• Please note: This article is meant to raise awareness among those who clearly haven’t been paying attention to the whole point of social distancing and “flattening the curve”

Working (mostly) from home has insulated me from exposure to co-workers who may be carrying the deadly Covid-19 virus. My wife, however, has not been so lucky – she works in a finance department. When one of the ladies had to rush her father (whom she lives with) off to hospital towards the end of last week, it was panic stations all around her office: what if this lady had the virus and had given it to them? Turns out that while her father was quite ill it was not related to Covid-19, and the whole office breathed a collective sigh of relief.

While there was a certain kind of logic to the UK government’s initial response to Covid-19 with their “herd immunity” strategy, I must admit I was quite relieved when they changed their strategy after receiving statistical modelling that showed such a tactic could lead to upwards of 200,000 deaths in the UK.

Having seen the absolute bedlam coming out of Italy, I began to wonder if our government, and others, weren’t taking the situation a tad too lightly, and once again breathed a sigh of relief when the government announced the closure of pubs and restaurants, a ban on all public gatherings, and social distancing measures.

I fear the British public have not taken the government announcements as seriously as they are meant to be taken, or even realise the gravity of the situation without proper social distancing at this critical stage, especially with the virus spreading like wildfire through our communities. Papers yesterday showed mass gatherings in parks and on beaches, with groups of people clearly engaging with each other in close proximity – not exactly social distancing, is it?

Being a free society, the UK government has been somewhat reluctant to curtail our freedoms, instead expecting us to grasp the gravity of the situation and act accordingly – we are, after all, adults.

If some of us continue to ignore the need for social distancing, don’t be surprised when the government implements marshall law.

Flattening the Curve

Flattening the Curve - Graph

The whole concept of social distancing is meant to “flatten the curve”, not stop the spread of the virus. So, what is “flattening the curve”?

It should be patently obvious having watched the way China built hospitals at such a rapid pace that healthcare systems around the world are ill-equipped to deal with the fallout from this pandemic.

Implementing social distancing measures is a means to slow the spread of the virus, not stop it entirely. Because the spread of the virus has been slowed, it means that there will be less serious cases for health care institutes to deal with at any one time, as opposed to being massively overwhelmed as they would be without such measures in place.

There are global shortages of ventilators, and being hit with many serious cases at once means health care professionals have to decide who gets to live, and who dies, because there are simply not enough ventilators to go around.

Social distancing reduces the number of serious cases at any one point, ensuring that all those who need critical care can actually get it without placing our healthcare professionals in the unenviable position of having to play God with people’s lives. They’ve already got stressful enough jobs without us adding to their misery.

Myth Busting

It only affects older people

False – Nobody knows how it will affect them because each person is different. Many people have pre-existing conditions that they don’t even know about. Your age will not protect you from this.

It is only the Flu

While it certainly is true that many people will experience mild Flu-like discomfort, some people will die, and others will be left with life-long damage from Covid-19.

The best prevention is not to get this at all until there is a vaccine, which could be some way off.

In an analysis of 12 patients who recovered from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, doctors at the Hong Kong Hospital Authority (HKHA) found that several of them now have reduced lung capacity, according to Business Insider.

“They gasp if they walk a bit more quickly,” Owen Tsang, medical director of the HKHA’s Infectious Disease Center, said in a press conference. “Some patients might have around a drop of 20 to 30 percent in lung function.”

After scanning the patients’ lungs, doctors saw signs of organ damage.¹

National Social Responsibility

We all have a social responsibility to protect lives and that means following government advice.

Brits are notoriously famous for being somewhat suspicious of authority, but when your actions can lead to the inadvertent death of vulnerable people isn’t it just better to stay indoors, practise social distancing as far as humanly possible, and pray that as many people as possible make it through to the other end of these difficult times?

That’s all I’ve got to say – keep safe, and pass the message on.

 

Very Important Post about Viral Overload

Please note this is posted from a WhatsApp post – this information has not been verified, but is well worth taking note of.

 

Sorry frightening post, but something I didn’t realise…

A facebook post from a Doctor that everyone should understand. As an industry that goes into the homes of vulnerable people, we MUST take heed of this. Please read, understand and pass on this knowledge:

Why do we need to shut places where people group?

Remember this: VIRAL LOAD

There will be a lot about this. Why is it important?

With this virus, the amount of virus in your blood at first infection directly relates to the severity of the illness you will suffer. This isn’t unusual – HIV management is all about reducing viral load to keep people alive longer. BUT it’s very important in COVID-19.

So if you are in, say, a pub or religious building or entertainment venue with 200 people and a large number don’t have symptoms but are shedding, you are breathing in lots of droplets per minute and absorbing a high load of the virus. In a crowded space. They become ill over the next 48 hours. You then three days later wonder why you can’t breathe and end up in hospital. You’d decided because you were young and healthy it wasn’t going to be a problem. Wrong.

Fortunately but unfortunately because the elderly are isolating quite well, the initial UK data suggests that all age groups above 20 are almost equally represented in ITUs in England. Most of the cases are in London but the wave is moving outwards.

This means that being under 60 and fit and well doesn’t seem to be as protective as we thought. Why? Viral load.

This may be skewed simply by the fact that too many Londoners didn’t do as asked and congregated in large groups in confined spaces and got a large initial viral load. They then went home and infected their wider families. Which is why, as London is overwhelmed, we need to shut everything down to save the rest of the UK. We are a week at most behind London.

Our sympathies go out to the families affected in London and the critical care teams battling right now to save as many as they can.

If I sit with one person and catch this virus, I get a small viral load. My immune system will start to fight it and by the time the virus starts replicating, I’m ready to kill it.

No medicines will help this process meaningfully hence there is no “cure” for this virus. All we can do is support you with a ventilator and hope your immune system can catch up fast enough.

If I sit in the same room with six people, all shedding I get six times the initial dose. The rise in viral load is faster than my immune system can cope with and it is overrun. I then become critically ill and need me (or someone of my specialty) to fix it instead of just being at home and being ok in the end.

THIS BIT IS IMPORTANT:

If you are a large family group, remember that by being ill and in the same room, you will make each other ill or “more ill”. If you get sick, isolate just yourself to one room and stay there. Don’t all sit in one room coughing. You will increase the viral load for all of you, reducing your survival rate.

A family of six people may produce double the droplets of a family of three in the same space. Maths is important.

If one of you is symptomatic, assume you are all shedding and make sure you keep some space.

Parents are getting it from their kids because no one is going to stop comforting their child (nor should they) so the parent gets a big hit as well as the child. I don’t think that can be helped.

REMEMBER: THINK ABOUT VIRAL LOAD

It could save your life or your child’s.

Please help us to help you. Stay home and take this seriously now before we need the army on the streets to remind you. Yes I’m serious.

#flattenthecurve