Coronavirus (COVID-19): We Will Do Better if We Act Together

Posted by Dr. Joanne Baldos and Dr. Adam Szymczak on Mar 20, 2020 12:00:00 PM

The number of people that will die in Canada is within OUR control!!!

If we ALL act TOGETHER with compassion towards each other, the impact on YOUR health is extremely unlikely, but EACH of us must do our part.

 

There are EXTREME differences between different countries with respect to the number of people infected and the number of people who die from COVID-19.

Question: Which country has been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic?

 

Answer: SAN MARINO! ( A COUNTRY of about 34,000 people in North-central Italy!)

 

Most people would answer USA because:

  • BY FAR more infected people than anywhere else in the world
  • BY FAR the most deaths
  • 1 out of 3 people who are infected live in the USA
  • 1 out of 4 people who have died live in the USA

And yet a person in San Marino is 4 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than a person in USA. In fact, San Marino has the highest death rate of any country in the world! No one talks about San Marino because it is a small country; most people don't even know it exits.

 

We ALL must act EARLY and TOGETHER, it will save lives!

Team Work to defeat Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

Social distancing is the most effective way to reduce and slow down the spread of COVID-19. Minimizing person-to-person interactions will:

  1. reduce the total number of people that will get infected  
  2. reduce the number of new cases on any given day
  3. reduce the chance that our healthcare system gets overwhelmed
  4. reduce the number of people that will die

Chances are you have heard the phrase “Flatten the curve”, it means all 4 of the above effects.

 

When one tree catches fire in a forest, it quickly spreads to burn down the whole forest. What if there was a way to separate the burning tree from the forest? That's what social distancing does, it prevents all people getting sick within a short period of time.

 

COVID-19 outbreak is a global pandemic. Everyone will be affected in one way or another.

 

TOGETHER we will get through this! Our communities will emerge stronger and wiser after we conquer this global challenge. 

 

How many lives will be lost will depend on how much our actions are guided by compassion.

 

We ALL must think beyond ourselves. Each of us must think of the health, safety and well-being of our entire community. 

 

More than 5 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide with over 300,000 deaths. These are scary numbers! 

 

Let’s focus on what we have control over: FLATTEN THE CURVE!

 

Some countries are dealing with the pandemic more effectively than others:

  • over 90,000 people have died in USA
  • many countries do NOT have a single death!
  • A person in Italy is 57 TIMES more likely to get infected with the coronavirus than a person in China! Why? Italy did NOT flatten the curve! 
  • A person in Italy is 150 TIMES more likely to die of COVID-19 than a person in China! Why? Italy did NOT flatten the curve!
  • A person in San Marino is 400 TIMES more likely to die of COVID-19 than a person in China

 

THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT WILL DIE IN CANADA IS IN OUR CONTROL!

 

Based on the above statistics from The World Health Organization (WHO), the world’s foremost expert on this pandemic, we can save THOUSANDS of lives in Canada.

 

We ALL must act EARLY and TOGETHER, it will save lives.

 

Follow the 7 principles below, they will:

  • flatten the curve
  • save lives
  • keep you and your family safe and healthy
  • minimize the negative effects of the coronavirus on you, your loved ones and our community

 

 

1. PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING to Reduce COVID-19 Spread

Coronavirus spread without social distancing

 

Do you believe the above conclusion? You should because it is true!

  • the reproductive number of COVID-19 is 2.06-2.52 which means that 1 person infects more than 2 people
  • just like with ALL other infectious diseases an infected person can pass on the disease before they themselves feel sick ("pre-symptomatic transmission")
    • eg. HIV+ person infects others before they develop symptoms of AIDS
    • eg. a person with a cold or a flu is infectious BEFORE they get symptoms
    • people unknowingly infect other people!
  • it's hard to believe, but the math in the above illustration is correct, consider the following to make you a believer: How many times would you have to fold a piece of paper for it to be thick enough to reach the moon?:
      • a) 42 times?
      • b) 420 times?
      • c) 4,200 times?
      • d) 42,000 times?
      • the answer is SHOCKING but TRUE: 42 times!
      • mathematicians call this exponential growth a.k.a. geometric growth

Public officials say "Flatten the Curve", but many people ignore the social distancing recommendations because they don't understand it's proven power to save lives:

Coronavirus spread with social distancing

WITH Social Distancing:

  • LESS people will get infected
  • LESS new cases on any given day which means less overload on hospitals
  • LESS people will die!
  • we avoid exponential/geometric growth of the number of infected people as shown in the "Without Social Distancing" picture above and instead have linear growth shown above

 

COVID-19, like regular flu and a cold, is spread through DIRECT person-to-person contact via respiratory droplets, as such:

  • avoid all social gatherings
  • do not have friends over for dinner or coffee
  • do not arrange playdates for your kids
  • do not visit nursing homes, retirement or long-term care facilities or hospitals
  • avoid public mass transit
  • work from home; plan virtual meetings instead of in-person
  • don’t travel unless necessary
  • if possible keep 2 meters (two arms’ length) apart from others
  • when going out to get groceries, stay away from busy supermarkets and go at off hours- especially ones open 24 hrs
  • order online, if possible
  • use drive-thru or pick up
  • you can also pick up basics like bread, milk, eggs etc at a local pharmacy or convenience store with smaller crowds and fewer people
  • NO HANDSHAKING! Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc

 

Social distancing means reducing the number of people you come into close contact with. 

