Prevention in the age of Corona Virus Pandemic

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By Duwei Biteboye MD

So Firstly, we all know what prevention means. And if you are in doubt it is simply the act of stopping something from happening or arising.  

Especially, when it is something undesirable.  

Numerous times have we heard the wise saying of prevention is better than cure, this is because most of the time it is much cheaper to avoid unwanted circumstances/problems both in terms of time, and resources.  

In other words, failure to do so can be very disastrous and irreplaceable losses such as life can be wasted. 

Benjamin Franklin emphasized the above in one of his quote as “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” 

Applying prevention in medicine, 🧑🏻‍⚕️involves simply practical steps that are designed or directed to avert and avoid diseases, in other to keep all of us healthy 

As we narrow these preventive measures to COVID-19. 

Permit me say a few things on COVID-19, then, summarize with how we can protect our love ones and ourselves from this rampaging disease. 

Corona (aka Crown-looking) viruses are a large family of Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) viruses that include the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona virus type 2 SARS-Cov-2, named on the 11th February 2020 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).  

This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the SARS outbreak of 2003 in Foshan, Guangdong, China killing at least 774 people.  

However, despite being related, the two viruses are different. 

The 19 attached to it indicates the year 2019 of outbreak, when a series of cases of a novel virus were reported in Wuhan Central China precisely in December 2019. Within 2 months, the outbreak had spread rapidly worldwide. 

By January 30, 2020, It was declared as a disease of Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). As we speak about 212 countries/territories have reported at least one confirmed case of this virus, this year. 

Here are a few Statistics on this  COVID-19 Pandemic for your perusal, 

Globally as at 10:42am today 12th August, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports 

COVID-19  Confirmed cases – 20,120,919 

Deaths- 736,766 

In Nigeria, 

On the 27th February, a 44-year old Italian citizen was diagnosed of COVID-19 in Ogun State. 

 Five months after the index case, all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory have been affected,  

As at 1:43pm today 12th of August, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has it that, 

 COVID-19 Confirmed cases – 47,290  

Deaths- 956 

From the above 👆🏼, the rapid spread of this disease is not in doubt. 

So how is it transmitted? 

For now, the generally agreed upon mode of transmission is the: 

Person-to-person transmission between close contacts 

i.e 

– Within <2 meters/ 6 feet 

– Through respiratory droplets (tiny drops of fluids containing viruses), 

– Droplets are generated by coughing, sneezing or talking, 

– Droplets get in contact with eyes, nose or mouth. 

 

Transmission may also occur indirectly, 

Through, 

– Droplets settled on surfaces/fomites (tables, chairs, floors, door handles and e.t.c), 

– These surfaces/fomites contaminate the hands, 

– While the hand touches the face and contaminates the eyes, nose and mouth. 

Other mode of transmission has not yet been confirmed. 

  

These infections usually move through, 

Infected symptomatic patients who readily transmit the virus and, 

Infected asymptomatic patients may also transmit it. 

  

It is important to know that: Everyone is at risk of infection but only few people will manifest symptoms of COVID-19. 

 

Hence, we all must take responsibility as youths ready for Global action…🤗💪🏻 

The spectrum of illnesses ranges from common cold to more severe respiratory disease (rarely gastroenteritis). 

The lead cause of death is often due to an atypical (abnormal) pneumonia which could be very severe, practically, choking its victims to death. 

This aforementioned Complications and mortality are commoner in, 

– older patients (>60 years) and 

– those with underlying diseases or immunosuppression. 

Common symptoms of COVID-19 includes, 

– Headache 

– Sneezing 

– Cough 

– Fever 

– Shortness of breath 

– Breathing difficulties 

– Kidney failure and others. 

Others symptoms include: 

– Loss of smell 

– Loss of taste 

– Sore throat, etc. 

Often after being infected, the virus 🦠 seems to start with a fever 🤒, followed by a dry cough😤 and then, after a week, leads to shortness of breath 😶 and some patients might need hospital admission 🚑 

Going through the above, and seeing how familiar these symptoms are, I want to believe you all would be wondering what is the difference between COVID-19 and Malaria.🤔 

The difference 🤷🏼 can only be confirmed by laboratory investigation 🔬wherein samples are collected by trained personnel in the hospital or designated collection centers and sent to the closest NCDC lab ⚗️for confirmation . Thus, the tag Confirmed case. 

  

Prior to the above confirmation, we (including Medical doctors🩺) can only speculate or using the right term suspect.

Hence, you hear of suspected cases/patients. 

A suspected case or person (as defined by WHO) is: 

Any person (including severely ill patients) with:  

Fever or Cough or Difficulty breathing and in the last 14 days had; 

– History of travel to and/ more than 24 hours transit through any high-risk country with wide spread community transmission OR, 

– Close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 OR, 

– Exposure to a healthcare facility where COVID-19 case have been reported. 

So for want of time⏰, and with the little knowledge of COVID-19 shared above, we could actually protect ourselves by adhering to the following advise listed below; 

  

– Educating ourselves by reading and listening more to verified sources of news, government accredited agencies and health care professionals and following their advice and instructions. For example, adherence to the government guidelines on restriction on gathering and movement must be strictly followed, and individually, non-essential movement should be greatly curtained. 

– High index of suspicion of COVID-19 especially after treating these non-specific symptoms as malaria without corresponding improvement. 

– Regularly and thoroughly wash hands with soap under running water or use alcohol-based sanitizers if water is not available. 

– Cover your nose and mouth 🥱with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose properly into dustbin. 

-Regular and appropriate use of face mask 😷  

– Maintain at least 2 meters or 6 feet🏃‍♂️ distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing🗣. 

– Do not spread fake or unverified news. 

– People who above 50 year 👨🏿‍🦳and above and/or have a history of underlying health conditions such as High blood pressure, asthma, cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes and etc. should stay at home. 

– Pay adequate care to our health and the health of those around us. Eat healthily, sleep well, avoid substance/activities detrimental to our health and those around us. 

we also need to hold our leaders accountable, so they live up to their responsibilities of providing basic health care services and equip our hospitals to meet up to the challenges of our times 

Treatment 

I had deliberately wanted to leave this part aside as there is no definitive drug treatment or vaccine approved yet (at least not universally). Though Russia is claims to have gotten one now. We are still watching. 

However,  

Medical doctors treat symptomatically by using some medications have proven helpful to: 

– suppress viral multiplication 

– reduce severity and complications 

– boost natural immunity 

– speed up recovery 

– shorten hospital stay 

  

These include: 

Some selected vitamins and minerals, antivirals, much the debated chloroquine, azithromycin and etc. 

The take home from this treatment part is  

Avoid self-medication and unverified claims of cure. 

Call the hospital or seek help for certified health practitioners 

In conclusion  

Prevention in the age of the Corona Virus Pandemic is a responsibility for each and everyone of us. And we all must live up to expectations to eradicate this pandemic globally.

Bibliography

COVID-19 strategy update, 13 April, 2020. By WHO.

National Interim guidelines for clinical management of COVID-19, version 3, June 2020. By NCDC.

Phase wise opening Nigerian 13. By NCDC.

Pattern of Covid-19 pandemic in Bayelsa- Dr. J. Y. Stow.

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