Questions about Coronavirus? Let’s get them answered.
First, what is the Coronavirus? How dangerous is this?
According to the Center for Disease Control, The Coronavirus is a respiratory illness originating from Wuhan, China at the close of 2019, still accounting for more than 80% of virus cases and deaths. “According to data presented by the Canadian epidemiologist who spearheaded the World Health Organization’s coronavirus mission to China […] cases peaked and began declining more than a month ago.” Just for comparison; In 2018, the CDC estimated there were 80,000 flu deaths. That’s against 19 coronavirus deaths so far, from about 470 cases. Now fewer than 200 new cases of the virus are reported daily, down from the height of the epidemic.
Do I need to be afraid of catching the Coronavirus?
The general American public is unlikely to be exposed to this virus. Those at risk include healthcare workers in proximity to the sick, the elderly, and those who have preexisting conditions like heart disease that may make them more susceptible to illness in close proximity to the infected. A study published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association found zero deaths worldwide among children 9 and under. You will not accidentally travel to a quarantined area, so there’s no concern of this affecting your travel plans.
What does this mean for travel?
What this means is that you simply need to make wise decisions. This likely means one of three things; first, do what makes you comfortable. The best way to feel comfort in your decisions is to invest in travel insurance. If you have a trip planned and have not yet purchased travel insurance, find out more about why and how to do so here. If being comfortable to you means not traveling, then don’t be afraid to postpone your trip to a future date. Finally, take into account that you, as a member of the general public, are quite unlikely to catch this illness and with awareness of the importance of keeping healthy while you go abroad, you may find you won’t make any changes to your upcoming plans at all.
How can I help protect myself while traveling?
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home if you are sick;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Always cover your cough or sneeze. (Pro tip: If you MUST touch your face, don’t use your hands. Use the inside of your shirt or a tissue);
- Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; and most importantly;
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. There is an entire website dedicated to the proper way to wash your hands. It is important. You can see about it here.
Finally, what comes next?
Keep calm, and travel on. “This month, the Northern Hemisphere, which includes the countries with the most cases, starts heating up. Almost all respiratory viruses hate warm and moist weather. That’s why flu dies out in America every year by May.” Illness comes and goes, what’s important is that you remain an informed traveller and do your best to stay healthy. Disease takes its course in all people and does not discriminate, so remember to do the same when traveling and respect all cultures and the people you meet.
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(Sources: CDC; Travel Guard, World Health Org. & The NY Post)
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