No Nonsense Facts About COVID-19
It is hard not to be overwhelmed by the volume of information being generated on COVID-19. To us however, we distill the information down to a few key points which helps us understand the pertinent facts in dealing with the virus. We have decided to share that with you to help you understand some key principles and actionable steps that you can do to protect yourself and your family.
It is an Enveloped Virus
This means that the virus fingerprint which it uses to replicate itself (RNA) is contained in its own envelope. There is a good minute and a half video explaining how they work here. The good news is that they are less severe than non-enveloped viruses. They do not last as long on surfaces, are harder to transmit and not as destructive as non-enveloped viruses1. It is not to say that they can’t still be malicious but it does mean that they are easier to decontaminate and kill.
It is not as fatal as some other viruses
It is too early to get an accurate understanding of what the actual fatality to infection rate is. The fatality rate to known cases averages about 4%. (at the time of this writing), Canada is at 2.94% whereas the US is at 3.97%2. What is unknown and uncounted in this is the cases where someone has been infected and has been either asymptomatic or symptoms have been minor because even though they have been infected, they are not tested therefore not counted.
This is not to minimize the virus as any death that occurs as a result is a tragedy and it needs to be taken seriously, just that other infections can produce far worse outcomes. The fatality rate with SARS is 10%, MERS – 35% and Ebola – 50%. Thank goodness we are not dealing with any of those on the scales of infection we are seeing with COVID-19.
It is highly infectious
– The infection rate, often referred to as R naught (R0), is a complex issue with many variables. At its essence, it is fundamentally how many people one person will infect. If the R0 is 1 for example, an infectious person will infect 1 person. Therefore if it is less than 1 the infection will eventually die out but if it is greater than 1, it will spread and grow. Best estimates of R0 for COVID-19 are in the range from 2.2 – 2.74. The rate of time that someone is infectious is longer than other strains of Coronavirus and during periods where someone may not have any indication that they are infected. This is why we have seen this particular virus mushroom into the pandemic it has become today.
Age and pre-existing conditions are the highest risk factors
So far numbers indicate that the single biggest factor affecting the fatality rate is age. Approximately 78%5 of people that died in the US were over the age of 60. This is not to say that it is guaranteed fatal if you catch it and over 60. The chances of dying3 from complications of COVID-19 are approximately 15%-20% if you are 80+, 5% – 12% if you are 70 – 80 years and 1.8% – 3.6% if you are in the 60 – 70 age range.
Many times death is a result of complications from COVID-19 due to previously underlying health conditions which when compound with the viral infection leads to deadly consequences. These tend to be more abundant in older populations thus one of the suspected reasons for higher mortality rates in the elderly. Case fatality6 rates of people who died from COVID-19, early numbers indicate that 10.5% had Cardio Vascular Disease, 7.3% had diabetes and 6.3% had Chronic Respiratory Disease.
So what are we to make of all this? Knowledge is great but it’s what you do with it that’s important. Let’s put the data in its proper context to interpret what it is telling us. Know that you are most at risk if you are getting on in years, especially if you have health conditions. Do what you can to prevent yourself from contracting or spreading COVID-19, including following the health recommendations laid out by local authorities including regularly washing your hands, social distancing and other good hygiene practices. Know that contracting COVID-19 is not a death sentence but it does put you at risk and should be taken seriously without over reacting. Immunities will be built, better treatments will be developed and one day we will have a vaccine against this as we go through this as a society. Based on past similar epidemics, it is likely that this crisis will pass into a manageable situation that is with us. Until then, stay vigilant.
As for us, we have made some changes to best serve our customers during this period of uncertainty. We have been professionally cleaning carpets, furnaces and tile in the Calgary area for over 30 years now. We realize however that many of those services are not on the top of peoples list right now and what is needed is something to deal with the problem at hand. We have within the past few years moved into sanitizing difficult environments with our Vapor Cleanse system, a system proven to work against odors, toxic mold, spores, bacteria, viruses and other contaminants. We’ve expanded that to include disinfection and decontamination services with products proven to neutralize Coronavirus of all types. We are offering this service at a 40% discount while the crisis in effect.
This is a natural extension for us to offer this to folks who have come to trust us in making contaminated environments safe again. We feel strongly that in times of crisis is when you have to step up and help the community. This is our way of doing exactly that. Be safe.