arteta (head coach of Arsenal football team) tested positive for COVID-19 and a team member of McLaren did too which has had a disruptive effect on the 2020 Australian Grand Prix.
13 March 2020 – More 1st cases confirmed in Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guinea, Kazakhstan (the 1st in Central Asia) Kenya, Kosovo, Puerto Rico, St Lucia, Suriname, US Virgin Islands, Uruguay and Venezuela with Sudan confirming its first case and first death. Other first deaths were reported in Ukraine and here in Scotland.
14 March 2020 – Today Central African Republic, Congo Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini (I’d never heard of this until COVID-19 reared it’s ugly head) Mauritania, Mayotte, Namibia, Rwanda and Seychelles all reported their first cases and Denmark reported the first death.
15 March 2020 – It was relatively quiet today with Akrotiri and Dhekelia (military) bases, Bahamas, Guam and Uzbekistan confirming first cases. No first deaths were reported thankfully. Also today Finland stopped testing people with flu symptoms and those returning from travelling abroad reserving tests for health professionals only.
16 March 2020 – Benin, Greenland, Liberia, Somalia and Tanzania all confirmed first cases today and Pakistan confirmed their first death.
17 March 2020 – Barbados, Gambia, and Sint Maarten confirmed their first cases today as did Montenegro which was previously the last European country without any confirmed cases.
18 March 2020 – Today there was a message on my phone saying schools in Scotland and Wales will close on Friday (20/3/20). I phoned the school and asked them about it and they said that the message had been on the telly and that’s all they knew. I told them that if it was confirmed then I wouldn’t be sending my kids in again until they officially reopen as I don’t see the point of two extra days of contact with large groups of people and one of my daughter’s (who has the skin condition Vitiligo) is starting to get ‘stinging skin’ from all the hand washing necessary at school.
I feel sad for my children as they love school but ngl I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning, call the school to confirm my kids are not coming in then turn over and go back to sleep with a smile on my face!
So much has happened since I started this blog that I have decided to try to update it at least once a week. I will also tweet breaking news. I will continue to extract my information from what is made available by the WHO and other reputable sources.
New words are flying about ‘self isolate’, ‘social distance’, stockpiling and panic buying are a thing. Supermarket shelves are being emptied at alarming rates. There is not a toilet roll to be had anywhere in the South of England! I mean like nowhere, hand sanitiser has also disappeared from the shelves – there’s none here either. I bought Dettol and vitamins on Amazon earlier – the Dettol was £18, 18 flipping quid! I get hot under the collar paying 4 quid for it in Tesco and it’s touch and go whether it will turn up – the first one I put in my cart was shown as unavailable before I could checkout so I had to be a lot quicker on the draw to get some.
19 March 2020 – My children had their first coronavirus induced day off school today and unfortunately Chad, El Salvador, Fiji and Nicaragua all reported their first cases. There was a first death in Russia too.
As of today there are 182 countries and territories on six continents infected with SARS-CoV-2 with at least 213,000 confirmed cases and more than 8,700 deaths. None of this is the good news I was hoping to impart, I will continue to update the good and the bad as the information is made available.
Coronavirus in Society (UK)
Coronavirus is impacting all parts of society as we know it, lock downs, closing businesses, curfews, government intervention on a global scale – I wondered how it was affecting different sections of society…
Coronavirus in Church
I attended my first ‘virtual church service’ this morning (Mother’s Day 22/3/20). One of the pastors remarked that he had been told ‘you’re all televangelists now!’ which is true. It was great, lovely singing and two pastors giving a reading from different parts of the Bible. There were more than 60 people following it and I thought I could get used to spending an hour like that on a Sunday morning. I did used to attend church in my pyjamas and now everyone can! I don’t think it would hurt anyone to spend an hour this way especially in the current climate.
Coronavirus in Health Services
I can no longer visit the doctor or the dentist freely. Doctors are mostly working over the phone. My surgery recently diagnosed my dry legs over the phone and sent the prescription for the cream they recommended to my local pharmacy. My kids missed their checkup at the dentist last month due to illness and I’ve no idea when they will get a chance to be seen so I’m a bit concerned about their ongoing dental health.
Two of my children wear glasses, I’ve checked their optician’s Facebook page and it says they are still open and taking precautions (as of 16/3/20) so I’m going to make sure my two have their prescriptions up to date.
Coronavirus in Offices
No one is at work unless they work in emergency services, support work or essential services ie doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers etc. The entire UK is on Lockdown until further notice as the world grapples with Coronavirus and death toll continues to rise.
Coronavirus on the High Street
According to BBC News – Primark, Timpson, HMV, New Look, Kurt Geiger and River Island all shut up shop over the weekend as did McDonalds (my last Toffee Latte) and Nando’s restaurants. John Lewis closed it’s 50 shops for the first time ever in its 155 year history! They are still operating online however and 2000 of their staff have been ‘redeployed’ in the groups Waitrose stores which will remain open to deal with high demand for groceries that has ensued as a result of panic buying.
It’s 19 Apr 2020, last Friday ‘Lockdown’ was extended for 3 weeks as Boris Johnson recovered from his own battle with Covid -19 that saw him spending time first in Intensive Care at St Thomas’ hospital in London then retreating to Chequer’s (his countryside residence) with his pregnant fiancée Carrie Symonds.
I am ending this Coronavirus blog here as there is far too much changing information for me to keep up with. I will still be retweeting breaking news and there are official daily updates available at CDC or WHO (although they have apparently had their funding halted by President Trump over their handling of the Coronavirus outbreak) or if you’re in the UK you can try BBC News or NHS.
If you have any questions about the above or experiences you’d like to share, please comment below, I’d love to hear from you.