How To Stay Safe From Coronavirus Covid-19 (previously 2019-nCoV)

February 12, 2020

women wearing surgical mask with man in medical protective gear checks her temperature

 

What is coronavirus? 

Coronavirus (Covid-19) is a type of virus that causes symptoms similar to the common cold ranging all the way to more serious respiratory symptoms. The new virus that has emerged in 2019 is currently known as the novel coronavirus and it emerged in a Chinese city called Wuhan. 


The novel coronavirus is a completely new strain of coronavirus and it can be transmitted from person to person. At the moment, there is no solid lead on where this originated from and experts are working hard to find the source. While some experts believe it originated from a wild life market in Wuhan, it will still be some time before this can be confirmed. However, once the source is found, it will be easier for doctors to create a vaccine.


Symptoms of the CoVn include;

4 icons showing symptoms of covid-19
  • Persistent dry cough
  • Breathing difficulties 
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath

It's important to note that the majority of those who have died from the illness are elderly and or have pre existing illnesses. Therefore its essential for everyone to minimise their exposure to the infection and to prevent it by following these rules; 

6 methods to best prevent covid-19
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wear N95 face masks

For more information on washing hands please go to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website link here.


How is it spread? 

Much of the information on how to prevent the transmission of novel coronavirus is based on existing information on typical coronavirus transmission, which typically is spread when a droplet of moisture from an infected person enters an uninfected via eye, nose, mouth or open wounds. 

Normally, coronavirus are most contagious when symptoms are showing, but there are some reports that there are human to human transmission even when there are no symptoms. Any who has been in close contact with a potentially infected person which is defined at being within 6.5 feet (2 meters) of them for 15 minutes. 

If you have traveled to China and start feeling sick with cough, fever and or difficulty breathing you should immediately seek medical care. However, before you make your way to the doctors or the emergency room at the hospital, please call ahead and inform them about your symptoms, your travel history and if you have potentially been in contact with someone suspected to have the virus. 


What has been done to deal with it? 


One of the first things officials in China have done is seal off the city of Wuhan where the virus originated from in an attempt to stop the infection. All major transportation going in or out the city has been stopped and road blocks put into place. To further attempt to stem the contagion, many countries have banned any foreign nationals from arriving if they have been travelling in China in the last 14 days. 

Many countries have also begun evacuation of their nationals and under very strict monitoring and will be quarantined for 14 days as this is the incubation period of the virus. 

In addition to those measures, authorities are arming their staff with temperature guns to check passengers and traveling passing through borders. Anyone reported with a fever will either be denied entry or taken straight to hospital. 


How to check for fever safely at a distance?

Man in street wearing n95 mask

Medical and border staff are armed with protective gloves and surgical masks with the most common standard being N-95. This means the mask, or also known as Surgical N95 Respirators, will filter out 95% of all airborne particles that are at least 0.3 microns, but it will not filter oil*.

It should be noted that regular face masks will not help much but can be used if there is nothing else. For a comprehensive list of companies that sell approved N95 masks please click here.

https://www.livescience.com/face-mask-new-coronavirus.html


Other points to note about N95 masks and protective gloves is to regularly change them, at the very least they should be changed daily and disposed of carefully. 


Normally a contact thermometer is used on suspected patients with a fever, however in this scenario it's extremely dangerous for staff to be in contact with so many people. The solution? Temperature thermometer guns or thermal cameras. 


Border staff checking peoples temperature with laser temperature gun


Temperature thermometer guns are a gun shaped meter that can measure the surface temperature at a spot location which can range from 2 cm - 12 cm depending on the distance. These work very well if they are calibrated correctly as many of these temperature thermometer guns can range from 0 up to 1922F. Therefore to increase the accuracy, special laser thermometer guns are calibrated to a much smaller range but with a much higher accuracy.

Thermal Camera scanning crowds


Thermal cameras on the other hand could provide a more accurate image and do mass checks at once. They work by measuring the heat signatures of various objects and in this case humans, and they display the findings into a normal visible light image. They don’t have the limitation of focusing on one particular point to find the temperature which makes it a great choice to screen mass passengers at once. However in some cases they lack the level of accuracy needed to check for fevers and thus one scenario could be that any slight deviation from normal temperatures could be further checked with a laser thermometer gun. 


https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/disp_part/n95list1.html *


https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html



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