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So what’s the go with Coronavirus?

11.03.2020 1 Leila Berney
So what’s the go with Coronavirus?

Let’s talk about the not-so-discreet-and-very-annoying elephant in the room: Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The fast-spreading respiratory disease is causing a bit of a global panic. It’s spread to over 80 countries and there have been over 110,000 confirmed cases worldwide… but how worried should you actually be? 

What are the facts?

We’re not doctors, nor are we scientists, but we did want to look at the facts and share some great sources of information with you: 

  • This is a BBC article about the symptoms of Coronavirus, how to protect yourself, and what the risks actually are. The article was written for UK citizens, but the information is sound. Here is a more dense Australian version

 

 

 

 

  •  Doctor Abdu Sharkawy who works in the Division of Infectious Disease wrote about his main concern being not the virus itself, but the consequent global panic. 

 

 

  • If you’ve got the time, this is a very thorough chat with infectious disease epidemiology expert, Michael Osterholm.

 

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Our biggest takeaways are: 

  • Coronavirus is thought to be similar to other flus in terms of spread and prevention. 
 
  • Basic hygiene practices like washing your hands with soap or hand sanitiser, covering your mouth when you cough, and avoiding large crowds and close contact with people who are unwell are the way to go. So is staying generally healthy - eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and cut back on smoking and alcohol.
 
  • Wearing a face mask is almost useless for protection, unless you have a cough you're trying to contain; please leave these for the dentists and doctors who actually need them!
 
  • The symptoms - fever, a dry cough, shortness of breath - are really similar to other colds and flus, and in most cases are mild. This also means that the current Coronavirus statistics can seem more dire than they are, as so many people are infected without realising, and recover without ever getting tested. 
 
  • Some patients do end up needing medical care, and in some extreme cases, Coronavirus may lead to death. 
 

  • Those most vulnerable to Coronavirus are the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. 

 

  • The death rate of Coronavirus appears to be higher than that of the seasonal flu, but it is not yet totally conclusive, as statistics differ between locations. 

 

  • South Korea is at present the country that has conducted the most thorough Coronavirus testing. This has made them the second highest country of confirmed cases (as they’re actually being reported). Their death rate is 0.6%, which is much lower than the rate calculated by China and the US.

 

  • There is currently no vaccine available for Coronavirus. 

 

  • The death risk of Coronavirus is not so frightening to those in the medical field; what is frightening to them is how overloaded the global healthcare system could become due to infected patients needing quarantine and medical care. 

 

  •  Experts are also very concerned about the repercussions of global panic & the impact on travel, tourism, trade, business and economies in general.

 


An almost empty flight flying from Milan to London, Laurel Chor/Getty Images

What does this mean for travellers?

The travel industry has been hit extremely hard since the spread of Coronavirus.  (We’re certainly feeling it…)

Major tourist attractions have temporarily closed, events have been cancelled, popular destinations are deserted, and it seems to be worsening. Travel restrictions have even been put in place for China, Italy, South Korea, Iran and Japan.

The World Health Organisation is recommending that any elderly or travellers with pre-existing health conditions avoid traveling to areas with ongoing rates of Coronavirus transmission, as these are the persons at highest risk of fatality. 

It’s also important to consider other factors like the quality of healthcare available in places you travel through, should you get sick, and the possibility of areas going into quarantine (or you getting quarantined on your way back home). 

Hong Kong International Airport on 10 March, Sky News

Are there any good bits?

Thankfully, yes there are!

Due to the (worrying) crash of the travel industry, there are some crazy cheap deals on flights! Could be a great time to line up your next holiday?

If you’re traveling in the next few weeks, you’re also likely to experience usually packed attractions being pretty tourist-free. For some, that’s not a vibe, but for others - that just means less queues and less noisy crowds!

We also imagine there might be a global push to help keep tourism industries afloat, meaning some sweet discounts and travels deals could be on the horizon. Keep your eyes peeled, folks. 


The bottom line

Basically guys, the best thing you can do at this stage is to stay informed, do your research, and keep a level head about this Coronavirus. 

Stay safe, be hygienic, make smart decisions about your holiday plans - but don’t be more worried than you actually need to be! 

And, for goodness sake, please don’t go hoarding enough toilet paper to mummify the Harbour Bridge twice over.

Comments (1)

Anna M - Mar 11, 2020

A big thank you to the SimsDirect team for taking the trouble to put this article together. Very interesting that a doctor who specialises in infectious diseases is more concerned by the global panic than the disease itself! I have 3 trips booked this year, the first being to USA in April, Balkans in August and Mexico in November. I won’t be cancelling any of them, even though I am considered to be in one of the “at risk” groups, being over 65 and having a pre-existing heart condition. I do, however feel that a mask(re-useable) would be useful in that it stops you from touching your mouth or nose. Just hoping that Trump doesn’t decide not to let Aussies into the country by April. Stay safe, everyone, and happy travels!

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