The greatest threats to our health are often invisible. This includes viruses, bacteria, and chemicals.
There is still a lot we don't know about this specific virus and our understanding of it has changed in just the last week and will continue to change as the situation evolves.
It's imperative that all of us understand this new reality.
Most importantly, never allow yourself to be shamed or swayed by under-educated or unrealistic people.
We don't know what we don't know about this virus.
Preparedness is not panic. Logic is not lunacy. Knowledge and science are your best weapons.
UPDATED: The longest the virus has been observed to shed is 37 days... This is considerably longer than initially thought.
UPDATED: There are still questions about whether or not the virus is capable of re-emergence from latent cells. Until we know more, positive cases specifically should isolate as a precaution. This concept is most notable in HIV and Herpes viral infections. Contracting Covid-19 could mean that you will need to remain on anti-viral medications permanently.
UPDATED: The length of time or varying degree of mutation before reinfection is currently unknown.
The World Health Organization recommends airborne precautions for medical staff especially. The virus is thought to hang in the air as an aerosol for 3 hours or more. Droplets can settle on your hair, your clothes, or you may inhale them talking to your friend or walking through a space where a Covid-19 carrier has been. Many thousands of virus particles can be left in the air, becoming aerosol from a cough, sneeze or simply breathing.
It can remain on various kinds of surfaces for varying amounts of time. This may be slightly longer in higher humidity environments.
In one instance 5 out of 8 people were asyptomatic (not just presymtomatic)
Practice social distancing and self isolation. Nothing is more effective than simply not being in close proximity to others.
Wash your hands, your wrists and under your nails. A lot. After the bathroom. When you think of it. When you've touched anyone or anything, especially shared surfaces. Here are guidelines.
Hand sanitizer is not soap and proper hand washing is the most effective way to prevent the spread of disease. However it will help when you have no other option.
Cover your face to decrease the likelihood you will breath in virus droplets or emit any into the air for others to be infected. Please see our in depth guide to masks here. Do not buy masks that are in a global shortage.
Hair is thought to hold and transfer virus particles. Hair wraps can reduce the need for washing hair and reduce your potential to spread it.
Consider yourself contaminated what you walk into your house. Remove shoes, strip clothes and shower when possible, washing you hands first. If you can wash your clothes, hanging them in the sun will kill the virus.
Most people get better but about 20% of healthy, young people die and many others go into critical condition, requiring intensive care before recovering. Even if you wouldn't be affected, you are likely to infect someone who is not strong enough to fight it off (the elderly, children and those with preexisting conditions that make them susceptible.)
If there are 2 strains since its original mutation, and it has the potential to mutate again with each new person it infects, there is potential for us to be reinfected after being cured of the initial strain we were exposed to. Even still, we do not know how long a person maintains immunity to a particular strain once exposed. UPDATED: As of now the virus appears to have had little genetic mutation, varying at 1/2 the speed of the normal..... but testing all genomes is impossible at this point.
It is unknown how long the virus can survive in fecal matter. Your sewage system may put you at risk. You can reduce your risk of transmission from your sewage system with a few steps.
Touch less. Have your own pen. Use a key or pen to type security codes.
Touch screens, like ATMs, have an incredibly high CFU count. Disinfect them before or yourself after using one. They are dangerous even when there is no pandemic. If you must touch something, use a non-dominant hand, a knuckle over a fingertip and a pinky or ring finger over more dominant fingers.
Create personal systems that reduce chances for viral spread: You will touch your face. It's very hard not to. Note your behavior and create a system that will result in less transfer. You will likely touch it with your dominant hand. Reserve your dominant hand for you. Use your non dominant hand to open doors etc. In some countries, this is culturally ingrained. The right hand is used to eat and the left is for bodily functions. In time you can become more aware or your system will be more and more effective.
UPDATED: Covid-19 and your pets: It is possible for you to contract Covid-19 from the virus being on their fur, however, it is unlikely that they will contract it and then give it to you (giant genetic jump). It may become less remote in the future as the virus evolves but for now is unlikely. It may be possible for you to infect your animal though, we just can't predict exactly how this virus will behave, or what animals may be more susceptible that others (a virus may find it easier to jump to a specific species and can proliferate from there.). Take extra precautions if you are on a farm with many different species, all birds (especially aquatic. But all birds have particularly sensitive respiratory systems), pigs, mice, gerbils, and rats. (all higher potential) UPDATED: Tigers at the Bronx zoo are sick and have tested positive as well as a cat in Belgium. It is important to note that we still need to understand more and that antibody tests have not yet been possible for the animals infected as they remain unrecovered.
UPDATED: People who received the BCG vaccine may be 6 times less likely to contract Covid-19. This study is currently being peer reviewed.
UPDATED: There is potential for Covid-19 infected patients to lose their sense of smell and taste permanently. Some have already gone many weeks without it returning with no other symptoms. Anosmia is a dangerous affliction that can prevent you from smelling fire, fumes and rotten food.
Know the common symptoms and when to seek medical assistance.
Testing has been repeatedly show to test a false negative. This may depend on the viral load associated with the stage you are in at testing, or it may be that upper respiratory tract samples are sometimes not sufficient.
There are also repeat positives where we still don't know if a person is still contagious.
There was thought to be some indication that certain blood types may be more susceptible. However, that remains unknown.
Complications with recognition and analysis with co-infection of Covid-19.
