As of 2020, the Coronavirus has been officially declared a pandemic. Rioting has begun in many major cities, as supplies dwindle in these areas. People haven’t seen a pandemic at this scale since The Swine Flu Pandemic in 2009. This is led to a multitude of questions as panic and uncertainty sweep the country.
Who are you and why should we listen to you?
I am an independent Pandemic Researcher. What that means is I spent years studying pandemics and outbreaks to improve our understanding of the subject. My research is used in helping society establish better plans to counteract such viral threats.
What is a pandemic?
Pandemic is such a scary word for many people. It usually conjures up images of hundreds of people dying in the streets as masked people all there corpses away in wagons. Or, perhaps it remains you of those photos from our history book of masked police officers forcing people into quarantine wagons. All of which seem scary to people who don’t understand the history of pandemics. The word pandemic means a disease that is prevalent over a whole country or world. To be declared a pandemic disease would have to infect 120,000 in 100 different countries. Even though the death toll is considerably lower then all other diseases, the death count is never taken into account when determining if a disease is a pandemic or not.
What does 1918 have to do with all of this?
This is a fairly recent question I’ve been asked. The reason you have been hearing about 1918 is that this was the worst influenza outbreak in recorded history. The virus started in 1918 at Fort Riley in Kansas. Within a couple of months, hundreds were in the hospital wing. Fort Riley at the time was the largest military training facility and in 1917 the US had entered World War One. As this outbreak the government was faced with two decisions; hold the troops back or send them off.
Why are we talking about influenza when we mention Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is believed to be a type of influenza. A lot of people are confusing flu with Coronavirus because of all the similarities they have. It has the makeup of influenza’s sister virus, SARS. They are both respiratory illnesses spread via airborne particles. They express similar symptoms such as fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. It is a new disease to us, so the research is still ongoing as to what it truly is.
I have a dust mask I should be safe, right?
Actually, no. Dust masks and N95 masks aren’t the same things. The pores in a dust mask are too big to protect you from viruses. A dust mask is designed to protect you from airborne particles caused by dust and dander. Viron particles are ten smaller than that of dust, and can’t be seen with the naked eye. As for N95 masks, I explained their usage in a similar article on this site titled, Pandemic 101. Check that out for more information. I should also mention if you do choose to wear an N95 mask be sure you are wearing it properly. The mask should cover both your nose and mouth not just your mouth.
What about a HAZMAT suit?
This is kind of a middle ground question. If you are a doctor or nurse treating Coronavirus directly in a medical facility then I strongly suggest you get one, but for the average person then no. Yes, a HAZMAT suit can protect you from the viruses. In most pandemic situations the CDC and WHO recommend people on the front line be wearing one. The average pandemic HAZMAT suit can run you a couple of hundred dollars. They must be air-tight to allow no entry of any infectious pathogens. That means getting one that is tight and good sealing tape to wrap around the openings for hands, feet, and head. Once you’re ready to take it off you’ll need to go through a sanitation unit to sterilize the suit before taking it off. A sanitation unit is a high-pressure shower with water at 140 degrees Fahrenheit and a chemical solution. Sure the home shower can reach that temperature, but it wouldn’t be as powerful. Sterilizing the suit is one of the most important steps of owning one. If you skip this step them wearing the suit is pointless, because everything on the suit will end up on your hands when you take it off.
Is it true that more people have died from cancer than the Coronavirus?
Yes, Coronavirus only has a 3.5% death rate. Which means you have a 3.5% chance of dying if you get it in the first place. Unlike influenza, Coronavirus is very weak and many who have caught it have already recovered from it. Like I mentioned before death tolls don’t factor into whether it is classified as a pandemic. The only people who are dying of this are people who already have a severely weaken or compromised immune system. You have a way higher chance of winning the lottery, being struck by lightning, or run over by a bus then you do of dying from Coronavirus. According to the American Cancer Society in the US they predict 606,520 people will die of cancer in 2020, whereas there have only been 40 recorded Coronavirus deaths in this country.
I saw online that drinking bleach can kill the Coronavirus in your system?
Yes, it’ll also kill your stomach, your throat, your liver, and possibly you. This came from the same brilliant minds that thought eating Tide Pods were cool. This began on a troll site known as 4Chan and people on Facebook have been reposting it just to be funny. It is a lot like the blinker fluid coupon prank from a few years ago. Just because Facebook said it doesn’t make it true. Please under no circumstances drink bleach as a medicine. Bleach is a deadly chemical and highly poisonous in large doses.
Why are people panic buying toilet paper?
This has been one of the most talked-about moments in the Coronavirus pandemic, the great toilet paper riots. The core point behind this is China is our number one exporter of toilet paper. Since the whole country is one mandatory quarantine the toilet paper factories have begun to shut down production lines due to lack of workers. It’s not just toilet paper being affected by this we rely on China for many products just as tires, medicines, plastic, apparel, and much more. The media is pushing the narrative that these items will cease production until further notice in return people began to believe that toilet paper will become in short supply. What people don’t realize is we do business with multiple countries for goods just in case one line stops production we’ll have many more to fall back on. We might not be getting our toilet paper from China for the time being, but we still have deals with Germany, Japan, and Poland for this vary reason.
What should we be stocking piling?
This is a more personal question. To answer this I ask myself, “If I got sick today, what would I need to get through it?”. I then put everything in a tote bag in a convenient spot. It’s personal because what I do will differ from what somebody else would do if they were sick. For example, when I get sick I use nighttime flu medicine and a hot water bottle, meanwhile, my boyfriend prefers vitamin C tablets, vapor rub, and whining about being sick (I’m kidding about this part).