After the World Health Organisation officially upgraded the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak as pandemic, the UK has come under the largest rise in coronavirus cases in a single day, with our own region , Norfolk confirming 3 more cases. Although there has been a vast number of announcements telling everybody not to panic, that facemasks are not the most preventable measure, to not touch your face (as public health official Dr Sara Cody in California flawlessly showed us) and to wash your hands more frequently, I still found Tesco to be completely out of hand wash and pasta this afternoon.
In fact, the impact of the outbreak and escalation as a result of fake news has led to the NHS pointing everybody’s attention to a part of their website that is dedicated to debunking tabloid myths after announcing they are working with social media giants, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Google in tackling any further spread of nationwide paranoia (source: https://www.england.nhs.uk/2020/03/nhs-takes-action-against-coronavirus-fake-news-online/). To reassure everyone more , the NHS have plans already in place to try and expand testing to 10,000 people a day as opposed to 1,500.
While Italy seems to be in total lockdown, the UK has 460 positive cases and is still set on finding a way to control transmission. Considering the number of cases, 8 people have died and the mortality rate has been confirmed as low, with those that are at high risk of the comparable influenza virus most likely to contract Covid-19.
While the NHS and W.H.O try their best to cover live news on the viral spread throughout the nation, local newspaper; Eastern Daily Press instead seem to be focussing on how persistent Norfolk is in tackling any signs of the virus.
The first story that understandably caught my eye was a report on the work of Norwich scientist, Professor George Lomonossoff. He has been concentrating his attention on a potential vaccine for Coronavirus in pigs, which if successful could form a great deal of knowledge on how to develop a vaccine for human cases. However, news that the virus can easily mutate has been confirmed as typical behaviour for the type of virus that causes Covid-19 and as a result could prove difficult when developing vaccines.
“The mutation rates make it difficult to catch, you are running to stand still. I hope that we can learn from what we are doing with coronavirus in pigs which could be applicable to the overall design of a vaccine against coronavirus in animals and also humans”Source: Professor George Lomonossoff for Eastern Daily Press, 07 March 2020
Amidst all the warnings and the paranoia, the most important thing to take away from this is stay aware and take sensible precautions if you are considered to be in a high risk group.
Below you will find sites with information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how to protect yourselves as well as Q&A’s from W.H.O.
Personally, given everything that has happened recently I believe there to be a lot more potential for a vaccine than we think and stocking up on pasta for the inevitable apocalypse is not going to stop you from contracting the virus nor help anyone else who is likely to contract it either. So, much like the face mask trend, raiding the shelves at your nearest supermarket should definitely be thrown out the window. We’re not going to run out of supplies that quickly anytime soon.
Look out for yourselves but look out for others too.
Some sources of information about Coronavirus: