23 Mar CORONAVIRUS COVID-19: Global Pandemic
First of all, we should ask ourselves: What is a virus? Well, it can be something as simple as a tiny bit of DNA (or its “fraternal twin” RNA, as the Covid19 case) wrapped by several proteins. These proteins have a certain shape, that is, a tridimensional structure. The life of a virus starts when the shape of these proteins surrounding the DNA/RNA fits the external proteins of a cell, just like a key in a lock. Then, the virus, or at least the viral DNA, enters this host cell, which can come from an animal, plant, fungus… so it mistakes it for its own DNA and makes it its own. All DNAs are instructions, so our cells know its code. Inside it, there are new instructions to generate new copies of the viral DNA. As soon as it happens, the virus will have replicated, and this survival mechanism will completely destroy every single cell where it can enter, creating further copies of itself, thus expanding through the whole body. Because of its pointless growth dynamics, they would be, in principle, doomed to become extinct. Nonetheless, before it happens, they manage to enter another body, infecting it.
COVID-19, English abbreviation for Coronavirus disease 2019, is an infectious disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, possibly of zoonotic origin (animal). It has rapidly spread all over the world in the last months. One of the most important negative aspects, making us fear this virus, is the high infection rate. The virus may remain on non-porous surfaces, such as plastics and metals, for 2-6 days. This is why experts insist on the importance of washing our hands often and thoroughly. The good news is, this virus has a “wrapping”, so the lipids surrounding it take us as its host, and it can be easily destroyed with soap or water-alcohol gels. It is of paramount importance to really understand that, because we may come back to our houses with coronavirus in our hands. However, whether we are infected or not may depend on us being careful not to touch our face (eyes, nose, mouth). This is because mucous membranes (not our skin) is the only way the virus may enter our body. We would like to emphasize this point, since everything we touch with our hands before washing them will be “infected”, so it is important to avoid touching objects or clothes during our journey anywhere. A great idea to effectively perform it is to use latex gloves, taking them off only when we enter a safe place, like our car or house.
There has been an intense debate about what to do with our SHOES: The latest news say it is unnecessary to leave our shoes out of the house, or next to the door, beause the virus stays on the floor for just a few hours. However, opinions are divided about what to do. Our recommendation, anyway, is TO LEAVE THEM OUT. It takes just a second, but we can prevent this virus from harming us, especially when our loved ones are near us.
Another issue of concern is the HIGH MORTALITY RATE of coronavirus. Even though it was said to have a rate of 2.5%, now it is around 3, even 5%, this is not entirely true. The mortality rate is relative. In order to calculate it properly, we must bear in mind that, for instance, in 1000 cases, 10 will die, which gives us a 1% rate. However, we don´t know how many cases we are talking about, as there are many cases with no symptoms at all (yet), or very light ones, and they are not officially counted, as they are not tested. The number of cases is probably higher than we are told. so the mortality must be lower than reported. The latest studies carried out in China say the mortality rate might be around 0,7%. In fact, it is said for every infected person, there are five without any diagnosis.
One more factor which has come out these days is the VIRAL LOAD. In order to grasp the concept: Infecttion through one person is very different from infection through ten people. The higher the viral load, the more likely we are to develop further pathologies. This is why it is so important to STAY AT HOME and avoid/reduce the contact with anybody else. As it has been proved how people who are feeling perfectly well may infect others.
As we all know, the age ranges affected most are 60 and older, and the chance to suffer from health complications rises with the age, and previous pathologies, especially related to the heart, breathing, diabetes, or immune system. n fact, Italy has no record of a Covid19 victim younger than 30. Avoiding contact with other people is central to preserve our health. Should we contact someone, the least we can do is to remember the safety measures. Otherwise, we might be carriers of the virus without even knowing it.
As regads the most affected age ranges, we do not intend to say this virus “only affect our elders”, meaning the rest of the population is completely safe and sound. It is natural to feel relieved when we hear children are not seriously affected by the virus. This is our natural instinct, and allows us to remain reasonably calm, without panicking and becoming insane and selfish people. However, we must remember how lethal it can be for our elders, and protect them as much as possible, as we all have the right to live.
THE CURE: Many countries are running experiements and drugs which might yield good results. For instance, France is working on Plaquenil and azitromicine, and also o cloroquinae, a kind of aminoquinoline currently used for the prevention and treatment of malaria, as well as some autoimmune diseases (this drug has already been considered for the treatment of SARS-CoV-1 in 2005). However, these news must be read cautiously. On the other hand, China claims to have developed a highly prospective vaccine, but even if it is (hopefully) true, it will not be produced and distributed massively shortly. Nevertheless, we remain optimistic on that matter, and we believe a drug will be developed to reduce the effects, or avoid infection, which is really important and talked about lately.
At the moment, the only thing we an do is to avoid paralyzing the health system, which is the main problem of this pandemic, Owing to the late measures of confinement of the population, the virus is widespread, so the health system is overwhelmed. If we do stay at home, we can effectively contribute to the reduction of the infection curve, which is, by far , the most important thing right now. It is important to remark that, if the total nuber of infected people had to be the same as the end of this pandemic, it would be much better if the number of infections took place in a longer time, as hospitals would be able to take care of them properly. This is why, even if we suspect we may have light symptoms, it is better not to go to health centres, as we may infect (or be infected by) other people, whereas we might have had a simple cold. The Spanish Society of Doctors of Primary Health Care (SEMERGEN) has issued a report with specific features of a supposed average infected patient: Temperature above 38 degrees, cough (especially dry), breathing difficulties, feeling poorly in general.
In Solera Flamenca we follow the confinement recommendations strictly, waiting for the 14 days our Government has decreed (even though it is presumed it will be longer). Many people are afraid of online shopping, as they may receive a contaminated item. Fortunately, our store is completely closed at the moment. None of our guitars has been exposed to anyone for more than 10 days. Therefore, we can guarantee all of our instruments are coronavirus-free.
Finally, before saying goodbye (for now) we would like to send you all an optimistic message of hope to our customers and friends: WE WILL OVERCOME THAT! And the most important thing is that we all will obtain some learning after that. We will end up better people, with more values. We also want to publicly show our support to people suffering this pandemic themselves, or through their loved ones.