The pandemic will change the world for ever and Humanity will learn a new way of life.
We are living through a world-disrupting event whose final consequences we are only beginning to imagine.
There is no doubt that as this disease has disrupted lives, markets and exposed the competence (or lack of it) of governments, it will lead to permanent changes in political and economic power in ways that only later will be apparent.
Humanity is taking a new and extremely worrying path where economic globalisation will be broken as COVID-19 might create a less open, less prosperous, and less free world as a result of the combination of a deadly virus with inadequate planning and leadership.
The coronavirus pandemic will change our politics, both within states and between them. Every nation and every individual is experiencing the social strain of this disease in new and powerful ways but this is not yet the end of an interconnected world. The pandemic itself is proof of our interdependence.
The depth and scale of the COVID-19 pandemic is enormous. It will not only have long-lasting economic effects but will lead to an unpredictable array of fundamental changes.
Most people who become ill due to COVID-19 infection, especially children and young adults, experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. About one in every five people who catch it will need hospital care.
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. This is why it is important to stay more than one metre (three feet) away from a person who is sick.
The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true at the early stages of the disease. It is, therefore, possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the transmission of COVID-19 and will continue to share updated findings.
The risk of catching COVID-19 from the faeces of an infected person appears to be low. While initial investigations suggest the virus may be present in faeces, spread through this route is not a main feature of the outbreak. Because this is a risk, however, it is another reason to clean hands regularly, after using the bathroom and before eating.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but do not develop any symptoms and do not feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.
Around one out of every six people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes or oncologic diseases, are more likely to develop serious illness.
In any case, if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early to reduce the risk of developing a more severe infection and be sure to share your recent travel history with your health care provider.
The following measures ARE NOT effective against COVID-2019 and can be harmful:
▪ Wearing multiple masks
▪ Taking antibiotics
The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the COVID-19 virus from a package that has been moved, travelled and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.
At present, clinical management includes infection prevention, control measures and supportive care, including supplementary oxygen and mechanical ventilatory support when indicated. An array of drugs approved for other indications as well as several investigational drugs are being studied in several hundred clinical trials that are underway across the globe.
In every country there are many examples of the power of the human spirit, as doctors, nurses, political leaders, and ordinary citizens demonstrate resilience, effectiveness, and leadership.
We all hope that men and women around the world will be strong enough to respond to this extraordinary challenge…
It will not be easy, but we will do it. WE WILL!
Best health wishes,
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Dr Maria Alice is a consultant in General and Family Medicine. General Manager/Medical Director – Luzdoc International Medical Service. Medical Director – Grupo Hospital Particular do Algarve/ Hospital S. Gonçalo de Lagos