Life in the post-coronavirus world

Okay. I think I have it figured out now. Here's a good, practical summary that should clear up all of the ambiguity and rampant confusion about the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and Covid-19.

The Rules (at least according to me in the Republic of Ireland):

1. Basically, if you're 70 or older you can't leave the house for any reason; but if you get sick, then you can. This is called cocooning. Wash your hands.

2. Under 70, you can only travel 2 km from home except if you need groceries or medicines or are caring for someone over 70, then you can travel as far as you need to. Wash your hands.

3. Stores are closed, except those that are open.

4. Morning hours in stores are reserved for older people, except you can't buy booze then so you have to go later or suffer. There is no shortage of groceries in the supermarkets, but there are things missing when you go there, but not in the morning. Sometimes. How old is older?

5. Masks are useless, but all healthcare workers have to wear them as they can save their lives, and as of next week, masks will be mandatory for everyone in public. Wear glasses to protect your eyes. When you wear a mask, don't touch your face. Wash your hands.

6. Gloves won't help, but you should still wear them. If you do wear them, wash your hands first, then apply hand sanitizer both to your hands and to the gloves, just to be sure to be sure. Don't touch your face and remove the gloves properly. Do not reuse the gloves, ever. Wash your hands.

7. Everyone must stay HOME, but it's important to GO OUT to remain fit and healthy.

8. You will have many symptoms when you are sick, but you can also get sick without symptoms, have symptoms without being sick, or be contagious without having symptoms. (I get symptoms after every time I go to a shop, immediately.)

9. You should not go to hospital unless you have to go there. Same applies to doctors, but you should only go there in an emergency, provided you are not too sick. But it's better to call first to make sure its okay to go there when you're not too sick but have an emergency.

10. Almost everybody gets a fever. The elderly get diarrhoea first. The middle-aged get headache and cough first. The young have no symptoms except those who do sometimes die.

11. Animals are not affected, but there is a cat that tested positive in Belgium in February when no people had been tested yet, plus a few tigers here and there...

12. You can't go to retirement homes because more elderly die of complications. You have to take care of the elderly and bring food and medication, but if they die, you can't have a funeral. They are cremated and buried.

13. It's better to get some fresh air, but you get looked at very angrily when you go out, and most importantly, you shouldn't go to parks. But you can sit down now on the park bench if you are older and alone, but not for too long, or if you are pregnant (but not too old).

14. You must stay home, but if you have to walk the dog you can go for a walk anywhere you want for as long as it takes. (Don't forget to clean up.)

15. This virus is just like the flu, except that if you treat it like the flu it actually leads to a global pandemic disaster.

16. If you are sick, you must stay home and self-isolate, but you can go to the pharmacy to get medicine. And the pharmacist is at the back of the store where you have to wait in a queue socially distant in the tiny shop.

17. You can get restaurant food delivered to the house, which may have been prepared by people who didn't wear masks or gloves. But you have to decontaminate your groceries. Pizza too? How about Guinness?

18. You can't see your older mother or grandmother, but you can take a taxi driven by an older taxi driver to bring her groceries or medicines that she will have to decontaminate.

19. You can walk around at a proper distance from others doing the same, but not with your family if they don't live under the same roof.

20. The virus remains active on different surfaces for two hours, no, four, no, six, no, maybe days? But it takes a damp environment, or not necessarily.

21. The virus stays in the air - well no, or yes, maybe - especially in a closed room where, in one hour, a sick person can infect ten, and if it falls to the floor, you can carry it on your shoes. But remember, if you stay at the recommended social distance you'll be fine.  However, in certain circumstances, you should maintain a greater distance, because studies show the virus can travel further maybe, like carried by wind, or not. And by the way, it's also transmitted by poo (but no one talks about that) so don't use public toilets.

22. We count the number of deaths, but we don't know how many people are infected as we have only tested those who were dying to find out if that's what they will die of instead of isolating the ones healthy enough to spread it around.

23. There is no treatment, except maybe one that apparently is not dangerous unless you take too much (which is the case with all medicines).

24. If you've been exposed you should have antibodies, which may protect you or not, against the same virus or maybe also against a mutation that will trigger a new infection that may be less severe or not.

Atomic-level structure of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
The receptor binding domain, the part of the spike that binds to the host cell, is colored green. 
UT Austin, McLellan Lab

25. We should stay locked up until the virus disappears, but it will only disappear if we achieve collective herd immunity, but to do that we have to let it circulate, but we can't remain locked up to do that.

26. There are 42 companies making vaccines that have to be tested first in animals, then humans, and then humans exposed to the virus, which will only happen when lockdown stops.

27. But if lockdown continues, the world economy will be irreparably damaged, or not, depending on whether we all go back to the way things were.

28. The earth has started to recover from the damage of pollution so we can see just what we have to do to save the earth. But wait, we can't do that and save the economy. So we'll just have to continue to pollute the earth which will cause a meltdown of the ecosystems and kill us all anyway.

29. Coronaviruses are not alive so you can't kill them. But they can inject our cells with RNA that will kill us so we have to use strong antimicrobials to destroy them before they can get inside via our mucous membranes. They are enveloped viruses with a single-stranded RNA genome and a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry, so if they are not alive, why do they have RNA to kill us?

30. Coronavirus is the family name, SARS-Cov-2 is the species name, and Covid-19 is the disease it causes. Got it?

All good?



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