In December 2019, a pneumonia outbreak occurred in Wuhan, China and was traced to a novel (new) strain of coronavirus. It has since spread across the globe and is known as COVID-19. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that usually cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness, like the common cold. In the past two decades, 3 new coronaviruses have emerged from animal reservoirs that caused widespread illness and death. Most coronaviruses live in animals such as pigs, camels, bats and cats. Sometimes the viruses jump from animals to humans and cause disease. Four of 7 coronaviruses that cause illness in people result in only mild disease. Three of these have caused serious, even fatal disease: SARS coronavirus emerged in November 2002, causing severe acute respiratory syndrome in 8,000 people and resulting in 774 deaths. That virus disappeared in 2004. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which was identified in September 2012, was transferred from camels and continues to cause sporadic outbreaks. The third novel coronavirus to emerge is the current one that emerged in China at the end of 2019. This is the one that is the agent that is causing the current outbreak and was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020.
At the time of this writing (4/14/20), there have been 2,000,000+ confirmed cases and over 120,000 deaths worldwide. In the U.S., there are more than 580,000 confirmed cases and 23,422+ deaths. Cases are occurring in all 50 States. An analysis of the U.S. cases shows the following: 1. Average age of a COVD-19 patient is 56 years. 2. Sex ratio (M/F) – 1.6/1. 3. Case fatality – 6.2%.
Based on data that have been reported in the medical literature, the following symptoms have been found in COVID-19 patients: Fever – 87.9%, Dry Cough –67.7%, Dyspnea (shortness of breath) – 18.6%, Diarrhea – 3.7%, Sore Throat – 13.9%, Ventilatory Use – 4.1%. This disease is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks and by touching a contaminated surface and transferring it to the mouth, nose or eyes.
While all ages can be infected, older people and those with pre-existing conditions (asthma, heart disease, diabetes, COPD are more vulnerable to this disease. During this pandemic, it is recommended that people do the following to stay safe: 1) Practice social distancing as much as possible by maintaining at least 6 feet between persons when in public places. 2) Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. 3) Cover your cough with a disposable tissue or into your flexed elbow. 4) Try not to touch your eyes or nose if your hands are not clean. 5) In public places, wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth. 6) If you are sick, contact your physician or other healthcare personnel. 7) Stay tuned into or read RELIABLE sources of information about this disease.
At a time like this, a number of scams become operative and one should avoid them. Newspapers, magazines, television and the internet are sources of MYTHS to be avoided. Here are a few examples you should be aware of:
“5G mobile networks spread COVID-19.” This is false.
“Exposing yourself to the sun or temperatures above 25 degrees C will prevent spread of
COVID-19.” This is false.
“Holding your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing means you are free of
COVID-19.” This is false.
“Drinking alcohol can protect you from COVID-19″ This is false.
“Taking a hot bath prevents COVID-19.” This is false.
“Coronavirus is transmitted through mosquito bites.” This is false.
“Eating garlic protects people from COVID-19.” This is false.
“There are specific medicines proven to prevent or treat COVID-19. This is false.
“Hair dryers are effective in killing the new coronavirus. This is false.
Preliminary data obtained so far indicates or suggests that the median time for most people with mild disease to recover is approximately 2 weeks and 3-6 weeks for patients with severe or critical disease.
This pandemic has made manifest that the church is not the physical structure where the people of God meet, but the “called out ones” who serve the living Christ wherever they are, even when connected by modern technology. Truth really matters. It can mean the difference between life and death. Lack of wisdom in the name of faith has proven deadly, as noted from various news sources. I close this article with some guidance from the Word of God:
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isa. 43:19 (ESV)
“The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than shouting of a ruler among fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.” Ecclesiastes 9:17-18 (ESV)
“Wisdom is the principle thing, therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7 (NKJV)
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12 (ESV)
John W. Downing, Jr., M.D.