People are very afraid of the Coronavirus, but for those who catch it, it is no more dangerous than a normal flu. Today, the main threat is collective panic, which could seriously affect health in general and the economy (of Brescia and the whole of Italy).
So the following is a short guide to help to avoid unfounded fear of the Coronavirus.
IS THE CORONAVIRUS DANGEROUS?
Yes, but more or less like normal flu, the real risk is only to very elderly people or those who already have serious health conditions}. According to recent estimates, flu causes between 200 and 400 deaths in Italy every year, plus from 4 to 10 thousand deaths due to complications. In China the mortality rate is about 3%, but the country’s level of health care must also be considered. Worldwide and in Italy, the mortality rate (bearing in mind that many people who catch the Coronavirus are never detected, since they have virtually no symptoms) is similar to that of flu; it falls below 0.2% under 30 years of age and increases with age (with peaks of around 20% in the over 80s).
WHY ARE PEOPLE SO SCARED OF THE CORONAVIRUS?
The Coronavirus real risk factor is its high virulence (in other words, “sick” patients’ ability to spread the virus): in fact, a rapid increase in hospitalisations and large numbers of A&E visits – combined with the effect of the collective panic – could overload the national health service, thus reducing the levels of care available and increasing the mortality rate. There might also be serious consequences for the economy.
CORONAVIRUS, SHOULD I BE SCARED IN BRESCIA?
No. There is a lot of fake news circulating on Facebook. It is probable that cases will increase in our province, but the situation is under control.
CORONAVIRUS, DO I NEED TO STOCK UP FROM SUPERMARKETS?
No. There is currently not an emergency in Italy. However, there is a risk that a general panic may run down stocks of some products for a few days, and this has already occurred in supermarkets in Brescia. This is why the Italian health authorities are acting so energetically. However, there is no risk of a food emergency in Italy.
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO AVOID CATCHING THE CORONAVIRUS?
The advice to be followed is very simple. Wash your hands often: a disinfectant (such as “Amuchina”) is not essential; simply use hot water and soap and rub your hands thoroughly for several seconds. It is also advisable to avoid crowded places (especially indoors), since a high density of people at close quarters helps the virus to spread. Commercially available face masks do not help to avoid catching the virus, but only to avoid spreading it once you have caught it.
FOCUS: CORONAVIRUS, SOURCES OF CONTAGION (SOURCE BRESCIA HEALTH TRUST)
According to the information currently available, the Coronavirus may be transmitted in case of close contact between a patient with symptoms and a susceptible individual, but the more unlikely case of transmission between people without symptoms is also considered possible.
The main contagion route is via:
- Tiny saliva droplets expelled over short distances during coughs and sneezes which may deposit on the mucosa of a susceptible individual. This, which occurs in close contact (2 metres), is the main contagion route.
Other possible contagion routes are:
- Airborne, via evaporated droplets containing micro-organisms, which remain suspended in the air for long periods. This means that people at some distance from the infected patient may catch the virus.
• Possible contact between mucosa and contaminated objects, surfaces or clothes, unwashed contaminated hands, etc..
CORONAVIRUS: USEFUL CONTACTS
FOR EMERGENCIES OR SERIOUS FLU SYMPTOMS
(do not go to Emergency rooms or doctors’ offices)
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS
CALL FREEPHONE NUMBER: 1500
LOMBARDY REGION FREEPHONE NUMBER: 800894545