 

Social distancing does not mean to stay home. You should still go outside for a walk to keep active, but keep 2 meters apart from others.

 

The fewer people you encounter in your daily life, the safer you are. The safer we will ALL be!

 

This virus is spread from person-to-person when an infected person coughs or sneezes and the large respiratory droplets produced are inhaled by a nearby person. 

 

The large respiratory droplets quickly fall down with gravity. BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land might be infectious for days if not sanitized, so we all should: 

 

2. PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE to Prevent a Coronavirus infection

 

Coronavirus infection prevention: PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE

 

COVID-19 is spread through FOMITES: a surface that contains the virus.

 

Infected people leave behind the virus on surfaces:

  • directly by coughing or sneezing and the respiratory droplets land on objects
  • indirectly by touching objects (especially surfaces touched by hands)

 

Everything that is associated with infected people can be contaminated and potentially infectious. 

 

Surfaces that are more frequently touched with hands are more likely to contain the infectious coronavirus, as such assume all public surfaces may contain the infectious coronavirus. 

 

Social distancing goes a long way to avoid contact with fomites. If you must go out minimize touching public surfaces. If you must touch public surfaces use a barrier and sanitize after. DO NOT TOUCH your face!

 

Do not get the coronavirus on your fingers by minimizing touching public surfaces:

  • use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etc; lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove
  • open doors with your closed fist or hip, do not grasp the handle with your hand unless there is no other way to open the door; especially important on bathroom and post office or other commercial doors
  • regularly clean commonly used surfaces that people touch
  • use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts
  • use latex or nitrile disposable gloves (or another barrier) when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activity which brings you in contact with potentially contaminated areas

Assume that despite all your best efforts you have touched a contaminated surface:

  • wash your hands with soap and water (at least 20 seconds) AND/OR alcohol-based hand sanitizer (greater than 60% alcohol to be effective) after touching any frequently publicly used items or surfaces as soon as possible or when you get home
  • carry disposable tissues and hand sanitizer 
  • wash your hands with soap before you eat
  • avoid touching your face with your fingers especially your mouth, nose and eyes; especially when in public places (We touch our nose/mouth at least 90X/day without knowing it!)
  • wear a mask if you are having difficulty remembering not to touch your face (but really just remember not to touch your face as frontline workers are experiencing shortage of masks)
  • cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze: sneeze into a tissue and discard OR the inside of your bent elbow

 

Coronavirus infects the lungs (respiratory system) as the virus has cell receptors for lung cells.

 

The ONLY WAY for the virus to get to your lungs is through your nose or mouth (and possibly through the eyes) via your hands or an infected person's cough or sneeze into your nose or mouth. DO NOT TOUCH your face!

 

3. STAYING CALM Boosts your Immune System to Fight COVID-19

three-wooden-signage-in-a-tree-close-up-photography-2562560

There is no greater fear than the fear of death. 

 

Current headlines paint a picture of a world where uncertainty, fear, death and destruction are the dominant themes. 

 

Negative news headlines are helpful in that they scare people into helping themselves and each other by practicing social distancing and good hygiene. 

 

Negative news headlines can also be destructive in that they can cause unnecessary stress, anxiety and panic.

 

Prolonged or severe stress weakens our immune system and makes us more susceptible to all infections, including COVID-19. 

 

Be constructive about reducing your stress: sleep, exercise, mediation, yoga… 

 

Avoid destructive means of reducing stress such as excessive alcohol or drugs. 

 

Seek professional help if you are struggling with managing your stress levels. 

 

The way numbers are being reported by the media can be scary and confusing. The most important number to focus on is the number of new cases in your region.

 

When the number of new cases in your region is decreasing from day to day it means your region is past the worst part of the pandemic and have flattened the curve! CONGRATULATIONS.

 

The number of NEW cases reported each day in Ontario:

COVID-19 Ontario: New Cases Numbers

 

This is evidence that we are starting to “flatten the curve” in Ontario.

 

The curve is plateauing, hopefully we will all continue to do our part of physical distancing and improve hygiene and the good progress will continue. We all must continue with our new habits.

 

Every time there has been a significant increase in NEW CASES in Ontario, the Ontario government has stepped up their restrictions and enforcement of social distancing rules.

