[imagesource: AFP via Getty Images]
It’s getting closer.
Yesterday, it was announced that the South African government would be evacuating 132 quarantined South Africans from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.
I’m sure that had some worried about the potential bungling of the evacuation (you probably thought about it, too), but it’s beginning to seem like a matter of time before it reaches South African shores anyway.
Here’s the Guardian:
Coronavirus has spread to sub-Saharan Africa for the first time as stock market losses around the world deepened amid investor alarm over a potential global pandemic.
Nigeria’s health minister, Osagie Ehanire, said the first case in the region was an Italian citizen who worked in Nigeria and had returned from Italy to Lagos on 25 February. “The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos,” Ehanire said.
The case is just the third on the African continent, something that has puzzled health specialists given the continent’s close ties China. The WHO said Africa’s “fragile health systems” also meant the threat posed by the virus “is considerable”.
There have been 17 deaths in Italy already, and 38 confirmed cases of the virus in France.
But back to Africa, and the problems we’re facing:
Egypt had the first case of Covid-19 in Africa, announced on 14 February. Algeria declared it had a case on Tuesday, an Italian adult who arrived in the country on 17 February. That prompted the WHO’s regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, to warn that the “window of opportunity the continent has had to prepare for coronavirus disease is closing.”
His warning was reiterated by WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday, who said the epidemic was at a “decisive point globally” and that it could “get out of control” if affected countries did not move swiftly to contain it.
“It’s what’s happening in the rest of the world that’s now our greatest concern,” he said.
In other words, it’s cool to bring up stats about how the common cold is estimated to have killed around 400 000 globally last year, but you’re missing the point.
Firstly, the common cold has a mortality rate of around 0,1%, reports the New York Times, whereas the coronavirus has a mortality rate estimated to be around 2,3%.
You can see a slightly outdated comparison between the two here.
That being said, many people who contract a mild case of the coronavirus may not even know:
For many with mild infections, the coronavirus could be virtually indistinguishable from the common cold or seasonal flu, said Dr. Jin of the University of Hong Kong.
“Some of these patients, they just go unrecognized,” he said. “It could be just as small as a sore throat. Then one day, two days, it’s gone.”
…There is no doubt that the virus can be dangerous, especially for critical cases. Of those patients, 49 percent died, according the study by the Chinese Center for Disease Control.
But critical cases made up just a tiny fraction of the total caseload in the study.
By Thursday, of the 78,487 confirmed cases in China, 32,495, or 41 percent, had been discharged from the hospital, according to China’s National Health Commission. About 8,300 of the remaining patients were in serious condition. More than 2,700 people have died in China.
The Johns Hopkins real-time tracker has, at the time of writing, 83 389 confirmed cases of the virus, and 2 858 deaths.
It is the elderly, or those with compromised immune systems, that are at the most risk:
Is it time for all-out panic? Nah, let’s hold off on that.
Should we be concerned? Yes, the World Health Organisation doesn’t get this worked up over nothing.
Most importantly, happy Friday.
[imagesource:here] I donned a mask, armed myself with extra strength hand sanitiser, an...
[imagesource:here] Most of us, when confronted with the job of picking out a decent win...
Usually, when it comes to Americans refusing to wear a face mask in public, sympathies are...
On Monday night, a truck driver in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal, was killed after he lost contr...
[imagesource: Getty] At the ripe old age of 91, Hugh Hefner kicked the bucket back in 2...