Joan Rothchild Hardin
A Reality Check on Coronavirus-19
In this time of alternative facts and rampant misinformation, and with the media whipping up a panic about the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 around the world, stock markets heading downhill and people panicking, here are some REAL facts to put this latest virus in perspective.
You can use this useful interactive web-based map to track cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 around the world. The map is created by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University. Data is gathered in real time from WHO, CDC, ECDC, NHC, DXY and local media reports so you can check out the most up to date facts on it.
Here’s some data as of the time I’m writing this (Thursday March 12 2020 at noon):
TOTAL CONFIRMED CASES WORLDWIDE: 127,873
TOTAL DEATHS WORLDWIDE: 4,718
TOTAL RECOVERED WORLDWIDE: 68,310
Half of the confirmed cases to date have recovered
Only 0.037% of the confirmed cases have died
EXPOSURE TO THE VIRUS IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE
Many people seem to believe they have to keep themselves and their loved ones from getting EXPOSED to the virus – that exposure = getting it = dying from it.
In fact, we’re exposed to nasty viral, bacterial and fungal pathogens every day and usually don’t become sick from them.
MANY HAND SANITIZERS DO NOT KILL THE VIRUS
The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water as the best way to kill any virus on them. If you don’t have access to soap and water, the CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60% alcohol. Alcohol-free sanitizers or ones with less than 60% alcohol content may get your hands cleaner but DO NOT KILL THE VIRUS. (Allen & Song, 3/6/2020)
Examples of alcohol-free hand sanitizers. They do not kill coronavirus-19.
THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST THE CORONAVIRUS – AND OTHER CONTAGIOUS ILLNESSES AS WELL
Keep your immune system strong. This is of the utmost importance in this time of coronavirus and for maintaining good health throughout your lifetime as well.
“Your immune system will mount an appropriate response to the invaders and begin to kill off the virus cells. You develop a fever, which creates a hostile environment for the virus, and you’ll gradually get rid of mucus and buildup by coughing, and through your nose running. This is a completely normal immune response.” (CentreSpringMD, 2020)
Here are two useful articles on what you can do instead of panicking:
Can I Boost My Immune System?: Fears about coronavirus have prompted online searches and plenty of misinformation about how to strengthen the immune system. Here’s what works — and what doesn’t. (Parker-Pope, 3/10/2020)
You Might Be Buying a Hand Sanitizer That Won’t Work for Coronavirus: Sanitizers that don’t contain the CDC’s recommended minimum of 60% alcohol are flying off store shelves and listed by sellers on Amazon for outrageous prices. Here is what you need to know. (Allen & Song, 3/6/2020)
A SOURCE OF SANE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT THE VIRUS
Take a look at a sane article called COVID-19 Expert Reality Check published on 3/5/2020 by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The article consists of questions about the virus and short answers written by recognized public health experts.
This is one of those answers, to the question “What is the best way to counter misinformation in the media?“
“The best way to counter misinformation in the media is with an aggressive onslaught of facts. During an outbreak, information may be shifting, guidance changing, and questions multiplying, but the process is guided by adherence to reality and logic. Uncertainty is not an excuse for entertaining arbitrary assertions offered in defiance of the need for evidence. They should be identified as such and dismissed.
“Experts, in addition to relating facts, should also explain the evidence that supports their conclusions and how recommendations are rooted in that evidence. This is a daunting task, as it involves more than information dissemination. It requires attention to what counts as evidence and an understanding of how to evaluate competing claims—some of which are grounded in evidence and some of which clearly are not.” (Johns Hopkins, 3/5/2020)
The author, Amesh Adalja, MD, is a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Many thanks to Leif Olson for directing me to the useful Johns Hopkins Coronavirus-19 interactive map site.
Allen, M. & Song, L. (3/6/2020). You Might Be Buying a Hand Sanitizer That Won’t Work for Coronavirus: Sanitizers that don’t contain the CDC’s recommended minimum of 60% alcohol are flying off store shelves and listed by sellers on Amazon for outrageous prices. Here is what you need to know. ProPUBLICA. See: https://www.propublica.org/article/coronavirus-hand-sanitizers-cdc-recommended-alcohol
CentreSpringMD. (2020). The Spread of Coronavirus: How to Protect Yourself. See: https://centrespringmd.com/the-spread-of-coronavirus-how-to-protect-yourself/
Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. (updated daily, 2020). Interactive webbased map to track cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 around the world. See: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (3/5/2020). COVID-19 Expert Reality Check. See: https://www.globalhealthnow.org/2020-02/coronavirus-expert-reality-check#lessler-2
Parker-Pope, T. (3/10/2020). Can I Boost My Immune System?: Fears about coronavirus have prompted online searches and plenty of misinformation about how to strengthen the immune system. Here’s what works — and what doesn’t. The New York Times. See: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/10/well/live/can-i-boost-my-immune-system.html
© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.