I hope this email finds you well. Our current situation in the Bay Area has deteriorated, and many changes have taken place. We are on a semi-lock down. The government has issued a statement requiring residents of 6 counties in San Francisco Bay Area to stay in their houses. All outdoor activities are prohibited, residents can only go out to grocery stores and pharmacies. Dining out at restaurants, walking in parks, gym use are strictly prohibited. Even in grocery stores, one is to maintain 6ft distance between other patrons. All of these changes have to be followed, as healthcare professionals try to manage the cases already admitted in hospitals. There is only a finite amount of resources and every precautionary step has to be taken so that the number of infected cases do not go up. Most people have been asked to work from home. The professor I have been working with has asked her team to stay at home as it is not possible to work on the project currently. Sourov’s office has closed, and they are working from home. Jummah prayers have been cancelled in the Masjids till further notice.
In retrospect, USA administrations could have opted for a stricter approach back in January. Even 2 weeks ago, minimal outdoor activities weren’t considered and flights from Europe or China were still operating. I think Europe travel ban was implemented only last week. Most countries around the globe had not even considered preparing for this pandemic, and as a result, countries struggling right now.
Here’s what I have learnt so far about Coronavirus/Covid-19 infections:
1) The infection began from a wet market in Wuhan, China. It is a zoonotic virus, meaning it stays in the body of animals. Primarily it was in bats. The virus mutated, moved on to pangolins, mutated once again, and finally was able to infect Humans.
2) The incubation period (the time it takes to show symptoms after exposure): 2- 14 days.
3) Mode of transmission: It can be transmitted through droplets.
If an infected person sneezes or coughs near a healthy person, and they said healthy person breaths in the droplets containing the virus, good chance of the healthy person being infected.
4) What to do:
a. Stay at least 6 ft away from anyone who seems sick, and avoid large gatherings. Even 10 people together at the same place is a gathering.
b. Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, with unwashed hands.
c. Don’t share personal items with others-drinking glasses, utensils, toothbrushes, lip balm.
d. Wipe down high touch surfaces like doorknobs, keyboards (of computers), stair rails, bathroom door handles with disinfectant wipes. OR wash hands immediately after using these.
e. Wash your hands OR use a hand sanitizer after touching surfaces like Elevator, ATM buttons, grocery carts or baskets.
f. Just realized yesterday that my cell phone is also a frequently used item!
5) Symptoms: Many people initially labelled coronavirus as “Just a Bad Flu”. After 3 months, USA health professionals have deemed it deadlier than the flu. Symptoms include-high grade fever, cough, sneezing, shortness of breath, body aches.
What makes it deadlier than the flu is that Coronavirus causes bilateral pneumonia, which ultimately leads to patients needing ICU support, ventilators and respirators. A lacking of these resources has made it more difficult to battle Covid-19 infections.
6) Who are susceptible: Basically everyone is susceptible to catching this infection. Outcomes seem to be worse in patients> (above) 60years, elderly patients, immune-compromised patients, pregnant women, patients with co-morbid conditions such as diabetes, hypertension.
In times like this communities are also experiencing a shortage of necessary supplies. Some of the items which are flying off the aisles: Rice, Daal, Toilet paper, paper towels, reusable masks, hand gloves, hand soaps, hand sanitizers, frozen vegetables, medicines for a common cold. Some people are panic buying, and buying supplies in large amounts, which is creating a shortage in the stores.
I was able to buy some necessities and food items prior to going away for our Southwest travel. Hopefully, it will tide us for a few weeks before we have to go out and get some household supplies and food items.
I am writing this email as it is difficult to match our time, and it is also difficult to give all this information in one phone call coherently. I have also seen very conflicting information regarding Coronavirus from Bangladesh. Authorities will probably deny information until a bad situation develops. We have seen it happen in the USA and Canada, and epidemiologists predict that there is no doubt it will happen in other countries.
It only started with one person, but due to community transmission, it has now infected such a large number of people. Sourov’s Boro Mami returned from Bangladesh a few weeks ago. Since arriving in New York, she had a high-grade fever and severe cough. She was hospitalized and has been diagnosed positive for Coronavirus 2 days ago. The doctors have said not to be alarmed and have sent her home to be quarantined. We are praying for her speedy recovery.
You, Mamoni, Tanvir and Lira are always on our minds. I hope you will read this email and convey to others to take necessary initiatives, maintain proper hygiene. Please stock up on necessary household items and food items. We love you all very much. You are in our prayers. Please pray for us. Thank you for reading my long e-mail.
Courtesy: Dr M A Taher Khandakar, PEng., MBA
The severity of coronavirus outbreak