With coronavirus a hot topic right now, and your health & wellbeing being important to us, we put together this doc to help you be informed with accurate info on the SARS-COV-2 virus and the COVID-19 disease. There is cause to be concerned, but no need for panic.
There is a high probability that SARS-COV-2 will reach peak infection in the population within 2-3 months, let’s ensure we are all prepared.
What is SARS-COV-2?
SARS-COV-2, aka 2019-nCov is a novel coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 disease that has now arrived in 118 countries. We currently do not know enough about this virus for any definitive answers, however there are some things we do know.
Common symptoms are viral pneumonia - a dry cough, fever and fatigue.
While less severe than SARS, SARS-COV-2 is highly virulent, conservative estimates put its R0 at 2.5, meaning for every infected individual we should expect at least 2.5 other infections.
We originally thought SARS-COV-2 was transmissible by droplets(coughing/sneezing), we now know it is capable of aerosol transmission, meaning that it is capable of staying in the air for 30 minutes, and has infected people through air-conditioning. We also know that it is possible for SARS-COV-2 to infect people at a distance more than 4.5m away. The virus is also carried through all bodily fluids and faeces.
Viral shedding happens in asymptomatic hosts, hosts may not develop symptoms for 14 days. This means that seemingly healthy people are spreading the disease for up to 2 weeks without realising. Hosts are most infectious during the first 5 days after infection, and the majority of people will develop symptoms within 5.2 days.
Drawing from experience with other coronaviruses, it was originally thought SARS-COV-2 would live up to 9 days on surfaces at 20° Celsius, we now know SARS-COV-2 can live on surfaces up to 3 days at 37° Celsius (98.6° Fahrenheit), suggesting the virus could survive longer than 9 days on surfaces at colder temperatures.
What is currently unknown is SARS-COV-2’s capability for reinfection, it appears that in China some recovered cases are having relapses, suggesting either the virus laying dormant within the host, or that the antibodies become ineffective (unlikely).
SARS-COV-2’s genome is quite stable, making it less likely for mutations and more suitable for vaccine development. However we do know there are 2 dominant variants, dubbed L and S, one is more severe than the other.
If we are to believe the Chinese numbers, then the good news is the CFR (case fatality rate) for ages under 39 is 0.2% and 0.4% for those under 49, to put this in perspective, common influenza for the same age bracket is 0.0132%. Making SARS-COV-2 roughly 20x more lethal than the common flu for our age bracket.
For smokers, the elderly and people with comorbidity factors (diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular, chronic-respiratory disease and cancer), the risk is much more concerning, ages 50-59 1.3%, 60-69 3.6% 70-79 8% and over 80 at 14.8%
The median time from onset to clinical recovery for mild cases is approximately 2 weeks.
At the current stage, it appears that the severity differs per affected country. WHO puts COVID-19 at 80% of infections as mild or asymptomatic, 15% are severe, requiring oxygen and 5% are critical, requiring ventilation.
Testing currently relies on the detection of IgG and IgM antibodies, these tests are known to be unreliable, and require multiple testing rounds for confidence in them. These antibodies are formed when a virus enters your mucous membranes.
Vaccine development takes a long time, and we should not expect one this year.
Near-term Future & Government Response
The daily growth of cases outside of China appears to be somewhere between 15-20%, assuming no mitigation strategies we expect 60% of the global population to get infected, and it would appear that the vast majority of these infections will happen within the next 2-3 months.
Mitigation strategies are attempts to slow the virus down enough in order to keep the amount of cases below hospitals capacity for care. Given that most countries’ hospitals are overworked and already at 80% capacity, and ICU treatment requires highly trained people within even less beds, it is unlikely the mitigation strategies will reach their intended goal.
Event 201, the last pandemic-game played in late 2019 involved a coronavirus with different parameters but demonstrated many gaps in our ability to adequately respond, it did not have an optimistic outcome.
Most governments are now transitioning from containment to mitigation strategies. We should expect censorship from them to avoid mass panic. China enforced social isolation practices on 760 million people and had managed to reduce the number of new cases significantly, unless other governments get proactive and move into wartime mode, it is unlikely that they will be able to offer their citizens the same kinds of protection, and we should consider how we can do our own part.
While we as a group are not as likely to be at serious risk, we should recognise it’s a social responsibility to not carry and infect others, especially those older than us.
If you’re looking for practical ways to stay safe, here are some ideas for precautions you can take to lower your risk of contracting the virus:
- Consider social distancing.
- Avoid non-essential travel.
- Avoid public gatherings.
- Practice personal hygiene, learn how to wash your hands properly.
- Use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching public surfaces.
- Cough into your elbows, not hands.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Wear a mask.
If you do decide to attend any events, conferences or are travelling, please keep Ceri informed.
And if you do feel ill, please take sick leave and keep us informed by updating BambooHR.
We will also be offering $50 to each Core Contributor to buy hand sanitiser, masks or even books to stay entertained if staying indoors.