 

On March 19, for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak, there have been 0 new cases in Wuhan China, where the outbreak began. On March 28, the city of Wuhan partly reopens after 2 months of almost total lockdown. 

 

China has been working hard to get the pandemic under control, we too must work HARD!

 

4. STAY HEALTHY to Defeat the Coronavirus

 

Currently, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. There will be a vaccine in 12-18 months.

 

There is no cure or proven treatment for COVID-19, just like there is no cure or treatment for a regular flu. The treatment for COVID-19 involves "symptomatic care", which basically means keeping a person comfortable and alive to allow the body to fight off the virus.

 

IF the virus enters your lungs, your only defence is your immune system. Stay healthy:

  • drink plenty of water
  • get enough sleep
  • eat a variety of healthy foods 
  • exercise 
  • stay warm 
  • avoid drugs and smoking

 

If you suspect that you may have COVID-19, do a self-assessment BEFORE going to the doctor, you want to reduce the chance of getting others sick!

 

5. FIGHT MISINFORMATION about COVID-19

FIGHT MISINFORMATION about COVID-19

There is an incredible amount of misinformation on the internet about every single topic, including the coronavirus.

 

The internet is convenient but HUGELY inaccurate unless you know where and what to look for. 

 

Over 75% of news reports on the coronavirus outbreak is fake news according to the Anti-Fake News Centre, some examples of misinformation about coronavirus:

 

The fake news and false information on the internet are ENDLESS! You might think that only gullible people would fall for the above examples, but here are 2 sources of ALL fake news that you may end up believing:

 

1) “clueless people" who you trust and/ or appear to know what they are talking about, but lack expertise in the subject matter that they are talking about. Some common daily examples:

  • a politician talking about medicine: President Trump's Lies About the Coronavirus
  • your "friend" on Facebook that means well, but has not checked the facts before sharing or liking a post with you: Facebook is Full of Coronavirus Fake News

It does not matter if the intentions of a "clueless person" are good and they believe that they are being truthful. Honesty does not mean truth! Honesty means that the person thinks they are being truthful. Clueless people are at best HONESTLY WRONG! 

 

2) business people” who want to profit from the misinformation they are feeding you: 

 

It is infuriating that at a time of a GLOBAL crisis when we need truthful and helpful information more than ever, there are those trying to profit by tapping into people’s fears and uncertainty about the outbreak:

 

The misinformation about COVID-19 is harmful:

  • adds confusion to an already uncertain information environment 
  • wastes people’s money
  • subjects people to harmful products and procedures
  • wastes people’s time and distracts them from helpful strategies
  • heightens people’s fear and anxiety

PLEASE be an advocate of the truth about COVID-19. Use reliable sources for your information: people and organizations that are looking out for your well-being and know what they are talking about, without trying to make money out of you: (in order of expertise): 

 

Some measures and recommendations vary from region to region as such you should also follow your local area health experts:

 

STOP using social media and the internet to find information! Stick to facts as communicated by public health agencies or medical professionals: use the above sources!

 

Social media and the internet are based on popularity. Popular does NOT mean accurate. Just because another person finds something interesting or engaging does not mean it is true or helpful. Social media amplifies misinformation.

 

6. Minimizing Financial Impact of COVID-19

Minimizing Financial Impact of COVID-19

 

If we ALL follow the above recommendations, a negative impact of the coronavirus on your health is extremely unlikely.

 

However, the negative impact on your finances is extremely likely, almost certain. Here are some helpful ideas:

  • stop all discretionary spending
  • purchase only essential goods and services
  • secure a personal line of credit (use your home as collateral, you will get a lower rate), you only pay interest if you use the line of credit
  • if you have been laid off call 1-800-206-7218 Employment and Social Development Canada so that you can obtain more information about their EI Benefits
  • look into government programs that are being offered as a result of this pandemic

 

The coronavirus outbreak reminds us all about the importance of our health. 

 

As everyone’s finances get strained it becomes even more important to make your money go further: DENTIST PRICES and DENTAL COSTS: Finding Affordable Dental Care. Be an educated consumer, it will save you money!

 

7. SUPPORT SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY about COVID-19

SUPPORT SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY about COVID-19

Some people and some businesses carry on with minimal modifications to their pre-COVID-19 pandemic routine.

 

We must constantly remind ourselves and each other that we are ALL in this together. If all of us follow the above guidelines we will minimize the negative effects of the coronavirus on ourselves, our loved ones and our community.

 

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW! Which part of the information above did you find most helpful?

 

In the best interest of your health and well-being,

Dr. Joanne Baldos and Dr. Adam Szymczak

 

P.S. People that you know will benefit from this information. Please share this information with your family, friends, and colleagues. (the best way to share is to email people with the link to this page OR clicking the social sharing links at the top of this page)

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