Hilbert Morales, M.P.H., M.Sc. | EL OBSERVADOR
Photo Credit: Unsplash

For the containment of the coronavirus respiratory disease, which is highly virulent and infectious, it is necessary for more ordinary folks to learn more about levels of cleanliness. More individuals must understand that this particular respiratory disease is easily transmitted from an infectious individual who may display no symptoms of having any respiratory illness.

While it may be related to and compared with the common flu virus, it is much more virulent and infectious. In addition, it has caused more deaths than the ordinary flu (which causes an average 12,000 deaths nationally per annual flu season.

The typical symptoms of having traditional flu are having “general malaise” (feeling poorly) and lethargy. A drippy nose and sore throat are also common. Coughing and sneezing are additional symptoms commonly associated with the flu. A high temperature may also happen.

Like the traditional flu, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus is not very responsive to ordinary and customary flu therapy. No clinical laboratory tests which specifically identify it currently exist. It will take about three years to develop diagnostic tests which are approved and endorsed by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) in the US.

The general public needs to understand that this particular coronavirus is a very recent happening, which began in China in December 2019.

At this juncture, clinical laboratories have not developed tests which are specific and essential to the development of “differential diagnostic ability”. This week President Trump introduced several experts who are developing the high capacity testing systems. That system was at a capacity in the hundreds of tests per day. Now that testing system can process reliably and accurately 8,000 to 9,000 tests per day. That is the sort of testing capacity which is necessary if public health issues are to be realized.

The general public is currently being asked to do the simple things which helped our nation to deal with traditional flu: Isolation and quarantine practices are being promoted because there is no established and verified base of knowledge at present. In addition, there are no prescription drugs which are known and tested. All that is happening and being accumulated as the community copes with this respiratory disease.

Yesterday I did all day what is being advocated: Remaining at home, limiting your close contacts, washing your hands frequently, and no handshakes – rather use a forearm touch to eliminate transmission of whatever microbe and/or virus may be present on your hand skin surfaces.

It is very important to be aware that simple practices which minimize contamination are the most effective actions to use. And they are all available NOW!

By containing and restricting the spread of this viral disease, the community buys the time needed for its members to develop and acquire immune resistance. This immune resistance is related to and dependent upon the host’s immune system’s development and production of effective and specific antibodies.

Usually medical professionals have a reservoir of research and investigative knowledge about a particular disease entity. That is not the case with the coronavirus, which has already spread to over 75 nations.

Keep in mind that any viral disease (even the common cold) has no prescription medications which directly address it. To kill a virus, a prescription medication usually is also very damaging to the host cell. The host cell’s metabolism is entirely redirected towards the replication of the virus.

Electron micrographs exist which clearly picture a cell disintegrating into fragments when it bursts open to release the next generation of replicated viruses. It is during these “replication release times” that human patients may experience a temperature spike.

This coronavirus is an “equal opportunity affliction” which infects and afflicts anyone who permits any form of infective contact. One variable is the high number of people in crowds and those crowded into small rooms whose ventilation cycles are low.

The most effective low-cost approach is to use isolation and distance. That is why individuals need to stay at least six feet from another individual. Address and conduct your business promptly and then increase the separation between you and your colleagues involved.

Several organizations such as the San Jose Rotary Club are considering conducting their weekly meetings online. People all over are working from home. The church I attend has already prepared to stream its religious services online to permit the usually scheduled religious events to happen without having parishioners exposed to each other.

The most important thing is to become proactive about not being exposed to infection. Any individual who has any form of respiratory disease needs to wear a face mask when dealing with others. The best thing to do may be to just avoid social and business contacts that are “too close and too personal”.

If all of us begin to personally function at a high alert level for the next few weeks, it will minimize the transfer of the coronavirus. Then we will begin to constrain and contain its distribution. The outcome will be positive and beneficial for each of us, our family members, and colleagues.

THIS EFFORT LEVEL MAY BE REQUIRED FOR AT LEAST THREE MONTHS! There will be a reduction in social and economic outcomes because schools, restaurants, and retail outlets will all need to conduct their affairs without allowing too many groups to comingle.

The coronavirus can be and must be constrained and contained. That will happen when more than 85% of us do what needs to be done. We must limit the opportunities which allow this viral disease to replicate, and the elimination of favorable replication sites will achieve that goal. You can be a difference maker.