Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Viral Valentine

Viral Culture Media,

It's good to understand what is going on with the novel Wuhan coronavirus, since you may very well contract it.
This virus likely originated somewhere around October 1, 2019, based on regression analysis of mutations from the studied cases, and the known rate of mutation. The cluster described in the Wuhan seafood and live-animal market came fairly late in that process. It could have stated anywhere, including there. 

The biggest factor facilitating global spread of the virus is asymptomatic infection, or very mild symptoms, which do not curtail the activity or travel of a carrier. Screening by checking for fever is in place, but it is already apparent that this virus has a long incubation period before symptoms, when people can travel, and it really seems that some people without fever or significant illness are spreading the virus. Since there is no known effective treatment, quarantine of cases is the main approach to limit spread. It may be expected that many cases will be missed and spread will go on. I have been keeping up with this and have looked at all I could again today. The incubation period looks like 7 to 14 days, a long one. We just don't know how many people in the world are carrying this virus, or where they are, or who they will pass it to. A case has been confirmed in Germany in a young man who has not been to China. How many cases have not been diagnosed in Germany? We sure don't have access to the test kits in Austin yet. We will not know how many people have the virus today until they get symptoms in 1-2 weeks, and we still won't know then, because many will have mild symptoms. 
The Ro ("R naught") of this virus is not really known, but it is seeming to spread faster than SARS, so estimates of 2.5 to 3.5 new cases per introduced case are the most common estimates. Let's say the Ro is 2.5, and half of those cases don't have a fever, so can't be isolated. If there is perfect isolation of people with a fever, some will already have spread it, and the half without fever will be spreading it, so Ro will still be 1.5 or greater. Spread will continue.

Coronavirus family is a rapidly mutating RNA-virus family, so particular features of the virus will change as it spreads from host to host and mutates. Some mutations may increase fatalities; others decrease them. Some mutations may make quarantine easier, and others may make it more difficult. 

As it is today, this virus is global, with a moderately high Ro, and is unusually hard to impose quarantine upon, due to long incubation period, and spread by those with little to no subjective illness. 

Infectious coronavirus particles can persist on a surface for 4 days. Washing hands and surfaces is an important control measure once the virus gains entry to an area.

Take 5000 units per day of vitamin D3, available for cheap where vitamins are sold. Get plenty of sleep, regular activity, and eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Don't smoke stuff.
You are likely to be exposed to this virus before summer, unless something changes fundamentally, which it could.

Public Health Doctor

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