We’ve had a lot of questions into CB HQ about the practical implications of Coronavirus and the UK government’s strategy to combat it. Here are some questions and answers that we hope you will find useful.
Q1: Why are we being told we need to wait for things to get really bad before we self isolate?
Some evidence suggests that mass closures is the key to reducing impact, others suggest that it makes little difference, and can cause more harm than good by taking key workers away from their jobs. There is lots of comparing what has happened in other countries, but for all of them, there have been circumstances unique to that country that could skew data massively. The only thing I know for sure is that we have NO IDEA what the real numbers are – for most people they are asymptomatic so the actual numbers of people infected, and therefore the relative mortality rate, is impossible to measure. Certainly the numbers we have are the absolute worst case scenario.
Q2: Why do we need to push back the peak till the summer?
Pushing back to summer is a valid desire both because infection rates generally are lower in summer months, so people with weaker immune systems are less likely to be concurrently fighting off something else, the time between now and summer would enable us to flatten that curve, therefore spreading the burden on the NHS over a more manageable timeframe and finally – the bit I am most interested in…Coronaviruses are quite UV sensitive, i.e. they die in UV light so come summer the survival of the virus will be much more limited.
Q3: Can you only get tested for it if you’re so ill that you need hospital treatment? So how do we know the real numbers?
The getting tested questions is a really interesting one. There is a good argument to reduce the numbers of people getting tested to minimise spread – where and how do you test all those people who wonder whether they might have it – that would be the worst, most infectious gathering of people possible! I think it will be impossible to know the real numbers, this is largely because so many people will have it but have no symptoms.
A few good facts:
- There is no conclusive evidence of how long the virus lives outside the body. It is probably a maximum of a few hours and only for as long as it is in a moist environment e.g. someone coughs and the spit droplet sits on a surface, with live virus until the droplet has evaporated, then the virus will die quite quickly. This is another good reason to hope for sunshine and warmth – fewer persistent moist environments for the virus to live in!
- Hand washing is definitely the best option for sanitation soap is king!
- Coronaviruses have been around forever, this is just a new version.