The city of Wuhan is said to be the birth place of the virus. The spread of the virus was fast and by the time public health plans were put in place (the lockdown etc), the virus had already traveled as far as South Korea and exported to Italy.
In the midst of conversations and debates on whether Africans are immune to the virus or not, the first case was reported in Nairobi. There was panic everywhere.
Pharmacies, supermarkets and retail shops were overloaded with Nairobians running to secure essential items. These would include soaps, tissue, sanitizer, masks and gloves.
The disease is known as COVID-19 and the cure is yet to be discovered. The virus that is responsible for the disease is spread by coughs and sneezes which release virus containing respiratory droplets into the air, these droplets could be inhaled by someone within a 1M distance.
Also when the droplets lands on a surface and the surface is touched by hand, then that hand is used to touch your nose, mouth or eyes chances are high you’ll be infected. This gospel is being preached everywhere as of now.
As the virus continues to spread, there are new measures coming up every other day and everyone has to follow them to help contain the virus. The Ministry of Health recommends washing hands with soap and water and avoid touching your face as a basic way to reduce the spread. Where there is likelihood of high risk exposure to pathogens for instance hospitals and public areas it is advised everyone wears a mask.
There is debate saying healthy people don’t need masks and that sanitizers could result to the rise of antibiotic resistance but I will not dwell on that for now. There is not enough evidence do support either claims and following instructions given by the Ministry of Health is paramount for now.
There is still worry despite the stepped up efforts to curb the spread of the virus for instance the nationwide curfew and lockdown in the major epicenters. Do we have enough ventilators and medical-facility capacity to accommodate a possible surge of patients? That’s the question everyone is asking as big countries with the best healthcare systems in the world are seen struggling.
Currently treatment is basically symptomatic. Some countries have reported better outcomes with the use of Hydroxychloroquine or ARVs although these still don’t guarantee cure. There is not enough data to validate the use of the drugs. Furthermore The Pharmacy and Poisons Board has advised against the use of the drugs unless with a doctor’s prescription.
The impact of the virus is being felt everywhere. The pharmaceutical industry although part of essential services, is already swimming in the mess. We’re talking about compulsory leave and unpaid leave for some people due to the reduced hours and less work. A friend of mine newly employed was asked to start working from home in the meantime. Soon or later there may be need for pay cuts.
This could be short term or maybe drag on a few months if there is less cooperation. There is need to limit movement and avoid overcrowding which if left would make the outbreak potentially much harder to control. So COOPERATION is key.
Right now their is also concern of shortages in essential medicines. And like we’ve seen with masks and sanitizers how the prices went high up to ridiculous prices, this might be the case also with the medicines.
For now there’s nothing much we can do but STAY HOME!