Understanding the origins of the novel coranavirus, the implications for this pandemic, and how CuraFlo is responding in this unexpected time. Coronavirus: operating a plumbing company.
April 09, 2020
The World Changed in Only 3 Months
On December 31 2019, China notified the World Health Organization of several cases of an unusual pneumonia in Wuhan, a port city of 11 million people in the central Hubei province. Several of the infections were linked to the The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which was shut down the following day. Two days after purchasing goods from the Huanan Market, a 61-year old man died from an unknown infection. He was the country’s first known victim of the virus. In the following weeks, the outbreak ballooned across China, spread across the border, and reached almost all continents. Over 1.5 million people have been infected and 91,000 dead in only 3.5 months.(1)
If The World Already has Coronavirus and Flu, Why is COVID 19 So Bad?
Coronavirus gets its name from the crown-like spikes on the surface of the virus. There are six coronaviruses that have infected humans since the 1960s. Four resulted in symptoms resembling the common cold: sore throat, drippy nose and mild temperature- a mild inconvenience. In 2002, a much deadlier coronavirus appeared in China called SARS with a death rate of 10%. Luckily, China contained SARS, but it still resulted in 800 deaths. In 2012, an even deadlier coronavirus appeared from Saudi Arabia called MERS, with a staggering death rate of 35%. 858 died from the MERS infection. The key that limited a pandemic from both SARS and MERS was that the virus was only communicable when the victim was exhibiting symptoms. Therefore, someone really sick was isolated, which dramatically limited transmission.
This contrasts with the common flu where it can be communicated when someone has the virus but is not showing symptoms, resulting in many more people infected. So although the common flu has a death rate of only 0.1%, about 290,000 to 650,000 people die each year because people are spreading the virus without the knowledge of being sick. The increased duration of exposure accounts for the higher death rates compared to MERS and SARS.
Now we have COVID-19. It has high death rates of other coronavirus AND the communicability of common flu. In fact, it is twice as communicable as the common flu, as about half of the carriers may not even know when they are sick but can continue to infect society. The COVID-19 death rate is incredibly high too. The COVID-19 death rate is currently around 4.5% but the CDC estimates the actual rate to drop closer to 3.4%. This number is still 34 times higher than the common flu. If we continue to follow the math, this leads to between 19,000,000 and 44,000,000 deaths in a very short period of time!(2)
What Can We Do? Coronavirus: Operating a Plumbing Company
COVID-19 is a new virus so we have no immunity. A vaccine is 12 to 18 months away. If we continue to live ‘as usual’ over the next year, we can expect the worst pandemic of all time. But we do know there is something we can do to avoid high mortality rate. Several early infected countries, like China, have been able to reduce the rate of infection dramatically by breaking the chain of infection. They altered how they live and work to drop the ability of the virus to infect people.
COVID-19 is a disease that is spread by breathing or coughing on someone, or touching a surface and then touching one’s face. We touch our face on average 22 times each hour, mostly without even being aware of it. Therefore, if your hands have the virus, your face will soon too.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention has guidelines for businesses to minimize the risk of infection.(3) At CuraFlo we take these guidelines very serious and join the fight to limit the COVID 19 infection. Our employees have been educated on the risk of COVID-19. Hand cleanliness, sharing tools, wearing masks and gloves, minimizing personal contact, and respecting each other’s social distancing 6.5 feet apart are some of the many ways we are staying safe. For anyone working in trades, you can help stop the spread by taking off all gear when coming home and either leave it outside or immediately washing clothing and showering before greeting everyone.
The government has already noticed the positive effects of social distancing and how it’s reducing the spread. It takes a village to make a change and everyone working together will strengthen our community and overcome this pandemic.