Long time, no see, dear readers. I was hoping to be back with something a bit lighter — the 2020 Munich High-End coverage was on my to-do list along with a couple of reviews. All of a sudden, I have plenty of time, but for the wrong reason: Greece and most of the European countries are on lockdown for almost two weeks now fearing the worst.
The worst is actually here for northern Italy and Spain, with France, the UK and the US only trailing a few days back in terms of confirmed cases. The numbers are not as important as one might think as each country has a different testing pattern. There is absolutely no way Italy has a true 10% death rate, it obviously boils down to how many tests are performed. If you test those who are blatantly positive you end up with some nasty looking numbers, but in the end, the mortality rate is much, much lower (probably under 2%).
This number, <2%, doesn’t sound all that scary but combined with a few other factors it is. The incubation period is of a week or so with many patients having only the lightest if no symptoms make it very easy for the virus to propagate.
Also of great importance, despite the overall mortality rate being not as high as, say, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (the last Coronavirus that gave us problems a few years back), the age-adjusted mortality is a whole different beast as it rises abruptly for the > 65yo. So if you are a young person with no previous conditions, chances are, even if you get infected, you won’t even notice, or you might have a few days of mild fever, cough, and fatigue. This is where the problem lies, you will probably be well enough as to go out, visit friends and family, work and eventually spread the virus to tens or hundreds and those with hypertension, a higher than average body mass index, COPD or a heart issue, etc will have a very hard time getting out of this.
As I am writing this small editorial, there is no definitive cure, meaning that while we are trying various drug cocktails none of those guarantees a prompt recovery. And going into an intensive care unit is not an option, it’s a necessity, and even then, many lose the battle even under ICU.
So while we are waiting for a vaccine, there are a few things we can do. Hopefully, you’ve heard all of this by now, but first and foremost, if you live in a virus-hit area, stay home. The less time socializing, visiting friends and parents, working with others, the less of a chance you might contract the virus or spread it to others. If you have to go out, and all of us must go out every now and then, wear a facial mask when in closed spaces. Again, this is good for you and the rest of the community. Remember to wash your hands and not to touch your face or scrub your eyes — the virus finds its way into the body through the conjunctiva, the nose, and the mouth.
Be well and take precautions, if not just for you, then for your loved ones. Turn on your audio system and listen to some of your favorite tunes.
To paraphrase Gabriel Garcia Marquez, this is Audio in the time of the Coronavirus.
— by Panagiotis Karavitis, MD, FEBO