A disclaimer: the author of this post has no medical background but it is hoped that this information may help our valued readers stay informed and stay healthy.
An epidemic is defined as an outbreak of a disease that affects many individuals at once and spreads rapidly. An outbreak is a sudden, often, unexpected escalation in the number of unexpected escalation in the number of instances of a disease. An outbreak may occur in a particular community, geographical location, or across or across a multitude of countries. A pandemic is a type of epidemic. When speaking of a pandemic vs an epidemic, the former term is used to describe a disease that effects an entire nation or even the world at large. An epidemic becomes a pandemic when it has spread over a large percentage of the population overall. Pandemics affect a larger number of people and are usually caused by new viruses or diseases that have not been in circulation for decades or even centuries.
In a pandemic most humans have little or no immunity against the new disease causing many deaths resulting in much social disruptions and/or economic loss. Corona viruses are a family of viruses that can cause illness such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). In 2019, a new corona virus was identified as the cause of a disease outbreak that originated in China. The virus is now known as the severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 (SARS-COV-2). The disease it causes is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a Pandemic! Symptoms and sign of this new disease may appear two to fourteen days after the initial exposure and can include a Fever, Cough, Shortness of breath or Difficulty breathing. Other symptoms can include tiredness, aches, runny nose and a sore throat. Some people have even experienced the loss of smell or taste.
The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from very mild to severe and some people may have no symptoms at all. As we all know by now, people who are older or may have existing chronic medical conditions such as heart or lung disease, are diabetic or have a compromised immune system may be at a higher risk of serious illness which are also seen in other respiratory illnesses, such as Influenza. This new virus spreads from person to person among those in close contact (within about six feet or two meters). The virus is spread by respiratory droplets released when someone with the virus coughs, sneezes or even talks. The virus is also known to spread when a person touches a surface infected with the virus and then touches their mouth, nose or eyes. This suggests that our main protection from the virus is surgical gloves and a face mask. Is the mask essential, at the current time there seems to be a controversy, is its use more for to protect the user or the public. It is possible the mask may be less effective as we still will inadvertently touch our face when adjusting it. My own opinion is to continue with lots of proper hand washing (plain hand soap is very effective), and wear a mask if it feels right for you. As I am writing this, the WHO is now recommending the use of a proper mask.
Here are some ways to manage stress and mental health: Read news only from a trustworthy source; develop an action plan; set limits on your media consumption to learn how fast an illness is spreading or how many people are getting sick, will only increase your anxiety, but it is helpful to stay informed. Avoid the herd mentality, don’t jump on the bandwagon. stay aware that many people take action that doesn’t help and may cause harm. Practice good self care, a balanced diet, plenty of sleep, and engage I leisure activities. good self care also keeps your immune system healthy. Seek professional help if your mental health is being impacted by the stress from the Corona Virus.