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Media scare tactics and Misinformation: Coronavirus

With all the news headlines about the Corona virus in China, pictures of everyone wearing face masks and hysteria over number of cases in the US, are you getting fearful? Do you really know the facts and what preventive measures you can take?

First of all you should know that there is no risk for those living in the United States at this time. If the public health emergency in China is not contained, then perhaps in the future this could become a risk in the United States.

Corona virus is not new, it has been studied extensively since the 1960's but that was in animals and for animal vaccines. Corona viruses are a family of viruses of which there are many types. This past decade is the first time Corona viruses have infected humans, previously it was only animals. SARS and MERS are recent examples of viruses from the Corona family that infected humans this past decade. The SARS virus started in Saudi Arabia and spread from a camel to human. The MERS virus started in China coming from a Civet cat to human. Scientists do not have much information on the 2019-nCOV that is currently spreading so we do not know how to treat it yet. It is believed it did start in an animal again, spreading to a human and then mutating and becoming contagious to humans.

Currently there are 7,818 confirmed cases of 2019-nCOV of which 7,736 are in China with 170 deaths. The symptoms are typical of a respiratory virus with fever, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Only about 20-25% of the cases become severe and can lead to pneumonia, kidney failure and death. This is a public health concern since most cases are mild, people are not staying home till healthy and thus spreading the disease faster. Currenly, China is reporting a reproductive rate of 1:2.5, meaning that for every person that is infected, they spread it to 2.5 more people. That's a pretty fast spread. The WHO is reporting a 4% case fatality rate.

Again, let me reiterate, this is a novel virus (thus named 2019-nCOV) and there are no facts about how to respond and control this virus nor on treatment. That doesn't stop the media from predicting and proclaiming all sorts of misleading data.

So how do we prepare and what prevention measures can be taken? First keep in mind that what is happening in China is not what will happen in the US. Why? The province where the virus is spreading is highly populated (over 11 million in that city), unsanitary, worse air pollution than here and crowding. This make the situation much more aggressive in spreading the disease. We also have better access to quality healthcare.

Preventative measures are the same as with any respiratory virus that is spread via respiratory secretions and droplets: decrease stress, eat a healthy diet, exercise, wash hands with soap and water (min. 20 seconds) and never touch your face with unwashed hands. Cover your cough, clean and sanitize frequently touched objects (doorknobs, light switches, etc.) and stay home when you are sick.

Kanji Naturals does make herbal tea blends that can help relieve symptoms and build up your immune system. For relieving a cough try Cough Soothe and for relief of a sore throat try Throat soother tea. If feverish and achy, try the Winter Blues tea and of course, if the flu or any virus is spreading where I live, I begin taking Immune Boost tea to build my immune system to help me fight whatever germ I come across. Here's to a quick resolution of the Corona Virus and quality research data to help us contain it in the future. Enjoy your winter here in Minnesota and North Dakota and stay healthy

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