"You know it's true… Every disaster movie begins with a scientist being ignored." - Neil deGrasse Tyson.
To expand further, he said that there comes a time where the public needs to listen to scientists, and that all the world is not a debate on how you feel about things. No one in the world hasn't been affected by the current health situation and the social changes it's brought, namely, masks and social distancing. Arguments have been made for and against wearing masks and social distancing. However, what we do know is that they both help tremendously in the prevention of spreading sickness. The most important factor here is that the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are at a much higher risk of becoming ill, and or dying from it. Even if you aren't in one of the high risk groups mentioned, you still pose a threat to those who are, whether you show symptoms or not. Therefore, it's our social responsibility to wear a mask or face coverings when in public, and practice social distancing.
It Is Not The Flu Or SARS
Viruses in general are a very contagious thing, hence the word "viral". In particular, this one we are dealing with now has a long incubation period where many of those who carry it do not know that they have it, and end up spreading it to others, which makes this virus particularly exceptional. This one particular strain has caused respiratory illness throughout the globe. This virus and the flu can cause similar symptoms, such as body aches, fever, and breathing issues etc. They may be similar, but these two illnesses are caused by different viruses altogether.
The Differences From The Seasonal Flu
Currently, there isn't a vaccine, as opposed to the seasonal flu. Also, scientists have not found anyone with a natural immunity to it either. This means that everyone is susceptible to it, young and old. Another thing to point out, flu symptoms can be treated with antiviral medications, which often shortens the length of the illness, but the use of antiviral treatments for the current virus has been inconclusive at best.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it spreads more easily than the flu. This is due to the fact that the flu has a shorter incubation period, which is 1 to 4 days, as opposed 14 days for symptoms to appear in the other. Recent studies have shown that people who are infected, but asymptomatic play a significant role in spreading the virus.
The Differences From SARS
This one and SARS are both caused by the same family of viruses, and have similar symptoms, but they differ greatly in transmissibility. The SARS outbreak was between 2002 and 2003. Over 8,000 people became ill from it, and 774 people died, which pales in comparison to the current virus, with the number of deaths over 121,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. This virus appears to transmit more easily than SARS. This is due to the viral load, which appears to be highest in the throat and nose of infected people, shortly after symptoms develop. Viral load in SARS patients peaked much later in the illness. This means that people may be transmitting the virus much earlier after being infected. One last but fundamental difference is that there hasn’t been any reported cases of SARS spreading before symptoms develop.
CDC And WHO Guidelines
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been over 2,300,000 confirmed cases in the U.S., and over 121,000 deaths. Both the CDC and WHO have recommended that people wear a face mask or covering, practice social distancing, and use hand sanitizer along with thorough hand washing.
How Does It Spread?
The virus mainly spreads between people who are in close proximity (within 6 feet) of each other. The virus is spread through respiratory droplets that are made when an infected person sneezes, coughs or talks.The droplets can land on other people's mouths and noses, which can be inhaled into the lungs. Studies suggest that the virus can be spread by people who aren't showing any symptoms at all.
Cover Your Mouth and Nose With A Cloth Face Cover When Around Others
Everyone should wear a protective mask or face covering when they are out in public. Cloth face coverings shouldn't be placed on kids younger than 2, or those with severe breathing problems.
Practice Hand Hygiene
The practice of hand hygiene includes the use of alcohol based hand rub (hand sanitizer), and or hand washing. Both have been proven by the CDC to be very effective at reducing the number of pathogens that may be present on the hands of healthcare providers. The CDC recommends using hand sanitizer 60 to 95% alcohol.
It’s About Protecting Others As Well As Yourself
The more people you interact with, the more closely you are physically to them, and the longer you interact, makes the risk higher for getting and spreading it. According to the CDC, people under the age of 50 may not be as susceptible to severe illness, but the elderly, and those with medical conditions or compromised immune systems are more susceptible to infection. The CDC has reported that a small number of dogs and cats have been infected by coming into contact with an infected person.
The Risk For The Elderly And Those With Compromised Immune Systems
The risk of becoming severely ill from the virus increases as you get older. Eight out of ten deaths related to the illness in the United States were among those who were 65 and older. The 85 and older age group are at the greatest risk of severe illness and death. Also, the World Health Organisation states that those who have health conditions such as lung and heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions that affect their immune system are more susceptible to severe illness and death as well. They urge others who are not at high risk to do everything they can to prevent the spread of the virus to those who are.
You Can Give It To Your Pets
A small number of pets worldwide, are reported to have been infected by coming into close contact with infected humans. Even though the risk of animals spreading it to humans is low. The CDC recommends that you treat your pet as you would human family members, and that you do not let your pets interact with other people outside of the household.
Further Reasoning And Conclusion
When we are cautioned by scientists (especially in the medical field), and they suggest for us to make changes that impede on what we consider are our personal freedoms, it's hard for many of us to want to change. Furthermore, if we go on thinking of scientists as the mad ones who we have the option to ignore, then consequences are in order. There's a reason why we hold these individuals at such high esteem in the first place. Just like Neil deGrasse Tyson once said, science is true whether or not you choose to believe it.