A CT scan is required for a complete analysis. Appears like broken glass opacities in the image. There has been an instance of a young boy being asymptomatic other than through a CT scan review.
List of drugs & treatments currently being reviewed and or being used in other countries. All of these have limited information and unproven effectiveness. They are not the only drugs that would be used to treat the virus and your symptoms while hospitalized.
Here is a great sum of treatments. This is an ever changing subject and everything is experimental at this point. Do not attempt to medicate yourself.
UPDATED: The fatality rates explained.
Covid-19 is not "just like the flu." Learn how it differs.
Covid-19 has a natural origin and was not created in a lab. Viruses like this have existed for thousands of years.
Covid-19 Guide to Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Diagnostics video
With no immunity and so many people carrying Covid-19, the chances of mutation or recombination are higher. This makes the science of vaccination more complicated down the line and leaves us open to the potential of reinfection with a new mutation.
The implications of a healthcare system pushed beyond capacity are one of the main concerns. Bermuda's healthcare system has no room for more patients or nurses and doctors to fall ill.
Learn about flattening the curve here and why it's our best chance. Even if it does come to the eventuality we all must contract and survive the virus. We could do this under surveillance to ensure we get the best care possible and our healthcare system isn't overcome.
Know your risk, which also means knowing you're far more likely to die from poor cardiovascular health. These facts don't lessen the concern of a new virus strain. See this is extensively compiled research, statistics and comparisons.
There are 3 scenarios for Covid-19's continued spread. One is that we manage to stop it ahead of our flu season next fall, another that it doesn't survive in the heat and dies out on it's own (maybe permanently) but there is still a chance of resurgence in the fall, making it an endemic virus like other flu viruses.
Vaccinations may not be available for sometime and we may be living with this reality for some time before we have effective, safe and tested treatments. The first human trial did begin for a vaccine and many attempts are underway all over the world.
SEWAGE CONCERNS & TREATMENT:
It is currently unknown how long the virus can survive in fecal matter and sewage systems. Every precaution should be taken until we know more.
If you can smell sewage, cover your face immediately and leave the area as quickly as you can.
Always close the toilet lid before flushing a toilet. Fine particles become aerosol, filling the air and landing on surfaces. If you are sharing a bathroom with an infected person, the particles are more likely to infect you.
Covid-19 can be transferred by fecal contamination. During the SARS outbreak, an infected person contaminated an apartment building through the sewage system. You can take steps to prevent this kind of occurrence.
Read the technical document outlining water, sanitation and waste management for Covid-19.
In areas that large amounts of sewage are being pumped through, the smell of sewage could be enough to contaminate. The St. George's pump station at the public bathrooms is of concern for this. Additional air filters should be fitted where possible. (Awaiting Update)
I am unsure of what Bermuda's "sewage treatment" could mean. It seems a living virus would be unlikely to survive in the ocean and wash ashore even with a repeat Grape Bay incident. Scientists would need to assess that. (Awaiting Update)
In the past there have been issues in low lying areas where deteriorated boreholes have leaked small amounts of sewage. Fairylands is the only area I specifically know that has had this issue. However, it may go beyond that scope. I don't know what this could mean for viral transmission but it seems realistic that precautions could be taken to neutralize the virus at the time of flushing. Scientists would need to assess that. (Awaiting Update)
THE REALITIES IN A BERMUDA OUTBREAK:
UPDATED: A global food shortage is probable. As this unfolds this could snowball quickly. Now is the time to plant a garden and for government to stockpile staples. Countries like India and China are huge exporters of rice, some meat facilities are ceasing operations, this may worsen and we can be more prepared.
Bermuda is uniquely positioned for outbreak, containment and recovery. We require solutions designed solely for us.
Our high rate of international travel and business makes us more susceptible.
If not contained, we will have intense community spread quickly.
We have a healthcare system that is easily overwhelmed.
Medical supplies to protect staff are at a global shortage.
We have limited medical equipment like ventilators that would help people breathe. It is possible to create makeshift ventilators if we were faced with triage emergency. You should try to go to the hospital if you need to but in the case of being denied or put on a waiting list, there are options to manually ventilate a loved one. - This family has kept a man alive for years with a manual ventilator. - A CPap machine can be utilized as an emergency ventilator
We need to create a closed loop quarantine systems that eliminates gaps within our pandemic response and risk reduction. This will need to include quarantines for all arrivals away from healthy individuals and assessment of architecture and plumbing to ensure containment.
In a severe case, all residents may be in complete lockdown no matter their Covid-19 status.
Furthered Legislation may need to be passed: - Spitting on the ground outlawed and strictly enforced.
- Introducing the murder charge for knowingly violating quarantine prior to clearance.
- Introducing penalties for spreading misinformation.
- Requiring businesses to maintain strict cleaning procedures.
- Requiring masks or faces to be covered when in public.
- Mandatory Covid19 risk reduction training / educational requirements for all citizens.
- Legally enforced social distancing.
We must face the fiscal reality of what this will do to us locally and globally so we can prepare more effectively.
Localized economy will need to be designed and implemented.
Food security will become a necessity.
VIRAL & BACTERIAL SCIENCE OVERVIEW
Understanding herd immunity.
Vaccines. Good news for all the anti-vaxers. There's work being done to inoculate the source of rabies outbreaks for instance.
Please feel free to offer Bermuda relevant information by messaging directly.
Please refrain from making statements without supporting evidence and links.