COVID-19 – what it means for our community

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The Coronavirus or Covid-19 has come upon us rapidly and with incredible consequences. Beginning in Wuhan, China, mid November 2019, this sickness has spread rapidly around the globe, taking over 227, 000 lives. On writing this we are on our third day of lockdown in New Zealand, for many an extreme action, but one scientists and medical people have urged the NZ government to take seriously. Almost all cases of Covid-19 in NZ are due to overseas visitors and Kiwis returning home who have contracted the disease while overseas. Most of these people didn’t know they were sick. What medical people are concerned about is community transmission which, going by overseas experience can be devastating.

Covid-19 is a particularly infectious virus, it can be amongst us and we would have no idea. A person can be affected by the virus but show no symptoms (asymptomatic) all the while passing it onto others. This makes Covid-19 very difficult to contain. It has built in capability to penetrate our cellular machinery and attack our immune system with devastating effect.
Professor David Hayman of Massy University, who is studying the virus, says it has a spike protein on the outside wall of the virus, like a grappling hook that grabs onto the host cell. The Coronavirus then uses a molecular can opener allowing the virus to crack open and enter host cells.

The most commonly reported symptoms include a fever, dry cough, tiredness, and in mild cases people may get just a runny nose or a sore throat. In the most severe cases, people with the virus can develop difficulty breathing and may ultimately experience organ failure. Some cases are fatal.

Covid-19 shows no favourites and can afflict any age group. Children do not seem to be affected as much. Those aged 70 plus and those with underlying health conditions need to take care for overseas evidence shows these people are more at risk of severe sickness and loss of life. The vast majority of people who contract Covid-19 will have flu like symptoms, get over it and live on.

Living in Omokoroa with many elderly we need to heed the Governments warning to observe lockdown protocol, staying indoors with those we normally live with (our bubble), only venturing from home for brief walks or bike rides in the immediate neighbourhood. Only go to the supermarket for essentials, take a list to avoid distraction. Maintain social distancing (at least 2 meters between yourself and anyone else who is not in your bubble), Observe good hygiene, hand washing with soapy water for 20 seconds, sneezing into elbow and other common sense precautions to protect those around us and ourselves. By maintaining this approach we protect ourselves and others, which is what we all would like for our community and country.

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