According to the Chinese government’s statistics COVID-19 currently has 2% mortality rate, SARS was 10% and, the usual influenza mortality rate is 0.1%.

We live in a progressively “smaller” world. Before we could fly it would have taken months to travel to America from China. During the trip infections contracted there would have already played out or create an obvious need for quarantine upon arrival. Now you can fly almost anywhere in the world in less than a day, not including stop overs in crowded airports.

One of the reasons the Coronavirus called COVID-19 is so concerning is that the person is contagious up to 5 days before they even know they show symptoms.  Some people are contagious and never develop symptoms. The CDC has established three tier categories based on distance from an infectious person.

Transmission of Infectious Material

1. From the inhalation or contact of germ laden droplets sneezed or coughed out from a person up to 6 feet away.

2. From surfaces such as tables, door handles, etc. that someone touches then transfers to their eyes, nose, or mouth, or to something that goes in their mouth.

For specific steps to reduce the transmission of airborne pathogens, viruses such as COVID-19, influenza strains and colds in your workplace go to the Simple Safety Coach blog.

The Four Major Stages of Disease

  1. Incubation: invasion of the body by microorganisms and replication of the organisms causing infection. 
  2. Prodromal: symptoms are not very specific or severe, they are still walking around infecting people. 
  3. Peak: the worst expression of symptoms and discomfort. 
  4. Recovery: symptoms have almost completely gone, and the pathogen has been mostly eliminated from the body.


Influenza

The CDC states that flu season is from October to April and estimates that between 10/01/2019 – 2/08/2020 there have been: 

  1. 26,000,000 – 36,000,000 flu illnesses 
  2. 12,000,000 – 17,000,000 flu related doctor visits 
  3. 250,000 – 440,000 flu hospitalizations 
  4. 14,000 – 36,000 flu deaths, 0.1% 

 Contagious period: the day before symptoms appear until symptoms disappear and 24 hours after a normal temperature without the aid of medicine. 

Note: you are still contagious when on medications for the flu. 

 Duration: a couple of weeks. Flu symptoms also come on much more quickly than colds, which tend to build up, like an orchestral crescendo.  Which explains the pulsing headache. 

 Sources of exposure: droplets of moisture in the air on surfaces from sneezing or coughing. 

 Viability outside of the body: flu viruses on hard surfaces can cause infections up to 48 hours. They are infectious on the hands for 5 or more minutes. 

 Routes of transmission: inhalation of droplets, contact of droplets with the mouth, nose or eyes, and transfer of droplets from surface to the mouth, nose or yes via your hands. 

 Symptoms: – Fever or feeling feverish – Achy muscles, especially in your back, arms and legs – Runny or stuffy nose – Sore Throat – Cough – Chills and sweats – Weakness and fatigue – Headaches

Colds

Are caused by conventional human coronaviruses are not fatal without having additional factors making them more fragile than average. 

 Contagious period: the day before symptoms appear until symptoms disappear and 24 hours after a normal temperature without the aid of medicine. 

 Duration: 7 -10 days. 

 Sources of exposure: droplets of moisture in the air on surfaces from sneezing or coughing. 

 Viability outside of the body: cold viruses on hard surfaces can cause infections up to 24 hours. They are infectious on hands up to an hour. 

 Routes of transmission: inhalation of droplets, contact of droplets with the mouth, nose, or eyes, and transfer of droplets from surfaces to the mouth, nose, or eyes via your hands. 

 Symptoms: – Runny nose – Sore throat – Cough – Sneezing – Headaches – Body aches

2019 Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19

According to an NBC news article on February 12, 2020 “Chinese health officials said Wednesday the death toll from the novel coronavirus has reached 1,113. It stood at 1,016 the day before.

 Officials at China’s National Health Commission said there were now 44,653 confirmed cases in mainland China.

 More than 500 cases have been recorded outside mainland China so far – 2 of them fatal. One person died from the virus in the Philippines on February 1 and another in Hong Kong several days later.

 Contagious period: the virus replicates prodigiously in the upper respiratory tract and individuals are infectious up to 5 days before symptoms appear. The coronavirus SARS-CoV, for example, was most infectious during the peak stage of the illness. COVID-19 symptoms can appear 2 to 42 days after exposure. 

 Duration: 7 – 10 days. 

 Sources of exposure: droplets of moisture in the air on surfaces from sneezing or coughing. 

 Viability outside of the body: flu on hard surfaces can cause infections up to 48 hours. 

 Routes of transmission: inhalation of droplets, contact of droplets with the mouth, nose, or eyes, and transfer of droplets from surfaces to the mouth, nose or eyes via your hands. 

 Symptoms: -Fever -Cough -Shortness of breath 

There are 3 paths a COVID-19 infection has taken so far: 

  1. Mild illness with upper respiratory tract symptoms 
  2. Non-life-threatening pneumonia 
  3. Severe pneumonia with acute respiratory distress syndrome, ARDS The estimated fatality rate at this time is 1-2%, SARS was 10%. However, not all of the information required for an accurate fatality rate is available at this time.

Keep an eye on this Blog for 2 more articles:

Part One on the general characteristics and infectivity of viruses.

Part Two on how to decide on a safe distance (is it 3, 4, 6, or more feet?), PPE: protection or a new source of exposure, and safe and simple decontamination of surfaces.