As Africans we aren’t used to strange unknown unheard of diseases. If anything, for us; Moses and the ten (10) plagues are our worst case scenarios you know? Over the years, there have been outbreaks of strange diseases, sometimes two or three at a time. I call them strange because most (if not all) are man-made and more often than not, are as a result of man playing around with things he has no business playing with. 2001 was Anthax, 2002 was the West Nile Virus, 2003 was SARS, 2005 was the bird flu, 2006 was ECOLI, 2009 was the Swine Flu, 2014 was the EBOLA Virus, 2015 was the Disney Measles, 2016 was the Zika Virus and now we’ve got the Corona Virus in 2020.
The origin of COVID-19 is said to be Wuhan, China. Gene sequencing analysis strongly suggests the virus originated in bats and was transferred to humans through a yet-unidentified intermediary species. In early February, Chinese researchers published suggesting the intermediary species may have been the pangolin (also called a scaly anteater), though this work has not yet undergone a peer-reviewed study. Although, research published by the Scripps Research Institute in February strongly implies that the virus in humans arose naturally through interspecies transfer putting its origin in late November or early December 2019. Both studies point to the virus’s origin in Hubei province, China.
Did you know that Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Server Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are different strains of Corona Viruses sharing symptoms of fever, cough and difficulty breathing? It spreads through coughing, sneezing or touching an infected person. Health officials world over agree on using common flu prevention strategies like washing hands, covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing and staying home from work or school if you feel sick.
So, how do you differentiate between the flu and COVID – 19?
|THE FLU||CORONAVIRUS (COVID – 19)||COMMON COLD|
|Spreads faster than the Flu and Common Cold|
|Consistently effective treatment||No consistently effective treatment||Consistently effective treatment|
|Lower infection rate than COVID – 19, but higher infection rate than the common cold||Twice as high infection rate as the flu||Lower infection rate than the flu and COVID-19|
|Appears 1-4 days after exposure||Appears two to 14 days after exposure.||Peak within the first two to three days of infection|
|Lower death toll||Higher death toll|
Now that we have this in hand let’s dispel myths about Coronavirus shall we?
- It only kills the elderly (FALSE)
The assumption that elderly folks have a weaker immune system and so COVID-19 is more likely to infect them than the younger generation is untrue.
- Drink a lot of hot or warm water to prevent infection (FALSE)
There is no scientific proof to this effect BUT staying hydrated does help strengthen your immune system.
- Drinking water flushes the virus into your stomach where acid will kill it (FALSE)
Again, there is no scientific evidence to proof this statement.
- Get the Flu vaccine (FALSE)
While it is true that both come from the same family of Coronaviruses and share commonality in most symptomatic manifestations, there is no evidence that the Flu virus will help with COVID-19.
- Africans are immune to COVID-19 (FALSE)
There is no scientific evidence to proof this statement.
- Transmission of COVID-19 is mostly in areas with hot and humid climates (FALSE)
The World Health Organization (WHOe reports that COVID-19 can be transmitted in ALL areas.
- COVID-19 can be transmitted by mosquitoes (FALSE)
There is no evidence to this statement.
- Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will kill viruses that have already entered your body (FALSE)
Alcohol and chlorine can be used to disinfect surfaces yes, but spraying such substances on yourself can be harmful to both you and your clothes.
Whilst it is true that COVID-19 is still being unraveled and that vaccines may well go into 2021 before being discovered, there is no reason to panic. Stay calm and follow the doctors’ orders.
- Wash your hands with soap or alcohol based hand rubs (ever so often)
- Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing and
- Stay at home if you are feeling sick.
If you see or know an individual(s) who has COVID-19, use a make and gloves to protect yourself even as you take them to hospital to be quarantined. In cases such as these care givers are usually at high risk of infection so keep safe and follow laid out protocols.