As many countries ease Lockdown restrictions even more this weekend, here are 7 important things we need to keep in mind to make informed decisions about what we do and where we go:
1. Covid-19 is highly infectious. And because we have no cure or vaccine, you will probably be exposed to it the more contact you have with other people.
2. The more you are exposed to it, the more severe the disease will be in your body. This is unusual for diseases - and is a good thing, because it means we have some control over how it impacts us as individuals. It’s called viral load, and if you have minimal contact with other people (less than 15 minutes, and keeping physical distancing while wearing masks) you should be fine. Anything more than that with an infected person and the viral load starts to climb.
3. Around 1% of people who get the disease will die. Almost all of these people have some co-morbidity, including diabetes, heart issues, lung issues and recent sickness. (Recent discovery of the effectiveness of dexamethasone to help the worst affected patients on ventilators might reduce the number even more.)
4. Almost no children or teenagers will get the disease. It seems that children under 12 might not even be carriers.
5. MOST IMPORTANTLY: About 20% of people who get the disease will be very sick for a few weeks. They won’t need hospitalisation but they will be in bed, they will be sore, they will not be able to think straight, they will struggle. And it will take them months to recover.
6. In fact, all those who get the disease, but especially those who show severe or mild symptoms, may never fully recover. This disease affects every part of the body, from the brain to the kidneys, the heart and the lungs. There is growing concern that those who get it will have lifelong effects in their bodies.
7. You can spread this disease before symptoms show in your body. It takes around 5 days on average, but as many as 14 days to incubate and start showing symptoms, and during that time, you are infectious. The majority of people who have given the disease to others have not known they’ve got it. Temperature checking is actually not that helpful a tool in catching infectious people.
We cannot live in fear of Covid 19. And since we know we will be living WITH Covid for an extended period of time (months and years) we can’t isolate ourselves in our homes for that whole time. But neither can we be gung-ho about “getting back to normal”. We need to remain careful, limit our contact with others, wear a mask in public and above all, ensure that we don’t infect other people.
Life with Covid is different to life before Covid. Let’s make sure our actions and attitudes reflect this fact.