Sitting Ducks: The coronavirus’ predictability makes it unpredictable
Imagine this. You’re on a trip to go do your Master’s. Things are looking up. The world is already competitive enough and you need to rise above the pile, to bolster your chances of getting your family a better livelihood.
You book your trip to China.
And then disaster looms.
Coronavirus 2019 – or Covid-19, generates from Wuhan seafood market and takes the world by storm. And traps at least 90 Kenyan students there.
60% of the world’s population lives in Asia.
With 239 Chinese landing in Kenya this week, are we really prepared as a country to deal with this epidemic? Is it even an epidemic anymore? Is it finally time the UN termed it as a pandemic?
Instead of arresting the slump, we look like soon we will succumb to it.
As the coronavirus continues to race around the globe, scientists are struggling to answer many questions:
How easily does it spread from person to person?
What is the real incubation period? – The time during which infected people can transmit the virus without showing the symptoms themselves?
And most importantly what is the true death rate?
But with predictability comes the risk of unpredictability – despite knowing the nature of the emergence to its virality, how come we look so unprepared?
With the bulk of the deaths coming from China, and Iran (for an outside country) it is hard to determine how many people exactly will be infected. Wuhan, a city with eleven million residents, and 90 Kenyan students, had already started experiencing people leaving the city before the Chinese authorities closed it off.
Have they all been accounted for?
Is It finally time for everyone for Himself and God for us all?
With others claiming that the disease may have come from a distant cousin of the bats – the endangered pangolins, which are allegedly prized for their supposed medicinal properties of their scales.
They were allegedly sold at the seafood market in Wuhan, where the epidemic appears to have started.
These infectious diseases moving from animals to humans are called zoonoses.
Common zoonenses include rabies, lyme diseases from ticks, and the worldwide irritant, malaria caused by mosquito bites.
And let’s not forget the infamous H1N1, deftly referred to as the ‘Swine Flu’, because it passed to humans through pigs, and ended up infecting at least 1.4 billion people in 2009.
The problem with these kind of viruses is that they are new – which means then that humans have no antibodies to defend against them.
The worst thing is that the virus is not just taking lives, but the economic damage to Asian countries, and subsequently the rest of the world could be vital. Never mind the fact that it could take according to some sources, over an year to find the correct vaccine for its potency.
Travel to China has been restricted, if not banned with xenophobic attacks against Asians rising expeditiously.
Even if this pandemic passes quickly, there will definitely be another one, probably even more severe. Tomorrow, the next day or even in the next decade.
For now, it’s a matter of asking ourselves what will we do if it comes to Kenya?
We are all either infected or affected.
As the late Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist Joshua Ledeberg put it: ‘Viruses pose the single biggest threat to man’s continues dominance on this planet’.
Truer, more famous words have never been spoken.
Which means now it’s no longer a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’.
- The virus is now in every continent except Antarctica. Africa has two countries currently reported with Egypt and Algeria.
- Corona virus (Covd-19) is a family of viruses that cause a range of illnesses from common cold to more severe diseases such as the Middle East respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
- Tedros Ahanom Gebreyesus, director-general of the WHO claimed we are now in a fight to contain the social and economic damage a global pandemic can do,
- COVID-19 is transmitted through air by coughing or sneezing, or close contact with an infected person
- The incubation period is between 1 to 14 days, ut most commonly 5 days
- According to WHO, signs of infection ranges from respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough and breathing difficulties; it also includes impaired liver and kidney infection.
- There is no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19
- Most patients recover thanks to supportive care to treat specific symptoms but those with serious illness should be hospitalized
- Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with soap and/or hand sanitizer
• Avoid unnecessary travel to the Asia Pacific region